Wilmington Evening Journal - June 23, 1980

Carlton good enough to be a Giant killer


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


SAN FRANCISCO – The difference between great pitcher and an average pitcher is that the great one wins on a day when he should have stayed in bed.


This isn't to say Steve Carlton should have remained in his hotel room yesterday. Heavens no. If it had not been for the left-hander's gritty performance, the Phillies would have ended their first road trip to the West Coast on the minus side.


But Carlton, who was not nearly as overpowering as he has been in most of his starts this year, pitched out of trouble and his teammates outscored San Francisco 4-3.


The come-from-behind victory, watched by 27,315, gave the Phils a 4-3 record on the week-long sojourn to California. It also left them 1½ games behind first-place Montreal in the National League East, setting the stage for a three-game showdown with the Expos at Veterans Stadium beginning tomorrow night.


For Carlton, the complete-game success was his eighth straight victory and left him with a 13-2 record and a 1.83 earned run average. It was his sixth complete game for a staff that has only eight.


"Lefty didn't have that awesome slider he has had in most of his starts," said catcher Bob Boone, whose first-inning double gave the Phils a 1-0 edge over Vida Blue. "He struggled with his fastball early, but it came on at the end. Once we got the lead back for him, he really took charge."


The Giants wiped out the Phils' 1-0 lead in the fourth inning when they scored three times on five hits. When Carlton struck out Blue for the third out, San Francisco had runners on first and third, but the Philadelphia bullpen was quiet.


"Steve has a habit of giving up some hits and runs in an inning, but he works out of trouble," said Manager Dallas Green. "I didn't even think about taking him out in the fourth inning."


In addition to his confidence in Carlton, Green's bullpen needed a day off. It had been worked hard on the trip. And the manager was confident the Phils would score again because it was a day when Blue also was struggling.


"Blue didn't have his real good stuff today," said Green. "I felt certain if we could get Steve the lead back, he'd take command. And that's lust what he did."


The Phils closed to within a run in the fifth when Mike Schmidt singled home Manny Trillo from second. Then, in the seventh Schmidt's triple brought Lonnie Smith around from second and Greg Luzinski's sacrifice fly, a line drive to right, scored Schmidt.


"I'm just not getting good pitches to hit right now," said Luzinski. "All I wanted to do in that situation was make contact, just put the ball in play. As long as they are going to pitch me the way they have been lately, that's about all I can do."


For Carlton, the turning point came in the seventh when he took advantage of his outstanding pickoff move to catch Jim Wohlford napping at first.


With the torrid-hitting Jack Clark at third, Carlton caught Wohlford taking a big lead. First baseman Pete Rose started a rundown toward second, then rifled to Schmidt as Clark broke from third. Had Clark scored ahead of the putout on Wohlford, the run would have counted.


"That play probably turned the whole thing around," said Green. "Pete Rose did just what he had to with the ball. I've seen teams let a run like that score."


"I had to make sure Clark was going to start toward the plate," said Rose. "I had to make sure he got a large enough lead because if he didn't, we could have come up empty and they would have had runners on second and third."


After that, Carlton retired the next six Giants in a row to end their four-game winning streak which had included three straight over the Phils.


"The Franchise is back in action," Green said, referring to the nickname Carlton carried when he was 27-10 with the dreadful Phillies in 1972. "He sure straightens out a pitching staff awfully easy. I'd hate to think where we'd be if he was even half close to what he's been."


"I really thought Lefty was struggling off the mound." added Boone. "It's tough to concentrate when you're getting blown over all the time."


Schmidt, who had two hits, Mid the secret to his success was going to the opposite field.


"If guys want to keep the ball away from you consistently and throw you all off-speed stuff, all yoo can do is pop it the other way," said the third baseman. "I guarantee you, if we had tried to pull those balls today out of the park, we d be sitting here with our heads down now.


"You've got to hit those pitches just to prove to them you can hurt them. If you prove to to them you can hurt them, vou may get the good home-run pitch before the game’s over."


EXTRA POINTS – Shortstop Larry Bows injured his thumb going after Wohlford's grounder in the seventh and left the game once the inning was over. He retreated to the clubhouse where trainer Don Seger said it was nothing more than a bruise. "I couldn't feel anything so I didn't want to take any chances," said Bowa... Dick Ruthven felt some pain in his ailing shoulder after throwing on Saturday and probably will not start against the Expos tomorrow night... Dickie Noles, if he is not suspended for last week's bat-throwing inftdont, will get the call against Dave Palmer... Carlton's next start will be against the Mets on Friday night... The 4-3 record gave the Phils their first winning road trip. Of the four victories, three were by one run.

42-year-old McCovey to call it quits July 6


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


SAN FRANCISCO – A week ago Willie McCovey said he had no intention of retiring before the season ended. Yesterday, he said July 6 will be his last game for San Francisco Giants.


"Yes, I said those things last week about not retiring," McCovey said yesterday during an early afternoon press conference. "But I've always stated that some young phenom might come along and force you to retire. I've been saying that for a long time. I was in that position myself once. When I came up, Hank Sauer retired."


McCovey's voluntary retirement becomes official on July 10, the day the Giants resume play after the All-Star Game in Los Angeles.


Ironically, the 42-year-old McCovey announced his retirement on a day the Giants were playing the same team he broke in against – the Phillies.


It was on July 30, 1959, when 21-year-old Willie Lee McCovey stepped in against the Phillies and Robin Roberts. The youngster hammered out four hits, including two triples and a 22-year major-league career that would span four decades was under way.


"I said when I went to spring training that this would be my last year," said McCovey, the greatest left-handed, home-run hitter in National League history and cinch to become a member of the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible.


"The decision, which is clearly the most difficult decision of my life, is based upon my feeling that it is for the good of the team that I step aside now and allow the Giants to develop the fine young ball players, such as Rich Murray."


Bob Lurie, the Giants' president who gave McCovey a 10-year contract in 1978, said during an early afternoon press conference he faced McCovey 's resignation with mixed emotions.


"Willie McCovey brought excitement to baseball every time he stepped onto the field," said Lurie. "His entire career has been characterized by the fact that he was the consummate team player. The most unselfish act on his part in order to allow young stars like Rich Murray to gain the experience of major-league baseball is typical of Willie McCovey s approach to baseball and to the Giants' organization."


McCovey, who has S21 home runs (one this year) which ties him with Ted Williams for eighth place on the all-time list, will remain with the Giants after his retirement this year and will move into a special position with the team through 1987.


"I wanted to end my career with his team," said McCovey, who spent three seasons at San Diego and part of 1976 with Oakland before returning here in 1977 as a free agent. "The fact Bob Lurie guaranteed me a job after I retired made the decision much easier. Hey, I'm going to be able to have a summer vacation for the first time since I was 16 years old. That should be fun."


After his auspicious debut against Roberts and the Phillies, McCovey went on to bit .354 and win National League rookie-of-the-year honors.


McCovey's 18 grand slams rank him first on the National League list and second in the majors behind Lou Gehrig's 23.


McCovey, born on Jan. 10, 1938, was hitting only .198 this year in 41 games. He had the one homer and 13 runs batted in. The emergence of Murray, who is hitting .291, moved McCovey from first base to the bench and started raising questions about his retirement.


McCovey will have 13 more games before his career finally ends.


After that, Lurie said there would be a special day in his honor and that his number 44 probably will be retired.