Camden Courier-Post - October 20, 1980
Phila regain edge – magic number is 1
By Bob Kenney, Courier-Post Sports Editor
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Comeback Kids had their act together again yesterday.
The Philadelphia Phillies rallied for two runs in the top of the ninth inning, then collectively held their breath as Tug McGraw squelched a bases-loaded rally by Kansas City to defeat the Royals, 4-3, in the fifth game of the World Series.
Del Unser delivered a pinch-hit double to drive in the tying run, then scored on a Manny Trillo single as the Phillies shocked the Royals and moved within one victory of their first world championship.
The victory in Royals Stadium gave the National League champions a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven series and the home field advantage the rest of the way.
"It's not over yet," insisted Phillies Manager Dallas Green. "We had them down two games and they came back. They're only down one now, don't tell me they can't come back."
But the Phillies sense the kill now. Green has his two best pitchers – 24-game winner Steve Carlton and 17-game winner Dick Ruthven – ready to pitch.
"Going into Philadelphia or anywhere having to win two straight games the odds are against you," said Unser, who delivered his fourth clutch hit of the week. "It's a good feeling going one game up and having Lefty pitching the next game."
Carlton will start tomorrow night against Rich Gale.
"Even when Steve isn't sharp, he usually gets the job done," said catcher Bob Boone. "But we're not taking anything for granted. We can't look ahead."
In the 28 previous World Series that were tied 2-2, the winner of the fifth game went on to win the series 20 times.
The Phillies won the all-important fifth game by scoring twice in the top of the ninth off baseball's best relief pitcher, Dan Quisenberry, then holding off a desperate Royal rally.
There was pressure," said shortstop Larry Bowa of the bases-loaded ninth inning by Kansas City. "But nothing like in Houston where I lost 30 years of my life. We're loose now."
McGraw, the pressure-hyped Phillies reliever, walked three batters in the wild ninth inning after striking out George Brett. But veteran lefthander fanned former Phillie Jose Cardenal for the final out.
Phils set stage for grand finale
By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – As the World Series made its exit from Kansas City, Stage West, the Royals had to concede he who laughs last laughs the best.
It was the Phils who came up with an incredible 4-3 punch line yesterday afternoon, to move within one game of bringing down the house.
Not that the American League representatives didn't try to steal the pivotal scene in this rollicking three-ring circus. Local censors for the Royals went so far as to banish the Phillie Phanatic from this Midwest stage during his entire stay here.
They gagged the wrong comic, however. Dave Raymond gets laughs. But it's funnyman Tug McGraw, a pitching superman, who always knocks them dead with a delivery that's second to none.
Tug used to do a solo. Now, he has got the rest of his teammates turning the corner into the late innings like the Keystone Kops. Since McGraw came off the disabled list after the All-Star break, everybody is getting into the act.
Before the Phils broke the two-victory deadlock and gave new meaning to W.C. Fields' immortal words, "On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia," third baseman Mike Schmidt turned to K.C.'s slugging sightseer, Willie Aikens, and told him, “if I hit a home run today, I’m gonna stand and watch it go out.:
Aikens saw the humor in the comment right up until the fourth inning, when he watched Mike's two-run blast give the Phils a 2-0 lead. Which is not at all like the Phillies, who usually start their monologues like fugitives from the Gong Show.
"Well, it just takes us a while to get warmed up," said rightfielder Bake McBride. "We're just kind of a free-wheeling team early in the game. Then we just get intense."
Pete Rose, who brought his own baseball version (with deeds instead of words) of the Don Rickles Show to this tomato-tossing audience, suspects that when it looks as if the team is going to do a pratfall, everybody in the show stops doing their own shtick and reverts to a sound, fundamental and very basic approach to scoring runs.
"It's called knowing how to win. And this club has learned," said Rose.
At the heart of all this is top-banana McGraw, the only man in baseball who can throw and act like a screwball at the same time.
His teammates know he's out there in the bullpen practicing his one-liners, thus creating a confidence that Greg Luzinski best described when he said, "All we have to worry about is us scoring runs."
That's exactly what happened when the Royals took a 3-2 lead and protected it with a magic act perfected by second baseman Frank White. Four potential Phillies' rallies disappeared into his glove. Not bad for a player Manny Trillo kept breaking up by telling his old buddy that it was Manny who taught him everything he knows.
Still, it's not as good a trick as the one where McGraw pulls a crisis out of his hat and then makes it disappear.
