Allentown Morning Call - October 12, 1980

Phils remain alive with 5-3 win


10th-inning rally evens series, 2-2


By Ted Meixell, Call Sports Writer


HOUSTON – Pete Rose was batting in the top of the tenth inning of yesterday's incredible National League playoff game between the backs-to-the-wall Phillies and Destiny Darlings – the Houston Astros. 


ABC Television flashed a graphic on the screens of American viewers that proclaimed: "Next on ABC: Love Boat and Fantasy Island." 


Millions must have shaken their heads, as if to say, "Isn't THIS Fantasy Island?" 


They may wake up tomorrow and find out that Rose DIDN'T REALLY single up the middle and score on pinch hitter Greg Luzinski's screaming double down the leftfield line, despite being no more than two steps past third base when shortstop Rafael Landestoy took Jose Cruz's relay from the outfield. 


They may find that Astro catcher Bruce Bochy DIDN'T REALLY drop Landestoy's short-hop heave and that Rose DIDN'T REALLY hop on home plate after banging into Bochy with great vigor. They may find that Manny Trillo DIDN'T REALLY double to left center with an insurance run. 


And they may find that bionic reliever Tug McGraw DIDN'T REALLY set the Astros down in order in the bottom of the tenth to nail down a surrealistic 5-3 win over the Astros in this surrealistic building to send this surrealistic series into a fifth game at 8:15 (EST) tonight.


"The big difference between this game and tomorrow's (today's) ," said Phils' slugger Mike Schmidt, "is that there will be TWO teams out there with no tomorrow – not one." Hopefully, in the interest of reducing the number of cardiac arrests and preserving the sanity of Doug Harvey's umpiring crew, there will be more differences than that. 


The Phils' Cy Young Award candidate, Steve Carlton, and the Astros Vern (Golden) Ruhle were, for three innings, hard at work ringing up the by-now obligatory string of zeroes when insanity struck for the first – but certainly not last – time in the Phils' half of the fourth. 


Its total bizarreness is detailed in a related story on these pages, but here are the facts: Bake McBride and Manny Trillo both singled. Garry Maddox hit a hump-backed liner toward Ruhle, who appeared to field it on the short hop . and fire to first base to retire Maddox.


After Harvey and his cohorts huddled, it was decided Ruhle caught the ball on the fly. Trillo was called out, Art Howe ran to second and Jerry Crawford flamboyantly rang up a triple play. 


Following further discussion, McBride was allowed to return to second – with two out. Larry Bowa grounded out deep in the hole at second. That was seemingly insignificant. But it should be pointed out that, had the play been ruled a simple ground ball out, the Phils would have had men at second and third with one out, and the Astros' infield would have been PLAYING IN. Bowa's grounder, in all probability, would have been a two-run single. And all the excitement and craziness that followed... well, it might not have followed. 


While all this was going on, Carlton was sitting around, his arm cooling down. And it showed when the Astros finally came to bat about 25 minutes later.


Enos Cabell crunched a double off the wall in left and moved to third on Joe Morgan's groundout, from whence he scored what for a long while looked like the only run Houston would need when Art Howe slammed a sacrifice fly to left. 


That seemingly routine bit of work also produced some fantasy, for, when Lonnie Smith tried to throw the ball to home plate, it slipped away and rolled toward the infield. He subsequently threw out Gary Woods – who had walked – at third after frantically chasing down the elusive baseball. 


The Astros added a fifth-inning run on a triple by Luis Pujols and a single by Landestoy and got rid of Lefty when he walked the bases loaded in the sixth. Pujols hit an apparent sacrifice fly to right, but third base ump Bob Engel ruled Woods out for departing third early.


Which brings us to the eighth inning, during which the Phils, it seems, dispelled forever the notion they have no heart. Greg Gross, pinch hitting for Ron Reed, slapped a leadoff single and Smith followed suit. Rose fought off an 0-2 pitch to ground a single to right just beyond Morgan's frantic dive. Gross scored, Smith went to third and Rose reached second on the throw. 


Schmidt then fought back from an 0-2 hole and bounced a 3-2 pitch up the middle to tie the score. (Morgan stopped the ball and prevented Rose from scoring.) 


After reliever Joe Sambito fanned McBride, Manny Trillo hit an apparent single to right, scoring Rose with the lead run. And then fantasy did an encore. 


Bruce Froemming, umpiring the rightfield line, ruled the Astros' Jeff Leonard had caught the ball on the fly. The Astros threw the ball to first and Schmidt was declared out for an inning-ending double play.


