Wilmington Evening Journal - October 20, 1980
Phils need only one more
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tug time and Del time. One more time.
With the heroics provided by Tug McGraw and Del Unser, the Phillies came from behind once again last ' night to pull out a heart-hammering, gut-gripping victory over the Kansas City Royals in the fifth game of the World Series. The win gave the Phillies a lead of three games to two as the Series returns to Philadelphia tomorrow.
The Phillies, trailing 3-2 in the ninth inning, sent Unser to the plate as a pinch-hitter with no outs and Mike Schmidt, who had singled, on first base.
Unser had come through In the pinch earlier in the Series with a ringing double off ace Kansas City relief pitcher Dan Quisenberry.
Last night, in an equally critical situation, Unser grounded a two-strike pitch past first base and into the right-field corner. Schmidt raced home with the tying run and Unser wound up on second base with a double.
Keith Moreland, the designated hitter, bunted Unser to third. Garry Maddox grounded out to third, bringing Manny Trillo to the plate with two outs. Trillo hit a hard line drive off Quisenberry's glove. Third baseman George Brett picked up the ball and made a hurried threw to first, too late to catch Trillo. Unser scored the go-ahead run as pandemonium erupted in the Phillies dugout.
McGraw, who had shut out Kansas City in the seventh and eighth innings, took the mound for the crucial ninth. He immediately got himself into hot water by walking Frank White. George Brett looked at a third strike, but McGraw then walked Willie Aikens, sending the tying run to second base. Hal McRae hit a long fly ball to left field, giving Phillies rooters a bad scare before it curled foul. He then grounded into a force play, with White moving to third.
Amos Otis, one of the hottest hitters in the Series, walked to load the bases. Jose Cardenal, a former Phillie, came to the plate with two out. McGraw struck him out, stranding the tying run on third and the winning run on second.
The Phillies have now won six games in post-season play – three against Kansas City and three against the Houston Astros – and all have been of the come-from-behind variety.
McGraw, who was spectacular coming out of the bullpen during the Phillies' drive to the pennant, made his fourth appearance of the Series last night and was credited with the victory. He had a save and a loss in previous games.
The game also featured a two-run homer by Schmidt and outstanding defensive plays by the two second basemen, white and Trillo.
Tomorrow night, 24-game winner Steve Carlton will pitch for the Phillies against Rich Gale, a 13-game winner during the regular season.
Phils’ Unser makes KC see double again
By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Writer
KANSAS CITY – Del Unser came up against Kansas City relief ace Dan Quisenberry in Game Two of the World Series and rapped a double down the right-field line.
The hit ignited a four-run Phillies' rally and made a 6-4 loser of Quisenberry, in relief of Larry Gura.
Yesterday in Game Five, Unser came up against Quisenberry again, rapped a double past first baseman Willie Aikens' glove, scored Mike Schmidt with the tying run and eventually scored the game-winner himself on Manny Trillo's infield hit.
The bottom line was a 4-3 Phillies' victory and a 3-2 lead in this World Series. History shows the winner of Game Five in 28 previous Series tied 2-2 went on to win the world championship 20 times.
Del Unser' isn't a history student. If anything, the Phils' most successful pinch hitter in these two dramatic weeks of one-run heartstoppers against Houston and Kansas City is a student of hitting.
"I just try to get a good pitch to hit; that was Ted Williams' philosophy," said Unser, cutting through the verbiage and, as usual, delivering the key to the situation with a minimum of strain.
"The pitch I hit today was similar to the one in Game Two, a sinker, only this one was 'in' a little more. I told myself if he threw it in on me, I'd be able to pull it."
Aikens, the Royals' hitting hero Saturday who was the defensive goat yesterday, never saw the ball, waving meekly as it zipped by.
"The ball hit something," alibied KC Manager Jim Frey. "It could have been overspin, but the ball came up and it seemed to surprise him."
The double rolled to the right-field corner and Schmidt, who had singled off third baseman George Brett's glove to open the inning, circled the bases.
