Philadelphia Inquirer - May 11, 1980
Robin Roberts confident Miller will avoid a strike
By Allen Lewis, On Baseball
You won't find the name of George W. Taylor in any baseball record book, but his part in the game's revolution is significant. It was Taylor who recommended Marvin Miller to the players back in 1965.
Robin Roberts, the Hall of Famer who is now the University of South Florida coach, Harvey Kuenn and Jim Bunning formed the screening committee charged 15 years ago with picking an executive director for the Players Association, and Roberts recalls calling Penn's Wharton School to talk to Taylor, a labor-relations expert.
Taylor gave Roberts two names – Lane Kirkland, the present AFL-CIO head who wasn’t interested in the baseball job, and Marvin Miller, who was. Miller was hired in midseason of 1966.
Roberts is such an admirer of Miller's talents that he thinks a players' strike will be avoided. Miller, Roberts says, "will do his greatest selling job and there won't be a strike. Baseball will benefit more from Marvin this time than any other. He is smart enough to realize the players have the upper hand, but he is not going to misuse this advantage. The owners have done it to themselves. There will be compromises on both sides and the game will continue."
Minnesota pitcher Mike Marshall, the militant American League player representative, doesn't sound so admiring of Miller, blaming him for the fact that compensation for a free agent is an issue in the current squabble.
"We gave them too much originally," Marshall says, referring to the six-year rule in the 1976 Basic Agreement, which came after an arbitrator had ruled any player who played out his option year was a free agent regardless of his years of experience.
"I argued against it when the association decided to compromise what we had won," Marshall says. "Those players who have reached the majors since '76 are damn angry about it."
Marshall, who receives his entire yearly salary in January, and thus won't be hurt financially if there is a strike, feels the owners are bent on breaking the Players Association.
"The clubs now share about $40 million in TV revenue per year," he says. "Five years from now, it may be $40 billion. Business-wise, it (a strike aimed at breaking the association) is a brilliant more. If I was an unscrupulous businessman, I'd do the same."
NOTES: Lenny Randle, whose play has helped the Cubs get off to a fast start, may have set a record for traveling. In just days more than one year, the infielder has been owned by the Mets, Giants, Pirates, Yankees, Mariners and Cubs…. Because of the power-saw accident in which Roger Metzger lost the tips of his fingers on his right hand, the Giants shortstop can no longer get enough on his long throws to play regularly.... One owner who asked not to be identified said, "If there's a strike, it'll be a long one, because if we decide to allow it to happen, we'll let it last until trie players are really hurt."... Ex-Phillies pitching coach Al Widmar is back in uniform for the first time since 1974, serving as pitching coach for the Toronto Blue Jays, who had the worst pitching in the major leagues last season, but have made a startling turnaround so far this year.
The answer to last week's Trivia Question: The only major league teams to average more than six runs per game in a season in the past 40 years were the 1950 Red Sox, who averaged 6.67 runs for 154 games, and the 1953 Dodgers, who averaged 6.16 runs for 155 games. Herman Costello of Burlington, N. J., was first with the correct answer. This week's question: Name the two teammates who combined to produce the most total hits in one season.
Seaver, Reds defeat Carlton, 5-3, as Phils waste three home runs
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
CINCINNATI – It was a ball Garry Maddox catches, unless he has two broken legs and forgot to bring his glove.
But Garry Maddox wasn't playing center field for the Phillies yesterday when Cincinnati's Ray Knight hit that sixth-inning pop-up to short left-center.
Maddox, still nursing a tender right ankle, had the day off. And Greg Gross, his replacement, is a fine defensive player. But he hasn't got the burners Garry Maddox has. And so he has to play a deeper center than Garry Maddox does. And so, in the end, he just wasn't going to get to Ray Knight's floating pop-up.
So Larry Bowa started backpedaling after it. He backpedaled and backpedaled and then backpedaled some more. Finally, 40 feet beyond what is normally considered the infield, Bowa got there, the ball got there and Bowa reached back and one-handed it.
And then dropped it.
As he did, the winning run scored. And thus the Phillies lost to the Reds, 5-3. Lost on a day in which they hit a remarkable three homers off Tom Seaver. Lost on a day in which they twice handed Steve Carlton the lead in a game in which he had good enough stuff to strike out 11 in seven innings.
"I just missed it. That's all," said Bowa later, Knight's pop-up still swirling in the back of his head. "If Garry Maddox is playing center field, I don't even go after that ball. But Greg was playing center. He plays deeper. So it was my ball, and missed it.
"I've got no excuses. I wish I had one. Yeah, I backpedaled a long way, but it doesn't matter. 1 still missed it. It's my fault."
It was Bowa's third error of the year, but his first missed pop-up since 1976. Sometimes the baseball gods giveth. And sometimes they taketh.
They did both for Bowa yesterday. The giveth part came in the fifth, with the Phillies leading, 1-0, courtesy of a Bake McBride homer that broke up Seaver's no-hitter in the fourth.
Bowa stroked a 250-foot line drive to medium left-center. As Sam Mejias barreled after it from center, Dave Collins charged over from left.
Anybody who drives the Schuylkill Expressway knows what happened next. Head-on crash. Ball hops to the wall. Bowa gets inside-the-park homer.
