Camden Courier-Post - October 19, 1980
Phillies fail at comeback; Series tied
By Bob Kenney, Courier-Post Sports Editor
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Phillies tried their comeback act here yesterday afternoon, but came up short in Game 4 of the 1980 World Series.
Starting pitcher Larry Christenson was ripped apart for four first-inning runs, then Kansas City held on to defeat the Phillies, 5-3, and even the series at two wins apiece.
"We're right back to square one," said Mike Schmidt. "However, it is not a desperate situation by any means.
"I'm not worried about our team. We've had our backs to the wall most of the year and we've come through.
"They're hitting way over their heads," said Schmidt, "and the series is still tied, 2-2. If we can win here Sunday (today), we'll leave in good shape."
Manager Dallas Green has decided to send rookie Marty Bystrom to the mound in today's fifth game here instead of gambling with ace Steve Carlton.
Carlton will be completely rested for the sixth game in Philadelphia Tuesday night, but Green is forfeiting any chance he might have had of bringing Lefty back in a seventh game.
"Marty will be okay," said Bob Boone, who almost pulled the Phillies out with a long seventh-inning drive. "He is as complete a young pitcher to come up here since I've been the catcher."
Bystrom started the final game of the playoffs in Houston and the Phillies rallied to win the pennant. The 21-year-old righthander won five straight regular season games after joining the team on Labor Day.
"It's a best-out-of-three series now," said Bowa, "with one game in Kansas City and two in Philadelphia."
The fans, who intimitated the Royals in the first two games, could turn out to be a key factor.
The fans, who intimitated the Royals in the first two games, could turn out to be a key factor.
“The fans don't know how to be mean here," said Bowa, "They know how to be mean there. They'll let Kansas' City know it Tuesday night."
It was the Kansas City sluggers who were mean in Game 4. The Royals crushed Christenson with a single, two doubles, a triple and a home run in the very first inning.
"I have no alibis," said Christenson, who never did get a second out. “I felt 100 per cent. I just went out and pitched the worst game of the year."
Christenson got into trouble after Willie Wilson opened the game with a bloop single. L.C. then threw wild trying to keep Wilson close and the Kansas City sprinter took third.
Frank White popped out, but George Brett tripled, Willie Mays Aikens hit the first of two home runs, and both Hal McRae and Amos Otis ripped doubles.
"Usually, I keep our guys in it and today I didn't," said Christenson, who left with the score, 4-0. "I just feel badly that the bad game had to come in the World Series."
Aikens homered again off Dickie Noles in the second, but the Philadelphia bullpen held the Royals scoreless the rest of the way.
"Our relievers did the job and we came back like we knew we would," said Larry Bowa. "But we just didn't score enough runs."
They didn't because Brett backed his offensive punch with some solid glove work at third base and because Wilson runs faster than any other big league ball player.
Brett started a tough double play and threw out six other Phillies, including Schmidt, to stop a rally in the sixth. Bake McBride had just doubled with one out and Schmidt sent a smash toward the hole at short.
Somehow, Brett got to the ball, controlled a bad bounce while running hard left, and got enough on the throw to nip Schmidt at first.
Then, in the seventh, Wilson outraced Boone's long drive into left center to rob the Phillie catcher of extra bases.
"I knew I hit it good," said Boone, who connected after a Manny Trillo double and a Bowa single with one out. "The wind was really blowing in and I knew that would be a problem."
The ball stayed up and Wilson got under it at the 410-foot sign in the deepest part of the ballpark.
"I saw him turn his back to home plate and I was hoping it would either hit the wall or be a homer," said Boone, who has been on base eight times as the No. 9 batter. "But the wind held it up and that was that."
Bowa singled in a second inning run and Schmidt drove in another in the eighth with a sacrifice fly, but Dan Quisenberry came in to save it for 20-game winner Dennis Leonard.
Hitters, pitchers struggle to own home plate
By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – In baseball, there is no real estate more valuable and more crucial to the success of a team than the inside part of the plate. Great hitters like Kansas City's George Brett know it. And, so do defiant young pitchers like Dickie Noles of the Phillies.
