Philadelphia Inquirer - October 15, 1980
Dallas Green remembers the pennant that wouldn’t burn
By Danny Robbins, Inquirer Staff Writer
Dallas Green was walking behind the batting cage, toward third base, bellowing: "Where's Wino! Where's Wino!" And as he hunted for Bobby Wine, one of his coaches, he parted a stream of reporters like the Red Sea. At that moment, he wasn't too interested in the usual pregame conversation.
But a few minutes and a few zigzagging reporters later, Green reversed his field. He saw two people on the first-base side, and he really wanted to visit with them. He made a beeline for the first row of seats beyond the Phillies' dugout, where Michael Houllis and Denise O'Hara were standing.
He hustled over and hugged them, gave them one of his loudest greetings and posed arm-in-arm with Denise while Michael snapped a picture of them standing there at the rail.
Family? No. Old and close friends? In a way, maybe. Actually, it's more like they have brought Dallas Green some good luck – the outcome of the World Series notwithstanding – in the form of a charred, old Phillies pennant.
This story is a little weird, but, then, the Phillies' march to this Series wasn't exactly sane.
Michael Houllis' father, Manuel, owns the Island House restaurant and bar in Clearwater, Fla., the Phillies' spring training site. The place, about a block from the beach on Mandalay Avenue, is supposed to be off-limits to the players, but it's a popular hangout for the Phillies' executive people, such as Green and Paul Owens. The stone crabs are very good, and so is the atmosphere.
"Probably some of the most important decisions in the Phillies' organization are made in there at 3 a.m. over Black Russians," said Michael Houllis, who works there for his father.
However, the Phillies were making their moves in Philadelphia when fire ripped through the Island House on May 18. It started with a cigarette that was left smoldering in a booth in the bar at closing time.
"It started there and spread to the heart of the dining room," Houllis said. "It was a total loss. To be exact, we settled with the insurance company for $92,000."
But it would be hard to make up what was lost in human terms after 17 years of business.
"My father saw his life burn in front of him," Houllis said. "But one thing, this Phillies pennant we had up on the wall, really did not burn. It was singed in one place and black around the edges. But it was still in one piece.
"My father remarked initially – trying to see some humor in it all – that 'The Phillies must win now.'"
At that point, Michael put the pennant in his office. But as the Phillies' season unfolded in all its roller-coaster glory, as the Island House was being rebuilt, he got an idea: Maybe Dallas Green would find some meaning in the one thing that had survived the fire.
He visited Green when the Phillies were in Atlanta in July (losing three out of four to the Braves, by the way), and the manager liked the idea of having that pennant with the team. Houllis didn't want to send it through the mail, though, and he finally let Phillies scout Hugh Alexander bring it north immediately after the Phils won the National League Fast title in Montreal.
The charred pennant has been on the wall in Green's office at the Vet since the beginning of the National League Championship Series with the Astros – which was a trial by fire if there ever was one.
It isn't exactly a mystical shroud or something. But it's the reason why Michael Houllis and Denise O'Hara, a waitress at the Island House, were watching a World Series in Philadelphia in seats supplied by Dallas Green.
Bill Klein didn't have what you would call the best seat in the house. In fact, he wasn't in the house. He had to watch the Phillies and the Royals on a portable TV propped up by his yellow Pinto, which was parked outside the center-field section of the Vet.
That's where he and Jerry Fliedner were stationed to spark, literally, Bill Giles' various fireworks displays. Fliedner, from New Castle, Pa., supplies the explosives. Klein is his assistant, a good one to have, too; he's a member of the Philadelphia Police Department's bomb squad.
Before the game, they set up their stuff. They fire a round after the national anthem. Then they watch and wait, because only Phillies home runs or a Phillies win means more fire in the sky.
The Royals hit home runs, too, as you know by now.
"Bleep K.C.," Klein said.
In case the TV reception isn't too clear out there, Giles contacts the men by walkie-talkie when there's a Phillies home run to be celebrated.
"Except in the first (Houston) playoff game, he got kind of excited," Fliedner said, "and he forgot about us when (Greg) Luzinski hit that home run. We had everything up in the air by the time he said, 'Fire.'"
The family and friends of the Phil- lies sit in Section 214, behind first base. They live and die with their men on the field, of course, and that sometimes includes the men who aren't playing.
"For the first time in my life, I felt sick for him," said Constantine Elia. "He didn't deserve that, all the abuse."
But Constantine Elia, 73, sat there and took it as his son, Lee, the Phillies' first-year third base coach, became the whipping boy in that second-game loss to the Astros last week. He was back in his seat for the Series, and he'd be there tonight as well if he didn't have to work.
"I work for a catering company, and we've got a big party," said the white-haired man who came to this country from Albania in 1920. "The man I work for is sick, too, and I can't leave him flat."
City is trying to put its image into national focus
By Tom Belden and Arthur Howe, Inquirer Business Writers
Its first World Series in 30 years is giving Philadelphia a golden opportunity to show off the city's wares with an eye toward tourism and conventions.
The Phillies are winners. And with the glare of national publicity on Philadelphia, and the presence of thousands of so-called "influential people" – from baseball officials to congressional leaders – here to witness the World Series extravaganza, local leaders are eager to prove that the city is a winner, too.
The city is gambling that spanking-clean streets, canine police patrols in the subways and cheerful, city employees bearing brochures will help change Philadelphia's image and build the city's tourism and convention business.
By the time the estimated 10,000 visitors here for the World Series leave town, there will likely be only a handful of them who haven't been treated to a good, strong, happy dose of what city officials call "PhiladelphiaStyle."
Hundreds of city employees have been assigned to special duty for the event, working closely with the Phillies, the NBC television network and the city's hotels and tourist attractions to make sure the out-of-towners see the best the city has to offer.
The city's effort includes:
• Tours of Philadelphia on Fair-mount Park trolleys from major Center City hotels.
• A 24-hour hot line (686-4960) to provide visitors with help in exploring the city.
• Added police protection at hotels, in subways and at Veterans Stadium.
• Three days of around-the-clock cleanup of Center City streets.
• "World Series Information" booths at Philadelphia International Airport and at six Center City hotels.
The pattern was set Monday night, when the Phillies hosted a lavish Philadelphia-flavored cocktail-and-dinner party at the historic Franklin Institute for representatives of all the major league baseball teams and members of the news media.
There were Phillies usherettes in red hotpants serving drinks at the door. Squadrons of waiters bore plates piled with hoagies, soft pretzels and hot hors d'oeuvres. The Fralinger String Band played a mummers' medley of old country-western tunes – all from 1-A amidst the museum's historic and scientific displays.
"Every other (World Series) party has always been at a hotel," said Phillies executive vice president Bill Giles, who purposely chose the Franklin Institute to impress his guests. "We want the rest of the world to know that Philadelphia is not just the Phillies.
"Philadelphia has a lot to be proud of," he added. "I want the world to realize that Philadelphia has got some things that the rest of the world doesn't have."
Mayor Green, who vowed in his election campaign last year to push Philadelphia into the mainstream of national economic development, is equally anxious to impress the city's guests.
"We are all making an extra effort," Green said. "People are going to come and see a little history, see a little of the beauty of the city and stay in great hotels."
Green has taken it upon himself to personally court the NBC sports commentators – Joe Garagiola, Tony Kubek and Tom Seaver – in the broadcast booth before the first game. "You know, say a few things about the city," the mayor explained.
Green said he has extended invitations to members of Congress.
"I've invited Teddy (Sen. Edward Kennedy), speaker O'Neill (House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill) and the President, of course," he said.
The mayor wanted to host a party for the national media and out-of-town dignitaries on the second floor of Independence Hall, but the idea was discouraged by the Phillies because of time constraints. But yesterday, the mayor's office said Green is planning to host a luncheon today at a Center City restaurant for prominent members of the news media and for the mayor of Kansas City, Mo., Richard Berkeley.
"I bet the mayor of Kansas City 12 good Kansas City steaks against six Philadelphia soft pretzels" that the Phillies would win the World Series, Green said. "I thought that was an even bet."
The mayor, in a convivial mood throughout Monday evening, added that when he ran for office, "I did promise the pennant. I told the Eagles last year that they would win the Super Bowl – the sooner the better."
"PhiladelphiaStyle," the slogan of the city's current tourism promotion campaign, is being used conspicuously across the city and in World Series information kits distributed to the media.
But the most important spot for displaying the "PhiladelphiaStyle" logo will be at Veterans Stadium, dangling in front of the television cameras that will be beaming the Phillies-Kansas City games to millions of viewers around the world.
Spiro & Associates, the local advertising agency that devised the theme for the city, recruited an enthusiastic group of fans to make a "PhiladelphiaStyle" banner appropriate for hanging from a prominent Vet railing.