The Astros wanted Rose's run (he HAD tagged up) declared null and void, but that was disallowed because he'd crossed home plate before Schmidt was retired. So Houston tried another approach, appealing Rose's tag at third. Harvey ruled that, according to baseball rules, an appeal cannot be made after the defensive team's entire infield has left their positions. Thus, the world will never know if Rose left too early. 


Said Rose, "I have to go on contact. I went back to third because I thought the ball was going to be caught. If it dropped in, I knew I could score anyway. No, I don't think I left early – matter of fact, I left late just to make sure." We'll take your word for it, Pete.

‘Crazy’ inning confuses all


By Ted Meixell, Call Sports Writer


HOUSTON – It was perhaps the craziest fourth inning ever played... destined to be the subject of numerous bar-room haggles and hot stove debates in the years to come. Perhaps it might even be a trivia stumper for Bill Mazur Jr. in 1995. 


But somehow you got the feeling that it was all expected, like snow in January or cancer in laboratory rats. After all this was the Philadelphia Phillies and the National League Championship series. A pair that historically goes together about as well as Lee Marvin and Michelle Triola. 


The infamous inning started innocently enough as Bake McBride and Manny Trillo singled to left. Then Garry Maddox hit a broken bat looper to the mound which Astro pitcher Vern Ruhle appeared to catch on one bounce. Ruhle then immediately threw to first as if to throw out Maddox. 


But wait. Start saying the Novenas. Even though home plate umpire Doug Harvey had originally signaled no catch, first base umpire Ed Vargo and third base umpire Bob Engel thought Ruhle had caught the ball. After a powwow on the mound, they decided it was caught on a fly thus making Maddox out on the catch, doubling Trillo off first and also catching McBride who had wandered off second allowing Astro first baseman Art Howe to run over and touch the bag. 


The controversial triple-play brought the Fightin' Phillies out of the dugout in droves, with Dallas Green delighting the lip readers with a tirade of expletives as his team went nose-to-nose with everyone from the umpires down to a bewildered hot dog vendor contending that Ruhle had never made the catch. 


Harvey. Vargo and Engel sought shelter under the sweat-stained arms of National League President Chub Feeney, who had originally planned to spend an anonymous afternoon under the Dome enjoying the game.


After watching the television replays (hopefully without Howard Cosell's commentary) the umpires returned to the field and stuck to their guns. Surrounded by irritated Phillies, they ruled that Maddox's chipper had, indeed, been caught thus making him and Trillo out. But they said that because of the confusion surrounding the play, and since time had been called when Howe sneakily tug McBride out, Bake would be allowed to return to second. 


The triple-play became a double play and King Confusion reigned royally in the Astrodome. 


"Doug Harvey said he was blocked out by the runner," explained Feeney, "so he called it no catch. The pitcher went straight to first to complete the double play. The first and third base umpires ruled it a catch. Harvey said that because he made the no-catch sign, he probably confused the runner at second (McBride), so he put him back on second. The runner at first (Trillo) could not have gotten back even if he saw Harvey's signal. The umpires came over here and told me what happened. They're a very good crew, they know the rules. I have to concur their decision was correct." 


Both Philadelphia and Houston filed protests, the Phils contending the ball had never been caught while the Astros claimed triple play. 


Feeney said there was probably little merit in Houston's case since the next batter made an out and the case was subsequently denied. However, it might have been interesting to see what happened had the Phillies not pulled out a victory. Asked if he would have to rule on it himself, the president smiled and said "Yes." 


Had all this brouhaha not occurred, the Phils might have had a considerably easier time in beating the Astros. They would have had runners on second and third with one out and Houston would have had its infield in. Larry Bowa's grounder to deep second which was handled by Joe Morgan, might have scooted up the middle and made the score 2-0 and saved the fans in Philadelphia a fortune in Rolaids. 


Not to be outdone, the bottom of the fourth inning had its share of excitement. After Enos Cabell doubled off the leftfield wall and advanced to third on Morgan's groundout, Gary Woods walked and Howe hit a sacrifice fly to fairly deep left field. Lonnie Smith caught the ball and as he went to throw home it popped out of his hand and dribbled amusingly about 100 feet in front of him.


It was the type of play that will probably show up on one of those commercial-like collections of baseball goofups with Anthony Newley singing "What Kind of Fool Am I" in the background. 


Luckily Smith suppressed his embarrassment long enough to peg Woods out at third base, even though the replay showed clearly that Mike Schmidt had never tug him.

