Philadelphia Inquirer - July 9, 1980

A dream come true for Farmer in year of un-stars

 

By Frank Dolson, Inquirer Sports Editor

 

LOS ANGELES – Ed Farmer, All-Star.

 

Say it slowly. Very slowly.

 

Repeat it, again and again and again.

 

Ed Farmer, All-Star.

 

What a beautiful sound. What an . incredible success story.

 

Granted, this is a crazy year for baseball's premier mid-summer attraction. So many of the big names – the Stargells, the Luzinskis, the Yastrzemskis, the Seavers, the Guidrys – are missing. But it's the presence of guys who never came close to All-Star status before – the Steve Stones, the Tom Burgmeiers and especially the Ed Farmers – who make this year's game something special.

 

"To me," Stone said, "the All-Star game was always something you watched somebody else play."

 

And now all those "somebodies" are watching the "nobodies" play.

 

"I'm elated," Farmer said. "Just elated. This is tremendous. This is what dreams are built upon."

 

But only the wildest of dreamers could have imagined Ed Farmer's becoming an honest-to-goodness All-Star. No fluke, mind you. The man has won six games and saved 17 others for the Chicago White Sox in half a season.

 

So there he was yesterday, walking into the visiting clubhouse at Dodger Stadium, a place that brought back less-than-fond memories.

 

"The last time I was in this clubhouse," he said, "I was about to have surgery."

 

That was in 1976, when they chopped a two-inch hunk of bone out of his right shoulder.

 

Memories. Ed Farmer has so many of them swirling around in his head this week.

 

How ironic that the manager of this American League All-Star team should be Earl Weaver, who told him he wasn't good enough to make the Orioles in 1978.

 

"He said (in spring training), 'You're not going to make my ball club,' " Farmer recalled. "I said, 'But I can pitch,' and he said, 'Well, right now I don't think you're as good as nine guys I'm going to, take with me.’”

 

And yet here he is. Ed Farmer, All-Star. He struggled so long, tried to make it with so many organizations: The Indians, the Tigers, the Phillies, the Orioles, the Brewers, the Rangers. No man ever took a much more circuitous route to the All-Star game.

 

That year in the Philadelphia organization had to be one of the low points. The Phillies sent him to Toledo in '74, and the atmosphere there was less than exhilarating.

 

There was that unforgettable night in Pawtucket when Farmer started, got kayoed and went to the clubhouse to soak his arm in a bucket of ice. Surely, the visiting clubhouse in Pawtucket in those days had to be one of the worst in pro baseball. It was small. It was filthy. It smelled to high heaven.

 

Farmer was soaking his arm when a well-dressed stranger walked in.

 

"Did you hurt yourself?" the man asked.

 

"No."

 

"Then why are you holding your arm in a bucket of ice?"

 

"Because I just got done pitching."

 

It was a strange conversation. Finally, Farmer asked the man what he was doing there.

 

"I'm from the board of health." he replied. "We've had complaints about this place."

 

And now Farmer was in the visiting clubhouse in Dodger Stadium, getting dressed with the American League All-Stars.

 

Even this year, with his career zooming, Farmer has had his share of trouble. Recently, Al Cowens of the Tigers hit a ground ball and, instead of running to first, charged Fd on the mound.

 

"He stuck his finger into my nose and cut my nose with his nail," said Farmer, who had hit Cowens with a pitch the year before, breaking his jaw.

 

All part of a baseball career that's had a lot more low points than high points for Fd Farmer... until they fitted him for an All-Star ring this week.

 

"If it wasn't for my wife and her strong will, pushing me to come back, I wouldn't be here," he said. "I remember saying to Barbara (when the shoulder problem flared), 'I can't go out there and pitch with this kind of pain. I just can't do it. If it takes that, then I don't want to play this game anymore.' She said, 'Well, I think you ought to have surgery. You ought to do what you can....”

 

 

So he did it and, incredibly, here he is. The pain's gone from his shoulder. The All-Star ring's on his finger.