The advertising theme also is being flashed on the Vet scoreboard and displayed on a big lapel button worn by the Phillies Phanatic. The ad agency asked NBC officials to use a videotape of a "PhiladelphiaStyle" television commercial with shots of the Schuylkill, parks and hotels before breaks for advertising spots.
The theme music from the commercial might find its way into the presentation, but a network spokesman said executives thought that use of the entire tape did not fit into the previously planned format of the show.
Despite that small setback, the city's public-relations drive seems to be working.
"Everybody is in such a good mood," said Louis Copp of Nashville, Tenn., among the revelers at the Franklin Institute party. "People are just as friendly and as sweet and as good as they can be. I have nothing but accolades for your city."
But among the international press, not everyone was enthused about the PhiladelphiaStyle.
Said Aaron Rand, a Montreal radio reporter, "If this had been in Montreal, it would have been even better. There would have been flowers in the street, parades, everything."
First round to Phillies, 7-6
Rally beats Royals as McBride homers, McGraw saves Walk
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
Not to imply that it had been a while since the Phillies won a World Series game or anything. But the last time they beat somebody in the old fall classic, Babe Ruth played against them – as a pinch-hitter.
That was 1915 – Oct. 8, 1915, to be exact. You all remember that game, don't you? It wasn't televised locally, but Grover Cleveland Alexander really had it going that day.
Alexander was the winning pitcher in the first Phillies World Series victory of all time. And now, 65 years and eight straight losses later, along comes Bob (Whirlybird) Walk to follow in Alexander's footsteps.
Walk gave up three homers and six runs to the Royals last night. But Bake McBride orbited a three-run homer in a five-run third inning, and the Phillies came from four runs down to beat Kansas City, 7-6, at the Vet.
It was like Houston all over again. Except that it didn't take extra innings, nobody left third too soon, and there wasn't even a harsh look thrown at an umpire.
It did require Tug McGraw's presence to nail it down after Walk had allowed Willie Mays Aikens' second home run, a two-run shot with nobody out in the eighth. But McGraw, who has pitched in all eight of the Phillies' meaningful games since Montreal, gave up only a single over the last two innings. And he erased that guy in a double play one pitch later.
"It's my fondest desire to prove Howard Cosell wrong," said McGraw, who has earned three postseason saves. "He said by going to the well once too often we'd lose. Well, Howard doesn't know enough about the game to say that."
McGraw said he could keep pitching forever if the Phillies need him. "At this time of the year, you reach back and look for something extra," he said, very seriously.
Those six runs don't make Walk's line look too wonderful. But he came back to pitch pretty well after he had gotten down, 4-0, in less than three innings. The idea was for Walk to go out and get through a bunch of innings so the Phillies' weary bullpen could get some rest. And he did.
"He wasn't too bad for a rookie and a guy who hadn't been out there for a while," Dallas Green said. "He's calling himself 'Boom-Boom' after the three homers, but that's not really Bob Walk. He kept us in the ball game. He hung tough."
Walk almost didn't keep himself in the ball game around the third inning. He was fine in the first inning. But then came the trouble.
He walked Darrell Porter with nobody out in the second. But it was almost inevitable that the first duel between Porter, who once walked in 12 straight games, and the aptly named Walk would end this way.
When Amos Otis took a one-handed swing at a 2-1 breaking ball and managed to get enough wood on it to knock it just into the bullpen in left. That made it 2-0. It also made Otis the 16th player in history to hit a home run in his first World Series at-bat.
In the third, Walk gave up a one-out single to Royals designated hitter Hal McRae. But he fanned the esteemed George Brett for the second out and appeared to be in good shape. He wasn't.
Aikens lofted a towering shot to deep right-center that seemed to not want to come down. It finally did, but beyond the wall, and it was 4-0.
"He hit the kind of fastball you throw when you're trying to throw the ball by a guy," Walk said. "He pulled the first one I threw him foul. I thought he was looking for a breaking ball, so I tried to sneak one by him."
It's no disgrace throwing home-run balls to Aikens, though. He took a while to come around this year after off-season knee surgery. But he drove in 61 runs in his last 74 games of the regular season and two more in three playoff games.
Walk came close to self-destructing after that. He walked Porter again, and Otis beat out a slow chopper to Mike Schmidt. Walk was "one batter away from coming with me back to the bench" at that point, Green said.
But Lonnie Smith saved him with a great throw from left field. Lonnie Smith? Yep. It was just Smith's way of making Green look brilliant for sticking him in left and making Greg Luzinski his DH.
Clint Hurdle bounced a single, and Porter headed for the plate while third-base coach Gordie Mackenzie no doubt recalled Smith's legendary three-foot throw from left in Houston.
But this time Smith charged the ball nicely and whipped it to Bob Boone on the fly. Porter was dead by so much he just eased up, didn't bother to slide and trotted on in to the plate. Boone was willing to go along with the routine, so he stepped aside and tagged him leisurely.
Replays showed Porter happened to be standing on the plate as he was tagged. But when you wave the white flag as Porter did, you deserve to be called out. He certainly didn't remind anybody of Pete Rose meeting Bruce Bochy in Houston.
"I'd prefer that he'd at least slide in," Royals manager Jim Frey said. "'I would not have preferred that he try and knock Boone into the seats. He might get himself hurt if he does that, and I'd prefer that not happen."
Smith really doesn't have as bad an arm as that awful throw in the Dome might have led the Royals to believe. He has come a long way since having arm surgery a few years ago.
"The ball in Houston just slipped out of my hand," Smith said before the game. "I've had that problem since my arm operation. I just have to concentrate a little better. Luckily, the throw in Houston didn't hurt us, but it could have hurt us."
Last night's throw didn't look like a big one at the time. But it started looking important, because the game didn't stay 4-0 very long.
Royals starter Dennis Leonard has won 20 games three times in four seasons. He had won 14 of his 20 starts since the All-Star break, counting his win over the Yankees last week. And he had sailed through the first two innings without a hint of a problem.
But Leonard's fun day ended in a hurry in the third. He had set down seven in a row when Larry Bowa bounced a single through the middle for the first Phillies hit. Bowa stole second, and that, said McGraw, was "just our way of saying we're not quitting four runs down. We're coming at you."
Boone lined a double into the left-field corner, and the Phillies were on the board. Boone last night became the first Phillies non-pitcher to bat ninth since Danny Ozark batted Steve Carlton eighth (and Bud Harrelson ninth) one day last season. "He didn't appreciate that too much," Green said. "He won it by default." But Boone responded with three hits and two RBIs.
The rally kept rolling. Smith slapped the next pitch through the shortstop hole. But Wilson was right on top of it and, since he has a great arm, Lee Elia stopped Boone at third. Meanwhile, though, Smith had rounded first, taken a big turn and fallen down.
There is something in Smith's chemistry that causes him to fall down about once a week. But this one wasn't so bad because it got the Phillies a run. Brett, who fielded the throw from Wilson, thought he had a chance to get an easy out. So he chased Smith into a rundown between first and second. While that was going on, Boone strolled home, and it was 4-2.
Leonard got to 1-and-2 on Pete Rose and came back with a fastball that tailed in. Let's say Rose didn't exactly go out of his way to avoid it. It hit him in the right calf, and he was on. Green and McGraw both called it the key to the game.
"Pete getting on base fired the whole ball club up," McGraw said. "He tried to intimidate the pitcher, and he did. He's done that for us all year."
Schmidt walked on five pitches and, three pitches later, McBride bombed his homer below the scoreboard in right-center. So it was suddenly Phillies 5, Royals 4. You thought they only did this in the eighth inning?
All those runs helped Walk settle down, and the Phils began to inch away. Manny Trillo chopped a base hit over the mound with one out in the fourth. Leonard bounced a wild pickoff throw past Aikens, and Trillo loped to second.
Bowa moved him to third with a ground ball, and Boone, who has swung the bat well since Montreal, went the other way and lined a double into the right-field corner. It was 6-4, and that did it for Leonard.
Renie Martin got out of that inning, but the Phils got a run off him in the fifth. This rally started with a one-out walk to Schmidt, whom the Royals are not anxious to pitch to. McBride singled to left. Martin hit Luzinski in the back with his first pitch. And Garry Maddox stroked a sacrifice fly to left to make it 7-4.
Meanwhile, Walk retired nine in a row after Smith nailed Porter. Two of the outs, it should be noted, were consecutive shots by McRae and Brett that backed McBride and Maddox against the wall.
He also got through the seventh scoreless, despite a leadoff single by Frank White. But Brett led off the eighth with a double, and Aikens mashed a 2-0 pitch for another homer.
Enter McGraw. He gave up a one-out single to Otis. But John Wathan hit into a double play one pitch later, leaving the Phillies one inning from breaking that interminable World Series losing streak.
McGraw got them there with a 1-2-3 ninth, capped by a dramatic strikeout of Wilson. Wilson missed a 2-and-2 fastball, McGraw pumped both fists into the air and 65,791 people at the Vet let out their most thunderous roar. It was as if they'd waited 65 years for this or something.
