Philadelphia Inquirer - October 12, 1980
Breakdowns cancel out breaks as Houston misses chance
By Larry Eichel, Inquirer Staff Writer
HOUSTON – They had been six outs away from the champagne shower, two innings away from a most improbable pennant. They had received every break that a bad day of umpiring could give them. They had tied the score in the bottom of the ninth, bringing their cheering, chanting fans to new levels of hysteria.
The Houston Astros had done all that, and yet they had come up empty.
"We had it in the bag," said J. R. Richard, the crippled pitcher as he strolled into the mournful Houston clubhouse after the pennant had gotten away.
"It was the strangest game I've ever seen," said pitcher Nolan Ryan, the $3 million free agent who will get the call in the game for the pennant tonight. "I'm surprised to see so many strange plays with the two extra umpires in the field."
Joe Morgan, the leader, sat on a table, holding a glass of beer and staring into space. They had come so clqse.
"I thought we had it," Morgan said, adding, however, that he had worried in the late innings as he had worried all year about the Astros' potentially fatal flaw, the lack of a killer instinct, their failure to bury an opponent once they had him on the ropes. "It's just like the Dodger series last weekend. We had it and let get away."
It came undone for Houston in the bottom of the eighth, which they entered with a 2-0 lead.
“I knew all the time that three runs is a winner in that situation," Morgan said, "and that two runs is always hard to hold because a guys gets a single and the tying run's at the plate. 1 just felt that three runs were needed and I thought we had it when Gary Woods tagged up on that fly ball in the sixth and the umpires ruled him out on the appeal."
But they didn't have three runs as the eighth inning began. They only had two. Then Greg Gross singled for the Phillies, and so did Lonnie Smith and Pete Rose.
"They were ground balls that might just as easily have been double plays," said Astros starter Vern Ruhle, who had entered the inning with a five-hit shutout. "They were seeing-eye hits."
"Vern was cruising," said lefthander Joe Sambito, who would come on in relief. "He was so sharp. I didn't see him losing anything. I thought the Phillies, were a little tight at the plate. I was looking forward to a good time tonight. I'm disappointed now but I can handle it."
Suddenly Sambito was on the mound, watching Mike Schmidt bounce one over his head to tie the score. And when Manny Trillo hit a line drive to right, the Phils had the lead.
Incredibly, the Astros would tie it in the bottom of the ninth, and more unbelievably still, the potential winning run would get doubled off first on a line drive to right.
"When we scored in the ninth," Morgan said, "I felt if we could hold them in the top of the 10th, that we could put them away in the bottom of the inning."
But they couldn't hold the Phillies. With one out, Rose singled up the middle on Sambito, bringing Schmidt and pinch-hitter Greg Luzinski to the plate. Schmidt crushed a line drive to Jose Cruz in' left. Then Luzinski smashed the game-winning double into the left-field corner.
"Schmidt hit it just, as hard, but he hit it at somebody," Sambito said. "I don't know They're paid to hit, and I'm paid to pitch, and this time they did their jobs a little better than I did mine. It was such a wild game, with so many things in it that I'd never seen in my life. I think the pitch to Luzinski was a slider. Normally, I can tell you every pitch I threw out there, but today, well...."
There were no recriminations in the losers' clubhouse, no one blaming Woods, who left third base too soon in the sixth on Luis Pujols' fly ball to right and was doubled up on an appeal play, costing the Astros that all-important third run. There was no blaming Terry Puhl, who somehow managed not to get to second in the ninth after the relay of his game-tying single had bounced away from an entire infield of Phillies.
No, if anyone was to blame for this, the Astros said, it was Rose, the man who knocked in the first fun and scored the game-winner.
