Camden Courier-Post - October 17, 1980
Bull ill; Brett to play
By Bob Kenney, Courier-Post Sports Editor
KANSAS CITY – The medical bulletins received the most attention here yesterday as the Kansas City Royals and the Phillies prepared for tonight's third World Series game.
Top billing went to George Brett, the super third baseman who led the American League with a .390 batting average. But the Phillies countered with a pretty impressive casualty list of their own.
Greg Luzinski, who did not accompany the team to Kansas City because of a virus, arrived here late yesterday afternoon while catcher Bob Boone and center fielder Garry Maddox nursed sore limbs.
Brett underwent minor surgery to remove a blood clot from a painful external hemorrhoid yesterday morning . but is expected to be in the lineup when the teams take the field for tonight's game (8:30 p.m. EDT, Channel 3).
After losing leads twice, Kansas City is down two games to none and faces a must-win situation tonight. Since the very first World Series in 1903, no team has ever lost the first three games and come back to win the championship.
"We are," said a well informed Kansas City taxi driver, "in really bad trouble if they don't get George fixed up. We need that man to win."
Brett will give it a try and if D. Paul Meyer, the Royals' team physician, and Dr. John Heryer, a Kansas City proctologist who performed the operation, are correct, he should be able to play.
"I'm not sure he will be at peak 'performance," said Dr. Meyer. "Running and sliding will cause discomfort."
The operation took about 20 minutes and Brett will spent the night in St. Luke's Hospital here.
"If he were an accountant," said Dr. Heryer, "he would be back to work tomorrow. He had a small incision which will cause discomfort. Ointments we have prescribed will ease the discomfort."
The Phillies' problems are less complicated. Both Boone and Maddox will be sore but will play.
Luzinski is in the hands of the trainer, Don Segar. He spent most of yesterday in Philadelphia with a 101-degree temperature. It's up to the trainer where he plays. He will probably be too weak to play and Phillies manager Dallas Green is expected to go with Del Unser.
"I hurt but no way will I take myself out," said Maddox.
The Phillies held a short workout in Royals' Stadium after flying in yesterday morning. Kansas City was scheduled to practice but manager Jim Frey canceled.
"The way I felt, it looked as if the world was coming to an end," said Frey, still trying to figure out what happened in Philadelphia. "I'm sure the players felt the same way and I decided the day off would do us more good."
The Royals lost a 4-0 lead with 20-game winner Dennis Leonard on the hill in Game 1. They lost a 4-2 lead with baseball's top reliever, Dan Quisenberry, on the mound in Game 2.
"It had to make you wonder," said Royal outfielder Willie Wilson, who had 230 regular season hits but hasn't been able to hit in the first two games.
"We are not flat," insisted Frey. "We had three home runs in the first game. Last night we had a two-run lead into the eighth inning. We just haven't been able to control their offense."
Frey will send righthander Rick Gale against Phillies' Dick Ruthven in Game 3. "He won 11 in a row during the season," said Frey. "He told me a couple of days ago that his arm feels better now then it did two months ago.
"He's tough on righthanders when he gets the ball over. If he'll keep us in the game for five or six innings, I'll be happy with that."
The Royals have been surprised by the offense unveiled by the Phillies, who straggled for every run against Houston.
"Shocked is not the right word," said Frey. "They are a strong offensive club."
The Phillies claim they are not thinking about their two wins.
"We've forgotten them already," said Del Unser, who keyed the winning rally in Game 2 with a pinch double. "We've played catchup most of the year, we're not used to being on top."
Green agreed. "All we have proven so far," said the manager, "is that we have won two games in a row. Kansas City certainly has the capabilities to win two in a row, too.
"Our philosophy is simple. You can't win tomorrow's game today. All we are worried about in Friday night."
Larry Christenson will pitch tomorrow, said Green, adding he isn't sure after that. Frey will come back with Leonard.
Kansas City stadium Royal pain for Phils?
By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – While the World Series moved rapidly toward its first moon shot and experts on proctology were brought in yesterday to make sure that, despite having a bad seat for tonight's game, Royals slugger George Brett would still show up, the Phillies were worried.
They had good reason. The early warning system known as super-scout Hugh Alexander had been on full alert for weeks. And now, as the Phils' brain trust huddled in the Missouri sunshine, its fears were realized.
Royals Stadium was a trap.
Oh, it was pretty enough, sitting clean and bright like a giant sunken living room with the cascading outfield waterfalls. The carpet was penthouse perfect. Too perfect.
