Camden Courier-Post - October 13, 1980
World Series – at last!
By Bob Kenney, Courier-Post Sports Editor
HOUSTON – Finally, the World Series is coming to Veterans Stadium!
After three near-misses, the Philadelphia Phillies ended a 30-year drought here last night by defeating the Houston Astros, 8-7, in 10 innings to win the National League pennant.
Not since Dick Sisler hit a 10th-inning home run to whip the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950 have the Philles participated in a world championship.
National League titles don't come often to Philadelphia, which won its only other crown back in 1915.
This third pennant didn't come easy. The Phillies were forced to win six-straight games in the final week of the season to edge Montreal for the astern Division title.
Then they had to come from behind twice to win the final two games against Houston in the Astrodome. They scored three times in the eighth inning Saturday and five times in the eighth inning last night to force the extra-inning finishes, each of which they won.
The last four games of this remarkable series went into extra innings. Houston won game two and game .three and could have eliminated the Phillies with a win in either of the last two games.
"All year long people have doubted us," said relief pitcher Tug McGraw. "But we proved them all wrong."
Phillies fans, who watched division winners fail in ‘76, ‘77 and ‘78, could be excused if they lacked faith yesterday. The club let a 2-1 lead slip away, then starter Larry Christenson was unable to give his team one solid inning of relief.
Houston jumped on Christenson for three runs in the seventh inning and appeared on their way to their first pennant in the club's 19-year history.
But the Phillies, despite some internal bickering the past month, have shown an amazing ability to bounce back this season and did it again.
"The guys never stopped talking and clapping," said shortstop Larry Bowa, who singled toopen a five-run eighth inning.
Pinchhitter Del Unser tied it and second basemen Manny Trillo put the Phillies up by two with a triple. But Houston, which played inspired baseball throughout the five-game series, fought back to tie the game in the bottom of the inning.
"Give the Phillies credit," said Houston Manager Bill Virdon. "They kept coming back and coming back. I feel for my guys, they played a helluva series."
The Phillies came back one more time. Unser, who stayed in the game, got a second chance to bat and doubled to right. Garry Maddox, who grounded into two double plays earlier, then lined a hit off center-fielder Terry Puhl's glove for the game winner.
Dick Ruthven, the No. 2 starter and a 17-game winner this season, pitched the last two innings to put the Phillies in against Kansas City starting tomorrow night at the Vet.
The Royals, who swept the New York Yankees in three games, spent the night in New York's LaGuardia Airport waiting to see where they were going.
Manager Jim Frey will have righthander Dennis Leonard, who was 20-12 in the regular season, ready to pitch the first game.
Dallas Green used six pitchers to stop Houston. He'll have to wait and see who is healthy before he names a first game starter.
‘For those who never stopped believing’
By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post
HOUSTON – The Philadelphia Phillies, a baseball team that for so long stood alone on the fringes of happiness and history, claimed the elusive National League pennant last night. But they didn't claim it in their own names.
"This one is for the people who have waited so many years and never stopped believing," said Pete Rose, the man who came to the city of broken dreams and fulfilled the prophecy that he would lead the way.
The road to glory, which wound its way through 30 years of despair and frustration, ended in the 10th inning under the Astrodome roof with centerfielder Garry Maddox clutching the cowhide proof that the only real losers are those who admit defeat.
It was the final irony in a two-week trip through the hearts and souls of a group of athletes who were confronted with their worst fears and most torturous memories, and yet, somehow, found the courage to rise above it all.
Ghosts were everywhere. Maddox dropping of that fateful linedrive in the 1978 playoffs against the Dodgers. Greg Luzinski once again feeling the pain of a catch he didn't make, as he had when hope seemed to die in 1977.
To say that the Phils didn't experience the dreadful flashes of "here we go again" would be a lie. But, like Rose would say later during a wild clubhouse celebration, "No one even thought about quitting. These guys played their hearts out."
General Manager Paul Owens, who sat in the stands comforting his crying wife Marselle when the Astros took a 5-2 lead in the seventh inning ("We're going to win," he kept repeating) thought it was almost pre-ordained that the team endure its greatest agonies before finding its greatest reward.
"It was as if we had to win it this way in order to put the past behind us," he said. "Tonight, this team found out just how special it really is."