"Del Unser did it again, didn't he?" said Schmidt, whose wind-slicing homer off Gura in the fourth inning gave the Phils and starter Marty Bystrom a 2-0 lead after an error by Aikens.
Aikens missed first base with his foot on Bake McBride's easy hopper to Gura for an error, then watched unhappily as McBride trotted home a few strides ahead of Schmidt on the shot over the 410-foot sign in right center.
The Royals scratched back against Bystrom, scoring once in the fifth and twice more in the sixth when Amos Otis homered and U.L, Washington scored Clint Hurdle with a sacrifice fly off reliever Ron Reed.
The Phils, who had four hits in 6⅓ innings against Gura, bunched three more off Quisenberry to stun the 42,369 fans in the ninth.
After Unser doubled Schmidt home, he moved to third on Keith Moreland's sacrifice bunt and scored on Trillo's single off Quisenberry's glove.
Then it was up to Tug McGraw to hold off the Royals. McGraw loaded the bases on three walks, but struck out ex-Phillie Jose Cardenal to end the game.
People asked Unser why he waited 13 years to bunch this string of key hits. The mild-mannered outfielder first baseman smiled.
"Because all the guys on this team have gotten big hits all year long to get us here," said Unser, who seems to be enjoying this World Series more than some of his cooler teammates. "I just try to do my part when I get the chance.
"We're definitely the Cardiac Kids. We come from behind, we won't give up. Fortunately there's no clock on baseball, you can play until you win."
Unser feels the Phillies are now in the driver's seat, though he cautions against overconfidence.
"If I was in Philly, having to come down here to win two, I'd think Kansas City was in the driver's seat," said Unser, hypothetically reversing the situation, "so they probably think we're in the driver's seat now. But we still have to win it."
What was important, Unser said, was to stop Kansas City's two-game roll before the snowball got too big.
"Going into Philadelphia or anywhere having to win two straight games, the odds are against you, Unser said. "It's a good feeling going one game up and having Lefty (Steve Carlton) pitching the next game and Dick Ruthven if he's needed."
Unser, now 35, would still like to be a starting player, but he has accepted his part-time role with this team.
"I love to play," he said, surprising no one. "It's just been a matter of fact the last few years that if I'm to play on a contending ballclub, I'm not going to be in the lineup every day.
"But I'd rather do my job for a contender than anything else."
That contender could soon be world champion. That would bury a lot of choke labels and the recent talk that the Phillies have won with mirrors, that there is something magical in their come-from-behind string of victories.
"That's a sore point with me," said Phils shortstop Larry Bowa, who has hit safely in all five games. "A lot of people have been writing that we've got some kind of magical powers because we're always winning in the eighth, ninth or 10th innings.
“There's nothing mysterious about us, though. There's no magic, no luck. We're just a good baseball team, but nobody will believe it until we win it all."
Which won't be easy.
"We can't think this is going to be a lead-pipe cinch with this team," Bowa said. "They've battled our butts all the way. They've got a good team. We wanted to win two here and end it, but we're happy to win one."
Del Unser couldn't agree more.
"Winning and going a game up, it feels great," he said.
There was no question he had done his part.
McGraw survives latest drama
By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor
KANSAS CITY – Life for Tug McGraw has always been in the fast lane. Live today and the hell with tomorrow is the style this blithe spirit follows.
"I'll probably play until I get run over at 6 o'clock one morning by a street cleaner when I'm laying in some gutter outside a bar, sound asleep, with an empty bottle of John Jameson in my hand," the Phillies' ace relief pitcher says. "And that will be the end."
A bitter ending to Tug McGraw's latest drama momentarily flashed in front of his bloodshot eyes yesterday when Kansas City's Hal McRae hit a would-be, game-winning home run to left field in the ninth inning of the fifth game of the World Series. At the last instant, as McGraw paled, the ball curved foul.
McGraw stood on the mound thumping the fingers of his left hand over his heart.
"And I was cussing him for staying out all night," Phils Manager Dallas Green admitted.
There was a happy ending to this story. McGraw, who had walked the bases loaded in the ninth, struck out former teammate Jose Cardenal for the third out to seal the Phillies' dramatic, 4-3 come-from-behind thriller.
