Wilmington Morning News - October 13, 1980
Phils in World Series
PHILADELPHIA – "They said they didn't have heart, and they were wrong," said Pat Donnelly last night, moments after the Philadelphia Phillies downed the Houston Astros for the National League championship in the fourth extra-inning game of their five-game set.
The 8-7 victory nearly 2,000 miles away in Houston's Astrodome struck home with 50 diehard fans watching every pitch on two color televisions in a watering hole where trainmen and post office workers gather after work.
The bar, Pete Richards', erupted with cheers as Enos Cabell flied to the Phillies Garry Maddox in center field for the final out in the bottom of the 10th inning.
"If they can put up with all that pressure, they're going to go all the way," said Woody Williams, after the Phillies came back from a 2-1 deficit in games and battled back yesterday from a 5-2 deficit for the clinching victory.
"It's fantastic," said J.B., hoisting a beer in celebration. "The first time in 30 years; I think it's great."
The Phillies last appeared in the World Series in 1950, when a team known as the Whiz Kids were swept in four games by the New York Yankees.
Phils win pennant!
Maddox double in 10th ends frustration
By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Correspondent
HOUSTON – Thirty years of frustration ended last night in the Astrodome. The Phillies, given up for lost so many times this season, were in the World Series.
It was the only thought on everyone's mind as champagne corks popped and tears flowed in the Phillies' clubhouse after an incredible 8-7 victory over the Houston Astros that clinched the National League playoffs and guaranteed a date in the World Series tomorrow night against the Kansas City Royals.
"We made the World Series! We're in the World Series!" Manager Dallas Green shouted until he was hoarse.
And indeed they were.
It was a night of many heroes. Manny Trillo was the MVP after a great offensive and defensive performance. Garry Maddox drove in the winning run, doubling home Del Unser in the 10th.
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 a corner of the clubhouse, away from the shouts and the interviews and the madness.
"The last inning, I just concentrated on Bob Boone's glove, trying to be a robot and not get rattled."
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.
The momentum changed hands all night with the Astros jumping ahead 1-0 in the first, then the Phils coming back 2-1 in the second on Boone's two-run single off Nolan Ryan. But it wasn't till the seventh inning, when Houston scored three times against Larry Christenson for a 5-2 lead that any 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 to 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."
And it really wasn't the "stars" who did it in the five-run eighth-inning bataround that could've – but didn't – break the Astros' spirit.
Larry Bowa started it with a single and 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 owner Ruly 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 Christenson. Del Unser, another unsung hero, singled home the tying run and then Manny Trillo, the playoff MVP 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.
"It's just the greatest feeling," said Unser. "We had to win two 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.
• • •
The Phils were scheduled to leave here this morning by charter, arriving at Philadelphia International Airport at about 1:45 p.m. There will be a workout after that at the Vet.
By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor
HOUSTON – The ball jumped off Enos Cabell's bat and soared into the moldy air of the Astrodome. It seemed to hang just for a second and all over the Delaware Valley hearts jumped. There had to be people who were afraid to watch. It came down gently in Garry Lee Maddox' glove and it was over.
Larry Bowa jumped high in the air. Pete Rose leaped toward the mound and by the time he got there, the whole bench had emptied. Dallas Green was hugging Dick Ruthven and Bobby Wine was grabbing Mike Schmidt and the celebration was on.
But before it got under way somebody shouted something and the whole team raced to center field where Maddox was still clutching the ball, almost frozen. By the time all the players in the baby-blue uniforms got there, Maddox had started jogging to the infield, but he didn't have to. The players, all of 'em, hoisted him to their shoulders and gave him a free ride to the dugout and later the clubhouse where corks were popping and champagne was already beginning to squirt around the room.
The Philadelphia Phillies were National League champions!
All the frustration and waiting, all 30 years of it, bottled up all those years seemed to explode at once.
"How's that for team character," Manager Dallas Green yelled as he grasped his mentor, Player Personnel Director Paul Owens. "That is the character I have been preaching about ever since spring training. Tonight, there was so much character out on that field I couldn't believe it. No, I love it, I love it."
