Reading Eagle - October 19, 1980
Green Doesn’t Buy Momentum Theory
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (UPI) – Philadelphia manager Dallas Green, who has watched his team’s two-game lead in the World Series erased by the hot bats of the Kansas City Royals, said Saturday the much discussed theory of momentum is highly overrated.
“I think momentum, if you want to call it that, is negated very quickly in a short, winner-take-all series like the World Series,” Green said.
“I think we proved that in the last two games. People were saying we had all the momentum after we took the quick two from Kansas City in Philadelphia. But now they are on a roll and swinging the hot bats.
“But that can be negated tomorrow with a win. Momentum is just not all that important in a short series. I think it’s probably overrated.”
For the second straight game the Phillies failed to come through with a clutch hit. And as it did in the first two games of this best-of-seven series in Philadelphia, the Phillies pitching gave up early early large leads to the Royals.
“It didn’t look like we were too interested in going out and doing the job today,” Green said. “We gave them another big lead, we pecked away at them, but we just let it get it away from us.”
Green said he wasn’t particularly happy at all about his Phils’ work during the early innings.
“It looks like we aren’t happy about playing until after we’re 4-down. That seems to be the time we say, “Hey, let’s play baseball.”
During the five-game National League playoff series with Houston and again in Game One and Two in this series, the Phillies earned a reputation of a come-from-behind team. But Green said he would like to erase that image.
“If we’re going to win the World Series, the offense is going to have to do its part and the pitching is going to have to be bearing down early,” he said.
“We can’t continually call upon miracles and character to win our games for us. Eventually it’s got tobe base hits and pitching. We are going to have to put together nine good innings to win this thing.”
Green said to win two of the remaining three games his pitching staff would have to find some way to negate the suddenly hot bat of Kansas City’s Willie Aikens.
“The man’s on a helluva roll right now,” he said.
Green said scouting reports on Aikens had been that he was a fastball hitter and that he could be gotten on the curve.
“But one of his two home runs today came on a curve ball,” Green said. “When a hitter is hot, and he definitely is now, you can throw the books away. When you’re hot, you can hit anything thrown at you.”
Aikens’ two home runs, which gave him four for the series, came in the first and second innings to give Kansas City a commanding 5-1 lead. The first came off loser Larry Christenson, who gave up five extra base hits to the six batters he faced. He was then relieved by Dickie Noles, who served up a hanging curve in the second inning for Aikens’ second homer.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (UPI) – Kansas City right-hander Dennis Leonard did only one thing different in winning the fourth game of the World Series after losing the first game – give himself credit for being a pretty good pitcher.
Leonard fell apart in the opener by allowing six hits and six runs in 3-2/3 innings to allow Philadelphia to erase a 4-0 deficit and post a 7-6 victory.
But Leonard yielded three runs, including only two of the earned variety, through seven innings Saturday to claim the victory, 5-3, to even the series at two games apiece.
“I gave their hitters too much respect last time,” said Leonard. “I tried to get ahead. I didn’t throw them many fastballs. I stuck by the scouting report too closely.”
“I’m a fastball pitcher. That’s what got me here. I’ve won with it in the past and I’ve lost with it. So I decided I was going to win or lose with it here.”
Leonard stranded four Philadelphia runners during his seven innings, striking out two and walking one. His pivotal out cam in the sixth after Bake McBride doubled and took third on a wild pitch with two out. Leonard then fanned contact hitter Del Unser to walk off the mound with a 5-1 lead intact.
“I didn’t pitch the greatest I’ve ever pitched, but it was respectable,” said Leonard. “The people around the country are getting to know us now. They’re realizing there are other pitcher and players on the Kansas City Royals besides George Brett.
“Willie Aikens, Hal McRae, and Amos Otis have all had good series. People are beginning to see that our being here wasn’t a fluke. We’re bringing respect to this team and to Kansas City as well.
“And it’s nice to have the fans here pulling for you instead of 63,000 cheering the other way.
Phils Started In Worcester
WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) – While the Philadelphia 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 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 said.
The club entered the National League 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 striaght batters as Worcester nipped Cleveland, 1-0.
From that point on, though, it was all downhill for the Brown Stockings.
Rose, Frey Upset Over Brushback
Kansas City, Mo. (UPI) – A fastball that narrowly missed American League batting champion George Brett’s head Saturday almost set off an altercation between Philadelphia first baseman Pete Rose and Kansas City Royals manager Jim Frey.