Thanks to Frank Edwin McGraw and a two-run rally in the top of the ninth, the Phils are ahead 3-2 in this Octoberfest and can win their first championship in the 96-year history of the franchise by putting down the Royals at Veterans Stadium tomorrow night.
There has never been anything routine about the zany 36-year-old reliever. He put the Royals down one-two-three in the eighth, his second inning of work. That he would do the same thing in the ninth was asking too much. Tug, you see, goes in for the spectacular.
He immediately dug himself a hole in the ninth and sent a murmur of hope through the Royals Stadium mob of 42,369 when he walked Frank White. But a few seconds later he got the world's greatest hitter, George Brett, looking at a third strike. Up came Willie Mays Aikens, hero of Saturday's 5-3 assault, and he drew a walk.
Now it was up to McRae, one of the most dangerous hitters in Kansas City's batting order. Before forcing Aikens' pinch runner, Onix Concepcion, at second, McRae had hearts throughout the playground fluttering when he cracked his long fly, a shot that would have given the Royals three runs and their third straight victory over Philadelphia.
"I thought I would have to be rescued by the CPR (cardiac rescue specialists) people who have been advertised here all week," said McGraw. "I'm not sure I can take these tense games much longer."
"You can't take them?" McGraw's wife, Phyllis, almost shouted. "What about the people in the stands who are watching you?"
Following McRae to the plate was Amos Otis, who had worn out Phils' pitching, hitting at a .529 clip in the Series.
Just before Otis stepped in, pitching coach Herm Starrette went to the mound with some advice.
McGraw stared at Starrette and after he left, the pitcher they call Scroogie walked Otis on four pitches.
A semi-intentional pass?
"No way," said Tug. "Actually, I went out there trying to pitch a one-two-three inning. I began trying to be too careful and then began missing. When Otis was up, I was very careful. I didn't care if I walked him. He had been tough on us in all the games so far and, frankly, I wasn't that concerned about advancing the winning run to second base."
Tug refused to say it, but he had a better chance against Cardenal with the bases loaded than he did against Otis with runners on first and third.
The count went 1-2 to the little outfielder. He then fouled off two pitches before McGraw threw a ''Cutty Sark fastball" past him and it was over.
"In my mind Jose is one of the best pinch hitters with runners in scoring position!" said McGraw. "But because I knew him from when he was with the Cubs and with us, I was fairly comfortable pitching to him. I felt fortunate today. I got him on my Cutty Sark fastball you know, it sails."
Moments before; Cardenal fouled off a pitch and when he did, his bat slipped out of his hand and landed near the mound. When McGraw handed it back to Jose, the two exchanged glances.
"I didn't say anything to him," said McGraw, a devilish smile on his face. "He said something to me in Spanish that you wouldn't hear in church. I know enough Spanish to get the idea of what he was saying. So, when I handed the bat back to him, I kinda stuck it in his stomach."
McGraw, clutching two cans of beer in one hand, said he had a guilty feeling when he went to the mound to start the eighth with the Phils trailing 3-2.
"Phyllis and I went out last night. We had some drinks and stayed out later than we should have. Then, when we went to the room, she relaxed me. To tell you the truth, I was drained out there.
"Seriously, this was a very important victory for me. I struck out George Brett twice in three innings and I think that has to be the highlight of my career. He's the best hitter in the game today. But getting Cardenal was the big one, I guess."
By now, McGraw was dressed and joining other players and their wives for the trip back to Philadelphia.
One wife walked up to Tug, stuck out her hand and said: "Thank you, Santa Claus."
Somehow, it's impossible to picture this Santa Claus lying in a gutter, John Jameson or no John Jameson.
Rose won’t mind slump if Phils win
PHILADELPHIA – Pete Rose is slumping in the World Series battle between the Philadelphia Phillies and Kansas City Royals.
But he says he wouldn't care if he doesn't get another hit in the Series as long as the Phillies win.
"If we were down 3-2 in the Series, I might worry about my hitting," said Rose, who is 3-for-19.
