Reading Eagle - July 7, 1980
It’s Still Classic For Fans
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The outcome isn’t reflected in any standings. It’s a contest annually accompanied by controversy over the player selection process, and the game itself lacks the lingering tension of the playoffs or the World Series.
But when the teams take the field at Dodger Stadium Tuesday night for the 1980 All-Star Game, it’s still the “Midsummer Classic” for fans. And the game seems somehow to bring out the best in baseball’s best players.
The contest, to be nationally televised by ABC, is scheduled for a 5:40 pm PDT start.
The game shapes up as a version of “hungry youngsters versus successful veterans,” as the new-look American League squad tried to end the National League’s long dominance – eight victories in a row and 16 wins in the last 17 meetings.
Half of Manager Earl Weaver’s AL squad is comprised of players who’ll be making their first All-Star appearances, giving Chuck Tanner’s NL contingent a definite edge in experience.
Weaver, who hopes to guide the AL to its first victory since 1971, will have just two pitchers on his staff who’ve seen previous All-Star duty, the Yankees’ Tommy John and Rich Gossage. Newcomers are Baltimore’s Steve Stone, Kansas City’s Larry Gura, Toronto’s Dave Stieb, Seattle’s Rick Honeycutt, Chicago’s Ed Farmer and Boston’s Tom Burgmeier.
Tanner’s pitching staff will feature Philadelphia’s strikeout artist Steve Carlton; Los Angeles’ Jerry Reuss, who recently threw a no-hitter; and Chicago’s Bruce Sutter, the winning pitcher in the last two All-Star Games. Houston’s J.R. Richard, Pittsburgh’s Jim Bibby, Los Angeles’ Bob Welch, Pittsburgh’s Kent Tekulve and San Francisco’s Ed Whitson round out the formidable NL mound corps.
The contest will be the first hosted by Los Angeles in 21 years, and the NL lineup will have a distinct Dodger flavor. First baseman Steve Garvey, second baseman Davey Lopes, shortstop Bill Russell and outfielder Reggie Smith of Los Angeles were all voted into the starting lineup.
Although hitting .240 this season, Lopes received 3,862,403 votes, most of any player, raising some accusations that Los Angeles fans overstuffed the ballot box.
“I didn’t feel I was having an All-Star type of year,” Lopes admitted. “To get more votes than anyone, that’s surprising. But it’s nice to know you are that popular with the fans.
Smith, leading the NL in hitting, had threatened to pass up the game if Dodgers teammate Dusty Baker was overlooked for the contest. But when Baker, an outfielder who finished fourth in fan balloting, was not named to the squad by Tanner, Smith relented, saying, “Since I was voted in, and I consider that an honor, I’ll play.”
Steve Mugs Record In Victory
ST. LOUIS (AP) – It may not have ranked as the prettiest performance in Steve Carlton’s career, but to Dallas Green it stood out like a jewel.
“Today’s game, I think, was what you’d call a typical Carlton game,” the Philadelphia Phillies manager said Sunday after the mainstay of his staff emerged as the all-time strikeout king among left-handers from an 8-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
“It was a win. He had enough strikeouts to beat a record which may not be broken again for a long time,” Green said. “I’ve seen him pitch better, but he just has that capability of winning when we need it.”
Carlton, laboring in muggy St. Louis heat, needed four strikeouts at the day’s outset to top the old strikeout mark of 2,832 for lefthanders set by Mickey Lolich.
He tied the record when Ken Reitz waved futilely at a high delivery in the fourth. Four pitches later, Tony Scott fanned on a low slider to send him over the top.
A Busch Stadium crowd of 17,769 rose as one to cheer the 35-year-old Carlton at inning’s end, with the hurler leaving the dugout to acknowledge the applause.
“That’s not his bag,” Green said, however, of the moment. “He wanted to win. I’m sure the record is going to mean something when he sits down and reflects on it.”
After setting the standards, Carlton fanned three more in his eight innings, moving up to No. 7 on al all-time strikeout list headed by Walter Johnson’s 3,508.
“He had a good slider most of the game,” Green said. “The heat took its toll a little. He threw 104 pitches. I just thought he’d had enough.”
“He wasn’t throwing real hard, but he was getting us out with curve balls and sliders,” St. Louis Manager Whitey Herzog said.
By the time Carlton departed, Philadelphia had rolled to an 8-1 lead with the help of a three-run uprising in the fourth against Pete Vukovich, 7-6, and single runs in the fifth and sixth. In the ninth, after Manny Trillo walked and Greg Gross doubled, Garry Maddox smacked his fifth homer.
Green labeled as important a victory which kept the Phils a game behind the Montreal Expos in the National League East.
“We played good team baseball,” he said. “The Cardinals are a very explosive team. It looked like they’d gained some momentum.”
Carlton, in returning to the city where his major league career started in 1966, improved his record to 14-4 as the game’s top winner.