Chicago Tribune - October 16, 1980
Phillies refuse to fold, rally for 2-0 Series lead
Kansas City ace Quisenberry jolted by four-run eighth inning
By Robert Markus, Chicago Tribune Press Service
PHILADELPHIA – Welcome to the night time serial, "As The Series Turns," the program that will answer the question: Can a team that has been a civic embarrassment for most of its existence find happiness and win the World Series?
The answer will not be forthcoming for a few days yet, but the Philadelphia Phillies are doing all right so far. Following the same old script that has brought them farther than any Phillies team in history, the National League champions erupted, for four runs in the eighth inning Wednesday night to beat the Royals 6-4. Thus, the Phils will own a 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven series when play resumes Friday night in Kansas City.
In two previous World Series appearances the Phillies had won a grand total of one game – that was in 1915 – and not many experts picked them to do much better against the American League champions.
BUT THESE are not the same old Phillies. These are the same new Phillies, who keep coming up with incredible rallies just when all seems lost.
Wednesday night they did it against Dan Quisenberry, the statistical leader among American League relief pitchers, who had come in to protect a 4-2 lead for Larry Gura in the seventh.
The submarine-ball sinker specialist had induced three consecutive batters to ground out in the seventh, and the Phillies, who had faced him for only a third of an inning Tuesday, appeared befuddled.
The only question appeared to be whether Manager Jim Frey had brought in his bullpen ace an inning too soon. The Phillies only hope appeared to be that he would tire in the ninth. But be never got there.
HE OPENED the eighth by walking catcher Bob Boone, and then Del Unser, who had been a hero of the playoff victory over Houston, did it again. Batting for Lonnie Smith the left-handed hitting reserve outfielder unlocked the inning with a double in the gap in left field that scored Boone all the way from first.
For the second night in a row, Pete Rose made a big contribution while going hitless. He hit a high chopper to the right side that moved Unser, the tying run, to third.
From there, Unser scored when Bake McBride bounced a hit over first baseman Pete LaCock's head into right field. Even had LaCock come down with the ball, Unser would have scored easily.
If Frey even thought of removing Quisenberry then, he was stopped by the knowledge that his is basically a one-man bullpen and that the right-handed hitting Mike Schmidt was up next.
THE PHILLIES' BIG power man had been operating on a rundown battery over the last week, but he got juiced up for this one. He blasted a ball over Jose Cardenal's head to the base of the right-field wall as McBride came around to score the winning run.
Keith Moreland's single drove in the final run to give Ron Reed a cushion he didn't need. The tall right hander, taking over from Steve Carlton in the ninth permitted just one single and struck out two.
That brought to 12 the total of strikeouts by Phillies pitchers for the night. This was one time Carlton couldn't be blamed for being speechless after a victory. The strong, silent lefty had struggled with his control over the last part of the game and although he struck out 10 he was not sharp.
HE THREW A TOTAL of 159 pitches, the last 59 his last two innings when he surrendered the lead. "That shows," said Schmidt, "that Steve at his worst will keep us in any game he pitches."
Carlton had the Phils in front 2-0 after five innings against Gura, who had not permitted a base runner until designated hitter Moreland beat out a bouncer to deep short with one out in the fifth. Gura faded fast after that and was rapped for two more hits and both runs before the inning. The key blow was Garry Maddox's double to the left-field corner.
At that point, Carlton appeared secure. He already had fanned seven and had been threatened only when George Brett and Hal McRae came to bat. Brett was a questionable starter all day because of a severe attack of hemorrhoids and he ended up leaving after the Royals had batted in the sixth.
But while he was in there, the major league's best hitter had two singles and a walk off Carlton, as did McRae. One man who had given Carlton absolutely no problems was Willie Wilson, who had struck out three times.
THUS, WHAT HAPPENED in the seventh had to be considered a self-inflicted injury on Carlton's part. He had given up an unearned run in the sixth but finished the inning strong by striking out Cardenal and getting Frank White to bounce into the Royals' third short-to-second-to-first double play of the night.