"The ball was hit right in the middle of us," said Mejias, smiling the grateful smile of a man who knows that on another day he might have been leveled by George Foster instead of Collins.
"We were running hard. There was no time to call it, no way we could have called
it, I was sure I was going to get it. He was sure he was going to get it. I know one of us could have caught it. After we hit, it took me a while to realize there was still a ball in play. I
guess I got up too late, huh?"
The homer was Bowa's first homer since July 30, 1978, also in Cincinnati off the memorable Manny Sarmiento. And it gave Carlton a two-run pad on a day in which it looked as if the Reds might be fortunate to get two hits, let alone two runs.
Two outs into the fifth, Carlton had allowed only a fourth-inning single by Collins into the shortstop hole, had nobody on base and had Mejias at the plate.
Carlton had shown his fear of Mejias and his .217 lifetime average by striking him out routinely in the third. And he would strike him out again in the sixth. But he walked him on five pitches this time. And that brought on the lefthanded-hitting Dan Driessen, a man Randy Lerch had walked a guy to get to Friday. Driessen, who had as many strikeouts this year (17) as hits at the time, battled Carlton to 2-and-2, fouling off several snarling sliders. But then Carlton hung a sidearm curve, Driessen lined.it into the lower deck and the game was even. "You fight and scratch and wait for one good pitch from Carlton," Driessen said. "And when you get it, you better not miss it because it's the only one you'll get."
Mike Schmidt recaptured the lead for Carlton an inning later, though. With two out, Schmidt bombed his ninth homer, a skyscraper that dropped into the lower deck in left and made it 3-2.
But Carlton began the sixth by walking Seaver on four pitches. He walked four on the day, all between the fifth and seventh innings. "He wasn't tired," said Dallas Green. "Lefty, every now and then, will just go into one of those things. It's just a little lapse in concentration. It's gone in a moment."
But the sight of Seaver on first wasn't. Collins then tried to bunt him over in what became one of the game's most crucial plays.
The bunt bounced straight up off the plate. Boone grabbed it, tagged Collins and then tried to clear Collins out of the way and throw to second to get Seaver. But – shades of Ed Armbrister in the '75 World Series – Boone bounced the throw to second, and Seaver hustled in safely.
"Give Seaver credit," Green said. "He's the one who won his own ball-game, hustling out the bunt at second. If he doesn't, it's a double play, and we've got no problem. Yeah, there was a little jostling. But interference? No way."
Carlton's lead lasted one "more pitch. Junior Kennedy roped a Sailing fastball up the alley in right-center for a double, and it was 3-3. Then Dave Concepcion grounded out, Carlton walked Johnny Bench and Ray Knight lofted his now-infamous popup.
The Phillies never had another baserunner against Seaver (2-1) and Tom Hume (five saves, three win in 13 appearances). And the Reds added an insurance run in the eighth off Tug McGraw, on a Concepcion triple and a wild pitch.
NOTES: Green said Maddox. who played Friday, had not reinjured his sprained ankle. He just gave him a day off. "It was a situation where I just did not want to press him," the manager said. "He'd only had 10 hours' rest on it. I talked to the trainers. And they felt another day, after coming off that sort of thing, would help. He wanted to play. He was ready to play. But there's no sense in reinjuring him.... Bowa's first career homer, in 1972, also was an inside-the-park number.... Even with their 0-for-2 yesterday, Phillies pinch-hitters are 12-for-their-last-22 (.546)…. All nine of Schmidt's homers are off righthanders. Five either have tied games or put the Phillies ahead.... Greg Luzinski (0-for-7 in the series) is hitting .176 (6-for-34) on the road. Pete Rose is .132 (5-for-38) on the road.... Dick Ruthven vs. Mike LaCoss (3-2, 4.38) today.
The Bowa-Concepcion rivalry is on verge of open warfare
There's one thing you can say for sure about Larry Bowa and Dave Concepcion. They're not exactly as tight as Franken and Davis.
The Phillies' shortstop and his counterpart on the Cincinnati Reds have been waging a silent battle for Gold Glove awards for the last decade. But, sometimes, their battles are not all that silent.
Friday night, when the Reds and Phillies met for the first time this year, Bowa sought out Concepcion at the batting cage and began needling him about his .196 batting average.
Concepcion returned the fire with a few digs about Bowa's failure to beat him out for last season's Gold Glove.
Eventually, the barbs got so heated that umpire Bruce Froemming told the two he was fining them $50 apiece for "fraternization," in the loosest sense of the word.
But that apparently didn't stop them from resuming the fray yesterday.
Concepcion came up to Bowa before the game and said, "You want a Gold Glove? OK, I'll bring you one."
"Sure, bring it," Bowa said. "I'll smash it to bits."
Concepcion laughed and sent the Reds' bat boy to bring one back from the clubhouse.
"Go ahead and smash it," Concepcion said. "I've got seven more of them."
At that point, Froemming stepped in and said he was fining them again Bowa said later he wasn't sure whether Froemming meant it or not.
Later, Bowa missed a pop-up for his third error of the year. Concepcion also has three.
"I haven't said anything to him about it yet," Concepcion said "But don't worry. I'll see him tomorrow."