AL players don’t really feel inferior

 

By The Associated Press

 

LOS ANGELES – It was business as usual at Dodger Stadium last night, the National League won another All-Star game. But American Leaguers weren't about to concede inferiority, despite losing their ninth straight All-Star Game and their 17th in the last 18.

 

"I don't think they're a superior league," said AL first baseman Rod Carew, who had two hits, a walk and a stolen base in a losing cause. "They've gotten the big hit at the right time.

 

"I hear a lot of things people are saying, that we're not aggressive enough. That's a bunch of baloney."

 

And second baseman Willie Randolph, whose error on a ball hit by Dave Winfield in the sixth inning enabled the tie-breaking run to score, took exception with the official scorer.

 

Randolph also had two hits for the losers, but it was a rough evening for the New York Yankees second baseman. He was charged with two errors, including the big one in the sixth inning, and was picked off first base by pitcher Bob Welch after a leadoff single in the third.

 

Three straight singles by the NL had tied the game in the sixth and Winfield was the hitter with one out. He sliced an outside pitch to the left of Randolph, who tried to short-hop the potential double-play ball but couldn't come up with it as the go-ahead run came home.

 

"I don't see how they could give me an error on that play," Randolph said. "The ball was hit to my left, it had a funny knuckleball spin. I'd go for it the same way if it happened again."

 

Of the pickoff play, Randolph said: "Nobody told me he (Welch) had a good move. I didn't feel him (NL first baseman Steve Garvey) touch me but Welch gave me a good move. I'm not going to worry about who's on the mound. Getting picked off is all a part of being a good baserunner."

 

AL starting pitcher Steve Stone of Baltimore, who retired the nine batters he faced on only 24 pitches, said that he was disappointed that his team lost, but not too disappointed.

 

"I certainly hoped that we would win, but when you face nine batters in three innings you have to be pleased about the outcome," said Stone, a veteran who turns 33 next Monday. "I don't think you could call what happened NL supremacy. They've done better in this game but the AL East is the strongest division in baseball.

 

"One game a year certainly doesn't make supremacy, and the World Series has shown that. We're a pretty strong league."

 

Stone, 78-79 lifetime with a 4.06 earned-run average before this season but 12-3 with a 3.10 ERA in 1980, dispatched the NL with ease over the first three innings.

 

"A lot of the guys were looking for the curve ball," said Stone, a veteran performer of both leagues. "I threw mostly fastballs. Also I was throwing in the twilight. When you're a .500 career pitcher, basically all you can ask for is a game like this."

 

Losing pitcher Tommy John, who retired the first five batters he faced before game MVP Ken Griffey got the NL going with a homer to right-center in the fifth that cut the AL lead to 2-1, praised the Cincinnati outfielder.

 

"It wasn't a bad pitch, but he's a good hitter," said John. "It could have been inside just a tad more, but if it had been he might have hit it further. "I thought I was throwing harder than I normally throw... it straightens my ball out," said John, another veteran of both leagues who relies on his sinkerball.

 

Fred Lynn, who accounted for the American League's only two runs with a homer into the right-field seats in the top of the fifth inning off Welch, said he bit a fastball.

 

"He'd thrown me about nine in a row," said the Boston outfielder. "I hadn't hit in about five days because of a pulled hamstring, and I'm sure they were aware of that. It was low and in, that's the kind of pitch I can handle. He struck me out on a pitch around my eyes the time before."

 

Lynn also disputed the suggestion of NL supremacy.

 

 

"It's really hard to say," said Lynn. "It's just one game and you certainly can't judge leagues by just one game. They had good players, we had good players. They were just a little better tonight."

Numbing All-Star pressure?  To Tanner, it’s all enjoyment

 

By Hal Bock, Associated Press

 

LOS ANGELES – For Chuck Tanner, manager of the National League team in last night's 51st All-Star Game, this convention of baseball's best players was a pleasant respite from the rigors of the regular-season race.

 

Someone asked Tanner if the success the National League has had in these games for the last couple of decades increased the pressure on him.

 

"Pressure is what you put in tires," laughed Tanner. "I'm here to enjoy this. It's a privilege and an honor. If you can't enjoy this, hey, you can't enjoy life. And I enjoy my life."

