Chicago Tribune - October 19, 1980

Royals have fun tying the Series on Aikens’ HRs


By Dave Nightingale, Chicago Tribune Press Service


KANSAS CITY, Mo – The self-styled "best baseball team in America" rediscovered itself Saturday. And, suddenly, the World Series is all even.


The American League champion Kansas City Royals broke fast, getting a charge from two more homers by Willie Aikens. Then they held a lead for the first time in five days and cruised-to a 5-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies behind the pitching of 20-game winner Dennis Leonard and relief ace Dan Quisenberry, tying the Series at 2-2.


More important, the Royals finally had fun doing it – even though Manager Jim Frey failed to see the humor of a head-hunting fastball from Phils' reliever Dickie Noles that sent George Brett spinning into the dirt in the fourth inning.


"Our game is to apply the pressure on offense, to make the other team make the mistakes," said Brett. "And we did that today. Sure, we got some power help. But speed was the key to the four-run first that got us going."


THE CRUSTY, free-wheeling Frey had set the tenor for the fourth game with some clubhouse oratory. The other night, he told his players: "You were tight in the first two games in Philadelphia. You were intimidated by the crowds there and by the World Series atmosphere.


"Look, we don't have to prove anything to anybody. We're the best baseball team in America. I want you guys to have fun. It took us six months to get to the Series, so enjoy it. Don't worry about pressure. Just go out and play 'our' game."


Although the Royals managed to win Friday, Frey's message didn't really filter through until Saturday – and Brett echoed it: "We shouldn't be tight. We should be out there enjoying ourselves. If you lose the Series in four games, you lose it in four. So what? Just have fun."


The local first-inning hysteria began when speedster Willie Wilson made a rare trip to first base with a leadoff hit, his second of the Series in 17 at-bats.


MOMENTS LATER, Wilson was perched on third base courtesy of an errant pickoff throw by losing pitcher Larry Christenson, who failed to survive the first inning.


"That's an example of what we can do with a mistake," said Brett. "It set the tone for the whole game and made everybody relax.


"When you have Willie Wilson at third with nobody out, he's going to score – and I don't care who's pitching. Nobody is going to get the next three guys out... or keep somebody from hitting at least a long fly ball."


Frank White [2-for-18] couldn't get Wilson home, but Brett did, whistling a hit past first, And when Bake McBride made a timorous approach to the ball as it caromed off the walls in the right-field one corner, Brett hemorrhoids and all-kept going and slid in on his side for a triple.


AIKENS WAS next and, two pitches later, a Christenson fastball disappeared into the waterfall beyond the right-field wall, some 425 feet from home plate, for a 3-0 lead.


"Larry's fastball just wasn't exploding today the way it can," said Phils Manager Dallas Green.


Hal McRae, a "Mr. October" before Reggie Jackson was invented, then legged a single to center into a double. "I saw Garry Maddox backing up on the ball because he was worried about it bouncing over his head," said McRae, "so I figured 1 could get two bases."


McRae, who later turned a single into a double against McBride, now has 17 hits in his 35 World Series at-bats, with Cincinnati and the Royals.


Amos Otis, the top hitter in the Series [9-for-17], followed with a line double off the right-field fence to score McRae, and the Royals were off and winging 4-0. But for how long?


THEY LED 4-0 in Game One and lost 7-6. They led 4-2 in Game Two and lost 6-4. They blew 1-0, 2-1 and 3- 2 leads in Game Three before winning in the 10th.


"I was well aware I couldn't hold a four-run lead in the opener... I was mentally drained," said Leonard. "But today was different. We decided we were going to have fun. And I looked at today's game as a chance to get back my respect."


Leonard's chances dipped a notch in the second. U.L. Washington senselessly chucked away, a relay when he didn't have a double-play chance, enabling Manny Trillo to move into scoring position for an RBI single by Larry Bowa.


But Aikens quickly restored the four-run K.C. margin, driving a Noles curveball 425 feet into the right field bullpen. Willie didn't move 10 feet as he paused to watch the ball's flight, a la Reggie Jackson, then broke into a 34-second "Cadillac" around the bases.