Tug did it in the seventh inning, when Royal base runners reached second and third before McGraw did his hocus-pocus. And the grand finale came in the ninth, after Schmidt rocketed a single off the glove of third baseman George Brett and scored the tying run as Del Unser waved his magic wand and drilled a pinch-bit double into the right field corner. Trillo ripped an infield single off the glove of Royal reliever-comic Dan Quisenberry to bring home what was to be the winning run.
Incidentally, the Phils suspect Royals' Manager Jim Frey hit himself in the face with a whipped cream pie when he brought his ace submariner into the game in the seventh inning.
"Thank you Mr. Frey," chimed the Philly dugout, which knew Quisenberry would be tiring by the ninth.
McGraw doesn't tire. His strenuous off-season fitness program, the 21-days he rested on the disabled list and the fact that Manager Dallas Green consistently used Tug in situations this season where he was needed to "close out" games, have all combined to put the lefthander at his peak.
Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with his propensity for creating havoc before solving everyone's problems. –
"How do I get myself in these situations?"
"Why do I make it so hard on myself?"
Tug is always asking himself these questions, even though he knows that "nervousness" is the answer.
So, he committed the cardinal sin of walking White to open the Royals half of the ninth. And then, after surprising Brett with an 0-2 fastball right down the middle for a strikeout, Tug walked Aikens, got a force out and walked Amos Otis to fill the bases.
Two out. Sacks full. Phils leading by a run. World Series. A sellout crowd at Royals Stadium going nuts. Jose Cardenal at the plate... Catcher Bob Boone slowly walked to the mound.
"Tuggles!," he said with a chuckle. "Isn't this exciting?"
McGraw smiled at Boone, who Tug thinks is. the only guy who might be able to understand him because Bob studied psychology at Stanford Univeristy and is a very smart person.
"You've taken it far enough," said Boone.
"You're right" said Tug. "Let's cut out the crap."
So, he knocked the bat out of Cardenal's, hands on on the second strike. And, when Jose came toward the mound to retrieve the broken bat, he cursed at his ex-teammate.
"I stuck the bat in his belly," said Tug with a laugh. Then he went back to the mound and stuck out Cardenal.
And the Phils went home shaking their . heads and laughing about how there was never a pitcher as great as Tug is right now. He's the best there is in the clutch. Plus, he’s a must at parties, weddings and bar mitzvahs.
Phillies fans beat the odds to see heroes
By Cynthia Roberts, Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA – About 200 Phillies fans gathered at Philadelphia International Airport early today for a glimpse of the World Series leaders on their post-midnight return from a 4-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
The odds were against the Phillies last night when they entered the ninth inning trailing 3-2 in Kansas City. And the odds were against the fans early today as they clamored at the gates in the airport's cargo area.
Homecoming festivities were scuttled and the Phillies management asked that no crowds meet the tired team, but the fans came up winners when the chartered buses sped past with their National League heroes aboard.
"It's beautiful, it's beautiful. They're going to go all the way," cried Peg Murray, a Philadelphian who described the Phillies' come-from-behind victory as "nerve wracking. And that ninth inning, oh my Lord!"
A gang of young men stood on the trunk of Mike Andro's 1966 Buick chanting "Tug, Tug, Tug McGraw" as Andro pointed to the chassis of his weather-beaten convertible, where the name of each Phillies player was scrawled in white shoe polish.
Many fans gathered at the airport's overseas terminal, where the Phillies deplaned following their National League victory in Houston. But the word soon was out that the team would unload in the cargo area, and the cars – with Phillies pennants streaming from their windows – raced to the spot.
Bobbing through the crowd was "Phyllis Phanatic," a female counterpart to the team's fuzzy green mascot, the Philly Phanatic.
"I made this after the Montreal' win," said Valerie Smith from beneath the green velour costume. "I've been trying to meet up with the Phanatic himself so we can fall madly in love."
Restlessness turned to disgust for some fans who expected a smile and a wave from the players.
"If they have a parade on Broad Street, I won't turn out. It think it's pretty absurd. The fans came out to cheer their team... they're not going to hurt the players," groused one Germantown resident.
But five-year-old Louis Bonitatibus, from Turnersville, N.J., was ready to cheer even if the team wasn't in sight.
"Pete, Pete Rose!" Louis squealed. He said his other favorite player is Steve Carlton.
"But not Mike Schmidt" Louis said with a grin. "He's a turkey.”
