Wilmington Evening Journal - October 13, 1980
Kansas City, here we come!
Phillies are in the Series
By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor
HOUSTON – At last.
After 30 years of frustration, the Phillies are finally heading to a World Series.
With a dramatic 8-7, 10-inning victory over Houston last night in the Astrodome, the Phillies won the deciding game of the best-of-five National League playoffs and will take on the Kansas City Royals in the World Series beginning tomorrow night at Veterans Stadium.
Garry Maddox doubled home Del Unser with the winning run with two out in the 10th and winning pitcher Dick Ruthven sealed the triumph by putting the numbed Astros down in order in the 10th.
The Phils twice had to battle back to win the pennant. After falling behind 5-2 when Houston scored two times in the seventh, the Phils exploded for five runs in the eighth, with Manny Trillo's two-run triple the big hit. The Astros then scored two runs to tie, setting the stage for the winning hit by Maddox.
"The real winners tonight are the Phillies' fans," said owner Ruly Carpenter during the clubhouse celebration. "They have waited so many years for this moment. I'm glad we finally brought home a pennant for them."
The Phils flew home today. The first two games of the series will be played in Philadelphia, with Thursday a travel day. The next three games will be in Kansas City, with the best-of -seven series returning to Philadelphia a week from tomorrow if it goes that far.
Phils’ frustration turns to ecstasy
By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Writer
HOUSTON – Ruly Carpenter's shirt was sopped in champagne, sticking to his body like a second skin. His eyes were red from tears and champagne. He was – they all were – a winner at last.
Thirty years of frustration were washed away with champagne last night in the Astrodome as the Phillies, given up for lost so many times this season, were In the World Series.
"I never saw a game where more people contributed to a victory," the Phillies' owner said after an incredible 8-7 win over the crippled but game-to-the-end Houston Astros that clinched a date in the World Series tomorrow night against the Kansas City Royals.
"You try to keep from getting choked up," Carpenter said, "but I choked up when Garry Maddox caught the final out. There were a few tears in my eyes. It's been a long time – 30 years. I just hope we don't have to wait 30 more."
Nobody was worried about that, though. Last night was a night of happiness and tears, of happy shouts and buried grudges, a night to remember.
"We made the World Series! We're in the World Series!" Manager Dallas Green shouted until he was hoarse.
And indeed they were.
Manny Trillo, the series MVP after a great offensive and defensive performance, looked for his wife and gave her the trophy he said he'd promised her.
"The way I feel is hard to express," said Trillo, who drank champagne from the MVP cup that was presented to him by NL President Chub Feeney. "I told my wife I was gonna win the MVP trophy because (second baseman) Frank White did it for Kansas City.
"She said, 'Why not you?' and I said, 'OK, I'll do it for you.’"
And he did, making defensive plays that snuffed out Astro threats and driving home two runs with a triple ..that capped a five-inning bataround in the eighth inning that almost, but not quite, buried the Astros.
Maddox drove in the winning run, doubling home Del Unser in the 10th. Unser had tied the game 5-5 in the eighth. He, too, was a big part of things, even if his name wasn't a household word like Schmidt, Carlton or Luzinski.
"It's just the greatest feeling," said Unser. "We had to win two games in Montreal, we had to win two here and that's tough as nails, but we did it. We couldn't get the breaks and we couldn't get a big hit until the last game. But we got 'em tonight!
"When Paul Owens resurrected me from the free-agent market when nobody else wanted me, I told him I was good insurance for him. I think the premium is worth it now."
And no one in the locker room doubted him.
Dick Ruthven, who'd been scheduled to follow starter Marty Bystrom but somehow got lost in the shuffle until the ninth, was the winning pitcher, retiring all six men he faced.
"I felt awesome the last time I warmed up," Ruthven said, sandwiched between his wife and mother in a corner of the clubhouse, away from the shouts and the interviews and the madness.
"In the last inning, I just concentrated on Bob Boone's glove, trying to be a robot and not get rattled," he said.
But when he saw Maddox catch Enos Cabell's fly to wrap up the playoffs and earn the World Series berth, Ruthven felt human again.
"The only thing that beat it was the birth of my son," he said softly. "I'm spent."
They all were. It was a fitting topper to the craziness that marked this incredible series of extra-inning games.
It was a game both teams wanted and nobody wanted. The Astros jumping ahead 1-0 in the first, with Trillo saving a second run with a fine stop behind second. Then the Phils came back 2-1 in the second on Boone's two-run single off Nolan Ryan, whose pitches trailed sparks for six innings.
But it wasn't until the seventh inning, when Houston scored three times against Larry Christenson for a 5-2 lead, that another year of frustration seemed imminent for the Phillies.
Two singles, an intentional walk, a wild pitch and finally Art Howe's triple off Ron Reed sent the crowd of 44,802 into a frenzy – and the Phils' bench into a hush.
But as Green would later say, champagne dripping from his matted hair, the Phillies showed a lot of character and battled back.
"If you want any bigger display of character," said Green, using a word he'd flayed the team with in unhappier times, "you saw it with this team. What we did in this series and the whole month of September was the greatest display of heart and character a team has shown in Philadelphia for a long time."
