Allentown Morning Call - May 7, 1980
Aviles plays a big role in Phils’ 10-5 win over Braves
By Jack McCallum, Call Sports Writer
PHILADELPHIA – And as is the day to the night, so are the Philadelphia Phillies to the Atlanta Braves.
“If you're looking for differences between the two teams, you could start with Ramon Aviles who had a big part in the Phils' 10-5 victory over the Braves last night at Veterans Stadium.
Ramon who, you say? Aviles is 28 years old and has played in only 28 major league games. To have Aviles playing second base last night, both Manny Trillo and Luis Aguayo, a 21-year-old rookie, had to get hurt. And Aviles had to be summoned from his customary outpost at Oklahoma City.
But put Ramon Aviles in a ballgame and he will give you a solid, fundamental professional effort. He did it last year when Trillo and Larry Bowa were hurt at the same time and he's doing it again this season.
"Ramon really redeemed himself tonight, didn't he?" said Bowa. "He's not a spectacular player but he will do his job out there. It's tough for guys like him and Aguayo to come in and replace Manny. They're nervous and don't let anyone tell you differently. But that's why we're a good ballclub. Because we have guys like that."
And the Braves don't. Time and again last night and the night before in a 7-1 loss. Atlanta threw to the wrong base and failed to make the double play it had to have. And offensively, the Braves failed to take the extra base or move the runner along when they had to. Those are plays that better teams get, not only from their first nine, but also from their reserves.
Like Aviles. In the first inning he kicked away an easy third-out grounder, then watched hopelessly as the Braves scored four unearned runs off Dick Ruthven.
"I make a rookie mistake and here I am a veteran," said the wellspoken Aviles. "I was so embarrassed out there that I turned red. I told Dick I was sorry I messed up and I'd try to make up for it."
And he did. In the fifth inning, with the issue still very much in doubt, Aviles went to his right for a hard grounder from Chris Chambliss, flipped it to Bowa and threw to first for the double play to end the inning. The Phils led by only 5-4 at that point and the tying run would have scored had that play not been made.
"Probably everybody forgot it after the eighth inning we had," said Bowa, "but that was probably the key to the game.
And Aviles was also 2-for-3 with the bat to raise his average to .364.
"Ramon's a pro," said manager Dallas Green. "We know we can go to him any time and that's why he's in our organization.
NOTES: Schmidt, who drove in three runs with a bases-loaded triple in a four-run eighth, now leads the league in home runs (eight), RBIs (24) and runs scored (20). And he says he's "not really in the groove yet"
After dipping below .200 two days ago, Pete Rose's average is starting to climb. He was 3-for-4 last night and is now hitting .229. Look again in two weeks and it's liable to be .329.
Private man, public profession (excerpt)
By John Kunda, Executive Sports Editor
Items of interest heard along the way:
SOME THINGS – and some people – never change. Take Steve Carlton. Please take him. The man's still one of the best lefthanders in baseball, no question about it. And, he appears stronger than ever at 35 (he'll be 36 in December). But he's got an attitude of a spoiled brat of 10. The man insists on being private in a public profession. He's a one-man war against the newspaper guys, not just against the casual newspaper visitor to the Phillies, but the newspaper guys who are on the beat day in and day out. Ever go to the office and the guy who sits across from you doesn't even say hello? That's Steve Carlton. You'll never see a Steve Carlton quote in a newspaper story, whether he pitches superbly or if he gets his brains beat in. You'd think after six years he'd get over whatever there was to get over. Stories say that after his great year of 1972 when he won 27 and lost just 10, he struggled somewhat in the season of 1973. During the struggling year, stories popped up about a drinking problem. Carlton was miffed and in 1974 he began his no-talk show. Already this year he has shown signs of sulking over managerial decisions. Great pitcher, but a hero?
A high-priced bench-warmner at $330,000
By Jack McCallum, Call Sports Writer
PHILADELPHIA – Bob Horner, a sleepy-eyed, frizzy-haired, well-fed kid who looks neither like superstar or superego though he's been called both, was taking his cuts before last night's game at Veterans Stadium. He was taking them seriously because they were the only ones he took all evening; maybe would take all week and, quite possibly, all month.
"All right, Horn, way to sting, baby! yells Gary Matthews as Horner leans into a fastball from batting practice pitcher Tommie Aaron and sends it over the leftfield wall. "Man, I can't believe you can't make this team."
Horner leaves the batting cage and grins. Sort of. His month-long feud with Ted Turner, the man who handles yachts with kid gloves but who sometimes handles kids with the touch of a man jackhammering Route 22, has stopped being funny.
After Horner, with the help of the Players Association, won his fight against Turner not to be demoted to the minor leagues, the Braves responded by benching Horner and his $330,000 annual salary. And there he has sat as the Braves continue their brand of low comedy baseball into the second week of May.
"It just goes to show how much power they have, said Horner after he finished his pregame workout. "I came make all the protests I want and file this grievance and do this and that but, in the end, they make out the lineup card and they can do what they want with me."
After the Braves – fearing they would lose in arbitration – decided not to press their decision to send Horner to the Triple-A team at Richmond, Horner said he figured he would be given the chance to get back in the lineup.
''Nobody said anything to me about what was going to be done,” said Horner. “Like, there wasn't any kind of set policy, as far as I know, that I would or wouldn't be playing. Yes, I've talked at length to Bobby (Cox, the manager i about it but, obviously, it's not all his decision.
"All I do is come out here every night and look at the lineup card and hope I'm on it. I thought maybe there'd be a chance tonight or last night against (Steve) Carlton. But I wasn't.
"I can see them waiting a few days to put me back. I haven't played since April 21 the day Turner announced Horner was being exiled to Richmond and it takes a while to get your batting stroke back and things like that. But I'm ready now. They know that."
Horner, the nation's number one pick when the Braves landed him in the 1978 summer draft, hit .266 his rookie year and .314 last season (fifth in the National League) which included six weeks of inactivity for bone chips. In two seasons he has 56 home runs and 161 RBIs and there is nobody in baseball least of all Montreal manager Dick Williams who calls him "another Harmon Killebrew" who will deny Horner's potential.
But what the Braves are denying is his readiness to slip on the mantle of full-time superstar. After he set an NCAA record of 25 home runs in a season at Arizona State in his senior year, he was taken right into the majors without a game of minor league ball. And the Braves claim that gap in his career was at last manifesting itself this season when he batted only .059 (2-for-34) through the first 10 games. That's when Turner made his move and that's where Horner's average still stands.
"It's not that I feel I'm too good for Triple-A or anything like that," said Horner. "It's just that I feel I have nothing to prove. That's what the minor leagues are for – to show what you can do. I've shown what I can do for two years here. What will I show anybody down there that I haven't shown up here?
"A trade? Sure, I'm thinking about. But the word I get is that they won't trade me. That's their prerogative, I guess, but I don't understand it. I don't know what good I'm doing anybody on the bench."
Cox. for his part, says there is no vindictiveness in the benching of Horner. "We're just waiting for him to get ready again.”