Atlanta Constitution - May 15, 1980

Horner’s Homer The Bright Spot In Phils’ Romp


By Ken Picking, Constitution Staff Writer


When a groundball skips in Bob Horner's direction, the boos swell before the Braves' beleaguered third baseman has had a chance to make or miss the play.


When Horner misses a pitch, makes an out or comes into the game's focus in any fashion, the Atlanta fans unload the grief. Even the displeasure of only 4,625 at the Stadium can sound like the deafening drone of a swarm of killer bees. Actually, the bees are less hostile.


But by the conclusion of Philadelphia's slam-bam, 9-1 knockout of the Braves Wednesday night Horner had turned some of his enemies into sympathetic allies with a 2-for-4 night including a 405-foot home run off Steve Carlton. It was Horner's first homer since the last game of 1979, and it came in his third game back since his aborted demotion to the minor leagues.


"Really, I thought there were more boos tonight than last night" said Horner, a master of straight-face at only 22. "It sure seemed like it. But it's been that way for two years. I don't know why I should expect it to change. They (the fans) are out for blood. They are just hoping the ball is hit to me and that I screw it up."


Horner did not throw any balls into the $7 seats or take any grounders off that noble chin. His first-pitch homer in the sixth ruined Carlton's shutout, and he followed it with a sharp single off Tug McGraw in the eighth. Still, the boos persisted.


"All that has happened has made me very stoic," said Horner, who unintentionally turned his cheek away from Ted Turner when running by the owner's seat after the home run. "I just try to keep a blank face and go on. I try not to show any emotion. I wasn't trying for a home run off Carlton, just to drive it hard somewhere. It's just hard to get excited about anything anymore."


Horner's outburst was the lone source of excitement for Manager Bob Cox, who said his club (11-17) played Wednesday like it did during the infamous 1-9 start.


"You know at some point Horner is going to put the ball in orbit," said Cox, who added that he would keep his third baseman hitting second. "That's the best he has swung the bat, by far. One home run in a good series and all the boos will be gone. He still has more to work on, but he volunteered to come out Thursday morning (during an off-day) for extra work, and that's sure good to hear."


Larry McWilliams had won his previous two starts to even his record at 2-2, but the Phillies wiped the left-hander out early by scoring four times in the first two innings and then four times in the third, when Tommy Boggs came on to halt the madness. Preston Hanna worked two one-hit innings, and then Gene Garber finished with his most impressive work, allowing no hits and no runs despite errors by Chris Chambliss and Jeff Burroughs.


For the second straight night, Cox had his lineup stacked with right-handed hitters, but the results were considerably less damaging against Carlton (6-1) than against Randy Lerch.


Dale Murphy doubled and singled, and Gary Matthews singled, but the rest of the Braves were silent. Atlanta had two on with one out in the third when Horner and Matthews struck out. The same opportunity presented itself in the eighth but Chambliss, Burroughs and Murphy failed.


Irrepressible Pete Rose doubled twice, scored twice and drove in four runs. "I hit two balls off McWilliams when he and Garber stopped my (44-game) hitting streak (in 1978) harder than the ones I hit tonight" said Rose, whose average jumped to only .243. Bake McBride singled three times, and Larry Bowa doubled and singled twice.


Despite what Cox called "brutal fielding, terrible everything," the Braves did have some defensive highlights. In a frantic second, catcher Bruce Benedict threw out Bowa on the front end of a double steal, and later Matthews and Benedict combined on a perfect throw-and-tag on Rose.


