Reading Eagle - October 13, 1980
Bitter Memories Washed Away
By John W. Smith, Asst. Sports Editor
HOUSTON – “All the one-liners they’ve used about the Phillies they can erase,” said Mike Schmidt.
The bitter memories of three straight defeats in League Championship Series play were washed away on a spray of champagne Sunday night as the Phillies uproariously celebrated their first National League pennant in 30 years.
Greg Luzinski, morose the night before because he hadn’t started (even though he got the winning hit), did more spraying than anybody. This time he didn’t mind two called strikeouts, a dropped fly, and a seventh-inning departure for a runner.
Larry Bowa talked to anybody who would listen; players who usually ignore each other hugged each other; reserves like Unser and Gross kept wandering around clutching bottles dearly; never-used John Vukovich was collecting handshakes; TV announcers were methodically doused; Steve Carlton was smiling.
“The release of all tension and emotion,” said Tug McGraw.
An hour after the game ended, about the only guy who had dressed was Texan Keith Moreland.
Some things don’t change, though. Nobody tried to throw Dallas Green into the shower.
“Let them say we don’t have heart,” challenged Luzinski. “We don’t have no quitters on this team.”
“This shows we have character,” repeated Bowa.
“I felt honestly we weren’t gonna lose,” said Green. “Sure, the seventh inning was disheartening. But we’ve been through it before and we’re used to it.”
“I just felt like we were going to win,” said Vice President Bill Giles.
“I wouldn’t say I was confident after the seventh, but I had high hopes.”
Pete Rose, always honest, admitted that “I had some doubts. I was hoping we were home team, cause I though whoever batted last would score last.
“But I think this just took the load off the shoulders of the team. This is business, but they’ll learn that the World Series is fun.”
As, the poisonous lines which could have been written.
The Phillies had gone 0-for-20 with men in scoring position from the eighth inning of the second game to the eighth inning of the fourth game. Those who noted that the Power Transmission Distributers Convention was beginning Monday to observe that the delegates should have shown up early.
A vital run had scored Sunday because Luzinski dropped a fly for which he had to reach (remember the drive of Manny Mota in ’77, or maybe Maddox’s muff in ’78).
A starter being used in relief had wild-pitched home a run Sunday (remember Underwood’s wildness in ’76).
The opposition had come from two runs back in the late innings (remember Cincy in ’76 and L.A. in ’77).
But this time it was the foes who had two men thrown out at the plate, who had a man called out for leaving third base too soon (Saturday), who failed six outs from a victory by two runs, then six outs from a victory by three runs.
And so one did not need to suggest that another Houston convention (which ended Friday) should have been held over for the long-suffering Philly faithful – that of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.
Phillies National League Champs
Winners in Orbit After Comeback
By John W. Smith, Asst. Sports Editor
HOUSTON – This city hasn’t seen such remarkable comebacks since they stopped returning people from the moon.
As the National League pennant hung suspended in zero gravity, the Philadelphia Phillies pulled off a five-run rally in the eighth inning with the precision of a Mission Control operation Sunday night.
But they still had to regroup after a nagging hold in the countdown before they could blast themselves into orbit around the World Series.
Finally, in the top of the 10th, it was one small run by Del Unser, one giant leap for Philadelphia.
Garry Maddox doubled home Unser from third base with two out in the top of the 10th, and Dick Ruthven succeeded where three other relievers had failed in throttling the foe.
And so the Phillies finally recorded an 8-7 win over the Houston Astros to end the longest – and best – League Championship Series in history, and inaugurate the champagne splashdown.
“The Phillies always came back at us,” summed up Bill Virdon, the losing manager.
“This was typical of what we went through in September,” said Dallas Green, the winning manager. “You won’t find a better example of character. A good adjective for this game would be ‘incredible.’”
The Phillies had seemed as far from winning as the earth from the moon when they went into the top of the eighth Sunday. Houston had tied the game at 2-2 with an unearned run off starter Marty Bystrom in the sixth. The Astros had vaulted ahead 5-2 with runs in the seventh on three consecutive pitches by Larry Christenson and Ron Reed.
Sure, the Phillies had wiped out a two-run deficit with three in the eighth the night before. But you don’t do that twice in a row.
And Nolan Ryan, perhaps baseball’s best starting pitcher at protecting a late-inning lead, was firing bullets. He’d faced only the minimum three batters in each of the previous five innings.
But Larry Bowa slapped a single into center, Bob Boone singled off Ryan’s glove, and Greg Gross bunted perfectly toward third to load the bases. Then Ryan, who has averaged less than 1½ walks per game since the All-Star break, passed Pete Rose to fore in a run.
