Philadelphia Daily News - July 1, 1980
Moreland Has a Blast
By Thom Greer
MONTREAL – It was a blast to be remembered. The ball soared high and long toward the outermost reaches of Olympic Stadium and then, some 400 feet from where it was launched, dived into the blue seats in left field like a sea gull swooping into the ocean for its pinner.
Keith Moreland, the big redhead from Dallas who stepped in for slumping catcher Bob Boone three days ago, was jogging around the bases in a triumphant home-run march and did not realize, until he turned for home at third base, that he'd just cracked the first grand slam of his career.
"I saw all the guys (Manny Trillo. Bake McBride and Greg Luzinski, who scored in front of Moreland) standing at the plate and then I realized I'd hit a grand slam." Moreland explained after the Phils ran off a seven-run fourth inning and hung on to edge the Montreal Expos, 7-5, last night. "It was the most exciting moment of my career."
Moreland's slam seemed to inspire the Phillies' crop of promising youngsters to step out of the pack and be counted during this dreadful period of nearly three weeks in which the club’s vaunted offense has been AWOL.
Shortstop Ramon Aviles, who committed two errors playing for the injured Larry Bowa, followed Moreland's home run with a single. He scored when reserve John Vukovich, filling in at third for the injured Mike Schmidt, roped a shot that escaped the glove of Expos' center-fielder Andre Dawson and rolled to the wall for a triple. Vukovich scored when the game's premier hit man, Pete Rose, cracked his first home run of the season in an assault that drew the Phils to within two games of the division-leading Expos.
Young Dickie Noles, fresh off a three-day suspension for throwing a bat at an umpire, pitched out of two incredible jams in the first and second innings.
After facing only one hitter – Ron LeFlore, who crushed a triple into the right-field corner – Noles was up to his eyeballs in trouble. "John Vukovich saved me there," Noles said later, referring to the third baseman's stab of a wicked shot by Rodney Scott that trapped LeFlore off third in a rundown.
But it was Noles, throwing an inferno with his fastball and slider, who struck out Gary Carter and Warren Cromartie to end the inning. And it was Noles who ended the second inning with another strikeout after starting with runners on first and second and nobody out.
"YOU REALLY HAVE to be impressed by the way the young players have gotten the job done lately," said Garry Maddox, the Phils' Secretary of Defense who last night played like the secretary of the ladies' slo-pitch league by misjudging Larry Parrish's fly for a double and allowing two other balls to evade him and roll to the wall for triples. "There were a lot of knocks against them early in the season for being too young. Everybody said you have to have experience to play this game. But these guys are proving they can do the job."
And no one proved it more emphatically than did Keith Moreland last night. He had been to the plate 43 times before the fourth inning and failed 33. It left the young man who terrorized AAA baseball with his power at Oklahoma City last year with a.236 batting average. Of his 10 hits, one was a home run.
"I was very fortunate to make good contact with the ball and it just went out of the park," Moreland said. "I know I haven't been swinging that well. But I won't use sitting (behind Boone) as an excuse.
"I came up knowing I would be playing a reserve role. So it's up to me to take a lot of extra batting practice and hope when I get in games I can do something. My problem early has been that I was over-anxious and swinging.it a lot of first pitches. I think I am adjusting more now to see the ball better and hit it. Playing the past few days has helped. But I know I'm not going to play every day in front of one of the best catchers in baseball. I just have to be happy when I get my chances and do my best."
MANAGER DALLAS Green, however, explained that it is his intention to give Bob Boone a little rest so he can clear his mind and resurrect himself from a woeful slump. The implication is that Moreland may well play until the All-Star break Sunday.
Moreland recalled the trying weeks leading up to the June 15 trading deadline, when his name appeared at the top of every conceivable trade list. "It was not really depressing for me," he said, "but I knew I didn't want to go. I want to stay in Philadelphia, but there was nothing I could do if they traded me so there was no use upsetting myself about the rumors."
Green, of course, flatly rejected every suggestion that either Moreland or Lonnie Smith be traded for the pitching help the Phils so obviously needed. He constantly referred to both as "the future of the Phillies," and now he is being proven right about everything from the development of his young pitchers to the value of Moreland and Smith.
"If I can't play Keith when Boone isn't hitting like hell, when can I play him?" Green asked last night. "I'm not afraid to play any of these young guys.
"I know there were a lot of snickers when I put that lineup out (Moreland, Vukovich, Aviles and Smith) a few days ago. But you have to play them. They are on this baseball team. These guys are part of the 1980 Phillies."