The controversial pitch came from Phils reliever Dickie Noles in the sixth inning and sent Brett diving for the dust.
Frey immediately bounded from the dugout and charged toward the mound, claiming Noles had intentionally tried to deck his star third baseman. Rose stepped between the mound and Frey and the umpires then intervened between the two men.
“I don’t remember what I said to him,” Rose said. “But I have never seen a manager yell at a pitcher for allegedly throwing at one of his players. That’s up to the player himself and you didn’t see Brett crying about it.”
“I don’t throw at nobody,” said Noles, presumable not meaning a positive by the double negative. “You got to use both sides of the plate. If it was White or somebody else, nothin’ would have been made of it. If I hit somebody in the head, I’d feel like (bleep).”
“I know how that feels,” laughed Brett, when informed of what Noles said.
“Too much is being made of it,” continued George, who was asked repeatedly about the incident. “I accept it as part of baseball. I thought it was funny.”
Of course, George also found humor in his hemorrhoid operation.
Bob Boone said the pitch, which came on an 0-2 count and with the bases empty, was definitely not a brushback.
“I told George he wasn’t throwing at him. We were trying to come in on him. He leans in after the balls. Brett didn’t say anything. I think he recognized that and so did the umpire. The ball just got away from Dickie.”
Boone said he called for the fastball inside.
“With 0-2, we didn’t want it for a strike. You don’t want to miss over the middle,” the Phillies catcher said. “When I saw what it (the ball) was doing, I said, ‘Watch out.’ Brett asked me how close it was. I said very close.”
Frey said he had no doubt the pitch was a brushback.
“The way we were hitting the ball today and with a good hitter up there and an 0-2 count, the situation was there,” he said. “He threw at his head and I went out there to stop that.
“I didn’t want one of those battles where there’s a lot of throwing at heads. I don’t believe in retaliation. I don’t buy that high and tight stuff. I’ve seen two or three guys almost get killed from brushbacks. I don’t believe in that.”
Frey said he was not going after Noles when he rushed the mound.
“I haven’t been in a fight since I was 21 and I got the hell beat out of me. I was just yelling a lot,” he said.
“I don’t know if it was a knockdown pitch,” Brett said. “He ‘s the only one who knows.”
Brett said he refrained from rushing the mound because he didn’t want to get thrown out of the game. “I want to stay in the game and hit and field ground balls,” he said.
Phillies manager Dallas Green said the whole situation was overplayed.
“I didn’t see a knockdown pitch. Was there one today?”
The incident did result in one person getting thrown out of the game – a fan behind the Phillies dugout.
As Rose was heading into the dugout at the end of the inning, the fan threw what appeared to be a crushed cup at Rose, striking him on the shoulder. Police then ushered the fan from the stadium.
“After you have been in baseball as long as I have, you learn never to look up into the stands as you go into the dugout unless you want to have your eyes knocked out,” Rose said. “I’ve had some incredible things thrown at me in my career, But it was just another incident in an interesting day.”
Royals Bomb Christenson, Even Series
By John W. Smith, Asst. Sports Editor
KANSAS CITY – Add pitching in the World Series to the long list of disasters in Larry Christenson’s trouble-prone life.
The Kansas City Royals found Christenson as easy to hit as falling off a tricycle Saturday, as they beat the Philadelphia Phillies by 5-3 to even the Series at two games apiece.
Game No. 5 comes off here today at 4:30 (EDT), with games 6 and 7 (if necessary) in Philadelphia on Tuesday and Wednesday nights at 8:20.
BY THE TIME Cristenson had thrown 22 pitches (to six batters) Saturday, the Royals had clubbed five hits for 12 total bases and four runs. Elbow chips, groin pulls, backaches and sore knees were never like this.
Even in these days of double-figure prime rates and seven-figure salaries, a five-figure ERA is a bit much. When Dallas Green mercifully pulled him after his sixth batter, Christenson carried with him a Series career ERA of 108.00.
Willie Mays Aikens, who homered into the fountain in right field for two of the four first-inning runs, accounted for the Royals’ other run by homering into the bullpen in right off Dickie Noles in the second.
THAT ENABLED Aikens (who’d homered twice in a losing cause Tuesday) to become the first player in World Series history to hit two homers twice in the same Series.
Aikens’ second blow made it 5-1, the Phils having scored one in the top of the second. Then it became a game of chip away, and the Phils were able to play it only halfway successfully.
The Royals never scored again, but the Phillies were able to just halve the deficit, with single runs in the seventh and eighth. They went quietly in the ninth.
