Philadelphia Daily News - August 4, 1980
Easy Does It for Nino
By Stan Hochman
Nino Espinosa got to Houston three weeks ago and he read all the papers and heard all the talk shows and got the feeling of deja vu.
Deja vu, that's French for it seems to me I’ve heard that song before.
"That bleep they put in the papers then about J.R., how could they do that," Espinosa said yesterday. "It was the same thing they did to me, people doubting he was hurt.
"J.R. is a pitcher of pride. J.R. kept going out there whenever it was his turn. And now..."
And now, J.R. Richard is in a Houston hospital, recovering from surgery to remove a life-threatening blood clot Espinosa is in the Phillies' pitching rotation, getting by on guile and gumption, still bitter about the cynical grumbling that accompanied his long recovery from arm miseries.
He evened his record at 2-2 yesterday, as the Phillies rapped the Reds, 8-4. The Phils are three games behind the first-place Expos, who beat Atlanta yesterday, and one behind the Pirates, who dropped two to San Diego.
Nino went six artistic innings, getting nicked for six singles, throwing the kind of pitches Sanford & Son would love.
"SO I’M NOT THROWING hard, what's the big deal?" Espinosa muttered. The reference to J.R. Richard had broken the dam of silence, and now the words came flooding out.
“Throwing hard, that's not the name of the game. Getting people out is.
"There's only one guy in baseball who gets paid for throwing hard. That's Nolan Ryan. And you can check his record.
"Me, I have never ever been a power pitcher. I got my four or five strikeouts, but that's all. I don't have the velocity back yet, but I'm feeling better every time I work, and I don't care no more what people think.
"I got hurt last year but I kept going out there, knowing I was hurt I was thinking about the Phillies.
"This year, how come nobody thought about Nino?"
This year, he had started five times before yesterday's sweltering exercise. He beat the Braves, 7-2, and in his other four starts, the Phillies got him a total of eight runs.
"He got the win today on a very professional job," Manager Dallas Green said. "He has kept us in ballgames by 'pitching.’
"I was a little alarmed with his arm drop today. But velocity-wise, he was throwing a little better at times."
VELOCITY-WISE, ESPINOSA isn't a blip on the radar gun yet. Pitching coach Herm Starrette sees some heat at the end of the tunnel, though.
"At times," Starrette said, "he gets perturbed at himself. He walks some hitters. And then… he turns the ball loose. Maybe he's got to get POd more often?
"I never did think anything other than that he was hurting. I could see it last year, the way his fastball was getting, a little shorter each time.
"But Nino is a battler. If he'd been the type of guy to always complain, you might have some doubt. But he never complains. And he worked hard the whole time."
Now, he must work even harder, substituting finesse for flame. If he looks like a high-wire performer on a windy day, how do you think he looks to the catcher?
"I love it," gushed Bob Boone. "It's fun.
"Nino really 'pitches.’ He sets hitters up so well. And he throws strikes. We've been in every ballgame he's pitched.
"He's got to be one of the best pitchers around from a pitching standpoint. The way we try to get teams out of their groove.
"That first game he pitched, against the Cards – they were trying to hit it out of the park and he didn't let them, throwing pitches that looked real good, but were not in good locations to hit out.
"TODAY, THE REDS were trying to hit it the other way. That sets up an inside fastball. You jam George Foster with a fastball inside, get him to hit into a double play, hey, I can get excited about it."
It was that kind of day for Boone. The Phils led, 2-1, in the fifth. Then Lonnie Smith beat out a bunt single, stole second, lighting the fuse on a dynamite six-run explosion.
Boone finished it with a bases-loaded double into the left-field corner that Foster ran down like a man chasing a runaway leopard.
"I think it's obvious Nino was hurt," Boone said. "There never was any doubt in my mind.
"I know Nino. He's very intelligent in a baseball sense. He wasn't gonna jeopardize his career or the team's welfare, until he was ready.
"It was hell for him," said Bake McBride, who got the day off to rest ouchy knees. "He knew he was hurt, but the coaches, the manager, whatever, felt he wasn't."