"IT'S SOMETHING I did copy from Reggie," admitted Aikens, who also revealed that he had changed his stance near the end of the season to put more weight on his back foot. "When I hit a ball good, and I know It's going out, I get some enjoyment by watching it.


"Ever since I was a kid, I watched Reggie hit those home runs. I decided I wanted to be just like him. That's why, when we play the Yankees, I always go over and talk to Reggie about hitting."


The 26-year-old Aikens is one of only four players in Series history to hit back-to-back home runs. His four homers this week moved him within one of Jackson's Series record, and his eight Series RBI are only four shy of Bobby Richardson's 20-year-old mark.


"I guess we need a new book on the guy," said Dallas Green. "Does somebody have one?"


"I DON'T KNOW about their book," said Aikens, "but I just figure their pitchers don't know me. In a Series, a pitcher tries to throw strikes. I'm a streak hitter. And when I'm streaking, I can hit anything that's a strike."


"The kid's on a roll," said Green. "He's not doing badly right now, but there are a few more games to go."


And they may be emotional games if there is any repetition of the Noles-Brett knockdown incident.


Green, Noles, and catcher Bob Boone gave various versions of the pitch, the consensus being that "it ' was a high and tight 0-and-2 pitch that just got away.


"All that 'just high and tight' stuff is a bunch of bullfeathers. I know a knockdown pitch when I see one," said Frey, who had to be restrained by home plate umpire Don Denkinger from going after Noles.


FREY AND PETE Rose then took up verbal cudgels, and umpires Nick Bremigan and Harry Wendelstedt were forced to become peacemakers.


"I can understand Frey going out," said Bowa, the Phils' fiery shortstop. "After all, that was The Franchise [Brett] lying in the dirt."


"I wasn't trying to get in a fight," said Frey. "I haven't been in a fight since I was 21 and I got the heck beat out of me. I was just yelling a lot."


And having fun, of course. Just like his players.


"Did our guys get mad over the knockdown pitch?" said Brett. "Heck, no. They were all in the dugout, laughing their heads off."

Seeing Brett knocked down gets Frey riled up


By David Israel, Chicago Tribune Press Service


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The World Se-ries came alive with the sound of chin music Saturday afternoon.


It was loud and rousing martial music, heavy on the bass with the timpani rolling, and when it reached its crescendo after the fourth game of this 77th tournament, it drowned out the sweet sounds of Willie Aikens' home runs and a 5-3 victory by the Royals over the Phillies that evened the Series.


What happened was that an obscure soloist named Dickie Noles decided to play a tune on a virtuoso named George Brett.


It was the bottom of the fourth inning, and the Phillies, for whom Noles was pitching in relief, were frustrated by their 5-1 deficit. All afternoon, it seemed, Royals had been digging in and hitting the ball out. By the time there, was one out in the fourth, Kansas City, had eight extra-base hits.


NOW, ON AN 0-2 pitch, Brett, who had tripled in the first against Larry Christenson, was digging in again. Noles sent a fastball whistling under Brett's chin. Brett hit the dirt, followed by the cacophonous noise of cymbals clattering to the floor and instruments flying.


Jim Frey, the Royals manager, charged out of the dugout and accused Noles of all sorts of nasty and unseemly activities, including trying to bean Brett. Frey had to be restrained by umpires and employees as he exchanged witticisms with Noles first and then Pete Rose.


Brett had nonchalantly picked himself up dusted off, and returned to the on-deck circle to get some pine tar. But that did not matter to Frey. He wanted to keep the World Series safe for baseball players. He induced home plate umpire Don Denkinger to advise both dubs that there would be no beanball war.


Later, Frey was sitting in his office, his stocking feet resting on his desk, an open bottle of beer extending an invitation. Frey was relaxed, but he was still irritated. Frey is Earl Weaver's disciple, but not his clone. He infrequently rages or rants the way he did Saturday.


“I WAS PRETTY angry, very angry, probably on a scale of one to 10-10 angry," Frey said. "In my mind, that was intentional. We were swinging the bats well, and the ball almost hit George in the head. I asked the ump to stop it before it got out of hand.


"All that stuff about trying to come in high and tight. I don’t buy that. I've seen guys come in like that before, and they just want to be high and tight, and they hit someone in the ear. I don't want to see that again."


