Philadelphia Daily News - July 14, 1980
Boardwalker Wins #1,025
By Mike Kern
The Phillies may have come up a few cents short against the Pirates at the Vet, but you'll have to excuse Bill Coyle for not being too upset over the outcome. The Atlantic City resident has some newly acquired cash – $1,025 to be exact.
Garry Maddox' solo homer with one out in the fourth inning of yesterday's Phils-Bucs game netted Coyle $1,025 in the Daily News Home Run Payoff. Since he was taking a stroll on the boardwalk at the time, Coyle didn't hear the good news until he headed home.
"I passed this funeral parlor and a friend of mine" came running out yelling, 'Congratulations,' but I had no idea why he was so excited," Coyle said. "It seemed like I was the last one to find out, because all my friends were watching the game on TV."
COYLE, 55, SAID he had definite plans on where to spread his good fortune.
“I’ve got two great sisters and most of the money will go to them," he explained. "My older sister, Mary, lives with me. She's worked hard all her life and she never gets to go anywhere, so I'm sending her on a vacation. She could use the crinklies (cash). My other sister is a nun at a medical mission in Fox Chase. I'm sure they could put it (money) to good use, too. I'm tickled pink for both of them.
Despite skepticism from his sibling, Coyle said he faithfully sent in an entry coupon every day for the past year-and-a-half hoping to bat.
"Mary used to tell me 'What's the use, you'll never get picked,' so 1 called her a 'Lady Doubting Thomas,'" Coyle said, laughing. "I guess my persistence paid off."
"It's funny," he added, "but I'm actually a long-time Red Sox fan. I usually pick them to win the World Scries (in the $5,000 Grand Prize contest), but lately I've also picked the Brewers and the Pirates a few times."
After yesterday's fireworks, Coyle may have to incude the Phils in his list of favorites. Especially the greyhound in center field.
"I think it's safe to assume," he said, "that in the future I'll always root hard for Garry Maddox."
Over the weekend, winners of four tickets to a Phillies game were: Victor Battaglia Jr. of Norristown, Nicholas Romanelli of Darby, Ida Jackson of Stone Harbor, N.J., Constance M.C. Iaudano of Collingswood, N.J., Mary Butschi of Atlantic City and Joe Kleinhans Sr. of Blackwood, N.J.
So far the Daily News has paid out $11,160.
Today's entry coupon appears on Page 60.
Pirates Disarm Phils
By Bill Conlin
Nino Espinosa started. Warren Brusstar finished. Swing low sweet bullpen chariot.
Never mind that in between the Pirates scored seven runs. It was a great victory for faith and sports medicine of several disciplines.
It was the second outing for Espinosa and the Stu Miller style he was left with after six months of shoulder miseries. From a velocity standpoint, Dallas Green figures Nino isn't much worse off than Dick Ruthven was back in his tentative days of April.
Brusstar came off the disabled list Saturday night to make room for Greg Luzinski. And when the driver of the bullpen chariot dropped him off along the first-base line in the eighth inning yesterday it was his first visit to the big-league trenches since last July 24 in Dodger Stadium, the culmination of a season which spanned 14 innings. On the last 1979 pitch Brusstar threw in anger, Dusty Baker fired a grand-slam homer.
It was not the kind of pitch a sinker-balling reliever who had not allowed a homer in 104⅓ innings likes-to brood about for almost a year. Unfortunately, Bru had plenty of other things to brood about, most of them crammed into the area behind his right shoulder.
"ON THE WAY IN from the bullpen the driver said. 'It must feel good to be back.'" Brusstar said after the Pirates shouldered the Phillies out of first place with a 7-3 victory. "I said, 'You've got that right.'"
He didn't hear the appreciative ripple of applause which ran through the crowd of 48,152 when the fans saw No. 40 emerge from the cart. All he wanted to do was fix Bob Boone's glove in his sights. It's not easy to come back after a year and throw sinkers on the knees, even for a guy who spent three weeks of fine tuning in the minors. He got two outs and then the Pirates scored their final run on successive singles by Bill Madlock, Ed Ott and Phil Garner. He might have scuffled out of the inning, but Mike Schmidt's unwise throw to first on Ott's towering chopper was wild and Madlock went to third on the error.