Prediction by Pete
‘The bench never let us down, even when they were three ahead,” said Bowa. “And Pete said to me when I went up, ‘If you get on, we’ll win this.’ I knew I had to get on.
“I never faced a pitcher like Ryan before. I thought he was still throwing hard in the eighth, but maybe he had too much of the plate on the one I hit.”
Boone’s ball could have been a double play, but it escaped Ryan’s grasp. Virdon called this play the game’s turning point.
Gross bunted on his own. “When I saw Enos (Cabell) playing even with the bag, I made up my mind,” said Greg. “I’m a pretty good bunter – I used to bunt a lot – but that’s the first one I’ve attempted this year. I haven’t had much chance as a pinch-hitter.”
That was all for Ryan. Joe Sambito, Houston’s only lefty pitcher, came in to face Bake McBride, who fanned both times he’d faced him in the series. Green sent up Keith Moreland, who forced Rose but got home the gap run and pushed the tying run to third.
Astro fans breathed a sigh of relief when Ken Forsch came in to fan Mike Schmidt.
But Unser slashed a single to right as a pinch-hitter for Reed to tie the score. And series MVP Manny Trillo put the Phils up 7-5 by rocketing a two-run triple to the left-field corner.
The Astrodome, as noisy as a blastoff minutes earlier, had taken on the eerie silence of a lunar landscape. But the Astros had some comebacks of their own in the last of the eighth.
They combed Tug McGraw for four singles and the two tying runs, as defensive replacement Rafael Landestoy and RBI leader Jose Cruz delivered two-out RBIs.
McGraw was pitching in his fifth straight game and eighth out of the last nine. “My arm felt pretty good, but I didn’t have sharpness in my breaking ball,” said Tug. Nevertheless, he did get two strikeouts, and two of the hits were cheapies.
So it was 7-7 entering the ninth. McGraw left for a vain pinch-hitter (George Vukovich) as the Phillies got Bowa to third but not home.
On came Ruthven, for his third relief appearance in five years and first since ’77 at Atlanta.
Dick looked as suited for the pen as a bottle of ink. Two grounders and a routine fly sent the game into the 10th for the fourth consecutive game.
Schmidt struck out again to complete a pitiful night with the bat, but Unser drilled a double past first. Trillo flied deep to center, Del taking third. Then Maddox lined one to center which bounded just in front of Terry Puhl and got by him for the extra base.
“I hit that as good as any I’ve hit in a long time,” said Del. “It had topspin and just carried over his glove. On the single he jammed me, but I got a little basehit, and that was a big pickup.”
Maddox had hit into two double plays and left a runner on third in his last three times up. He said he thought the winning hit was in at first. “But then he kept coming, so I knew he had a shot,” said Garry.
The Astros had one shot left, and it was also from Puhl, who had four hits and set a league record with 10 hits in the series.
Ruthven had gotten Dan Heep on a pop to start the 10th. Then Puhl smashed one deep to center. But Maddox drifted back for a routine catch, and picked off a loft from Cabell to end it.
Boone not only got the turning-point hit, but also took care of all the early scoring by lining a 99-mph fastball to center for a two-run single in the second. There another ball hit to Ryan was a key, the runners (Trillo and Maddox) being able to advance as Ryan belatedly threw out Bowa.
Defensively , Trillo threw out Luis Pujols at the plate on a great relay on Craig Reynolds’ double in the second, and Rose threw out Cabell at the plate in the fifth, after Trillo had thrown wide on a grounder and Enos kept coming from second.
Those plays helped keep Bystrom on top. The September sensation gave up two hits in the first inning (one run), then one in each of the next five. The Astros wouldn’t have scored in the sixth, either, if Luzinski hadn’t dropped a line drive.
“Marty had trouble getting his breaking stuff over when he was behind,” said Coach Herm Starrette. “But all we wanted was six good innings from him, and we almost got them.” Warren Brusstar got the last two outs in the sixth.
Starrette pointed to Bystrom’s uniform number – 50. The last time the Phillies won the pennant was in 1950. And they won it in the 10th inning that time, too – on a hit by an outfielder.
PHIL-PHILLERS – Christenson, who started two days earlier, gave up a run in the seventh on a two-out single by Denny Walling. Then he wild-pitched home a second run on his next pitch, and Reed gave up a triple to Art Howe on the next pitch… Green is probably leaning to Bob Walk (who didn’t pitch in the series) as Tuesday’s starter at the Vet against Kansas City… Never before in postseason play had a series had more than two extra-inning games; this one had four. Never before in LCS play had one game gone 3½ hours; this one had three surpass that… The Phillies set a National LCS record Sunday by using 20 players; both teams set a record with 37.