Brett was grateful that his manager had defended him so avidly and nobly, but he really did not want to get involved.


"He threw at me, and he missed," Brett said.


"Why didn't you go after him?" asked someone who remembered that Brett had attacked Detroit's Milt Wilcox after being knocked down during the season.


"I want to play," Brett said. "I didn't want to get thrown out of the game. If he does it again, I'll go out there."


IN THE PHILLIES' clubhouse, no one was particularly penitent. The logic of the uproar escaped their grasp.


"In the National League, that's an ordinary 0-2 pitch," Tug McGraw said. "That's the way you play the old ball game. That's baseball the way Abner Doubleday invented the game. What's the big fuss? In our dugout, everyone thought what Frey did was an over-reaction. Nobody took it seriously."


"I pitched in an era when the brush-back or the knockdown pitch was no big deal,” Phils Manager Dallas Green said. "Now, anyone throws anything three inches inside and everyone goes nuts.


"To be a complete pitcher, you have to use both ends of the plate. If a guy is continually going into the ball, you have to use the inside corner. George continually drives at the ball. When you do, you're going to get some up and in.


"George Brett didn't complain. You know why? Because he has faith in his ability."


MIKE SCHMIDT, the Phillies' big nit-ting third baseman, thought there was another reason.


"You don't ever think about it," Schmidt said. "The first time you think about getting knocked down or hit, you're not going to be a good hitter.


"You have to have no fear of the baseball whatsoever. George Brett doesn't. I don't. If the ball's at your head, you simply duck. I don't go down. I move my head or let it hit me. If a guy throws at me with an 0-2 count, I often turn my back and let it hit me.


"I've been knocked down and thrown at, but I've never had a manager run out and plead for me. It's just a good purpose pitch. You throw a ball near a guy's chin. It's the best pitch in baseball.


"When a guy stands like George does and strides like George does, the pitcher's got to say, 'Woooo’ He ain't putting no quarter in a pitching machine, even though be makes it look like that sometimes. I thought it was a brushback pitch. So, OK, just get out of there, George."


NOLES WAS ASKED if he threw at Brett.


"You mean, did it get away?" Noles said. "Would you throw at someone's head? That's against my religion to hit someone on an 0-2 pitch."


What's your religion?


"Getting people out is my religion," Noles said.


Jim Frey said the Royals would not retaliate, that he does not like that sort of thing. But Frey does not throw the pitches.


Brett said he believes in an eye for an eye, which might mean Schmidt is an endangered species. Besides, the tactic seemed to work. After the knockdown, Noles struck out three straight Royals, and K. C. did not score another run.


ASKED IF THE Royals' pitchers had talked over how they might retaliate, relief ace Dan Quisenberry said: "Well, we feel that with our World Series checks we might invest in nuclear arms."

His underhanded methods pay off


By Bob Verdi, Chicago Tribune Press Service


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Temperatures are rising at the 1980 World Series. The Philadelphia Phillies are starting to shake their heads and throw at George Brett's. Such frustration is understandable, of course. They lost two games within 15 hours.


Moreover, the National League champions are discovering why the Kansas City Royals became American League champions. Namely, he is Dan Quisenberry, a relief pitcher who used underhanded methods to acquire 33 saves during the regular season.


"He's mean," noted Pete Rose. "He comes at you so low that he uses the resin bag as a background."


Quisenberry saved the Royals again Saturday with two innings of one-hit work toward a 5-3 victory. That, plus his triumph in Friday night's match, more than atoned for the way he was tattooed in Game Two in Philadelphia.


"THE AIR WAS hostile that evening," says Quisenberry. "And since then, I have learned something about how to pitch to the Phillies. But I can't share it with you until after this thing is over. And then you'll have to find me.


"I like the simple life. I like to hide. I like neighbors who knock on my door to borrow my lawn mower, not to ask me about my slider."


The simple life was not always for Quisenberry. As a collegian in California, he would take the mound and bow to . Mecca. One day, after surrendering a fateful home run, he entered the shower, turned the water on, and put the nozzle in his mouth. Only teammates saved Dan' Quisenberry from drowning himself inside out.