For battle-scarred Phils fans, a new kind of trauma
By Thomas Ferrick Jr., Inquirer Staff Writer
Something clearly is wrong here. The fall coats are out of mothballs, the storm windows in place, and the wind that whips down Broad Street is cool and crisp.
It is the time of year that many Philadelphians traditionally have set aside to parse the baseball season just past, to determine – with their own special brand of expertise – when exactly it was that the Phillies fell apart.
In that great Era of Shame and Ignominy (1951-1975), this was a fairly easy task. The point usually could be found sometime in June, surely before the All-Star game. In recent years, it has become more difficult. Was it, for instance, the second or third game of the 1978 playoffs? There are several schools of thought.
But, here it is, the middle of October, and, for the first time in years, the Phillies are the topic of pleasant conversations. They have won the National League pennant – a statement so startling that it deserves repeating – the Phillies have won the National League pennant and are now playing in the World Series. In October. In Philadelphia. The World Series.
It is a wonder to behold.
And, it is a difficult concept for many of the team's fans. Years and years of experience have told them that the sigh is the appropriate sound for this time of year, regret the proper emotion. Now, they are expected to stand and cheer. It is not easy.
The inhabitants of this "City of Losers" suddenly and unexpectedly are being called upon to cope with success.
It will be easier for some than for others. This is because Phillies fans can be divided into two groups – those who lived through the 1964 season and those who did not.
The latter have been most in evidence in the last few days. They are the people who to took to the streets on Sunday night moments after Garry Maddox snuggled under that fly ball hit by Enos Cabell to end the playoffs. They were the ones with the cowbells and firecrackers, air horns and homemade signs all proclaiming, in one way or another, "We're No. 1."
Most of them were not old enough to cross the streets by themselves in 1964, let alone dance in them.
The other group, those fans for whom the term "long-suffering" reportedly was invented, may no longer recall the particulars of the 1964 season, just the outcome.
It was Sept. 20. The Phillies had a 6½-game lead over their nearest rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, and there were only 12 games left to play. They had to win but three to win the pennant – this in the days before expansion, before playoffs, when the only Royals were basketball players.
"That was the year they printed up the World Series tickets," said John Farley, 56, now of Dover, Del., who has served 38 years as a Phillies fan.
"That was the year they blew it." Indeed, they did. James Tate, who was mayor then, proclaimed – prematurely as it turned out – that champagne would flow in the streets. Large Phillies pennants were dusted off and hung from street lamps. The town and its fans were primed for victory. It would be easy – what with starting pitchers like Jim Bunning and Chris Short, with the help of relievers Ed Roebuck and Jack Baldschun, with the bat of Dick Allen.
It was not. The Phillies faltered, tripped, staggered and, finally, fell. The fans, who had unabashedly and enthusiastically supported their team, had been taken to the heights – and dropped. And, when they finally healed, there was a scar tissue. From this sad incident (and from many, many others served up by the same team) a generation of hardhearted, cynical fans was born, quick to boo, unwilling – or, perhaps, afraid – to applaud. From there, it was just a few short steps to booing Santa Claus.
These are the fans who watched the playoffs with their hands over the eyes, knowing that the Phillies, their fingertips clutching at the ledge, their legs dangling over empty air, would eventually, inevitably, fall.
Some, like Donald Hale, who works in the public relations office at Drexel University, had too much decency to watch. In the eighth inning Sunday night, with the Phillies behind, 5-2, Larry Bowa stepped up to the plate and Hale shut off the television and opened a book, secure in the knowledge that his team would not fail to disappoint.
"My father has had me into this for 24 years," said Hale, who is now 30 and remembers crying when the Phils lost to the Brooklyn Dodgers in a close game in 1957.
Hale dozed off on the couch, was awakened by a phone call, and heard his father's voice on the other end of the line.
"Well, are you thoroughly disgusted," he asked his dad.
"Disgusted?!" his father shouted. "They won! Didn't you see it? They won!"
Don Hale refused to believe his own father. He had to get up, turn on the television, and catch the tail end of the postgame interviews in the Phillies' locker room before he could believe.
Maybe this is why, if you walked around town yesterday and eavesdropped on conversations at bus stops, in coffee shops, even over the counter at Bonwit's, the talk was not of the World Series to come but of the playoffs just ended. Fans – disbelieving, unconvinced, still shell-shocked fans – mending the unraveled ends of their nerves, trying out on wobbly, uncertain legs, something alien to most Octobers – joy.
And, perhaps, after all these years, searching to see if they still possessed a small nugget of that most fragile of emotions: Hope.
Frey didn’t get ulcers worrying about Phillies
Compiled by The Inquirer Staff
Manager Jim Frey really didn't care whether his Kansas City Royals met Philadelphia or Houston in the World Series.
The Royals went to LaGuardia Airport Sunday night prepared to go to either city.
"I don't root for anybody," Frey said before last night's opener. "Sunday night, I watched the first seven innings, but the last two innings I went into a back room and played cards."
The Royals didn't waste much time with their scouting reports on the Phillies, either.
"We had a meeting and went over the hitters, but it lasted only half an hour," Frey said.
The Phillies had a team meeting, but starting pitcher Bob Walk wasn't there. "Pitchers dont get very much out of team meetings," manager Dallas Green explained. "He and (pitching coach Herm) Starrette had a private meeting."
Eddie Sawyer, who managed the Phillies the last time they were in a Series notebook World Series, threw out the ceremonial first ball.
The Phillies were hoping for more success than Sawyer's Whiz Kids enjoyed. They lost all four games to the New York Yankees back in 1950, and the first three defeats were by one run, continuing a string begun in 1915. In that one against the Boston Red Sox, the Phillies won the opener, then lost the next four, all by one run.
NOTES: When Green was asked how well-versed he was on the designated hitter rules, he said, "Not very, but (coaches) Bobby Wine and Lee Elia both managed under it, so it won't be any problem."… Before Bob Walk, six rookies started World Series games in recent years. The previous three all won – Jim Beattie for the Yankees in 1978, Bruce Kison for the Pirates in 1971 and Gary Gentry in 1969 for the Mets. The Cardinals' Dick Hughes lost in 1967, as did the Yankees' Mel Stottlemyre in 1964…. This is not the first trip to Philadelphia for several Royals. Ken Brett and Jose Cardenal are former Phillies. So is Royals coach Jimmie Schaffer. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, maybe that's because Schaffer batted only 17 times in 1965 and 1966 and struck out eight times. Kansas City pitching coach Billy Connors was a Phillies minor league pitching instructor until this year. Among the people he worked with were Walk, Bystrom, Dickie Noles and Kevin Saucier…. Since the Phillies are only playing in their third World Series, they don't hold a whole lot of Series records. But some of the ones they do hold tell you how tough they've had it. Fred Luderus got caught stealing twice in one game in 1915, to tie a record. Catcher Andy Seminick tied a record for fewest putouts by a catcher in a game (one), in 1950. And the 1915 and 1950 teams combined to set the record for most consecutive Series games lost by one run (seven)…. Steve Carlton, who pitches Game 2 tonight, has an 0-1 career record in three World Series games with St. Louis in 1967 and 1968. Larry Gura, who pitches for Kansas City, will appear in his first World Series game…. Kansas City's ace relief pitcher, underhand thrower Dan Quisenberry, said he can't figure on being effective if he only keeps his pitches below the belt or even no higher than mid-thigh. "I have to keep it at the knees," he said. "When I get it up, I get hurt, although once in a while I can get by because a hitter has to adjust to a high pitch."… Dallas Green relishes the fact that his Phillies are the underdogs. "The media is helping us out," he said, "considering that they've picked Kansas City to win. We weren't picked to go anywhere in the National League, either, but I think we'll give a very good account or ourselves."… Lefty Gomez, a regular World Series visitor and a former World Series pitching star, looked around Veterans Stadium before last night's game. "Well," he said, "here's another park where they never hit one off me." Looking up at a helicopter hovering just beyond the left-field stands, he added, "That's about as fast as my fastball moved my last season."
Green comes to Smith’s defense, lines up Luzinski as DH
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
Dallas Green decided he wanted Lonnie Smith in his lineup for the first game of the World Series last night. He also decided he wanted Greg Luzinski in his lineup.
That wasn't the hard part.
The hard part was deciding which one of them was his leftfielder and ' which one was his designated hitter.
Luzinski won – or lost, depending on how you look at it. He became the first Phillie ever to be a DH in a game not played under a Florida palm tree.
Meanwhile, Green sent Smith out to left field, where, by Smith's own admission, he didn't exactly distinguish himself in Houston.
"Lonnie adds more speed in the outfield," Green said. "Other than that, I don't think there's that much difference defensively in either one."
Green's other reasoning in making the Bull a DH was that he thinks Luzinski "can handle the DH situation better than Lonnie."