"It's trouble, I'm telling you, it’s trouble,'' said Alexander, screwing up his face into lines that showed the years it took him to acquire the knowledge of one of the wisest men in the game.
Alexander was not given to undue anxiety, the result perhaps of losing a hand in World War II. But there was nothing easygoing about his demeanor as he watched Coach Mike Ryan walk out toward Bake McBride in right field.
How ironic that at almost the same time, just 100 yards away in the underbelly of the comparatively small stadium, the World Series was doing a vaudeville act.
Hemorrhoids was the theme. Or in this case, the removal of the same. And, although no pies were being thrown and no empty-headed stripper stood at center stage, the George Brett medical press conference was strictly Olsen and Johnson double-entendre. The doctors played the straight men.
Deadpan doctor. "We performed the operation this morning." (Followed by a technical explanation).
Snickering writers: "Whaaaa?"
Proctologist who looks the part: "I cut out a blood clot."
From the balcony: "How big a cut?"
Punch line: "About this big," said the proctologist, holding his thump and forefinger about an eighth of an inch apart.
Brett's survival and his reported afternoon of sitting in hot tub water was the last thing the Phils had to fret about.
“Watch this," said Alexander, pointing toward right field, where Coach Ryan was about to hit a grounder into the corner. Only there was no corner, only a wall that gradually circled toward the left-field bullpen.
The ball came off Ryan's bat and McBride instinctively moved into position for the ricochet. But the ball hugged the lovely Tartan Turf, struck the wall just below the huge green protective mats and rocketed around the bottom of the wall like the opening shot at a pinball machine convention.
McBride looked stunned for a moment. Alexander had warned him. That's why they were out there. But he never expected this.
"Doubles turning into inside-the-park home runs," said Alexander with a shake of his head. "I couldn't believe it when I first saw Mickey Rivers, he was with the Yankees then, hit a ball the same way.
"Hell, he scored standing up. The ball rolled almost to dead center field."
The architect of the Phillies battle plan, turned his sights toward the left-field corner. It was exactly the same.
"I saw Willie Wilson hit what should have been a double into that corner. Turned Boston's Jim Rice inside out before he finally tracked it down. Another inside the park homer," he said.
McBride was now trying to compensate for the problem. He knew it had the potential not only to make him look foolish, but also decide any one of the three Series games slated to be played here.
As Ryan hit the ball toward the 330-foot mark at the right-field foul pole, Bake immediately retreated to the wall figuring be would be waiting to cut it off at the pass. Only it struck the mat and died.
Now he was lost. Another ball off Ryan's bat, this was a certainty to strike the foot-high area under the mats. But as the ball careened toward McBride, it took a sudden hop, struck the bottom of the mat and stopped.
Alexander groaned. And you could almost hear him wishing that Greg Luzinski was here to at least see this monster. Bull had run a morning fever to go along with his flu and was flying into town long after the workout.
"The most treacherous corners in baseball" said Alexander.
McBride was now on his hands and knees in the outfield, rolling baseball after baseball into the man-made shooting gallery. For, like the rest of the Phillies, he realized that while negating some of the Phils' home run power because of the depth of the outfield in the alleys, the stadium just might present the Royals with an unexpected method of using their superior speed.
"It's awful," said McBride as he walked off the ' field. "I don't know what I'm going to do. There's also a board along the wall that might make the ball do anything. Plus, if it gets around to the bullpen fence, it can hit off that and go in any direction.
"Man, the president of the league should check it out."
Then he walked away muttering to himself. Alexander did the same.
The punch line of the day was hemorrhoids. But none of the Phillies who had discovered the secret of Royals Stadium, were laughing. Not when it looked as if the script called for them to take the prat fall.
Owens chiseled a masterpiece
How about the deals he didn’t make!
By Bob Kenney, Courier-Post Sports Editor
KANSAS CITY – The division title was won in Montreal. The National League pennant clinched in Houston. And if the Phillies have their way, the world championship will be locked up here in Kansas City.
The team that General Manager Paul Owens built from scratch in 1972 now is just two victories away from its first World Series championship in the 81-year history of the franchise.
A career baseball man, Owens took over the reins in Philadelphia on June 3, 1972, when John Quinn retired.
HE TOOK a team that won just 59 games that summer and turned it around with some of the best wheeler-dealer moves in baseball history.
He traded away, then brought back, pitcher Dick Ruthven, catcher Tim McCarver and utility man Del Unser. He traded for Steve Carlton, Garry Maddox, Bake McBride and Tug McGraw.