Noles, as much as any, represents both the value and versitility Green sees in his young players. The 23-year-old Charlotte, N.C., native came up last July 4 as a starter. He was switched to the bullpen early this season, from which he performed remarkably, and has since been moved back into the rotation.
LAST NIGHT NOLES earned his first win in four decisions with 5⅔ respectable innings in which he allowed seven hits and four runs. "Dickie pitched well," Green said, "but just ran out of gas in my opinion."
The outspoken righthander bristled at the suggestion he was tired. "I was throwing just as hard at the end as in the early innings," he snapped. "I never run out of gas. My ball was still popping. Just ask Keith.”
Of course, his performance in the sixth tended to support the manager's conclusion. Granted, Maddox's faux pas of Parrish's ball set up the first of the three runs he allowed that inning. But the double and two walks to load the bases before Green called in Kevin Saucier was damning evidence the man was struggling.
Expos Manager Dick Williams ran through four pitchers, after removing loser Bill Gullickson in the fourth. They limited the Phils to but one hit, by Ron Reed of all people, over the final five innings.
But by then it was too late. The Phils' kiddie corps had run rough shod over the Expos like they were an army of tin soldiers.
PHILUPS: Neither Mike Schmidt nor Larry Bowa are happy about the idea, but Dallas Green seems positive he will not permit them to play until trainer Don Seeger stamps their strained hamstring muscles A-OK. “I'd rather see both sitting than get into a serious problem that could mean four or five weeks," Green said... Green plans to activate Nino Espinosa today. "I've watched him throw, know he's in no pain and what he can do," the manager said. "Now all that's left is to pitch him in a game."… Randy Lerch (2-10) will go against Scott Sanderson (7-4) tonight.
Schmidt Only Phil on All-Stars
NEW YORK (UPI) – Third baseman Mike Schmidt, whose 21 homers make him the National League leader, was the only member of the Phillies elected to a National League All-Star team loaded with Los Angeles Dodgers.
First-time All-Stars Reggie Smith and Bill Russell will join two other Dodgers, first baseman Steve Garvey and second baseman Davey Lopes, in playing before the hometown fans in the 51st All-Star Game July 8 at Dodger Stadium.
They will meet an American League squad with three starters – Milwaukee second baseman Paul Molitor, Kansas City third baseman George Brett and Boston outfielder Jim Rice – who are currently on the disabled list.
SMITH, WHO AT 35 is the oldest player elected, has been on the ballot 11 times – one of only eight players to accomplish the feat. A member of six American League All-Star squads. Smith is the National League's second-leading batter this season with a .328 average.
Russell's election ends a six-year streak in which either Dave Concepcion or Larry Bowa won the nomination at shortstop.
LOPES WAS THE leading vote-getter in the majors with 3,862,403.
Also elected by the fans in the 11th year of balloting were Cincinnati catcher Johnny Bench (the only player to poll over one million votes in each year of balloting), Pittsburgh outfielder Dave Parker (the 1979 MVP in the All-Star game), and Chicago outfielder Dave Kingman (who edged out Los Angeles' Dusty Baker by only 24,525 votes).
For the American League, the first baseman will be California's Rod Carew, who received 3,674,247 votes, tops in the AL. Molitor and Brett, injuries permitting, will be at second and third, with New York's Bucky Dent at shortstop. Boston's Carlton Fisk will be the catcher.
If Rice recovers, he will be joined in the outfield by teammate Fred Lynn and the Yankees' Reggie Jackson.
Strong Body, Stronger Slider
Silent Steve By Stan Hochman
Second of three parts
It was during the gas crunch and the Phillies were riding a commercial jet. First class was booked solid, so everybody grumbled back into the tourist section.
Danny Ozark was one of the last to board. And as he shambled down the aisle with that basset-sad look of his. he turned to the Stewardess and asked her where the men's room was located.
Steve Carlton squirmed in his seat, wrapped his arms around his belly as though trying to throttle the pain inside.
Then he groaned and said, "That's our leader? The man can't even find the toilet... and that's our leader?"
SOMEHOW, OZARK LED the Phillies to three divisional championships but no further. And last year he got fired.
He got fired after a road trip that included two wretched losses in San Diego. One night Ozark pinch-hit for Larry Bowa in a tie game. Bud Harrelson came off the bench rust-creaky and blew the game with a terrible throw.
The other night Ozark intentionally walked Ozzie Smith, who was hitting around.196, creating the chance for Dave Winfield to drive in the winning run. which he did.
Somewhere in that time frame Carlton damaged his knee. We were told he lost his footing on the clubhouse kitchen's concrete floor while reaching for a tomato slice.
