Philadelphia Inquirer - July 12, 1980
Agents quiz Phillies in drug probe
Several Phillies players and their wives were contacted by state drug law enforcement agents yesterday in an investigation of alleged illegal prescriptions for amphetamines issued by an unnamed Reading physician.
"Each individual contacted," team president Ruly Carpenter said in a written statement, "cooperated fully and was" assured that he or she was not suspected of any criminal involvement."
Word of the investigation was leaked to a Trenton newspaper early this week.
The newspaper's sources said an unidentified pharmacist had told drug law agents that a "runner" had made some seven deliveries of the drug, which is often used for weight control but can induce a state of hyperactivity and can damage the circulatory system.
The source said the deliveries were made during a two-year period to Phillies players and players for the team's Reading farm club.
Carpenter, in his statement after yesterday's interviews, said, "The officials from the commonwealth requested that none of the details of the interview, including the identity of the individuals interviewed, be disclosed at this time."
Brusstar nearly OK, Green says
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
Dallas Green says he still doesn't know what his plans are for Warren Brusstar. But he does say Brusstar is "throwing very well, and we're going to have to look at (activating) him in the near future."
Brusstar broke down in Peninsula on June 20 and didn't pitch again for nine days. What he did do was throw lightly in the bullpen while minor league pitching coach Bob Tiefenauer looked on.
Tiefenauer suggested that Brusstar lengthen his pitching stride by about a foot. And Brusstar found, he said, that the adjustment "took all the pressure off my shoulder."
"I guess, just from going so long without pitching, I developed bad habits," Brusstar said. "I'd forgotten to use my back foot. I wasn't pushing off. And I guess it was causing me to use different muscles."
He pitched five more times in Peninsula before returning to the team Wednesday and hasn't had a single problem. He has had encouraging moments before. But this one looks as if it might be the real thing.
NOTES: Green said he is "not very optimistic" about Greg Luzinski being able to play this weekend. The Bull missed his third straight game last night with a puffy right knee. Incidentally, Luzinski has not hit a home run on the road since April 20.... Greg Gross is 10-for-26 (.385) since June 17, pushing his average from .122 to .213.... J. Stryker Meyer, author of the Trenton Times amphetamine story that stirred up so much controversy, will be interviewed on NBC-TV today before its "Game of the Week."... Matchups for the Pirates series: Steve Carlton (14-4) vs. Jim Bibby (11-1) tonight, Nino Espinosa vs. Don Robinson tomorrow afternoon, Randy Lerch vs. Rick Rhoden on Monday night.
Bum leg earns Bake bum rap
By Bill Lyon
Each morning, Bake McBride wakes to the sound of something grating and rasping. A rusty gate, maybe? Or a metal shutter rubbing against aluminum siding?
No, just Bake McBride's knee. The bones, or what's left of them, grind against each other. The leg is stiffer than overstarched laundry.
"I feel like I need to squirt some 3-in-1 Oil on the hinges," he said. "Once I get it popped, I can stand up all right."
And once he's upright, then he can walk, hobbling gingerly, with the lopsided, rolling gait of a sailor on a heaving deck in high seas.
Unfortunately, people see him run with that loping stride and they decide that he is dogging it. They do not know – or they do not want to believe – that he is locked into one gear by a kneecap that has been eroded. They don't know that Bake McBride is, essentially, a one-legged player, which makes his .298 lifetime batting average all the more remarkable.
Hasn't said anything
They don't know because Bake McBride has not exactly gone out of his way to tell anyone. And if he did, there would still be those who wouldn't want to believe it, because that would spoil the comfortable stereotype they have picked out for him.
On another team, he would be the darling of the media. On an Atlanta, say, or with the Mets, the writers would cluster around him. But on the Phillies, Bake McBride is the player they take for granted.
By nature, he is a loner. Throw in a bushy Afro, a brooding look, a gimpy set of wheels that people mistake for loafing, and the image is complete – a gifted athlete who doesn't care.
"People say I dog it because I don't slide headfirst, because of the way I carry myself. But this is me, this is the way I've been all my life. Because I don't throw my bat or my helmet, because I don't get all upset on the outside, they don't think I care.
"If I change now, I'd be a hypocrite. I'd be selling out. It would make me a phony, if I tried to do things that weren't natural. Why change just to please other people? It's me I got to please."
And no one asks
So he keeps mostly to himself, and the only time the inquisitors come around is to quiz him about the ball that got past him into the right-field corner for a triple, or the potential winning run he gunned out at home.
When a man discourages anyone peeking inside him, then they start inventing things about him. Often what is invented is cruel.
"I haven't helped myself by not talking much to the press," he conceded. "It's just that I'm quiet by nature. It's not my style to talk nonstop."
In the wake of the amphetamine witch hunt the Phillies have been subjected to, very few of the players are talking, nonstop or otherwise. Ironically, those who have been irresponsibly branded as greenie addicts now know what Bake McBride has been going through most of his career – trial by innuendo, a reputation built on whispers.
"There have been a few times when I've given in," he confessed, "played when I shouldn't have, and I ended up hurting myself and the team. But I went out and played even though my knee was hurting because I got sick and tired of hearing all those whispers."
Whispers go on
Those are the whispers that say he's too brittle, that suggest the pain is imagined, more in his head than in a knee that was surgically scraped in 1976.
In 1974, Arnold Ray McBride played 150 games, hit .309, stole 30 bases and was the National League Rookie of the Year. He hasn't had a completely healthy season since, but no one wants to hear any excuses.
A Mickey Mantle, a Joe Namath, a Bobby Orr, they have a faulty set of wheels and everyone rhapsodizes about their courage and says just think what they might have done if they'd been whole. A Bake McBride has to pop his knee into place each morning, has to bite down against the pain just to stand up, and him. they ask: Is it just hurt or real injury – is he just too lazy to put out?
