Winnipeg Times - October 14, 1980
Phillies' Fantasy Comes True
By Mike Littwin, Los Angeles Times
HOUSTON — They played out the final scene of the ultimate baseball thriller Sunday. Hitchcock would have had to turn his head.
Going in, you knew how it would end — somebody would walk away a winner. But you didn't know who, or how. The heroes, or villains. The twists and turns.
In the end, you probably thought to yourself, it all figured. Philadelphia, which never wins the big game, waited 10 innings and needed a startling come back to beat Houston 8-7 and win Game 5 of the National League playoffs before an Astrodome crowd that was as appreciative of what it had witnessed as it was saddened.
For the first time since 1950, the Phillies are going to the World Series. On Sunday, the champagne-doused Phillies drank to victory and, perhaps, to the Astros.
Manny Trillo was the MVP of the series, but it was Garry Maddox's two-out double in the 10th that, drove home Del Unser from third with the game winner and drove the stake into a very big Astro heart.
It was the final turn in the road, a dead end for the Astros who battered around a host of Phillie pitchers but who couldn't score in the final two innings against Dick Ruthven.
This was the stuff of drama, baseball style.
The Astros, who were on the verge of their first pennant, scored three times in the seventh to take a 5-2 lead and seemed ready'to steal into the night.
But there was more larceny to come. The Phillies scored five times in the eighth, to take a 7-5 lead. Had enough?
The Astros hadn't. They scored twice in the eighth to tie the score at 7-7. And for the fourth straight game in this series, extra innings were ordained. Frank LaCorte was the Houston pitcher. Some had wondered where he was in the eighth when Ken Forsch was pitching batting practice in relief of Nolan Ryan.
With one out in the 10th, Unser doubled to right. Trillo, who had tripled home two runs in the eighth, flied deep to center, allowing Unser to take third. Maddox was at the plate, Larry Bowa on deck.
You don't walk Maddox to get to Bowa, who began the eighth-inning rally, manager Bill Virdon was certain. But Maddox hit a drive to center, a low liner that Terry Puhl, who played so brilliantly all series, tried desperately to snare. It would be his first hit of the night.
Puhl couldn't catch up with the ball, and, finally, the Astos couldn't catch up with the Phillies.
In the eighth inning Saturday, the Phillies had been down two runs and had come back to win 5-3 in 11 innings. They were down three in the eighth Sunday. You know what happened.
"Let them say we don't have heart any more," said Greg Luzinskl, one of 20 Phillies who played Sunday. "I think we proved to the world we don't have a quitter on this team."
"We, knew we could come back," Bowa said. "We never gave up."
Nolan Ryan, who started for Houston, had a 5-2 lead and his fastball was humming. Ryan gives up leads the way a lion gives up meat. In the five innings preceding the eighth, he had faced 15 batters. A single by Denny Walling and! a triple by Art Howe put the game in his hands.
The Phillies took it from him, though in the eighth.
"Forsch is a good pitcher," Virdon said. "He was ready, so I used him."
"There aren't any real losers on the field today," said Tug McGraw of the Phillies. "I'm just proud to be a part of such a wonderful series."
He was one of 37 who played Sunday. Both managers pulled out all the stops, but had trouble finding any stoppers.
The Astros will have trouble finding solace, even in this remarkable season. They'll have to remember the lead blown as much as the comeback. And they'll remember the two runners thrown out at the plate Sunday, either one of which would have given the Astros their first pennant in their 19- year history.
Wacky and wonderful
Terry Puhl must wonder. He had 10 hits this series, equaling a National League playofff record. He had four Sunday, and scored three runs. He got big hits in the seventh and eighth innings, when the Astros took command and then desperately fought back.
"Nothing has come easily for us all year," Puhl said. "We'll be back."
Maybe, but not for another year, if then. This was the Astros' best chance. They made something of it, but not as much as the Phillies did.
"I'm happy for everyone," said Rose, who had eight hits in the series, as well as his big RBI walk against Ryan. "We deserved it. We played hard to get here. I'm happy for the players and, most of all, for the Philadelphia fans. They've been waiting a long time for this."