Smith hasn't been very effective as a pinch-hitter this year, and that might have entered into it. "But if you'll check into it, you'll find Bull hasn't, either," Green said. Before Luzinski's game-winning pinch hit Saturday in Houston, he was, in fact, 1-for-10 the last two years as a pinch-hitter.
The other option Green mulled last night was using Del Unser in '.eft against Kansas City righthander Dennis Leonard. But he decided to save Unser because playing him "takes away from our bench, which is one of our pluses."
Luzinski's reaction to his DH assignment was a lot more philosophical than his reaction to not playing at all a couple weeks ago.
"I've done it a few times (in spring training), but I'm not going to worry about it," Luzinski said before the game. "The whole thing about being DH is to stay in the game mentally on the bench. But that's not tough, not in these games."
Smith said he really didn't care if it said DH or left field next to his name on the lineup card. All he cared about was that his name was on the lineup card in the first place.
He did concede, "It's easier to be in the game (mentally) and stay loose when you're playing than it is as DH. When you're DH, you have to sit too much."
But on the other hand, Smith said hitting as a DH is easier than pinch-hitting. "At least the DH knows he's going to be hitting," he said. "A pinch-hitter doesn't know until the last minute. When you're DH you've got more time to get loose."
The whole discussion was academ ic last night. But there are a few more games left in this World Series. And there has never been any assurance that Green's lineup one night will necessarily resemble his lineup the next night.
"This doesn't mean Bull is gonna DH all the time," Green said. "And it doesn't mean Lonnie Smith is gonna play left field all the time. One thing about me, I always think about my lineup every night. Then I come to the park and put it on the board. And it might not be the same tomorrow."
Homer and two singles help ease McBride’s pain
By Bill Lyon
He took his time circling the bases in that painful shuffle, that pigeon-toed, arthritic-kneed gait of his, the one that, for so long, people had interpreted as indifference.
Bake McBride savored this one, let the geyser of applause wash over him, cleansing away some of the hurt.
For a long time now, he has felt unappreciated, misunderstood. Six nights ago he was on the hook of criticism again for not scoring from second on a flare in the ninth inning of a playoff game the Phils would lose in overtime.
Last night, he could take his time on the bases. Because in the third inning he had swatted a three-run, two-out homer that propelled The Team That Wouldn't Die into the lead, and this time he didn't have to look into the third base coach's box for any signal except a high-five.
The Phils were down, 4-2, when McBride jerked a Dennis Leonard sinker over the wall in right. When the ball came down, The Team That Wouldn't Die was up, 5-4. Oh, they would find a way to make it close again, another one-run game. But then that is the sort of exquisite drama they seem to have fine-tuned now.
McBride would slash a pair of singles later, would scrape his back against the wall catching a Hal McRae bid for a homer, but it was his homer that turned this game around. He doesn't hit many, but when he the ball jumps off his bat like it had been jolted off an electrified fence.
"I took more time watching it than I did running the bases," he said in that low, soft voice. "They were playing me to pull, but they were pitching me away. He (Leonard) turned the ball over. It wasn't a bad pitch, low and away. In the playoffs I'd been swinging too much with my arms. That swing was nice and easy, short and quick, and I stayed back on the ball. Yeah, I knew it was out."
There is always this little smile playing around his lips, as though he is enjoying a secret no one else can share. He is a private person, and the demons have nibbled at him ever since he came to Philadelphia. The fans have gnawed at him as well, misinterpreting that easy, loping pace for nonchalance.
There was a time this season when he joined the silent majority on the Phils. He quit talking to the media, he said, because the only time anyone wanted to talk to him was when he had (a) lost a game, or (b) won a game.
But last night, he said: "I enjoyed this season because I figured I finally proved to the people that I am a .300 hitter."
Well, he did hit .309. And he had a career-high 87 RBIs. But if there was a truce, it seemed an uneasy one at best.
Now, McBride said, he thinks he and the public have reached an agreement.
"I think they realize now what kind of player I am," he said.
He does not show his emotions easily. This was as close as he would come to expressing satisfaction. Maybe the wounds are too deep, at least in his mind, to ever heal completely.
But for one night at least, in the moment of October when heroes are made in a flash-fire moment, he was being cascaded with applause.
He hit fourth last night, a lineup shakeup. He was sandwiched between Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski.
"I wanted to break those two up, get a lefty in between them," Dallas Green said. "Bake's homer crushed it for me. He's been a clutch guy and an RBI guy all season. He's given us everything we asked for in 1980."
The Team That Wouldn't Die had a number of heroes last night.
Bob Walk, who was pumping gas during the last World Series, did seven innings worth of a lube job on the Royals.
Bob Boone smashed three hits, drove in a pair, hitting ninth by, as Green said, default.
Tug McGraw wrung two more shutout innings and another save out of his fatigued arm.
Lonnie Smith cracked two hits and gunned out what would have been, at the time, a fifth Royals run at the plate.
But Bake McBride, the man who has never felt understood or appreciated, had his moment of vindication. For one night at least, the demons inside him were silenced.
How others view this World Series:
David Israel, Chicago Tribune:
"Forget justice. The World Series has had Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle and Duke Snider, Reggie Jackson and Don Larsen, Sandy Koufax and Jimmy Foxx. But the World Series has never had it so good. The World Series has never had George Brett."
Kansas City manager Jim Frey to the Associated Press:
"My impression of Philadelphia is that their strength is right-handed with (Greg) Luzinski, (Mike) Schmidt, (Manny) Trillo and (Bob) Boone."
Fred Rothenberg, Associated Press:
"Although Kansas City-Philadelphia might be an exciting series, it wont create the kind of (TV) stir that the Yankees and Dodgers do in the big cities."
Dave Anderson, New York Times:
"In recent weeks, several Philies vowed they would never play for Dallas Green next season. But now they're gladly playing in the World Series or him."
Chuck Tanner, manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, during an analysis of the World Series for the New York Times:
"As far as I'm concerned, attitude is never a problem in the World Series. Everyone involved is happy and excited to be taking part.
"The Phillies matured and, finally having overcome the frustrations of playoff losses in recent years, should be in fine shape to go out and win their first World Series. They have proved they can perform under pressure by winning the Eastern Division on the final weekend at Montreal and then taking the final two games from the Astros at Houston in the playoffs. Manager Dallas Green has kept the Phillies hustling for the last six weeks."
Gary Smith, New York Daily News, on the job done by Dallas Green:
"It was a gargantuan task, taking a veteran team even management was about to give up on and cramming a crash course of character down its throats for one last go at it. Heart can take years for a team to develop, and Dallas Green is trying to do it in one."
Mike Lupica, New York Daily News:
"To have been born a Phillies fan is to have been born cursed. The only affliction in baseball that can compare with this is rooting for the Chicago Cubs, a minor-league team since World Warll."
Thomas Boswell, Washington Post:
"The difference in these teams (Royals and Phillies), however, is not on paper, but on the field. The Phillies are half way to playing like a team. They no longer are conspicuously lackadaisical and selfish. Manager Dallas Green's tirades about ‘we, not I’ have not been completely in vain. The Phils now blend their large, hugely paid talents with a dash of occasional teamwork, enthusiasm and fundamental soundness. In fact, all the abominable Phillies baserunning of late has, in part, been caused by a new injection of hustle; the Phils haven't completely acclimated themselves to giving honest effort yet."
Henry Hecht, New York Post:
"The Phillies, who have never won a World Series, have proved they have heart. Now we'll find out if they have enough pitching to stop the Royals.
"The Royals, who have never won a World Series, have proved they can beat the Yankees. Now we'll find out if their pitchers are that good, or if beating the Yankees was as simple as neutralizing Reggie Jackson."
Jerry Izenberg, New York Post:
"Hope is the universal drug of the Phillies fan. If he hasnt overdosed on it by now, then nothing will deter him."
Detroit manager Sparky Anderson on George Brett:
"He is an amazing individual. Young kids will be talking about him for generations. Watch him in the first game. He will play this series just as if it was the first game in which he ever played."
Mike McKenzie, Kansas City Times:
As a whole, the Royals have a better team. The outfield is the Phillies' greatest weakness. Smith has speed but is a wild colt. Luzinski can catch, but he can't run or throw. Maddox covers ground but he doesn't throw well. McBride doesn't bust it getting anywhere."
Joe McGuff, Kansas City Star:
"Kansas City appears to have more versatility in its offense and will benefit from the strain that Houston put on the Phillies pitching staff. "
Much of city falls under the spell of Phillies fever
By Donald Kimelman and Frederic Tulsky, Inquirer Staff Writers
Nowhere in Philadelphia seems farther from the hubbub of Phillies fever than the international headquarters of the Society of Friends, where the struggle against cruelty and famine around the world is paramount.
