St. Louis Post-Dispatch - July 6, 1980
Hernandez, Kaat Quickly Upend Phils
By Cal Fussman Of the Post-Dispatch Staff
Complimentary Jim Kaat, the 41-year-old graybeard pitcher for the Cardinals, said he received as much pleasure watching teammate Bob Sykes pitch a 10-inning shutout over the Philadelphia Phillies Friday as he did in his own 6-1 triumph over the Phils Saturday night at Busch Stadium.
Kaat, who boosted his record to 3-5 with the victory, has been helping some of the Cardinals' younger pitchers – Sykes in particular – since he was acquired from the New York Yankees on April 30.
As impressive as Kaat was, however, he had to share the spotlight with Keith Hernandez and George Hendrick Saturday night. Hernandez had two hits, drove in three runs and scored twice. All-Star Hendrick drove in two runs to raise his RBI total for the year to 64, second in the National League.
In his 22-year career, Kaat has pitched for six teams. He is the voice of experience among Cardinal pitchers. There was no need to listen for pointers Saturday night. He was a master.
In a briskly played game (one hour and 39 minutes), Kaat limited the Phillies to six hits. He struck out two and did not walk a batter in hurling his fourth complete game of the season.
He surrendered the lone Phils' run in the first inning when leadoff batter Lonnie Smith, who has pestered the Cardinals throughout the series, singled to right center.
Smith, who had been 5 for 10 with two stolen bases in two earlier games during. the series, stole second and advanced to third when catcher Ted Simmons' errant throw went into center field.
Smith scored on Pete Rose's sacrifice fly to center.
After the first inning, Kaat had little difficulty with the Phils, a team he once played for.
He allowed a single to catcher Bob Boone in the second. Larry Bowa then hit into a double play to end the inning.
Kaat surrendered a single to losing pitcher Randy Lerch in the third inning. Lerch was left stranded when the next two hitters grounded out.
He allowed a single to George Vukovich, a pinch hitter for Lerch in the sixth inning. He quickly erased the base runner by starting a double play on Smith's ground ball.
In the seventh inning, Greg Luzinski's single was negated by a double play. With one out in the eighth, Larry Bowa doubled, but the next two batters grounded out.
The victory was special to Kaat because it was against his former teammates.
"It was my first game against my former teammates, which added a little drama to it," Kaat said. "Usually, I . don't have the game on my mind until I get to the ballpark."
He had been thinking about the game earlier Saturday. Maybe he wanted to prove something to the Phillies' management, which sold him to the New York Yankees in May.
"They don't talk about my age here," said Kaat of the Cardinals' organization. "They just treat me like a ballplayer."
Members of the Cardinals' pitching staff have a lot of respect for Kaat. Sykes, who anguished through a disastrous first two months of the season, credited part of his turnabout to the preaching of Kaat.
"I've got a lot of guys who like to talk pitching here," Kaat said.
Kaat is usually doing the talking. Guys like Sykes and reliever Kim Seaman are listening.
The Cardinals' offense made some noise Saturday night. Rallies in three innings were sparked by Bobby Bonds, who entered the game with a .190 batting average.
Bonds walked three times, singled, and stole three bases.
He walked in the first inning and moved to third on Garry Templeton's double to right center. Both runners scored on Hernandez' single to left.
Hernandez, who advanced to second on the play as a result of left fielder Greg Luzinski's throwing error, moved to third when Simmons grounded out to Lerch, who lost his sixth straight game to the Cardinals.
Hendrick then drove in the first of two runs with a ground-rule double to right center. After one inning, the Cardinals had a 3-1 lead.
In the fifth, Bonds led off with a single and stole second. He moved to third on Templeton's sacrifice and scored when Hernandez tripled to right center. Hendrick singled to left, scoring Hernandez.
The scoring ended in the seventh inning, when Bonds walked, stole second and advanced to third on Templeton's ground out. He scored on Simmons' double to right.
Though the Cardinals did not score in the eighth, their attack continued. Kaat had his first hit of the season, a single to right.
His pitching was more noticeable.
REDBIRD NOTES: The series will be decided Sunday when former Cardinal Steve Carlton, 13-4, confronts Pete Vuckovich, 7-5, in a game starting at 1:15 p.m.
Carlton is only three strikeouts away from becoming the all-time major league lefthanded strikeout leader. He is currently in eighth position on the all-time strikeout list with 2,829. Mickey Lolich leads lefthanders with 2,832.
Phils’ Schmidt Hurt; Tanner Adds Reitz
By Cal Fussman Of the Post-Dispatch Staff
It appears that the Cardinals could have a representative in the National League's starting lineup after all when baseball takes a pause for the All-Star game Tuesday in Los Angeles.
With the withdrawal Saturday by Mike Schmidt of the Philadelphia Phillies because of a hamstring injury, Ken Reitz of the Redbirds might step in as the starting third baseman.