But Carlton opened the seventh by walking Wilson on four pitches, which is a little like slaking your thirst from a bottle marked "poison." Regarded as the fastest man in baseball, Wilson was bunted to second, stole third, and by the time Carlton recovered his aplomb, he had walked the bases filled.
Even the greatest tight rope walker will slip if he keeps at it long enough, and Amos Otis' double, followed by John Wathan's sacrifice fly put Carlton in arrears 4-2.
IT ALSO GAVE ex-Cub Gura a chance to be a winner in his World Series debut. Frey said he took the lefty out "because he told me he didn't feel he had his fastball anymore. With his style of pitching he has to spot his fastball, and he didn't think he could do it anymore."
Frey had no qualms, however, about bringing in Quisenberry. "We thought we had the ballgame," he said. "Quisenberry has been doing it for us all year. He just didn't do it tonight."
"Truthfully, I didn't throw too badly," said Quisenberry. "My only problem was that I didn't have the real quick sinker. The pitch Schmidt hit was low and away. He must be a real good golfer."
PHILLIES MANAGER Dallas Green blamed Carlton's erratic performance on the baseballs. "They were as slick as I've ever seen," he said, "and I'm going to make a complaint to the commissioner and a strong complaint to the umpire. The first batch we had were rubbed up decently, but later Boonie catcher Bob Boone came to me and said, 'Dallas, he can't grip the baseballs; they're slick as ice.'"
Phils pull together, Royals come apart
By Bob Verdi, Chicago Tribune Press Service
PHILADELPHIA – Pete Rose's next hit in the 1980 World Series will be his first.
Steve Carlton is pitching like a 36-year-old man who has thrown too many innings this year, which he is and which he has.
Greg Luzinski, who would rather eat a candy bar than lend his name to one, is Mr. October here. He is also sick.
And Mike Schmidt, who is supposed to swing a big bat, says that he's forgotten how to trot around the bases.
The Philadelphia Phillies, who usually don't make it to the fall classic because they have a classic fall first, sure are struggling. Struggling to keep from laughing, that is. Everybody who is anybody figured that they would at least be beaten, and at worst be wiped out, by the Kansas City Royals this week. To look for positive reinforcement, the Phillies had to talk to their wives. Or themselves.
THE KANSAS CITY Royals, after all, were the team that had just swept the New York Yankees to the American League playoffs while the Phillies were attempting to exterminate a bunch of orange mosquitoes called the Houston Astros. Before that, the Royals fumbled through September (So they could avoid winning their division by more than 14 games while the Phillies raged through the month so they could manage to win theirs by one.
Well, we've all been duped again. The Philadelphia Phillies lead the World Series 2-0. The National League is halfway toward proving what it proves almost every season.
"Look," Rose was saying after the Phillies defeated the Royals 6-4 Wednesday night. "I don't mean to take anything away from George Brett. He's a great hitter. But he ain't gonna hit .390 if he's in our league. He ain't gonna, bit .390 in the National League because nobody's gonna hit .390 in the National League. There isn't a bad pitching staff in our league. Can you say the same for some of the teams they got over there. Toronto? Seattle? California?
"The Royals might have seen us and Houston knock the heck out of each other last weekend and wondered what was going on. Well, the reason we have crazy games like we do and races like we do in the National League is the competition. The level of competition in our league is unbelievable. You know, sometimes when you play what looks like bad baseball, it's because the other team is making you look that way."
RESISTING THE temptation to kick the Royals when they're down is difficult, because they're making it so easy. Allegedly, they pitched their ace, Dennis Leonard, in Game One Tuesday night. When they converted a 4-0 lead into a 7-6 defeat, Amos Otis said, wait, Larry Gura is really Kansas City's ace, and we haven't seen Willie Wilson run the bases yet.
So Wednesday night, Gura pitched quite well and Wilson turned one inning entirely around by, at last, running the bases. Yet, the Phillies absolutely spanked the American League's top reliever, Dan Quisenberry, and won again going away 6-4. True, George Brett retired early [although one doubts that he literally sat out the last few innings], but he did have two hits, and the Royals did have a runner in every inning, and 17 in all.