"The Phillies? What are the Phillies?" Ken Dossar, a slim, ascetic-looking staffer deadpanned, reaching for a pamphlet with a starving child on the cover. "It's nice that they can be represented in the World Series, but we're involved in a different kind of World Series here. Don't forget the hungry people in Cambodia."
But as he spoke, his co-workers began popping their heads out of their cubicles. Before long, they had a lively discussion going on how the Phillies had captured their hearts last weekend and turned them, for at least a few days, into baseball nuts.
Finally, Dossar gave in. "When I walk down the street and see the headlines saying 'The World is looking at Philadelphia,' I must admit it makes rne proud," he said. Saying that the city had reached a turning point, he cited as evidence the appointment of a moderate police chief, a directive specifying when police may properly use deadly force, "and the Phillies."
So it was throughout most of the city yesterday. The giddy celebrating of the weekend was largely over, and people went about their business, one eye on their job and the other on the events surrounding last night's opening contest in the World Series.
Apart from a few entrepreneurs hawking pennants and a remarkable reduction of downtown trash, there were no visible signs that something special was taking place.
But the calm was surface deep. Stop any harried-looking dweller and ask about the Phillies and his – or her – face would start to glow, suffused with the memories of a wonderful weekend and the expectations of an exciting week to come.
"I've always liked baseball, but I've just been too busy to take the time to think about it," said Margaret Bacon, a refined, middle-aged woman who works at the Friends Center. "But this weekend, I really got caught up in it. Now I find I'm walking around with a bounce, but 1 don't know if my nerves can last through seven games."
"It's better for everybody in this city," said Bill Ciavaglia, a crane operator working on the commuter tunnel. "You don't go anywhere in this city these days without people talking to you about the games. There's just a good feeling about it."
Ciavaglia and co-worker Bill Gaynor, who were taking a break in the sunshine at the edge of the gaping, block-square excavation next to the Gallery, agreed that the ecstasy of the Phillies' playoff victories had subsided and that they were now more "pensive." It was time to worry about the awesome bats and running speed of the Kansas City Royals.
"Kansas City's no fluke," Gaynor said. "They had a great year and they beat the Yankees in three. You got to respect them."
"The pitching's going to be the key," said Ciavaglia, who woke up that morning worrying about the inexperience o! some of the Phillies' starting pitchers.
"And Schmitty's got to hit,” Gaynor added. Mike Schmidt, the team’s strongest bat, performed way below par during the playoffs.
It seemed more than coincidence that the city was feeling good about the team at a time when it is feeling pretty good about itself – ready to surprise visiting guests and celebrities with its combination of rough ethnic charm and stylish Center City nightlife.
"This is coming at a marvelous time," said Judith Morse, a public-relations person for the Fairmont Hotel, a Center City showplace that was built from the abandoned Bellevue Stratford. "Everything is so much on the upswing in this city. We've always thought of ourselves as losers and, suddenly, we're winners."
The magic of the Series coming to town was not much in evidence at 3:30 p.m. yesterday in the lobby of the spanking new Franklin Plaza Hotel, host to the Kansas City Royals and several hundred sportswriters-and sports figures.
The guests had arrived in droves, piling up at the front desk, but the rooms were not ready. This was no simple matter of the maids running behind schedule. The construction crews were still putting on the finishing touches 20 floors above.
Frank Deford, a tall, denim-clad writer for Sports Illustrated who had been waiting since noon, had latched onto a construction worker, known simply as "Dan from Turner," and was trying to convince the desk clerk that his floor was now ready for guests.
"This guy's a workman. He says the floor's ready, but they won't believe him," Deford said, more amused than outraged. "Who do you believe? The computer or the workman on the job? The computer, of course."
"The rooms are not ready," a frazzled desk- clerk named Margaret replied. "We don't have the keys to the rooms."
Tom Boswell, a Washington Post reporter, came over to share his tale of woe.
"I've been waiting three hours and have been lied to on six occasions," he said. "Please quote me as saying the Franklin Plaza has all the amenities of an open manhole."
The Kansas City players had arrived a day earlier, missing the room crunch, and apparently their attitude was more benign.
"There have been a few flaws because the hotel's so new, but they've been as cooperative as all get-out," John Schuerholz, a Royals vice president, said. He told of several showers that would not turn on and one that would not turn off, of a room key that fit a door that had not yet been hung.
"We can't say anything negative about anyone," Schuerholz said. "We're just so happy to be here."
Independent presidential candidate John Anderson was in town Monday night for a spirited rally, but no one seemed to notice. The media and the voters had their minds on baseball.
Today, Patrick Lucey, Anderson's running mate, is scheduled to be here, but the campaign has decided to go with the flow. Lucey will be attending the ball game.
For a campaign that needs all the attention it can get these days, Phillies fever has hardly been a blessing.
"On Sunday night, we were all in the the back room watching the game and rooting for the Phillies," said Donna Cornick, who runs the Anderson office on Walnut Street. "At the same time, we knew we were in trouble if they won."
Cornick, who was sitting next to several piles of Anderson T-shirts, said the campaign would do no canvassing during the games and would try to lure volunteers to headquarters by promising to let them watch the Phillies while stuffing envelopes.
Meanwhile, Cornick, a fan herself, was trying to finagle a way to get into the game with Lucey.
As is often the case in this town, North Philadelphia was marching to the beat of its own drum yesterday.
Brian Winter stood in front of a pool hall on Columbia Avenue at 17th Street, his Pittsburgh Pirates cap turned backward, and scoffed about the opening of the World Series. "The Phillies?" he said. "I like the Eagles. Cause they play my kind of ball. They don't lose."
On this spot, with the pool hall traffic passing by, the success of the Phillies seemed a distant topic. Only Eric Cherry, 11, would admit to being a fan.
"You've got to understand," said one youth, who called himself Diamond Don. "This is not Kensington, or 67th and Elmwood, or South Philadelphia. We don't care about the Phillies. How many people on that team do you think came from this neighborhood?"
The neighborhood had been torn by rioting earlier this summer, after a policeman shot a resident. The tension of those days is gone now, and Columbia Avenue yesterday was filled with shoppers and people just hanging out. But, as Diamond Don predicted, few were excited about baseball.
On the corner of 15th and Columbia, a group of youths who called themselves the "15th and Oxford Gang" stood on the corner and said they were planning to root for the Phils, but said they really were more interested in the 76ers and Julius Erving.
"I hope like h--- the Phillies win," argued Michael Green, who followed a reporter as he left the Oxford gang. "I'm rooting for them, since it's Philadelphia."
Then, as an afterthought, he asked, "When did you say that first game was?"
Naturally the prices are high – after all, so are the seats
By Lewis Freedman, Inquirer Staff Writer
They were milling around in small clusters on Pattison Avenue, just outside the black iron fence in front of Veterans Stadium, exactly across from the Spectrum.
Unkempt men in their 20s and 30s, black and white, but mostly white, talking out of the sides of their mouths. You half-expected them to offer "filthy post cards" or $25 female companionship, but their message was different. "Hey, who needs two?" was the cry.
These were the scalpers, pushing their wares in the three hours before Game 1 of the World Series between the Phillies and the Kansas City Royals last night. It was like market day in Istanbul. The hawkers and hagglers were in heavy negotiation.
It was a good night for the scalpers, but perhaps not a great one because all most of them had to offer were 600 and 700 level seats, the ones farthest from the action, the ones that sold for $15 from the stadium box office. In the time the sun and temperature dropped, a high price of $80 was quoted for the 700 level, which is closer to heaven than it is to home plate. But most scalpers were seeking $50 for seats in these areas.
Periodically, someone with a 200 level scat would surface and conspiratorially offer it, usually for $100. But at least two were sold for $150 each and another offered for $300, the highest price quoted for any seat.
"I stayed out all night to get these," said one dark-haired scalper in his mid-20s."I want $100."
The wheeling and dealing took place in front of a sign reading "All Vending Prohibited by City Ordinance," but for the most part the police looked the other way. Occasionally, some plainclothesmen dispersed the group, and the scalpers moved to the other side of the stadium, near Gate E, but they eventually drifted back.
"We try to scare them away," said Joe Yank, stadium security chief, "but it's really out of our jurisdiction, and the police even hate to get involved in it."
One scalper even teased a passing policeman. "Here's a man who wants two," he yelled. The cop smiled and kept walking.
Buyers were choosy, not leaping at the first deal, but they didn't flinch at the prices, either.
One buyer wasn't very subtle. He was broadcasting his needs over what seemed like 50,000 "Anybody selling tickets?" he screamed. "I want the best." One short man wandered through the sale zone with three $20 bills carelessly displayed.
The scalpers felt whatever profit they received was well earned.
A man in his 20s wearing a Phillies cap offered a $15 ticket for $35.
"I stood eight hours for it," he said, alluding to an overnight wait to buy tickets at the box office.
A man perhaps five years older was seeking the same deal.