Players with batting averages 40 points below his were far ahead of him in the All-Star balloting. Two seasons ago he had the highest fielding percentage of all the National League outfielders, made 10 or 12 fewer errors than the Dave Parkers and the Ellis Valentines, yet he was not selected for a Gold Glove.
He said nothing, waged no campaign of protest. But he is entitled. Bake McBride most definitely is entitled.
Phils romp pasdt Cubs, tie for first
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
They used to win with daily cannon shots into the lower deck. Now they win with a mysterious phenomenon Dallas Green calls team baseball.
They have hit homers in three of their last 11 games, none by Mike Schmidt or Greg Luzinski. And they have still won eight of those 11.
They have barreled into first place for the first time since May 28, tied with the Expos. And even if there are a healthy 84 ball games to go, Dallas Green seemed to like his new address (1 NL East).
"I've felt all along we'd get here," Green said after the Phillies' 7-2 pounding of the Cubs last night. "Now it's up to us to stay there."
It will be up to them because they won't have the unique privilege of hitting routine fly balls in the direction of the esteemed Jesus Figueroa every night.
Around all the team baseball and some more nice pitching from Bob Walk (5-0), last night's runaway would not have been possible without poor Figueroa. His helpless Kingmanesque meanderings in left field merely led to five Phillies runs.
He handed them the first run of the game in the third inning, when he narrowly escaped being plunked on the head by a Pete Rose fly-ball-turned-RBI-double. Then he picked up his second, third and fourth RFIs (runs fielded in) in the seventh.
It was only a 3-2 game at the time. But the omnipresent Lonnie Smith (2-for4, his 10th stolen base, now hitting .389) was on third (single, steal, error). And there was nobody out.
Rose looped one to short left. Figueroa darted in. Then he jumped. Then he broke sideways. Then he did the only sensible thing left – he waited for it to come down, then chased it into the corner. So Smith scored, and Rose had his third double of the night.
Figueroa probably figured he was safe after that. But the Phillies apparently were onto him.
Schmidt thumped a sinking liner to left, and Figueroa charged in for the shoestring catch. It would have been pretty stylish, except the ball hit about seven feet in front of him. It rocketed by in the other direction, Schmidt had his second triple of the night, and it was 5-2.
Garry Maddox then knocked in Schmidt with a single. And after that, the biggest drama for the season-high crowd of 58,151 (50,209 paid) was wondering when Ron Reed would get this over with so the fireworks could start.
There were a few things the Phils had to do for themselves, however. Walk bunted Bob Boone along in the third, so he was in position to score on the first Figueroaism. Then in the fourth, Maddox and Larry Bowa combined for the grind-it-out run of the year.
A rare bunt
Maddox made a daring jaunt from first to third on Manny Trillo's hit-and-run chopper to the mound. Then Bowa dropped a two-out Astroturf bunt they should put in a museum someplace. It died just left of the mound, Bowa beat it out and Maddox scored what looked for a long time to be a big run.
"We've talked to Bowa about using that play," Green said, "especially with Garry – or any fast guy – on third."
It was mentioned to Green that having good old Lenny Randle as the reigning third baseman didn't hurt the play's chances, either.
"Yeah," said Green, at his diplomatic best.
That run gave Walk a 2-0 lead on a night when a fastball and slider were all he had. His first two innings looked like something from the Nolan Ryan files – two singles, two walks, five strikeouts. Then he went all the way into the fifth without getting a single ground-ball out.
He got his first one when he needed it – a Randle double-play ball with two on and one out in the fifth. Then he got three more grounders in the sixth after he had loaded the bases with nobody out.
Trouble was, Jerry Martin took out Bowa to break up a double play on the first. And Trillo just missed turning a double play on the second. So two runs scored, and it was 2-2.
So long, Lynn
But the Phils finally ended the Lynn McGlothen curse in the bottom of the sixth. McGlothen who had been 4-1 against the Phillies over the last two years, made the mistake of throwing Schmidt a rare fastball. Never mind that it was low and away. Schmidt went after it and roped it to right.
Mike Vail stood there tapping his glove, then started retreating and the ball carried over his head. He fumbled it as it came off the wall, and Schmidt head-firsted into third with a triple. Maddox did what he had to do – make contact – and lined a sacrifice fly to center. 3-2.
But Walk got in more trouble in the seventh. The very overlooked Ivan DeJesus (4-for-5) ripped a one-out single off Walk's right thigh. And Green used the occasion to go out for a visit. "I walked out," said Green, "to see if he was hurt, or how badly he was hurt. And Booney mentoned he was getting spotty. Every now and then he'd give you the great fastball. Then the next pitch wouldn't have much on it."
So Green was on his guard. Walk fanned Steve Dillard for the second out. Then Green ignored Managers' Rule No. 1,889. He chose to put Bill Buckner, the go-ahead run, on and pitch to Vail, who was hitting .317 but was at least righthanded.
Up and waving
However, when Vail ripped a 2-2 slider a foot foul into the left-field corner, Green jumped out of the dugout, waving for Reed.
"I wanted to let him (Walk) finish the inning," Green said. "But he was down to one pitch with him in a 3-2 ball game. And I just figured I'd rather give the fresh guy two shots at Vail."
Reed got him on a 3-and-2 ground ball. And, after the second coming of the Jesus Figueroa Show, he finished up to earn his fifth save.
On Thursday, Green held a team meeting to drum his team-baseball theme into his players' heads. He hopes he won't have to remind them a whole lot more. For two nights anyhow, they seem to have gotten the message.
"I can't keep having meetings every day," Green said. "I'm running out of things to say."