"As soon as Luzinski hit that ball down the line in left," Morgan said, "I knew that Rose (who had been on first base) wasn't going to stop at third. I knew it didn't matter what the third-base coach tried to do. Pete wasn't going to stop. So I was yelling at Rafael Landestoy (the shortstop who handled the relay throw), 'Home! Home!' I'm sure he didn't hear me with all the noise. I think Rafael hesitated an instant when he took the relay, and maybe he rushed his throw and that's why it short-hopped the catcher. Pete wasn't going to stop. That's the kind of player he is, and that's why they won the game."
So it comes down to one game. The Astros have been here before. They survived a one-game playoff with the Dodgers last Monday to get into the championship series.
"I can't think of any bigger game that I've had to pitch," said Ryan, who will go with three days rest. "It has been such an unusual series. We'll all come here tomorrow with great expectations."
"They've made some mistakes to let us get this far, and we've made a few to help them," said Morgan. "So let's go at it tomorrow, and may the best team win. With no mistakes."
Commentary: Triple play? Ain’t no way
By Allen Lewis, Special to The Inquirer
HOUSTON – For postseason games, baseball increases the number of umpires from four to six. Yesterday, they might as well have been back in the days when only Bill Klem and Silk O'Loughlin worked the World Series. They couldn't have had any more trouble than the six arbiters who handled the Phillies' 5-3 victory over the Astros that set up a pennant-deciding game for tonight in the National League Championship Series.
Two key decisions went against the Phillies, and both were wrong. Both involved trapped balls that were called catches, and, for a while, it appeared that they would turn the tide in favor of the Astros, who at one point were six outs away from their first pennant.
The first call precipitated a 20-minute argument that ended with both teams playing under protest. The second call could have caused the defeat of the Phillies, but only prolonged the contest two innings.
The first play occurred in the fourth inning, with the teams in a scoreless deadlock and the Phillies trying to end a string of 14 scoreless innings. Bake McBride and Manny Trillo singled to put runners on first and second with none out when Garry Maddox, after fouling off two attempted sacrifice bunts, looped a soft one toward the mound. Pitcher Vera Ruhle reached out, trapped the ball on a short hop and threw to first. First base umpire Ed Vargo gave the out sign by raising his right arm in the air. Then the fun began.
McBride and Trillo were on second and third, only to discover that the Astros were running off the field thinking they had completed a triple play.
Plate umpire Doug Harvey said, "He (Maddox) hit the ball and I saw it well. Watching it, it looks like it's going to fall short of the pitchers' mound. Just as the guy (pitcher Vern Ruhle) reached for the ball, the man (Maddox) stepped in my way running for first. I've got runners out there, and I've got to give a decision. I looked quickly and saw no one – Ed Vargo at first or Bob Engel at third – making a call, and I gave the safe sign.
"But the way the pitcher reacted, throwing right away to first made me wonder. So I called Eddie in and I called Bob in and 1 said, 'Catch or trap?' They both said (that) in their opinion he caught the ball.
"I felt it unfair to allow a triple play, since I had misled the runners. But, since the man from first had no chance to get back, I ruled double play. We have that option in the rules to place the runners where we think they should be in the case of a judgment decision that is later reversed."
The Phillies, led by manager Dallas Green, charged out of the dugout to begin an argument that ended with crew chief Harvey conferring with National League president Chub Feeney on the sidelines.
Later, Green said, "The umpires, in fairness to them, had a difficult play, and as far as I'm concerned they are six of the best, but I thought they were wrong. As far as I was concerned, the ball was clearly trapped. It should have been men on second and third with one out."
Ruhle, of course, differed with that view, although television replays in the press box showed the trapped ball.
"Before the play, Luis (Pujols, the catcher) told me he'd tell me which base to go to," Ruhle said. "He pointed to first, and that's why I threw the ball there. I thought I caught it. It was a tough play to call because I reached out as far as possible for it."
Pujols said, "I just wanted to get the sure double play, so I told him to go to first."
When the field was finally cleared, Houston manager Bill Virdon protested because the triple play was not allowed, but he acknowledged that he knew he had no chance. "I protest on things like that and then hope to find something to back it up."