"I was different then," he says. "For one thing, I hadn't found myself. I was only disguised as a normal pitcher. I wasn't really one. What I was, was a submarine pitcher at heart. In 1975, I finally changed my delivery. And my destiny."


Not immediately, however. Everywhere Quisenberry traveled in the Royals' chain – Waterloo, Jacksonville, Omaha – people would look at his bony physique, freckles, freakish delivery, and suggest a different line of work. Like in a library.


"THEY WEREN'T TOO high on pitchers who looked like Cambodian refugees," he says. "I was skinny, still am. The only reason I look bigger than Kent Tekulve is because my wife bakes real well.”


Kent Tekulve, the emaciated Pittsburgh Pirates' reliever , who looks like a hoot owl, was Quisenberry's real meal ticket to a brilliant season. They met at, of all places, a banquet here last winter. Rather than spoil their metabolic rates by dining, they talked about pitching from down under.


"When Tekulve found out I liked to do it the way he does it, he wouldn't leave me alone," Quisenberry recalls. "He said, 'Us freaks got to stick together.' He helped me. Before, I was a standup, sidearm slinger. He convinced me to really get down, bend, and throw so I'm almost off balance."


When Quisenberry delivers, he looks like a cross between a drunken giraffe and a wayward helicopter. His ball ideally starts out low, reaches the batter about kneecap level, then proceeds to even greater depths. If perchance, the batter hits it, nine times out of 10, the result will be bouncer of medium horsepower.


"THAT'S WHY," says Quisenberry, '"when people ask me my greatest assets, I say, my first baseman, second baseman, shortstop and third baseman.


"Tekulve told me to treat my infielders like brothers. He was right. He's the master, I'm just the puppy. You just hope the batters will try to make the most common error against a pitch like that. Try to lift it. Try to golf it. Try to overpower it."


A power pitcher, Dan Quisenberry is not. Asked whether he considered retaliating Saturday after Philadelphia's Dickie Noles served Brett a skin bracer, Quisenberry replied with a qualified affirmative.


"I'll knock down a batter any time," he said. "As long as they give me a grenade. I got clocked at 80 miles an hour once... but it was in a 55 zone, and I got a ticket for it."


Above his locker is an autographed picture, not of his wife or Farrah, but of Peggy Lee.


"I named my fastball after her," he says. "Batters look at it and say, 'Is that all there is?' She heard about it and sent me her snapshot. Nice, eh?"


WHEN HE WAS young, Quisenberry says, he would become maniacal if things didn't go well. But he has maintained his stability through success and failure in four Series appearances.


"I'm more tired than when this started, and for some reason, more nervous," he says. "But my hat size won't change because of this World Series. Win or lose. It's long way from Waterloo, when I came to the Royals organization as a free agent. They gave me a pack of chewing tobacco, a plane ticket, and on the flight, I spilled coffee all over my pants. Great poise I had.


"I don't think, the Phillies thought we would die after losing the first two games, and I know we don't expect them to die because they lost the last two games. Main thing is, we're going back to Philadelphia. They have great cheesecake there."


Strange World Series. The Phillies have stranded more men than the Gabor sisters. The Royals are thinking about voting a full share to George Brett's proctologist. Willie Mays Aikens hits more home runs than Willie Mays ever did. And Dan Quisenberry, whose wife bakes well, can't wait to go to Philadelphia for dessert. 

Phillies playing by Green’s rules


By David Israel, Chicago Tribune Press Service


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The baseball was several stories up and threatening to return to earth with dispatch. It was lacking the wherewithal to defy gravity. As the ball turned and started to describe the downside of its arcing trip off the end of a coach's fungo bat, it was apparent that it was not going to land between the foul lines, where the Philadelphia Phillies were taking infield practice before a World Series game in Royals Stadium.


Ballplayers and coaches called a warning. They were, strangely enough, trying to protect their boss, Dallas Green, surrounded by a handful of reporters and standing in the landing zone. Some reporters ducked, others looked up and decided that there was no reason to scatter; the manager never stopped talking, never looked up, and never moved.


Dallas Green had nothing to be concerned about. The baseball would not have had enough nerve to hit him. Not in 1980. Not in the year when Dallas Green, the reluctant manager of a team that is making like it intends to win a world championship, had everything his way.