"Nino," said Manny Trillo, who walked four times, "is the kind of guy who throws the ball where the catcher wants it. He takes advantage of the hitters.
"I believe now the manager knows he's hurt, Nino knows he's hurt. But why should we care about what other people think?
"We play behind him and we play good ball. Besides, it's not what people believe that counts... it's what you believe.
"Trouble is, if Nino loses, everybody's gonna get on him. And if he wins, are people gonna say he's lucky?"
PHILUPS: Phillies are 7-3 on the homestand with a day off today. Cardinals come in for three games with Dick Ruthven pitching tomorrow... Steve Carlton (16-6) was a tough-luck loser Saturday night as Mike LaCoss shut out the Phillies, 2-0... Phils cranked out four double plays yesterday, getting two behind Espinosa, two behind Ron Reed, who pitched the final three innings... Lonnie Smith continued his greyhound antics, stealing second three times. He has stolen 10 in a row... Reds won the season series, 7-5... Helmet day crowd was 41,328.
Life Rosy Between the Lines
By Stan Hochman
Karolyn Rose filed for divorce last September and Pete Rose got 51 hits that month. Hit.421, was the National League's player of the month, blitzed past the 200-hit mark for the 10th time, making history.
Karolyn Rose got the divorce last Thursday. Pete rapped out five hits in the three games against Cincinnati, pumping his average to.292.
"Any negative thing," Rose said yesterday, "you go 0-for-30 or you hit ,220, it's gonna hurt you a helluva lot more than if you hit 330.
“When I'm on first base or I'm at home plate, I'm not talking about this or that, I'm talking about baseball.
“The thing is, 60 percent of Americans get divorced. How come it's such a Dig deal when it happens to me?"
He knows the answer to that one. He wouldn't have it any other way.
"I started getting ink from the start," he said. "Rookie of the year. Then I won back-to-back batting titles.
"BUT I GUESS I became a celebrity when I started getting 200 hits (a season). Nah... I guess it was when people realized I wasn't phoney.
"I've been doing the same things I did in high school, in Little League. Hustling, diving, playing hard. Then people realized it wasn't no front.
"I don't do anything different today than I did when I was nine.
"The thing is, the stuff that got me well known was stuff that happened on national TV: the playoff fight with Harrelson, the collision with Fosse, the fan abuse in Oakland, being MVP of the ‘75 World Series.
"That's where notoriety, or popularity, or whatever, comes from. Timing.
The thing with Harrelson (a scuffle at second base) happens three or four times a year. But it was New York, playoffs, and they made a big deal of it.
"The thing with Fosse happens in an All-Star game. So it's headlines.
"The next year, the very first game, I'm on third. Someone tops a ball back to Don Sutton. He throws home. Duke Sims is the catcher.
"He had the ball, not like Fosse, who was reaching for it. Bam. He hit me.I was dizzy for three innings.
"I'm out there in left field, saying, ‘I hope they don't hit the ball to me.' The difference was, he racked me, but nobody even mentioned it."
If it had happened in Philadelphia, somebody would have mentioned it. Rose knows that, too.
"THE SITUATION HERE is different," he said. "More media. Plus, the writers have changed. The new breed. They're more conscious of selling newspapers. They seem to rile guys up.
"Look at me. Shouldn't I be hissed? For two weeks, there's headlines. Drug probe. My picture right there, front page.
"And then the assistant D.A. looks me in the eye and says I didn't do anything wrong. You'd have thought I was a main liner, to read those stories.
"And then, you have to handle that. We go to Atlanta and there's banners... 'Pete Rose gets high on drugs, not baseball.'
"But I can throw that stuff out of my mind."
Nobody does it better.
"Pete loves publicity," Johnny Bench said yesterday. "And he has tunnel vision, like all great ballplayers. Between the lines, nothing exists but the game itself.
"For Pete, baseball has been his life. He is totally baseball. And he can make bad things come out sounding good.