The protest was disallowed immediately after the game, partly because it did not affect Houston's chances, since Larry Bowa grounded out to end the inning when play finally resumed.
The Phillies were affected, however, because the delay obviously robbed pitcher Steve Carlton of his command of the ball. He surrendered single runs in the fourth and fifth innings and departed with two out in the sixth after walking three batters.
The Phillies didn't have another scoring chance after the fourth until they took a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning, when the second dispute took place.
Pinch-hitter Greg Gross, Lonnie Smith and Pete Rose singled in succession to score one run and put Phillies at second and third, Rose alertly taking second on the throw to third. Mike Schmidt beat out a run-scoring hopper to second to tie the score and, after Maddox struck out, Trillo hit a line drive to right to start the second donnybrook.
Philadelphian Jeff Leonard raced in, trapped Trillo's low liner and fired home trying to get Rose, who had tagged up. Right-field umpire Bruce Froemming gave the out call, but Schmidt, who had stopped between first and second until he saw the ball hit the turf, took off for second. The Astros threw the ball to first after it had reached the plate too late to get Rose, and Schmidt was called out for failing to tag up after the catch, ending the inning.
That sent Schmidt into a rage, and the Phillies were beginning to wonder if they might ever get a break, particularly after the Astros rallied to tie the score in the ninth. But things could have been worse.
After Rose scored, the Astros decided that maybe Rose had left third base too soon and they could nullify the run by making an appeal, even though it would have been a fourth, out. Rules allow for a fourth out in such cases, but no appeal was made.
As Harvey explained, "I didn't immediately signal Rose's run scored before the third out, because I knew that an appeal could be made on Rose, although I didn't know if he tagged up. There is a possible appeal on the fourth out. They can do it, but they must do it correctly. If all the infielders leave the field, the appeal can no longer be made. If the catcher, and he's considered an infielder in this case, holds his position and then goes to third and an appeal is made, it can nullify the run.
"I walked toward Vargo and said, 'The run counts if there's no appeal.'"
Trillo, although robbed of a hit said, "I saw the ball bounce, but I don't argue with umpires. It doesn't matter what I say, it's what they say.”
Leonard said, "What can I say? I can't make him look bad. It was a tough play and a tough call."
It would have been a lot tougher if the Phillies had lost. They overcame a lot of adversity and now are one win away from that elusive pennant.
Phillies’ emotional roller coaster rolls on
By Frank Dolson, Inquirer Sports Editor
HOUSTON – Keep the champagne on ice. Get the Maalox. We've got to go through this one more night.
Surely, there has never been an emotional roller coaster ride in all of sports any wilder, any zanier, any more bizarre than the one the Phillies and the Houston Astros are subjecting themselves and their rooters to this week.
"Baseball games are like snow flakes," Mike Schmidt said after Friday's heartpounder of a 1-0 defeat. "There have never been two of them alike."
As if to prove it, these two embattled ball clubs – the crippled Astros and the long-frustrated, much-maligned Phillies – put on a show yesterday, with the help of the umpires, that couldn't be duplicated in a century of baseball playoffs.
It was sheer craziness, one implausible sequence after another. What happened in Game 4 of the 1980 National League Championship Series at the Astrodome was no mere snowflake. It was a full-scale blizzard.
There was that fourth-inning ball Garry Maddox hit off his fists to Houston pitcher Vern Ruhle with two men on base that was either trapped or caught on the fly and resulted in both teams playing the game under protest.
There was the appeal play at third base that the Phillies won to cancel a Houston run, and help keep this series alive.
There was the incredible achievement of the Astros in getting three walks in each of two successive innings without scoring a run.
There was right-field umpire, Bruce Froemming, seemingly in perfect position to call a play, and blowing it by ruling that Jeff Leonard had caught Manny Trillo's sinking, eighth-inning line drive when, in fact, he clearly trapped it.
