Monessen Valley Independent - October 13, 1980
Astros Better Claims Cabell
HOUSTON (UPI) – Houston Astros third baseman Enos Cabell doesn’t think the best team won the National League pennant.
“I think we have a better ballclub,” he said after Sunday night’s 8-7 victory by Philadlephia eliminated Houston, “and down deep if they don’t know it, they’re stupid.”
Cabell, who hit .238 in a 5-for-21 five game performance, struck out with the tying runs aboard for Houston in the eighth inning Sunday and was cut down at the plate in the fifth inning while trying to score from second on a two-out grounder hobbled by the Phillies’ Manny Trillo.
“I’ve scored from second on balls like that and I’ve struck out before,” Cabell said. “That’s probably the best fastball he (Phillies reliever Tug McGraw) ever threw in his life.”
Astros Lose Battle
United Press International
HOUSTON (UPI) — An unopened, almost forgotten can of beer grew warm in Terry Puhl's left hand as he leaned back in a metal chair and concentrated on the blur of events that catapulted him into the National League record book but kept his Houston Astros out of the World Series.
"The hardest thing about losing was coming within six outs of winning," the 24-yearold Canadian said after Philadelphia nudged the Astros 8-7 in the deciding game of their National League playoff series.
"When we went up 5-2 (in the 7th inning) we were so up and then everything collapsed on us," he said. "We had it and then they took it from us. It was a battle; the whole series was a battle."
Puhl's 4-for-6 performance Sunday gave him a 10-for-19 total, the most hits ever in an NL championship series. Althougn they dropped two of three games at the Astrodome and squandered leads each time, none of the Astros blamed any one person or play for the losses.
"You can never assume anything in this game," said shortstop Craig Reynolds. "We were in pretty good shape at 5-2 and were a little jubilant. But you've got to. give the Phillies credit. They were as tenacious as we were.
"We won as a team all year and we lost as a team tonight. We're not gracious losers, no, but we're not going to be in here throwing stuff around either
"You play that hard that long and then you lose it in the fifth game and it hurts, but I hope there's not a person on this team that hangs their head because we gave it our very best "
Catcher Luis Pujols sat alone facing the wall in the quiet dressing room He had played Sunday night with a painfully swollen ankle that was aggravated when he tried to score from first on Reynold's second-inning double Hobbled as he was, it still took perfect relays from Bake McBnde to Manny Trillo to Bob Boone to nail Pujols at home.
"There was nothing I could do," he said. "I run the best I can. God had the championship for somebody else, not for us this year. I hope we can do it next year."
Vern Ruhle, Jose Cruz, Nolan Ryan, Enos Cabell, Reynolds and others cried. Catcher Alan Ashby smiied, but explained: "It's not a happy smile. But we just had a whale of a ballgame and came up short. It's been a fun year
"This will go down as one of the great series and the only thing wrong is we didn't come out on top... We didn' t hold on to that 5-2 lead and that's where I felt like we lost it. We should have won it when we had that lead."
KC To Sweep Series?
Milton Richman, UPI Sports Editor
PHILADELPHIA (UPI) — They call him "Georgie Boy." and the Kansas City Royals' absolute faith and belief in him is such, they're totally convinced he'll lead them to the Promised Land before the next fortnight.
George Brett has that kind of capacity. He can make devout believers out of many others besides his own teammates.
With one swing of his bat against fireballer Goose Gossage, the most awesome pitcher in baseball, Brett pretty much took care of whatever doubters there might've been left. His three-run thunderclap into the upper right field deck of Yankee Stadium in the seventh inning of Friday night's third playoff contest not only powered the Royals to their first American League pennant but strengthened the conviction among the beaten Yankees and many others that Kansas City has an excellent chance to go all the way in the World Series.
Nobody around today throws a baseball any harder than Gossage and nobody hits a baseball with more consistency and authority than George Brett.
"It was my best against his best and you saw the result for yourself." Gossage reduced their one-on-one confrontation to its simplest and most basic terms.
Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, who saw his team beat the Royals in three previous playoffs, hates to lose. Anytime he does, though, he's the first to give credit to those who beat him.
He congratulated Ewing Kauffman, the Royals' owner, and Jimmy Frey, their manager, after the Yankees' terminal 4-2 defeat, and told them both, "You're gonna kill those other guys."
I think George Steinbrenner hit the nail on the head. The way the Royals are going now, the way they're all fired up and the way Brett is hitting and Frank White is playing second base, I can't see anyone beating them. Not the Philadelphia Phillies, not the Yankees even if they played them again, not anyone.
The Royals seem to be star-kissed now. They've somehow captured that intangible ingredient that enabled the Pirates to bowl over the Orioles in the final three games of last year's World Series, the Yankees to gather the momentum they needed for a world championship after they beat the Red Sox in their 1978 mini one-game playoff, and the Mets to upset the Orioles in the 1969 World Series.
It wouldn't surprise me if the Royals sweep the Phillies four in a row in the World Series. None of the Kansas City players are talking much about a sweep, but if it should come to pass, I don't think it would surprise them that much, either.
Primarily because of "Georgie Boy."
"If George Brett tells you he's gonna do something, don't ever doubt him," says Dennis Leonard, a 20-game winner with the Royals for the third time this year.
"Just before he went up to the plate in our first playoff game with the Yankees, he said to me and (pitching coach) Billy Connors, 'I'm gonna go up there now and hit a home run.' Darned if he didn't off (Ron) Davis.”
Undeniably, Brett gets far more publicity than all the other Royals.
The unusual aspect about all this is that none of the Royals seem to begrudge Brett any of the attention he's getting. They feel he deserves all of it and more.
"We were pulling so hard for him to hit one out when he came up against Gossage in the seventh inning Friday night," says outfielder Clint Hurdle.
Brett, who hit three home runs in one game against the Yankees during the 1978 playoffs only to see the Royals lose that one, too, said Friday night's homer "made up for everything else."
Utility man Jamie Quirk was so excited over Brett's blow, he told newsmen who asked for his opinion that Brett "is the greatest ballplayer on this earth."
He told the same thing to Ewing Kauffman when the Royals' owner came by his locker.
"Give him whatever he wants." Quirk urged ecstatically. "He's worth it."
Kauffman doesn't deny that. But Brett, who makes nearly a million a year, isn't concerned with money. What he wants is one of those World Series rings, and I think he's going to get it.
Phillies Win the 'Big One'
United Press International
HOUSTON (UPI) — The Philadelphia Phillies can win the big game. They proved it twice in two days.
"I can't believe, what we had to overcome in this series," third baseman Mike Schmidt said Sunday night after the Phillies finally shedded the stigma of being able to win the "big one" with a knock-down, drag-out, 10-inning 8-7 triumph over Houston" to claim their first National League pennant in 30 years.
First baseman Pete Rose called the series, which went to the five-game limit, the toughest he had ever experienced because, after losing two excruciating extrainning games, the Phillies were within six outs of a fourth NL championship series embarrassment in five years on both Saturday afternoon and Sunday night. And they survived.
"God, I'm proud of this team," Rose said after the series, which saw a record four games go to extra innings was finally over.
The Astros, never considered to be a championship club, went out running and gambling in the same gutsy style that had carried them farther than most people thought possible.
The Phillies now host the Kansas City Royals Tuesday in the first game of the World Series, and, for the first time, they won't be counted out if they fall behind.
Doubles by Del Unser and Garry Maddox in the 10th inning Sunday provided the winning run to allow the Phils their celebration at last. But the key to the Phillies' pennant victory was some clutch hitting in the eighth inning of each of the final two games.
Trailing 2-0 Saturday, the Phillies put together four straight singles by Greg Gross, Lonnie Smith, Rose and Schmidt in the eighth inning to tie the game. Behind 5-2 in the eighth inning the next night, the Phillies strung singles by Larry Bowa, Bob Boone and Gross and a walk to Rose to start a five-run inning.
