Allentown Morning Call - October 20, 1980

Phils one win away from world title


Trillo comes through again in the clutch


By Gordon Smith, Associate Sports Editor


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – As a brilliant, red sunset lent a fairytale aura yesterday to the twin stadia of the Truman Sports Complex, which sits on what seems to be a flat world here in Middle America, everything seemed so right, so magnificently fair, so justifiably perfect. 


It wasn't that way because the Phillies had reversed the trend of this 77th World Series by stopping the you-win-at-home, I-win-at-home syndrome with an absolutely nerve-wracking 4-3 Game 5 victory over the Kansas City Royals. No, it was how they won it. 


It could have been Larry Bowa or Bake McBride or Greg Luzinski or any of the malcontents to provide the key ingredients. But it wasn't. Instead it was Tug McGraw, Del Unser and Manny Trillo, throwbacks to the age of nice guys in professional sports. 


It almost seemed like somebody had finally slipped a G-rated script into this classic of the baseball world Almost like Hans Christian Anderson, Walt Disney and Dr. Seuss had combined to present one of their finest works. 


There was Tug McGraw, the Little Irish Leprechaun," tying batters in knots with his "scroogie" pitch, otherwise known as a screwball.


There was Del Unser, the "Gentle Ben" of this outfit, lashing yet another of his uncanny, timely pinch hits to tie the game. 


And there was Manny Trillo, "Robin Hood," stealing Kansas City's glory with a run-stopping throw to the plate, then knocking in what proved to be the winning run with a shot off the glove of Royals' relief pitcher Dan Quisenberry. 


Ah, yes, it was a story for young and old alike. It was a story for the good people. It was a story a father would be proud to tell his young ones long after most memories of this incredibly tightly contested autumnal classic fade. 


"What could possibly happen next," Phillies Manager Dallas Green would say prior to yesterday's victory, which sends the Phillies home for Game 6 within one triumph of providing the franchise with its first ever World Series title. 


There had been four nail-biters already. Not a single run separated these most worthy warriors. They'd scratched, slugged and clawed their way to a 2-2 deadlock and 19 runs apiece in four games. Nothing could top this beginning... Or could it? 


But something had to give. And it would be the Phillies who would take. 


Down to their last three outs, and " one run behind, the Phillies would have to take on the Royals' ace reliever, Dan Quisenberry. He'd been untouchable only 24 hours earlier. 


But what's another comeback to this Philadelphia club, anyway? Didn't they do it consistently throughout the National League playoffs? And didn't they do it consistently since mid-August in the drive to the division title? 


"Of course we did," McGraw would say later. "And we'll keep doing it." 


"That's right," shouted Mike Schmidt. "A guy asked me if we'd run out of miracles yet. Well, if key hits and key throws and key pitches are what he wants to call miracles, then, no, we aren't going to run out. We've been doing it since August 15." 


So it was. Schmidt opened the ninth with a single off the outstretched glove of KC third-baseman George Brett. And Unser stepped to the plate and lashed a Quisenberry delivery for a double, scoring Schmidt with the tying run. 


Designated-hitter Keith Moreland would be ordered to drop down a sacrifice bunt to move Unser to third, and the kid did it beautifully.


Garry Maddox grounded out on a chopper to third baseman Brett, and Unser held fast at third. His body represented an all -too-important run to risk any crazy dash for home at that point. 


So up comes Trillo, a guy who has provided big hits all season long. And, like magic, he smashes a shot off Quisenberry's glove and Unser scores to give the Phils a 4-3 lead. 


Now it would be up to McGraw. And it would appear that he was glad it was in his hands. It always appears that way. It always appears that Tug McGraw can't survive without having all the pressure plopped on his lap. 


He'd already retired the Royals in the seventh and eighth innings, striking out Kansas City's version of "Murderers Row"' in the seventh – Brett and Willie Aikens.


But something strange would happen to McGraw en route to his latest flirtation with the edge of the cliff. He'd experience a rare wildness, which would fill the bases with Kansas City Royals.


He walked White, then struck out Brett a second straight time. He walked Aikens, then forced him at second base when Hal McRae reached on a fielder's choice. Then he walked Amos Otis. 


Royals Stadium was threatening to blow apart at its very seams now, as the 42,369 partisans screamed their brains out for Jose Cardenal to deliver the big hit. But it wouldn't come.


McGraw would get Cardenal in a hole, and Cardenal would lose his bat after swinging futilely at one pitch. McGraw would pick up the stick and give it to Cardenal, with, of course, some conversation. 


"I really didn't say anything to Jose when I handed him the bat," McGraw laughed. "I just sorta stuck it in his ribs a little. He was doing the talking. He said something in Spanish to me that you wouldn't hear in church." McGraw laughed again at recalling the moment of levity on the field that took place when everybody else in the magnificent concrete stadium was trying to beat back heart palpitations. 


With a twinkle in his devilish Irish eyes, the "Tugger" added, "1 know a little of this Spanish to get the idea of what's being said, so when I handed the-bat back to him, I kinda stuck it in his stomach." 


Then McGraw climbed back atop the mound of red dirt sticking out of the artificial green turf like a huge boil, and threw Cardenal his special screwballs – the Cutty Sark and the Jim Jamieson named for his favorite Scotch and Irish whiskeys. 


And that was all she wrote. Cardenal went down swinging "on my Cutty Sark pitch," McGraw said. And the "Little Irish Leprechaun" did his customary leap into the twilight zone and banged his glove on his thigh. 