The Phillies, a team which had been stymied in four previous National League Championship Series, pulled this one out, winning last night's deciding game 8-7 in 10 heart-pounding innings. They did it by storming from behind with five runs in the eighth after the Astros had vaulted in front 5-2. Before the five-run explosion, none of the 44,802 fans in the Astrodome would have given them a chance to pull it out. After all, fireballer Nolan Ryan was on the mound and had given the Phils very little after they scored two times in the second to take a 2-1 lead.
But the Phillies, who had been scratching for the top spot ever since they started the September stretch, refused to, pass this one up. Three consecutive hits off Ryan, plus a bases-loaded walk to Rose got the Phils on their way and Manny Trillo, voted most valuable player in the series, delivered a clutch triple.
"You have to give the Phillies all the credit in the world," said Houston Manager Billy Virdon in the dejected clubhouse. "They were beaten, but they came back. They showed me they are a championship team. I think they showed a lot of people that in these five games. They were outstanding games."
Last night's was the fourth consecutive extra-inning battle in the best-of-five series, a National League record. If Saturday's victory smelled of the bizarre, last night's was dramatic. It seemed only fitting that it would take a game such as this to give the Phils their first pennant since 1950 when they lost four straight Series games to the New York Yankees.
After the Astros wiped out the Phils' 7-5 lead against fatigued Tug McGraw in the ninth, old folks Del Unser delivered a one-out double to right field. He went to third when Trillo cracked a long fly to center.
Up came Garry Maddox. He hit Frank LaCorte's first pitch, lining it to center field for a double.
"At first, I didn't think it was going to be a hit," said Maddox, champagne flowing down his face. "I was just trying to make contact, trying to see the ball well. I can't tell you what went through my mind when it dropped in front the center fielder. It was just about the most important hit I have ever had."
"I had been striking out a lot," said Unser. "A few weeks ago I started working with Billy DeMars (batting instructor). He helped me with my swing. On the double, I just tried to hit down and through the ball. I made good contact."
For Maddox, the victory was a happy climax to a season he will never forget. It was a year when he reached the bottom when he lost balls in the sun and was benched by Green. But it was a year when he battled back, fought off the feelings that were eating away at him.
He managed to push aside those feelings and in the end his enormous contributions helped the Phils to their most emotional and important victory since that bright, sunny day in Brooklyn when Dick Sisler's home run gave the Whiz kids their pennant.
Now, the Phils must start all over again, beginning tomorrow night against Kansas City in the first World Series ever at Veterans Stadium.
"The pressure is over," blurted Pete Rose. "I've been telling these guys all along the World Series is fun. Getting there is the problem."
You can say that again.
By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor
HOUSTON – The toughest thing for the Phillies yesterday was the long wait for the night game against the Astros.
Maria and Manny Trillo watched television for a few hours, then went down to the coffee shop at the Shamrock Hilton for brunch.
It was during that respite Manny Trillo told his wife he thought he would win the Most Valuable Player Award in the National League Championship Series.
It was Maria, who reminded Manny of his prediction, as the two drank champagne out of the MVP cup during the Phils' wild and wet clubhouse celebration.
"Manny told me he was going to win it," said Maria as the wives joined in the party. "I told him, 'Why not?' After all, Frank White won it in the American League playoffs for Kansas City."
Trillo, who batted .292 during the regular season, had a brilliant five-game championship series. He was brilliant afield, as attested by several plays in last night's 10-inning, 8-7 Philadelphia victory in the Astrodome. A good example of this was his relay throw to the plate in the second inning that cut down Luis Pujols.
In the five games, Trillo lashed out eight hits, including his clutch, two-run triple in the eighth when the Phils scored five runs.
"I cannot tell you how I feel right now," said the second baseman. "That triple made me very, very happy. I just wanted to get a hit in the situation. It was so important at that stage of the game.
• • •
Last night's 10-inning game, the fourth overtime games of the series, marks the first time in post-season championship play that four games have gone extra innings. Previously, the most extra-inning games played in post-season play were two.
• • •
The five games totaled 17 hours and 4 minutes, an average of three hours and 25 minutes per game. The times in order: 2:35, 3:34, 3:22, 3:55, 3:38.