The good news was that Brusstar waded through the top of the order in the ninth, throwing his trademark, three ground balls. Bru appeared to have nearly as much velocity as he did in 1978, when Orioles superscout Jim Russo rated him as one of the three best relievers in the National League.
"I couldn't feel any better." The Gunfighter said, his shoulder encased in ice. "I just got the ball up a few pitches. I wasn't concentrating on the glove. I've got to look at the target and then go right to it."
Brusstar went right out of the Phillies' clubhouse one day in late April and he didn't stop until he was in the office of Dr. David Fitzmorris, a St. Louis chiropractor recommended to the desperate righthander by Steve Carlton.
GREEN AND THE Phillies' medical staff didn’t take kindly to Brusstar leaving their protective umbrella. But Warren felt it was his shoulder and his career. An Oklahoma City specialist told him earlier in the month there was nothing clinically wrong with him. The manager was starting to grumble about guys who couldn't pitch with a little pain, that maybe a little pain was something Brusstar and Espinosa would have to live with if they wanted to pitch in the big leagues.
It wasn't pain Brusstar minded, it was the lack of stuff he had on the ball when he threw it. In St. Louis, Dr. Fitzmorris worked on him for 17 days twice a day, manipulating key pressure points in the shoulder and surrounding areas to improve strength and his range of motion.
"The first time I saw him he put my arm down with two fingers." Brusstar said. "By the time I left he couldn’t put it down at all. He used a technique called Acupressure, using different pressure points down the muscle to get the blood flowing properly back into the muscle. It helped me quite a bit. Then I got a program with Gus Hoefling going. The rest has been a matter of throwing enough to get all the muscles a pitcher uses back in tune."
Espinosa scattered three home runs, two of them off the unlikely bats of winning pitcher Don Robinson, his first in the big leagues, and shortstop Tim Foli, his second of the year.
"THEY'RE BOTH ABLE to pitch and be competitive." Green said. "That in itself is something. They have no pain, but other than that they'll both have to get better to help us in the long run. Nino is pitching more with his head, which he's capable of doing as well as anybody on our staff. He still needs a little more velocity. But he showed signs on a couple of pitches that it's coming back. He struck out Dave Parker in the first with a real good sinking fastball.
"Nino in St. Louis had pretty good ability to keep guys off stride. He was keeping some guys off stride today but they managed to hit the ball. Hell, an error (Garry Maddox hit John Milner in the back of the batting helmet with a second-inning throw to third base) gave them two runs and he gave up three home runs. We didn't exactly play grind-it-out baseball."
The visceral highlight of an untypically lackluster game between the bitter rivals came with one out in the seventh when Boone walked and Greg Gross came up to hit for Espinosa. The outfielder sliced a ball to left which eluded a shoestring effort by Lee Lacy, in for defensive purposes. Omar Moreno could offer no help and the ball wound up on the warning track. When Gross rounded third he appeared headed for an easy inside-the-park homer. But extra men aren't called on to run 360 hard feet that often and Gross faded in the stretch like a quarter-horse thrown suddenly into the Belmont Stakes. Foli's crisp relay made him an easy out.
The Phillies put together more than two weeks of taut, close-to-the-vest baseball. It was the first time since a June 24 loss to the Expos that the pitching staff allowed as many as seven runs.
And knowing the guys who allowed the runs are both alive and at least competitive helped cushion a blow that was more like an open-handed slap.
PHILUPS: Friday, Saturday and Sunday games drew 153,615 fans, a Vet record for a weekend... Pete Rose was 2-for-4 to raise his average to.297. He lashed a first-inning double and leads the league with 27... Lonnie Smith had a hard time with Don Robinson's slider and hard. curve. The swift rookie was 0-for-4 and struck out twice... Garry Maddox led a modest seven-hit attack with a homer and a single... John Milner's leadoff homer in the sixth was only his third of the season.... Mike Easler, the part-timer who leads the Pirates with 12 homers, is averaging a homer every 12.58 at bats.. Phils end the brief homestand tonight with Randy Lerch going against righthander Rick Rhoden.
The Real Don Robinson Stands Up
By Jay Greenberg
They went into Don Robinson's shoulder last winter, removing bone chips, cartilage, a tin can. three rusted fishing hooks (the quick kind, endorsed by Chuck Tanner), a cashed World Series check and bits and pieces of what once was a copy of Sister Sledge's "We Are Family".