Martial arts disciple, stronger than steel, quicker than lightning, and he gets hurt reaching for a tomato slice?
Teammates losing their lunch on the bench over Ozark's strategy and the ace lefthander is back in the clubhouse kitchen building a lettuce and tomato on rye, hold the mayo?
Maybe that's why some guys snicker and suggest that he really got hurt leg-lifting 452 pounds of iron. But Gus Hoefling denies that and the flexibility coach would sooner tell you where he got his kung fu training than tell a lie.
ANYWAY, WITH THEIR best pitcher wounded, the Phillies continued to phlounder and Ozark got fired.
Sometimes, Gene Mauch said, you add by subtracting. Carlton is 18-3 under Dallas Green. And he no longer makes sandwiches during ballgames.
"This year, he's been super." Green said.
"There are guys, I have heard, who drift back into the clubhouse, watch TV, mess around. Steve has not left the bench.
"He's been there, I've heard him rooting, encouraging our guys.
"It goes back to spring training and the running thing. Steve has entered into our entire program with enthusiasm and leadership.
"In the spring he was the first guy out for bunting practice. To work on pickoff plays, to work on fielding. He was a leader this year.
"I see no negative influences whatsoever, including his refrain from running. Steve's program with Gus is 10 times worse than running."
Worse as in harder. Green knows. He tried it. And now other pitchers are drifting sheepishly up to Hoefling, seeking magic in the martial arts exercises.
"Steve Carlton was a great pitcher long before he ever met me." Hoefling said. "For me to say I'm responsible for Steve Carlton's success would be a damn lie.
"If I thought I could turn every athlete into a Roman Gabriel or a Steve Carlton. I'd set myself up in business and get rich.
"THE MAN HAS to have a high skill level. The second most important thing is neurological efficiency. And we cannot improve that.
"Practice makes perfect as long as you practice perfectly.
"Steve is the hardest-working man I have ever known. Damn few could do what Steve does. And I don't have time for the triers and the criers."
So maybe part of Carlton's spectacular success at age 35 is due to the presence of Green in the dugout... and maybe part of his success is due to Hoefling's take-it-to-the-limit martial arts program... and maybe a lot of his success is due to that nasty slider that plummets like a hand grenade rolling into a trench.
"I think it’s not only the slider." said pitcher Randy Lerch. "which is his best pitch, but I've never seen someone who can go out there and have the awesome concentration he has.
"To be that consistent with the slider, you've got to have amazing concentration.
"We played Cincinnati here. He gave up a home run to Johnny Bench. Bob Boone came back to the dugout and said, "That's the first slider Lefty's hung all year.'
"Hey, me, I hang half the sliders I throw in a game if I'm throwing mediocre.
"Everyone knows he's got a lot of talent. Super talent. Plus, he's super strong.
"I THINK A lot of what Lefty's done is due to Gus' program. Gus has a way of getting you tired. And once you get tired, that's when the mind takes over.
"You have to be mentally strong when you pitch. But, more than anybody realizes. Lefty simply works his ass off."
They are both left handed, they are both tall. Cynics think Lerch has tried too hard to copy Carlton.
"He's tried so many times to help me." Lerch said. "But the biggest thing for me to learn is... I'm me.
"We both have long bodies and we throw the ball a lot alike. But I can't throw Steve Carlton's slider."
Lately, Lerch has adopted Carlton's practice of stuffing cotton in his ears on game nights. It is not the cotton, of course, but what's between the ears that counts.
"You can blank out things." Lerch explained. "It seems like you trap things inside, all your thoughts. So, nothing can get in and nothing can get out."
It is an interesting gimmick, but it goes against the theory that some athletes are stimulated by crowd noise, whether it be jeers or cheers.
"Not Lefty," suggested Lerch. "He's not the kind of guy that gets all pumped up. Me, my biggest problem is getting over-keyed."
As successful as Carlton has been this season, that's how drab Lerch's year has been. It is pitching coach Herm Starette's theory that a short memory is as vital as a long arm.
"LEFTY IS BIG and strong." Sta-rette drawled. "But there's lots of pitchers who are big and strong.
"He disciplines himself very well. Attitude is the main thing. You don't see him stomp around when he gives up a homer.
"If he makes a bad pitch he's still able to throw the next pitch where he wants to. If you can't discipline yourself how can you discipline your pitches?
"It so happens I believe in running. But you can't expect every pitcher to do the things Lefty does, or work as hard as Lefty works. "You run, you get a lot of frustrations out. Most pitchers, they have a bad outing, they don't want to do anything the next day. Play golf maybe.
