Atlanta Constitution - May 6, 1980
Nahorodny The Spoiler For Carlton
By Ken Picking, Constitution Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA – "How sweet it is."
Bill Nahorodny, sold by the Phillies for a $20,000 waiver price in 1977, would not permit the words to cross his lips, but the Atlanta catcher felt ecstatic nonetheless Monday night after breaking up Steve Carlton's, no-hitter with two outs in the eighth inning of an easy 7-1 Philadelphia victory.
In only his fifth at-bat since coming back from a broken thumb, Nahorodny split the Veterans Stadium carpet at second base with his first hit of 1980. The 26,165 stood and cheered Carlton anyway, as they had since the anticipation started building after the sixth.
"Anytime you get a hit off Steve Carlton under any circumstances, it's a tremendous accomplishment," said Nahorodny, who struck out as a pinch hitter in the sixth. "I've played with him and against him, and he is one of the best pitchers I have ever seen.
"He overmatched me the first time up. I struck out on a slider that I must have missed by two feet I went up the second time looking for another breaking ball, but the first pitch was a fastball outside, and I got to it."
Standing on first base, Nahorodny claims he was not laughing inside at the Phillie management about its decision to sell him to the Chicago White Sox three years ago. "I got most of my jitters out of my system when I played for the White Sox against the Phillies in spring training," said the 26-year-old native of Hamtramck, Mich., acquired from the White Sox during the winter.
"I had to leave the Phillies, though, to get to the big leagues," he said. "It was the only way with all the catchers they had. I don't look at this hit as any kind of revenge, but certainly it feels mighty good."
Before Nahorodny, the Braves had hit only three balls hard off Carlton, who holds the modern National League record of six one-hitters. In the ninth, Phillies manager Dallas Green said his two-time Cy Young winner "lost his composure" when he allowed a leadoff, opposite-field home run to Dale Murphy and then a single by Chris Chambliss. The 7⅔ innings was the longest hitless stretch ever by Carlton, who finished with 11 strikeouts.
"I just knew he was going to get it (the no-hitter)," Green said. "I feel bad for him."
Atlanta manager Bob Cox said that was the best he had ever seen the Phillie left-hander pitch.
"Until the ninth he was in complete command," he said. "We've usually had good success against Carlton, but not this time."
Carlton, whose five wins lead the league, struck out Murphy three times before the right fielder drove an outside pitch over the 330 sign in right. "He made a lot of good pitches, but I was mad at myself for going for some bad ones," said Murphy, who tied Chambliss for the team home-run lead with four. "I just regrouped the last time up."
Mike Schmidt and two Braves errors in the fourth blew the game open early and knocked out starter Rick Matula. Schmidt scored the game's first run when Greg Luzinski's double went over Brian Asselstine's head in center, and then the All-Star third baseman homered deep to left twice, in the third and fourth, off Matula (2-2). Schmidt claimed the league home-run leadership from Luzinski with his seventh and eighth, while Carlton helped himself with two runs batted in.
The Braves fell apart in the fourth, when the Phils went out in front 7-0. Chambliss threw a double-play ball into the dirt at second. Two more runs scored when Jerry Royster's throw home went over catcher Bruce Benedict – and nearly the backstop. With Matula obviously shaken by the defensive failures, Schmidt immediately followed the infield circus with his second home run, and a parade of relievers commenced. Preston Hanna, Gene Garber and Larry Bradford shut the Phillies out the rest of the way, as anti-climatic as it may have been.
It’s Business As Usual With Carlton: Mum’s The Word
By Ken Picking, Constitution Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA - The pitcher who came within four outs of the first no-hitter by a Phillie in nine years was hiding in the off-limits training room, and the fanatic Philadelphia press corps could have cared less.
"I have covered the Phillies since March of 1979, and I have never met Steve Carlton," said Mark Whicker, baseball writer for the Philadelphia Bulletin.
For the better part of the last four years, Steve Carlton has refused to be interviewed, unless it's by a Phillie television or radio announcer. The 35-year-old, two-time Cy Young Award winner maintained his oath of silence Monday night after former Phillie and current Atlanta Brave Bill Nahorodny ruined the no-hit bid with a solid single to center in the eighth inning.
The 26,165 at Veterans Stadium gasped with disappointment, but the Philadelphia newspaper writers sighed in relief. No quotes after Carlton pitched a three-hit, 7-1 victory was considerably easier to write around than no comment from The Man of the Hour after a no-no.
"I've had a recurring nightmare that Carlton would be pitching a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth and George Hendrick would break it up," said Ralph Bernstein, the Philadelphia sports editor for The Associated Press. Hendrick, of course, is the St Louis outfielder who has refused to talk to the media for several years as well.
After Carlton walked off the mound with his fifth victory in six decisions, the Philadelphia media did not even bother crowding around the hallway leading to the clubhouse, knowing full well that the pitcher called "Lefty" would be hiding behind closed doors. But after the writers ran into the Braves' 10-minute waiting period, they reluctantly returned to the home team's dressing quarters.