“IT WAS quite obvious he didn’t have it,” said Manager Dallas Green about Christenson, who gave the Astros just three hits and no runs in six innings in his last start.
“He usually has real good wrist pop on the fastball, and he did not have it at all. The fastball wasn’t exploding.”
“He just wasn’t himself,” said catcher Bob Boone.
“I felt 100 percent,” said Christenson. “I just went out and pitched the worst game of the year. Usually I keep our guys in it, and today I didn’t.
“I HAD a little trouble gripping the ball and a little problem with the mound, but that’s no excuse. I didn’t get the balls where I wanted to. Aikens hit a fastball that didn’t get inside. I might have been able to hit that one out.”
Christenson, who started only 14 games in the regular season because of his various ailments, had lost only one - and in that one he was even 2-2 after five. This one, the Royals were ahead to stay after three batters.
The avalanche began quietly, as avalanches do. Willie Wilson punched a single into left to open the inning. He raced to third on L.C.’s errant pickoff, and held as Frank White flied out.
BOOM! GEORGE Brett ripped a triple into the right-field corner.
Wham! Aikens cleared a couple of fences in right.
Splat! Hal McRae lined a single to left center which he legged into a double.
Zap! Amos Otis cannoned a double to right which just missed clearing the fence.
THERE HASN’T been that much artillery unleashed in this town since the Union Station massacre in ’32.
The Royals tacked on a walk and infield hit in the inning off Noles without further scoring. Not only did Aikens homer in the second, but McRae turned another single into a double. And Clint Hurdle started the third with a bloop double.
That meant seven extra-base hits before the Royals had made out seven times in the game. Sixteen batters had come up and nine had gotten hits, with one walk.
JUST WHEN ABC was licking its chops at the prospect of having people from all over the East tune to college football, the Royals lost the touch and never turned the game into a rout.
They managed just one hit (though four walks) from Noles, Kevin Saucier and Warren Brusstar the rest of the way.
The Phillies, meanwhile, were getting somebody on in every inning but the ninth. They wound up even with the Royals in hits with 10. But they never put more than two on in any inning.
WITH MEN in scoring position, the Phillies hit 2-for-10 on the day, which was still better than Friday’s 1-for-13, and the 0-for-20 desert they wandered in against Houston, from the eighth inning of the second game to the eighth of the fourth.
The 2-for-10 is a bit misleading, in that the Phils twice got sacrifice flies with runners on third and one out. But they needed a bit more than an SF.
The SF that would have made the difference was the one Bob Boone blasted to the trace in left with two on and one out in the seventh.
“I THANKED God we weren’t in Philly on that one,” said Dennis Leonard, the first-game loser who got the win Saturday.
“I saw Wilson turn his back and I was hoping it would either hit the wall or be a homer,” said Boone. “But the win held it up and that was that.”
“That was the key play of the game, without a doubt,” said Mike Schmidt, who hit the other SF in the eighth. That was his first success with men on in Kansas City, after coming up with five in scoring position Friday and two more in the earlier innings Saturday. “That took us right out of a big inning.”
SCHMIDT’S ROUTINE fly scored Pete Rose, who had knocked out Leonard with a leadoff double in the eighth. Dan Quisenberry, who won Friday by pitching the last 2-1/3, earned the save by allowing just a two-out single in the eighth.
Quisenberry, who was belted Wednesday and was in trouble constantly on Friday, found a way to get the side out in order in the ninth.
“I decided to throw from the stretch,” said the Royals’ No. 1 comedian. “Why bother with the windup? I’m gonna end up in the stretch anyway!”
“The relief pitchers did a good job,” summed up Green, “we just didn’t score any runs.” Brusstar was especially effective.
“WE ALWAYS have the feeling we can come back, and we did,” said Larry Bowa. “It just wasn’t enough. Give credit to their pitchers.”
“We wanted to get so far ahead that they couldn’t come back,” said Aikens.
The two-run margin may not have provided the breathing space that the Royals expected, but they weren’t complaining. When you’re beating the Phillies these days, that’s pretty decisive.
Philadelphia’s last loss by more than one run, in nine innings, came on Sept. 28.
PHIL-PHILERS – The Phils’ second-inning run was unearned because of an errant play by U.L. Washington on Manny Trillo’s forceout grounder. Bowa’s bloop single scored it… Trillo doubled and Bowa singled ahead of Boone’s SF in the seventh… The Phils left men in scoring position in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th and 7th, though only one of those was at third… Marty Bystrom (5-0 since coming up in September) opposes lefty Larry Gura (18-10) today. Gura pitched four perfect innings Wednesday, then had trouble in the fifth and sixth. In contrast to Bystrom, Gura was 0-5 in September, but did beat the Yankees in the playoffs.
