Wilmington Evening Journal - July 8, 1980

Stone will try to get AL started off right


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


LOS ANGELES – To say Steve Stone pew up in a baseball atmosphere is putting it mildly. He was born in the shadows of Cleveland Stadium.


But that's another story.


Steven Michael Stone, who will turn 33 next Monday, will be the starting pitcher tonight when the American League tries to end the National's eight- game winning streak in the 51st All-Star Game.


Stone, nothing more than a journeyman pitcher before this year, rode a 12-3 record to his first All-Star Game. As far as he's concerned, after nearly 12 seasons in the majors, it's about time.


"I can't believe it's happening," said the Baltimore Orioles' right-hander during yesterday's workout at Dodger Stadium. "In the last two weeks I have been chosen player-of-the-week, pitcher-of-the-month and selected to start the All-Star Game. I keep pinching myself and I'm convinced it's not a dream."


For Stone, who has had stops with the San Francisco, Giants and the Chicago Cubs and White Sox, tonight's start is one of the most important of his career. The American League, you see, is determined to do something about the National's dominance in these games.


Before this year Stone's best record was 12-8 with the Chicago Cubs in 1975. He was 15-12 with the White Sox in 1977 before playing out his option and signing with the Orioles.


Last year he had a fine second half en route to an 11-7 record.


"Everywhere I go people want to know what the difference is this year," said Stone. "Well, there's really not any. The big factor is that the Orioles have played consistently behind me and because I am basically a breaking-ball pitcher, getting to pitch every third or fourth day has made a big difference."


"Steve hit it on the head," said Orioles Manager Earl Weaver, who will direct the American League tonight. "We got him as a reliever and a spot starter and I'll tell you, that's one of the most difficult assignments for any pitcher. You never know when you're going to pitch. But this year our pitching got in some trouble and we started using him on a regular basis and he has been very consistent."


Despite all the propaganda, defeating the National League will not be that easy. It has momentum, having won 16 of the last 17 and 27 of the last 33 games.


And to make matters worse, Weaver will be without three of his starters as chosen by the controver sial vote of the fans. Milwaukee's Paul Molitor (.358), Kansas City's George Brett (.337) and Boston's Jim Rice (.261) had to scratch because of injuries.


Only the Phillies' Mike Schmidt, who is suffering from a hamstring pull, will not make the starting gate for the National League in the game which is scheduled to get under way at 8:40 p.m. (EDT).


Pittsburgh Manager Chuck Tanner, who is handling the National League All-Stars for the first time, will start flame-throwing right-hander J R. Richard (10-4) of Houston. The pitchers cannot work more than three innings.


Weaver, in announcing his batting order, said that New York's Willie Randolph (.287) will lead off and lay second base, followed by California's Rod Carew .337), first base; Boston's Fred Lynn (.311), center field; few York's Reggie Jackson (.289), right field; Milwaukee's Ben Oglivie (.320), left field; Boston's Carlton Fisk .300), catcher, New York's Graig Nettles (.246), third base, and Stone.


Tanner's batting order has Los Angeles' Davey Lopes (.236) leading off and playing second base. After him comes Los Angeles' Reggie Smith (.328), right field; Pittsburgh's Dave Parker (.286), center field; Los Angeles' Steve Garvey (.291), first base; Cincinnati's Johnny Bench (.280), catcher, Chicago's Dave Kingman (.264), left field; St. Louis' Ken Reitz (.282), third base; Los Angeles' Bill Russell (.291), shortstop, and Richard.


The game will start at 5:40 here, a time of day when late-afternoon shadows at Dodger Stadium make it difficult for hitters to pick up the ball.


"I'm not even thinking about that," said Richard, who is one of the hardest throwers in the majors. "I just approach every start the same way. I can t think about the. stadium or about the conditions. It Is a thrill for me to be here and all I want to do is help win it for the National League.


"There have been times when I have thought about what it might be like to pitch against American Leaguers. I even wondered what it might be like to be in that league. Now I am going to get my chance to pitch against those guys sooner than I thought I would."


Tanner said he originally wanted to start the Phillies' Steve Carlton, whose 14-4 record is best in the majors.


"But Steve pitched on Sunday in St. Louis, so I can't start him," said Tanner.


At a morning press conference and at the following team workouts, the players and managers were grilled as to why the National League has been so superior.


“I think it is because the National League has better ball players and has been more consistent," said Richard, who broke up a group of reporters when he said he knew very little about the American Leaguers so "I'm just going out there and play it by ear."


"This may sound silly, but I think the artificial surfaces in the National League has helped," said Pittsburgh reliever Kent Tekulve. "When most of the National League parks put In artificial surfaces, the teams began to go for more speed. They take advantage of the surface. The American League has not caught up in that area."


Tekulve's reasoning may be sound, but when you look down, the rosters of both teams this year, many of the speedsters are not playing.


"I think defense has been the key," said Tanner. "Over the years the National League has made some brilliant defensive plays in-these games and I think you'll see some great ones tomorrow night."


"I remember when Warren Giles (former National League president) used to come into our dressing room and get us fired up," said the Phillies' Pete Rose, who to an All-Star for the 15th time. "Winning the game was very important to him and he got that across to the players. Watch our bench tomorrow night. Just look at the spirit. I think that is one of the keys."

Newspaper reports 8 Phils are involved in pill probe


Associated Press


TRENTON, N.J. - Pennsylvania narcotics authorities want to quiz at least eight members of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team about the possibility they may have acquired amphetamine pills illegally from a Reading, Pa., doctor, the Trenton Times reported today in a copyright story.


Pete Rose. Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski, and Larry Bowa are among the eight professional athletes whom state narcotics agents want to question, according to law enforcement sources quoted in the newspaper.


Of the players, all but Rose played for the Phillies' Reading farm team.


Agents from the state Drug Law Enforcement office will speak to the players when they return to Philadelphia from their current road trip after tonight's All-Star game in Los Angeles, the sources said.


Besides the current stars on the Phillies' roster, narcotics officials also plan to question several members of the team's minor league franchise in Reading about the possibility some players received amphetamine pills from the same doctor, who wasn't identified, according to a source in Reading.


No criminal charges have been filed against players, or against the doctor and a "runner" who allegedly distributed the medication for him.


But agents from the Drug Law Enforcement office believe they have established a good case against the doctor and the runner, partly through the doctor's records of prescriptions he allegedly dispensed.


The doctor allegedly handed out prescriptions without the required physical or oral examination of the players, the sources said. State law requires those examinations before the pills can be handed out.


The names of several Phillies players and their wives appeared on the doctor's records, according to law enforcement sources.


Dick Weathersby, Drug Law Enforcement director in Harris-burg, Pa., would neither conform nor deny that his agency was investigating either the doctor or any involvement by the Phillies' players.


Ruly Carpenter, owner of the ball club, also declined to comment.