Wilmington Morning News - July 8, 1980

Hollywood ‘Stars’


American League is ‘California Dreaming’ in 51st All-Star game


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


LOS ANGELES – Baseball's 51st All-Star Game has gone Hollywood.


It will be played tonight in this land of make-believe, a sprawling city of people, freeways, smog – and dreams.


And it is the beleaguered American League that is going heavy on the latter. These junior circuit All-Stars, you see, are dreaming of snapping the National League's eight-game winning streak.


"Dreaming my foot," snapped Baltimore's Earl Weaver, the American League skipper, during yesterday's workout at Dodger Stadium. “It's about time we put a stop to that streak. We're going right at 'em tomorrow night."


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 controversial vote of the fans. Milwaukee's Paul Molitor (.358), Kansas City's George Brett (.337) and Boston's Jim Rice (.261) had to be scratched because of injuries.


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


Weaver yesterday selected right-hander Steve Stone, a 12-game winner for his Orioles, to start for the American League.


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


Weaver, in announcing his batting order, said that New York's Willie Randolph (.287) will lead off and play second base, followed by California's Rod Carew (.337), first base; Boston's Fred Lynn (.311), center field; New 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 the Los Angeles' Davey Lopes (.236) leading off and playing second base. After him come 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 the 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 harder 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 was going 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.


Throughout the day – at a morning press conference, followed by the 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 and "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 rooms and get us fired up," said Pete Rose of the Phils, who is 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.”


"We're not making any excuses," said Lee MacPhall, American League president. "I am advising Earl Weaver that we're here to win. If It means somebody doesn't get to Iilay, they can complain to the league office. It won't be Earl's fault We want to get everyone into the game if we can, but in view of our record, if we have to do something other than to play everybody, we'll do it."


"No, I don't look at this as a pressure thing," said Weaver, who managed the American Leaguers in 1970, 1971 and 1972. "We're all here for a good time, but once the game starts these athletes are going to play to win. Anybody in competitive sports will do that every time."


The last time the American League won was in Detroit in 1971.


This is the third time the Dodgers have hosted the All-Star Game, but the first time it has been in Dodger Stadium. The first was at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn in 1949 and the second at the Coliseum here.

Stone story should give Howard lots to talk about


By Peter Gammons, Field News Service


KEITH: "The starting pitcher for the American League is Baltimore righthander Steve Stone."


HOWARD: "And what a story he is. Steven Michael Stone will be 33 in six days. He had kicked around with the Giants, White Sox, Cubs, White Sox again and Orioles before this year, compiling an ordinary 78-79 record and 4.06 lifetime earned run average. Yet here he is tonight, 11-3, the winningest pitcher in the American League.


"Steven Michael Stone. Poet. Junior tennis star. History major and teammate of the late Thurman Munson at Kent State University. Gourmet. Part owner of Lettuce Entertain You, a chain of six restaurants including the historic Pump Room in the Chicago area, and when he divests himself of his interests in that company, he and a former minor league teammate named Bill Frost are opening another culinary establishment in Scottsdale. One-time columnist for a Chicago newspaper. The first Jewish pitcher to start the midseason classic since Sandy Koufax."


DRYSDALE: "Howard, the reason he's starting this game isn't because he's been published in the National Jewish Monthly. Steve's got one of the best overhand curveballs in the game, and his manager, Earl Weaver, wants him out there against the six right-handed batters in the National League lineup. And, as you said, he is 11-3, 16-3 since last year's All-Star Game. So, while he's an unlikely story, he's earned the right..."


He has emerged from the shadows of the land of the .500 pitcher, which isn't bad, but isn't that good either. He was always one of those guys "who isn't bad to have on your staff" and stuck with the label "can be a fifth starter," but he couldn't relieve because it took him as long as a half-hour to warm up. As a starter he never was given the 35-40 appearances because he never had the winning percentage or the health necessary.


Steve Stone was a guy who could be tough on those days when he was throwing his curveball to perfect spots, a guy who was mired on the fringe of the Orioles' superb pitching staff.


That was before 1980. That was even before when he had his best season (15-12 for the White Sox in 1977) or when he signed a four-year contract with Baltimore before last year. "I have people coming up to me saying, 'Hey, you're throwing a lot harder now,'" said Stone. ''Well, I am. Last year I threw 83 (mph, on the Orioles' gun, which registers 5 mph lower than most others). This year I'm throwing 88. That makes my curveball even better.