Debate over controversial playoff call wasn’t limited to Phillies and Astros


By Stan Shaffer, Of the Call-Chronicle


All the debate over a controversial call that continued the Phillies and Houston Astros game under protest last night didn't erupt on the Houston playing field. 


The question was argued by fans and officials in the stadium as well as the millions who viewed it on TV at home or in their favorite bar. The contested call that was first ruled as a triple play underwent 20 minutes of official debate. Then umpires called it a double play for the Phils. 


Despite the differences of opinion, the Phillies won the game 5-3 in the 10th inning. By 8:20 p.m. a game that started late in the afternoon was finished. 


The Brass Rail Restaurant on Hamilton Street was one of many watering holes throughout the state where fans watched the game. Patrons perched at the bar, sat at tables along the wall and dined in an adjoining room. Some customers chatted among themselves as smoke climbed from the ashtrays in between brews. Others sat along the wall and strained their necks to follow the action. 


Behind the bar was a handmade sigr with red lettering: "Phillies, you wish, all the way." Mike Pezolt of Allentown. one of the bartenders, put the sign up. Pezolt is obviously a Phillies fan. Dan Sweeney ot Allentown, his coworker, is a Montreal Expos fan. He suffered a setback last week when the Phils beat the Expos. 


"There wasn't too much reaction to the call this afternoon," Sweeney said. "There weren't that many people here." Sweeney believes the controversial call was a double play. "The ball was trapped," he said. 


Pezolt, on the other hand, thought the call "stank.


"They're gonna go now. I've been with the Phillies all this time and I'm gonna be with 'em the rest of the time. I've been a Phillies fan all my life," Pezolt said. 


The talk and brew flowed during and after the game about the changed call. The chatter and debate continued while waitresses relayed the latest score to fans in the adjoining dining room.


"Things didn't start happening until the seventh," said Frank Reichel of Allentown. A retired truck mechanic. Reichel said, "I love the Phils and Pete Rose is great." Reichel didn't see the controversial call earlier in the day. 


"But if you really want to know about baseball, you should talk to my brother Chad. He could tell you,” Reichel said. 


"Is this gonna be in the paper?" Reichel asked. "If it is, I'm gonna show it to my daughters in Miami. " 


Just then a lot of shouting and yelling erupted. The Phillies had scored and won the game. "Yeah" and "all right" could be heard above the roar of cheering and shouting. 


Within a few minutes, many of the customers had left the long, wood-grained bar. A subdued atmosphere returned to the Brass Rail. 


Before one of the customers left, he shouted to Sweeney: "Whadda think of that Danny?" 


"You can't win 'em all," replied Dan. a fan whose cheers have been for the Expos for the last 12 years.

Penn State-Pitt ‘pretty even,’ Maryland’s Gall says (excerpt)


By John Kunda, Executive Sports Editor



There has been much made of the differences between managers Bill Virdon and Dallas Green. Virdon, the Astros' skipper, has been characterized as a "Mr. Peepers," a guy who wouldn't say ouch if you stepped on his toes. Green, on the other hand, has been called the "Green Giant," a big man at 6-5 who is quick with words. Virdon goes about his business almost unnoticed. He speaks very softly, almost as though he was afraid to say something that might offend somebody. He'll never put the finger on any of his players. Green, however, has been getting all kinds of publicity, not only in Philadelphia, but also in other major league cities for his outspoken ways. He has publicly rapped his players and his players have publicly rapped him. Wasn't it Bake McBride who said if Green comes back next year, he wants out? Funny thing – Green could be a strong candidate for manager of the year honors. The one thing that I admired about Green was his no-nonsense approach. Don't forget, he wasn't managing the most personable team in the majors. "I do things my way," he said a thousand times during the season, "and if they don't like it, it's just too bad." Wasn't Green called in to run a tighter ship in the first place? Danny Ozark couldn't do it, and maybe that's why the Phillies are the way they are in the personality department. Almost zero.

The Weather


In the Lehigh Valley


From the looks of the forecast from the National Weather Service at the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton Airport, today may be a good day to stay inside and watch the Phillies win the National League pennant. 


Today the high will reach the mid-50s, with partly cloudy skies. -The low will be in the mid-30s tonight. The winds will come from the west-northwest at 15-2C mile per hour gusts. 


Yesterday the wind came from the southwest at an average of 7 m.p.h. with a maximum gust of 14 m.p.h. from the west at 1 p.m. 


The maximum temperature was 67 (19C) at 4:30 p.m. with a low of 54 (12C) at 2 a.m.