Just how long this LP will run will be largely. dependent upon just what was left of that shoulder after the surgeon sewed Robinson back up.
"We need him." said Tanner, smiling, because yesterday the Pirates had him. The real one, not a 22-year-old sore-armed slider-sinker pitcher who came into the game with a 2-4 record and 4.24 earned run average.
"How good was he at it?" smiled Ed Ott, the guy who with considerable reluctance had to signal for that junk Robinson was throwing earlier this season. "Take a look at his record. That's how good he was at it. He has to throw that good hard fastball and curve to be successful."
THAT FASTBALL HAD brought Robinson from AA ball to a 14-6 record in his rookie season, 1978, and had Tanner gushing about "another Tom Seaver." Sadly, that fastball also may have brought him the shoulder pain that threatened his career and the Pirates' hopes for a run of division championships.
Just how badly do the Pirates need him? Bert Blyleven is 3-7, John Candelana 5-8, Bill Madlock is hitting .238. Dave Parker .282 and Willie Stargell is on the disabled list with a pulled leg muscle. That tells you much of what you need to know about why there still is a National League East race, and why the World Champions came into yesterday's game with the Phils 2½ games out of first.
Robinson began the season on the disabled list. "It hurt so bad. I couldn't throw," he said. He then graduated to sliders, spent some time in the bullpen and did a little worrying.
"I'd had elbow surgery in 1977," said Robinson after he had come within two outs and a pulled groin muscle of a complete-game 7-3 victory over the Phils yesterday at the Vet. "They told me I'd have no problems with that. But the shoulder, yeah, it had me concerned. There's a lot more muscle in there, a lot more stuff that could go wrong.
"You can’t come back from these things too fast because you don't want to hurt your arm even more. So I threw, sliders and sinkers. Here I was trying to spot the ball and I had no idea what to do. I never threw sinkers and sliders before in my life. It messed up my curveball so bad I lost it completely.
"THEY TOLD ME IT would come around. I just had to wait for it to pop. It finally did a couple of weeks ago in Montreal. It's fine now. It doesn't bother me at all. I feel like my shoulder problems are over."
"It was the best game I've ever seen him pitch," said Tanner. The Pirates" manager occasionally lapses into overstatement, but what he saw yesterday was enough to make Tanner hope he's found an effective second-half complement to the 11-1 Jim Bibby. "He had an outstanding fastball, a sharp curve and good control." said Tanner. "A healthy Don Robinson could be the difference in us winning the division again.
"Last year (when Robinson was 8-8), when he had a sore arm, J was still getting a good two or three innings out of him. In Cincinnati (in the playoffs) he did the job for us that put us in the Series."
He gritted his teeth, won a critical late-season game in Montreal, won one playoff game, saved another, then beat the Orioles in Game 2. "He is a tough, tough, person," said Tanner. "And a fine all-round athlete. If he had arm problems, I know he could play in the major leagues regularly as an outfielder."
A second-inning home run, blasted high into the left-field backdrop to climax a four-run inning, would seem to illustrate that point.
"I TAKE A LOT of pride in my hitting (he's batting .435)," the Ashland, Ky., native said. "He (Nino Espinosa) came back with a slider outside. It's a pitch most pitchers wouldn't be able to hit. He got it up a little and I got it."
"I think it's my third biggest thrill in the majors. First would be the World Series, second was my first major league victory, and this is my third."
Robinson was working to Larry Bowa in the ninth when he felt what thought might be a cramp in his groin. "I get a lot of cramps," he said. "I threw one more pitch to (Bob) Boone and I knew I had pulled it. It was best to get the hell out of there."
Limping to the post-game buffet, ice on his shoulder, a pack on his thigh, it looked like Robinson might have to miss his next start. But that's a lot better than a whole career.
"There was nothing that dangerous about the surgery," said Tanner. "But even so, a lot of guys are afraid to turn it loose and throw hard afterwards. The bullpen, I think, helped because it's easier to tell yourself to cut loose when you're only going a couple of innings. But he's tough, and he did it."
Even throwing 95 MPH fast balls with the odd twinge was a lot less painful than facing major league hitters with that emergency slider and sinker.
"I have put those away," smiled Robinson, "I don't think I need them anymore."