"It's my last one," he said. "I want to go home. I sold 16 of them for $50 apiece." It was 6:40 p.m., nearly two hours to game time.
There was a paucity of genuine good seats for sale, but the scalpers had no qualms about jacking up the price of the cheaper ones by 200 to 500 percent.
Asked what kind of seats he was peddling, a seller said, "Seven hundred level, what else? That's all they gave us. Nobody knows what I had to go through to get these. Seven hours. That's a lot of work."
The price ordinarily plummets as game time approaches, but at 8:15, 20 minutes before the game's start, there were still scalpers seeking $100 for a 200 level seat. A few with less nerve began selling $15 seats for $20.
At 8:30, as the sound of the National Anthem wafted to the street, one man approached the group, talking anxiously. "Hey, we better clear out," he said. "The cops just nabbed two guys."
With the warning, some scalpers started to drift away. There were no more customers approaching from the Broad Street Subway or the parking lots. Many pulled their last ticket out and began walking up the ramps, planning to use it for themselves. Once the game started the street was virtually empty, but there were also die-hards, who didn’t care to watch, the Phillies.
"I got one more to sell," said one young man. "And I just want to go to the nearest bar."
NBC edges out ABC on announcing savvy
By Lee Winfrey, Inquirer TV Columnist
I asked the baseball fan sitting beside me the difference between ABC's and NBC's coverage of postseason baseball, and she said, "You don't have to listen to the babble."
Usually, the picture makes the difference at a televised sports event.
Basically, we want to see what happens.
But the announcers can make a difference, too. The biggest difference between ABC's coverage of the National League playoffs and NBC's coverage of last night's opening game of the World Series was the audio, not the video. NBC's Joe Garagiola, Tony Kubck and Tom Seaver seemed to be more in tune with the rhythm of baseball, its stretches of waiting and anticipation and its sudden thrusts of excitement than ABC's Keith Jackson, Howard Cosell and Don Drysdale.
Jackson, like Garagiola, has the temperament and pace of a good baseball announcer.
But Cosell is too strident for this often-easygoing game, and Drysdale is the poorest of the six main announcers assigned to postseason play by the two networks. Drysdale contributed virtually nothing to the National League playoffs between the Phillies and the Houston Astros. I spent much of the past week talking to spokesmen for ABC and NBC, who are extremely competitive about baseball, mostly because they share coverage of the World Series. NBC covers the Fall Classic in even-numbered years and ABC in odd-numbered years.
I saw last night's game under perfect conditions: Sitting in the stands with a portable TV set in my lap. That way, you get everything. From your seat you see the whole sweep of the field, not just the bowling alley that runs from pitcher to batter, that basic shot that begins every play in baseball. On your TV set, you get all the replays. Without doubt, replays, a development within the last dozen years, are TV's greatest contribution to sports coverage. With them, you never need miss anything. If your head is turned away or you are lighting a cigaret or opening a beer and consequently miss the big play, TV recaps it for you soon after.
I saw no essential difference in the camera work between ABC's recent baseball coverage and, last night, NBC's current turn at bat. Only the sound of the announcers' voices – and the more measured and relaxed way they proceeded – told me it was Channel 3 instead of Channel 6.
"You don't have to listen to the babble," my lady friend said. Something happened at Veterans Stadium last night that told me she is not alone in her opinion. During the league playoffs here, they put a message on the scoreboard that said, "Welcome ABC – Howard Cosell, Keith Jackson, Don Drysdale." The crowd booed. They put up a similar message last night welcoming NBC and its announcers. Although the crowd last night was even bigger, they didn't boo.
I think that Howard Cosell has been good for sports announcing, introducing more candor into TV coverage than existed before. But it is useless to pretend that everybody likes him. On baseball, although he spoke more softly than usual during the National league playoffs, the old ballplayer's outlook and attitude of Garagiola seems to better please the guys in the bleachers.
New horizons for new Phils
By Frank Dolson, Inquirer Sports Editor
Bake McBnde swung. The ball went soaring toward the right-center Held fence... a white blur heading tor the Mets logo on the black canvas backdrop.
Luckily, the Goodyear blimp wasn't directly overhead Veterans Stadium at the moment McBride's three-run home run capped the Phillies' five-run third and fireworks lit up the sky over South Philadelphia or the Good year people might have had another Hindenburg on their hands.
That one swing of the bat, that one booming drive, that one electrifying moment was further proof – as if any is really needed at this point – that the 1980 Phillies are capable of doing what all those other Phillies teams down through the years couldn’t do.
For 2½ innings they appeared. headed for a lopsided defeat. The Royals had four runs. The Phillies had no baserunners against Dennis Leonard, Kansas City s best pitcher.
Four runs are a lot to make up in a World Series game. Consider this:
• The last Phillies team to get this far, 30 years ago, totaled only five runs in the entire World Series.
• In the last half-century only three teams – the 1956 Brooklyn Dodgers, the 1970 Baltimore Orioles and the 1979 Orioles – were able to make up a four-run deficit to win a World Series game.
Team of new possibilities
But the 1980 Phillies have become a remarkable baseball team in the last few weeks, a team that believes in itself, a team that is capable of coming from behind against good pitching.
It didn't matter that Leonard had looked like the 20-game winner he is against the Phillies best hitters in the first couple of innings. It didn't matter that only one of the first seven Phillies batters managed to hit the ball out of the infield. Pete Rose assured them of that in the very first inning after bouncing to short.
"Pete always gives us a scouting report," Larry Bowa said. ' He came back and he said Leonard is a sneaky-type pitcher. He said we were going to get him,” Bowa smiled. "But he says that about everyone."
He said it about Nolan Ryan the other night in Houston. He'd say it about cy Young it he had to.
And the way things are going now, he d probably be right.
The people stood and cheered themselves hoarse last night at the Vet. Even when the score was 4-0 for the Royals, the people applauded their heroes. That's what the events of those last two incredible weekends in Montreal and Houston had done – made believers out of a city of nonbelievers.
Night of fulfilled dreams
It must have been a terribly strange feeling for the young men who wear Phillies' pinstripes. For years they had dreamed of getting into a World Series, and now that they were there it seemed, at least at first, almost anti-climactic. After the incredible events that took place at the Astrodome, after the non-stop pressure of two must-win, extra-inning ball games, last night's World Series opener was in the nature of a relief.
"It didn't feel like you dream about it," Bowa said. "I was more relaxed tonight than I was the first game of the playoffs...."
Then came the third-inning rally, that one big swing by McBride... and suddenly there they were, in the middle of another dogfight.
By the ninth inning, with Tug McGraw on the mound and the cheering throng on its feet, Game 1 of this long-awaited World Series was beginning to resemble Larry Bowa's dream.
"I think I got a little keyed up when they all stood up and said, 'We're No. 1,'" the shortstop said. "I can't imagine what might happen if we're fortunate enough to win (the whole thing). They're going crazy in Game 1. I mean, it was all positive tonight, even when we were down, 4-0. You very seldom see that in the (regular) season."
But then, you very seldom see a Phillies team that has accomplished what this Phillies team has accomplished. The Bowas, the Bob Boones, all the guys who were struggling so badly before, are producing now. Boone, for one, has been nothing short of remarkable. The other night in Houston Enos Cabell clobbered him in a play at the plate. "He kinda jumped into me," the Phillies' catcher said.
Boone's left foot was badly swollen. The pain was so severe that "at first," Boone said, "I thought it was broken. It went up to the size of an egg."
Twice he had to go for X-rays: alter the pennant-clincher in Houston and before last night's Series opener. The X-rays were negative, but it didn't really matter. Had there been a cracked bone, Bob Boone would have played, anyway.
"I'm not going to miss any time in a World Series," he said. "I waited too long to get here."
And last night, playing on, that swollen, throbbing left foot, Boone delivered two run-scoring doubles and a single.
Not bad for a guy who's spent an entire season playing hurt – in one way or another, an entire season trying to find his batting stroke. People kept wondering why Dallas Green stayed with him, game after game, week after week. Now they know.
That's the thing about this Phillies team that is trying to do what no other Phillies team in history has done: win a World Championship. No longer is it enough to stop the big hitters; the Bowas and the Boones have become tough outs in the tough games, too.
So tough that the Phillies broke an eight-game, 65-year World Series losing streak last night in a game they didn't figure to win.
They won coming off a physically and emotionally draining series against the Astros.
They won pitching a kid one year out of Double A against one of the best – and hottest – pitchers in the American League.
They won despite the fact that five of their key hitters – Rose, Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski. Garry Maddox and Manny Trillo – got only two infield hits among them.
And they won despite falling four runs behind against a team that seemed to have everything going for it.
"We know we're underdogs," Bowa said. "We know everybody picked Kansas City in five. In fact, Dallas said (to the players before the game), 'We are going to show up.'"
