Kansas City Times - October 18, 1980
Third game is charm for Royals
Aikens drives Wilson home for 4-3 victory
By Mike Fish, A Member of the Sports Staff
Willie Aikens was the heavy man in Game 1, hitting himself into World Series history with a pair of home runs.
But in the final outcome it meant little.
With an easy swing of the bat in Game 3, Aikens' lined a 10th inning single that brought the Royals back into the World Series. The Royals prevailed, 4-3, before a Royals Stadium crowd of 42,380.
Aikens snapped the Royals back to life. A loss Friday night and they would have been fighting history. No team has ever won the World Series after being down 3-0.
It was Aikens, relief ace Dan Quisenberry and the hometown throng that got the Royals back into the Series. With a Royals victory this afternoon, Series, which began with a pair of come-from-behind Phiily victories would be all even. The Phillies won the first game 7-6 on Tuesday despite Aikens’ two homers, and they won the second game 6-4.
Aikens orchestrated his game-winning heroics at the expense of reliever Tug McGraw. The Royals first baseman lined McGraw's 2-ball, 1-strike, pitch into the left-center field gap and past the outstretched glove of center fielder Garry Maddox, scoring Willie Wilson from second.
Wilson jogged triumphanUy home after rounding third, his right arm raised into the late night sky.
When the ball got up in the air, I knew he (Maddox) didn't have a chance of catching it," Aikens said. "The bail was kinda in the gap, plus Maddox plays a short centerfield.”
Aikens stepped to the plate after George Brett, with two out and Wilson on second, was intentionally walked. After swinging wildly at McGraw's 1-ball, no-strike delivery, Aikens took a pitch and then lined his opposite field single.
The inning opened when U.L. Washington hit a single past shortstop Larry Bowa. But after Wilson walked on four pitches, Washington was thrown out attempting to steal third with Frank White bunting.
And when White later struck out, Phillies Manager Dallas Green played the percentages and had Brett walked.
"There was no way they were going to pitch to George," Aikens said. “I knew I was going to have a chance to hit. If White bunted them (Washington and Wilson) over they were gonna walk George.
“I just prepared myself to hit. If they walked George, I was going to concentrate enough to get a base hit."
But Aikens singled, and the Royals were within a game of the Phillies. And Aikens, who blasted a pair of home run on his 26th birthday last Tuesday night, was the man of the hour.
Before Game 3 was over, the Royals came face to face with defeat in both the ninth and 10th innings. Relief ace Dan Quisenberry miraculously worked himself out of both jams.
White snagged Mike Schmidt's liner in the 10th, doubling Bob Boone off second to end the threat. In the ninth, Quisenberry retired Manny Trillo and Bowa with a pair of runners on base.
"We have to be realistic," Quisenberry said. "We still have another game before we tie it up.
"I think there was tremendous excitement out there. We were down two games, plus the way we’d gotten beat. We were back home and playing before our crowd."
For most of the night, Game 3 had ail the makings of a repeat of the previous nights. The Royals would grab the lead, hold it for an inning or two and then the Phillies would come rolling back.
Royals starter Rich Gale and reliever Renie Martin did cough up the lead, but the Phillies flubbed several other scoring opportunities.
Brett provided the initial cushion by driving Phillies' starting pitcher Dick Ruthven's 1-ball, 1 strike pitch into the right-field seats. It was Brett’s seventh homer in 20 career post-season games.
But it was not Gale's night from the start. He got out of trouble in the first i inning by getting Bake McBride and Keith Moreland to fly out with two men on base, but he couldn't escape in the second.
With the bases loaded and one out in the second, Gale looked like a lost puppy when Lonnie Smith grounded back sharply to the mound. Gale fielded the ball, looking every which way but home before throwing Smith out at first. But while Gale considered his options Trillo scored from third to tie the game.
The Royals grabbed another one-run lead in the fourth on Aikens' first major-league triple and an RBI single by Hal McRae. Aikens' sinking liner eluded a diving Smith and rolled into the left-field corner.
Before the next Philly was retired, however, the lead was gone.
Schmidt led off the fifth inning with a blast into the bullpen in left. It was the first post-season homer for Schmidt, the '80 major-league home run king with 48.
The Royals snapped the 2-2 tie in the seventh on Amos Otis’ one-out home run over the right-field fence. It was the second round-tripper of the Series for Otis, who hit a 2-run homer in Game 1.
Philadelphia first baseman Pete Rose, hitless in his previous 10 times at bat, broke the tie in the eighth by looping a run-scoring single to right field, tying the score 3-3. Philadelphia's Bowa had beat out an infield single and stole second. Lonnie Smith drew a walk from Royals reliever Renie Martin before Rose tied the score.
The National League champions wound up stranding 15 runners.
“We left 15 men on base, and if we had gotten a couple of big hits, there would have been no contest," Green said.
Instead, 20-game winner Dennis Leonard faces Larry Christenson this afternoon with a chance to tie the series at 2-2.
Royals defeat Phils 4-3 on Aikens’ single in 10th
By Author, A Member of the Sports Staff
Through nine innings Friday night, it appeared as if the Royals would suffer the same fate that afflicted them in Games 1 and 2 of this World Series.
But in the 10th, Willie Aikens changed all that.
His single to left-center with two outs off reliever Tug McGraw scored Willie Wilson from second base as the Royals defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 in Game 3.
Reliever Dan Quisenberry, the loser in Game 2, entered the game in the eighth inning and picked up the victory.
The Royals' drive to their first Series win was set up when U.L. Washington singled to open the 10th and moved to second when McGraw walked Wilson. But on a missed bunt by Frank White, Washington was thrown out at third by Phils’ catcher Bob Boone. White then struck out.
That brought up George Brett, who was intentionally walked after Wilson stole second. With runners on first and second, Aikens came through with the winning hit.
Philadelphia first baseman Pete Rose, hitless in his previous 10 times at bat, looped a run-scoring single to right field in the eighth inning to tie the score 3-3 and send the game into (extra) innings.
With one out in the eighth, Philadelphia's Larry Bowa beat out an infield single and stole second. Lonnie Smith drew a walk from Royals' reliever Renie Martin before Rose looped a soft single to tie the game. Quisenberry was summoned from the bullpen and got Mike Schmidt to fly out to end the inning.
The Royals had snapped a 2-2 tie in the seventh on a one-out home run by Amos Otis.
The Royals took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when, with two outs, Brett homered off Philadelphia starter Dick Ruthven. But the Phillies tied the game when Manny Trillo scored from third on Lonnie Smith's infield out off Royals starter Rich Gale with the bases loaded.
In the fourth, Aikens tripled and scored on McRae's single. The Phillies again tied it on Schmidt's homered in the fifth.
Phillies falter, but feel little frustration
By Gib Twyman, A Member of the Sports Staff
The Royals pulled the plug on Tug. A hole appeared in the Phillies’ Bottomless Bag of Big Plays. And for once it was Philadelphia, not Kansas City, that ran out of rallies.
Kansas City cut its deficit to 2-1 in the 77th World Series with a 4-3 victory Friday night at Royals Stadium. To do it, they had to beat Tug McGraw, the Phils' ace reliever who had 20 saves in the regular season. He had saved one game in the National League Championship Series against Houston and the Phils' first victory in the World Series Tuesday night in Philadelphia.
But Willie Aikens hit a 2-1 fastball up the left-center alley, and Willie Wilson scored the decisive run with two out in the 10th inning.
McGraw spent 45 minutes in the training room icing his left arm and mulling the outcome. When he emerged, he said, "The only fact that is hard to swallow is that I feel like I made a mistake on the pitch to Aikens. I didn't get it where I wanted it. I wanted to get it up and in. I got it down and over the plate.
"If I do what I wanted to do, we're still out there playing.”
Two other big plays, from the Phillies' side of things, went against them before the game-winning hit.
U.L. Washington led off the 10th for Kansas City with a line smash right at shortstop Larry Bowa. The ball hand cuffed Bowa, short-hopping him. He spun away from the ball and took a back-handed swipe at it as it sizzled into left field.