"Failure is something only losers accept easily. You don't have to look at it (a divorce) as failure on your part. It is usually a combination of ingredients.
"Still, it's a setback in your own little life story. People who can set it aside are usually successful people."
The Phillies got Rose to get them over the playoff hump. They wound up with a paternity suit, a divorce, and a fourth-place finish, yet they have no regrets about lusting after Rose.
DOES ROSE HAVE any regrets about not taking the racehorses that rame with the Pittsburgh offer, or the beer franchise that was the suds on the St. Louis bid?
"A lot of things have happened," Rose said. "You can't throw out the injuries last year. I don't care if you'd have brought in four free agents, we wouldn't have won.
"Check the National Football League. How many teams in the NFL do you think had six broken bones?
"I came here because I like the ballpark. I always liked to come here.
"Secondly, I was associated, with Luzinski, Bowa, Schmidt. They talked the same language I did as far as baseball.
"And thirdly, they'd just won three straight divisions. I looked at myself. I've got the best record in the history of baseball the playoffs. I hoped I'd get the opportunity to do it some more.
"These guys had never been to the World Series. That's a challenge."
If Rose is disappointed in the way his teammates go about meeting that challenge, he is not ready to say so. There was that brief flash of anger in Houston.
"I was a little disappointed," he said. "We were a half-game out, the clubhouse was gloomy.
"It gets back to discipline. One guy didn't take infield and got chewed out. I told Dallas (Green) I didn't think that was an important enough thing.
"BUT I CAN SEE his point. He didn't want anybody to get back into a pattern. But you're a half-game out, you've got to be sky-high."
The Phillies might have trouble getting sky-high with 18 pounds of TNT. Different highs for different guys.
"It don't matter who you play for," Rose said, "you're always gonna have some squawkers. Guys complaining about the coffee being cold, the plane being late.
"Turmoil didn't keep Oakland from winning all those years. Once they got between the white lines they played ball.
"This is a team sport but it's an individual game. The real record is what the team does in the end. That should be the utmost thing on your mind.
"Go to spring training, think about winning your division, winning the last game you play. That happens and it's ring time.
"Dallas has made great strides. I don't think you change something completely in 100 games. I'm sure he's hurt some feelings along the way.
"I wish everybody could go through what I've been through, playing in four World Series, winning two. I always thought the ultimate was just to play in a World Series.
"In ‘70 we got beat in five games. In ‘72 we got beat in seven, with six of 'em one-run games. All of a sudden in ‘75 we won it. Wow.
"I said I wanted to go to an offensive team. That's a team with hitters on it. Knock me in 100 times, give me 600 at bats. If I'm on a team like the Mets, I'd never get my 200 hits.
"Right now, people are saying I'm too old. I've got 113 hits, and that's more than anybody on the Reds. They're no longer the Big Red Machine.
"YOU COME TO AN offensive team, you've got guys who are happy. Mike Schmidt, he's leading the league in homers, how can he be not happy?
"Carlton's leading the league in wins, how can he be not happy? I'm leading in doubles. I'm gonna be a helluva lot more happy hitting .320 than .240.
"Fun comes from putting a winning streak together. This team seems to have more fun playing against the Pirates than anybody. And they're our toughest competition.
"That shows me something about their character. We play the Pirates, you should hear the jibber-jabber. I can't answer why we don't seem the same against the Mets.
"But it's not a bad athlete who gets up for the team he knows he has to beat. And that's why we're gonna be OK."
Lonnie Smith Steals the Show
By Bud Shaw
Mario Soto's fastball came in as straight as a clothesline, its only purpose to hang Lonnie Smith out to dry. The pitch didn't sail or tail but Lonnie did both, avoiding what would have been two weeks of trying to pick stitch marks out of his hairdo.
Lonnie's eyes bugged just a bit. more out of surprise than anger. It was, after all, the first time during the course of the afternoon that he hit the dirt and wasn't standing at second base when the dust cleared.
There are more civilized ways to limit a guy's performance but it's hard to be polite when somebody's making you look like a donkey.