Up until Noles buzzed Brett yesterday in the fourth inning and sent him sprawling into the dirt in an effort to remove his head from the path of the screaming, sailing monster of a fastball, the Royals' hitters had pretty much made that part of the strike zone their World Series home.
But, too many home runs off considerate Philly pitchers and too many Royals' rallies paid for at the expense-of Philly hurlers nibbling unsuccessfully at the outside part of the plate changed all that. So did this latest 5-3 defeat.
It's one thing to be a Boy Scout and quite another to watch the American League representatives hammer out a 5-0 lead in the first two innings of a game that paved the way for Kansas City's knotting of the Series at two victories apiece.
Noles was never a Boy Scout. He's a dead-end kid from down south, a likeable red-neck with guts to cover all of Dixie like morning dew. But, if anyone thinks he was trying to decapitate a genuine American hero, they'd better think again.
"I don't throw there... up and in... at nobody," said the lanky righthander. "If Ihit anyone in the head, I'd feel like crap. A guy like Brett isn't going to let a pitch like that intimidate him."
Maybe not. But, the thundering K.C. batting order, which has been bellying up to the plate like it was a free lunch at a local bar, managed to get just one bloop single after Noles reclaimed the territory in question.
It was too late by then, the Phillies being unable to overcome the awesome home run swing that Willie Mays Aikens has brought with him to the Series, not to mention the slight loss of heart the Phils may have suffered when some of the outfielders played what Manager Dallas Green aptly described as "disinterested baseball."
This could have been a one-run ballgame – which is played differently and a far better candidate for another miracle finish by the Philly offense – if the fourth Royal run hadn't been aided by the way Hal McRae turned a single into a double in the first inning on a napping Garry Maddox.
But, that's another story. The big deal of the day, thanks to the rather immature behavior of Royals Manager Jim Frey, was Brett biting the dust.
"I've never, in all my playing, seen a manager come out of the dugout and yell at an opposing player... not like that," said Pete Rose, who stepped in front of Frey when the overwrought manager looked as if he was going to go after Noles on the mound.
"I don't know what he (Frey) was doing," said Pete. "I told him, 'hey, what are you yelling at him for? He (Noles) didn't throw at you.'"
Green, who was a pitcher long before he became a manager, had a difficult time hiding his true feelings. He knows it was a message rather than mayhem that Noles had on his mind when he tried to move Brett off the plate.
Brett must have known. He never said a word. And, although be is a man of immeasurable class, he is not above defending his right to the strike zone, a fact that Detroit Tiger pitcher Milt Wilcox will verify.
Wilcox knocked George down on two consecutive pitches during the season. And, when Brett f lied out to centerfield on the next pitch, he ran to first base and then took a detour upside Wilcox' head.
"I don't know if Noles threw at me," Brett said. "But if his next pitch had been in the same place, I would have gone to the mound (to fight)."
Noles would have been happy to oblige. He's not above going to Duke City in order to maintain pitcher's rights. And, unlike the majority of pitchers who have spent the summer watching Aikens arrogantly dig trenches beyond the outer limits of the batter's box and Brett stride into every pitch without a worry in the world, Noles is the kind of guy to do something about it.
Relief pitcher Ron Reed was right when he looked with disdain on the gang of media people surrounding Noles and said angrily, "If they start taking the inside part of the plate away from us, they may as well tell all pitchers to pack their bags and send them home."
Home is where Rose would like to be right now. He's had enough of the local hospitality.
After putting the finishing touches on the beanball flap by waving Frey off the field like he was a fresh kid, Rose found himself the target of K.C. fans who drilled him with a crushed paper cup as he entered the Phillies dugout at the conclusion of the inning.
"It Hit my sunglasses," said Pete. "I don't know what it was."
Someone asked if he didn't bother to look at the culprit.
"After 18 years, you learn not to look up into the stands... not unless you want your eyes put out," said Rose. "It ain't no big deal."
Neither was the sight of a pitcher asserting himself.
"I've got to use both sides of the plate, especially against one of the best hitters in baseball," said Noles. "I was setting him up for my next pitch, which was going to be away.
"As for Frey, I don't know what he was saying. If it was Frank White (Royals' second baseman) up there, I don't think he (Frey) would have aid a damned word."