"I had no chance on the ball,” said Bowa, shaking his head. "He hit the heck out of it. Boonie (catcher Bob Boone) said he just crushed it. I could see it, but I couldn’t do anything about it. I was just trying to backhand it, get in a position to catch it. It skipped, came on a short hop. There was no way I could make a play.”
Wilson walked. But Washington nearly ran the Royals out of the inning when he was caught too far down the line as Frank White attempted a sacrifice bunt. White struck out.
But then Wilson challenged the Phillies and won with a steal of second. Boone called for his second pitchout against Willie, but Wilson went anyway. He beat the tag when Boone's throw came to Bowa on one hop.
"A good throw gets him," said Bowa. "But you have to hurry it with a guy who has the speed of Wilson.”
Boone said he didn’t feel rushed. In fact, he had Wilson right where he wanted him — in his sights. He just misfired. "I did everything I wanted to, to set that play up,” said Boone. "I was very comfortable about it, I came up throwing with my normal rhythm. I did everything right but throw the ball. Unfortunately for us, I threw it away. Five feet low. I just did not make the throw I had to."
The play came with a 2-1 count on George Brett. After that, Philadelphia intentionally walked him. "They’re both good hitters. What are you gonna do?" said Bowa. "No rip against Aikens, but you’ve gotta put Brett on. You can't let a .390 hitter beat you. Even if the next guy is hitting the heck out of you."
When Aikens did hit the ball, center fielder Garry Maddox said he could quickly see It might be beyond his grasp. "When a ball is hit that well and hit by a left-hander, it tails away from you. There are just some balls you can't reach."
Maddox plays perhaps the shallowest center field in the majors, but he said that was no factor in not reaching the ball. "Shallow had nothing to do with it" he said. "Depth was no problem. Placement was."
The biggest problem for Maddox is that Aikens now has them in a quandary as to where to play him. "He hits two home runs over the right-field fence," said Maddox. "Then he gets his triple tonight down the left-field line. But we're still playing him in right-center, and he gets the hit that beats us up the alley in left-center. He sprays the ball all over. I don't know what we should do against him now.”
One thing the Phils were agreed on. The game did not shake their confidence, even if they failed to come from behind to win for the first time in six playoff games.
"Heck, I'm not down," said Pete Rose. "We didn’t say we were gonna sweep nobody. Ain’t nobody that is easy to sweep. Shoot, they got a good ballclub. All this means is that it's gonna be more fun."
The Phillies tied a Series record by stranding 15 men, but Mike Schmidt said it was not a frustrating game. "Frustrating? Heck no. There is not an ounce of frustration in this clubhouse right now. Except maybe for Dick Ruthven (starting pitcher who gave up three runs in nine innings). I don't have time to be frustrated anyway. I can't wait to get back out here tomorrow morning and play 'em again."
Aikens grabbed at second chance
Strikeout in eighth haunted hero
By Mike DeArmond, A Member of the Sports Staff
In the relatively short time it took him to cover the relatively short distance between the on-deck circle and the batter's box, Willie Aikens walked a thousand miles in his mind.
Fleetingly, but only fleetingly, he thought hack to a day in the middle of June when Royals manager Jim Frey pinch-hit for him.
“A left-hander was pitching, I think Sparky Lyle, and he (Frey) called me back and sent (Hal) McRae up. I was disappointed and upset."
Aikens’ mind raced further back, to the opening series of the season, when Detroit manager Sparky Anderson walked McRae to get to Aikens, and Aikens beat the Tigers with a hit.
"Sparky said he'd walk Hal McRae a thousand times to pitch to me. That's exactly what he said," Aikens said.
But finally, as Aikens reached the plate he had to look no farther back than the eighth inning when, with George Brett on second and two outs, Aikens looked at a third strike.
“I said to myself, ‘You had a chance to win it one time. Don’t let this second chance get by you.'"
And Aikens, of course, didn’t. The Royals' mammoth first baseman reached out to slice a Tug McGraw fastball into the outfield gap in left-center field in the 10th inning Friday night, driving home Willie Wilson for the Royals’ 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Afterward, there were questions as to why, with two down and George Brett coming to the plate, Wilson stole second. Didn’t Wilson know the Phils would walk Brett with first base open?
"Sure, I knew that. Jim Frey knew that. George knew that."
But Wilson wasn't concerned.
"Willie Aikens is hot. And when Willie is hot, you could throw it off the roof and he'd hit it."
Brett said he wasn’t concerned, either.
"I would have had to hit a double or a triple to score him, and Willie (Aik ens) has been hitting the heck out of the ball."
Frey said much the same thing and McRae was talking about how “you can't put the load on one or two guys."
Aikens wanted the load on only one man, himself. He wanted it so bad, in fact, that after taking ball one, he took one mighty swing — trying to drive the ball over the fence — and got nothing but air.
"Sometimes I have a tendency to overswing," Aikens said. “I did just that. I told myself after that to calm down and see where the ball is pitched.”
McGraw wound up, Aikens swung and, as center fielder Garry Maddox raced to his right, the ball began to race inevitably further and further away.
"I saw the ball headed for the gap and I knew Maddox was playing a short center field. As soon as I saw the ball get up in the air, I knew he didn't have a chance at the ball."
Back in the fourth inning, Aikens had hit his first major league triple on a ball that skipped past outfielder Lonnie Smith to the left-field wall.
Postpone obituaries – for now
The Morning Line by Mike McKenzie
Obituaries for the Royals already were being written. Newspapers were on ready alert with a variety of tombstone headlines.
Maybe that would become the nickname of the '80 Royals: Tombstone Heads.
Every time they rose up in the first three games of the World Series they — aided by a band of no-quit Phillies — kept banging themselves back into the grave.
Friday night they didn't blow a lead like the first two games. They blew three leads! Then after Dan Quisenberry sifted through seven outs and four baserunners, the Royals came up with a way not to blow a fourth lead.
Oh, they tried. But you don't blow it when it comes in the last at-bat.
Fatalists had to be wondering about the Royals' biorhythms as the 10th inning unfolded. The Phillies had lugged ol’ Tug to the mound one more time, amid rumors reliever Tug McGraw had received an arm transplant on the travel day between Philadelphia and Kansas City. He has pitched in every playoff (5) and World Series game (3), saving two of them.
The way the Royals began against him this time, destiny surely was blowing a kiss Kansas City's way for a change. U.L. Washington slapped a hit to left — if it was a hit, and not an error on Schmidt — and Willie Wilson, 0-for-4 on the night and 1-for-13 Series, walked on four pitches he was ready to bunt.
How could this opportunity be messed up? Well, first, Frank White failed to lay down a bunt on two pitches. Second, on White's second miss, Washington was thrown out trying to sneak to third. Third, White struck out.
Now the rally was trimmed to Wilson at first, two out. Still, George Brett, homer and hemorrhoids and all, was up. Would a second double be too much to ask? Nobody will know. Wilson, as instructed, stole second.
That instruction took the bat out of Brett's hands. Phillies manager Dallas Green didn't get to the World Series by numbing of the skull. He had ol' Tug walk Brett.
That put the bat in Willie Aikens' hands. The Phillies had seen his act plenty. Two home runs in the first game. A single in the second. A triple in this game, and a run scored. But also two strikeouts the last two times at bat, and facing a left-hander this time around. Aikens batted .199 against left-handers in the regular season.
This time, Aikens threw an extra large bucket of dirt out of that grave. He took ol' Tug deep to left-center. Ball game. For the first time, the Phillies couldn't take a crack at the Royals’ lead.
There’s only one word for the Royals’ victory. Spell it B-I-G. Several teams have won four games straight in a World Series. But never on the tail end of it. Never after trailing 0-3.
