Wilmington Evening Journal - July 11, 1980
Boone talk of the town with 3 hits
By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA – The only times Phillies catcher Bob Boone drew writers around his locker were after the games Steve Carlton pitched.
Since the unquotable Lefty won't talk about his games to the media and former designated-catcher Tim McCarver is now in the broadcasting booth, the dubious honor of being Carlton's ventriloquist fell to Boone, who tackled it reluctantly and with great uneasiness.
Certainly Boone's own pre-All Star performance – an anemic .223 batting average and scatter-shot attempts to nail opposing basestealers – was no cause for quotes.
And Boone's name hadn't even been mentioned in the rash of amphetamine stories that had riddled the Delaware Valley press since the All-Star Game. So why bother the affable catcher?
But the writers were circling Boone's cubicle last night. And, no, Carlton hadn't pitched. Boone merely had been the Phillies' hitting hero with three singles and two runs batted in as the Phils beat the Chicago Cubs 5-3 before 33,130 supportive fans at Veterans Stadium.
While the principals in the drug-related stories made quick exits or continued their no-comment stances, Boone tried to dispel the pallor that hung over the victors' dressing room.
"I don't take greenies," Boone volunteered to slack-jawed writers with a smile. "I take quaaludes to relax."
Everybody laughed and the ice was, everybody hoped, broken.
Boone went on to discuss his fast second-half start.
"It's not quite the second half," Boone said. "I just pretended it was."
But Boone made good on his vow to forget the first half and attack opposing pitchers from now until the World Series. The reason, he said, was mechanics.
"I made some changes in my batting style in St. Louis," Boone said, "and I got to relax during the All-Star break. Tonight the ball was hit where they ain't. But one thing's for sure, it's the first night in a long time I hit three balls right on the nose."
The first one was a liner to first baseman Billy Buckner that snuffed out a Phillies’ threat.
But Boone singled home a pair of runs in the fourth to tie the game 3-3 on a ball that skidded past third baseman Lenny Randle's leaden glove.
"That ball jumped up on Randle," said Boone. "Otherwise it might have been a double play."
But it wasn't. And Randle had butchered Manny Trillo's potential double-play ball two batters earlier, setting the stage for two of the Phils' three unearned runs against Cub pitchers Mike Krukow and Dick Tidrow.
"Our defense gave them three runs," said Cub Manager Preston Gomez. "Those balls down third, your third baseman should make those plays."
The Phillies' third baseman, Mike Schmidt, did make all the plays, including a few spectacular ones last night, pulled hamstring and all.
Schmidt was a key figure in the drug stories before being cleared by the Berks County (Pa.) district attorney Wednesday. Schmidt, who had threatened to stop talking to the press, tried to let the matter die in his brief comments last night.
"Let's just forget about it," said Schmidt. "Let that stuff blow over."
When a writer persisted, Schmidt walked away.
Boone helped the Phils to an insurance run off Tidrow in the eighth when he beat out a chopper down the third-base line and chugged to second when Tidrow threw it past Buckner.
Greg Gross, batting for winning pitcher Dick Ruthven (8-5), singled to center and drew a throw trying to make second. Gross had no prayer of making it, but Boone was able to score without a play at the plate.
"I think it would have been close," said Boone. "Lonnie (Smith) had me sliding. But Greg made a good play going to second. That took the closeness out of the play at the plate."
Gross' smart play was the object of Manager Dallas Green's pre-game team meeting. The manager, tired of talking and reading about pills, tried to get the team to think about smart, fundamental baseball again. And he seemed to have succeeded, for one night at least.
"It was a good game to come back with," said Green, as the Phils stayed within a game of the division-leading Expos, who beat St. Louis 4-3. "We had a team meeting today and we did some of the things we talked about."
"We played better team baseball," said Green. "We had our minds on what we wanted to do offensively."
And off the drug-related stories that made headlines the past two days?
"That was not on their minds," Green emphasized. "They've been through adversity before. I will say this: I just feel we were not treated very fairly by the press. Now you guys have backed off and I appreciate that. I don't think it's something to dwell on."
Somebody wondered if the adversity helped draw the team together as much as Green's team meeting.
"We haven't been anywhere yet, so I don't know about getting back together," Green half-smiled. "The thing I dwelled on was that we play the kind of baseball we played in spring training. Our type of baseball, the type of baseball we're capable of playing. Thinking-type baseball."
Green feels a thinking club can be a pennant-winning club.
"We discussed a lot of things I wanted to see out of them the second half," he said. "I reiterated that this was a darn good team and we had every type of personnel to win this thing. If we pay attention to team baseball, we'll be in good shape."
The Phils looked in pretty good shape last night, battling back from a 3-1 deficit and holding on to win. Now the thing is to make it last.
EXTRA INNINGS – The Cubs got two first-inning runs on four hits, including Buckner's triple off the center-field wall, then added a third run in the fourth on three singles... Pete Rose drove in two runs with a single in the third (scoring Lonnie Smith, who had tripled) and a sacrifice fly in the fourth... Ruthven struggled with his breaking ball. "The key tonight," said Boone, again the designated talker, "was that Dick got out of jams when the Cubs had a chance to break it open"... The Cubs put Dave Kingman back on the disabled list and recalled catcher Mike O'Berry from Wichita... Bob Walk will face the Cubs' Lynn McGlothen tonight at 8:05. Fireworks, the pyrotechnic kind, will follow the game... Carlton (14-3) will pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates' Jim Bibby ( 1 1 -1 ) in tomorrow's 7:05 p.m. opener of a three-game set.
Stargell on disabled list; to miss Phils
PITTSBURGH – Willie Stargell, hobbled by a hamstring pull since . mid-June, has been placed on the disabled list by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The 39-year-old team captain, who sustained the injury running the bases during a series in Atlanta, was placed on the 15-day disabled list yesterday, retroactive to July 7.
Prior to last night's game in New York against the Mets, Stargell hadn't started In 15 of 18 games.
"It's frustrating to sit so long. I can't help this club this way," said Stargell, hitting .259 with nine homers in 50 games this season.
Stargell was to return from New York to Pittsburgh today for examination by Pirate physician Dr. Albert Ferguson and he will miss a three-game series at Veterans Stadium against the Phillies this weekend.
Infielder Vance Law, son of former Pirate pitcher Vernon Law, was recalled from Portland of the Pacific Coast League to fill the spot on the Pittsburgh roster. Law was hitting .324 with 40 RBI in 71 games at Portland.
Law was also with the Pirates from May 31 to June 13 while shortstop Tim Foli was on the disabled list.