Hitters like White can park themselves anywhere they choose It's the ones who can kill you with a bat that you've got to keep from camping on your doorstep. Unfortunately, super hitters like Brett can't even stand the word..."
“Intimidation!" shouted George. "Intimidation my ass!"
Which, of course, is also a very touchy subject.
For 48 years, he saw many uniforms
By Bill Roswell For the Courier-Post
MAPLE SHADE – There was nothing Russell Henry could ever do to help the Phillies win a game. But without his help in the clubhouse, the team would have gone down to defeat every time it took the field.
"The most I could do was give my moral support," said the 82-year-old Henry, who retired in 1972 after 48 years as the team's equipment manager.
And despite yesterday's 5-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals in Kansas City, he remains confident the Phils will win the World Series – a job the 1950 "Whiz Kids" never accomplished.
"This Phillies team has more depth and is a lot stronger than the dne in 1950," said Henry, his eyes glued to the television set in his living room as the Royals evened the series at 2-2.
"Once you got past the starting lineup, the Whiz Kids didn't have anything. There weren't enough players to substitute for those who were tired.
"They're going to win it this year," he predicted. "They just have to come back to Philadelphia to do it."
Henry began his job with the Phillies in 1925 after trainer Leo "Red" Miller introduced him to manager Art Fletcher. The team at that time played in Philadelphia's Baker Bowl stadium at Broad and Lehigh streets.
It was Henry's responsibility to take care of the players' uniforms, sweatshirts, shoes, bats and gloves, and to make sure there were enough baseballs on hand for each game.
"We always had enough equipment, but in the early years the team was not wealthy," said the former equipment boss, who was nicknamed "Unk Russell" after a heavyweight boxer of the 1920s.
In those days, players had two uniforms – one white for home games and one gray for road trips – unlike the several issued to today's major league athletes.
"We had to scratch to make ends meet," Henry recalled. "If a player tore his uniform, we used to tape it on the inside to hold it together."
The son of a Luzerne County, Pa., farmer, Henry and his family moved to Philadelphia when he was 15. After his father died a few years later, he was unable to finish high school and took a job at Whitman's Candy Co. to help support the family.
The job offer from the Phillies was perfect for Henry because of his love for baseball. He had played some sandlot ball during his mid-teens but fractured his left ankle at 16 when he slid into third base during a game.
He and his wife, Dorothy, were married in 1935, six months after they were introduced to each other by a mutual friend. Their first home was at 21st and Cambria streets, close enough for Henry to walk to his job at Connie Mack Stadium, which became the Phillies home in 1937.
The Henrys, who have three children, five grandchildren and a great-grandchild, moved to Maple Shade's Woodcrest Avenue in 1964. That's a year painfully remembered by Phillies fans for the team's failure to win the National League Pennant on the last day of the season.
Even though players have come and gone, baseball remains the same basic game as it was in Henry's early years with the Phillies.
"The biggest improvement has been in the gloves," he said. "They're bigger and have cut down on a lot of the hits that used to go through the infield.
"The bats are still the same, and there haven't been any improvements in the baseballs. Years ago they only had one umpire for a game, but now there are four and six in the World Series."
Of all the players he saw, Henry feels Joe DiMaggio was the greatest because of his all-round ability.
"He had a great arm, he was fast on his feet, and he knew what to do with the ball when he got it."
As Pete Rose came up in the sixth inning of yesterday's game, Henry compared the Phils' first baseman to the former Yankees' star outfielder.
"He (Rose) is a good ball player," Henry noted. "He's not a homerun hitter, but he gets a lot of singles. He's an aggressive player like DiMaggio."
The best Phillies pitcher in the former equipment manager's view was Grover Cleveland Alexander, a righthander who was later traded to St. Louis.
"Alexander once had 17 shutouts in one season," said Henry. "He had a good curve and fastball. I think Robin Roberts (the Whiz Kids star hurler) was close to him in style and performance."
He gives Phils' lefthander Steve Carlton the title of best pitcher in the National League today but is uncertain about the best American cheers the World Series competitor from his Maple Shade home. League hurler because, as he said, "I don't see enough of them.”