The 10 extra-base hits in the game fell one shy of the two-team record for a Series game… Otis has hit safely in all seven postseason games, 13-for-29… In the Series, Otis is hitting .529, McRae .533 and AIkens .467. Bake McBride is at .467 and Bowa at .438… Leonard said the difference Saturday was that he tried to use his fastball instead of his breaking ball to get ahead, and was successful.
Royals Playing Their Game At Last
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Five days ago, Amos Otis sat in the gloom of the visitors clubhouse at Veterans Stadium and said, “The next two games are going to tell me what these clubs are made of.”
Saturday, after the Kansas City Royals beat the Phillies 5-3 and squared the World Series at two games apiece, Otis was happy with what he had seen.
“Bit there’s still one big difference in the two games we’ve won here and the two they won there,” said the veteran centerfielder who’s been swinging one of the hottest bats in the Fall Classic.
“They came back to beat us after we had the lead in Philadelphia and we didn’t have to do that here. They came in our place looking for a four-game sweep. I don’t know what they’re thinking but they’ve got to be feeling bad.”
The consensus in the Kansas City clubhouse, which was surprisingly subdued, was this: the Royals at last are playing their game.
And today’s matchup will be the most important so far.
“If we lose Sunday, that means we have to win two in Philadelphia,” said George Brett. “If we win, we only have to win one in Philadelphia.”
Clint Hurdle, who doubled Saturday, said the Royals have regained the momentum.
“They’ve lost two in a row, they’re in the same boat we were,” he noted. “We’re playing our game now, smooth and loosey-goosey. Our fans woke us up and reminded us of how we used to play. We forgot and even though this is a World Series, we can’t try to do things we can’t do.
“I can’t see us losing tomorrow in our park.”
Hal McRae, who taught Brett how to hustle, gave the Royals an emotional lift in the first inning when he doubled in front of center fielder Garry Maddox, sliding into second barely ahead of the throw.
“We as a team have been playing that kind of baseball for a long time,” said second baseman Frank White. “That play by Mac typified the way we play. We weren’t trying to show up any outfielders. That’s just a routine play for us.”
“I wasn’t running on his arm,” McRae said. “I watched Maddox yesterday. He went to the ball slowly and hit the cutoff man with a kind of pop throw.”
“I doubt if we could pull that off again real soon,” said White.
Although they’ve extracted themselves from the brink of disaster, the Kansas City players were quietly pleased with their second straight victory.
Say Hey, Willie Mays Aikens Can Hit
By John W. Smith, Asst. Sports Editor
KANSAS CITY – Someday, they may refer to the former Giants’ center fielder as the guy who Willie Mays Aikens was named after.
The way Willie Mays Aikens has been hitting the jackpot lately, he’d be barred from every casino in Atlantic City.
On Tuesday, he bought Park Place and the Boardwalk. On Friday, he build a couple of houses on them. On Saturday, he added the hotels on both.
WILLIE MAYS AIKENS hit two home runs Saturday for the second time in the four games of this World Series. Willie Mays never did that. Willy Mays never hit one home run in one game of the Series. You could look it up.
The Phillies’ problem is that Bowie Kuhn barred the wrong Willie Mays from baseball.
Aikens not only hit two home runs both Tuesday and Saturday, but he delivered a key triple and a game-winning single (long enough for a double) Friday, and chimed in with a single Wednesday. Even before the second homer Saturday, Sparky Anderson was talking about Willie’s lead in the race for the car.
WHO IS WILLIE Mays Aikens? He’s a 26-year-old (birthday last Tuesday) who looks much more like Willie McCovey than Willie Mays, and hits more like him, though he’s not as tall.
The top draft choice of the Angels in January 1975, he tore up a couple of Minor leagues before making the Angels last year. He hit .280 with 21 homers and 81 RBIs before tearing up his knee in September.
The Royals got him in December. He was No. 2 to George Brett this year in homers with 20 and RBIs with 88 while hitting .278.
He was not named Willie Mays because of any great baseball interest by his mother – she say him play his first pro game Saturday – or precognitive power.
HE WAS NAMED after his uncle Willie, and the doctor back in Seneca, S.C., added the Mays because he entered the world two weeks after the 1954 World Series, when Mays made the catch on Vic Wertz. Where Aikens hits them, even Mays couldn’t catch them. He says he’d like people to drop the Mays, because no other Royal used his middle name.