"But look, I've come out of slumps quicky before. I still may get the hit that wins the Series," he added.
Batting in the leadoff spot for the first time in a Series, Rose started yesterday's fifth game by bouncing back to the mound on Larry Gura's first pitch.
In the fourth, Rose drove the ball off Gura's leg but lost out when the shot sailed to second baseman Frank White, who made the play at first.
In the sixth, Rose's hit-run line drive was turned into a double play.
"It was a perfectly executed hit-and-run and here Gura makes a great play," said the 39-year-old first baseman. "If I had gotten those two hits, I'd be 5-for-19 and you wouldn't even be talking to me about my hitting.
"This game is 75 percent luck and right now I'm not getting any breaks."
Rose hit .264 in the four World Series he played with the Cincinnati Reds, collecting 24 hits.
"Nothing affects me as long as we win," he said. "The fans here (in Kansas City) thought I didn't get a hit just because they booed me. Well, worse things have happened to me and I've still come out on top."
Our backs against wall: Quisenberry
By Phil Hersh, Field News Service
KANSAS CITY - Dan Quisenberry was blunt:
"Our backs are up against the East Berlin wall," the Kansas City Royals' relief pitcher acknowledged.
The Royals must beat a rested Steve Carlton tomorrow night to escape sudden death in the 1980 World Series.
"I said before we'd have to beat Carlton once to win this thing. Now we're at that point," said Rich Gale, who will start Game Six for the Royals.
Philadelphia won – no, Kansas City lost yesterday's fifth game 4-3 after leading 3-2 going into the ninth inning. The Royals, having blown leads in all three defeats, trail the Phillies three games to two as the best-of-seven Series returns to Philadelphia.
The Phils would not have been close enough for discomfort in the ninth bad Gordy MacKenzie, the Royals' third-base coach, not chosen again to wave on Darrell Porter into an out at home plate in the sixth inning.
As in Game One, when the Royals led 4-0 before Porter's out left two men on base, the decision may have prevented Kansas City from breaking the game open. "It was the turning point of the game," starting pitcher Larry Gura said.
Gura was one of several Royals bitter about the turn of events.
He was unhappy again about being relieved in the middle of a four-hitter. Right fielder Clint Hurdle was unhappy about having Jose Cardenal pinch hit for him. Paul Splittorff is angry for again being passed over in favor of Gale. And the very existence of John Wathan, who expressed no overt displeasure, became a sore spot.
“I'm still here," said Wathan, the .305 hitter whom manager Jim Frey did not use in two key pinch-hitting situations. Statistics backed Frey, but they may have numbered the Royals' days.
Gura pitched four-hit ball for six innings in Game One and four-hit ball for 6⅓ Innings yesterday. His only major mistake in Game Five was a wind-aided, two-run homer by Mike Schmidt
Quisenberry has pitched in all five Series games, winning one and losing two, and in the last two American League playoff games. His response to a Saturday question about how long he could pitch Sunday: "About 45 minutes.”
It took him about that long to become the loser in relief of Gura. That is exactly what had happened in Game Two.
“Boy, would I like to say some stuff, Gura said.
He never had a chance to say anything to the manager after walking Greg Luzinski and giving up an infield hit to Keith Moreland with a 3-2 lead and one out in the seventh. Frey had signaled to the bullpen for Quisenberry before reaching the mound.
"I wasn't the least bit tired," Gura said. I didn't have a chance to argue."
Quisenberry's performance was arguably his best of the Series. Only one of the 12 batters he faced was able to hit the ball off the ground against his submarine sinkerball.
It was Manny Trillo, who lined a ball off Quisenberry's glove and bare hand ("It didn't hit any toes and my ears are fine," he said) to drive in Del Unser from third with the winning run.
Royals’ White gloves everything but victory
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Frank White, the human vacuum cleaner who plays second base for the Kansas City Royals, had every right to be frustrated.
White had just pot on one of the greatest fielding displays in World Series history, but It was not enough to stop the Philadelphia Phillies from rallying for a 4-3 victory over the Royals yesterday.