"I think the players are better coached than in my day. Back then, you only had a manager and one coach. Now there's a coach for almost every position on the field."
The high salaries of today's ball players don't bother Henry, who says they should "try and get as much as they can."
His last outing to a ballgame was five years ago for an Old Timer's match at Veterans Stadium. Since his retirement, Henry manages the carrots, tomatoes, and other vegetables he raises in a backyard garden.
“I still keep active," he said "I'm the kind of person who has to be doing something all the time."
But when the Phillies take on the Royals in this afternoon's fifth game of the World Series, all activity will stop in the Henry household and attention will be given "to the television set.
"They're the best team I've ever seen," the former equipment boss said. "They can win it."
Aikens’ two homers even Series
Royals’ 4-run first inning sends Phils down to defeat
By Bob Kenney, Courier-Post Sports Editor
KANSAS CITY – Willie Mays Aikens took some pressure off teammate George Brett by hitting a pair of tape-measure home runs yesterday and the World Series is all even.
Aikens supplied the big blow as f Kansas City exploded for four first inning runs and went on to defeat the Phillies, 5-3, here in Royals Stadium.
The big first baseman hit a two-run homer in the first inning and added a solo home run in the second, his fourth of the series.
"I'M JUST in a streak," said Aikens. "Everything is going good for me. When that happens, I'm capable of hitting five or six home runs in a week."
Kansas City teed off on Philadelphia starter Larry Christenson, hitting a single, double, triple and home run before the Phillies were able to get a second out in the first inning.
"It was pretty obvious he didn't have it," said Philadelphia Manager Dallas Green. "He had no pop on his fastball."
The Royals supplied the pop. Willie Wilson opened the home first with a single and went all the way to third when Christenson threw away a pickoff try.
AFTER FRA'NK White popped out to short right, Brett ripped an inside pitch down the first base line for a triple.. I "' 'w- - .'
"They must think I'm a pretty good fast ball hitter," said Brett. "I've been getting a lot of breaking balls and I just waited on that one."
Aikiens followed with his first home run, a line drive into the water display far beyond the right-center field wall.
"Everybody' gets some good pitches to hit, in a game," said Philadelphia catcher Bob Boone. "But Aikens is taking advantage of them. Hot hitters do that."
HAL McRAE followed with a double to center and when Amos Otis doubled him home, Green went to his bullpen.
"The game got away from us early" said Green. "It didn't look like we were ready."
Dickie Noles came on and Aikens got him good in the second, sending a curve far into the Kansas City bullpen.
“He threw me three straight curves,” said Aikens. “I was looking for another one.”
AIKENS STOPPED at the plate to watch the ball clear the fence, then gave it his best home run trot.
"It is something I copied from Reggie Jackson," Aikens admitted. “When I hit it good, I like to get some enjovment out oi it.
Aikens became the first player in World Series history to hit two home runs in a game twice in the same series. He also joins a Babe Ruth, Ted Kluszewski and Jackson as the only players to homer in consecutive innings.
"I'm beginning to think maybe we ARE pitching him wrong,” said Green in answer to a question.
NOLES, KEVIN Saucier and Warren Brusstar combined to stop the Royals the rest of the way but the series had its first controversy in the fourth.
Brett was forced to spin away from an 0-2 pitch from Noles and Royal Manager Jim Frey charged out of the dugout.
"I just told the umpire I wanted it stopped right then," said Frey. "I didn't want one of those wars." "The only one upset was Frey," said Green. "I didn't see any knockdown. Brett didn't say a word and he was the one shot at."
"I CANT repeat what I yelled at Noles," said Frey. "And I can't repeat what he yelled at me. But I don't buy that bull about the ball getting away from him."
While the Royals seemed content to relax with the early lead, Philadelphia applied pressure with baserunners in the first eight innings.
"I'm happy with the way we came back," said Green.
The Phillies settled for a second-inning unearned run through the first six innings off starter-winner Dennis Leonard. Larry Bowa singled in the run after a Garry Maddox single and a throwing error by U.L. Washington.
"EVERYTHING STARTED like the first game," said Leonard, who blew a four-run lead in the series opener in Philadelphia. "I knew this was my chance to regain a little respect."