"If I'm them," said Larry Bowa, Philadelphia shortstop, "I gotta be thinking. It's nice to be going home, like they are. But we also know that no matter what happens in Kansas City, we're coming back home, too. Either to celebrate, or play more baseball.
"Maybe because of what we went through to get here, they didn't take us as seriously as they should. They might have thought the Philadelphia Phillies weren't that good, or that after all the emotion we used up in Montreal and Houston just to get here, we wouldn't have much left. Well, if you'd have been on our bench when we began the bottom of the eighth inning, you wouldn't think that. I guarantee you,"
AT THAT POINT, the Phillies were down 4-2 and Quisenberry – a Kent Tekulve with meat on his bones, was on cruise control.
But, after having served three limp grounders for three outs in the seventh, Quisenberry now walked leadoff man Bob Boone, the No. 9 batter in a deceptively efficient Philadelphia order.
"You should have heard the screaming on our bench," said Bowa. "Go around this room and see how many guys are hoarse."
To be sure, the Philadelphia Phillies never have been accused of resembling a band of collegians cheering for a goal-line stand. But now, as their success grows, so does their spirit. At one time, when the Phillies beat you, they beat you with sheer talent. Now, their skills may be less, but their instinct to be aggressive are greater. They are loose, confident, positive. The Royals seem merely loose.
"I'VE NEVER, EVER seen us like this," said Bowa; who had been a grump much, of this season. He hates Manager Dallas Green, and has said so more than once on his radio show. But now, even Bowa is inclined to give the 6-5 devil his due. .
"Dallas is a lot of the reason for this," he said "We aren't just using just eight guys anymore. Everybody is chipping in. Look at Del Unser, Greg Gross. Guys like that. Let me tell you there are teams in the league now with better talent than us. The St. Louis Cardinals may have better talent than us, and they finished fifth. But we have a feeling now that we never had.
"It's like a lot of pressure has been taken off by winning" the playoff. If we had lost that again, we would have been another flop again. But, even though we won't be satisfied unless we win the World Series, we're having fun playing in it. I mean, this is it, the big show, and we're just incredibly loose. Fun. We're having fun. The other thing we know is that, win or lose, some of us aren't gonna be here next year because of our age. This might be our last time together as a group. This is like a class reunion. We want to go out laughing."
When the Phillies, one of sport's most ornery teams, talk like that, it's time for the Royals to worry.
Rose and his boss learn DH rule has a point
By David Israel, Chicago Tribune Press Service
PHILADELPHIA – In six years, he will be able to collect a considerable monthly pension from baseball, At his age, most ballplayers are pumping gas or coaching first base. There is gray in his hair, and there are lines at the corners of his eyes. Pete Rose is 39 years old. Jack Benny never wanted to get any older. Pete Rose does not worry about such things. Let the days keep rolling. Every one is better than the last one.
At his age, most ballplayers begin to search for ways to conserve energy, to relax weary muscles, to rest old bones. Many of them sign up to work in the American League, where they can play a position called designated hitter.
Pete Rose has never wanted that. Doesn't like the idea, he will tell you. Rose likes to catch and throw and spike the ball through the AstroTurf after the third out each inning. He likes to make diving stops and scoop up bad throws that want to skip into the dugout.
Pete Rose has often said that he thinks playing designated hitter is taking money under false pretenses. Besides, he has played in the National League all his life, and there are a few bits of business he intends to tidy up before he departs.
There is, for instance, the matter of getting more hits than anyone in the history of the league. Stan Musial lead with 3,630. Henry Aaron is second with 3,600. Rose has 3,557. Seventy-three more and he moves to the top of the list. Should Pete keep his health, and should the Philadelphia Phillies continue to find a place for him at first base, that is likely to occur late next spring, just weeks after Pete celebrates his 40th birthday.
EVEN THOUGH he has never aspired to DH, even though he has oft maintained that including a DH in the starting line-up is not a viable or acceptable way to conduct a baseball game, Pete Rose is now willing to make a small concession the designated hitter might not be a bad idea.