NOTES – Phillie general manager Paul Owens requested to visit with Brave GM John Mullen Wednesday, and the immediate speculation was that Philadelphia, desperate for pitching help, was interested in reacquiring Garber. The right-handed reliever, reassigned to long relief last week, was traded from the Phillies in 1978 for Dick Ruthven. Garber (1-2), with an 8.25 earned run average before Wednesday, has not waived the no-trade clause to his contract but he has indicated he would for the Phillies... Biff Pocoroba was to see a doctor Wednesday concerning the torn muscles in his right forearm, but the Braves had no official report... Turner escorted the Braves through his new Cable News Network studios Wednesday afternoon. The Captain made the trip mandatory and said anyone who missed would be fined $500... Chambliss and Burroughs are not the top two Braves in RBI with 15 and 12, as reported Wednesday. Chambliss (15) and Brian Asselstine (14) are. Asselstine, who loses regular playing time with Murphy moving to center against lefties, has kept his disappointment quiet... Turner received a souvenir Tuesday night from Rose, who flipped a baseball to the owner after it rolled through the infield allowing the bases to clear... In 28 games, Cox has used seven different starting lineups... After 28 games in 1979, the Braves were 9-19, 7 games out of first... Before Wednesday, the Braves' team earned run average was 4.06, lower than it was at any time in 1979... Pitchers for the Braves-Mets series Friday, Saturday and Sunday: Phil Niekro (2-4) vs. Pete Falcone (1-2); Rick Matula (2-2) vs. Pat Zachry (0-1); Doyle Alexander (1-2) vs. Ray Burris (2-2).

Phils’ Boone:  Owners Balk About Talking


By Jesse Outlar, Sports Editor


Bob Boone, the National League player representative, stood in front of his locker in the Philadelphia clubhouse before Wednesday night's game against the Atlanta Braves at the Stadium. He glanced at a memorandum from Ray' Grebey, shook his head and remarked that the document provided some insight into the way things are being handled in the negotiations on the baseball labor front.


Boone and many other members of the Players Association contend that the owners are so intent on defeating Marvin Miller that they won't sit down and concentrate on resolving the issues which probably will provoke a strike May 21.


"You see this memo?" asked Boone. "Well, at a recent meeting, Miller looked across the table at Grebey and asked him if he had sent it to all the players. Grebey said that he had not. Well, technically, he didn't. He sent it to all the owners, and they passed it along to the players. The memo is Grebey's explanation of why there should be no impasse. Of course they want os to continue playing while negotiations continue, but we are not going to do that That is why a deadline was set."


As Boone noted, it is interesting that the players attend the labor sessions with Miller, executive director of the Players Association, but the owners do not accompany Grebey, executive director of the players relations com-puttee.


"The owners have made some concessions," said Boone, "and we aren't all that far apart on an agreement.


If They'd Only...


"But they refuse to sit down and hammer it out. For instance, I am sure, at this stage, that Ruly Carpenter, who owns the Phils, and I could sit down and resolve things now.


"But the point is no owner will come to a meeting. The way it is going I am not optimistic. As I said, I'm afraid the owners are making it a personal issue against Miller. But Miller does not dictate to us. We talk to him, and he talks to us. But all the owners know is what they hear from Grebey."


Listening to visiting players and the Braves, I believe that there will be a strike, and it may be a long one. Certainly it will be bitter. Even optimist Pete Rose is afraid that there will be no ballgames for a while after May 22. Even if an agreement was reached now, the legal papers could not be signed and filtered through the proper channels by the deadline date.


Incidentally, Rose reportedly would be perhaps the only player to get paid if there is a strike. Philadelphia sources say it was written in the contract that he would be paid during a walkout when he signed his $3.2-million, four-year pact with the Phils in December of 1978.


"I don't care to get into all of that" said Rose, before taking batting practice in the cage under the Stadium. "Just say that I had a helluva good lawyer to draw up the papers when I signed with the Phils."


Rose Worried


Apparently Rose does have the rare clause, but a source says the Phils now claim he has a special services contract involving TV and other revenue, and they'll go to court in attempt not to pay Rose if there is a strike.


''The strike situation does not look' good," said Rose. "I just hope we can reach an agreement I know I don't want to strike, and I don't think there is a player on our club who does.


"I'm a player, and I am a baseball, fan," he continued. "I don't want to see a strike because it is going to be very bad for everyone involved. Baseball broke all attendance records last year, and attendance has been good this year. There's never been more interest in baseball.


"But a strike is going to kill a lot of fan enthusiasm. If there is a strike, there may be no games for a long time. I know I don't want to miss a single game. I want to play at least 162 games every year, so I'm just hoping that both sides can get together, but you should talk to Bob Boone. He is our league player rep, and he tells me that it doesn't look good now."


Compensation remains the main barrier. The owners are determined to get better compensation when a player signs as a free agent with another team as Rose and many others have.


Losing baseball and the Olympic games will be a tough blow in the same year, but the players and owners have a choice, while the U.S. athletes didn't.