Leonard pitched out of several jams as the Royals tightened up defensively.
"I was getting the breaking ball over," said Leonard, the Royals' 20-game winner this season. "And I had the good fast ball to set it up."
Bake McBride doubled with one out in the sixth but Brett made a fine play on a Mike Schmidt grounder and Leonard struck out Del Unser.
IN THE seventh, Manny Trillo doubled and took third on Bowa's seventh hit of the series. Boone then ripped a slider to deep left-center but Wilson ran it down.
Instead of a double, the Phillies settled for a sacrifice fly. "Without a doubt, that was the key play of the game," said Schmidt. "If it gets through it's a double and we're in a big inning. Wilson's catch took us right out of things.''
Quisenberry pitched out of a stretch in the ninth and set the Phillies down in order to get credit for the save.
"I pitched 90 per cent from the stretch anyway," said Quisenberry. "The windup is not as comfortable, so I figured why bother. I'm gonna end up stretching anyway."
The two teams go at it again today in Game 5. Philadelphia will go with rookie Marty Bystrom. Kansas City will come back with lefty Larry Gura, who started the second game.
McRae gives message to Phillies
Was just as clear as knockdown pitch by Noles
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – There is more than one way to deliver a message. Sometimes it comes with the express-mail suddenness of a knockout pitch. Sometimes it arrives in a less hurried style.
The ball Phillies righthander Dickie Noles used to communicate with George Brett's head wasn't the only message sent during yesterday's fourth game of the World Series.
Another statement, spoken somewhat more softly than Noles', had been made in the first inning by Hal McRae, the Royals' designated hitter and resident malcontent.
WHAT McRAE told the Phillies when he stretched a routine single to center field into a double was that Kansas City had no intention of conceding this World Series to the Phillies, that the Royals who lost the first two games in Philadelphia were only a shadow of the team that took the field yesterday.
Perhaps McRae's message did not have quite the snarl of Noles brushback pitch. But it was received just as clearly.
"It was a calculated gamble," said McRae, who doubled in more traditional fashion in the second. "I watched the guy (Phillies centerfielder Garry Maddox) yesterday (Friday), so I thought I could make it.
"He didn't charge the ball very hard and he made a soft throw into the infield. Plus, they use a double cutoff. If the ball goes to the first cutoff man, there's no way they can get you."
UNTIL McRAE ran on Maddox, the Royals had not been playing very aggressively. Which seemed strange because speed and aggressiveness on the basepaths had become their trademark during their dash through the American League's West Division.
They had relied primarily on the bat of their powerful first baseman Willie Mays Aikens, who slugged two home runs in the first game in Veterans Stadium and drove in the game-winner with a gapper in the 10th inning of Friday night's watershed Royals' win.
Even yesterday, Aikens was awesome. He ripped a two-run homer to right-center in the first off Phillie starter Larry Christenson, then hit another off Dickie Noles in the second.
But it was McRae's doubles more so than Aikens' homers that were the signature of a 5-3 victory that squared the World Series at two games each.
"THAT (THE DOUBLES) is the man's bread and butter right there," said rightfielder Clint Hurdle. "He does it 10, 12 times a year. He had 39 doubles this year and I'll bet a dozen were really singles."
They also happen to be the Royals' everyday fare. They didn't lead the American League in hitting by sitting back and waiting for one of their sluggers to produce, a style familiar to most Phillie fans.
"We played six months to get here and we've just got to play our game," said Manager Jim Frey. " We don't have to do anything different just because this is the World Series."
In truth, the Royals wre considerably shaken when they left Philadelphia after losing the fist two games. They had seen leads of 4-0 and 4-2 evaporate and were wondering what they had to do to win.
"IT SEEMED like we were trying too hard," said Hurdle. "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."
Despite furious digging, the Royals didn't come close to burying the Phillies in the Vet. But that all changed when the scene shifted to spacious Royals Stadium, where the outfield corners play like hockey boards and the gaps are as wide as a Missouri pasture.
"We are," said second baseman Frank White, "about 90 feet better because we know this ballpark."
Agreed Hurdle, "Just coming home helped get the aggressiveness back in our blood. In New York (where the Royals beat the Yankees to complete a three-game playoff sweep Oct. 10), we didn't have many fans.