Smith had opened the Phillies' fifth inning yesterday with a bunt single off Cincinnati starter Bruce Berenyi, who was stubborn enough to make a couple pitches before awarding Lonnie second base.
It was the rookie's third stolen base of the game, his sixth of the homestand, and it triggered an inning big enough to chase Berenyi and the Reds out of town, nursing their bruises after an 8-4 loss.
THE PHILS KNOW the feeling. Twelve days ago they limped away from Cincinnati, feeling like the insides of Greg Luzinski's knee. But pain can sometimes be as fleeting as fame and now the Phillies are humming along on a fresh set of new wheels.
They have gone nearly four full games without a home run. They've won three of those, if only because there's been more thunder in their thighs than in Mike Schmidt's bat.
"I don't care if we don't hit another home run." said Dallas Green. "It doesn't bother me as long as we win.
"We don't have home run hitters, other than one guy (Schmidt) and right now he's not hitting them. He has before and he will again, but we can't sit back and wait for that to happen.
"We discussed that after the All-Star break and it was brought up again after we learned about Greg. There may have been a tendency to wait for the big hit in years past but that's never been a part of my mind.
"Lonnie's speed makes this kind of baseball easier to play. It's the Moreno, LeFlore type of thing that we've been battling defensively. And we're doing the same thing to other people now."
The people they'd like to take advantage of will not all be named Bruce Berenyi and Joe Nolan. But nobody said this transformation from heavyweight to flyweight was going to be easy.
IN NOLAN'S DEFENSE, it was a little like giving somebody a spoon and an hour to dig a 50-foot tunnel. The Reds' catcher, after already proving that a baseball does not necessarily travel faster than Lonnie Smith, tried to cut down the Phillies' leftfielder by calling a pitch-out in the third inning.
Smith slipped, stopped, then started again and still arrived at second in enough time to put his foot in Dave Concepcion's glove before the ball got there.
"I got a bad start on that one," said Smith, who hasn't been caught in his last 10 tries and now leads the Phils with 20 stolen bases. "But I think I would have been safe anyway.
"He (Berenyi) throws hard but he has a real slow delivery. And I felt a little more confident running on Nolan. I still haven't worked up enough nerve to steal on Bench."
That probably will come in time and if it does. Bench isn't quite sure his arm will match Lonnie's nerve, or his feet
"He's given them a new dimension," said Bench. "In the past they weren't the type of team that could really hurt you like that. Their big horses were pretty healthy and they were successful. But now, a lot of teams are making the most of whatever speed they have. The Phillies are no different."
THE LAST TIME anybody checked, the only thing keeping pace with Lonnie Smith was Pete Rose's bat speed. Maybe that doesn't make the Phillies any different either, but they're still a helluva lot better off for the revelation no matter how commonplace it might be elsewhere in the league.
Rose followed two of Smith's steals with RBI singles yesterday, the kind of proof that's needed to convince the Phillies that their days of plodding are over.
"Lonnie adds a dimension at the top of the order that they've never had here before," said Rose, who also had a stolen base yesterday. "With Greg out, we have to create some situations. We can't rely on power.
"We only have one guy (Schmidt) who's in double figures in home runs. It's tough to rely on that. That one inning was an example. We got six runs on what? Three hits?"
Three hits and two stolen bases, the impact of which wasn't lost on Lonnie Smith.
"I always feel satisfied when I start a rally like that." he said, softly. "Hitting in front of Pete doesn't hurt either. He can do so many things with a bat. More importantly, he always seems ready to let me take a base."
Which, on the surface at least, seemed to give Rose something in common with Bruce Berenyi. Only Berenyi wasn't really trying. It just looked that way.
Klein, Kaline, Snider Join Hall of Fame
COOPERSTOWN. N Y. (UPI) – In the classic style that was reminiscent of their playing careers. Al Kaline and Duke Snider gracefully entered baseball's Hall of Fame yesterday amid a pastoral setting enlivened by thousands of cheering fans.
