Titusville Herald - October 14, 1980
Comeback By Phillies Numbs Astros
By The Associated Press
HOUSTON (AP) —The Houston Astros were numbed by the devastating comeback ability of the Philadelphia Phils in the final game of Sunday's National League playoff series but no Astros player hung his head in shame.
The players left the Astrodome Sunday night with an 8-7 loss hanging over iheir heads but they talked like winners.
"I'll always remember this series as one in which there were no losers," Houston Manager Bill Virdon said. "Both teams deserved to play in the World Series but unfortunately only one can make it and that's Philadelphia.
"We didn't get to the end of the rainbow but we proved a lot to people everywhere and we proved a lot to ourselves," pitcher Joe Niekro said.
It was a case of the Astros, who survived all season on scratching and clawing out one-run victories, not being able to rally one more time.
The Astros' string finally ended, their lineup depleted by the losses of pitcher J.R. Richard, center fielder Cesar Cedeno and hobbling injuries to catchers Alan Ashby and Luis Pujols and second baseman Joe Morgan.
"You can't convince me which is the better team," relief pitcher Joe Sambito said. "That's about as even a series as you'll ever find. Some guys may take it harder then others but I'm proud to be an Astro."
Rookie Faces Royals Ace
By The Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The weary Philadelphia Phillies will depend on rookie righthander Bob Walk against Kansas City's 20-game winner, Dennis Leonard, in Tuesday night's opening game of the 1980 World Series.
Walk was the only pitcher Manager Dallas Green did not use in the exhausting five-game National League playoffs against Houston. Called up from Oklahoma City in May, Walk won his first six decisions and eight of his first nine en route loan 11-7 record.
Leonard was Kansas City's big winner, posting a 20-11 record. He was the winning pitcher in the second game of the Royals' American League playoff sweep against the New York Yankees.
This Series marks the first time in history that baseball's world championship will be decided without the benefit of grass fields. Both Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia and Royals Stadium in Kansas City have artificial surfaces.
The Royals, created 12 years ago as an expansion team, won their first league championship this year, ending a siring of three .playoff frustrations by eliminating the Yankees.
The Phillies, who also had their playoff problems with consecutive eliminations in 1976-77-78, won their first NL pennant in 30 years, beating Houston in a pulsating five-game series.
The city of Philadelphia still was enjoying the afterglow of that victory Monday. Knots of fans were outside the stadium to greet the Phillies when they arrived for a late-afternoon workout.
They cheered madly when the first burgundy jersey emerged from the Philadelphia dugout, even though the player wearing it was Hank McGraw, brother of the Philadelphia bullpen ace, who serves only as a batting practice pitcher for the club.
The Phillies, a bit blearyeyed after their late-night victory Sunday and the flight home from Houston, arrived at the Stadium as the Royals were finishing their workout.
Jim Frey, manager of the Royals, said he would use lefthander Larry Gura in the second game of the Series with Rich Gale, another righty, set for Game Three. Steve Carlton, Philadelphia's ace left-hander, will start Game Two but Manager Dallas Green did not name a third-game pitcher.
Frey, who said he was not familiar with the Phils, held a lengthy meeting with his scouts to go over the National League champions. The first priority was pitching.
"I don't know Walk," Frey said. "I know Carlton."
Frey and the Royals had stayed over in New York after beating the Yankees, waiting for the Houston-Philadelphia series to be decided. The team took a bus to Newark Airport late Sunday evening and arrived with the Astros and Phillies involved in their late inning tug of war.
"I didn't watch the last two innings," said Frey. "I didn't want to root one way or the other. I'm too superstitious."
So instead of watching the baseball game, Frey played one of his own, a spirited game of hearts with Jamie Quirk, Dave Chalk and the Brett brothers, George and Ken.
The Royals held a full-fledged workout but the Phillies' practice was mostly perfunctory, more for the sake of scores of kids who showed up to cheer for their team than anything else.
By wrapping up the AL Championship Series in the minimum three games, the Royals go into the World Series with more rest than the Phillies. Batting champion George Brett shrugged that off as a possible advantage for his team
"There won't be any letdowns on either side," he said. "The World Series is still the World Series. It'll be a good one, I guarantee it."