Doylestown Daily Intelligencer - June 26, 1980

Quiet Hero


McBride's Stats Going Unnoticed


By Paul Giordano, Intelligencer Writer


PHILADELPHIA-Bake McBride is off to a super start. He's currently hitting .307, is tied for the league lead in triples (6), has 13 doubles, five home runs and 41 RBI.


But no one's noticed.


It appears McBride is doing the right things at the wrong time. Four of his five home runs have tied games in which the Phils have proceeded to lose. And every time McBride would make a positive contribution someone just seemed to one-up him. It's been that way almost all season.


Wednesday night, however, no one could deny McBride his just due. Even though he was up-staged by rookie pitcher Bob Walk and Mike Schmidt; and even though he committed a costly error, setting up the Expos' only run of the game, and banged his right elbow making a catch against the wall, he was the unsung hero of the Phils' 2-1,10 inning win Wednesday night.


He tied the game at one-all with a home run in the sixth inning. And, bad elbow and all, McBride doubled-up Rodney Scott at the plate after catching Gary Carter's line drive in the eighth inning by throwing a perfect strike to catcher Bob Boone.


The right field fans who booed him in the fourth inning after the costly error, stood up and cheered in the eighth. That's saying something right there.


"If I had to make another throw like that I don't think I could make it," McBride said as he sat in the trainer's room after the game, getting treatment on his right elbow. "I can only bend the elbow halfway."


And yes. this is the best start I've ever had in my career," McBride answered when asked about how he's been playing in the shadows. "But I really haven't thought about it. I just go out and play the best I can. What happens, happens. I just happen to be hitting .300... quietly."


Which is a real shame. The Philadelphia fans have been more than critical of McBride since he came over from the St. Louis Cardinals midway through the 1977 season. They've even cried for his head in a trade, any trade. And now, when the guy is going good, no one's hardly noticed


"To a certain degree it does bother me," McBride said. "I'd be lying if I said it didn't. But maybe some of it's my own fault, too. It was that way in St. Louis, too. I didn't talk to the press that much and that may have had a lot to do with it


"But even so, I can't let it bother me. I can't let it affect my playing. I'll tell you one thing, though. It was nice to hear those cheers. I don't hear them too often."

Walk Wins a Reprieve as Phillies Nip Montreal 2-1


By Paul Giordano, Intelligencer Writer


PHILADELPHIA--The travel agency was alerted, the ticket just about written. All that was needed to complete the one-way flight to Oklahoma City was a repeat performance from rookie Bob Walk of his previous outing when he lasted just two and one-third innings against the San Diego Padres June 19.


"This was a make or break game for him." Dallas Green said after the Phils defeated the Montreal Expos, 2-1, in 10 innings Wednesday night. "You can take it any way you want. You figure it out. But he needed a game like this to prove he can pitch here.


"We're running into options now. Nino (Espinosa) is coming along and (Marty) Bystrom is pitching again (at Oklahoma City). We can't afford to have the pitching collapse on us now."


Walk made it. He didn't collapse. Although he didn't get credit for the win, he did pitch eight innings of impressive baseball, allowing just four hits and an unearned run. Which isn't hay when it's against the division leaders.


"He got the ball over the plate and pitched in two or three tough situations.. .and made pitches which he hadn't done before," Green said. Walk pitched his way out of trouble in the first, seventh and eighth innings.


In the first, with one out, Walk walked Rodney Scott. Scott stole second and advanced to third on catcher Bob Boone's throwing error. Walk then retired Andre Dawson on a fly ball to shallow right field, but fell back into the well when he walked Gary Carter. However, he surfaced by getting Warren Cromartie on a fly ball to center field.


In the seventh, Walk dug himself another hole, allowing runners to reach first and second with two out. But he reached back and retired Ron LeFlore on an infield force out at second.


Trouble however, followed Walk into the eighth. Scott opened with a triple to right-center field but once again Walk reached back. He retired Dawson on an infield out to third baseman Mike Schmidt, Scott holding at third. Carter followed and hit a line drive to right field. Bake McBride caught the ball and fired a perfect strike to Boone. Scott, attempting to score after tagging up at third, was doubled-up and Walk was out of the inning. The travel agency people ripped up the ticket and called it a day.


Although Walk denied thinking Wednesday night's start as a make or break situation, he did show more emotion then usual, the kind of demeanor Green likes to see out on the mound.


In the sixth inning, after taking a throw from Pete Rose and retiring Cromartie at first for the final out of the inning. Walk spiked the ball to the AstroTurf carpet. Then in the eighth, when McBride doubled Scott at the plate and Walk was backing up on the play. Walk threw his glove into the dirt behind home plate and kicked it halfway to the dugout.


"No," Walk answered when asked if he considered the game to be critical. "Not really. If I thought about it, yes. But I didn't want to put pressure on myself. I tried to get the personal aspect of it out of my mind."


Even after Scott's leadoff triple in the eighth.


"After the triple," Walk said, "I just told myself to forget about it and go get 'em. There was nothing I could do about the triple after he hit it. But I can't dwell on tonight. I'll just go on to the next game. Now, though. I can take my shoes off."


The Expos took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. Cromartie opened with a single and advanced to third base when McBride played the ball into a two-base error. Brad Mills' sacrifice fly scored Cromartie with the unearned run.


McBride erased the error with his fifth home run of the season in the sixth inning to tie the game at 1-1.


And again, like the night before, the game went into overtime. This time, however, the Phils picked up the win. Greg Gross, pinch-hitting for winning pitcher Ron Reed, opened the tenth with a walk.


Rose was the next hitter. Green flashed the trick bunt play-fake and swing away. "But I missed the sign," Rose said. However, on his own, Rose put the trick play into action. He faked the bunt and lashed a double down the right field line.


"He (Rose) knows what he has to do and he did it," Green said. "I have no qualms 10 let Pete Rose do what he wants to do." "I was supposed to fake the bunt and swing away," Rose said, "chop the ball over the left side of the infield- But he (relief pitcher Stan Bahnsen) got the ball inside and I pulled it."


Gross advanced to third. McBride was given an intentional walk to load the bases. Schmidt was the next hitter. The Expos brought the outfield in. Schmidt took a ball, a strike, fouled off three pitches and lifted the next pitch over Dawson's head for the game-winner.


"I just hit it," Schmidt said. "I didn't hit it sharp, I didn't hit it hard, I didn't hit it on the line. Those things just happen once in awhile."


EXTRA BASES-Greg Luzinski was scratched from the lineup with a virus McBnde has hit in 15 of the last 16 games....Dick Ruthven said he will be ready to pitch in Saturday night's twi-night doubleheader against the New York Mets....Randy Lerch goes against Scott Sanderson in tonight's series finale.