Seven have come from 0-2 to win four of the last five. The Royals have a chance to become the eighth. Before the Friday game, Frey wanted to reassure his squad of that chance. “In my mind, it's no harder to win four out of five than four out of seven," he said. "Just because we lost a couple of tough ones in Philadelphia doesn’t mean we still aren't the best team. We don't have to prove anything to anybody, the country knows we're an outstanding team, so just relax.”
After he spoke those words he paced the dugout the entire evening, wondering which of Philadelphia's 15 stranded baserunners was going to jump up and close the lid tighter. Or if his own men would.
Gale was miffed that NBC-TV commentator Joe Garagiola criticized the pitcher for showing the first run. “He played enough ball he should know better," said Gale. “I'm not a good fielding pitcher, and we always practice that if you don't field a ball cleanly get a sure out. If a run in the second inning beats you, you're in trouble anyway.”
Frey observed, "I think It's a case of a young pitcher getting flustered, but I preached all year to get outs, so I was thrilled he got one instead of everybody safe."
White said he should have gotten wood on both attempted bunt strikes, at least fouling one off. "I’m sure U.L. couldn't believe I missed, and I couldn't believe my whole night on of-feme (0-for-5, three strikeouts). There's a tendency there to make too fine a bunt."
Washington said he thought with the infield pulled in, he could make third, and would try it again under the same circumstances. "A better slide to the outside and I would have been safe, because he nicked my shoulder on the tag,” Washington said. “We said before the game we had to take more chances, be aggressive to beat these guys.”
And finally, as time appeared to be dwindling on the Royals again, what was going through the minds of Brett and Frey when they conspired in getting Aikens in a position to win it?
"The way Willie's been swinging, it was good strategy," said Brett.
Wilson explained he was just following orders. “I had the go sign If I could get a jump. I wasn’t trying to set up ling I'm not that smart. Anyone want to buy me a hit?"
Frey said the percentages to weigh were an extra base hit from Brett, who already had a home run and a double, against a single by Aikens or an error.
"I'm not saying the Phillies are lucky," said Brett. “But the Royals should have won at least one of those first two games. I'd rather be in their shoes right now, but I'm happy where we are, too."
Where they are is in a position to tie it rather then end it. A medicine dance was sorely needed, and Aikens rattled the bones.
But for at least one more day, hold the tombstone.
Vukovich gives Phillies big lift without playing
By Gib Twyman, A Member of the Sports Staff
He hasn’t scored a run in the World Series. Hasn't got a hit. Hasn’t caught a ball. But he is one of the most vital players for the Philadelphia Phillies.
He’s John Vukovich.
A 32-year-old infielder, Vukovich is a well-traveled man about professional baseball. He has made 23 stops in 15 years since he was signed as the Phils’ No 1 choice in the 1966 free-agent draft.
He has played bits and pieces of nine reasons in the major leagues for Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Cincinnati. He has a lifetime average of .161 to show for it. He didn’t play an inning in Philadelphia’s victory over Houston in the National League Championship Series.
But John Vukovich is an important part ol the Phils.
He is their bugle. He sounds the Phillies' charge in the dugout. He is the ignition switch that has helped the Phils find internal combustion.
He is the biggest cheerleader on the Philadelphia bench, an intense and fiery competitor. And he is one of the biggest reasons the Phillies have changed from "The Team That Would Hardly Utter a Peep" into "The Team That Would Not Die."
Vukovich downplays his role as a man who has helped infuse a new spirit into the Phils. "It's been something you see from all the guys on the bench, guys like (Lonnie) Smith, (Keith) Moreland, (Greg) Gross— all the rest," he said, trying to turn attention away from himself.
To downplay his role he pokes fun at himself. “When you’ve played as little as I have (49 games 62 at-bats this year) you ought to have a lot of energy left for yelling,” he said.
But Dallas Green, the Phillies manager, isn’t joking about Vukovich. With feeling in his voice, he said "John Vukovich is one guy on this team I wouldn't trade for all the money in the world. He is one of the most important men on the Phillies. He is part of the heart and guts, the spirit and determination we have found as a team.
"He doesn't have a great deal of talent. He is a great defensive ballplayer. But be can’t hit. And he can’t run. He’d probably stand right here and fight me if I said that to his face.
"But there are other things as important as how a guy hits. He’s not afraid to scream and yell. He’s not afraid to tell the big guys to get up off their rear ends and fight.
“A lot of extra players are content to sit back and let the big guys run the game. John's not that way. Whether he's playing or not playing, he’s in every pitch. His intensity has an effect on other people. And that is why John Vukovich is on this team."
Dallas Green understands such a player. Green hurt his arm in a game playing for Buffalo in the International League in 1959. The arm never really did come around, but he scratched out eight more years in professional baseball, before ending with a 20-22 lifetime big league record.
And the other Phillies players understand John Vukovich, too. “John’s the kind of guy that picks us up all the time on the bench,” said catcher Bob Boone. "It's not anything so much that he does. No gimmicks or anything. It's just that he’s so intense about the game. And other players sense how badly he wants to win."
Vukovich minimizes his contribution. "The thing that arouses this team is talent, not me," he said. "As little as I’ve played, as little as I've contributed in black and white, I just feel I have to do something — anything I can — to try to help the ball club in some way.”
Vukovich does it the way he always has. And then he spoke of his reason for doing it that way.
“My dad," he said gently. "My attitude all reverts back to my dad. He ran a beer distributorship and taught school and coached football, basketball and baseball. Then he came home and did his bookwork after dinner. He can't see out of one eye — he’d have to sit there and use a magnifying glass to work on the books. He worked 16 hours a day, every day since I can remember.
"But I’ve never heard him gripe or complain about anything. He's 70 years old. He lives in Sutter Creek, Calif. And he’s the picture of health, except for his eye.
"He has been my inspiration. I’ve had a lot of back roads and dead ends in my career. But nobody held a gun to my head and told me I had to stay in professional baseball. And now we’re in the Series, it’s the epitome of my career, the thrill of a lifetime.”
Aikens picks self, not Pete at first base
Willie Aikens actually said it. Yes, you heard correctly.
"I think I'm a better hitter than (Pete) Rose is too," Aikens said Friday night after driving in the winning run in Kansas City’s 4-3 10th-inning victory over Rose and the Philadelphia Phillies.
The way it came up was, Aikens was listening to Sparky Anderson doing a position-by-position comparison of the World Series opponents before Friday's game.
First base: Rose or Aikens?
"He said that he would have to give the advantage to Rose,” Aikens said. "I know that he’s a great player and that he 's going to the Hail of Fame.
"But in my mind, I would have to give the advantage to myself.
“I can hit the singles. I can hit the doubles. I can hit the home runs and drive the runs in, too."
On the basis of the first three games of the World Series, Aikens has some statistics to back up his contention of superiority.
Aikens has five hits in 12 at-bats for a .417 batting average. He's hit two home runs and a triple, driven in five runs scored three more and of course picked up the game-winning run batted in Friday night.
Rose is 1-for-11 for a .091 batting average with one RBI one run scored.
… The Phillie Phanatic made the trip to Kansas City, but the Royals refused permission for the Phillie 's mascot to appear in costume. Dave Raymond, son of the University of Delaware football coach, who is the Phanatic said They told me they have been looking for their own mascot, but they haven't been able to find someone with the right talent for the role yet. They said they 'd been getting quite a bit of pressure to get a mascot. But they said they didn't want the fans to get on their back to get one and this (his appearance) might make them do that."
Raymond was very disappointed, but he said, “I respect what they said, because they’re one of the few clubs who've felt it is that complex. They didn't just go out and get a guy and bang him into a uniform, They said they wanted to get it right when they did it."
Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Steve Carlton is a man of his word. Since 1973, he has refused to talk to sports writers He keeps his mouth shut. He would rather pitch and leave the clubhouse banter to his teammates.
So it came as no surprise Friday that Carlton reportedly has turned down an offer of $25,000 for an exclusive interview by ABC’s Barbara Walters…
Jim Frey on why his Royals haven't stolen more bases against the Phillies: "If somebody says a club is a running team, it doesn’t mean you run indiscriminately. You run against people you can run on."