Trillo was as excited as McGraw, Unser and the entire gang. It was Trillo's relay throw to catcher Bob Boone that nailed KC's Darrell Porter at the plate in the sixth inning, preventing a fourth Royals' score. 


"When I turn to look for Bake in outfield, I see Porter rounding second base." Trillo began, joy oozing from his lips. "When Bake throw ball, I think, "Hey, Manny,' you got good chance to get Porter if he keep going and try to score.' And when I turn and throw to Bob (Boone) , I know I get Porter if Bob hold ball." And Boone did survive the collision with ball in hand. 


Unser was his usual matter-of-fact self, yet obviously overjoyed. "I love to play," he admitted. "I'd rather not come off the bench. But if that's my role for now, then that's what I give my energies to. Going home with two games to win would be bad. It's a good feeling to go home one-up and needing only one victory to win it all." 


Bowa seemed more obliging than usual. "I'm so happy," he began. "Everybody has contributed all year long. It's unreal how Del has played in the clutch. What's he got three doubles and a single pinchhitting against Houston and now KC?" 

Tug the actor, the director and the star


By John Kunda, Executive Sports Editor


KANSAS CITY – The moment Tug McGraw struck out Jose Cardenal, Ruly Carpenter, the Phillies' owner, leaped out of his box seat and grabbed the lefthanded relief star. 


"The way you were going out there," said Carpenter, "you almost gave me a heart attack." 


McGraw, never without an answer – be it for the clubhouse attendant or the club owner – shot back: 


"If you think it was bad where you were, you should have been where I was." 


McGraw was on stage, the last act, no less, and nobody loved it more than McGraw himself. He was the actor, director and the star all wrapped up into one.


McGraw's moves added to the drama. He pounded his heart when Hal McRae drilled a long foul; he bit his lower lip when a fastball to Amos Otis nearly wound up in the third row behind home plate. He was even mumbling to himself. 


Of course, there was the pounding of his left thigh with the glove hand . The only thing missing was the Irish Jig.


"Tylenol Tug," Dallas Green has called him. McGraw wore a T-shirt advertising Tylenol. 


Pass 'em out pal, the Phillie Phanatics need 'em. This team doesn't seem to do anything without creating a headache first. 


Contrary to rumors. McGraw didn't plan the ninth inning that way. "I was looking to get them one-two-three," he said. "It didn't work out that way. And when I got deeper and deeper into trouble, I started to pitch carefully.”


So carefully that he walked the bases loaded. He didn't mind the walk to Otis, but the walk to Frank White, the leadoff batter, "disturbed the hell out of me... that was a dumb thing to do. I wasn't happy about that." 


The confrontation with Cardenal was something out of a paperback sports novel. It was veteran against veteran; old teammate against old teammate. 


"In my mind," said McGraw, "He (Cardenal) is one of the best pinch hitters with runners in scoring positon. But I knew him from the other league and from when I played with him. I was fairly comfortable pitching against him." 


Funny that McGraw would say that. 


Minutes before, Kansas City Manager Jim Frey, questioned about not pinchhitting for Cardenal, said: "I felt like Cardenal knew him (McGraw) better. (John) Wathan pinch hit against McGraw the other night, and I just thought Jose would know him better." 


Score one for McGraw – he did his homework a lot better. 


Ask McGraw what pitch he got Cardenal out with and you get a commercial. 


"I got him out with my Cutty Sark fastball, it sails.” he said. So much for Scotch and pitching. 


Before that, though, McGraw and Cardenal needled each other. Cardenal lost his bat, and when McGraw retrieved it. the Royals’ pinchhitter said something. 


"He said something to me in Spanish that you wouldn't hear in church," said McGraw. "I know enough Spanish to get the idea what he was saying, so when I handed the bat back to him I kind of stuck it in his stomach." 


McGraw. who has been dynamic in the stretch and in the postseason play, thought his undoing came when McRae raised the hopes of the Royalmaniacs with his long foul. 


"I thought I would have to be rescued by the CPR people, "said McGraw. "When I was out there I had a feeling of guilt because I was out a little late last night. I had a couple of extra beers and my wife relaxed me." 


While the McGraw-Cardenal tug-of- war was a headache to the very end, McGraw's battle against Superman George Brett had its affects, too.


"I think the Brett strikeouts are highlights." said McGraw, but Cardenal's strikeout was the big one. When he was with the Cubs I could get him out fairly comfortably when no one was on base, but with men on he was tough. He was no piece of cake." 


But there was drama in Brett's final strikeout. 


"I thought he thought I would waste one." said McGraw. "We went with the fastball away. I thought of pitching him tight as they do in the Dickie Noles School of Pitching (big laugh). but it was late and I was tired and I didn't want Mr. Frey to get excited so I stayed away from him." 


Ask Brett if he was fooled and you get this answer: 


"0-and-2 and with the same situation as it was. 99 percent of the time McGraw would waste a pitch. I wanted to pull the ball. He threw a fastball (there's that Cutty Sark fastball again) on the outer part of the plate. I simply couldn't pull the trigger." 


The articulate Bob Boone, who loves catching when McGraw's pitching, explained it this way: 


"You have to understand about Tug is that he has four pitches and that's what makes him so great. A batter never knows what to expect. I'm sure George wasn't thinking fastball in that situation and that's why we came with it." 


McGraw had two cans of beer, one in each hand. That's for now. the hard stuff will come later, to be sure.


"This isn't a comeback for me," he said when asked about a second career. "I consider 1980 the continuation of a very fortunate career."