The Phils' five-run eighth was sheer drama.
Larry Bowa started it with a single.
"Even when we were down three, I thought we could win," Bowa said later, after doing a war dance for the TV cameras. "I just wanted to get on some way. If I started it, I knew the other guys would follow."
Boone followed with a hit off Ryan's glove. Then Greg Gross laid down a perfect bunt to load the bases with nobody out, a bunt Carpenter would call "the biggest hit of the whole thing."
The first hint that the tide had turned again in Philadelphia's favor came when Pete Rose, who had eight hits in the playoffs, walked to force home the third run. Keith Moreland, batting for the first time in the playoffs against Astro relief ace Joe Sambito, hit a fielder's choice to score another run.
Ken Forsch relieved and proved as hittable as Larry Christenson had been in Houston's three-run seventh. Unser singled home the tying run and then Trillo tripled over third to make it 7-5.
"Thank God for that triple," smiled Manny. "All I wanted to do was hit the ball."
The Astros were far from dead, though. They picked on Tug McGraw, who pitched in all five playoff games, for two runs in the bottom of the eighth, setting the stage for the 10th-inning heroics when Unser and Maddox doubled to win it.
Mike Schmidt, who batted just .208 with one RBI in the playoffs after an MVP season of 48 homers and 121 RBI that caught fire during the Phils' September pennant drive, promised a new start when the World Series gets under way tomorrow night at the Vet.
"I'll be a better hitter in the World Series, I guarantee you that," he said.
When somebody asked about past playoffs and the frustrations that they caused, Schmidt gritted his teeth.
"We're guaranteed at least four games in front of the world and so are the Royals," he said. "This (winning the playoffs) wipes away the old sayings about your team, in my book. It wipes 'em all out."
"Let them say we don't have heart anymore," Greg Luzinski challenged the critics. "I think we proved to the world that we don't have a quitter on the team."
"To me, this is what the game of professional baseball is all about," said McGraw. "There weren't any real losers on the field today. I'm so proud to be a Phillie today. As you can see around you, the guys are just letting loose with 162 games worth of emotion.
"All year long people have doubted us, but today we proved them all wrong."
And proved that the Phillies were winners again. After 30 years of waiting.
The past won’t haunt him anymore
By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor
HOUSTON – There was the fly ball in Los Angeles in 1978. There were the two fly balls in San Diego earlier this year. And there was the fly ball last Sept. 28 against Montreal.
And there was the fly ball last night. Yes, the fly ball last night.
Garry Maddox camped under Enos Cabell's fly ball in the 10th inning and a few seconds later, the Phillies had their first National League pennant since 1950.
It seemed only fitting that one of the most dramatic nights in the Phillies' not-so-proud history belonged to Garry Lee Maddox.
In the 10th inning of a 7-7 struggle and the pennant riding with every pitch and every hit, Maddox rifled a double to center field to score what was to become the winning run in the deciding game of the best-of-five tournament.
And then, in the 10th, after winning pitcher Dick Ruthven retired the first two Astros, Garry Maddox caught Cabell's fly ball for the final out that signaled the start of one of the wildest victory celebrations in baseball history.
Champagne corks popped all over the Phils' dressing room as wives and friends and people who had suffered for 30 years for this to happen, crashed the party.
In the middle of the celebration was Garry Maddox. He was on radio, he was on television and he danced around in the middle of the mob scene showing emotion nobody knew he could display.
"I know this is a very, very important moment for Garry Maddox," said owner Ruly Carpenter. "You have to think back to Los Angeles. I know how he felt that day. And you have to remember the adversity he had this year. Yes, this is a very, very important moment for Garry Maddox. I feel for him."
Garry Maddox is the best center fielder in the National League, if not all of baseball.
On Oct. 7, 1978 at Dodger Stadium, Maddox dropped a routine fly off the bat of Dusty Baker. It was in the 10th inning and set the stage for Los Angeles' 4-3 victory over the Phils in the fourth and deciding game of the playoffs that year.
The next morning, the headline in the newspaper read: "The Day Garry Maddox Dropped a Pennant."
"As soon as it happened, I thought of my two sons, Garry and Derrick," said Maddox. "I want a truthful relationship with them. I want them to grow up knowing there are going to be times when things don't go your way. I think the fact I was in that situation will help them and help others, too."
That wasn't going to be the last important fly ball Maddox would drop. On Aug. 31 of this season in San Diego, just when it appeared the Phils were on the verge of moving to the top spot in National League East, Garry Maddox lost two fly balls in the sun. On both occasions, he did not have his sunglasses on.
He was benched for three games and it appeared the gap between him and Manager Dallas Green was so large the sensitive center fielder might not contribute for the remainder of the season. But Maddox pulled himself together and was back in the lineup.
Then came the Sept. 28 game at the Vet against Montreal when the Phils were fighting for first place. With the Expos leading 2-1, Maddox lost Chris Speier's fly in the sun, it fell for a triple, Montreal won 8-3 and many said the Phils were finished.