 

Tanner earned the job of making out his first All-Star lineup as a result of managing the Pittsburgh Pirates lo the National League pennant and world championship last year. He moved right into the home-team manager's office and made himself comfortable in Dodger pilot Tommy Lasorda's pad.

 

"It's nice," decided Tanner, looking at the veritable gallery of celebrity pictures that run the length and breadth of the walls in Lasorda's office. "But we need a few changes. We ought to put up pictures of steel mills in here."

 

Then he laughed again. It was a hearty laugh, the kind you hear from a man who's having the time of his life.

 

Tanner came into the All-Star break in third place, but only 1½ games behind Montreal in the NL East. It's too early to worry about that kind of deficit, especially with half a season to play. So Tanner doesn't worry. Instead, he enjoys.

 

He picked Houston's J. R. Richard to start against the Americans. Usually that's a three-inning assignment but Astros manager Bill Virdon, one of Tanner's coaches, asked that his ace be limited to two innings because Richard's arm has been tender lately. No problem, Tanner said. Few things are for him.

 

When he was asked for a scouting report on Richard, he joked about a screwball and a palmball and his motion and ability to spot pitches. He had Richard laughing, too, as he turned to the fireballer and said, "I'm sorry I gave away your secret, J. R."

 

There was plenty of controversy over the selection of the All-Star reserves. Certainly it was sure to come up but when it did, Tanner handled it with aplomb.

 

"Dusty Baker is an All-Star," he began. "There are a lot of All-Stars. (Garry) Templeton, (Ted) Simmons, (Neil) Allen, (Joe) Sambito, (Manny) Trillo and a lot more are all All-Stars. But we can only have 28 on the team and we try to be fair."

 

 

You can't argue with that. But then, who would want to argue with Tanner? It would be tough. The man is always smiling.

Pennsylvania looking into reports that Phillies illegally used drugs

 

By Chuck Newman and Terry E. Johnson, Inquirer Staff Writers

 

A high state official confirmed last night that the Pennsylvania attorney general's office was investigating allegations that certain members of the Philadelphia Phillies had illegally obtained and used amphetamines.

 

He said that the attorney general's office was investigating the allegations as a matter of routine and that the investigation was in its preliminary stages.

 

The Harrisburg official said he did not know which players were the target of the allegations. Earlier in the day, though, the Trenton Times said in a copyrighted story that at least eight members of the ball club – including Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski and Larry Bowa – would be questioned by officials of the Pennsylvania Drug Enforcement Division after the break for the All-Star baseball game. The four other Phillies allegedly involved were not named in the story.

 

According to the Times, an unnamed Reading, Pa., doctor supplied amphetamines to a "runner," a contact who allegedly turned the drugs over to the players without their having to undergo a medical checkup, as required by state law.

 

When asked about the allegations before last night's All-Star game in Los Angeles, Rose and Schmidt issued angry denials.

 

"I don't know any doctors in the whole state of Pennsylvania," Rose said. "I don't think there is anything I can do about (the story); not knowing the guy they are talking about. Anybody can say anything about me they want to. I can't do nothing about it."

 

Schmidt said he found out about the newspaper article when his wife called him from Philadelphia. "I'm not even going to worry about it or give any second thoughts to it. It's the same old thing. Why should I worry about something I have no control over?

 

"I don't have any control over what people say to people about me. I don't know anything about any of this stuff. I'm just out here trying to relax for a few days.

 

"My wife's back at home pregnant. She reads that. It's pathetic to think that s--- like that gets in the newspaper that has no business being there. That's all I have to say."

 

The Times reported that several members of the Reading Phillies, the team's Class AA farm club, also would be questioned.

 

From his office, Dr. Patrick Mazza, physician for the Reading team, said:

 

"I imagine there is an inference in the story as to who the doctor might be, but I have had no contact with anyone on any investigation. That's all I want to say until I speak to my attorney."

 

Mazza had told a Trenton reporter: "I can't make any comment on this until I speak to the ballplayers who are allegedly taking the amphetamines."