But Owens has his team on the brink of the world title now because he failed to beat the trading deadline three times this season.
"Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don't make," he said when reminded of his near-misses.
McBRIDE, McGRAW, pitcher Larry Christenson and rookies Lonnie Smith and Keith Moreland were all but gone.
In fact, Smith almost got the good-bye phone call twice.
McGraw enjoyed his finest year and personally carried the bullpen load. He was unhittable down the stretch, winning five and saving five the last month, then appearing in six straight post-season games.
Christenson, despite injuries, was 5-1 and came back to contribute to the stretch drive.
McBRIDE, SMITH and Moreland all hit over .300 for Manager Dallas Green.
Without those players, Owens and his Phillies would be watching the World Series on television.
The Phillies were so sure they were going to unload McBride they never even mentioned him in their annual highlight film released last winter. He had hit .280 and drove in 60 runs in 1979, but spent a great deal of time in the doghouse or out with minor injuries.
He was considered the team's best piece of trade bait when the winter baseball meetings got under way.
AFTER SOME heavy discussions, the Phillies agreed to swap McBride, Christenson and McGraw to the Texas Rangers for relief ace Sparky Lyle and a few others.
But confusion over the contracts delayed the move until just minutes before the deadline and, when Owens discovered Lyle had a lifetime deal as a broadcaster, he backed out of the trade.
"This job is not fun anymore," he said the next day. "We thought we solved our needs and the deal fell through."
McBride stayed. He hit a solid .309 and batted in a career-high 87 runs. He became a Dallas Green favorite and in the World Series has driven in the winning run once and the tying run the second time.
"HE CAN'T match Schmidty's numbers " Green said the other day, comparing him with major league home-run leader Mike Schmidt. "But for consistency day in and day out, Bake has done the job. He's done everything I've asked and more."
Owens survived that one, then acquired Lyle from the Rangers in September, and the veteran lefty helped the club down the stretch.
When the inter-league trading period opened again in the spring, Owens went after Baltimore infielder Billy Smith.
"He's the utility infielder we want and need," he said.
A LONNIE for Billy deal of Smiths was on tap. Then the Orioles decided they wanted a bit more. That deal stayed alive, however right up until the last minute, but Green interceded to keep Lonnie.
"I left the final decision up to my field people," Owens said. "They wanted to keep Lonnie."
The little outfielder set a club rookie record with 33 stolen bases, batted .339 and filled in well when Greg Luzinski was injured in July.
The Phillies later picked up Billy Smith for cash, and he played this season for their minor league team in Oklahoma City.
THE FINAL trading deadline was June 15. Injuries to pitchers Warren Brusstar, Nino Espinosa and Christenson had the Phillies in desperate trouble.
Owens put together a three-team biggie that eventually would have brought Gary Lavelle and Ed Halicki in from San Francisco and Joaquin Andujar from Houston.
But the key man was Mike Ivie, the San Francisco power hitter the Astros felt would make them a winner.
He had some personal problems around that time, however, and "retired" from the game.
IVIE CAME back a few weeks later but the trading deadline was over. The Phillies were stuck with Lonnie Smith once again and Moreland stayed, too.
Two weeks later Luzinski was hurt. Smith got his chance.
Moreland started hitting and began catching in spots,
The pitching problems cleared up.
"SOMETIMES, it is better to be lucky than smart," Owens said.
"But I think the fact some players knew they were almost ex-Phillies brought the best out of them."
He could be right.
Down through the years the Phillies have been a fine organization to play for – paying well, etc.
With just two more victories, Owens can realize his lifetime dream and continue to be thankful he failed to make three big trades.
Bowa: ‘We’re getting breaks’
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
KANSAS CITY – Comebacks and character aside, the thing that most separates the Phillies and the Kansas City Royals is offense.
The Phillies carry a commanding 2-0 lead going into tonight's third game of the. World Series largely because they have taken advantage of their scoring opportunities against Royal pitching.
The efficiency with which the Phils have converted base runners into runs markedly contrasts their struggles with Houston in the National League playoffs, when they left more people stranded than a plane flight cancelled by a blizzard.
"WE HAVE not," Kansas City Manager Jim Frey said yesterday, "been able to control their offense. Against the Yankees (in the American League playoffs), we didn't hit the ball as well as we have against Philadelphia. But we got good pitching."
Just how the Phillies have been able to edge within two wins of the franchise's first world championship is interesting. They've scored in a variety of ways, from Bake McBride's three-run home run, to Bob Boone's mad dash to the plate during a rundown at second base.