Phillies fever epidemic moves through hospital
By Mary E. Pembleton of the Courier-Post
CAMDEN – If temperatures of patients at West Jersey Hospital, Northern Division, had been slightly above normal the last few days, hospital officials said they could have explained the malady as "Phillies Fever."
While patients at the hospital are not among the thousands of fans who have attended World Series games at Veterans Stadium or fought crowds at the airport to welcome home their heroes, many said they have been with the team in spirit.
A room on the northside of the hospital at Mount Ephraim and Atlantic avenues apparently is the best seat in the house. On clear nights, many patients pressed their noses against the window panes to read the illuminated messages on the stadium scoreboard.
"From the third to the fifth floor, they can see the (Veterans) stadium as clear as a bell. They watched the Goodyear blimp making lazy circles around the stadium," said hospital spokeswoman Martha Foster.
Among the avid Phillie supporters is an 18-year-old stabbing victim who is receiving around-the-clock care in the hospital's special care unit. Mark Harway asked for – and got – a television set so he could watch yesterday's game, even though television sets are not normally permitted in the unit.
With the aid of nurses, Harway, a former Camden High School student, settled in the best position to watch the tiny portable television at his bedside.
"My favorite players are Lonnie Smith, Bake McBride and Gary Maddox," he said. "The Phillies are the (number) one team, I just know they're going to win."
Downstairs in the hospital's emergency room, doctors and nurses said they had an unusually low number of emergencies for a weekend night.
"Generally we get about 35 or 40 cases on a Sunday night. So far we've only had 28," said nurse Diane Patterson.
The emergency room staff agreed they had fewer of the more routine cases, such as head colds, ear infections and chest pains, attributing the slowdown to the World Series game.
However, about an hour after the baseball game, Patterson said activity "has picked up now. After the show we had about 12 to 15 (new) cases. If it's something they can put off, they'll come in at their convenience," she said.
The enthusiasm for the winning Philadelphia baseball team was clearly evident from the cheers and screams heard from a tiny room adjacent to the admissions desk as emergency room employees rooted the Phillies to victory.
"I'm just turned-on (to the Phillies)," said Dr. Ricardo Barboza as he watched the game.
Phils need just one win for title
By Bob Kenney, Courier-Post Sports Editor
KANSAS CITY – Larry Bowa insists there is nothing unusual in the way the Phillies keep coming back to win big ball games.
"That's a sore point with me," said Bowa, after the Phillies scored twice in the ninth inning and then held on to defeat the Kansas City Royals, 4-3, yesterday in Game Five of the World Series.
"A lot of people think we have some magical powers because we're always winning in the eighth, ninth and 10th innings," said Bowa, who contributed a standout defensive play to cut off a Royal rally in the bottom of the ninth.
"THERE'S nothing mysterious about us," Bowa insisted. "We just play good baseball. I hope people are finally realizing it."
The Phillies, almost obsessed about eliminating a choke-up label they acquired by losing the National League playoffs in 1976, ‘77 and '78, have now won all six post-season games by coming from behind.
"What we are doing now is what other teams used to do to us," said Mike Schmidt, who hit a two-run homer in the fourth and started the winning rally with a single to open the ninth.
Kansas City had submarine pitcher Dan Quisenberry, the best reliever in baseball this season, on the mound for the fifth time in the series.
PHILLIES' Manager Dallas Green called on lefty Del Unser to bat for Lonnie Smith and even the Royals had to suspect a possible bunt. But Unser, who has delivered four clutch hits in a week, ripped a shot past first baseman Willie Aikens.
The ball bounced around in the corner and Schmidt, one of the better base runners in the league, circled the bags to score the tying run.
"I just tried to get a good pitch to hit," said Unser. "That's Ted Williams' philosophy."
It certainly is working for Unser. The 35-year-old whom the Phillies signed as a walk-on two years ago has been unstoppable in clutch situations.
IN THE pennant clincher at Houston last Sunday, Unser used a pinch-hit single to tie the game, then stayed around to double and score the winning run.
Wednesday night, in the second game of the World Series, he hit a pinch-hit double off Quisenberry to set up a winning rally.
"I just wanted to be patient and not overswing like I did Saturday," said Unser. "I said to myself that if he threw in on me I would try to pull it."
The pitch was a fast sinker in tight and Unser pulled it hard. "He hit it good," said Jim Frey, the Kansas City manager. "It hit something, I don't know what, and got past Willie."
UNSER TOOK third on a sacrifice bunt by Keith Moreland and, after George Brett made a fine stop of a Garry Maddox grounder for the second out, scored on a Manny Trillo smash off Quisenberry's arm.