"THEN WE went to Philadelphia and it was the unknown quantity. It made us a little hesitant."
Which is why Frey called a team meeting before Friday's third game.
"The gist of it was that I felt our players were tight in Philadelphia," said Frey. "The crowd intimidated them. Being in a World Series intimidated them. I told them they have nothing to prove to anybody. They are the best baseball team in America and I wanted them to get out and just enjoy themselves."
Aikens, one of the Royals seemingly unawed by the vocal Philadelphia fans and the sheer import of the Series, nevertheless took Frey's advice to heart.
"JIM FREY told us if we won the baseball game Friday night it would turn everything around," said Aikens. "He told us that if we won, everybody would be talking about the Kansas City Royals again."
After the Royals did, indeed, win Friday's game, the Phillies spent a lot of time laughing at the thought that somehow momentum had shifted. "There is no momentum in a World Series," said Dallas Green flatly.
But it would be pretty difficult to deny that Friday's win restored the Royals' confidence, and that yesterday served as positive reinforcement.
"Old Mo (momentum) is on our side now," said Hurdle. "We didn't see him in the first or second game, but now the shoe is on the other foot. We're cooking. We're hungry. I can't see them turning this around."
And of all the messages delivered and received yesterday, that perhaps was the most important.
Luzinski back in lineup?
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Greg Luzinski is expected to be in the lineup here today when the Philadelphia Phillies take on the Kansas City Royals in Game 5 of the World Series.
Luzinski, Who drove in the winning runs in two of the playoff victories over Houston, has been sidelined with a high temperature since the Series switched to Kansas City. The power hitter did not fly out with the team, but was here in time to play, but Manager Dallas Green used Keith Moreland on Friday and Lonnie Smith yesterday as designated hitters.
With lefthander Larry Gura on the hill for the Royals, Green will use Luzinski as the DH and go with Lonnie Smith in left field.
"I feel a lot better. I was weak for a couple of days, but I should be ready to go," Luzinski told reporters.
Kenney serves as scorer
While the Phillies and Kansas City Royals battle in the World Series, the Courier-Post is directly involved in the action.
Sports Editor Bob Kenney is serving as one of World Series' three official scorers. San Diego Union's Phil Collier and the Independence (Mo.) Examiner's Don Pfannenstiel have joined Kenney, who has directed the Courier-Post sports department since 1972.
Collier has been succeeded by Courier-Post sports columnist Ray W. Kelly as president of the Baseball Writers of America. Kelly was elected Friday.
World Series exciting to fans
By John Nelson, Associated Press
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Every fall, when cynicism over the condition of sport or the world in general begins to eat away at our childhood, along comes baseball's World Series to remind us of the days when a bat and ball meant an afternoon well spent.
The sports enthusiast breathes a deep breath, and the clean air of competition fills his lungs rather than the foul air of player salaries or National Labor Relations Board hearings.
What is this mystique that surrounds the World Series, that captures the imagination of Americans wherever they are? What made a boy from Cheyenne, Wyo., or from Sioux Falls, Iowa, sneak a transistor radio into his sixth-grade class to listen to the World Series instead of listening to his teacher expoud on the virtues of long division?
"I got kicked out of a class one year because I brought in a radio," said Larry Garamillo, who owns a Kansas City service station. "It was a math class, and I didn't like the teacher anyway. He caught me and made me sit out in the hall."
The World Series, naturally enough, has been the center of attention this past week in Kansas City and Philadelphia, the two combatants in the 1980 fall classic. Yet, the National Broadcasting Company, which is televising the World Series, estimated that about 68 million people nationwide, two million more than in 1979, watched the first game of the World Series on TV.
"I really don't understand it at all," said Cheryl Sutcliffe, stepmother of Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Rick Sutcliffe. "I have a son, Bobby, Rick's younger brother, and they announce the playoff and World Series scores in his class.
"They don't announce other major events in his class, things that could effect the entire world, but they announce the baseball scores," said Mrs. Sutcliffe, a staunch baseball fan who is a receptionist-secretary for a Kansas City construction company.