Maddox, who delivered the pennant-clinching hit, pointed out the main difference between this Phillies team and those of the past, saying: "You can have the best talent on the field and not win. But if you have the right blend of people... with everyone willing to do what it takes to win, then it's hard to be denied.
"'Whatever it takes'… that became the motto of this team."
Fittingly, it took everybody and everything this championship club had to offer as the pressure-packed season culminated in a frenzied finish in Montreal and then moved step-by-step through a record-setting playoff that saw four games go into extra innings. An amazing 37 players were used in the heart-stopping finale.
And when it was done, owner Ruly Carpenter stood in the corner and wept for a dream come true.
"Outside this room, there are people who have been waiting 30 years for this moment," he said. "They have lived through the crap and everything else. Me, I could walk away from it. But the people who have lived and died with the team... the people in the streets... this one was for them."
Just the thought of that delighted Rose, who took the worried clubhouse attendants aside before the game and told them, "You're the guys we're going to win this thing for."
Later, Rose explained by saying, "I've been here before. And, I certainly don't need the money.
"All I think about is how amazed I was that this team had never been in a World Series. This feels so good, and this pennant is more personally satisfying than the others, because I know more people appreciate this than you can imagine.
"The fans have been stuck by the Phillies over the years. The town deserves to win. Now we have to win it (a World Series) for them.
Rose's brand was on these playoffs from the start. When he wasn't running his championship series hitting streak to a record-setting 14 games, he was scoring impossible runs and making improbable defensive plays.
"He had us revved up," said Coach Bill DeMars. "When we walked off the field after the first loss here and the fans started giving our guys a hard time, Pete just looked up and yelled, 'Hey, just make sure you got a seat for Sunday, because we're going to be here and we're going to win.'"
"Oh, I was just having fun out there," said Rose with a chuckle. "This team has been close too many times. Now we're there. Those folks back home must be tearing down the Liberty Bell."
If they tear it down, they'd better make sure they ring it loud and clear.
Philadelphia isn't, and never was, the "City of Losers." And the Phillies just made if official.
Unbelievable Phillies win first pennant in 30 years
By Bob Kenney, Courier-Post Sports Editor
HOUSTON – Greg Luzinski stepped to the center of the wild celebration in the Phillies' locker room.
“I think," the big guy yelled, "we proved to the world that we don't have a quitter on this team. They can’t say we don't have heart anymore."
The Phillies, who bombed out of the National League playoffs in 1976. 1977 and 1978, had just rallied from three runs down in the eighth inning to win their first pennant since 1950.
GARRY MADDOX supplied the game-winning run when he doubled home Del Unser in the 10th inning to decide this fourth straight extra-inning game, 8-7.
“This is the fourth time we tried to get it," said Maddox. who connected after Unser doubled past first base with one out in the inning. "This time we got it.
It doesn’t matter how we got here," he continued. "Winning is what counts."
The Phillies earned the right to meet Kansas City in the World Series beginning tomorrow evening at Veterans Stadium by coming from the brink of defeat both Saturday and last night with eighth-inning rallies.
"EVEN WHEN we were down by three, I thought we would win," said shortstop Larry Bowa, who singled to start a five-run rally for the new champions.
"If I started. I knew the other guys would follow," added Bowa, who played a perfect series defensively.
“He's right," volunteered Manny Trillo, who was voted the outstanding player of the series. "He said we could win if he got a hit and it worked."
Bowa opened the eighth against Nolan Ryan, who faced the minimum 15 batters over the middle five innings. The Astros, who tied the game 2-2 in the sixth, had just put three runs on the board against Larry Christenson.
BOB BOONE followed with a smash back to the mound that Ryan played into a hit. "The turning point of the game," Houston Manager Bill Virdon insisted later. "With a little luck we turn it into a double play."
Greg Gross then caught the Astros off guard with a perfect bunt and the hit loaded the bases with none out. Ryan lost his concentration at that point and walked Pete Rose on a 3-2 pitch to force in a run.
Virdon yanked Ryan and sent in lefty Joe Sambito to pitch to Bake McBride. Dallas Green, the Phillies boss, countered with Keith Moreland, who bounced into a force that brought in a run and moved Gross to third.