"I'm finally throwing the way I did when I was a kid with the Giants, before I hurt my arm. What has happened is that my arm has finally come back all the way."


Stone was one of the first victims of the rotator cuff injury. But unlike Wayne Garland and Tom Johnson and Steve Busby and others, he refused to let anyone pump him full of cortisone, dull the pain with other drugs or let anyone cut into his shoulder. Stone is financially and intellectually independent and came back the way he felt was best.


"Now," he said proudly, "I'm the only pitcher to come back from a rotator cuff injury and throw with the same velocity I did before it" Stone's arm had. started bothering him before 1976, but it was spring training that year when he couldn't even throw the ball 15 feet It was also the post-Messersmlth Decision year, and Stone hadn't signed his contract. "I was the first player in the history of the Chicago Cubs not to sign my contract, and they thought that I was faking my injury because I was dissatisfied with my contract, " said Stone. "I didn't pitch the first series, but the manager, Jim Marshall, said, 'Stone's arm will be better when we get out of Wrigley Field and get to the big parks on the West Coast' Coaches were coming up and saying, 'You've got to pitch with pain.’”


So he started in Los Angeles. "I took a whole Percodan, a whole Empirin and a full grain of codeine to pitch. I couldn't get my arm halfway up to my shoulder and lasted five batters. They sent me home to the Chicago team doctors.


"The Cubs' team doctor asked me where it hurt, and I told him it was hard to say because it hurt in a lot of places, which is the symptom of the rotator cuff injury because it involves four muscles, so the pain shifts.


"So the doctor said he was going to give me four shots of cortisone in the back of the shoulder and another one in the joint in front I said, 'no.'


"'What do you mean, no,' he replied, and I told him I meant no. Something inside me told me that the accepted method of treatment was wrong. I told him I feel cortisone has a deteriorating effect on the tendons and muscles. I told him I felt that I had a career after that season, and I felt he was rushing me out there for expediency, not sound medical reasons. When he told me that he just wanted to get me healthy, I told him they were just going to get rid of me at the end of the season, so I would do it my way. Problem was, I didn't know what to do because I couldn't diagnose what I had and had no idea now to go about treating it.


"Then a friend introduced me to a doctor at the University of Illinois-Chicago Circle named Tom Satier. He gave me a weight and had me hold it in various positions, and right away he diagnosed it as a rotator cuff. He put me on a program of rehabilitation to rebuild the muscles. It began with very light weights, then moved up. When it came time to throw to build up the shoulder, I couldn't throw because of the pain, so he froze my shoulder each day with 30 minutes of ice before I threw so I couldn't feel the pain.


"This winter was the first time I felt secure enough to stop pumping weights," Stone said. "I lost weight and tightness in my shoulders, and I started throwing with the same old pop. I think, too, it takes that long for the shoulder to completely come back."


So, with 5 mph extra on his fastball, his curveball which he has thrown 73 times in one game and 74 in another ("That's an Orioles record," he proclaimed proudly) - has become that much better. In his last 43 innings, he has allowed four earned runs and 27 hits. "He's a tremendous pitcher," said pitching coach Ray Miller. "He's tremendously competitive by nature, he had to learn to pitch when he didn't have this extra on his fastball, and now he's got it."


"Yeah," said Ken Singleton. "Now he's even Earl Weaver's favorite pitcher." (He was not last year when he struggling. He and Earl had a couple of screaming matches.)


And now, here he is, the probable starter for the All-Star Game.


HOWARD: "Steven Michael Stone, who had two of his friends shot down by National Guardsmen in the tragedy at Kent State in 1970…”

Sports briefs (excerpt)


Compiled from Dispatches


Services are tentatively scheduled for today for Ben Tincup, whose professional baseball career spanned a half-century and included playing with the pennant-winning 1915 Philadelphia Phillies.


Tincup, 84, died Saturday at his room in a Claremore, Okla., hotel, possibly of a heart attack. He had not been ill up to that time.


In his career, Tincup served as player, manager, coach and scout He played for Joe McCarthy, famed New York Yankee manager, at Louisville, coached for Leo Durocher at Brooklyn and was a scout and pitching instructor for Casey Stengel and the Yankees.