Royals' assistant player rep Pele LaCock said he has not filed a grievance against the club with Marvln Miller, executive director of the Major League Players Association. Many of the Royals voiced displeasure over the crowded conditions on the team plane tliat brought them back from Philadelphia early Thursday.
The players contract with club owners provides for first-class travel accommodations.
The Series brings out the best in a new Hal McRae
Ill feelings fly as hits mount
Commentary By Mike McKenzie, A Member of the Sports Staff
It is World Series time and the Royals’ Hal McRae is singing a lark's song. This is the time or year he gets fat off opposing pitchers. From his days with the Cincinnati Reds to Friday night’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies, he has 15 hits in 31 World Series at-bats (6-for-11 against the Phils).
Actually, the "new" McRae surfaced several weeks ago, when he zipped his lips and uncluttered his mind. Until late summer his tune had been, "Trade me.”
He isn’t saying what removed that from his repertoire, but he is back on the hit parade on cheerier notes. In July and August, and the last week of the season, he attacked American League pitching with the authority that has made him the model of consistency for a designated hitter.
Maybe his agent learned something new. Maybe the bluebird of happiness landed on his windowsill and blabbed. Whatever, McRae isn’t telling. He has learned the Royals want him, need him. Maybe even love him (if he would stay quiet about his contract). He’s even talking about playing some outfield again next year.
"I’ve stopped talking about it and thinking about it," McRae said of his discontent, which surfaced during spring training when conversations centered on the scheduled players' strike. One of McRae’s favorite subjects is “jack.” What is most important to him and his family, he is fond of saying, is that "the eagle flies on Fridays (paydays).”
So, how long is he shelving the subject — until the Series has ended? "Forever," said McRae. His deadpan look invites a what’s-the-catch response.
"I just want to express myself on the diamonds,” he said. "When it’s over, I'll leave it all here, go home to work out. No other choice. I have no control over what will happen. Besides, I've been misunderstood."
It's hard to misunderstand “Trade me,” unless it is spoken with a mouthful of hushpuppies. No, there was no doubt two months ago McRae wanted to be as gone as the last wind. All he'll say about the shift to contentment is, "It was affecting me — all year — and I'm happier now that I'm not talking about it."
The day before the Series began in Philadelphia, though, McRae discussed with a small group of writers the half dozen or so players who conceivably might not be back in a Royals' uniform next spring. Because of their experience and contract options, he named Darrell Porter, Pete LaCock, Marty Pattin, Ken Brett, Jose Cardenal, and, yes, Hal McRae.
But, for the moment, he is leaving the Series unsoiled. He is a popular interview subject because of his typical veteran’s insights plus his wit and infectious laughter.
An interesting angle to McRae's career might have come from the 1972 World Series, Reds vs A's. In the seventh game, before the As won it, McRae had hit a pitch by Catfish Hunter. Center fielder Angel Mangual chased it to within a couple of feet from the wall and caught it. The bases were loaded.
During the following off-season, the Reds traded him to the Royals. Had that fly out been a grand slam, McRae would have been the Series hero. Would he have stayed with the Reds?
No. Sparky Anderson, here to help broadcast the Series on radio, was the manager of the Reds. "Everybody knew he could hit, but there was no way Hal was going to play there and we needed pitching so badly (They got pitcher Roger Nelson and outfielder Richie Scheinblum for McRae.)”
McRae says he did not want to remain a Red. Also, he did not want to become a DH. And recently, he did not want to remain a Royal. But McRae has squeezed the “unwanted” feelings, out of his system. He was a .321 hitter after the All-Star break, good for a run production of 102 (45 scored 57 batted in).
"It's a matter of survival," he said. “I was destroying myself and everything I worked for — a chance to work and make a good living.”
Hurdle gives the scoop to his hometown paper
By Mike Fish, A Member of the Sports Staff
The World Series scribe is convinced the Royals are trying too hard. And like many of his cohorts, he feels that George Brett's hemorrhoids are the story of the ‘80 Series.
Clint Hurdle is leading a double life. During Games 1 and 3 of the series Hurdle was the Royals’ rightfielder. But after the pressures of the game, he turns into a modern-day Clark Kent.
Hurdle began his journalistic career just in time for Game 1 Tuesday night. Since then, his column "Hey mom, I'm at the Series” has appeared daily in The Orlando Sentinel-Star.
So far, Hurdle, 23, has been full of witty comments and wild off-the-field observations. The hometown readers (Hurdle actually grew up in Merritt Island, Fla., about 40 miles from Orlando) aren’t being blitzed with Xs and Os or the details of strategic maneuvers.
Hurdle has been upbeat from Day 1.
"I’m glad The Sentinel-Star is going to use me every day and not just against right-handed printers," said Hurdle, the Royals’ part-time right-fielder, in his Game 1 column.
In the eyes of Hurdle, the cub reporter, he and his Royal teammates should have won Games 1 and 2. With comfortable leads in both games, they played not to lose rather than to blow out the Phillies.
"I've tried to be objective,” Hurdle said. “For me, it seems like we’re trying too hard. The idea should be to play like we did during the season.
"If we got ahead of somebody during the season we’d just bury them. We should have buried them both nights."
Hurdle has avoided stirring up controversy — so far. There’s no chatter about What the Royals did or didn’t do In Philadelphia after Game 1. No gossip about the victory celebrations in New York.
But the first-time World Series performer has re-created some of the clubhouse conversations George Brett and his ailment have found their way into a couple of columns.
"This whole scene is like P.T. Barnum. It's a circus. It was in Philly and now it's moved here. ABC, NBC, everybody is looking for the perfect story. Why did this happen? Who’s fault was that?"
Hurdle now has a better perspective of the entire ordeal — writer vs. player. The press, about 600 for this year's Series, have questions that need to be answered. For the player, it seems like the same question 600 times over.
"It's tough on the player,” Hurdle said. "It’s so much pressure. You struggle to keep your mind on the game.
"I can’t let it get in my way. You want to be a nice guy, but this isn’t the time. I’m scuffling to get into the game and everybody wants my time.”
Hurdle said that his second job hasn’t been a series distraction. He was 1-for-3 in Game 1 against rookie Bob Walk, sat out Wednesday night ’s game against left-hander Steve Carlton and started in right field, going 2-for-4, in Game 3 Friday night.
“He's been surprisingly good with it,” said Sentinel-Star sports editor Larry Guest. “We stay away from the game itself. He talks into a little tape recorder, then I sit down at night and put it into story form.”
"I saw some of the stuff today and it looked pretty good,” Hurdle said. Friday night. "This is all new to me so I don’t know what I'm doing. I'm trying to stay away from all the heavy theories."
Leonard and Christenson scheduled Game 4 starters
By Joe McGuff, A Member of the Sports Staff
Dennis Leonard, a playoff star and a World Series loser in the opening game, will start for the Royals today in the first afternoon game of the World Series. Game time is 12:45 p.m.
Leonard will be opposed by Larry Christenson of the Phillies, a righthander who was on the disabled list twice and had a 5-1 regular-season record.
Leonard pitched the second game of the American League Championship Series and held the Yankees to two runs in eight innings as the Royals scored a 3-3 victory. Christenson started the third game of the National League Championship Series and held the Astros scoreless for six innings before being removed. The Phillies lost 1-0 In 11 innings.
Leonard blamed his problems in the opening game of the World Series on the lack of an effective breaking pitch. He believes that having faced the Phillies and learning about their hitters first-hand will be helpful.
“You get a better idea about hitters once you face them than you do working off a scouting report," Leonard said. "There are some hitters I probably will pitch a little different than I did the first time. I don't intend to give (Bake) McBride the same fastball.
McBride hit a 3-run homer in the third inning.
"I didn't have a good slider and not much of a curve," Leonard said. "Our scouting report said they were first ball and fastball hitters. I kept getting behind on them. I should have realized when 1 couldn't get my breaking pitch over that I had to go more with my fastball and challenge them.