And the acrobatic Kansas City infielder was frustrated, but only to a point.
"I'm having fun. We lost the game, but you've got to have fun in the World Series," White said quietly. "This may be a once in-a-lifetime shot for both teams. The World Series is a luxury."
The triumph gave the Phillies a 3-2 edge over the Royals and sent the Series back to Philadelphia for Game Six tomorrow night.
But for awhile it appeared that the slick-fielding White, who grew up in Kansas City, might stop the Phillies single-handedly with his dazzling glovework.
In the third inning, with one out and Larry Bowa on first, White raced down the right-field line for an over-the-shoulder catch of Bob Boone's pop fly. The second baseman then whirled and doubled Bowa off first base, via a relay by first baseman Willie Aikens.
"Clint (Hurdle, the Kama City right fielder) said later he might have caught the ball, but be would have had to dive," said White.
Pete Rose opened the Phillies' fourth with a shot that caromed off pitcher Larry Gura's glove. White broke toward the middle, then had to reverse his stride to glove the ball and nip Rose at first.
That saved a run because Bake McBride then reached base on Aikens' error and Mike Schmidt homered to give Philadelphia a 2-0 lead.
In the seventh, with the score tied 2-2, Philadelphia runners at the corners and two out, Manny Trillo lashed an apparent single up the middle. But White snared the ball behind the bag and flipped to shortstop U.L. Washington for the force out.
Bowa led off the eighth with a ground ball that seemed headed for right field before White cut it off, juggled the ball briefly and find to first for the out
"This has been a hell of a day, a hell of a day," said White. "Without a doubt, this was the greatest game of the Series. I really felt we were going to win it."
But his efforts went down the drain in the ninth when the Phillies erased a 3-2 Kansas City lead with two runs off reliever Dan Quisenberry.
"Everything is lost when you lose," White said. "And everything is brought out when you win.”
Schmidt takes advantage of Frey advice to Brett
By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor
KANSAS CITY – It almost went unnoticed. To baseball purists, though, it was one of the most important ingredients in Philadelphia's stirring 4-3 victory over Kansas City in the fifth game of the World Series yesterday.
The Phils were just three outs from losing to the Royals 3-2 when Mike Schmidt led off the ninth inning against reliever Dan Quisenberry.
Just before the Royals took the field, Manager Jim Frey whispered something to George Brett. And as Schmidt stepped in the batter's box, Brett, the third baseman, took five steps toward the plate, positioning himself even with the bag.
Schmidt ripped a liner to third that bounced off Brett's glove for a single that started the Phils on their way to a two-run rally.
Pinch-hitter Del Unser, who has been remarkable in the clutch, then lined a double to right field to score Schmidt with the tying run. After Keith Moreland advanced Unser to third with an infield out and Garry Maddox grounded out, Manny Trillo blitzed a liner off Quisenberry's glove to bring home what proved to be the winning run.
But back to the Schmidt at-bat.
"Just before the inning started I told Brett to play in some," said Frey. "I was fearful Schmidt might try to bunt. He had done it before."
But not leading off the last inning with his team trailing by a run.
"Bunting was low on my list of priorities in that situation," said Schmidt. "All I was trying to do was get a pitch I could drive. I never thought about bunting and didn't even think about where Brett was playing me until it was mentioned."
Normally, with a power hitter such as Schmidt up, the third baseman will position himself almost in shallow left field. The object is to guard the foul line and cut off an extra-base hit. Had Brett been playing Schmidt there, he would have been an easy out.
For Schmidt, odds-on favorite to win the National League Most Valuable Player Award, the game was his best so far in the World Series. . His two-run homer off starter Larry Gura gave the Phils a 2-0 lead they nursed until the Royals went ahead with two runs in the sixth.
It was Trillo's infield single that scored the winning run, but before that a picture-perfect throw by the second baseman kept the Phils in the game.
In the sixth, it was evident rookie starter Marty Bystrom had lost some of the pop on his fastball. Amos Otis blasted an 0-1 pitch to left field for a home run that pulled the Royals even. Clint Hurdle then singled to center and Darrell Porter blooped a single to right with the runner stopping at third.
