Reading Eagle - May 13, 1980

Rose Hits His 39th


CINCINNATI (AP) – Pete Rose celebrated his 39th birthday Monday, an off day after the Philadelphia Phillies dropped two of three games to the Cincinnati Reds.


Rose, whose records continue to pile up as the former Reds player continues his career, went only 2-for-12 in the series.


Rose was disappointed at the Phillies’ performance in the weekend series and was critical of the Reds’ pitching.


“They proved you don’t have to throw hard to win.  I was surprised with (Tom) Seaver (Saturday).  They say he doesn’t have a sore arm but it must be his back or something.  It wasn’t the Tom Seaver I know,” he said.  Cincinnati won 5-3.


“It’s fun to play here.  I just wish I could get more hits and we could win more games.”


Rose, who has numerous records, tied another Sunday, held by many players, stealing three bases in one inning.


Rose stole a run from the Reds in the seventh inning when he drew a walk, stole second, stole third, and, on a delayed steal, came home.


“I don’t think I ever stole three bases in one game, but I also think I haven’t tried,” Rose said.


Reds shortstop Dave Concepcion disputed the umpire’s safe call when Rose stole second.  Concepcion and Rose also exchanged a few friendly barbs.


Then, when Rose slid into third, he asked umpire Bruce Froemming, “Do you think you could hit .198?”


Froemming nodded.  “Well,” said Rose, “trade places with Davey, because he wants to umpire.”

SporttopicS:  Do Phils Short-Change Fans at Exhibition?


By John W. Smith


Do the Philadelphia Phillies short-change the fans when they make their annual visit to Reading for the exhibition game?


A few complaints have been registered about the big leaguers’ early departure and hesitancy to sign autographs.


Only four of the eight regulars made it to Reading this year, but three were injured (two enough to miss playing time) and another (Bob Boone) had a conflict with his job as National League player rep.  The fans did get an unexpected bonus when regular Dick Ruthven  started on the mount.


In the past, the attendance of the Phillies has been very good, except in 1974, when the regular infield begged off in August because of allegedly needing rest for the pennant race.  That year, the Philadelphia management offered a ticket bonus to the fans as an apology.  The game has been played in the spring ever since.


Of course, there was the famous time when Dick Allen missed the bus and a fed-up Bob Skinner quit as manager, but Reading was hardly a unique target for Allen.


The feeling here is that the fans deserve to see the regulars bat twice.  This year, three of the four did that. (Bowa batted once.)


In 1978, the last time the game was played, all the regulars batted twice and Rich Hebner hit four times.  In ’77, everybody hit twice.


So on that point, the Phillies get passing grades.  Manager Dallas Green said he was extra careful with the regulars this year because of injuries weakening the bench.


There is also no reason why the players shouldn’t be free to leave after they’ve left the game.  (Many drive to Reading so they can do that – and so they can do some shopping before the game.)


Few Busy Signers


On the autograph situation, the Phillies are far less blameless.  There are always some   who go out of their way to oblige the fans.  This year, Lonnie Smith and Luis Aguayo stood patiently in the rain, surrounded by fans, and Del Unser held court under the stands for a lengthy period.


Most of the others signed a few, but only a few.  They stay in the locker room as long as possible, and keep away from the stands during practice.


“We recognize that there is a problem,” said Bill Giles, the Philadelphia vice president in whose portfolio public relations falls.


“The players need to be reminded that they should try to oblige the fans.  Often peer pressure is involved, and some won’t do it if they see others not doing it.  It’s been our mistake for not mentioning it to the players, and we’ll do it next year.”


The feeling here is that if each player just visited for about five more minutes at varying times – when awaiting his turn in the cage – the fans would be a lot happier.


After all, since the players aren’t expected to perform on the field as they would for a regular game, they shouldn’t expect that regular off-field rules should apply.


Buzas Satisfied


The Reading management is of course not about to complain.  Joe Buzas and his associates are very happy that the Phillies are willing to play an exhibition yearly, something no other big team does for its Eastern League farm.  This year’s game meant about $18,000 to the Reading club in gate and concessions.


The current major-league agreement calls for the players to play to exhibitions a year, if management asks it.  That of course could change in the new agreement, whenever one is reached, but it’s hardly a major point of contention.


“Fewer and fewer clubs are playing the exhibitions,” said Giles.  “But we figure that is the way we can do the minor leagues a favor.  It’s the only reason we do it.”


“We’ve had no complaints made this year to us,” said General Manager Mark Helminiak.  “People were saying how much they enjoyed the game on their way out,” echoed Buzas.  Last year, when the game was cancelled by rain, there were complaints – both for the delay in calling it and for the hiding by the players.


The minor leaguers certainly enjoy playing the game a lot more than the major leaguers.  “I’d rather play that game than any other all year,” said Ozzie Virgil.


“I remember how much I looked forward to this game when I was in Reading,” said one of the big team.  “Now…”


Before this year’s game, Steve Carlton was suggesting that perhaps his equipment had been left behind by mistake.  “You better find it,” said Green.  “Either that, or sign autographs all night.”


Steve found it – but let it be said that he also signed a few autographs.