There was Lonnie Smith, the Phillies' thrill-a-minute leftfielder, winding up to fire the ball to home plate after catching a sacrifice fly... and having it pop out of his hand and dribble toward the infield. And getting a double play out of it, as a result.
There was the absolutely horrendous base-running by Astros leadoff man Terry Puhl, who somehow managed not to get to second base after the relay on his game-tying, ninth-inning single bounced off the cutoff man and dribbled well up the third base line, then got doubled off on the routine fly ball that followed.
You watched the drama unfold... and you wondered if it could really be happening. Last Saturday's 11-inning division-clincher in Montreal had been wild, but compared to this blizzard of a ball game that was little more than a snow flurry.
The wonder of it was, that the small knot of Phillies' front-office types sitting just to the home plate side 'of the visiting dugout managed to survive. There they were Ruly Carpenter, Paul Owens and the rest of them squirming in their seats while all around them wild-eyed, flag-waving, screaming Texans stood and came as close to raising the Astrodome roof as is humanly possible.
For seven innings Carpenter, Owens and friends sat through a Phillies nightmare, an ordeal that was about to find its place in Philadelphia National League baseball lore – alongside all the other nightmares.
As the Phillies came to bat in the top of the eighth, they were six outs from going home as playoff losers for the fourth time in five years. If ever a cause looked hopeless, theirs did. They had squandered a succession of scoring opportunities... and failed to get a single run in 18 consecutive innings here. What's more, starting with their failure to wangle the winning run out of a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the bottom of the ninth inning in game two, they had sent 24 batters to the plate with men in scoring position and come up with a grand total of no hits and four walks, two of them intentional.
It was as if fate had decided to punish this team one more time, one more year. But even if this Phillies team has a heckuva time playing solid, fundamental baseball, even if it consistently fails to move runners over and score them from third with less than two out and do the things that championship teams have to do... it proved conclusively once again yesterday in this madhouse of a Dome that it doesn't lack courage.
As bad as things looked as the eighth inning began with the Astros on top, 2-0, there was still noise in the Phillies dugout, still hope in their hearts.
"I honestly couldn't see it ending that way," Mike Schmidt said. "I couldn't see us leaving here without scoring some runs."
And finally they did score some runs. Finally, ground balls started finding holes instead of Houston gloves. And the roller coaster picked up speed, careening this way, then that way, carrying the emotions of Carpenter and Owens and the rest of the people in that Phillies box and all the long-suffering, ready-for-the-worst Phillies fans back home along for the wildest of rides.
Their sometimes heroes, sometimes villains seemed.to have it won in the top of the eighth, seemed headed for a devastating defeat in the bottom of the ninth, and then pulled it out on the second game-winning hit of this series by Greg Luzinski with two out in the top of the 10th.
The man they call the Bull may not have started yesterday's game, but his pinch-hit smash that hopped off the left-field fence finished it – with the enormous help of that most amazing of baseball players, Peter Edward Rose, who sprinted around the bases from first, daring anybody to stop him.
"I know Pete Rose," his old Cincinnati teammate, Houston second baseman Joe Morgan, said. "Pete Rose was never going to stop."
And Lee Elia, the third base coach who went through the meat-grinder after Game 2 for Bake McBride's failure to score the winning run in the ninth, had no intention of trying to stop Rose on this two-out smash.
It was a play strikingly similar to the one on which Yankee second baseman Willie Randolph didn't score the tying run in game two of the American League playoffs.
"Lee sent that guy (Rose) for George Steinbrenner," quipped Phillies coach Bobby Wine, referring to the fact that Yankees owner Steinbrenner had blasted his third base coach for the decision to send Randolph home with two out.
Pete Rose may not have the speed of a Willie Randolph, but somehow, watching him churning around the bases, you just knew he would find a way to score... if he had to knock the poor kid catching for Houston into the third deck to do it.
"Only Pete Rose can score on that play," Elia said. "He wants to go from first to home."