 

Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn said his security people had been notified of the allegations. "1 have no comment as to what action might be taken," he said. "It's a little early."

 

National League president Chub Feeney indicated that the investigations would be focused more on the physician than the players. A spokesman for the state Justice Department, which administers the drug enforcement agency, would not comment on the case.

 

Of the players named in the story, all but Rose played at one time for the Phillies' team in Reading.

 

When asked whether he had ever supplied amphetamines to any member of the Philadelphia Phillies after the player had left Reading, Mazza refused to reply. "I'm afraid I don't want to answer that question right now until I speak to the Phillies organization," he said.

 

Phillies owner Ruly Carpenter said the ball club had a clear position about the use of drugs.

 

"Our policy has always been to urge the players to be extremely careful in the use of any kind of drug," he said. "Our team doctor, Dr. Philip Marone, has spoken to the players on numerous occasions, cautioning the athletes about (the dangers and effect of) drugs.

 

"The trainers have been instructed not to dispense any kind of drug without specific instructions and a prescription from the doctor. We take every precaution we can, but we can't control what happens after the players leave the clubhouse."

 

Carpenter said he was trying to get more details on the investigation and added that he regarded the allegations as serious, if they can be supported.

 

Amphetamines, which are stimulants, are usually taken in pill form. They are commonly referred to as "uppers." The effects are similar to those obtained from cocaine, but milder.

 

Users experience a sense of exhilaration. The drug is prescribed by doctors for patients trying to lose weight, or to relieve mild depression. Although they are not physically addictive, users can become mentally dependent on them.

 

The use of amphetamines by athletes has been the subject of controversy for more than two decades.

 

The Trenton paper said no charges had been filed against any of the players or the doctor, although it said they had been questioned "extensively."

 

Joe Bouzas, general manager of the Reading club, said he had no knowledge of an investigation.

 

"There is no inkling that anything like this is going on here as far as the front office is concerned," Bouzas said. "I'm sick. I can't believe this is true. I have to believe somebody is trying to dig up something to sell papers."

 

A drug-related damage suit against the Phillies by a former member of the organization is still pending. Right-handed pitcher Pat Bayless, in a 1976 suit, charged the Phillies with giving him massive doses of pain-killers, including Butazolidin, and then compelling him to pitch.

 

Bayless left a Phillies' AA farm club in August of 1971 and subsequently was confined to a mental institution. His suit said his mental illness was triggered by the drugs he was given.

 

Bayless, who is now living in Livermore, Calif., has been unable to maintain employment.

 

Rose, in a controversial interview with Playboy magazine last year, was quoted as saying that he had taken "greenies."

 

Here is an excerpt from the interview:

 

Playboy: A lot of guys say they need an amphetamine, or two or three before a game. What do you think?

 

Rose: Well, a lot of guys might think that there are certain days you might need a greenie, an upper.

 

Playboy: Would you take one?

 

 

Rose: I might. I have taken stuff before. Later in the interview, Rose said he had once taken a diet pill before a game."

NL stars capture ninth straight, 4-2

 

Griffey’s HR spurs comeback

 

By Frank Dolson, Inquirer Sports Editor

 

LOS ANGELES – Tired of getting beaten by the National League, the American League All-Stars tried something new last night. They beat themselves.

 

Staked to a 2-0 lead on a home run by Fred Lynn, backed by pitching that set down the first 14 National League batters, the second-best baseball All-Star team in America seemed headed for its first victory since 1971. The shock must have been too much.

 

A booming home run by Ken Griffey off a Tommy John fast ball set the comeback in motion, but it was an error by second baseman Willie Randolph on a potential double-play ball and a run manufactured on two wild pitches and a passed ball that wrapped up the Nationals' 4-2 victory before a record Dodger Stadium crowd of 56,088.

 

"It's not the end of the world," said Goose Gossage, the AL relief ace who obviously hadn't bothered to check with league president Lee MacPhail before making that statement.

 

"It's ridiculous, really," MacPhail had said about the American League losing streak shortly before it reached nine in a row – and 17 of 18.