"He threw me a slider," said Trillo, who had failed in four previous tries against the underhand reliever. "I hit it off the end of my bat but I hit it pretty good."
Good enough to prevent Quisenberry from catching it, or making a play after deflecting it. Unser scored to make it 4-3 and set up some cat-and-mouse baseball in the botton of the inning.
Tug McGraw, the Phillies' bullpen ace, ran into control problems after setting the Royals down in the seventh and eighth.
"I WENT out there hoping to get them one-two-three," said McGraw. "But I kept getting in deeper and deeper. The deeper I got, the more careful I got, and the worse it got."
McGraw walked Frank White, the potential tying run, to open the inning and to start his problems. He then came back to strike out George Brett, the American League batting champion, on three pitches.
"He threw a fastball on the outer part of the plate," explained Brett, who was trying to pull the ball. "I simply couldn't pull the trigger. It was just a good pitch."
The Royals weren't finished, though. Aikens walked on four pitches and Hal McRae brought the capacity crowd to its feet with a long drive that curved foul at the home run pole in left.
"I COULD see it would hook foul," said catcher Bob Boone. "But it got pretty far out there and I was yelling 'Hook.' We haven't done anything easy, winning all the clutch games all through September."
McRae then smashed a ball to Bowa's right and the little shortstop made a must stop and got a force at second to save a run.
"Tug has a way of making things exciting," said Bowa. "From my angle, I thought McRae had hit a home run."
Following the "never-make-it-easy" script, McGraw then walked Amos Otis on four pitches to load the bases and bring up Jose Cardenal with the winning run at second base.
"I LOOKED up at the scoreboard and saw Jose didn't have a hit in the series," said Schmidt. "I was just praying this wasn't going to be one of those fairy tale stories where he came back to haunt his old team with a two run single."
Cardenal tried. He fouled off four pitches. McGraw threw one ball. The finale was in tight, Cardenal swung and missed and the Phillies have the home field advantage when the series resumes at Veterans Stadium tomorrow night.
"In my mind, Jose is one of the best pinch-hitters with runners in scoring position," said McGraw. "I got him out with my Cutty Sark fastball – it sails."
Kansas City lefty Larry Gura and Philadelphia rookie Marty Bystrom controlled the early innings.
SECOND baseman Frank White turned in a series of sparking plays to back Gura's pitching. He made an over-the-shoulder catch to rob Boone and start a double play in the third. He pounced on a Pete Rose deflection off Gura's leg to get an out in the fourth, then took hits away from Trillo in the seventh and Bowa in the eighth.
"I found out why people like Frank White," said Green of the American League all-star. "That rascal can play a little."
Aikens failed to touch first base when McBride grounded back to the mound in the fourth and was charged with a costly error. Schmidt followed with his second home run of the series, a high drive over the fence in center field.
Bystrom, who was 5-0 after joining the Phillies on Labor Day, shut out the Royals until the fifth. U.L. Washington and Willie Wilson both singled and White sacrificed. Brett brought in the run with a bouncer to Trillo.
McBRIDE ENDED the inning, with a leaping catch against the wall of a McRae foul.
In the sixth, the 22-year-old ran out of gas. Otis opened the inning with his third home run of the series to tie it a 2-2. When Clint Hurdle and Darrell Porter both singled. Green brought in Ron Reed.
Washington greeted the lanky reliever with a sacrifice fly to put Kansas City in front, but Trillo came up with another great throw to erase a possible run.
Wilson hit the right field wall for a double and Porter was heading for home. "I saw he was just touching second when the ball hit the fence," said Trillo. "I was thinking I would get a shot at him if I got a good throw from Bake."
McBRIDE'S throw was perfect. Trillo's was too. Boone was waiting for Porter.
White popped out to end the inning and McGraw took it from there.
The Royals now must win two games in Philadelphia or the Phillies become world champions.
"They were down by two and they came back," said Green. "They're only down one now, don't tell me they can't come back."
Green will send Steve Carlton to the mound tomorrow. The Royals will go with Rich Gale.
Bystrom shakes pressure
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
KANSAS CITY – Had Marty Bystrom been anything but a pitcher, nobody would have thought twice about his starting in the fifth game of the World Series.
It is not uncommon for rookies to play – and play well – in a Series. There was no outcry when Willie Randolph played second base in the Series as a Yankee rookie a few years ago. And not an eyebrow was raised when Philadelphia Manager Dallas Green used rookies Lonnie Smith and Keith Moreland against the Kansas City Royals.