After that episode, Maddox did not start for the remaining seven games. He was benched for the first two games at home against Chicago, but when Green listed him in the lineup on Oct. 1, Maddox said he could not play because of an injury to his little finger.
That started a standoff.
Green refused to go after Maddox and Maddox was too proud to confront Green. There was no communication. When the Phils went to Montreal for the final weekend of the season, the great center fielder did not start the two games the Phils won to take the National League East title.
The night the Phils finally staggered to the clinching victory over Montreal, Maddox joined in the celebration just like all his teammates. He sought out Dallas Green and the two hugged.
When the playoffs opened, Maddox was in center field and remained there for the five, almost-incredible contests.
The Phillies' party started last night around the pitcher's mound. It was not under way very long before somebody yelled Maddox' name. Then, the whole team inarched and ran to center field, grabbed their center fielder and hoisted him to their shoulders. He was the only Phillies' player to get a free ride to the champagne blast.
"I can't begin to tell you how I feel right now," said Garry. "When I went up in the 10th inning, all I wanted to do was pick up the ball and get a good swing. At first, I didn't think it was going to be a hit. I thought I hit it too hard, but when I saw it drop In front of Terry Puhl, I knew we were ahead.
"Tonight is one of the most exciting moments in my life. This championship has been a long time coming - for me, for my teammates and the fans of Philadelphia. I am very, very happy."
Dejected Astros applaud Phils for their never-say-die attitude
HOUSTON – Terrv Puhl faced the wall and didn't want to talk about the Houston Astros 8-7 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in the fifth and deciding game of the National League baseball playoffs.
And, Art Howe sipped on a beer and stared at the floor and he didn't want to talk either.
Joe Morgan, a veteran with the Cincinnati Reds until joining the Houston club this year, walked around the dressing room and said over and over, "Hold your heads up. You have nothing to be ashamed of."
Morgan, a can of beer in his hand and dressed in a T-shirt and a pair of green shorts, kept saying, "There will be another year."
For the Astros, this may have been the year. And they won the National League West in a playoff game with the Los Angeles Dodgers after tying for the division title.
They pushed the Phillies to the fifth game of a best-of-five game series. They were down by one run, they led by three runs, they were down by two runs, and they kept coming back.
But it all ended in the 10th inning when Philadelphia pushed across the deciding run.
The hit that won the game dropped a few inches in front of the outstretched glove of Puhl. He said, "I just didn't have a chance at it. The Phillies did their job.
"It was a satisfying season, an exciting series, but somebody had to lose."
Puhl said the Kansas City Royals may have more team speed than Philadelphia but, "You know we will all be pulling for out National League champions."
Joe Niekro, the knuckleball pitcher who carried Houston past Los Angeles in the deciding playoff game and pitched superbly for 10 innings in one of the two victories against Philadelphia, said, "We scored a lot of runs, but we just couldn't hold them. Give them credit."
Bill Virdon, Astros manager, said, "This series has been outstanding. The Phillies played well and always came back at us and are deserving winners.
"You have to give them credit, but I have to credit our club, too. We are better than a lot of people gave us credit for. My hat is off to the Astros. They never quit."
During the brief Interview, Philadelphia's Infielder Manny Trillo, named Most Valuable Player of the playoff series, came into the room briefly and Virdon said, "Congratulations, Manny."
Joe Sambito, Houston's ace relief pitcher, said of starter Nolan Ryan, "He just didn't get a break. He pitched so well and he kept us in the game and it just didn't go right for him."
Ryan was coasting until the eighth inning when a ball bounced off his glove, erasing what should have been or could have been a double play.
Philadelphia then loaded the bases and scored five runs.
Fans injured, fainting in Series ticket line
PHILADELPHIA – Injuries and fainting spells struck down would-be World Series ticket customers this morning in a line of over 5,000 people which began forming 21 ours earlier, Phillies officials said.
"People got trampled. People are fainting all over the place," one security officer said.
"I don't know how many people are affected, nobody does right now," one police officer said. "But the majority of the people (sick or injured) are just leaving and going home on their own."
At least two possible heart attacks were reported, with a few minor injuries and several fainting spells attributed to the crush of people waiting in line, he said.
The final 8,000 tickets for Phillies home games in the World Series against the Kansas City Royals were to go on sale at 9 a.m.
"But there were so many people we wanted to try to get started as early as possible," said ticket manager Ray Krise, who opened windows at 6:45 a.m. "I got here at 4 a.m."
The earliest birds arrived in line at noon Sunday, nearly 12 hours before the Phillies even won the right to play in the World Series by capturing the National League pennant in Houston with an 8-7 win over the Astros.
The series opens here tomorrow.
By mid-afternoon Sunday, at least 25 enthusiastic fans were settled in for an overnight wait for tickets, Krise said.
"They must have about five or six thousand people outside by now," the security officer said about 9 o'clock this morning.
James Robinson of Haddon Heights, N.J., and his two sons arrived in line about 4 p.m. yesterday.
"We had no doubt," Robinson said. "We knew they were going to do it somehow. But we didn’t know how."