Ron Cey of Los Angeles was the runner-up to Schmidt, whose 21 home runs lead the National League in fan voting, but the Dodgers already have four players in the starting lineup for this 51st All-Star game. Reitz, sixth in voting for third basemen, was added Friday to the 28-pIayer roster by Manager Chuck Tanner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who will boss the NL. Ray Knight of the Cincinnati Reds, who finished fifth in the fan vote, was added as a replacement for Schmidt.
In another NL roster change Saturday, Ed Whitson of the San Francisco Giants was named to the pitching staff as a replacement for Vida Blue, who had been the Giants' lone representative on the All-Star squad. Blue has been placed on the Giants' disabled list because of arm trouble.
Reitz is one of three Cardinals who were picked as reserves. First baseman Keith Hernandez and outfielder George Hendrick are the two others chosen by Tanner. Shortstop Garry, Templeton was passed over at his request and Tanner skipped Simmons in favor of Montreal's Gary Carter and New York's John Stearns as backups to starting catcher Johnny Bench of Cincinnati.
"The closer it gets, the more excited I get," said Reitz, who will make his All-Star debut. "I'm honored that Tanner would take me.
"I've had better years at this time in the season. In 1977, 1 had 10 home runs and 50 runs batted in at the All-Star break."
Reitz, who led the league in hitting for much of the first two months of the season, is batting .287 with four home runs and 33 runs batted in.
"Early in the season I was hitting very well," Reitz said. "But I've felt more beneficial to the team lately. I'm winning games with the glove." Manager Whltey Herzog has him bunting a lot, Reitz said, and "hitting is something you don't have control over. Fielding is something you've got control over."
Fan voting is also something Reitz had no control over. He was sixth in the balloting among third basemen, more than 1,500,000 votes behind the winner, Schmidt.
"I always felt before that I was recognized by my teammates and other players," Reitz said. "Other players nave come up to me and said things to me."
Because of the fan voting, Reitz said he could understand why Templeton does not want to be named to the All-Star game. Templeton, who leads the league in hitting, finished behind Bill Russell of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dave Concepcion of the Cincinnati Reds in voting.
"I can understand it because he's the best shortstop in the game right now," Reitz said. "He could be batting third or fifth in just about any other team's lineup and driving in 100 runs.
"There's really nobody in his class. There's no way he should not be the starting shortstop. It's just that way because of the vote. Some teams hype the thing up. Some teams don't. In a way, it's a farce.
"We have three guys on this team who should be starting: Kelther, Teddy and George." Hernandez was third in voting for first basemen, Simmons third among catchers and Hendrlck 11th among outfielders.
John Kibler of the National League was named Saturday by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn as the home plate umpire for the game at Dodger Stadium. Two other NL umpires, Nick Colosi and Jerry Dale, will work second base and the left-field foul line, respectively. The three American League umpires selected are Larry Barnett, first base; Jim McKean, third base, and Rich Garcia, right-field foul line.
The official scorers will be Phil Collier of the San Diego Union, president of the Baseball Writers' Association of America; Ed Browalskl of the Polish News in Detroit, and Bob Hunter of the Valley News In Van Nuys, Calif.
The National League has won eight consecutive All-Star games and 16 of the last 17. Overall, the NL has won 31 and the AL 18, with one tie.
No Kudos For Kuhn
By Bob Broeg, Sports Editor
Notes to you and nuts to the baseball commissioner:
In this opinion, Bowie Kuhn goofed when he sat on his duff in his Rockefeller Center ivory tower and permitted cram voting to make a mockery out of Tuesday night's alleged All-Star Came at Los Angeles.
Why, even a computer used by a whiskey company (Seagram), presumably more adept at judging Jack Daniels against Johnny Walker, came up with teams that reflect much more who should be starting rather than not departing or sitting on the benches contemplating their navels.
Fact is, the computer agreed with the myopic fans on just three players in the American League lineup and only two in the National League's.
Seagram's electronic brain agreed with the fans only in naming Milwaukee's Paul Molltor at second base, Kansas City's George Brett at third and Boston's Carlton Fisk as catcher for the American League.
In the NL, the computer and John Q. Public were alike only at third base, picking Philadelphia's Mike Schmidt, and in one outfield spot, selecting Reggie Smith of the host Dodgers, who will be represented by so much talent that, if it existed in fact rather than fancy, Whistler's Mother as manager would have L.A. in first place in the Western Division.
Using a novel evaluation, i.e., this year's achievements, the computer treated the Cardinals' Garry Templeton, George Hendrlck, Keith Hernandez and Ted Simmons with the respect they deserve. To hold them responsible for the Cardinals' failure to be a contender at midseason would be to ignore ailing-and-average starting pitching most of the way and a bullpen that was horrible until recently.
To complete the computer's National League starting lineup, exclusive of pitchers, Pittsburgh's Phil Garner was at second base and Philadelphia's Greg Luzlnskl was the third outfielder.