Here, Phils Manager Dallas Green grought in Ron Reed. U.L. Washington greeted Reed with a long fly to right that gave Kansas City a 3-2 edge.
Willie Wilson followed with a booming double to right. Bake McBride played the ball perfectly, hit Trillo with the relay and the second baseman threw a bullet to catcher Bob Boone to cut down Porter attempting to score from first.
"You can't overlook our hits in the ninth inning, but we wouldn't even have been in the game if Manny Trillo hadn't made the perfect throw," said Pete Rose. "If he doesn't make that play, they could have gone on to a big inning and taken us right out of the game."
"Porter trying to score is a judgment call for the third-base coach," said Frey. "Trillo's got a great arm; it's tough to see that play rom the dugout or even the press box. I can't fault the coach; it's not an easy job."
Frey said Porter, who was stranded at second when Reed got Frank White to foul out, could have reached third on the play at the plate, "but I'm sure he was trying not to end the inning with a foolish base-running mistake."
Noles’ knockdown revives memories
By Dick Young, New York Daily News Service
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – There once was a pitcher named Hugh Casey, who threw for a team called the Brooklyn Dodgers. In those days the Brooklyn Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals invariably would battle for the National League pennant. The St. Louis Cardinals had a shortstop named Marty Marion, who was so good he was known as Mr. Shortstop, and that's when there were shortstops like Pee Wee Reese and Eddie Miller and Phil Rizzuto around.
Hugh Casey was a relief pitcher, and he was tough. Not just tough to hit; tough, as in mean. He had just come in to relieve this day, and was taking his warmup pitches. Marty Marion, the next hitter, stood in the batter's circle taking a few warmup swings. By pure coincidence, Marty Marion's bat would move just as Hugh Casey's pitch crossed the plate.
"Don't do that, Marty," called Hugh Casey in his southern drawl.
"Aw, Hughie, ah ain't doing nuthin," said Marion, whose drawl was even thicker.
The next warmup pitch flew past the ear of Marty Marion, and down he went. "Ah asked you in a nice way," said Hugh Casey. Knocking down a man in the batter's circle, that's tough.
This was one of the stories being told at the World Series yesterday, following the flipping of George Brett in Game Four by Phillie reliever Dickie Noles. Old ballplayers' eyes lit up as they talked about it. In this pussycat era of baseball, they hadn't seen anything like it for years.
"That was an Emmy Award winning knockdown pitch," said Joe Garagiola, who didn't just grow up being a TV announcer, kiddies. He was a catcher in the tough old days, and called for a few knockdown pitches himself. "Yessir, a real Emmy job. I can just see Dickie Noles accepting the award and saying I want to thank my pitching coach and my catcher..."
The old pitchers wore their meanness like a badge of honor. They wanted it known that if you hit them too hard you ran the risk of going down under a high hard one. There were exceptions. Sal Maglie wanted it to appear to be an accident.
"Look out!" he would yell at the batter as he let go of the beanball.
He didn't con too many hitters. They called him The Barber, and not because he talked a lot. He was The Barber because he shaved the hitters. That's what they called a good knockdown, a close shave.
DICKIE NOLES' KNOCKDOWN of George Brett was a Maglie special. Noles denies it was an intentional head-shot.
"That's a copout," says Jim Frey, Brett's manager. "If a man is lying on the ground bleeding some day and is taken to the hospital, it doesn't do any good to say I didn't intend to hit him."
It is Jimmy Frey's contention that if a pitcher wants to move a batter off the plate he can pitch him tight at the waist, or at the legs. "Not at the head," he says. "You can kill a man."
Jimmy Frey says there will be no reprisal by the KC pitchers. Not even from his direction. "I don't go for that getting even stuff," he said.
He had a player during the season who shouted from the bench, "Get even with the sonofabitch!" following the knockdown of a Royals hitter. Frey walked down the dugout and said to the angry man, "Don't say that. If you feel mad enough to want to do something about it, then go out there and punch their pitcher in the face. If you don't feel that mad about it, then shut up."