All Mike Schmidt needed at this point was a fly ball, but, as he did in three previous games, the major league home run leader failed to make contact. Two outs.
THAT LEFT it up to pinch hitter Unser, who singled to center and the score was tied, 5-5.
"It was unbelievable," said Boone. "But the whole game was unbelievable, the whole series was unbelievable."
Trillo added to the drama with a shot down the left-field line that went into the books as a two-run triple. Now it was 7-5, Philadelphia, and bullpen ace Tug McGraw went out to try to save it.
"I THOUGHT I could do it," said a very, very tired McGraw, who pitched in all five games in the playoffs and in both battles last week in Montreal. "But I couldn't hold them. I did not have that crispness."
McGraw got two strikeouts in the inning but Craig Reynolds beat out an infield hit, Terry Puhl got his fourth single of the game and Rafael Landestoy and Jose Cruz singled in runs to tie it.
The Phillies went down in the ninth and Dick Ruthven, the hard-throwing 17-game winner, talked his way into the game.
"They were saving me for the opener," said Ruthven, after setting the Astros down in order in the ninth and 10th innings. "We can't wait until Tuesday, we've got to get it now," he told his manager.
EARLIER Green bad Ruthven warm up. Twice. Both times he felt tight.
"When I warmed up in the ninth, I felt great," Ruthven said. "I just went out there and concentrated on Boonie's glove."
Unser doubled with one out in the 10th and came around when Maddox ripped a Ken Forsch pitch into center to make it 8-7.
"I feel for my guys," said Virdon. "They played a helluva series." They did, almost pulling it out against Christenson.
IT WAS 2-2 when Green waved in Christenson, his No. 3 starter. "All I wanted from Larry was one inning," said Green. "I didn't want to stretch him too thin, but I wanted to hold Tug back an inning. It didn't work."
Puhl singled. Enos Cabell bunted. Morgan grounded out. Then Green ordered Cruz walked intentionally. Dennis Walling spoiled the strategy with a single and Christenson added to the problem by throwing a wild pitch that permitted Cruz to score.
Ron Reed came on at this point and was greeted with a triple by Art Howe that appeared to lock it up.
Ryan was red hot at the start, but the Phillies used a Trillo single, a walk to Maddox and a two-run single by Boone to score twice in the second.
IT LOOKED as if the lead might hold up. Puhl singled and scored on a Cruz double in the first but rookie Marty Bystrom was pitching out of trouble thanks to the Phillies' solid defense.
In the second, Luis Pujols walked and tried to score on a double into the corner by Reynolds. He was out on a perfect relay and decoy tag at the plate by Boone.
"I got a good throw from Bake and I had time to get it to Boonie," said Trillo, who admitted he was aware Pujols was running on an injured ankle.
In the fourth, Rose took a wide throw from Trillo and fired home in time to catch Cruz trying to sneak in with the tying run.
"Give the Phillies credit," said Virdon. "They made the big plays. They looked like they were dead and they kept coming back."
Trillo sinks Astros in playoff clincher
MVP Award fulfills promise to wife
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
HOUSTON – In a locker room awash with champagne, Manny Trillo was an unwilling model of sobriety.
Amid a wild, crazy, joyous celebration, Manny Trillo was a reluctant island of calm. With toasts and congratulations bubbling all around, Manny Trillo remained stationary.
New Year's Eve had arrived in October for the Phillies and Manny Trillo wanted to join the party. Instead, he stood to one side, a wallflower among revelers.
LAUGHING and smiling, Trillo patiently answered the questions of the media – in two languages – while all the time hoping to break free and become part of the madness surrounding him.
He had been named the most valuable player of one of the most dramatic National League Championship Series ever played. The second baseman had been the key figure in the Phillies' first pennant in 30 years.
Last night, in the Phillies' emotionally draining 8-7 clincher over the Houston Astros here in the Astrodome, Trillo lined out three hits, scored a run and threw a runner out at the plate with a laser beam from shallow right field.
ONE OF his hits was a two-run triple that climaxed a dramatic five-run eighth-inning rally which gave the Phillies a 7-5 lead.
