Corpus Christi Times - May 19, 1980
Looking like a million
Nolan Ryan finally living up to billing
By Ken Rappoport, Associated Press Sports Writer
Nolan Ryan is finally starting to look like a million.
Ineffectual for the most part this season, Houston’s fireballing right-hander finally pitched a game Sunday worthy of his million-dollar-a-year contract.
A four-hit, 3-0 beauty over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Ryan’s intimidating fastball was working at full blast — 98 mph on some pitches. And so was his sweeping curve, which he used liberally to tame the slugging Phillies.
"Sometimes your reputation precedes you," said Ryan. "If somebody's expecting my fastball and my breaking stuff is working, it might cause them trouble.”
Ryan was in command all the way, striking out a season-high 10 batters and allowing only one runner to reach third base, on a fifth-inning triple by Manny Trillo. He walked pinch-hitter Greg Gross and yielded a single to Pete Rose to start the eighth inning but then ignited the crowd in the Houston Astrodome by striking out the next three batters.
"I've always been better in the latter parts of the game," Ryan said. “I get in a groove and for some reason I don't get tired."
In other National League action, the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-0; the San Diego Padres edged the Chicago Cubs 4-3; the San Francisco Giants turned back the St Louis Cardinals 6-5; and the Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 2-1 in the opener of a doubleheader before dropping the nightcap 2-1. Cincinnati at Montreal was postponed because of rain.
Ryan got all the support he needed with three runs in the first two innings to post his second victory in five decisions.
Jeff Leonard’s run-scoring single gave the Astros a 1-0 lead in the first and then Rafael Landestoy and Terry Puhl hit run-scoring singles in the second.
Steve Garvey hit a sixth-inning home run and Bob Welch hurled a three-hitter for 8⅔ innings as Los Angeles beat Pittsburgh.
Welch, 3-1, allowed only a first-inning single by Tim Foil, a seventh-inning single by Mike Easier and a two-out base hit in the ninth by Dave Parker before needing Steve Howe’s last-out relief help. Kurt Bevacqua drove in four runs, including two with a one-out ninth-inning single, to lead San Diego to a come-from-behind victory over Chicago.
Trailing 3-2 going into the ninth, the Padres put runners on second and third on a single by Bill Fahey and a double by Dave Winfield off Cub relief ace Bruce Sutter, 2-3.
Bevacqua then drilled his second two-run single of the game to give San Diego the victory. Bevacqua had entered the game in the seventh inning as a pinch-hitter with the bases loaded and singled to cut the Cubs’ lead to 3-2.
Relief pitcher Al Holland thwarted a ninth-inning St Louis rally as San Francisco held on to beat the Cardinals. Holland, the fourth Giants pitcher, got Keith Hernandez to pop out and Ted Simmons on a called third strike after coming in with men on first and second in the top of the ninth.
Dale Murphy’s two-run homer backed the six-hit pitching of Rick Matula and Rick Camp as Atlanta edged New York in the opener of their double-header. Murphy's sixth home run of the year came in the second inning.
Second baseman Jerry Royster's two ninth-inning errors allowed the Mets to score a pair of unearned runs in the second game and wipe out a 1-0 Atlanta lead.
Astros’ early surge keeping turnstiles busy
By Emil Tagliabue, Times Sports Editor
Away all notes and other odds and ends:
All the world loves a winner. The Houston' Astros, off to the fastest start in their history despite a recent slump and so loaded with pitching they have to be contenders — if and when the season is completed — are packing in the fans in numbers not seen since the opening of the Astrodome in 1965. Through yesterday’s game with the Philadelphia Phillies — the 17th home date of the season — the Astros have lured 498,982 through the turnstiles, an average of 29,352 per game. That figure compares to 331,063 at the same juncture last season, when the crowd total hit 1,900,312, a figure topped only by the 2,151,470 in the Astrodome inaugural season. The Philadelphia weekend series drew 111,844.
Not all Houston Oilers fans were down on Dan Pastorini, the oft-maligned quarterback traded to the Oakland Raiders for Ken Stabler. An outfit call Griff's Army, 165 members strong, held a going-away party for their hero last week in Houston.
Jon W. Weber, swimming and diving coach at Texas Woman's University (in Denton), is a believer in talent is where you find it. Flour Bluff 1977 graduate Cassandra Bowman, a member of the track team in high school, had never participated in competitive swimming until this year. "Though she was initially confronted with obstacles of not being accustomed to either the demands of our training regimens or to stroke techniques," Weber said, "she became a versatile swimmer and even swam in the individual medley events which require one to perform all four of the competitive strokes during the race.
“At the TAIAW state swimming and diving championships, Sandy helped us capture TWU’s first Division III state title by swimming on our first place 800-yard freestyle relay team and the first place 400-yard medley relay. In individual events, she captured a 10th place in the 100-yard backstroke, a sixth in the 100-yard freestyle and two sevenths in the 50-yard backstroke and 100-yard individual medley for a total of 28 points of the teams ’s total 409."
Sandy, Weber says, is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. N.S. Fox of Corpus Christi.
Another former local athlete who had a good year was Charles Pettis, a sophomore from Miller who was named most valuable performer on the Prairie View University men's track team.
The Bluebonnet Bowl basketball tournament is going back to Hofheinz Pavilion on the campus of University of Houston this year after a near-disaster in a move last year to The Summitt. That meet drew only 3,000 fans in two nights. This year’s tournament field will have UH hosting Army, Wyoming and Oklahoma. Sorry, but it sounds as if the field, not the site, may be a contributing factor to low attendance.
It’s been a big year, too, for Jeff Pyburn, University of Georgia defensive back. He was the seventh pick of the Buffalo Bills in the recent National Football League draft and last week was named unanimously as the centerfielder on the Southeastern Conference’s academic all-conference team. The 6-1, 205 senior sports a .400 batting average in baseball and a 3.46 grade point average in the classroom as a major in religion.
The American Bowling Congress recently recorded the 10 millionth game of its annual championships. The man designated — by a drawing — as the bowler with that unsual distinction was Robert Shoemaker of Columbus, O., who was participating in his 35th ABC. His name was drawn by legendary Bill Dochrman of Fort Wayne, Ind., who that same night coincidentally was participating in his 70th ABC.