In only three games at the Astrodome all season were as many as 15 runs scored… Ryan lost only two of 10 decision in the Astrodome in 1980… Rose has hit in a league record 14 straight LCS games… Trillo’s three hits Sunday gave him 8-for-21 (.381)… Maddox, who said loser Frank LaCorte shook off a pitch to give him the fastball he hit, agreed that this went “a long way in making up” for two years ago, when his 10th-inning muff finished the Phils.
Ruthven Was Ready
By John W. Smith, Asst. Sports Editor
HOUSTON – Dick Ruthven was to have been Marty Bystrom’s backup pitcher in Sunday’s deciding League Championship Series game.
He warmed up twice in the mid innings, then didn’t get in till four other pitchers had been used, including Larry Christenson, who’d worked two days earlier; Ron Reed, who gave up a triple on his first pitch, and Tug McGraw, who was working in his fifth straight game. The trip permitted five runs in two innings.
When Ruthven (who pitched Wednesday) got in, he retired all six batters he faced to get the victory.
Why not earlier?
“It didn’t make sense,” said Ruthven. “I was ready; in fact, I was numb from waiting. I had more rest than L.C. When I got in, I had good control, and they were swinging late.”
Dallas Green explained that he had planned to use Ruthven only in long relief, if Bystrom got in trouble early.
“We thought we could get one inning out of L.C., since he’d throw on the side anyway, then go to Tug. But it didn’t work out the way we wanted it.”
Green got miffed when questioned as to why Ruthven hadn’t been considered from short relief. “We wanted to do it the other way,” said Coach Herm Starrette. “Part of it was that we wanted to save Ruthven for Tuesday if we could.”
Dallas and Herm didn’t push the right button to start, but they had the finger on the right one at the end, and that’s what counts.
Trillo Wants To Finish As a Phillie
HOUSTON (UPI) – National League Championship Series most valuable player Manny Trillo says he wants to finish his baseball career in Philadelphia.
Phillies fans wouldn’t have it any other way if Trillo continues to perform as he did in the five games against the Houston Astros.
In the finale Sunday – an 8-7 victory that gave the Phillies their first NL pennant in 30 years – the 29-year-old second baseman tripled in two runs, singled twice and scored a run. In the field he made plays that stopped the Astros from scoring two runs.
“When everybody was excited, I just said to myself ‘I no blew it this time,’” Trillo said.
His back-handed stop of Denny Walling’s grounder up the middle in the first inning kept Houston from scoring a run and taking a 2-0 lead. In the second inning, his perfect relay from right field cut down Luis Pujols at the plate to preserve a 2-1 Phillies lead.
“It’s hard for me to believe that I was better than Mike (Schmidt) or Larry (Bowa) or Tug (McGraw) today,” Trillo said. “In me right now is so much happiness because I know I will play the whole nine innings.”
He added that he felt good because his contract with the Phillies extends through 1983.
“I want to end my career right here,” he said.
For the series, Trillo batted .381 (8-for-21) and drove in four runs.
The MVP award was voted on by a five-member panel of sportswriters and sportscasters.
Past winners of the series MVP were Dusty Baker of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1977, Steve Garvey of the Dodgers in 1978 and Willie Stargell of the Pittsburgh Pirates last season.
World Series: Phils Have Power; Royals Have Speed
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The Philadelphia Phillies, in their first World Series in 30 years, will match power against speed when they begin the 1980 World Series Tuesday against the Kansas City Royals.
Led by sluggers Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski, the Phillies will have to overcome the fleet-of-foot, steady-hitting Royals to win their first world championship. The Phillies’ last World Series was in 1950, when they lost four straight to the New York Yankees.
Kansas City, meanwhile, is in its first-ever World Series and will rely on the speed of men like Willie Wilson, Frank White and U.L. Washington and the hitting of the likes of George Brett and Amos Otis.
The first two games of the best-of-seven Series will be held Tuesday and Wednesday in Philadelphia. Games Three, Four and Five, if necessary, are scheduled Friday through Sunday in Kansas City, and the final two games, if needed, would be played Tuesday and Wednesday in Philadelphia.
Kansas City swept the American League Championship Series 3-0 from the New York Yankees, and Philadelphia won in five games over Houston in the National Leauge.
