Camden Courier-Post - August 7, 1980
Cardinals get bullish on Phillies
By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post
PHILADELPHIA – Back in 1929, the stock market crashed and so did the Phillies, who on one noteworthy occasion lost to the Chicago Cubs by a 16-0 score.
That record for local lopsided baseball was almost equaled last night as the St. Louis Cardinals got bullish on the Phils' pitching and rapped out 16 hits to post an embarrassing 14-0 victory at Veterans Stadium.
In what was billed as a showdown between two clubs tied for the team batting average lead (.269) in the National League, the Cardinals jumped on starter Bob Walk for five runs in the first inning and sent him to the showers with a seven-run outburst in the third. The Phils' attack consisted of three well-scattered singles.
"WHERE IS Bill Giles (Phillies vice president) radar when we need it?" asked Manager Dallas Green, who wished the heavy rains of the preceding evening were still falling.
Rookie righthander Walk, who had beaten St. Louis once this season while notching eight victories, was in trouble from the very beginning.
"He was high and he was wild," said Green, who watched the first six Cardinal hitters reach base safely before Walk got so much as an out. Tom Herr's leadoff triple ignited the uprising, which was aided by two of the three Philly errors on the night.
LEON DURHAM singled Herr home and stole second. A walk to Keith Hernandez, Ted Simmons' run-scoring double, a walk to George Hendrick and a two-run double by Ken Oberkfell had the Vet Stadium crowd of 31,629 grumbling before it was even settled in its seats.
Mishandling of Oberkfell's hit by center fielder Garry Maddox permitted Hendrick to take third base. Catcher Bob Boone's wayward attempt to pick him off that bag enabled him to dash home with the fifth run of the frame.
Still Green stayed with Walk, explaining, "I was hoping that he'd regain something as he has in the past. But, it never got to that. Once they scored seven more runs, we were pretty much out of it."
SUCCESSIVE SINGLES by Hendrick, Terry Kennedy and Oberkfell signaled Walk's departure in the third inning. What was to become the highest-scoring inning against the Phils all season continued as reliever Kevin Saucier was greeted with a single by Mike Phillips, an error by third baseman Mike Schmidt, a single by Herr, a double by Hernandez and the second of Simmons' four hits on the night.
"The Cards were just smoking tonight," said Green. "Everything they hit they hit hard. Then, when we started to break a few bats, the ball still fell in for hits.
"It was just one of those games, boys. It happens. There's nothing you can do about it but go at them tomorrow. It was just one of those nights when you put it all (unpleasantries) into one game and get rid of it.
"It's demoralizing. But, it happens."
IRONICALLY, THE league's leading hitter (Hendrick at .328) had only one of the 16 hits by the Cards, who earlier in the season pounded out a 10-run inning against Atlanta.
While the Phils were making Bob Sykes look invincible, not even reaching base until Lonnie Smith cuffed a single up the middle in the fourth inning, the Cardinals somehow didn't seem content.
Simmons doubled home a run off reliever Warren Brusstar in the fifth and singled home another run in the seventh off Dan Larson. The fifth Philly hurler of the night, Dickie Noles, finished out the two final frames without damage.
BUT, ALAS, even in the worst of times, a silver lining can be found.
Manager Green was able to take a look at Keith Moreland in right field. And, the young catcher responded by throw ing out Durham at the plate when he tried to score from second base on a single in the fifth inning.
Smith logged a little time in center field. And, because of Walks' early departure, Green may be able to send him back to the mound on Sunday. "Although," said the manager, "I really didn't plan it that way."
The only other Philly hits were contributed by Larry Bowa, who singled in the fifth inning, and Bob Boone, who singled in the eighth.
BOWA, incidentally, is not in jeopardy of ultimately losing his shortstop job to non-infielder Smith, despite the desperate babbling on radio talk shows.
"I promise you, Lonnie will never play shortstop for me," said Green, who will send Steve Carlton to the mound tonight against the Cardinals' John Fulgham.
Staying with Phillies a priority with Gross
By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post
PHILADELPHIA – There was an X-rated baseball game at Veterans Stadium last night. And, I'm not talking about the pregame rompings of the Penthouse Magazine Pets, who have not lost an exhibition game in two years. They get all the good bounces.
It was the 14-0 deep defeat that the Phillies endured at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals that should have come with the warning, "No one under the age of 90 years will be admitted unless accompanied by their parents."
Of course, things could have been worse for the 31,629 masochists who had to come away feeling like the guy who bought the French postcards, only to discover they were uncensored pictures of the Eifel Tower. They could have been sitting on the Philly bench.
On nights such as this, more than a few players had to be wondering if the producers and directors of this season's box office offering, "Behind Dallas Green's Door," were speculating about the future.
Even Rona Barrett and Rex Reed know that a certain R.C. and P.O. were spotted at Copa Bannanas recently discussing the possibility of a facelift for the 1981 season if the current season goes El-Floppo.
What most people don't realize is that the uneasy feeling about who might have to leave a forwarding address next year isn't limited to those in a starring role.
Take outfielder Greg Gross for example. After getting off to a dismal start, Greg has been pushing hard to get his batting average up to where it belongs. He wants to help the team win. He wants to stay in Philly. He is not alone.
"I think that anytime you read where the front office is thinking about possible changes, it's natural for you to think about whether you might be a part of those changes," he said.
"If they are thinking about me, I hope I can change their minds by finishing strong. I never expected to hit .120 early in the year. I was swinging good when we left spring training. But, then there was a 10-day lull and I lost it.
"I began pushing too hard to hit well and got into bad habits. I'm up to .243 now. I just want to keep it going."
A soft-spoken, articulate man, Greg has seen enough of other towns and organizations to know he couldn't find a better place to stay. Not that it's easy.
The woods are filled with ex-Philadelphia jocks who swear that playing in this city is like swimming with Jaws. Former Eagle quarterback John Reaves, for example, was recently quoted as saying his drug problems stemmed from the pressure be encountered here.
"There is a lot of pressure here," admitted Gross. "And, I'm sure it has gotten to some people.
"For example, take the fans. Here they're vocal. Not just in the sense of being noisy. They were boisterous in Chicago when I played there. But, there going to a game was the thing to do. A good game was good enough. Here, people expect you to win. It doesn't matter what you did the night before. They've waited a long time for a winner, and they expect you to win.
"It's harder for the stars, because you get the feeling that sometimes the fans think success should be automatic. But, as long as you keep hustling, they'll stand behind you.
"It's when they see what they think is a lack of hustle that they show their displeasure.
"I'll tell you, it's easy to hustle here. I've been where you're in last place and playing in front of 5,000 people. That's when guys think about how many hits they got and next year's salary. Not here. Here the team is in contention, the fans come out, and everyone gets treated first class. What more can you ask for?"
Right now, Greg would ask that the eight balls he rattled off the knees, gloves and elbows of opposing pitchers this season had gone for hits instead of richocheting into outs.
But most of all, he'd wish that that, at the end of every season, he would be allowed to pick the place he'd like to play. "You know I'd want to stay right here," he said.
In some circles, Philadelphia may be a dirty word. Yet, to those who have seen the seamier side of baseball towns, the place looks as wholesome as Disneyland.