"But Lefty, if he were 3-13, he'd still be the same. He forgets about what happened the last time. I'll come around and say, 'Good job,' and he'll say, 'That's past history.'
"He's already gearing himself for the next game."
Carlton's ability to shrug off adversity endears him to his teammates. So does his swift pace.
"He gets the ball and throws it," said shortstop Larry Bowa. "He knows his game plan and he follows it.
"We make an error behind him and he says, 'Gimme the ball and we'll get two (a double play).'
"One game, a guy bounces one into left field. Schmitty comes to him and says, 'I shoulda been there." Lefty tells him, 'Hey, you can't be everywhere."
"BUT IF YOU'RE looking for the reason he's pitching so great, it's the damn slider. It explodes.
"I have never seen so many right-handed hitters swinging at balls in the dirt. And that's why he gets 10-11 punchouts a game.
"He is pitching better now than he did in ‘72 and he was overpowering then."
Carlton hates comparisons because they involve past history, which sounds like a phrase he borrowed from Ozark.
"Few people realize he can become the first guy to win the Cy Young Award with three different catchers," said Tim McCarver.
John Bateman caught Carlton in ‘72, McCarver caught him in ‘77. And now Bob Boone catches him.
In 72, Carlton did his own talking. In 77, McCarver was the designated speaker because Carlton had retreated into his cave of silence.
Now, people drift to Boone for answers, and he fidgets. Maybe it's because Carlton insisted on pitching to McCarver all those years... or maybe it's because Boone has been struggling with the bat all year.
"In the years," Boone said sternly. "when he supposedly had problems with me, he was having problems with his arm.
"There's really nothing magical about it when he has his great stuff. The slider reacts a little like Bruce Sutter's split-fingered fastball. It looks like a fastball.
"YOU THROW IT down-and-in to right-handed hitters. They can't let it go, because if it's a fastball it's gonna be a strike.
"But then it explodes into the dirt. That's why you see a lot of checked swings.
"It's a tough pitch to throw. You've got to put it in an exact spot and throw it hard to make it bite like that.
"Mechanically, you've got to throw it with the same motion every time or you leave it hanging. And now, some players are saying that because his slider is so effective, it makes his fastball look quicker."
Boone works with Hoefiing too, and if his average is gimpy so far, you must remember that he is coming off knee surgery. "I know what the strength program has done for me," Boone said. "I know what my arms feel like and what they used to feel like.
"I have consistently been stronger day in and day out. And for Lefty, at 35, it's unbelievable because he has been a 300-inning-plus pitcher. You've got to be strong to do that.”
If strength were all it took, Arnold Schwarzenegger would be a 30-game winner. If kung fu prepared you for striking out George Foster, the Dodgers would have hired Bruce Lee in the early 70s.
You need a strong arm, a strong back and a strong will to do the things Carlton has done. Ozark had trouble dealing out criticism and just as much trouble dealing out praise.
"I saw Sandy Koufax," said Dallas Green, who is a lot louder and a lot more literate than Ozark. "And I saw Warren Spahn. I hit against both of them.
"Lefty is a combination of both those guys. Koufax was a power guy, with a great curveball to go with his great fastball.
"SPAHN WAS THE old screwball, slider, use-your-noodle type guy.
"At times Lefty is an outstanding power pitcher. And, at other times when he has less than his best fastball, he is capable of pitching with his head."
A combination Koufax-Spahn? What's that worth in today's hazy, crazy days of summer free agency? Surely more than the $350,000 (with $50,000 in incentive bonuses) Carlton is earning now.
"Steve is probably underpaid right now," said Green. "But he's not one you've heard bitch about it or start screaming about wanting a new contract.
"And that's something to be admired. Guys pitching like him would be screaming and knocking down Ruly's door."
It is not Carlton's style to knock down doors, although he could probably knock down the thickest of doors with a forearm chop.
And it is not Carlton's style to scream. Or even raise his voice.
But he has been talking to Carpenter about renegotiating his contract and so far it is Ruly who seems to be wearing the cotton in his ears.
(Tomorrow: What is Carlton really like?)
There were four winners last night in the Daily News Home Run Payoff contest. In the eighth inning of the Phillies-Expos game, winners of four tickets each to a Phillies game were: Eleanor Brennan of King of Prussia, Helen Fisher of Philadelphia, James H. Lemons Sr. of Upper Darby, and Winifred M. Bittner of Ocean City.
So far the Daily News has paid out 58,730.
Today's entry coupon appears on Page 53.