Elia said he made his split-second decision to send him when he saw that the throw from leftfielder Jose Cruz to shortstop Rafael Landestoy "might be low."
It was low. Landestoy had to field It on a hop before relaying it to the plate. The ball got there ahead of Rose, but Bruce Bochy failed to handle the short hop; the ball was on the ground even before Rose slammed into him.
Another line-drive hit, another run, a perfect inning of relief by Tug McGraw and, as the nearly four hours of madness came to an end, as Art Howe's game-ending fly ball settled into Garry Maddox' glove, Paul Owens stood up in his front-row box seat, grabbed his wife and kissed her... and Ruly Carpenter, in shirt sleeves, jumped over the low railing and disappeared into the Phillies dugout.
They had finally gotten over this toughest of hurdles. They had forced a championship series past a fourth game.
They weren't claiming a pennant yet; surely, after all this team has gone through that would have been foolhardy. But the feeling was there – the conviction that the Astros had let the sleeping giants off the floor with the end in sight, and now, at long last, the Phillies were going to bring a World Series to Veterans Stadium.
"I never saw a game like that," Owens said when his heart stopped pounding.
Just then, Dallas Green came bounding into the clubhouse hollering, "Houston's protest has been disallowed," and there was the sound of laughter. Then the manager and the general manager embraced.
"This was the weirdest game I've ever played in in my life," Larry Bowa, that bundle of pent-up emotion and energy, was saying in front of his locker. "Hey, now it's down to one game. There's no advantage. There's no disadvantage. There’s nothing now. You just go out and battle."
Bowa had looked ready for battle in the midst of that fourth-inning furor over Maddox' soft liner to Ruhle. He had thrown his bat in anger. He had screamed and stormed and been restrained by Wine and other Phillies, who didn't want him thrown out of the game.
"They're saying, 'Take it easy. Take it easy,'" Bowa soid. "But there's no tomorrow for us. Take it easy! If you're playing just a regular league game, OK. Then I'll take It easy. But this is for everything. This is to try to get in a World Series."
And yesterday they somehow survived to try one more time.
Phils come up with a surprise ending in wild and crazy 5-3 win over Astros
5th-game shootout tonight
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
HOUSTON – Anyone who had ever seen a Phillies playoff game knew how this was going to turn out.
It had everything any classic Phillies playoff loss should have – the critical blown umpire's call, the collapse of the star pitcher, the inning after inning of offensive futility, the story line leading them to another tragic loss that seemed almost beyond their control.
Through all of the awful ways they have found to lose in October, none could have been worse than this. They couldn't just lose like the Yankees or the Angels or the Reds. They had to die with a strange, ugly scent in the air.
They would have to stir through the winter uncomfortably. Not only would they have to bear the pain of defeat. They would also squirm in the deeper agony of injustice.
But somehow, this time the ending was to be different. Somehow, the Phillies rallied once in the eighth, and then again in the 10th. And they beat the Astros, 5-3, in a third straight draining, extra-inning chiller yesterday. Somehow, they are still alive to play the Astros in a fifth game tonight. But it had to be seen to be believed.
"If we'd lost that game, it would have gone right into the long, bizarre saga of lost Phillies playoff games," said Mike Schmidt. "I just think it's better for everybody concerned that we won it. I think everybody can breathe a sigh of relief – except maybe the Astros."
They threw something off their backs yesterday, the curse that always stopped them one step from greatness. They were never supposed to have the heart to win the big ones, were they? Well, it would be hard to say that now.
"I think we disproved all that today," said Dallas Green, "as long as nobody turned the TV off too early."
It would have been easy to turn that set off after the fourth inning. It was in the fourth that Garry Maddox thunked the now-notorious broken-bat looper toward the mound. The films of that looper have since been viewed more times than Star Wars.
We know now, after 2 billion replays, that Houston pitcher Vern Ruhle fielded it on one very short hop. We know now that what was ruled a double play, and almost a triple play, should really have been only an out at first. We know now that the Phillies were indisputably robbed.