"I only threw 70 pitches so I'll be strong coming back."
Manager Jim Frey said Leonard should be more effective having faced the Phillies once.
"I think he'll have more confidence,” Frey said. "He'll have a better feeling for what he can do."
The Phillies hope to get six or seven strong innings out of Christenson.
"He's a hardball guy." Manager Dallas Green said. "When his stuff is right, he throws as hard as anyone on our staff. He has a good breaking ball."
KC fans keep tense vigil
There was tension in the crowd and a chill in the air at Royals Stadium on Friday night, but both dissolved into the warm rush of the Kansas City Royals' first World Series victory, a 4-3, 10-inning cliffhanger over the Philadelphia Phillies.
By cutting the Phillies’ margin to two games to one, the Royals stayed off the critical list — and gave their fans yet another good excuse for a no-hoids-barred party.
In a small-scale replay of the parties that followed the pennant-clinch ing victory over the New York Yankees a week ago, fans throughout the city exploded in celebration.
No sooner did Willie Aikens line his single to score Willie Wilson for the winning run than the stands at the stadium erupted in a frenzy rivaling that which followed last week’s play off clincher against the Yanks.
Blue caps were hurled like Frisbees, and stiff muscled rooters did tipsy jigs behind the left-field bleachers.
“They’re gonna go four straight — one, two, three, four," shouted Lance Dockel.
Others were more conservative in their reactions, but still optimistic.
“It's a tough one," said Roger Sallee of Lee's Summit. “I think its going to take seven games You've got to be realistic.”
Fans at the stadium ware joined in the jubilation by revelers throughout the city. As Wilson stepped on home plate, bars and gathering places in the Wesport area exploded.
At Kelly’s Westport Inn, beer thrown from dozens of glasses flew through the air.
The revelers, who had all but passed up a Westport vendor selling Royals hats and pennants early in the evening, stood several deep to buy pennants after the game.
"That hit made my night," the vendor said.
At Blayney's, the manager passed out free champagne as a band played “Goin' to Kansas City; Kansas City here I come."
At midnight, the police began to block off roads into the Westport area and indicated that streets were blocked in the Country Club Plaza area because of heavy traffic. Officers said that, at one point, traffic was backed up four to five blocks behind roadblocks set up in a four-square-block area surrounding Westport Square.
The victory celebration soon spread at the Plaza, too. At Putsch's Sidewalk Café, Paul Botnen sat in the cool midnight air, sipping a martini and watching exuberant Royal fans drive back and forth on 47th Street.
A companion, Mike Neese, said, "We’re reaffirming the Royals' victory and having a good time doing it."
Police dispatchers said there had been numerous reports of gunshots and fireworks throughout the city during the evening.
A jubilant crowd of almost 400 people in the lobby of Crown Center Hotel chanted "KC" as the game ended.
Some sipped drinks as they followed the game on a large screen, but most of the crowd gathered just to watch, cheering as George Brett came to bat in the eighth inning.
An energetic woman slipped off her shoes and tried to lead the crowd in chants. She wore a blue Royals T-shirt over her striped sweater dress.
The crowd chanted, "A.O., A.O." for Amos Otis in the ninth inning and greeted the 10th inning with a measured cadence of clapping and foot stomping.
As the game drew to a close, an older man, a hotel employee, swept papers into a dustpan and glanced once at the game.
"They're a final-inning ball club,” he said.
It took a handful of late-inning heroics to set worried minds to rest.
Throughout the early portion of the game, the crowd seemed to be waiting for a safe moment to exhale. The fans’ anxiety wasn't eased by the performance of Kansas City starter Rich Gale, who allowed seven hits and three walks before leaving the game in the fifth in favor of Renie Martin. The chill air of this October night appeared ill-suited to the often sore-shouldered Gale.
"This guy's been in trouble ever since he came in from the bullpen," said one acid-tongued fan behind home plate. "They were hitting him in the pregame warm-up/"
But the good news was the performance of George Brett, who came back from hemorrhoidal surgery Thursday to sock a first-inning home run and make his standard hustling plays at third base.
Royals fans know all too well how much they depend on this man, and their relief at his successful operation was spelled out in a poster: "Rose is red, Dallas is blue, George is back, the proctologist came through.”
For all their nervousness, the fans lacked the hard, desperate edge they bore in last week's playoffs against the New York Yankees. When that three-game sweep became history last Friday, it was as if the Royals could never be losers again, no matter how this Series turned out.
And many fans felt sure it would turn out well.
“Yeah, I think they’re definitely going to win it," declared 8-year-old Mickey Duckworth of Lee’s Summit.
How could he be so certain?
"Just brains, I guess," he replied.
Everything seems a bit larger than life in a World Series. At Royals Stadium, the aisles were more crowded than Interstate 70 during rush hour. In contrast, the still green field was sharply defined in the crystalline air, a fitting stage for the drama about to be played.
It’s a time that tests the mettle and enthusiasm of the fan as well as the player.
"I paid $10 to sit on this rail," said Vicki Sallee of Lee's Summit, as she perched above the standing-room-only customers behind the right-field bleachers. “I love this rail!”
But in the first few innings much of the crowd was difficult to rouse.
"They're quiet," said the Royals' mascot duck. “I just got to get them fired up. This town ain't dead, right?''
The duck 's job became easier in the bottom of the fourth, when Willie Aikens stroked his first major league triple and Hal McRae singled him home, handing the Royals a 2-1 lead. The tumult in the stands became deafening as Amos Otis stepped to the plate with one out.
But the fans quieted again after the inning ended without further incident and Phillies' slugger Mike Schmidt opened the fifth with a home run to tie the game.
Before the national anthem was sung, it was hard to tell which team was up two games and which was down. As they clustered around the batting cage, the Philadelphia players seemed characteristically tight. Most looked grim and silent, and shortstop Larry Bowa scowled constantly, as if in private pain.
By contrast, the Royals were their loose and grinning down-home selves.
This story was written by Jeffrey R Coplon, Liz Reardon and David Hayes, with assistance by John Carroll, Mark Fraser and Ron Ostroff. All are members of the Kansas City Times staff.
Campaign continues at stadium
But for a night, political rivals are on same team
By James C. Fitzpatrick, A Member of the Staff
For a few hours Friday night the Missouri governor’s race was waged in a baseball park.
Tongues planted firmly in cheeks, Gov. Joseph P. Teasdale and his Republican opponent, former Gov. Christopher S. Bond, squared off at Royals Stadium. The two were among scores of politicians attending the Phillies-Royals World Series game won by the Royals 4-3 in 10 innings.
"This is the first night I've had off in I don't know when," said Teasdale, who was sitting down the third-base line with his wife Theresa. "It's nice to have a date with my wife again."
Told that Bond was sitting in seats on the first-base side, Teasdale said, "I'll meet him in the dugout, and we’ll debate."
Politics was the last thing on Bond 's mind when George Brett hit a first-inning home run into the right-field seats. Bond and his wife, Carolyn, rose and cheered heartily with the rest of the crowd.
"You couldn't write a better script than George coming back and hitting one out the first time up," Bond said.
Told of Teasdale s offer of a dugout debate, Bond replied, "He probably wouldn’t show up."
Like the other politicians at the stadium, Teasdale and Bond were there to be seen, as well as to see the game. Among other political figures on hand were Kansas City Mayor Richard Berkley; Sen. John C Danforth of Missouri; former Missouri Sen. Stuart Symington, and Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum of Kansas.
For Missouri Sen. Thomas F Eagleton and Kansas Sen. Bob Dole, politics took priority over baseball. Eagleton and Dole are running for re-election this year, and they kept dates on the campaign trail rather than attend the game.
Symington, 79, who retired in 1976 after 34 years in the Senate, was a guest in the suite of Ewing Kauffman, Royals owner. Before the game, Symington, who helped bring major-league baseball back to Kansas City after the A's moved to Oakland in 1968, said: "I think we’re going to win them all… But the biggest thing was knocking those Yankees off. Bang, bang, bang!"