That, more than anything else, is what Dallas Green would like you to remember. He did not want this job. He was perfectly content as the Phillies farm director. He liked wearing three-piece suits and commanding an office with a view and working on the grand design. He had no desire to pull stirrups over sanitary socks or wade through the dirty laundry strewn about the locker room floor to exhort disappointed players. He did not want the job, but he took it because the men who run the Phillies convinced him that he was perfectly suited to get the ballclub to fulfill a destiny of greatness. He did not want the job, but he took it because they acquiesced when he said he would broach no interference, because they told him it was acceptable if he set the standards and demanded they be met.


NOW, AS HE STOOD on the baseball field defying that foul ball, Dallas Green wanted to make sure that was clear. This was a man who had conducted himself with dignity; even in his silly blue and red doubleknit uniform, he retained that aura, with his cap perched back on his salt-and-pepper hair, his jaw set firmly, and his clear, brown eyes never blinking as the points were repeated and the affirmation heard.


"I did it my way," Green said. "My way is what I've done to help all along. Every move I've made was with only one thought in mind – to make us one step better. That didn't change even when I took the manager's job."


Green took the job on the last day of August 1979. He took it after sitting up from sunset to sunrise with Paul Owens, the club's general manager, discussing the team's shortcomings. The explanations were a long time coming; it is not easy to understand how a ballclub with Mike Schmidt, Larry Bowa, Pete Rose, Steve Carlton, Tug McGraw, Manny Trillo, and Garry Maddox can be 63-67 and out of contention before September. Owens decided the problem was the manager, an amiable fellow named Danny Ozark. Owens decided that Ozark was too amiable for his own good and the company's good. The Phillies were not a team in need of benign neglect from the top, Paul Owens decided Dallas Green was the solution.


"He got enough firewater in me," Green says, "to make me think I was the greatest manager ever."


That final month, the Phillies won 19 of 30 games, but that was of little moment for Green. He used those games as a controlled experiment. He had known these players as kids, as prospects; he had not known them as established gentlemen of means and stature in the major-league community.


DALLAS GREEN DECIDED that what these Phillies needed was a swift kick. For seven years, they had been patted on the back and told everything would be all right when everything was all wrong; for seven years, they had been underachievers.


Green started in spring training. He was not out to make friends; he was merely interested in influencing people.


"I told them at spring training that a lot of guys sitting in the room might be on their last hurrah," Green says. "I told, them Paul and I wanted to give them one more chance to overcome the ghosts."


He told them a few other things, too. He told them everyone would do as he said. Everyone would take infield practice every day. All the pitchers would run together. He told them everyone would listen, and he did not care if everyone did not like it.


Everyone, of course did not like it. Larry Bowa had his complaints, Greg Luzinski his. Steve Carlton wanted to run on his own, Garry Maddox wanted his scoldings to be private. All season, players complained. They were still complaining after the Phillies had a 2-1 lead in this tournament.


"IT WAS DIFFICULT adjusting after a low-key guy like Ozark," Bowa said after the Kansas City Royals beat the Phils 4-3 Friday night. "But the bottom line is winning, and Dallas has proven his way is the best. Still, there are things I disagree with. Like taking infield every day. I do it. But in a 162-game season if someone doesn't want to do it, it's not that big a deal.


"And there are communications problems. Like tonight, he never told Greg Luzinski he wasn't DHing. He just told him to hit with the extras during batting practice. I'm not saying we're all stars and we should be pampered. But we have some established players, and sometimes they deserve an explanation."


Dallas Green figures differently. He has given 25 of his best years to the Phillies. He was a bright prospect for them, he was a minor leaguer with a bum arm, he was a mediocre relief pitcher, he was a Class A manager, he was farm director, he is manager of the first Phillies team to seriously threaten to win a World Series, and be Intends to be farm director again. He figures the only people who deserve explanations are his bosses and the fans; they have, after all, countenanced a lot of losing around there. Dallas Green brings to this business a perspective and a security players cannot and do not. He is 46 years old and he does not suffer from tunnel vision.