It began with Ryan and Bystrom, and ended with Ruthven and LaCorte.
Manny Trillo was in the triumphant, champagne-splattered Phillies clubhouse kissing his agent, right on the mouth. His agent is his wife.
That's how whacky and wonderful this series was.
Series Umpires Announced
By The Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The names of the six umpires who will officiate the 1980 World Series were announced yesterday by baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn's office.
Representing the National League will be Paul Pryor, Harry Wendelstedt and Dutch Rennert, a spokesman for Kuhn said.
Bill Kunkel, Don Denkinger and Nick Bremigan were selected from the American League, the spokesman added.
In the opening game tonight, Wendelstedt will be behind the plate, Kunkel at first, Pryor at second, Denkinger at third, Rennert in left field and Bremigan in right.
The practice of using six umpires, including one on each foul line in the outfield, began with the 1947 World Series.
Pryor will be working his third World Series. He had previously been assigned to the 1967 Series between Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals and with Wendelstedt worked the 1973 Series between Oakland A's and New York Mets.
Both Kunkel and Denkinger worked in the 1974 Series between Oakland and Los Angeles Dodgers.
This will be the first Series assignment for Rennert and Bremigan, although both worked the 1979 All-Star game and in their respective league championship series in 1977.
Kunkel, a former pitcher, was a member of the 1963 American League champion New York Yankees but did' not appear in the Series.
Official scorers for the1 Series also were announced.' The three-member crew will consist of Phil Collier of The San Diego (Calif.) Union, president of the Baseball Writers' Association of America; Bob Kenney of The Camden (N.J;) Courier-Post; and Don Pfannenstiel of The Indpendence (Mo.) Examiner.
Walk Best Way To Keep Brett Off Base
By The Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Sparky Anderson says he has a tip for Philadelphia Phillies on how to stop Kansas City Royals' George Brett in baseball's World Series which starts tonight.
"Walk him," said the silver-haired manager of Detroit Tigers who managed Cincinnati Reds into four World Series, winning two. "That's the only defence against this fellow."
It's the first time in the Royals' 12-year history that they have been in a World Series. Brett and his hot bat played an integral role in getting them there.
"Honestly, I am considering on walking him every time he comes up against us next season," said Anderson.
Anderson, who watched both the Phillies and Royals work out at Veterans Stadium yesterday, said his advise was not given in complete jest.
"I think every club would do just as well by walking him instead of pitching to him." Anderson insisted. "If he went to bat (officially) 600 times and walked 60 times, I think in the final analysis teams would find out that they fared better than letting him get a shot at the ball.
'Look at the figures'
"Look at what he did this past season — .390 batting average, 175 hits, 298 total bases and 118 runs batted in. That's about as much damage as you can suffer. I know. They clobbered us in 10 of our 12 games and Brett was largely responsible."
Anderson will be in the broadcast booth for the World Series, sharing radio commentary with announcer Vin Scully.
The Detroit manager also had high praise for Pete Rose, a member of his championship Reds' team in the 1970s.
"There never was a player and there never will be a player who put more into a game than this guy," he said of the Philadelphia first baseman. "I am not talking about his natural abilities.
"There are players who can match him in that category. But there is not a player, and there never was a player or never will be a player, with greater competitive instinct.
Rose: talk of the ages
"Watch him in the first game. He will play this series just as if it was the first game in which he ever played. He is an amazing individual. Young kids will be talking about him for generations."
Anderson called the National League playoffs, which were decided Sunday night in the fourth straight extra-inning game between Philadelphia and Houston Astros, as the greatest series in baseball history.
"People say our (Cincinnati Reds) series with the Boston Red Sox in 1975 was the greatest ever played. I don't think it held a candle to this series for drama and excitement.
"I watched it with my youngest son, Albert. When it was over, both of us were drained.
"I think an enterprising TV producer could take the great plays, the bad plays, the exciting plays out of that five-game series and make a show that millions would enjoy on television."