Under sunny skies on the lawn in front of the Hall of Fame library, the two star outfielders – both of whom displayed eloquence and grace on the playing fields during their heyday – personified those qualities in their acceptance speeches at the official ceremonies.
Joining Snider and Kaline in the Hall of Fame inductions were Chuck Klein, the one-time Phillies star outfielder, and former Boston Red owner Tom Yawkey. both of whom are deceased. Robert Klein, a nephew, accepted the Hall of Fame plaque for his uncle and Yawkey's wife Jean, along with former Red Sox star Ted Williams, accepted for Yaw-key.
TWENTY-THREE HALL of Famers and several other baseball dignitaries attended the proceedings, which were televised live for the first time in history. Thousands of fans, many wearing Dodger and Detroit Tiger caps in honor of Snider and Kaline, surrounded the lawn to watch their heroes accept baseball's highest honor.
Kaline. a member of the Detroit Tigers for all of his 22 major league seasons, delivered an emotional speech filled with appreciation for the many people that had helped him along the way and the Tigers outfielder came close to tears on two occasions.
Kaline, a member of baseball's 3,000-hit club and one of only 10 players to be elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, began by thanking his wife. Louise, and his two children, Mark and Mike, then singled out Tigers owner John Fetzer, Detroit General Manager Jim Campbell and the 14 managers for whom he played during his career.
His warmest appreciation came for his mother and father, both of whom attended the ceremonies, and he also thanked the loyal Tiger fans who had supported the team throughout his many years. During Kaline's career, the Tigers won only one pennant and world championship (1968).
"I WAS FORTUNATE enough to spend my entire 22 years in a Tiger uniform." said Kaline. "Sometimes I feel I've been one of the luckiest people in the world. For 22 years I was able to make a living playing a game that was my life. I always played baseball to the best of my ability. I guess I'm proudest of the fact that never have I done anything to discredit baseball, the Tigers or my family.
"Without a doubt this has been the greatest moment of my life."
Among the former teammates of Kaline's who attended the ceremonies were Bill Freehan, Reno Bertoia and Mickey Lolich.
Snider, one of the most popular players ever to wear a Dodger uniform, received the loudest applause from the crowd, many of whom had driven from Brooklyn and Montreal, where Snider works as a broadcaster for the Expos.
The former "Duke of Flatbush" enlivened the proceedings by telling a few anecdotes about some of his ex-teammates and he sang the praises of a number of people who had helped his career along the way.
Dressed in a blue suit, which seemed appropriate for a former Dodger, Snider paid a special tribute to his ex-teammate Pee Wee Reese and put in a plug for the former Dodger shortstop's election to the Hall of Fame. Reese can no longer be considered for the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America, but could be elected by the special committee of veterans.
17 Weekend Winners
There were 17 winners over the weekend in the Daily News Home Run Payoff.
In the fifth inning of yesterday's Phillies-Reds game. Sid Getzes of Philadelphia won $125 and four tickets on a three-run double by Bob Boone. Beth Kozeniewski of Royersford won $35 and tickets on an RBI single by Pete Rose, Sam Rescinito of Philadelphia and Lon E. Johnson of Delair, NJ., each won $25 and tickets on an RBI sacrifice fly by Garry Maddox and an RBI walk by Ramon Aviles, respectively. Faye Metzger of Lancaster won $10 and tickets on a single by Lonnie Smith. Ticket winners were Samuel Williams, Carl MacMullitt and Sophia Kirsch, all of Philadelphia, Andrea Weinberg of Cherry Hill, and Jean O’Shea of Atlantic City.
In Saturday's third inning, Patricia D. Brown of Philadelphia won $10 and tickets on a Bob Boone single. Edica Tompkins of Philadelphia, John G. Fania of Norristown, and Martin Stone of Trenton, each won tickets.
In Friday's fourth inning. Charles Cofield of Philadelphia won $10 and tickets on Bake McBride's single, and Alex Wikiera and Elizabeth Hoffman, both from Philadelphia, won tickets.
So far the Daily News has paid out $13,790. Today coupon appears on Page 63.