During the five games, Trillo went 8-for-21 with two doubles, the triple and four RBIs. His performance made him the hands-down winner of the MVP award and fulfilled a joking promise he made to his wife, Maria, earlier yesterday.
"We were having lunch this afternoon at the hotel," Trillo recounted. "She asked me that if the second baseman for the Royals (Frank White) could be MVP (of the American League playoffs), why couldn't I?
"I told her – I was really joking – that I'd get it for her."
MARIA TRILLO was standing next to her husband as he spoke. In one hand, she clutched the trophy, in the other, a half empty bottle of champagne. She beamed as if Manny had just proposed.
Trillo is an unlikely MVP. He carries neither the kind of long-ball bat of a Mike Schmidt nor the flame-throwing arm of Nolan Ryan. The things Trillo does on a baseball field do not lend themselves to MVP recognition.
Yet, there he was, waiting to join the party.
“Two of the greatest things that ever happened to me are this... and when Charlie Finley got rid of me," Trillo said with a laugh.
Gutsy Astros despondent in defeat
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
HOUSTON – Alone in the first-base dugout, Jose Cruz sat with his head in his hands. He was a picture framed by anguish.
In a room deep within the bowels of the cavernous Astrodome, Bill Virdon stood impassively and spoke in the controlled emotionless tone of an eye-witness to disaster. The Houston Astros were twice within six outs of clinching their first National League pennant in their first playoff appearance. They were that close, and it had slipped away.
The Astros lost the fifth and decisive game of the playoffs, 8-7, to the Phillies in 10 innings. They had the game won after seven innings, 5-2. But the Phillies rallied for five runs in the eighth to take a 7-5 lead.
THE ASTROS courageously scored twice themselves with two out in the eighth to tie it. They had the potential winning run on third base when the last out of that inning was made.
But it got away in the 10th when Del Unser and Garry Maddox each doubled off Frank LaCorte. It flowed from their fingers like so much oil. The Astros had been so close, had come so far, and they took the gut-wrenching defeat hard.
"Hold your heads up," said Joe Morgan, walking through the Astros' locker room. "You've got nothing to be ashamed of."
While most of the Houston players sat facing the wall and seldom taking the time to even answer questions, Morgan, the second baseman and sparkplug who bad come to Houston only this year, said repeatedly, "There is another year and we've played some great baseball."
"WE SCORED a lot of runs but we just couldn't hold them," said Joe Niekro, who had earlier chalked up one of the Astros' two victories.
"The breaks just went against us," said Joe Sambito. "(Nolan) Ryan pitched a great game for us. He just didn't get a single break."
"They did their job," said Terry Puhl. "I think that Kansas City has more team speed than Philadelphia, but you can bet we'll all be pulling for the National League team."
"This was one of the greatest ball-games that I have ever played in and this was one of the greatest series that anybody has ever seen," catcher Alan Ashby said. "We should have won it, but that's baseball."
A FEW of the Astros sipped on cans of beer, but there was no champagne this time.
It may not be enough, but the Astros took part in one of the most dramatic National League playoffs ever played. Not since the 1975 World Series between the Reds and the Red Sox has a single series provided so much drama, so much excitement.
The final four games of the series went into extra innings – a record. Two of the games set records for longevity. The Astros came within six outs of clinching in the fourth game, but were turned away.
They were given every conceivable opportunity to fold. Vet they took the Phillies – man for man a more talented team – to the brink before bowing.
"IT HAS," said Virdon. "been out standing. It typifies the two clubs that played in it. The Phillies are deserving winners. You have to give them credit.
"But I have to give credit to our club, too. We are better than a lot of people give us credit for. My hat's off to the Astros. They never quit.”
Ticket seekers converge on Vet
By William W. Sutton, Jr. of the Courier-Post
PHILADELPHIA – Pandemonium struck Veterans Stadium today as thousands of Phillies fans rushed to get tickets for the World Series.
Although some die-hard, positive-thinking fans had been there since late yesterday afternoon, most of the fans showed up just after midnight following the Phillies 8-7 victory over the Houston Astros.
Police put extra forces on the street, in and around the stadium to control the crowd. They barricaded Pattison Avenue in front of the stadium to help control traffic.