"The thing I'm proudest of is that I did not give in to pome of the problems." Dallas Green says. "I did it my way, and to see it culminate in what may be a world championship is very gratifying. I couldn't care less what the players feel about me: I'm a guy who likes to be liked, sure. But. if they, don't like me because I'm trying to get them to do the right thing, I could care less. Maybe the fact that I could care less about managing and wasn't going to get fired didn't hurt a bit, either.


"THE THING IS, I know after 25 years what winning the National League pennant means to so many of the little people in our organization, the people the players don't think about ticket takers, field people, carpenters, ushers, scouts. We have a good organization, We had all the rest of it. But that was what was missing. Now we're just a couple of games away from having it all."


And once they get it, Dallas Green, the man who made it all possible, can go back to his office and his three-piece suits and his grand design and leave all this aggravation for someone else preferably someone just like him. Someone who can't get fired and can set his jaw square and bark like John Wayne exhorting the troops on Iwo Jima.

World Series Notes:  Mets could have had Aikens


By Name, Chicago Tribune Press Service


KANSAS CITY – If the Royals win the Series, they may decide to vote a full payoff share to Lorinda deRoulet, the former owner of the New York Mets. Mrs. deRoulet, you see, is indirectly responsible for the presence of Willie Mays Aikens in a Kansas City uniform.


Aikens, who has hit four Series homers in as many games this fall, originally was ticketed for a trade from the California Angels to the Mets for pitcher Craig Swan last winter. But Mrs. deRoulet, who was in the process of selling the Met franchise, overruled New York General Manager Joe McDonald and called off the deal, saying it "wouldn't be fair" to the new owners.


"That's the worst thing I've ever seen in baseball," California General Manager Buzzie Bavasi fumed at the time. "I guess a handshake doesn't mean anything anymore. Her action was a slap in the face to Joe McDonald."


Having completed his tirade, Bavasi then turned around and dealt Aikens and Ranee Mulliniks to the Royals for Al Cowens, Todd Cruz, and Craig Eaton.


An everyday writer


Clint Hurdle, the Royals' left-handed hitting platoon right fielder, is writing a World Series column for the Orlando Fla. Sentinel-Star. His principal Series observation to date:


"I'm glad the paper is going to use me every day, and not just against right-handed printers.”


Bystrom vs. Gura Sunday


Fifth-game pitchers will be rookie Marty Bystrom [5-0] for the Phils and Larry Gura [18-10] for the Royals.


Bystrom was the starter for Philadelphia in the final game of the playoffs against Houston [after getting special dispensation from National League President Chub Feeney to replace semi-injured Nino Espinosa on the Phils' roster]. Gura failed to win his last eight starts in August and September before beating the Yankees' in the opener of the American League playoffs. Larry started the second Series game a K.C. loss but was not the pitcher of record.


Royals to limit season tickets


Royals' owner Ewing Kauffman has ordered that next year's season ticket sales be cut off at 15,000. Kauffman said he ordered the limit because he wants to have playoff and World Series tickets available for fans who do not buy season tickets. He said that 1,000 new season tickets already have been sold for next year, in addition to 12,200 sold last year.


Under the previous Royals' policy, each season ticket holder was assured one ticket for each playoff and World Series game. Royals Stadium holds 42,000.


‘Wilson saved game’


Lost in the welter of Saturday beanballs and Willie Aikens homers was what Phils' third baseman Mike Schmidt called the key play of the game.


"Without a doubt," said Schmidt, "the whole thing turned against us when [Willie] Wilson caught that long drive of [Bob] Boone's in the seventh. If that ball goes through, it's a double and puts us in position for a big inning. But the catch took us right out of it."


With runners on first and third and one out in the Phils' seventh [K.C. ahead 5-1], Wilson ran 75 feet for an over-the-shoulder grab of the Boone drive, restricting it to a sacrifice fly – and the Phils' rally to one run.

People (excerpt)


By William Plunkett


...And ace relief pitcher Tug McGraw of the Philadelphia Phillies was quizzed after the World Series opener last week. Isn't a relief pitcher's job mostly mental, he was asked. "If that's the case," said the Tug, "I'd be in the trainer's room soaking my head in ice. I've never been paid a dime for my brains."