And they'll show up again tonight with Steve Carlton' on the mound and another emotional crowd in the stands.
The Goodyear blimp had better look out.
Other City wants to be known for more than steaks
By Steve Twomey, Inquirer Staff Writer
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – To understand just how cosmic was Milton Morris' decision last Friday night, to grasp its sheer enormity, to really gauge the depth of Royals mania, one must know Morris.
Morris owns a taproom here, out on Main Street at Linwood Blvd., the south part of town, with a wide open view of the new towers of Crown Center, the old towers of downtown, and the hills that surprise any visitor expecting nothing but plains.
But his is not any taproom. It is a jazz palace.
None of that disco garbage, says Milton. None of that rock-'n'-roll noise. Only "America's classical music," jazz, cool Kansas City jazz, piped endlesssly into the dark recesses of his place, night after night, every night.
It is his passion, for almost all of his 68 years. They took his right leg a few years back – gangrene, he says. His wife died two years ago. He must have a cataract operation in two weeks. And he is, of course, running for governor for the fifth time this fall on his platform of legalized bingo and horse racing.
But still he is there, on his stool, chomping an eight-inch cigar he never smokes, sipping his Cutty and water' and listening again to his music.
Years ago, he made one concession to those who did not want only to listen to jazz. He put a color TV up on the wall above the bar, so his patrons could watch football or baseball. But he forbade the sound to be turned on whenever the set was on. No gibberish, he said. Only jazz. House rule.
Until last Friday. Last Friday, he turned up the sound. His Royals were in the third and ultimately deciding game of the American League championship series against the hated Worker at Royals Stadium prepares for the arrival of Series by New York Yankees. He had to watch, with the sound.
And he did it again last night when the Royals opened the World Series against the Phillies.
It is that bad in Kansas City.
Morris explained the end of his era.
"This is my city and I want my city to win," he said, his slight frame bouncing up and down on his stool for emphasis. "It is even more important than sex. You can have sex any time, but you can't always win a World Series."
This – The Other City – aches, too, Philadelphia.
Not in the same ways, perhaps, but aches nonetheless, for victory has been a long time coming here as well as there.
Philadelphia waited 30 years for a pennant. Kansas City waited 25, ever since 1955 when the old Philadelphia Athletics stopped off here for 12 years before moving on to Oakland. Philadelphia flopped in three consecutive playoffs before finally ending its embarrassment this year. So did Kansas City.
Oh, they care. They are frustrated, tormented, desperate. This summer more than two million of them went to Royals Stadium to cheer their team, just as more than two million went to the Vet. Yet Kansas City has United Press international painting Phillies logo on dugout only 1.3 million people, far fewer than Philadelphia's four million.
More than 20,000 of them went wild at the Crown Center when the Royals clinched the pennant Friday night, far more than gathered at any location in Philadelphia Sunday night when the Phillies won.
"The whole town is excited," said former mayor Ilus W. Davis, who is now president of the Chamber of Commerce and a lawyer. "This law office here, we're not even ball fans, but on Wednesday (during a day game in the playoffs) there just wasn't any work done here. People were just glued to the set."
"It's like rabies," said Walt Bodine, the popular talk show host on KMBZ radio. "It's around and everybody's got it."
Unlike Philadelphia, Kansas City does not want to win because it cannot stand being known any longer as the city of losers. It just wants to be known, to be recognized.
Despite its reputation for some of the finest steaks and ribs in the land, despite its jazz, despite a sparkling revitalization boom that has created the Crown Center's shops, offices and condos and more, despite Harry Truman, despite all of that, Kansas City seems absolutely convinced that the rest of the country knows not of its existence.
"Dammit, tell your people that Kansas City is not in Kansas," pleaded Milton Morris. "Kansas City is in Missouri. All you Easterners think it's in Kansas."
Indeed, you can look it up. Right where the Missouri River takes a hard left and heads for St. Louis, that's Kansas City.
And, rightly or wrongly, baseball is their ticket to fame, to status. That's why the Royals must win. They are a vehicle for the greater glory of Kansas City.
"Prestige," a construction worker said yesterday when asked why Kansas City needed a Royals victory.
"We're a small metropolitan center – relatively speaking – and we're out here in the Midwest, where nobody pays much attention to us," observed the Kansas City Star the Other day. "As a city we want to be noticed."
"This is more important that the Republican Convention here in 1976," said said businessman Gary Auchard, 32, of Leavenworth, Kan., as he ate lunch at Crown Center yesterday, "because this is something we own. We're not just a cowtown."
While they seem passionate it is a different kind of passion than that of a Philadelphia fan. In Philadelphia there is a dark side to their passion, a cynical side. Philadelphia fans expect to lose. They wait for their teams to hurt them.
There is no such cynicism here. Mention to Kansas City residents that Philadelphians frequently boo their team, and they seem startled. No one boos the Royals. Unthinkable. The fans, in general, are very polite, dignified, friendly, Midwestern.
"The fans are different here," Yankees relief pitcher Rich Gossage once observed. "They're great fans and they're fair, but they're much quieter."
Phils-Astros finale sets ratings mark
By the Associated Press
NEW YORK – Sunday night's wild National League championship final on ABC was the highest-rated baseball playoff game in history and the highest-rated telecast for last week, figures announced by the network indicated Tuesday.
The Phillies' 8-7, 10-inning. fifth-game victory over Houston scored a 27.8 rating (percent watching of all sets) and a 44 share (percent watching of sets in use). ABC research estimated that 60 million people saw some or all of the game that sent the Phils into the World Series against Kansas City.
The five prime-time playoff broadcasts, including three NL games and two for the American League scries between Kansas City and New York, also set a ratings record. The average was a 22.7 rating and a 38 share, beating the average rating from four prime-time games in 1978, when ABC logged a 21.8.
Series attacts aficionados from Mexico
By Edgar Williams, Inquirer Staff Writer
Tranquilino Contreras made a joke. He wasn't cold, he said. His teeth always chatter before noon.
"All right, I'm freezing," Contreras finally admitted. "But wait until game time. Any World Series warms me up."
This was yesterday at the Holiday Inn on City Avenue, and Tranquilino Contreras had ventured outside to test the crispness of a Philadelphia morning in autumn. With him were some friends, bundled against the chill wind that came sweeping off the Schuylkill down the street.
Everybody agreed that it was cold – much colder than it had been back home in Mexico City when they departed Monday to fly here for the start of the World Series. But they also agreed that, once they were settled in Veterans Stadium last evening and the Phillies and the Kansas City Royals began thwacking each other in the first game of the World Series, the cold would be forgotten.
Contreras and the others were but a corporal's guard of a veritable army of 80 Mexican baseball buffs who are here to attend the first two games of the Series, then move on to Kansas City for Games 3, 4 and – if necessary – 5. And should Games 6 and 7 become necessary, the group will come back to Philadelphia.
"No problem," said Jose Rodriguez, 48, a Mexico City travel agent, who began putting together World Series package tours in 1975. "We have confirmed reservations right here in this hotel, if we have to return, and our flight is confirmed, too. The only problem we've had was the organized panic we went through Sunday night when the Phillies and Houston were seesawing back and forth in the final National League playoff. It wasn't until 10 p.m. Mexico City time that we could cancel our reservations in Houston and firm up those here."
Most of the 80 persons with Rodriguez are Mexico City businessmen – "genuine fanatics," Rodriguez terms them – five of whom brought their wives along. And one such wife, Celia Encinas, 43, contends that the wives are farther gone on baseball than their husbands.
"We get more excited," said Mrs. Encinas, a wool scarf wrapped around her neck, as she prepared to go on a tour of the city. "And, strange as it sounds, some of us know as much about the science of baseball than most men."
When Contreras, 61, owner of a machine-tool plant, observes that a World Series can warm him up, he isn't just whistling "The Mexican Hat Dance." This is his 17th consecutive World Series, and he can practically give you an oral replay of every game of every Series. Oddly enough, the Series that he remembers best was one that rendered him unhappy on two counts.
It was the one in 1976, when the Cincinnati Reds creamed the New York Yankees ("The world's greatest team," Contreras says) in four straight games played in temperatures that would have sent an Eskimo to a first-aid station for treatment of frostbite.
Contreras did it all on his own, in point of making arrangements, until Rodriguez formed his first group, 20 in number, to attend the Cincinnati-Boston series in 1975.
"When Senor Contreras came with us, I knew our future would be bright," Rodriguez said. "He is a well-known baseball expert in our country, much respected."
Rodriguez feels that, had the New York Yankees won the American League pennant, he would have "at least 20 more bookings" for the tour. This, he says, is because Aurelio Rodriquez, a Yankee infielder, is Mexican. Neither the Phillies nor the Royals has a Mexican player.
This means that, without a rooting interest, the delegation from Mexico City can sit back and enjoy the game for the game's sake. Right?