In the Kansas City Southern Industries suite, U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton, a Democrat from Lexington, Mo., made no attempt to conceal his excitement.
“I'm just tickled to death," he said of the Royals' presence in the series. "I think this is super. This has to be the greatest thing Kansas City has had."
Sharing his enthusiasm was U.S. Rep E. Thomas Coleman, a Republican who represents Missouri's 6th Congressional District.
"This is something I've waiting for for 36 years," he said. "Here we are at the World Series. Who would have thunk it?"
In plaza-level teats behind home plate, Danforth kept score in his program. When Brett smacked his home run, Danforth jumped to hit feet, put his pencil behind hit ear and smiled broadly.
"I must admit this is the first lime I’ve ever rooted for an American league team in my 44 years," said Danforth, a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Down the right-field line, George W. Lehr entertained an array of people in the Traders National Bank suite. Lehr, bank chairman and former Missouri auditor, wore a 1980 World Series T-shirt under his suit coat.
TV isn’t like being there
By Steve Nicely, Broadcast Critic
The television version of Kansas City’s first World Series game was a fake reproduction of the genuine article. Ask any of the fans who were lucky enough to pass up the comfort of their living rooms for the hard chairs at Royals Stadium on Friday night.
They’ll say it doesn't make a bit of difference if you can see it better on TV or witness 16 slow-motion replays of a piece of the action. It matters not if you can hear the announcers explain what's happening or if you can see a close-up of the players faces as they chew and spit their tobacco.
There is no substitute for being in the stadium with your nearsighted eyeballs that cannot replay or zoom in on anything. Very few people would trade the violence done to their ears in that crowd for the relatively calm verbal expressions of the announcers.
The fans know it instinctively, which is somewhat of a surprise to me. That's why Royals Stadium could have been sold out many times beyond its capacity at many times the stated price of admission, even though the crowd could have seen and heard it better at home on television, for nothing.
They know those video images really aren’t the players they see. It's an electronic reproduction in "living" color, but it's fake. It really isn't the crack of the bat that they hear. It's some wolfers and tweeters in their TV sets doing a remarkable job of matching the actual sound.
Watching nearly half of Kansas City's first World Series game in Royals Stadium and the other half on television was supposed to yield profound insights about the mysteries of modem video technology and the nation’s religious devotion to the annual autumn sports ritual. It did, but it was nothing any good baseball fan couldn't have expressed if asked.
No one had to tell 13-year-old Steve Devine the difference. He’s a Little Leaguer who lives with his mother and stepfather in Mountain View, Mo., but he made sure he was visiting his father Robert Devine of Raytown, this weekend. His dad gave him $15 and dropped him off at the stadium with the advice to call him if he couldn't get a ticket.
Steve took up residence outside the gates with others who were offering hundreds of dollars for tickets. He held up one small finger and called anxiously, "One ! One ! One !”
A short while later. the youngster was making his way to a seat four rows from the top behind third base.
"I was about ready to go home," Steve said. "Then some guy sold me one for $15. That was after 1 saw another guy pay $500 for three.
"The man told me, 'Just remember this when you get older. I hope you do this for some kid.’"
Why did Steve want to go to the game when he could see it a lot better on TV?
"I don’t know,” Steve said. "It's the World Series. You get about one chance in a lifetime to see a World Series game.”
There were those with standing-room tickets who also brought their small portable TV sets and propped them on trash containers behind the ground-level seats. They weren’t listening to the sound; that would have been impossible.
Randy Towner of Overland Park said he had brought his portable to watch the replays and to catch action obstructed by concrete pillars and layers of people. Gary Buford and Lulu Mulloy offered the same reasons.
They would rather stand with only a partial view of the real action and catch the rest on their 4-inch screens than watch in comfort at home. Their reasons: "To be here," said Buford. "It’s the first one," said Miss Mulloy. “A World Series is a World Series.”
The difference between a TV picture at home and the view Steve Devine had is the difference between looking at a snapshot of the autumn leaves and seeing them shimmer in the crisp afternoon sunlight. It doesn’t make any difference if the players appear to be the size of ants from the height of Steve's seat.
You can't see the bugs flying in the lights at home. You can't see and smell the tobacco smoke drifting up like the steam from a temperature-inverted lake. You can’t feel the sound waves of more than 40,000 screaming voices pass through your body.
Television is a fake, that’s all, but a very valuable one for the 70 million or so Americans who were unable to beg, borrow or steal a ticket of their own.
Don and Judy Holmes could have seen it better from their home near San Francisco. The are Chicago natives lived in the Kansas City area for four years and became Royals fans in the process. They paid premium prices for their air fares to be here, even though they had no guarantee of a game ticket when they left.
Bob and Beverly Lawson of Prairie Village expressed the dominant rationale.
"We’re here because we want be at a World Series game," Lawson said. “You can see one on TV any time. It's just one of those things you want to do during your lifetime. When you die, you want to say you've been.”
World Series is dream come true for special fans
Long-time fan loses sight, makes it ‘look’ good by sound
By Liz Reardon, A Member of the Staff
When Alison DeGenero was growing up in western Pennsylvania, he discovered baseball and girls about the same time. At age 69, he says the two pursuits have much in common.
"Both," he said with a laugh, “are most unpredictable."
But this time of year baseball takes the upper hand for the retired salesman and manufacturer. When the World Series rolls around "DeGe" — as he is called In baseball circles — packs a bag and heads to cities that have a team in the Series.
He's done it every year since the St. Louis-Boston series of 1946, and he says he's in Kansas City this weekend for his 36th consecutive season.
The Vero Beach, Fla., resident arrived here Thursday night to follow the fate of the Royals and the Philadelphia Phillies as they clash this weekend. He didn't have a ticket but he did have a network of contacts built up from 40 years as a salesman and baseball fan. Those contacts brought DeGenero his reward: a seat in the stadium for the third Series game Friday night.
DeGenero, who can see only patches of light because of a hereditary eye disease, settled back in his Alameda Plaza hotel room Friday morning to talk about the game he first played with a stick and a ball made out of string on a farm outside Pittsburgh.
"In 1946 I got on a train from Cleveland, and I went down to St. Louis (for the Series), not knowing whether I'd get a ticket."
DeGenero said he was standing in line when staff members from one of the teams gave him a ticket because they were lmpressed with his dedication as a fan.
It’s been pretty much the same story ever since. He said he’s made a lot of friends in baseball and in the 40 years he spent traveling "in all 50 states" selling an eyeglass cleaner. Those friends help him find tickets when World Series time rolls around.
"I’m not worried about getting a ticket," he said. "I've sown a lot of seeds in doing for my fellows, and sooner or later they bear fruit.”
DeGenero, who sometimes attends every game in a Series, said that in the past 34 years there have been only three years when he made it to only one game.
Highlights of those three decades Include stumbling upon Jackie Robinson’s cap during the Joyous melee after the 1955 Series at Yankee Stadium, DeGenero said.
"When I tried to return it (the cap) to him," DeGenero said, "he told me to keep it and to go on enjoying the World Series."
DeGenero said he donated the cap, along with a letter from Robinson verifying that the cap had belonged to him, to the Baseball Hall of Fame several years ago.
Another highlight was the 1972 Series, DeGenero said, when he spent two hours in the Oakland A's locker room drinking champagne toasts for victory.
"I haven't drank since," he said.
DeGenero, who retired to Florida in 1969, said he has had to make adjustments at baseball games the last four years as his sight deteriorated.
"Now, I have to see it through my hearing," he said. "I hear the game, and then I conclude for myself what it looked like. I make it look pretty good."
DeGenero doesn't leave his love for the game at the ballpark.
The driveway of his home is shaped like a baseball diamond and has a grass infield area, he said. The driveway is regulation Little League size, he said, measuring 60 feet from base to base.
DeGenero would not make any predictions about the outcome of this Series. "I’m a baseball fan," he said. "I’m happy for either one (team)."