But a rookie pitcher? In a World Series? It was bad enough that Green ran Bob Walk out to the mound for the opener. Now he was going to throw Bystrom to the carnivorous Royals bats in yesterday's pivotal fifth game.
GREEN had gotten away with using Walk in the first game. But in the minds of some, Green was seriously tempting fate with Bystrom on the road in a Series squared at two.
On paper, it was indeed a huge gamble to depend upon a 22-year-old kid with precisely six starts and 41⅓ innings of Major League experience. Better to use an underrested Steve Carlton than chance going back to Philadelphia trailing, 3-2, in games because a rookie bent under the pressure of competing in a World Series.
Green, however, didn't even give those things remote consideration when he gave Bystrom the ball and told him to go out and rip up the Royals. And that's because Bystrom is like no other first-year pitcher in baseball.
FOR THE most part, the 6-5 righthander did exactly that. In five innings he gave up seven hits and just one run while striking out four and walking one.
He struck out Willie Mays Aikens, who has taken more Phillies pitchers downtown than a cab driver, with a runner at second and two out in the first. Bystrom fanned Amos Otis on three pitches in the second and worked professionally out of a first-and-second, none out jam in the third.
The Royals had runners on second and third with one out in the fifth for George Brett, Aikens and Hal McRae... and only one of those runners scored – on a ground ball to second by Brett. Bystrom walked Aikens, then got McRae to hit a foul fly that Bake McBride ran down in right.
It wasn't until the sixth, when Otis homered off a high slider and Clint Hurdle and Darrell Porter singled that Bystrom started to lose command of the game. He left with it tied, 2-2, and the Phillies would eventually win it in the ninth for Tug McGraw, 4-3.
THAT KIND of starting performance would be acceptable from any pitcher. The fact that Bystrom is a rookie makes it nothing short of sensational.
"Marty is not your usual first-year pitcher," catcher Bob Boone said after the game. "He has the poise of a 10-year man. What makes him effective is that he has total command of four pitches and most rookies – as a matter of fact, most second- and third-year pitchers – don't possess that quality."
A few locker stalls away, shortstop Larry Bowa was describing Bystrom is less technical terms. "He is a rookie going on 50," Bowa laughed.
Anyone who watched Bystrom go 5-0 in September and pitch straight from the gut amid the frenzy of the Phillies' National League pennant-clinching victory over Houston Oct. 12, was not at all surprised that Bystrom kept the Phils competitive against the Royals.
BUT WHAT is it that makes Bystrom Baseball's oldest living rookie? Poise? Confidence? Cockiness? Or was he born with summer coolant coursing through his blood stream?
"He is," said pitching Coach Herm Starrette, "more relaxed, more mature than most 22 year olds just coming into the big leagues."
"As far as him being a rookie is concerned, Dallas and I didn't even talk about it when we decided to use him for this game. It was a matter of getting Lefty the extra day off and our confidence in the kid."
Contrary to rumors, Bystrom is not bionic. He is as human as the most of us. In fact, he was actually nervous before he took the mound in Royals Stadium.
TO CALM himself, Bystrom decided to play a little practical joke on Starrette. It is not uncommon for Bystrom to lose feeling in his right foot while he's pitching. And, sure enough, his foot went numb as he warmed up in the left-field bullpen.
"The feeling usually comes back after he sits down," said Starrette.
Bystrom completed his warmup, then turned to Starrette and said, "You better get somebody ready, I can't go."
Starrette was about to throw himself into the Stadium's dancing waters when Bystrom began laughing. "He was," said Starrette, "relaxing himself."
GREEN probably knows Bystrom as well as any manager can understand a rookie pitcher who really isn't a rookie.
"When you think of a rookie pitcher – and this not meant in a negative way toward Bob Walk because he overcame it – you think of the first three or four games Walk pitched," said Green.
Walk, of course, experienced all the things a rookie pitcher is supposed to experience. He was wild, unsure of himself, a defensive pitcher who threw the ball with a prayer and hoped somehow the batter wouldn't crush it.
"That," continued Green, "is a rookie pitcher. Marty Bystrom would not have done that on his first day. He has a different approach than a rookie. He has a demeanor on the mound that doesn't allow the offense to know he's a rookie.
"I'm not surprised at what Marty did. He would've been a 15-, 18-game winner had he been with us all year. Nothing Marty Bystrom does surprises me."
Perhaps now, what Marty Bystrom does will come as no surprise to anyone.