 

If ever the AL appeared ready to turn the tide, this was the night. Starter Steve Stone, a first-time All-Star, was absolutely brilliant, setting down nine straight batters on a total of 24 pitches. John breezed past five more before Griffey reached the bleachers.

 

Despite the homer – and the fact that the Nationals had a flock of righthanded hitters coming up in the next inning – AL manager Earl Weaver let John bat with two out in the sixth. The move backfired.

 

John retired the first batter, then gave up hits to Ray Knight, Phil Garner – on a hard grounder that Randolph just failed to backhand near second – and George Hendrick.

 

With the game tied, Weaver brought in Ed Farmer, and the White Sox' ace reliever got Dave Winfield to hit a one-hopper to second.

 

Had Randolph fielded the ball cleanly, it would have been a cinch, inning-ending double play. But he didn't. The ball bounced off his glove as the winning run scored. It didn't matter that Farmer finally squelched the rally by coaxing Pete Rose to hit into a bases-loaded DP. The AL was behind the eight ball. Normalcy had returned to the 51st All-Star game.

 

"The guy (Winfield) didn't take a full cut," Randolph said about the double-play ball that got away. "The ball knuckled. The official scorer calls it the way he wants it, but I didn't think it was an error at the time. It doesn't matter. All you can do is try your best."

 

On this night, Randolph's best wasn't good enough. Not only did he make the big error in the sixth, but he killed a promising American League rally by getting picked off first (ahead of a Rod Carew double) in the third.

 

"They made the plays when they had to; we didn't," said John, the ex-National Leaguer who was charged with the loss. "Nine times out of 10 he (Randolph) is going to make that play. That's routine for him. So the game's tied, 2-2, and we're still playing."

 

Instead it became 4-2 at the expense of Toronto's Dave Stieb.

 

"He had real good stuff," said Weaver. Trouble was, Darrell Porter couldn't catch it, and Bruce Sutter had a two-run lead to protect for Jerry Reuss. Needless to say, he did.

 

It all added up to another joyful All-Star experience for Chub Feeney.

 

"You guys are going to, lose one of these things sooner or later," a man told the beaming National League president.

 

“I thought that for a while," he replied. "I'm not too sure now."

 

You could hardly blame him for thinking that he had the American League's number. On this night, the NL won despite fielding a starting lineup with only one .300 hitter, and despite being held hitless for 4-2/3 innings.

 

It didn't seem to matter. Winning is habit-forming... and confidence-building. The NL players go into these mid-summer pageants expecting to win.

 

"You can just feel the confidence, the enthusiasm oozing out of every pore," Gary Carter said.

 

"You've got this feeling something's going for you," explained Steve Garvey. "If there is such a thing as magic, we've got a dose of it. I'm just very happy I'm in the National League."

 

Nobody was happier than Ken Reitz, who replaced Mike Schmidt as the NL's starting third baseman.

 

"I had an unbelievably good time," said Reitz, a first-time All-Star. "It's something I'll never forget. When they were introducing the starting lineups, I was shaking like a damn leaf."

 

But once the game starts, it's the other side that gets shaky.

 

Why did Weaver permit John to bat for himself in the sixth although he had already pitched two innings and all those righthanders were due up for the National League?

 

"He usually pitches against right-handed hitters in the American League and does very well," the manager replied. "I thought he was throwing the ball very well and I thought he would get them out."

 

Asked how disappointing this latest All-Star loss was, Weaver said, "It was very disappointing, especially since I was managing the club."

 

This was Weaver's fourth All-Star club; his record is now 1-3. Don't knock it. By American League standards, that's a hot streak.

 

Chuck Tanner, of course, is hotter. Last October, the World Series. Now this.

 

"It all feels so good you'd like to do it one more time," the Pirates manager said. "I was blessed with a great team last fall, and I managed a great one today. The players came here with one purpose to win it. And they did it."

 

 

"I know," said Weaver, "that all of our guys wanted to win just as badly as they did." Trouble was, they had forgotten how.