The Phillies knew that even then. There were 20 minutes of stomping around the field. Phillies threw bats. Phillies threw helmets. Schmidt even marched over to the stands to argue with league president Chub Feeney himself.
But none of that put any runs on the board. And what it did do was disturb the inner tranquility that Steve Carlton needs to be awesome. Carlton had to sit there for 30 minutes watching. And he was never the same.
"Steve has few idiosyncrasies," said Tim McCarver. "But one of them is delays. He hates delays."
Carlton immediately gave up a run in the fourth. Lonnie Smith, starting in left for Greg Luzinski, first misplayed Enos Cabell's catchable double. Then, after Art Howe's sacrifice fly, Smith lost the handle on the ball as he tried to throw it and dribbled it exactly three feet in front of him. He picked it up to throw out a runner at third, but it was still 1-0, Houston.
Then Carlton gave up another run in the fifth, a Luis Pujols triple starting it, a Rafael Landestoy single knocking it in. And finally, Carlton walked the bases full in the sixth. So Green reluctantly had to go to the bullpen early on a day when he was desperately trying to avoid using Tug McGraw.
“Pujols immediately lifted a fly to put that aside and play," said McGraw. "It was easy to say, but difficult to do. It was a tough thing to get off our minds, but we did it."
The Astros helped by blowing innumerable chances to bust it open. They had left seven men on in the fifth, sixth and seventh. They had had another run taken away on the sacrifice-fly blunder.
And so the Phillies weren't so out of it on the scoreboard, at a mere 2-0, as they began the eighth. Then Greg Gross and Smith led off the eighth with singles. Pete Rose bounced an RBI single just beyond Joe Morgan's dive. The throw went to third, Rose moved up a base and it was second and third for Schmidt.
Schmidt nearly struck out on an 0-2 pitch by reliever Dave Smith, foul-tipping it instead off catcher Luis Pujols' ankle. Pujols had to be led away and Schmidt trudged around edgily through what he called "the longest 0-and-2 count I ever had in my life."
He choked up and worked the count to 3-2. "I always choke up a little on two strikes, especially when I have to make contact," he said. "Believe me, I've struck out choking up a lot of times."
Finally, he bounced one up the middle. Morgan. backhanded it, looked home, looked to third and then just held on. 2-2.
Enter lefthander Joe Sambito. He struck out Bake McBride for the first out. But Manny Trillo lined a 1-2 pitch to right that Jeff Leonard may or may not have shoestringed.
Ump Bruce Froemming ruled he caught it, and Schmidt was doubled off first for the second sacrifice fly-double play of the day. But Rose had made sure. He waited until the ball came down, then tagged and scored.
"I yelled to him, 'Tag up,'" said third-base coach Lee Elia. "But he already was gonna do that. Only Pete Rose has the instincts to do that. A lot of people would overlook that. Pete was gonna make sure this was a 3-2 ball game."
The Phillies bench was bedlam, but it wasn't over. Landestoy came up to lead off the bottom of the ninth, and 44,952 people were making so much noise the guys at NASA must have thought one of their rockets had just gone up.
Warren Brusstar, the fifth Phillies pitcher, said he never heard them. But he walked Landestoy, and the din grew louder.
"I really thought I got squeezed (by home-plate ump Doug Harvey)," Brusstar said. "But it's still my fault. That's the worst thing you can do as a pitcher – walk the leadoff hitter. And he's not the type of hitter who's going to hit the ball real hard, either."
Sambito bunted Landestoy to second. Terry Puhl belted Brusstar's second pitch down the right-field line, and it was tied.
Brusstar rallied himself to get out of the inning (with a line-drive double play by Cabell). But he strode to the dugout with a very sinking feeling. Negating the most significant comeback in the Phillies history could do that to you.
"I felt like I'd let the ballclub down," Brusstar said. "It was awfully frustrating."