Fans – some sober, some inebriated – camped out with tents, blankets, radios, televisions, food, liquor and friends. Police estimated 7,000 people were at the stadium by 2 a.m. with more arriving every minute.
Tickets for World Series games one, two, six and seven went on sale at 6:45 a.m. today – more than two hours early. Police anticipated an angry mob scene since only 8,000 of the $ 15 reserved seat tickets were to be sold with an eight-ticket maximum per person.
Many of the fans near the ticket windows were protective of their respective spots on the stadium grounds. They would question any movement, believing someone was out to beat them out of a ticket to see their heroes.
Outside the stadium, fans stood in the street shaking hands and shouting anti-Kansas City slogans. The Phillies will face the Royals for the World Series crown, in the best-of-seven Fall Classic starting tomorrow night.
Michael Blythe, Doug Johnson and Mike McKenna were right in the middle of the wild scene.
The three – students at the Rutgers University Law School in Camden – didn't seem concerned about school and said they would stay all night to get tickets for the first two World Series games to be played here.
"Despite the adversity, despite the 30 years of frustration, here it is," Blythe said. "If you want the honest opinion of a real Phillies fan, it's gonna be the Phils in six."
McKenna, of Collingswood, said he knows why the Phillies won.
"Tug McGraw is Irish," he said. "He had to do it."
Philadelphia native Jeffrey Jackson at first wanted to buy some tickets but after seeing the crown, decided just to celebrate with the other fans.
"This is a gigantic event here," he said. "We've had four contenders in this city in the three major sports and this is the first time in a long time we're going to have a winner."
Phillies fans finally celebrate victory
By William W. Sutton, Jr. of the Courier-Post
CAMDEN – Phillies fans here went wild when center fielder Garry Maddox caught the final out of the National League Playoff series, putting Philadelphia in the World Series for the first time in 30 years.
When the victory – and the pennant – came early today, Al Szewczak rushed toward the large television screen at the end of the My Friends bar.
"They won it, man," he shouted while frantically jumping up and down. "They did it. They did it."
Szewczak said the win "felt better than the Flyers winning the Stanley Cup."
The champagne flowed and the Phillies fans at the Mount Epbraim Avenue tavern went crazy when Philadelphia won the fifth and final series game, 8-7, over the Houston Astros in what patrons considered an amazing comeback.
Denise Moore said she knew the Phillies would win it because she did a little something extra.
"I went to church three times today (Sunday)," she said as she reveled in the victory. "I went to 8 o'clock Mass, 11 o'clock Mass and 6 o'clock Mass. I knew they would do it. I lit candles and all."
The 23-year-old Turnersville resident has a lot of faith in the Phils and an extra team player. "God wouldn't do that (make them lose) to the Phillies again," she said.
Dennis Pietrzyk was the only person not smiling when the Phillies pulled off the big one.
"I thought it was a well-played series. My money was with the Astros but I'm not surprised at the win," he said after his favorite team lost. "There's always next year."
John Manhinney of Turnersville said he was happy but surprised at the Phillies win because be was "drained watching every damn game" and thought the Phillies would have been drained by now.
However, Mahinney said he's not done watching yet.
"I've got a couple of days off coming to me," he said. "I think I'll take them so I can see the games."
Szewczak, of Philadelphia, credited Phillies Manager Dallas Green with the win.
"Danny Ozark (who managed the team until he was fired last fall) loved the boys too much for the last couple of years. Green got in there and made them tough and they're showing it tonight," he said as it appeared the Phillies would win.
Szewczak led the crowd in cheers of "We want the Royals!" when he felt the Phils had it wrapped up.
Philadelphia will meet Kansas City tomorrow night at Veterans Stadium in the first game of the World Series.
The Phillies made their share of believers with yesterday's victory.
"I'm not much into sports," said Al Lyles, a 44-year-old scientist from Turnersville. "I'm mostly dedicated to my work, but this team has turned me on. As a newcomer, this is great."
In contrast, 35-year-old Edward Grabarski of Mount Ephraim has been a Phillies fan most of his life. He was overjoyed with the victory and showed it when the Phillies finally locked it up.
"I rooted for them. I wanted them to win. I've followed them through good and bad, wins and losses. And when they won tonight, I jumped up. When they win I feel super great."