Among the AL first-line All-Stars, as the Seagram computer saw it, Cleveland's Mike Hargrove was awarded first base and Milwaukee's Robin Yount was selected as the shortstop. The outfield had the Brewers' Ben Ogllvle, Baltimore's Al Bumbry and Toronto's Otto Velez.
For the commissioner to step in and suggest the fans or voting procedure were full of Los Angeles smog would not be unprecedented.
In 1957, when the All-Star Game was played at Sportsman's Park here, an enterprising Cincinnati radio station led such a vigorous campaign that when the voting deadline was reached – at a time the Cardinals led the league – the Reds had all starting positions except first base. There, Stan Musial, en route to his seventh batting championship, nosed out Cincy's George Crowe.
The commissioner then. Ford Frlck, a reformed sportswriter and broadcaster, stepped in and ruled that the New York Giants Willie Mays and the Milwaukee Braves' Henry Aaron, both on their way to the Hall of Fame, would start in place of Cincy outfielders Wally Post and Gus Bell. And, quickly, two other home-run champions, the Braves' Eddie Mathews and the Chicago Cubs' Ernie Banks, pinch hit for Cincinnati's third baseman and shortstop, Don Hoak and Roy McMillan.
Too bad Kuhn wasn't arbitrary this time. As a lawyer, he should recognize when the scales of justice are out of balance.
Dear Bowie: Keep That ‘Some-Star Game’ Razor Sharp
By Tom Barnidge
After racking my brain through roost of the week, I've hit upon the solution for your All-Star Game voting mess. Just change the name. Call it the Some-Star Game.
Forget about Johnny Bench; just point to Dave Parker. Don't explain Bill Russell; talk about Mike Schmidt This is your game, after all. It's your event. Why make yourself accountable tor every player? Just say that the format has been changed.
Oh, another thing, it you want to save yourself some embarrassment. I wouldn't Introduce the players by clubs. Just give their name, rank and serial number. Then move along. There are folks who might become a little testy if they learn that four National League starters came from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers are a real nice club, all right. Sharp uniforms. Scenic stadium. The thing is, the Dodgers aren't even leading their division, Bowie. They're behind Houston. You know, the Astros. There weren't any Astros elected to the lineup.
While we're on this subject, it might be a good idea to black out the telecast to Montreal. The Expos think they have the best team in the Eastern Division. They've even got newspapers printing the standings that way. All hell's gonna break loose if the fans back home find out they don't even have one player good enough to start in this game.
A guy with all your responsibilities has to be very careful what kind of image he projects. So, be sure that the announcers keep emphasizing that the fans chose this team. Have 'em point out that Gillette concocted the idea. And don't let any of the cameras show Dave Kingman out in left field. If some American Leaguer hits a ball out there, you'll be apologizing for Kingman's glove all summer.
Don't get me wrong. I understand why the team is chosen the way it is. Best Interest of baseball, right? What could be in better interest than letting Gillette pay the expenses?
Polling the fans is a great gimtalck, too. Makes 'em feel important. Gives 'em a sense of power. "That no-good, $700,000-a-year bum isn't getting my vote."
The reason I'm writing you is just to warn you. If you want to ensure the continuation of this voting system, you'll have to be wary of the smart alecks.
One guy walked up to me the other day and asked, "If Steve Yeager is the second-best catcher in the National League, how come he doesn't even start a lot of the time for LA?"
I told him the Dodgers have good depth.
"And another thing." he said. "If Bench is such a great hitter, how come the Reds keep moving him down in the order?"
I'm not sure about that one, Bowie. They want to save the best for last? Some statistical nut pointed out that only one of the National League's top 10 hitters was elected to the league's top team. And the NL's best-hitting lineup was blanked. If you don't watch out, see, somebody's going to call for a new system and the guys at Gillette are going to be all bent out of shape.
Before you know it, the players are going to want to vote for the team. What do they know about All-Stars, anyway?
Or maybe the managers will try to get into the act. If managers were so smart, they'd be owners, right?
I have even heard this proposal offered: Let the pitchers vote on the hitters and the hitters vote on the pitchers. Can you imagine anything more ridiculous? What do pitchers know about hitting?
There Is at least one move afoot to give automatic exemptions to certain statistical leaders... batting average... home runs... runs batted In. If the fans can't vote In such a player, I say the heck with him. Just as you do.
You know what the dummies in the National Football League do, don't you? They let coaches and players select their All-Stars. Positively ludicrous, it is, and you can see how it's hurt the NFL's popularity.
The National Hockey League has a silly system, too. It lets sports writers pick the All-Star squads. Only three writers from each NHL city participate, which means there are obvious drawbacks. . Nobody can get 3 million votes, as Davey Lopes did.
Nothing can compare with' baseball's system. Every fan gets the same chance to vote, whether he sees one game a year or 100 games. And every city gets representation, because every fans votes tor players on his own team. "
Hang firm, Bowie. Stick to your guns.
I'm looking forward to the day when they hand out another bunch of computer cards at the stadium. And we all get to vote for the Hall of Fame.
A card puncher