World Series is dream come true for special fans
Handicapped fans show devotion and true-blue spirit of Royals
By Paul Vitello A Member of the Staff
In the kingdom of baseball fans, the physically handicapped at Royals Stadium must be counted among the mighty nobility.
Conversations In the wheelchair section Friday night revealed a high order of devotion to the Royals that drew strength from literary allusions, baseball history and a complete familiarity with the details of the game.
It also revealed the fundamental, meat-and-potatoes joy of fanaticism — the thrill of being present at a historic event.
"I can’t believe I'm here. I just can't quite believe it yet," said George Masters, a 33-year-old paraplegic from Paola, Kan. "I've been following the Kansas City team since they were the old Philadelphia Athletics. And now…"
“This is one of the greatest events of my life," said Eugene Spalding, a 63-year-old former railroad switchman and semi-professional ballplayer who has been a double amputee for 20 years. "You live for something like this to come along."
But for Masters, the game of baseball goes beyond the pure joy of the moment. It shimmers with significance.
"It's our own equivalent of Elizabethan drama. Anybody who saw the playoffs between the Royals and the Yankees knows there's a lot more to this game than box scores. There's conflict. There are kings and princes. There are devious actions. All the world is right there on the field for you to enjoy. I just love it."
Most of the 30 to 35 handicapped fans at Game 3 of the World Series on Friday night got their tickets like everyone else, by submitting their names to the Royals' post-season ticket lottery. Some had more clout than that.
"Dennis Leonard Is a good friend of mine," said Bill McCormack, 80, of Kansas City. "My son met him and they became friends. And now whenever I want to go to a game, I Just call Dennis.”
Like most of the physically handicapped fans interviewed, McCormick went to the ballpark many times.
"A lot of these people are real loyal serious ball fans," said Charlie Huffman, the first aid supervisor who also is in charge of ushering the handicapped. "They are real regulars, they come to 20 to 40 games a season."
"For us,” said McCormick, "this series is the culmination of the history of baseball in Kansas City. When we beat the Yankees, we didn’t just beat the Yankees, we got revenge for ail those years when the Yankee organization used to plunder the old Yankee farm team that was based here in Kansas City, the Kansas City Blues. We remembered those things."
The hottest ticket in the country
Scalpers try for what the traffic will bear
By Robert Pearman and Ed Lopez, Members of the Staff
Early in the week, ticket scalpers feasted on prices as high as $350 for World Series tickets, but by game time Friday a few of them had to eat their wares.
One scalper, who looked much like a businessman in his brown suit gray hair and wlre-rlmmed glasses appeared nervous as game time approached.
He scanned the crowd hurriedly. One woman to whom he offered standing-room tickets for $75 each simply told him, "Oh, no, we won't pay that much."
Rejected, and with the first pitch not far away, he gave up and entered Gate A.
Another scalper, visibly eager to enter the stadium disposed of two tickets for $30 each aa he heard "The Star-Spangled Banner " in the background.
Though the competition increased Friday night, there were still people willing to pay scalpers' prices. A group of baseball fans from Mexico paid $80 each for tickets to get them past the turnstile.
One of them brushed aside any suggestion that the price was too high. "We came a long way," he said in rapid-fire Spanish. "And tomorrow night the price will be $300 a ticket.”
The distressing news from Philadelphia Tuesday and Wednesday had little effect on the demand for Series tickets for most of the week. Only the "if needed" game on Sunday was unpopular as the Royals dropped to 0 and 2. For the games Friday and Saturday, the demand was steady and the market firm. And prices… well prices were subject to interpretation by those in the market.
Larry Goss, manager of Murray's Ticket and Travel Agency in Los Angeles, said late Friday that his firm was out of tickets for the Friday night and Saturday games.
"We haven't found Kansas City giving up hope yet," Goss said. "We are practically out of business." He said that as the week progressed, Murray's ticket prices had climbed from about $75 per ticket to "around $100 per ticket with maybe $125 for some good box seats.
Actually, Goss said, World Series ticket prices here are far under the $280 per ticket his firm was getting In Los Angeles two years ago.
But the free market In Kansu City was still pretty volatile.
Mrs. Janet McFadden of Overland Park ran an ad in the personals column of The Kansas City Times seeking tickets for visitors from out of town. In six days she got 100 calls.
"They wanted from $50 to $350 per ticket," she said. "I could just laugh in the face of some fool who would pay $350 for a ticket."
There were calls from people who had playoff tickets and tried to sell them for Series tickets, perhaps not knowing the difference.
Mrs. McFadden said that prices leaped on Wednesday after an article appeared in The Kansas City Star quoting unofficial ticket prices at up to $250 each for box seats.
By Thursday afternoon, the combination of two Royals losses and the imminence of the game had stabilized prices. The McFaddens found tickets for seats behind the thlrd-base dugout for a price somewhere between $50 and $100 per seat.
Jack Comfort of Blue Springs ran an ad and found his tickets on Thursday But on Friday he fielded 40 more calls and found the climate different.
“Early in the week, I noticed that people had a fixed price — $150, take it or leave it — but Friday they were asking me what I thought they were worth. You can hear it in their voice. They were willing to bargain.”
Another ticket seeker who advertised said he saw prices drop during the week from $250 to $150 to as low as $50. "It is getting late. They want to unload," said the buyer, who asked not to be identified.
But others thought that tickets for the Friday and Saturday games had actually gone up in price as they became more and more scarce.
But if scalpers’ sales dropped off, there were still people looking for tickets Friday night. Fans making their way into Royals Stadium were asked for spares by people standing along the sidewalks.
Capt. Robert Livingston of the Kansas City Police Department said that his undercover officers had arrested four persons for ticket scalping before game time. Livingston said that he had about 15 officers in plain clothes watching for persons trying to sell tickets for more than their face value.
One couple believed they had made a good deal by buying two $15 tickets at face value, but they soon found out that the bottom stubs had been torn off, making the tickets worthless.
People who gathered around them sympathized with their plight. One man took the two tickets and wrote on the back, "Okay." He then initialed the tickets. “Tell the ticket-taker that you went out to turn your headlights off and he'll let you in."
The couple headed toward Gate B to take their chances. The ploy didn't work.
Series means national publicity without a major league price
By John A. Dvorak, A Member of the Staff
The World Series provides priceless nationwide attention for Kansas City, without a huge price tag for taxpayers.
Local government officials said Friday that aside from several thousand dollars spent by the Police Department and the Convention and Visitors Bureau, they know of no major expenditures of public money attributed to the Royals-Phillies clash.
Even Mayor Richard L. Berkley’s visit to Philadelphia to represent the city government at the first two World Series games cost taxpayers nothing, because Berkley paid for the trip. No one else from City Hall went.
Major league baseball made no specific financial demands on local government, a sharp contrast to what occurred when Kansas City was trying to attract the Republican National Convention. In 1976, the city set aside $500,000 to cover convention expenses, and the police received a $2 million federal grant for security.
Chief Norman Caron said that this year, the department has paid out several thousand dollars in overtime salaries for security around Royals Stadium.
More than 50 officers will work outside the stadium, compared to 20 to 25 on a normal game day. But the Royals oversee security inside the stadium, and the Phillies are in charge of security arrangements at their hotel.
Caron did assign an officer to travel with Mayor Wiliam Green of Philadelphia, who is visiting for the weekend.
The Convention and Visitor Bureau is spending about $500 to place 1,000 welcoming posters in store windows and about $1,700 to print a small daily newspaper of city and series news for distribution to major hotels serving baseball guests.
Many of the expenses and parties for visiting dignitaries have been financed by private sources. The Mayor's Corps of Progress picked up the tab for a luncheon for Phillies’ wives on Friday, and the mayor expects a private donor to pay for special corsages given to Royals wives before the game Friday night.
Should Berkley lose his bet with Green over the outcome of the World Series, the Kansas City steaks owed to Philadelphia win also come from private sources.
A Royals Appreciation Day parade, scheduled for the day after the last game, will rely mostly on donated items, according to Mary Edith Liillis, recreation superintendent for the Parks and Recreation Department.