When we were growing up in Seattle, Wash., in the 1950s without a baseball team of our own, our grade school teachers ushered us from class into the auditorium, sat us in front of a television that was mounted on a stepladder and practically ordered us to watch each game of the World Series. It was a bit of Americana, and maybe we learned something more from it than what the commercials for next year's sleek, new automobiles taught us.
Jack Goodman manages a Kansas City auto tire store and a local little league team. He sees today's crop of baseball youngsters.
"I work mostly with the 9 and 10-year-olds, so few of them are aware enough at that age to pick up on major league players," Goodman . said. "But when it comes time to pick numbers, they want 5 or 6, you know, what George Brett's got or Willie Wilson's got.
"These players are hero images to them," Goodman said, "and they get pretty excited about the World Series."
Goodman is one of Kansas City's many baseball fans, but he says he still prefers his Little Leaguers.
"Little Leaguers put out, and you don't have to pay them," he said. "It's a better brand of baseball and more exciting. Oh, I don't mind the players getting paid, but I still like Little League better."
In the Midwest, the heartland of America where college sports have ruled for years, one newspaper headline read: "Midwest Struck By Baseball Fever."
Even football's Super Bowl, which draws the largest single-day television audience of any sports event, can't quite match the World Series for capturing the attention of the public.
"The interest is much more widespread than when the (Kansas City) Chiefs were in the Super Bowl," Ed O'Donnell, operations manager for the Kansas City Royals' radio network, told the Kansas City Times. The Royals' network includes 115 stations, more than any other major league ballclub's network. "I've been around here for 20 years, and this is the most excitement I've seen."
Radio station KIKS in Iola, Kan., told the Times it was forced to bump the Kansas State-Oklahoma football game to televise the fourth game of the World Series.
Phillies started in New England
WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) – While the Phillies aim for their first world championship, the memory of their forerunners who played in Worcester 100 years ago is buried under autumn leaves.
In a sleepy park in this central Massachusetts city, children scamper through piles of leaves near the site where the original Phillies played their first baseball game.
But most people in Worcester have forgotten that the team ever existed.
"There's not that much local pride about the Phillies being in the World Series because nobody realizes they started here," said Ralph Colebrook, 70, who grew up in Worcester.
"The only reason I know of them is because my father used to go to their games and told me about them," he recalled.
The club entered the National League in 1880 as the "Worcesters" and became popularly known as the Brown Stockings during its three-year stay in town. The roster included names like Hick Carpenter, Buttercup Dickerson and Lip Pike.
Reminiscent of the Phillies, the Worcesters had a manager who accused them of being quitters and a left fielder whose fielding was not highly regarded. And, in the best Phillies tradition, the Brown Stockings could be incredibly bad or, occasionally, surprisingly good.
The team was born in Worcester, amid controversy that the city wasn't large enough to support a big league franchise. National League President William Hulbert allowed Worcester to include the suburbs in their population count, giving the city the 75,000 people required for a franchise.
But after the 1882 season, league officials moved the Brown Stockings to Philadelphia because they weren't drawing well, and also to compete with a team started there by the rival American Association.
The Brown Stockings burst onto the big league baseball scene with a flourish. They beat the Troy Trojans (later the New York Giants), 13-1, in their 1880 opener and after one month of the season were in second place, chasing the Chicago White Stockings.
The Worcesters reached the height of their existence on June 12, 1880, when John Lee Richmond, fresh out of Brown University, pitched the first perfect game in major league history. Richmond retired 27 straight batters as Worcester nipped Cleveland, 1-0.
From that point, though, it was all downhill for the Brown Stockings. They slumped to a 40-43 record, fifth in the eight-team league, in 1880 and followed that with last-place finishes, with 50-116 marks, the next two years.
The final season was especially dismal. The team went through three managers. In September, they committed 21 errors in a single game.
The last manager, Tommy Bond, accused the players of giving up. The left fielder, Frank Mountain, was blasted in one newspaper account as an inept fielder who was charged with no errors "because he missed no balls that he touched, but he missed touching a number of which any regular fielder would have easily captured."
Finally, on Sept. 29, 1882, the Brown Stockings bowed out of Worcester with a 10-7 loss to Troy. Only 18 spectators showed up.