FIRST BASE – The Phillies have a man called “Charlie Hustle,” also known as Pete Rose, at first. A former batting king, the switch-hitting veteran hit just .282 during the regular season, but his average was .400 in the NL title series.
Kansas City counters with Willie Aikens, a second-year man who swings from the left side of the plate with authority and regularity. He is a good clutch hitter.
Both men field their positions well, but the edge has to go to Rose on experience.
SECOND BASE – Manny Trillo of the Phillies, and Frank White of the Royals, each was named MVP of his respective playoff series. White probably is a little better fielder, but just barely, while Trillo hits for a better average. Each can steal an occasional base.
Second base is a tossup.
THIRD BASE – Mike Schmidt holds much of Philadelphia’s hopes in his hands. He led the majors in homers (48) and RBI (121), but he had a dismal NL series, hitting just .206 with one RBI.
George Brett of the Royals, .390 during the regular season, hit only marginally better than Schmidt in the playoffs, .273, but two of his hits were home runs. His second homer, a three-run shot, won the series for the Royals.
Both play a steady third base, but Schmidt might have the better arm. Still, the edge goes to Brett.
SHORTSTOP – Larry Bowa of Philadelphia is one of the best in the business, but Washington is on the rise. Since they both play on artificial turf, neither has to handle that grounder in the hold, and neither makes many errors.
Washington is a base-stealing threat with 20 during the regular season, while Bowa is not. Each man was hot during the playoffs, Bowa hitting .421, Washington .364.
The edge goes to the Golden Glover, Bowa.
CATCHER – Kansas City’s Darrell Porter missed spring training while be rehabilitated for drug and alcohol addiction. He has had a mediocre season offensively, but he’s as good as ever behind the plate.
Bob Boone of the Phillies, meanwhile, is a true All-Star, although he too is suffering at the plate. Neither man hit anywhere near his career average this year, and neither was particularly awesome offensively in the playoffs.
Give the edge to Boone defensively.
DESIGNATED HITTER – Hal McRae of Kansas City is one of the finest hitters in baseball, although he had a poor playoff, hitting .200 without an RBI.
Philadelphia could go in one of several directions, never having used the DH before. Having the DH in the Series this year could allow Phils Manager Dallas Green to use speedster Lonnie Smith in the leadoff spot instead of Rose without putting him in the field where he fares rather poorly. Greg Gross also is a possibility.
McRae gives the Royals a decided edge.
LEFT FIELD – Luzinski and Wilson have decidedly different styles here. Greg is OK in left, and the Phillies desperately need his run-producing potential. Wilson, the fastest man in baseball, hit .326 in the season and .308 in the playoffs, and he had 79 steals.
No contest. Wilson makes K.C. stronger here.
CENTER FIELD – Otis had an off season for Kansas City, hitting just .251 with 53 RBI, but he still has a potent bat. He’s not the quickest center fielder in the business, but he’s solid.
Garry Maddox of Philadelphia, meanwhile, might be the best center fielder in baseball. He’s fast, and he has an accurate arm. He hit .300 in the playoffs, and he gives Philly a slight advantage here unless Otis goes on a tear.
RIGHT FIELD – Bake McBride of the Phillies, is a near carbon-copy of Maddox in his fielding ability, only with a little bigger bat. He was off in the playoffs, but his regular season average was .309.
Kansas City will platoon right-handed hitter Clint Hurdle and lefty-swinging John Wathan in right. Wathan is a better hitter, Hurdle a better fielder.
No contest, McBride hands down.
PITCHING – Left-hander Steve Carlton of Philadelphia probably will win the NL Cy Young. He’s been a little slow getting started in the playoffs, but he can be counted on. The other starters were all right-handers: Bob Walk, Dick Ruthven, Larry Christenson and rookie Marty Bystrom. Tug McGraw handles most of the bullpen duties.
Kansas City, meanwhile, is split evenly between left-handers and right-handers. Dennis Leonard, a 20-game winner, and Rich Gale are the right-handers, both basically power pitchers. The two lefties –Larry Gura and Paul Splittorff – rely more on finesse. Dan Quisenberry, the AL’s top reliever with 33 saves, is a right-handed submariner.
THE MANAGERS – Green of Philadelphia, and Jim Frey of Kansas City, and both rookies.
Green got his first taste of managing in the majors at the tail end of the 1979 season when Danny Ozark was fired. He came to the Phillies as a disciplinarian, and not all of his players like him much.
Frey, however, spent 10 years with the Baltimore Orioles before joining the Royals.
THE VERDICT – Kansas City in six.