The Astros tried to put it away early in Sunday's game with Nolan Ryan on the mound, but Phillies second baseman Manny Trillo, the series' most valuable player, did in their design.
His tough play on Denny Walling's grounder in the first inning stopped a run, and his relay home in the second cut down Luis Pujols at the plate. In an effort reflective of the Astros' spirit, Pujols, favoring a swollen ankle injured in Saturday's game, was trying to score from first base on Craig Reynolds' double despite limping badly after rounding second base.
Those early failures haunted the Astros when Ryan, the team's $1 million-a-year pitcher, failed to hold a 5-2 lead in the eighth.
It was a soft single, a perfect bunt and a walk that chased Ryan in the key eighth inning. And, although Frank Lacorte suffered the loss by giving up the 10th-inning doubles, Ryan felt the weight of his failure to hold the lead
"It's the biggest loss I've ever had in my career," Ryan said. "I can't sum it up in words. It was a more emotional time that any game I've ever performed in."
''It's one of those situations where when it's over, that's it. There's not another game tomorrow. Another season is gone. It's hard to say it's over with and put it out of your mind."
Pitching Key For Phils
United Press International
PHILADELPHIA (UPI) - Dallas Green finds himself in the same situation as the sergeant who just gave out the last of the rations. What do the troops eat tomorrow?
"I could care less," the Phillies manager said impulsively Sunday night while celebrating the 10-inning, 8-7 victory over the Houston Astros in the fifth and deciding game of the National League playoffs that gave Philadelphia its first pennant in 30 years.
The Phillies, who had never before won a post-season series, must end their party in time for Tuesday night, when they meet the Kansas City Royals in the first game of the World Series.
The Royals, who have rested since completing their three-game sweep of the Yankees on Friday, have their rotation in perfect shape with right-hander Dennis Leonard, 20-11 slated to open against Philadelphia's righthanded power.
Green, in his first full year as Phillies' manager, used six pitchers, including three starters, in the pennant-clincher.
Unless he wants to go with Larry Christenson (two-thirds of an inning), or Dick Ruthven (two innings) he must either start Steve Carlton on two days' rest or use a dark horse like Bob Walk. To add to his woes, Green also has a weary reliever in Tug McGraw, who relieved in all five games and showed it with a flat breaking ball.
On a night when the Phillies put the memory of three straight playoff losses behind them, Green preferred to talk about the team's achievement.
"It didn't look like it was in the cards." he said. "In the spring, I fell we needed some character to win. We worked on it during the season. The guys came through."
The Joy filled the entire clubhouse.
"I was kept out of the Series twice with Oakland," said second baseman Manny Trillo, voted the Most Valuable Player in the playoff series for excelling defensively and going 8-for-21. "I was really looking for this one."
Trillo, like Green and the rest of his mates, must eventually reckon with the Royals, who made the Series in their 12th year of existence and who have shed a little bad history themselves by avenging three playoff losses to New York.
"The whole thing will sink in in the World Series when I'm on the mound," said Leonard. "It's the dream of
every boy, at least those who enjoy baseball, to play in the
big leagues, and if you get there, then the ultimate is to go to the World Series. You can't go any further."
The Royals left New York for Philadelphia as soon as they knew the Phils had clinched the pennant.
The first two games of the Series will be played Tuesday and Wednesday nights in Philadelphia. The series switches to Kansas City for games Friday, Saturday afternoon and if necessary, Sunday afternoon, and if further games are needed, Games Six and Seven are 'scheduled for Tuesday night and Wednesday night, Oct. 21-22 in Philadelphia.
The matchup presents a showcase of individual stars and a contrast in team styles. Philadelphia, with Pete Rose, owns perhaps the most dynamic player of this era, a player superbly conditioned to postseason play. Kansas City counters with George Brett, who spent the last two months of the regular season in a dramatic run at the .400 mark; Both players invent ways to win.
As for style, the Royals rely on pitching, speed and defense while the Phillies are more suited to play longball. A seventh game, if necessary, would be played in Veterans' Stadium, an easier home run park than Royals Stadium.