Gettysburg Times - October 13, 1980
Frustration Finally Ends As Phillies Win NL Pennant
By Ralph Bernstein, The Associated Press
HOUSTON (AP) — The Philadelphia Phillies and the Kansas City Royals, following of that famous advice that if at First you don't succeed, try, try again, are 1980 World Series opponents.
The Phillies joined the Royals in ending years of frustration by winning their league pennant to reach the best-of-seven Series, which starts in Philadelphia Tuesday night.
Kansas City, an expansion team which had never won more than its West Division, captured the American League pennant in a three-game sweep of the New York Yankees. It was a tougher road for the Phillies, who had to go the full five games before subduing the Houston Astros to win the National League flag.
Philadelphia fell behind two games to one, and came back to win the two final games, both in extra innings.
The Phillies closed out the West Division champion Astros. 8-7 in 10 innings Sunday night in the Astrodome, with Garry Maddox. once a playoff goat, doubling across the winning run.
Both the Phillies and Royals won their divisions in four of the last five years. The Royals lost three AL playoffs to the East champion Yankees.
The Phillies were swept by Cincinnati in 1976. and lost to Los Angeles in both 1977 and 1978.
While the Royals are making their first World Series appearance, the Phillies' history isn't much better.
Philadelphia reached the Series just twice, in 1915 and 1950. They won just one game 65 years ago against the Boston Red Sox. and were swept in four by the Yankees in '50.
Their life has been frustration, especially in 1964. when they led the one-division league by 6-1/2 games with 12 to play and lost 10 straight to blow the pennant.
The Phillies, who edged the Montreal Expos for this year's East Division title on the next-to-last day of the season, won the first game of the playoff at home in the series against the West-winning Astros.
They were the favorites to blow out the almost anonymous Astros, who had to beat the Dodgers in a one-game playoff to win the West. But after winning the opening game, the Phillies were taken to a major league record-setting four straight extra inning postseason games before heading for the champagne.
It was a series that featured weird plays, such as a triple play that became a double play after a 20 minute rhubarb, a Houston run cancelled because a runner left base before a sacrifice fly was caught, a ball that was trapped in right field and resulted in a rally-killing double play when the umpire ruled it had been caught.
All that happened m the fourth game. In the finale Sunday, the Astros scored three in the bottom of the seventh and the Phillies rallied for five in the eighth.
The Astros wouldn't quit. They scored two and tied it 7-7 in the eighth, and held on until Del Unser doubled and scored on Maddox's two-out double in the 10th.
For Maddox it was retribution. In 1978 at Los Angeles he dropped a routine line drive that gave the Dodgers the clinching NL playoff victory.
"I'd forgotten about that." said the happy Maddox in the madhouse that was the Phillies" dressing room.
A champagne bottle in his hand, a smile as broad as the ocean on his face. Maddox said. "This more than makes up for that. It's the happiest day of my career."
Second baseman -Manny Trillo was voted the Most Valuable Player of the playoff with 8 hits in 21 at bats for an average of .381. including a two-run triple in the eighth inning of the clinching game.
The Astros took a 1-0 lead in the first inning behind fireballing Nolan Ryan on an RBI double by Jose Cruz. The Phillies came back with two in the second as Bob Boone ripped a two-run single.
Houston tied it in the sixth with the help of a two-base error and a pinch-hit single by Alan Ashby. When the Astros scored three in the seventh, it looked like the Phillies were done.
But the team many said lacked character refused to quit. They came back with five in the eighth to take a 7-5 lead. The Astros tied it with two in the eighth, but Dick Ruthven. a starting pitcher, came on in relief and retired six straight batters, while Unser and Maddox provided the winning run.
Phillies' manager Dallas Green, champagne dripping from his 6-foot. 5-inch frame and tears welling in his eyes, said of his team:
"I don't know if I'll live through this one. I badgered these guys about the necessity of character since spring training. 1 don't know any greater display of character than this team showed in the month of September, in clinching the division and in this series. They didn't quit. It was incredible."
Boone,. the veteran catcher who with Mike Schmidt. Larry Bowa, Trillo,.\ Pete Rose and Bake McBride formed the core of this team, was in an emotional state.
Usually cool and verbal. Boone lay exhausted on a table, and the words came slowly.
"It was unbelievable- All the pent up emotions of all these years, it was all worth it. Ask the city (Philadelphia) about character on this one."
Bowa said this was something he dreamed of since he was 5 years old. and now that it was here he found it hard to believe.
Rose, a tower of strength and example of leadership by action, said the World Series would be fun. He observed that the playoffs, against guys he had competed against all season — friends, he called them—was the real pressure.
Manager Bill Virdon ot the Astros said the playoff "has been outstanding. It typified the two clubs that played in it. The Phillies played well and always came back at us. The Phillies are deserving winners. You have to give them eredit.
"But I have to credit my club too. We are better than a lot of people gave us credit for being. My hat is off to the Astros. They never quit." The Phillies drank to that. and everything else too.