Jimmy Frey is in the minority, I believe. Most mangers, modern and old-timers, believed in the eye-for-an-eye philosophy. Retributions led to notorious beanball battles. There were riotous throwing duels between the old Dodgers and Cubs, between the Dodgers and Braves.
"Leo Durocher and Charley Dressen were responsible for a lot of it," remembers Pee Wee Reese. "Leo used to yell, 'Stick it in his ear!' I'd say to Leo, 'Hey, stop that stuff. You don't have to go up there to hit, we do.’”
In those days, a pitcher took a calculated risk if he threw at a hitter. He knew that sooner or later he would be up there himself with a bat in his hand, a target for a reprisal pitch.
"If the guy didn't last long enough to come to oat," said Reese, "they'd get the catcher. After all, he called for it."
There is much more throwing at hitters in the American League these days than in the National. Beanball watchers attribute this trend to the designated hitter. With pitchers not being permitted to bat in the At, they run no risk of a reprisal. They can blow a fast ball at a hitter's head and not worry about going up there to face the music in an inning or two. The current World Series is being played under the AL rule of the designated hitter.
That is what further infuriates Jimmy Frey.
"It doesn't take much guts to throw a fast ball at a guy's head and then take a seat in the dugout," sneers the KC manager.
Hurdle asks for chance to hit lefties
By Warren Mayes, Gannett News Service
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Above his locker cubicle, a bumper sticker reads, "Clint Hurdle is a 10."
Hurdle, the former Sports Illustrated "phenom" and current oft-time platooned right fielder for the Kansas City Royals didn't feel like a "10" yesterday.
Once again, Hurdle, a left-handed batter, got platooned by Royals Manager Jim Frey.
His replacement, Jose Cardenal, a right-banded batter, flew out to right field against southpaw reliever Tug McGraw and struck out to end Game Five, which the Royals lost 4-3 to the Phillies.
Hurdle was a "10" when he first came to the Royals in spring training in 1978.
Times have been hard on Hurdle in the intervening years. He didn't pan out like his advance notices built him op. Since then, he has been platooned by the Royals, usually in right field. He almost never gets to hit against left-handers.
He didn't get a chance yesterday either.
"It's frustrating," Hurdle said as he ravenously attacked a plate of spare ribs in the Royals' clubhouse.
Frey pulled Hurdle in the seventh inning. With two men out and two on, Frey sent Cardenal, a former National League player, in to bat for Hurdle. Cardenal filed out.
Then in the ninth inning, with runners at first and third, Cardenal struck out.
Hurdle took out his frustration on the ribs after the game.
"Seven, eight, nine," Hurdle counted out. "I gotta take it out on somebody. Damn ribs. I'm gonna eat till I blow up."
The lamp black under Hurdle's eyes began to run as he tried to inject some humor into this humor-less situation.
"You figure sooner or later you'll get your shot," Hurdle said. "I guess he (Frey) don't want to experiment."
"I really thought before the game started, even last night before the game started, maybe Cardenal just knew McGraw better," Frey said.
"I really had it made up in my mind a couple of days ago I'd use Cardenal in that situation for Hurdle if it came up," Frey added. "Cardenal has hit very well for us. I've used him in spots like this before."
Another right-handed pinch hitter available to Frey was John Wathan, who hit better than .300 this season.
"I felt he (Cardenal) knew him (McGraw) better," Frey said.
"My bed's been made," Hurdle said. "It's no fun being manager, especially when you have a brash young guy like me. He gets paid to manage. I get played to play.”
Although Hurdle tried to maintain a bit of levity in his dialogue, the pain seeped through.
"You keep hoping. You get your hits," Hurdle said. "It didn't work out today. All that's broke is my heart."
Hurdle wouldn't second guess Frey.
"If he (Cardenal) gets a hit, bingo, you're in there." Hurdle said. "If he don't, you're in for a lot of questions to come about."
When he was lifted, two men were on and two were out. Hurdle admitted he would have relished getting a chance to hit against McGraw in that situation.