Aikens tried to meet Mays in Atlantic City last weekend, but Willie was out of town. “I’d like to meet him before he dies, or I do,” he said. Any humor was unintentional. Aikens is a shy, willing-to-please fellow who has worked hard to overcome a major stuttering problem which still persists to a degree.
If Mays isn’t exactly his idol, Reggie Jackson would qualify. “Yes, I’ve modeled that look I give home runs after Reggie’s,” he said. “I’ve done that now for three or four years, when I know it’s out. I want to get some enjoyment out of it. I talk to him a lot about the long ball. If he can hit ‘em out, I can hit ‘em out.”
IF HE CAN hit two more out this Series, he’ll break Reggie’s record for most homers in one Series. “I just found out about it,” he said. “I’m not going to go out and try to break it. If I do, good and fine.”
In that case, the Phillies probably won’t be feeling good and fine. Dallas Green has suggested on Tuesday that the Phils were going to have to look again at their reports on him.
Naturally, he was asked Saturday whether he had the right book on Willie. “If you got a book you’d like to give me,” he said to the Inquirer, “I’ll use it.”
“I’m beginning to believe you’re right – that we’re not pitching him right. Whatever gave you that idea? The kid’s on a roll – not doin’ too bad right now. But we’ve got a few more games yet.”
“I couldn’t say they’re pitching me wrong,” said Aikens, who has hit to all fields and got his second homer Saturday off a curve. “I’m a streak hitter, and things are goin’ good right now. When I get in a streak, I’m capable of hitting five or six homers in a week.”
Shades of the Vet, Aikens said he was discouraged early in the season by the booing he received at Royals Stadium. So Saturday was especially thrilling for him when he was called out to take a bow by the cheering crowd after both homers.
“That never happened to me before,” he said. “When I first came here, they didn’t know me. I didn’t play very good, and the fans didn’t appreciate it.
“I GUESS I put too much pressure on myself. I was playing better away from home – and this is the hardest park in the league to hit homers in. I had some fear about coming back here from Philadelphao, that I wouldn’t be able to hit the ball good.”
No fear, Willie, about the fans to the hitting. They go together, like McGraw and exuberance, or Carlton and silence.
Aikens had been ticketed to leave the Angels last year because he wasn’t needed around first base with Carew or as DH with Baylor, and the Angels needed pitching. His trade value dipped when he was hurt, and a deal with the Mets for Craig Swan fell through because of the prospective sale of the Mets.
FINALLY, THE Royals (looking for power, which they lacked) got him for Al Cowens, whose most noted slugging in ’80 was done with his fist. Gene Autry, here Saturday, probably choked on his chewing gum watching Willie perform.
“I WAS UNHAPPY with the Angels that they went out and got Carew,” said Aikens”I was very glad to come to the Royals because I wanted to play regularly for a good team.”
There were a couple of other bodies in that deal as well. Presumably one reason why the Angels made it is that they were interested in the K.C. backup shortstop.
That was Todd Cruz. As part of the bait for Aikens, Cruz hurt Phillies’ pitching more Satuday than he ever did while making all those errors at shortstop for Reading.
Wilson Starting to Play His Game
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (UPI) – The Philadelphia Phillies did a good job of controlling Willie Wilson in the first two games of the World Series, and that’s one reason why they took a 2-0 lead.
Now Wilson is starting to play his own game and with his help the Kansas City Royals have tied the best-of-seven classic at two victories apiece.
“The key play of the game was the ball Wilson caught in the seventh inning,” Philadelphia’s Mike Schmidt said Saturday after Kansas City’s 5-3 victory. “If it goes through, it puts us in position for a big inning.”
With the Royals leading 5-1 with two on and one out, Bob Noone hit a long drive to left field. Wilson turned his back on the playing field and raced toward the ball, catching it over his shoulder.
Manny Trillo tagged and scored on the play but Dennis Leonard induced Lonnie Smith to ground out and end the inning.
“I knew I hit it good,” said Boone. “But the wind was blowing in. His back was to me so I thought it would go out or hit the fence.”
Wilson did his offensive damage in the first, singling, then racing to third on a wild pickoff attempt by Larry Christenson. George Brett followed with a triple, Willie Aikens homered, and Hal McRae and Amos Otis then doubled.
Philadelphia could never quite tie the score.
“The catch took us right out of things,” Schmidt said.