• • •
Terry Puhl, the Astros' center fielder, set a championship series record with 10 hits in 19 at-bats for a .535 average. He broke the record set in 1972 by Pete Rose of nine.
Tuesday, October 14
GAME TIME: 8:15 p.m.
GATES OPEN: 5:45 p.m.
PRE-GAME BAND: Morgan Slate Marching Band; American Flag displayed by Bishop McDevitt High School Band.
CEREMONIAL FIRST PITCH: Eddie Sawyer, former Phillies manager.
ANTHEM SINGER: All-Philadelphia Boys Choir
Wednesday, October 15
GAME TIME: 8:15 p.m.
GATES OPEN: 5:45 p.m.
PRE-GAME BAND: West Chester State College Marching Band.
CEREMONIAL FIRST PITCH: Robin Roberts, former Phillies pitcher and Hall Of Famer.
ANTHEM SINGER: Andrea McArdle, the original Annie.
NBC-TV (Channel 3, Channel 17) - Joe Garagiola, Tony Kubek.
CBS-Radio (WCAU & KYW Radio) - Vin Scully. Sparky Anderson, Win Elliot.
By Gary Deeb, Field Syndicate
Howard Cosell, the relentless jerk who doesn't understand the first thing about baseball, showed his true colors the other night during ABC's telecast of the Houston Astros-Philadelphia Phillies playoff game.
Philly slugger Greg Luzinski had been pulled in favor of a late-inning defensive replacement. But Cosell was so busy inflicting his awful, stuffed-up voice on us that he didn't even notice the giant's absence for two innings. At one crucial point, he said Luzinski was in the on-deck circle, despite the presence of a decidedly smaller man there. Somebody finally pointed out his mistake and Cosell, typically, blamed it on an "incorrect" scorecard that he'd been handed.
He then uttered that oily, nervous, insincere laugh he occasionally resorts to when he's cornered like a rat.
Mind you, catching Howie the Shill in a gross error or outlandish statement isn't all that difficult. It happens all the time, especially when he tries to comment on baseball, a sport of which he's both ignorant and hateful.
Last year, for instance, during the World Series, Cosell kept jamming both feet into his mouth. He once declared: "Willie Stargell has sent word to me that his hotel room was robbed last night. The wires will soon have the story."
The truth was that the wire services transmitted that story hours earlier. So did hundreds of print reporters and. dozens of TV and radio stations. Cosell's absurd claim of a Stargell "exclusive" touched off gales of laughter and such deadpan one-liners as: "Howard's latest scoop is that the Pope recently visited America."
For years Cosell told anybody who'd listen that baseball was a colossal bore, that the game was "too slow," and that the only folks who enjoyed it were "old men and small children." All that changed, of course, as soon as ABC landed a piece of the network TV contract for baseball.
Now Howie whips himself into fits of slobbering ecstasy while saluting the beauty of the sport – and while offering valentines to the Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1950s.
But besides Cosell's two-faced commentary, there are other problems that render ABC almost unwatchable for baseball. The worst is the network's visual coverage.
Producers Chuck Howard and Dennis Lewin and director Chet Forte still don't understand that the best way to follow a fly ball is to train your camera on the outfielder. That's exactly how the knowledgeable fans do it at the ballpark. But ABC persists in treating home runs and fly outs as if they were 9-iron shots to the 17th green at the U.S. Open.
Lewin admits that he and his ABC cohorts were "butchers" when they first began televising baseball regularly in 1976. But now he claims: "We're on an even par with our competitors at NBC."
That's funnier than some of Rodney Dangerfield's material. The fact is that ABC's baseball coverage continues to stink. The too-frequent switching between cameras strictly for effect; the constant bombardment of phony "crowd noise" when things actually are quiet; and the generally unrevealing replays combine for a sluggish and infuriating evening of baseball on TV.
It's unfortunate that ABC owns even a slice of the network baseball pie. But after enduring Cosell & Co., the real fun will begin this week when (1) the World Series starts and (2) the action switches over to the professionals at NBC.