And the last chore of the 1980 season — cleaning up after the parade — will fall to the City Public Works Department, which expects no overtime costs, because the affair will be held in the daytime.
Celebrating begins early
By Kim Marcum, A Member of the Staff
They didn’t lie when they said Kansas City’s first home World Series game would be a big deal.
Kansas City and its guests are celebrating the Series with a string of parties that started early and continued long into the night.
The bodhran (drum) boomed, the flute whistled. And the only traditional Celtic group in town, Talisman, burst into song. Behind them, through an expansive glass window, was a scene of raw bustling metropolitan Kansas City. The fountains played on Crown Center Square and street workmen tied up traffic with noisy jackhammers.
A picture window. Just the right picture for Sandy Berkley, wife of Mayor Richard Berkley, to show wives of Philadelphia Phillies’ players and coaches.
Another party started out as "a small group of about eight people," said John Latshaw, executive vice president of EF Hutton & Co. here and grew to a cast of thousands, well, at least hundreds. The Latshaw guest list sounded like a “Who’s Who" of Kansas City businessmen and politicians, with a visiting mayor and movie producer thrown in for variety.
As fans from both sides dug out the party hats, Muriel and Ewing Kauffman, owners of the Kansas City Royals, continued their moratorium on socializing, a moratorium which began with the American League playoffs =.
"It s going to be low key… again" Mrs.. Kauffman said before the game Friday.
Mrs.. Berkley hosted the buffet luncheon at the American Restaurant that also was attended by Pat Green, wife of Philadelphia Mayor William Green; and Stephanie Carpenter, wife of Ruly Carpenter, Philadelphia Phillies owner. The event was similar to one she held for the New York Yankee wives in town for the American League playoffs.
Talisman strummed as the wives ate, and models wearing the latest fashions strolled by.
The Phillies’ wives were impressed by Kansas City, they said.
"I didn’t know anything about Kansas City until I saw a show Phil Donahue did from here a year or so ago," said Carmella Maron, wife of the Phillies’ team physician. ‘‘I had no idea it was so built up…”
“…and clean,” added Phyllis McGraw, wife of Phillie pitcher Tug McGraw. This wasn’t Mrs. McGraw’s first close look at the city. A former stewardess for Trans World Airlines, she trained here 14 years ago.
“My kids ask for T-shirts from Kansas City with cattle and horses across the front," Mrs. Maron said. “That’s not what it’s like at all."
At 2 p.m., 15 Phillies’ wives headed out to the ballpark for a confrontation — with 15 Royals' wives. The object was a tug-of-war game, which will be broadcast Thursday evening on NBC's "Games People Play." Wearing jeans and their husbands' jerseys, the Phillies' wives dragged their Royals opponents across the finish line.
John Latshaw 's party included many prominent persons: perennial host and hostess Mayor Richard Berkley and wife Sandy, visiting Mayor William Green of Philadelphia and wife Pat; Henry W Bloch, president of H&R Block, Inc.; former Kansas City Mayor Ilus “Ike" Davis, president of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce; James H. Hale, president and publisher of The Kansas City Star Co.; Michael J. Davies, editor of The Kansas City Star and The Kansas City Times; William N. Deramus III, chairman of Kansas City Southern Industries, Inc.; Donald J. Hall, president of Hallmark Cards, Inc.; Paul H. Henson, chairman of United Telecommunications, Inc.; Carolyn Curry Elbel, sister of Charles Curry, co-chairman of President Jimmy Carter’s Missouri campaign; Robert P. Ingram, owner of KBEA-AM and KXTR-FM radio stations; Dr. Charles N. Kimball, chairman of the board of Midwest Research Institute; Alfred H. Lighten, board chairman of Woolf Brothers; Alfred J. Hoffman, president and director of Jones & Baboon, Inc.; Stephen A. Melcher, an executive vice president of First National Bank; William E. Wall, chairman of the board and president of Kansas Power and Light; Paul Uhlmann, Jr., president of Standard Milling Co.; Nancy Landon Kassebaum, Republican senator from Kansas; and Tom Johnston, movie producer and Parisian restaurateur.
Cocktails and dinner were served at Latshaw’s Mission Hills home in the late afternoon, followed by a ride to the ballpark in a rented Greyhound Bus.
Area country clubs were the site of pre-game parties less formal than Latshaw’s. Last night the Kansas City Club set a royal blue table for 400 of its members and their guests.
"We’ve got one great big game party going," club manager C.E. Mills said Friday. Members munched on fried chicken and barbecue ribs — "real game food” — then loaded onto seven city buses for the ride to the ballpark.
The Kansas City Country Club had "nothing special planned," because "with our membership most of them will be at the game," declared an assistant manager. The River Club was equally quiet.
But preparations were under way at the
Carriage Club for a private pregame get-together this morning. William H. Houlehan, president of a local produce brokerage will be host to a group of 72 for coffee – Bloody Marys and a busride to
Sitting in the Kauffmans' suite were former Missouri Senator Stuart Symington and his wife, Nancy. Like their previous playoff parties, the Kauffmans' guest lineup included Mrs. Kauffman’s daughter, Julia Irene LaPointe, her fiancée, Anthony Moore of Ottawa, Canada, and Mrs. Kauffman's brother Fred McBrien of Toronto and his wife, Evelyn, and son, Pat.
Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and his wife, Lusia, who had joined the Kauffmans in their suite during the playoffs, sat in the Kauffmans' lower box with American League President Lee MacPhail and his wife, Jane.
Also on Friday, Mayor Berkley announced a "Royals Appreciation Day," highlighted by a ticker tape parade and rally, will begin at noon on the weekday immediately following the last game of the World Series, regardless of the outcome.
The parade is scheduled to begin at noon in the River Quay area and to proceed downtown to the Liberty Memorial where the rally will be staged.
Jerseys and jackets, cups and caps show fans’ support for the Royals
By Mark Fraser, A Member of the Staff
From baseball caps to key chains, from jerseys to warm-up jackets, virtually everything across the front of Casey's sports store in Independence Center Friday was Royals, Royals, Royals.
And why not? With Kansas City taking part in its first World Series, some followers can’t get enough of the hometown team. It doesn't seem to be absence that makes heart grow fonder of the Royals, but a team bat, bib, or beer mug.
Andy Rosen, manager of Casey's, was ready for any run on Royals items. With well over $20,000 in Royals stock already in the store, he was waiting for a delivery of 144 more team jackets, costing about $40 each.
“Even during the season, when they weren't winning, we were running out of hats left and right,” Rosen said. And despite the Chiefs 1-4 record, he said the football team's hats "just fly out of here."
"Yankees stuff is still selling, believe it or not,” he added.
Other sports stores contacted Friday remarked on a dramatic increase in the sales of Royals-related products. As the Royals try to capture the Series, it seems that everyone wants to be a part of the team.
Rosen went so far as to predict that the World Series will mean more than a tenfold increase in the sale of more than 100 Royals items that the store carries.
And Al Besselink, who was selling a variety of Royals shirts Friday from a stand at the Italian Gardens Restaurant on Baltimore, said:
"Everything has been selling like hotcakes. It looks like this town is ready for a winner."
At Sears in the Metcalf South Shopping Center, Ron Day said: “It’s just not kids, it's adults. That’s what really surprises me." The merchandise manager said he thought the store had more than doubled its sales volume of Royals T-shirts since the Royals had reached the Series.
None of these items however is from a factory in the bowels of Royals Stadium. They are manufactured by companies designated by the the Licensing Corp. of America. Working with the major league teams, the New York firm determines which companies get the rights to team emblems of professional teams. Through various fees, the teams share in the prosperity.
The business is a lifeblood for some companies, such as the AJD Cap Co., in Richmond Va.
“We started out with the colleges, then we got lead-ins to the pros,” Bill Throckmorton, the company’s vice president, said Friday. The firm will manufacture about 500,000 major league caps for sale this year.