Add to that some Royal gaffs in the field and some plain, old-fashioned good fortune and you have the situation the Phillies now find themselves in, needing to go 2-3 over the next five games to win the World Series.
"We are getting breaks," said shortstop Larry Bowa. "Like Schmitty's ball not bouncing over the fence and Bake just getting home."
THOSE TWO breaks occured during a four-run eighth-inning rally that gave the Phils a 6-4 win in Wednesday's second game. McBride was on first, having already singled home Del Unser with the tying run, when Schmidt hit a ball that nearly bounced over the right field fence.
Instead, the ball stayed in play and McBride was able to score the game-winner, sliding in just ahead of a good Royal relay. Had Schmidt's ball bounced over the fence, McBride would have had to' stop at third.
There is more than luck involved in the way the Phillies have been scoring, though. Indeed, McBride's run was more of a matter of foot speed than good fortune. And a closer look at the inning reveals the relay had its foundation in fundamentals.
Boone began it by working reliever Dan Quisenberry for a walk. The walk was not a mistake on the part of Quisenberry. Boone simply fouled off several pitches he could not handle until the Royal relief ace missed.
ASTONISHINGLY, Boone was the first Phillie to lead off an inning and reach base safely in the Series.
Unser followed by stroking a low and away 1-1 pitch into the gap in left center. The Royals had been playing Unser to pull, so the ball rolled all the way to the wall, giving Boone time to score from first.
Pete Rose, who is not a pull hitter, then bounced a ground ball to the right side, moving Unser – the tying run – to third. With the infield in, McBride beat a chopper off the dirt that bounced over second baseman Frank White's head and into right field for a single.
The important thing about McBride's hit isn't that it got through, but that it bounced high enough to give Unser an opportunity to score. Schmidt stroked his double to the opposite field, moved to third on the play at the plate, and scored the insurance run when Keith Moreland lined another single through a drawn-in infield.
AND SO, the latest in a series of Phillie comebacks was, as much manufactured as inspired. To many Philadelphia fans, the way the Phillies wiped out deficits of 4-0 and 4-2 to win the first two games may seem part of a sweet dream.
But the fact is, the Phillies and Royals are doing nothing more than playing baseball. The Phillies just happen to be playing it better now.
Royals return home in ‘shock’
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
KANSAS CITY – The, Kansas City Royals returned home yesterday in a self-described state of shock.
They had breezed into the World Series on a jet stream of three straight victories over the New York Yankees in the American League playoffs. That vindicating sweep had come after the Royals had destroyed the competition in the AL's West Division, where they coasted for more than two months while waiting for their arch-enemies to clinch the East.
PERHAPS, THEN, the Royals thought themselves invincible when the World Series began Tuesday in Philadelphia. If so, that armor has been pierced by two straight Phillies wins that have Kansas City on the brink of elimination.
"We're definitely down a little," said John Wathan, the Royals part-time catcher, part-time right fielder. "We were hoping for a split in Philadelphia. We didn't get it. Now it would be nice to hear our home fans cheering for us instead of 65,000 screaming for the other team."
The Royals took yesterday off, partly because it rained in the morning, partly because manager Jim Frey thought it would do his players some good.
"I woke up for the first time this morning at eight o'clock and looked out the window and it looked to me like the world was going to end," Frey said. "I said to myself, 'If the ballplayers feel as bad as I do, then a day off will do more good than 25 swings in the batting cage.'"
TO SAY THE Royals never expected to be down, 2-0, in games to the Phillies is to say the Royals "kind of" wanted to beat the Yankees, their nemesis in the playoffs three straight years.
"Obviously," said Wathan, "we were sky high to beat the Yankees. But we want rings on our fingers. If we don't win the Series, something will be missing from the season.
“We definitely felt we should’ve won at least one of the games in Philadelphia. But I keep looking back at Pittsburgh (last year) and how they came back and won against the excellent Baltimore pitchers."
Tonight the Royals face Dick Ruthven, a 17-game winner during the regular season and the man who closed the pennant door on the Astros last Sunday.
BUT RUTHVEN is not relying on the Phillies' scouting report. He picked up his own book on the Royals' hitters from former Phillie and now St. Louis Cardinal Jim Kaat.
The 41-year old Kaat is one of the cleverest pitchers in baseball and has spent most of his career in the American League, including the early part of this season with the Yankees.
And Ruthven is going to need all the help Kaat can provide. "I don't know very much at all about the Royals," Ruthven said. "Until two days ago I thought Rich Gale was left handed."