What happened, to change Pete Rose's mind was that some pretty convincing evidence on behalf of the DH was presented Tuesday night when the Phillies beat the Kansas City Royals 7-6 in the opening game of the World Series. This being an even-numbered year – one with the NL team playing four of the seven Series games at home – the DH, the AL's great experiment, is being used.
"That game may have proved something about the designated hitter," Rose says now. "You've got a guy hitting in front of the lead-off bitter who's not a pitcher. More things happen.
Things like the Phillies' run-scoring rallies starting at the bottom of the order, with crucial doubles by a ninth-place hitter named Bob Boone.
If there is no DH, Boone is batting eighth, the pitcher ninth. Instead of doubles, there are sacrifice bunts, and there is a lot less action. Or maybe there are pinch-hitters; then Bob Walk is out of the game in the bottom of the third; then he doesn't retire 12 of 13 Royals from the fourth through the seventh; then the Phillies' bullpen, so ridiculously overworked in the playoffs, doesn't get the rest it desperately needed to survive this tournament.
"EVEN THOUGH I'M not a proponent of the designated hitter," Dallas Green, the Phillies' manager, said, "I have to admit the DH helped us."
Things like Lonnie Smith and Greg Luzinski both in Philadelphia's starting line-up. If there is no DH, one of them – probably Smith – sits and watches while the other plays left field. If there is no Smith, Rose is the Phils' lead-off hitter, Bake McBride bats second, and Mike Schmidt and Luzinski, the two right-handed sluggers, are third and fourth. If there is no Smith, there is no left-handed McBride batting clean-up and hitting a three-run home run in the third. If there is no Smith, it is much easier for Royals' Manager Jim Frey to bring in a right-handed relief pitcher to throw to Schmidt and Luzinski.
Sure, it was only one game – one lousy World Series contest – but it was a compelling argument for the DH.
The American League lost the game, but many of its executives are delighted that their case was presented so nicely.
"THE PRIMARY PURPOSE of the DH is to add offense to the game," says Harry Dalton, the Milwaukee Brewers' general manager. "Not only more runs, but more hitting and more action on the basepaths. Last year, we out-hit the National League by nine points. This year, the leading scoring team in the National League would have been eighth or ninth in our league. The hard-liners talk about manager's moves, but more people appreciate offense than defense. They rather see an 8-5 or a 7-6 game than a 2-1 game.
"Putting another hitter in the game adds a tremendous dimension. Frankly, I've never heard anyone come up to me in an American League park in the seventh inning and say how much they missed seeing whether the manager was going to pinch-hit for the pitcher."
In a few of his rare lucid moments, Bowie Kuhn, the commissioner of all big-league baseball, has said that he wants the rules of his two leagues to be consistent. On the sly, it is said, he has campaigned for the NL to adopt the designated-hitter rule.
At league meetings during the summer, an amendment to make such a change in the NL regulations was defeated by a 5-4-3 vote. The three teams that abstained were Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Houston.
In December, representatives of the owners will meet once again in Dallas and reconsider the proposal. If the advocates of the DH want to show a campaign film, they might just ask NBC for a tape of the World Series opener. It ought to be pretty convincing.
AND IF THEY want to make a campaign speech, they might like to repeat what Pete Rose noticed.
The National League's greatest natural resource saw something he liked, and it was called the designated hitter.
Phillies on verge of wrecking image
By David Israel, Chicago Tribune Press Service
PHILADELPHIA – A pattern is being established here. It has been a few weeks in the making. First fell the pretenders in the National League East. Then fell the Houston Astros. Now the Kansas City Royals are taking a dive.
And all the while, the Philadelphia Phillies are denying their inglorious past. An extraordinary legacy of failure is of no moment. Thirty years without a pennant. Ninety-seven years without a victory in the World Series. A record of failure that would leave even Chicago Cubs' fans despondent.
And the Philadelphia Phillies are playing like none of that ever happened, like they do not understand their rightful place in the rigid caste system of major-league baseball.