But with one out in the 10th, Rose stroked his second hit to left. Schmidt went from 3-and-0 to 3-and-2, then crushed a line drive right at Jose Cruz in left. He turned toward the Astros dugout and raised both arms as if to say, "Can this really be happening?"
There were two outs, McBride the hitter. But Green ran up Luzinski to bat for him. Green had benched the Bull because Ruhle isn't a guy who gives up a lot of homers, so he felt Smith might be more productive. But he felt this was the spot.
"I was thinking gapper or home run," said Green. "And we got what we had to have out of it."
Luzinski ripped the second pitch down the line in left. It took one hop, hit the wall and caromed right to Cruz. But Rose was pumping toward third by then. Elia said he saw "a look" in Rose's eyes. That look told him, "He wanted it." Elia saw Cruz' throw to Landestoy, the cutoff man, sink a little low, and sent him.
The throw was there before Rose was. But it short-hopped Bruce Bochy, the catcher who had replaced Pujols. As Bochy strained to retrieve it, Rose slammed into him like Larry Csonka on fourth and one. The ball skipped away, and it was 4-3.
"I had no choice but to do precisely what I did," Rose said. "I had to run into him, because I couldn't reach home plate with my foot.... But I had an advantage on him because the ball came in on a short hop. The catcher couldn't brace for the throw."
Manny Trillo doubled in an insurance run. And suddenly, there was McGraw out there in the 10th, in his fourth straight game. He fanned Morgan, his nemesis the day before, with a surprise screwball. The side went down 1-2-3.
And, for once, a typical Phillies day had an atypical Phillies ending.
NOTES: Marty Bystrom definitely will pitch against Nolan Ryan today. "My thinking," said Green, "is No. 1, Houston hasn't seen Marty yet. And No, 2, if I reversed the situation and Ruthven were to run into trouble in the early innings, I don't know whether Marty could do what Rufus can do – come in and throw strikes out of the bullpen."
Royals’ crown a tonic for KC fans
By the Associated
Things were relatively quiet in New York City late Friday night, save for a few small rooms in cavernous Yankee Stadium where the suddenly boisterous Kansas City Royals soaked themselves in champagne and savored their first American League pennant.
"I feel like we already won the World Series by beating the Yankees (for the first time in four playoffs)," said Royals' pitcher Larry Gura. "I'm thrilled to death for the people of Kansas City."
But back in Kansas City, the residents weren't doing a bad job of being thrilled for themselves.
Soon after the Royals had completed the three-game sweep of the American League Championship Series, carloads of ecstatic fans were backed up for more than a mile around the Crown Center Hotel, trying to get to a rally.
Driving on city streets became an adventure as happy fans blissfully ignored traffic signals and drove with one hand on the horn and the other out the window, clenched in the No. 1 sign.
Wayne Patterson, 22, of Kansas City, Mo., wandered through the crowd with his friend Steve Adams. "There ain't nobody, nobody, nobody, nobody that can beat us," he said. "We're the best there is.
"We lost to them three years in a, row, but this year we beat them three games in a row. Each one of those games makes up for each one of those years. That's revenge.
"I'd bet anybody – I'd bet the President whatever he wanted to bet – at 20-to-1 odds that Kansas City was going to win the (World) Series."
In Kansas City hospitals, newborn infants were dressed in Royal blue, their tiny T-shirts emblazoned with the names and numbers of Kansas City players.
"It was a super game," Kansas City Mayor Richard Berkley told the rally of more than 20,000 following the victory.
"They're an absolutely fantastic team. From Kansas City, our thanks to the Royals and the Kauffmans (Ewing and Muriel, team owners)."
Back in New York, Kansas City second baseman Frank White, the series' Most Valuable Player, also was happy for the fans.
"Having to go home three years in a row and see the people so disappointed, well, that was hard," said White. "It was like the big city against the small country town. You really hate to lose to the same team more than once."