Upon entry, the clubhouse contained only eight players and the equipment manager. The rest of the team was showering or enjoying the privacy of the training room with Carlton. Usually a 20-deep mob would surround the locker of the pitcher who provided such a dominating performance, but the only people near Carlton's stall were teammates.
The press wandered aimlessly on the red carpet waiting for Mike Schmidt, whose contribution was two home runs. No attempts were made to approach Carlton. After 20 minutes, he still had not appeared.
"I talked to Steve personally about dealing with the press this spring," Manager Dallas Green said. "You can go ask him about it."
According to Phillie public relations director Larry Shenk, Carlton was "extremely cooperative with the press" in 1972, when he led the league with 27 wins and a 1.98 earned run average in his first season after being traded from St Louis. But in 1973, Carlton slumped to 13-20, and that's when the friction with the writers began.
"Steve claims the writers were prying into his personal life that year," Shenk said. "One of the gossip columnists in town wrote that tie was out drinking late, and that was the reason he was not pitching welL He started talking less and less each year after until he finally quit talking completely around 1976. In 1973, though, Steve was the best player I had seen with the press before I came in contact with Pete Rose."
Shenk said he had considered passing out mimeographed quotes from Carlton, "but I hated to start that because once you do it for one, you end up doing it for others, too."
The Philadelphia writers have consequently adopted a jaded opinion of Carlton. "I haven't talked to him in four years," said Bill Conlin, baseball writer for the Philadelphia Daily News and a columnist for The Sporting News. "It's his loss, not mine."
Bernstein, who has covered Philadelphia sports since 1946, attempted to mend the differences between Carlton and the press during spring training In Clearwater, Fla.
"I walked up to Steve with no tape recorder and my notebook in my back pocket" Bernstein said. "I said, 'Let's talk about breaking down the barrier between you and the media.' With no expression, Steve said, 'Policy is policy.' He turned and walked away, and that was the end of it."
Bernstein was off Monday night but he heard on the radio that Carlton had a no-hitter into the sixth and decided to make an appearance at Veterans Stadium.
"As I pulled my car into the parking lot Nahorodny singled," Bernstein said, shaking his head. Steve Carlton won't cooperate with the press under any circumstances.
Matthews Trade Reports Inaccurate
By Ken Picking, Constitution Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA - Gary Matthews need not concern himself with the decision to approve a reported trade to the Chicago Cubs because there is no trade, The Atlanta Constitution learned Monday.
Contrary to published reports Monday afternoon quoting "reliable sources," the Cubs have not tentatively agreed to trade catcher Barry Foote and pitcher Lynn McClothen to the Braves for Matthews, who, indeed, is waiting impatiently for Atlanta to make good on its vow to trade the All-Star outfielder.
The two National League teams have discussed trades involving the aforementioned players, but Chicago general manager Bob Kennedy said Monday the reported trade was complete fabrication.
“I don’t know how things like that get in the newspapers because there is no trade," he said. Kennedy added that the Cubs have plenty of outfielders and Foote is doing a good job. Kennedy said most general managers are sitting tight right now until the players' (May 22) strike deadline passes.
Al Thornwell, executive vice president of the Braves, and General Manager John Mullen refused to comment for fear of tampering violations. Mullen did say Monday "there is no trade." Thornwell said Monday be expected to bring a trade to Matthews for approval this week, but apparently it will not involve the Cubs as reported.
The Cubs have Dave Kingman in left field, Jerry Martin in center and rookie Carlos Lezcano in right with last year's rookie standout, Scot Thompson, and veterans Mike Vail and Ken Henderson on the bench. Foote is the starter, and he is among the league RBI leaders with 17.
"I do not know what they are trying to do to me," Matthews said before the Braves played the Philadelphia Phillies Monday night "The main thing right now is to get away from this situation. If that's all they are looking for in return for me, then I would think I could almost pick the team I want to go to."
NOTES – Bob Horner took batting practice from Manager Bob Ctx four hours before Monday's game and then ran by himself in the outfield. For the first time in a couple weeks, Horner was even seen smiling. "He's coming around," Cox said. "He's swinging better each day." However, the 22-year-old third baseman is not expected back in the lineup before the Braves return home Friday against Houston... Tug McGraw, the Phillies' bullpen jokester, brought a sandwich in a brown paper bag to Veterans Stadium Monday. "I gotta get used to brown-bagging it for the strike. I'm also looking into the landscaping business," be said... Cox said Doyle Alexander would pitch against Dick Ruthven Tuesday and Phil Niekro against Larry Christenson Wednesday, switching the original plans... The Phillie Fanatic, the team mascot, is almost as comical and entertaining as the San Diego Chicken... Since being returned to his leadoff position, Jerry Royster certainly has been doing his job of getting on base, but the hitters behind him have failed to take advantage of the RBI opportunities. Royster had been on base 34 times by hits and walks before Monday but had scored only eight times... Royster brought an eight-game hitting streak, raising his average to.265, into Monday's game... Atlanta beat the Phillies seven of 12 games in 1979... The Braves were 5-1 at Veterans Stadium and 9-3 over the last two seasons.