Philadelphia Daily News - May 19, 1980

Baseball Strike Talks in Limbo


NEW YORK (UPI) – Negotiations between representatives of baseball's players and owners recessed yesterday with no progress made and no definite date set for resuming the talks.


M. David Vaughn, assistant to federal mediator Kenneth Moffett, said the mood of the parties was "serious" with the knowledge that the strike deadline set by the players is midnight Thursday.


"It's not the kind of meeting where there is a lot of shouting and yelling going on across the table," Vaughn said, "but 1 think the parties have to realize that there is a very serious likelihood of a strike. They know they have a tight deadline coming up."


Vaughn said that Marvin Miller, executive director of the Major League Players Association, and Ray Grebey, head of the owners' Player Relations Committee, met jointly and separately with Moffett for a little over an hour yesterday afternoon. He said that no progress on the key issue of the owners' demand for compensation for free agents was made.


"WE (THE mediators) have been forced to take a more active part in this," said Moffett, "and the discussions did touch upon all subjects, including compensation."


"The talks are recessed subject to our call. We will be in touch with both parties shortly and determine whether it would be worthwhile to schedule another negotiating session," Vaughn said, adding that it was "very doubtful" that they would meet today.


Vaughn refused to speculate on the possibility of a strike Thursday, and said, "A lot of things are going to change between now and then, but I would not want to predict anything.”

Ryan Whiffs Phils


By Bill Conlin


HOUSTON – By the eighth inning, Nolan Ryan was losing his fastball.


Sure, and Standard Oil was losing money.


For seven innings it came at the Phillies like a freight train whistle in the night, high and invisible. The hitters knew something was close by – they could hear the diesel hum of the Von Ryan Express.


"His fastball really dropped off in the eighth," Greg Luzinski said sarcastically. "All the way from 98 MPH to 96. You could really tell the difference."


The eighth inning was when pinch-hitter Greg Gross walked with nobody out and Pete Rose sent him to second with his third hit, a single to center. The strength and sinew of the Phillies' batting order – Bake McBride, Mike Schmidt and Luzinski – was ready to pounce.


Some pounce...


McBride struck out. Schmidt struck out. Luzinski struck out.


AFTER RYAN'S BRILLIANT display of clutch power pitching, the Astros announced that the three strikeout fast balls were clocked at 96 MPH, a speed illegal everywhere but on the West German Autobahn. Three of his heaters earlier in the game were caught on radar at 98 MPH and many lit up the dial at 97.


Yesterday, Nolan Ryan was unsafe at any speed, which means he also was throwing strikes with his almost unhittable off-the-table curve ball.


The $1-million-a-year righthander fired 10 strikeouts, allowed only four hits and the Astros broke a five-game losing streak with a 3-0 victory over a Phillies team which did well to win two out of three against the superb pitching they saw over the weekend. Dick Ruthven shut out J R. Richard Friday night and Saturday night a strong Joe Niekro performance was spoiled by two Joe Morgan blunders.


"We saw some nasty pitching from those three guys," Larry Bowa said. "Give our pitchers some credit for throwing three pretty good games at them."


It was Ryan's third National League shutout and first since 1971, the year the Mets helped launch a career of record strikeouts and no-hitters by trading him to the Angels for Jim Fregosi. It was certifiably one of the 10 worst trades in baseball history.


WHEN RYAN SIGNED his lush free agent's contract with the Astros, he issued no guarantees that he could bring to the National League the kind of fastball the Mets gave up on and which terrorized American League hitters for eight seasons. He was, after all, 33 and coming off second-half elbow miseries last year.


But Richard, the reigning National League striKKKKKKKKeout king, never threw harder.


"He threw harder than J.R.," said Bowa, who faced Ryan in his professional baseball debut for the Spartanburg Phillies. "And that's getting it up there. When he's getting the deuce (curve) over like he did today, he's impossible to hit."


Ryan was raised just a $20 cab ride up 1-45 in Aldine and the 33,950 fans gave their native son a whooping, stamping ovation after he powered out of trouble in the eighth.


"I really don't lose a lot as the game goes on," Ryan said of his ability to keep pumping in the high 90s a hundred-plus pitches into a game. "When I'm in good condition I should be able to throw just as hard in the ninth as I can in the early innings and probably throw more effectively in the later innings. It was the first time this year I've gone nine, but I've thrown enough pitches to go nine some of the other games. Last time out I think I threw 140 or something like that. I didn't throw an excessive amount of pitches today.


"I WENT OUT THERE today with the intention of trying to shut those guys out. I want to help our guys get back on a positive attitude. They're feeling pressure. The fans are a little disenchanted with us and here we are losing five in a row at home. I felt like if I could go out and shut 'em out today we were gonna score some runs. If I shut 'em out we were gonna win today. That's how I felt."


Beneath the litter of splintered and scorched bats was Randy Lerch's sixth straight loss of a winless season. The scenario was familiar. The Astros scored a run in the first and two in the second. By the third, the lefthander had settled into a groove of his own and looked like he could shut out the Astros for a week if he had to.


Unfortunately, almost every pitcher Randy has matched up against this season has picked that occasion to crank up his very best game. Members of the I-Got-It-Together-Against-Randy Club now include Ryan, Doyle Alexander, Charlie Leibrandt, Mark Bomback and Pete Vuckovich twice.


Lerch is in the same kind of time warp that made Larry Christenson's 1978 season frustrating sequence of well-pitched, low-run losses.


And by the time Randy's next scheduled start – Friday night against the Astros – rolls around, the 1980 season may be history.


On a day he was beaten by a guy who fired 10 strikeouts, it is one strike Randy Lerch doesn't need.


PHILUPS: Before talks broke down yesterday the players were willing to accept a basic agreement covering everything but compensation, which they would have agreed to leave open to future negotiations. The owners said they were willing to continue the status quo, honoring all aspects of the current agreement including the re-entry draft next fall. How can two parties so close to an agreement on principle be on the verge of an industry-crippling strike? Don't ask. But unless there is wholesale panic by the players – a longshot – or the owners back away from their "Beat Marvin Miller at all costs'" stand, the season, or a significant portion of it, will be history at Thursday midnight... Greg Luzinski, who ended an 0-for-17 Saturday night, struck out 11 times in the eight games of the trip...The 3-for-4 raised Pete Rose's average to.261.

9 Winners over Weekend


There were nine winners in the Daily News Home Run Payoff over the weekend.


In the eighth inning of yesterday's Phillies-Astros game, Mary Matour of Philadelphia won $10 and four tickets to a Phillies game on a Pete Rose single. Jim Otter, Sam Avella, Marianne Toto and Susan Juliano Jr., all of Philadelphia, won tickets.


In the fifth inning of Saturday's game, M. Lo Bosco of Philadelphia won $10 and tickets on a Pete Rose single. Charles Summ and George Taylor, both of Philadelphia, and Philip Janson of Huntingdon Valley won tickets.


So far the Daily News has paid out $3,525. To enter, send in the coupon that appears on Page 72.