Ridiculous though this might be, the Phillies are up 2-0 in this 77th World Series. They beat the Royals 6-4 in Wednesday evening's second game much as they beat them 7-6 in Tuesday evening's first game.
They fell behind, they exhibited patience and poise, they cased the opposing pitcher, and then they stuck him for enough runs to triumph.
ON OPENING NIGHT, Dennis Leonard made his way through most of the Philadelphia batting order once before they roughed him up for five runs in the third inning.
Wednesday night, the same fate befell Larry Gura and Dan Quisenberry.
"After the first time around, they're not blowing anybody away," Pete Rose said. "That's my whole thing. I don't hit pitchers when I don't know what they're throwing, and I don't think I'm the only one. The scout can tell you this guy throws a slider and this one a curve, but every slider and every curve don't break the same way. You have to see them to know what's going on. That's why in the World Series you'll see me looking at so many pitches my first time up. I want to see what the guy throws."
With many of the Phillies it is like that. They are veterans. They play the game with their minds as well as with their bodies. These are not a lot of characters like Bernard Nalamud's natural.
LARRY GURA went through them perfectly for four innings. In the fifth, two singles, a double, and a sacrifice fly turned into two runs.
"I don't know if that's due to exotic systems or not," said Bob Boone, Philadelphia's catcher. "I don't know if we're solving them or if we're just swinging the bats good, a lot of us at the same time. It is something, though."
Brett (2-for-2) plays well even in pain
Chicago Tribune Press Service
GEORGE BRETT played 5½ Innings and had two singles in two official at-bats Wednesday night despite the fact he is suffering from hemorrhoids.
Royals' Manager Jim Frey said Brett first noticed the symptoms Saturday, the day after hitting the pennant-clinching homer in Yankee Stadium.
"I was told at the time the problem wasn't serious," Frey said. "Apparently, after last night's game it became serious." Frey said Brett was in considerable pain and had spent the day taking heat treatments and staying off his feet.
EX-CUB JOSE CARDENAL said he was happy to be playing in his first World Series game, "but to me it's another game; I feel that way, really."
Nevertheless, the popular Royals right fielder asked for and received the blessing of the Rev. Thomas Sweeney, a Catholic priest who was a friend of Cardenal's when he played with the Phillies. "The father blessed Bake McBride last night," Jose said Wednesday night, "and you saw what happened." McBride hit a three-run homer to put the Phillies ahead to stay in Game One.
KANSAS CITY MANAGER Jim Frey said catcher Darrell Porter's benching Wednesday night for Game Two had nothing to do with Porter's failure to slide into home plate in the third inning Tuesday, "I just wanted another right handed bat in there against Steve Carlton," Frey said. Porter noted that he had been sitting down against left handers most of the year.
Porter seemed miffed at reporters insinuating he was too concerned with his personal safety when he walked into Bob Boone's tag at the plate Tuesday. "Those writers apparently haven't played the game," he said. "They don't know what it's like to try to slide when you're not in rhythm. I had tripped going around third base and I wanted to slide but felt like I would break my ankle if I did."
TO THE SURPRISE of no one, there were no Philadelphia players at Wednesday afternoon's press conference that was supposed to feature the two managers and players from both sides. Pitcher Dick Ruthven was supposed to represent the National League champions. "He didn't show up," shrugged Phils manager Dallas Green, ''which just shows that Jim Frey has more control over his players than I do over mine."
MIKE SCHMIDT chug-a-lugglng a soft drink and Pete Rose hawking aftershave may be just the tip of the advertising iceberg for the Phantastic Phillies. The morning after the Phils clinched the National League pennant, Rose's agent received calls from agencies representing 11 products.
"You're going to see a lot of Phillies shaving on television, driving cars, eating hot dogs – anything," said an advertising man. "The national advertising people are terribly impressed with the kind of team they are, coming up from the mat and all to win."
One players' rep has been negotiating with a "major cookie company" for pitcher Steve Carlton to endorse. Which is perfect, of course. Carlton wouldn't have to say a word, just stuff his mouth with cookies.