Rodriguez shook his head. "No," he said. "They're baseball fanatics. They have to root for somebody. I think about 80 percent will be rooting for the Phillies. They watched the games with Houston on television and they liked the way the Phillies play."
And for whom is Rodriguez rooting? "I'm a travel agent," he said. "I'm doing business with people here and in Kansas City. I don't have the luxury of choosing a side."
School is Royal, fan is Phillie
By the Associated Press
KANSAS CITY. Mo. - Stricken with what the principal called "Royals Fever," the pupils at Kansas City's Southeast Elementary School voted yesterday to rename the school George Brett Elementary School for the remainder of the series – but there was a dissenter.
While banners were strung through the hall extolling the virtues of the Royals, and many of the 580 pupils wore buttons or carried signs supporting the Royals, one fourth-grader carried a Phillies sign.
"The other kids made fun of him," said principal Les Shert, "but he said he's a Phillies' fan, so we let him keep it."
Shert said pupils were attired in the Royals' colors, blue and white, and the first day of the World Series was declared Royals Fever Day.
Steal, errant toss opened floodgates against Royals
By Allen Lewis, Special to The Inquirer
It was a play that seemed to have little significance when it happened. Still, there was a message in it, and before the inning was over the Kansas City Royals got it loud and clear.
At the time, it was one of those plays against the so-called "book."
The play was a steal of second base by Phillies shortstop Larry Bowa, with his team trailing by four runs. That forged a chink and a botched rundown play by the Royals moments later opened wide the door through which the Phillies ran to their 7-6 victory in the opening game of the World Series last night before 65,791 roaring fans at Veterans Stadium.
Once those two plays occurred, Royals pitcher Dennis Leonard seemed to lose some of his confidence and composure. Before the inning was over the Phillies had grabbed a lead they refused to relinquish, and they eventually won their first World Series game in 65 years and ended an eight-game World Series losing streak.
When Bowa broke for second in the third inning against the only Kansas City 20-game winning pitcher this season, there was one out and a one-ball count on catcher Bob Boone, who had a big night at the plate as well as behind it.
The throw by Royals catcher Darrell Porter was a good one, but Bowa, who has played his best ball of the season since the Phillies began their drive toward the top in mid-August, slid in safely just ahead of the tag.
The gamble by Bowa delivered this message to the Royals: A four-run lead isn't enough to get us down, let alone beat us. This run I'm carrying is just the first of a bunch we're going to score.
Boone, who had three hits, promptly lined a double down the left-field line, and the Phillies had cut their deficit to three runs.
The play that may have set up the Royals for the kill followed immediately. Lonnie Smith grounded a single through the hole to left field and Boone – never one to gamble on the bases, and doubly so last night because of a foot bruise suffered in the pennant-clinching victory Sunday night in Houston – was held up at third.
The fleet Smith, prone to stumble when on the bases, rounded first base, and put on the brakes when he saw Boone stop. He fell flat and, when third baseman George Brett cut off the throw toward the plate, the rookie was trapped off first.
The Royals went for him like a shark going for fresh bait. In their eagerness to get the second out of the inning, they made the mistake of forgetting about Boone.
Brett threw to first baseman Willie Aikens and, when Smith jumped up and headed for second, Aikens threw to second baseman Frank White. His first move should have been to check Boone. Instead he was so intent on running down and tagging the outfielder that he ignored the catcher, who alertly broke for the plate at exactly the right moment and scored without a play.
Leonard, his apparently safe lead now cut in half, got ahead of Pete Rose with a 1-2 count and then hit the first baseman, who always seems to be in the middle of every significant rally.
That got the Phillies going anew, and Leonard was able to get only one pitch over to Mike Schmidt before walking him. Bake McBride then hammered a 1-1 delivery over the right field wall for his home run and a 5-4 lead, and the Vet turned to bedlam.
Not that the victory was easy after that. Leonard was chased after Boone doubled home another run in the Phillies fourth. Carry Maddox delivered a sacrifice fly after the Phillies loaded the bases against reliever Renie Martin with one one out in the fifth inning. The run it drove home proved to be the difference when the indomitable Tug McGraw managed to blank the Royals in the last two innings after Willie Aikens' second two-run homer chased starter Bob Walk.
The come-from-behind victory may well have been ignited by a play against the book that spoke volumes.
That’s the first one – on McBride’s homer
A booming three-run home run by Bake McBride paced the Phillies to a 7-6 victory over the Kansas City Royals in the World Series opener last night at Veterans Stadium.
And just as they did in their National League Championship finale with the Houston Astros, the Phillies won in nail-biting, come-from-behind fashion.
A crowd of 65,791, largest to watch a World Series game since 1964, was kept on edge as the Phillies won their first Series game in 65 years. The last one was won in 1915 when the pitcher was Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander.
Last night, the winning pitcher was 23-year-old rookie Bob Walk, who was given the opening-game assignment because of the scrambled condition of the Phillies pitching staff after that grueling playoff against Houston.
Walk, recovering from a rocky start, did a gallant job until he was taken out in the eighth inning. He became the first rookie to pitch and win a Series opener since Joe Black did it for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1952.
He was relieved, however, by Tug McGraw, who retired the side in the eighth and ninth innings to preserve the victory.
Early on, this looked like it would be a Kansas City night as the Royals rushed to a 4-0 lead on a pair of two-run homers. Amos Otis connected in the second inning following a walk to leadoff man Darrell Porter, and Willie Aikens unloaded the first of his two home runs in the third after Hal McRae had singled. Aikens became only the second player in baseball history to hit two home runs in his first Series game.
The Phillies came roaring back in their half of the third with five runs. Larry Bowa singled to center field and Bob Boone doubled into the left-field corner, scoring Bowa. Lonnie Smith followed with a single to left field and, when he got trapped in a rundown, kept running until Boone scored to make it 4-2. Pete Rose was hit by a pitch and Mike Schmidt walked. McBride then hit a 1-1 pitch over the right-field wall for three runs that sent the Phillies ahead to stay, 5-4. The Phillies increased their lead to 7-4 after six innings on a fourth-inning RBI double by Boone and a fifth-inning bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Garry Maddox.
The Royals scored two more runs in the eighth inning when Aikens hit his second homer after George Brett doubled.
Walk ‘three pitches from shutout’
Those home runs aside, the rookie was just fine
By Danny Robbins, Inquirer Staff Writer
Rookie Bob Walk had his own special way of looking at his World Series pitching performance last night.
"I was," he said, "three pitches away from a shutout."
That's more or less true, but three pitches that produce two-run homers tend to ruin shutouts. And so Bob Walk didn't walk away from the Kansas City Royals unscathed. He did, however, walk away a winner.
"I don't think I did too badly," he said after the Phillies opened the Series with their 7-6 comeback victory at the Vet. "I made three bad pitches. But I was fairly pleased with my performance until the last home run."
Walk was, in short, the Phillies' last pitching hope. With everybody else needing rest after the grueling weekend in Houston, Walk was given this very big starting assignment by Dallas Green despite a long layoff and a poor finish to his season. And, with Tug McGraw tired, he would have to stay out there a while.
After the game, a writer suggested to him that he had been a "sacrificial lamb." Walk begged to differ.
"Well, I know he (Green) didn't have much choice, That's true," Walk said. "But I did win 11 games (during the regular season). I'm not just somebody they'd throw out there to take up some space."
At first, he didn't seem to be much more than that, really. Amos Otis homered with a man on in the second. Willie Mays Aikens homered with a man on in the third, putting the Phillies in a 4-0 hole.
"Well, I went out there with a lot of rest," Walk said. "But I went out there and didn't have good velocity on my fastball."
So he adjusted. "I changed my plans," he said. "I tried to turn the ball over more on my sinker. But then I'd thrown 120 pitches, I got tired, my sinker was coming up, and I gave up another homer."
The Phillies, as is their way nowadays, had come back to get some runs with their five-run third inning. "That lifted everybody up, myself included," Walk said. "I said to myself, 'Hey, these guys are doing this, and I've got to do my part.'"
He did, retiring nine Royals in a row through the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. But then the fatigue set in, the sinker began to rise…. and George Brett opened the eighth with a double, followed by Aikens' second homer. Like it or not, Green had to call on McGraw.
"Not too bad for a rookie," Green was saying after Walk had finished this seven-inning, eight-hit, six-run experience, "especially since he hadn't been out there for a while. He struggled early, and he's calling himself 'Boom Boom' now, but that's not really Bobby Walk."
No, Walk likes to live dangerously, to run those long counts.
"I didn't have good velocity," he said. "Sometimes you can get behind without a good fastball, but usually you're courting the devil."
No to mention those Philadelphia fans. "I'd be 0-2 with a ball in the. dirt," Walk said, "and they'd boo – like, 'Oh Lord, it's happening again.'
"I really wasn't nervous," he claimed. "In the first inning, I was a little shaky. But once I got started, I concentrated on pitching."