Well, Gale isn't a lefty, he's right-handed and tonight he'll face the Phillies. It will be the first action in 11 days for the Royals' starter.
"IF HE (Gale) keeps us in the game for five or six innings, I'll be happy," said Frey.
Added Wathan, "The stats spoke highly of the Phillies. We definitely didn't take them for granted. But we never dreamed we'd lose both games in Philadelphia."
While the Royals were sorting out the past, the Phillies were guarding against the future.
"Two wins don't mean anything," said Larry Bowa. "We need two more. This is the first time we've won the National League pennant and we know what we want."
Phillies have own ailments
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Dick Ruthven's name can be added to the list which includes Greg Luzinski. Garry Maddox, Bob Boone and Kansas City's George Brett.
While the Phillies' ailments haven't made headlines like Brett's, the National League champions have their share of aches and pains, too.
Ruthven who is scheduled to start tonight's third game of the World Series for the Phillies has a sore throat to go along with Luzinski's flu, Boone's bruised foot and Maddox' bruised knee.
Of the maladies, Luzinski's is the most serious. The Bull spent most of yesterday in Philadelphia with a 101-dcgree temperature and it seems he probably will be too weak to play tonight.
Maddox bruised his knee by fouling a pitch off of it in the second inning of Wednesday's game. Precautionary x-rays were negative and Maddox is expected to be in his customary position in center field tonight.
"It's a little sore but I'll be able to play," Maddox said.
Ruthven has been complaining of a sore throat, but he will be able to take the mound tonight against the Royals.
Boone has been playing with a severly bruised left foot, the injury suffered in the final game of the National League playoffs.
"I gave (trainer Don) Seger permission to make a decision about Bull," Phillies ' Manager Dallas Green said yesterday. "But it would be fair to say that Keith (Moreland) would probably play."
But Green said there is still a good possibility that Del Uhser will start at designated hitter in place of Luzinski.
The Bull was left behind when the Phillies made their trip here yesterday morning but he flew in from Philadelphia late yesterday afternoon and said he "felt much better."
Brett underwent a 20-minute surgical procedure yesterday to relieve some of the pain caused by a hemorrhoid problem that forced him to leave Wednesday's game.
Dr. John Heyer, a proctologist with a sense of humor, lanced the hemorrhoid at St. Luke's Hospital, where Brett remained yesterday.
"It was," said Heyer, "simply a blood clot on the external portion of the hemorrhoid. It was a simple operation to take away some of the pressure and, hopefully, some of the pain."
"If he was an accountant in a regular job, he could go back to work tomorrow."
Someone asked 'Heyer how his name is pronounced. "HER-EY-ER," the doctor replied. "Like the hurrier I go, the behinder I get."
Things just not going right for Royals
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – The Kansas City Royals were not only unhappy coming home without a victory to show for their first two games in the World Series, they didn’t like the travel arrangements.
In a copyright story in today’s editions of the Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, Royals players said the charter flight home from Philadelphia, which arrived in Kansas City around 3 a.m. yesterday, was overbooked because of front office people, Royal Lancers (volunteer season ticket salesmen) and media representatives.
The players said every one of the 140 seats available on the TWA charter 707 jet flight was filled.
Player representative Pete LaCock said Major League Player Association rules provide that players not seated in first class will be assigned three seats for two players, allowing a vacant seat between players.
LaCock said the team would probably meet today to file an official grievance.
Second baseman Frank White, Most Valuable Player in the playoffs against the New York Yankees, said, "This is ridiculous. If you're a first-class organization, you either charter two planes like the Phillies or a 747 so there would be room. But they treat us like second class citizens.
"You can't be comfortable," White told the Capital-Journal. "It should be your wife, an empty seat, and you. We're sitting by people we don't even know;"
Catcher and utility man John Wathan was quoted as saying, "We always travel first class during the season and now, in the World Series, we don't."
The newspaper said two players, who asked that their name not be used, complained that catcher Darrell Porter had his fiance along and the charter was supposed to be limited to wives only.
Bill Beck, traveling secretary for the Royals, said flights during the regular season normally provide for 42 people, but on the flight home from Philadelphia there were 138 and the ailing George Brett was provided with additional space for his comfort.
Cold, light rain forecast for game
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Cool weather and a chance of light rain was forecast for Game 3 of the World Series last night.
The National Weather Service said the game between the Phillies and Kansas City Royals would begin under partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the 50s. The forecast said the temperature was expected to drop into the 40s during the game.