"To sit there for three innings and hear Yankee Stadium absolutely quiet, as many times as we have been buried here, it was the greatest feeling in the world," said Paul Splittorff, who shut out the Yankees for the first 5⅓ innings in the clincher.
So having the Yankees in the other dugout was obviously an incentive for the Royals.
Splittorff recalled a conversation he had with White in the final weeks of the regular season.
"Frank White came to me and said, 'I want to beat those guys so bad and I want to be the star,'" the pitcher said. “He called it."
Splittorff said the Royals were driven.
"We were hungrier this year than ever before. Maybe it was an obsession."
But that appetite of the fans and of the Royals themselves has not been sated. Both said they wanted a World Series victory – even though at the time of their celebration, an opponent had not been determined.
Asked if he favored a Series' meeting with the Houston Astros or the Phillies, Kansas City third baseman George Brett, whose three-run, seventh-inning homer was the big blow in the pennant-clinching win, said: "I'd like to play in the Astrodome, because it's colder in Philadelphia."
But in Kansas City, things are just warming up.
A single sign fluttered slightly above the downtown crowd on an otherwise quiet night: "How Sweep It Is!"
Phillies revive to beat the Astros, 5-3
There will be a fifth game.
Run-scoring doubles by Greg Luzinski and Manny Trillo in the 10th inning gave the Phillies a 5-3 victory over the Houston Astros yesterday in a wild game at the Astrodome that tied the best-of-five National League Championship Series at two games each.
The final game will be played in Houston tonight, with the winner going on to play American League champion Kansas City in the World Series starting Tuesday.
Pete Rose started the Phils' winning rally in the 10th with a one-out single to center, and, after Mike Schmidt flied out, Luzinski, pinch-hitting for Bake McBride, blasted reliever Joe Sambito's pitch into the left-field corner.
The hustling Rose charged around the bases and scored the go-ahead run when substitute catcher Bruce Bochy could not field the relay throw.
Luzinski then scored the fifth run when Trillo ripped his double to left center off Sambito, the loser.
The Astros had tied the score 3-3 in the ninth off reliever Warren Brusstar on a walk to Rafael Landestoy, a sacrifice by Sambito and Terry Puhl's line single to right field.
The Phils had rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the eighth inning to take a 3-2 lead.
The game featured several controversial plays, including one that, after being ruled a triple play, was changed to a double play after a vigorous protest by Phils manager Dallas Green, a consultation among all six umpires and finally a consultation among the umpires and National League president Chub Feeney.
Watching from hospital, Cedeno sees his dream fade
By the Associated
HOUSTON – Veteran Astros outfielder Cesar Cedeno, who says he has dreamed of the National League pennant for 11 years, watched Houston's loss to Philadelphia in the National League Championship Series from his hospital bed yesterday.
Cedeno, who joined the Astros in 1967, suffered a compound dislocation and ligament tear in his right ankle after lunging for first base in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid a double play in Friday's game.
Dr. Harold Brelsford, the Astros' team physician, operated on the ankle during emergency surgery at Methodist Hospital Friday night.
"'Cesar had a very restful night. He was in a lot of pain after the operation but is doing much better today ' (Saturday)," Brelsford said.
"Even as Cedeno was on his way to surgery, Brelsford said his thoughts were with the team.
"They were taking him to the operating room, and he made them stop so he could call the clubhouse to congratulate his teammates on their 1-0 victory Friday, Brelsford said.
Cedeno's injury was the latest in a series of misfortunes to befall the National League's Western Division champion.
Pitcher J. R. Richard, who tossed out the ceremonial first pitch yesterday, suffered a stroke in July and was lost for the remainder of the season. Richard will undergo a second operation this week in California. Catcher Alan Ashby suffered a separated rib in the Western Division title game last Monday when he collided with Dodger catcher Joe Ferguson and was reported to be out indefinitely.
Cedeno, the five-time All-Star, is expected to be immobilized for about six weeks and then will undergo an extensive rehabilitation program.
No date has been set for his release from the hospital.