October 21, 1980
Fans arrived at Veterans Stadium or tuned into their television sets with anticipation. The Phillies – the Philadelphia Phillies – had a chance to win the World Series! The old Philadelphia A’s had won five in their years in Philadelphia, but even their championships had been five decades prior to 1980. As for the Phillies, it had been a long history without a single championship on their resume, and Steve Carlton had a chance to change all that on this night. Lefty would not disappoint. Carlton pitched seven inning of four-hit, one-run baseball before giving way to the high-wire act that was Tug McGraw. Mike Schmidt, who would be named MVP, gave Carlton all the runs he would need on this night. The Royals refused to go down quietly, loading the bases in the eighth and ninth innings, but McGraw was able to channel his 1980 magic one more time, leading to perhaps my favorite sports memory of my lifetime – his strikeout of Willie Wilson to win the Phillies their first World Series Championship.
Game 6 Pre-Game Coverage on Channel 10
Game 6 Post-Game Celebration on WPHL
"The key was we kept their three rabbits off the bases- Wilson, Washington and White." - Dallas Green
"The Phillies played better than us, they got some hits at the right time, got better pitching and played good defense." - Dan Quisenberry
"I can't get a hit any bigger than that... this has to be the highest point of my athletic career without question." - Mike Schmidt
"It (two-run single) was a fastball in and I just had to relax my bat to put the ball in play. It was the first pitch he threw me inside. I just inside-outed it... a fastball in." - Mike Schmidt
"I don't know (the key for the Phillies). I don't know if there is a fair answer to that. Their ability to come back like when he had the two-run lead in the 8th and a one-run lead in the 9th. We saw them do it on TV against Houston and we knew they were capable of coming back." - Jim Frey
"I think Bowa said it best... 'we had some ghosts to put to sleep' and we did it. We had won three Eastern Division Championships and we had to get over the brink. They've waited a long time for this." - Dallas Green
"I'm proud of all these guys, every one of them. You talk about courage, you talk about character, this team showed more guts the last month of the season than any team ever. You look at all the games we won by one run, all the 'must' games we won." - Dallas Green
"There's no way we could have started off a new decade of baseball any better than this.... In September and October, when we had all those close finishes, the great playoffs and the Series, the players were showing why baseball is the American pasttime." - Tug McGraw
"I know the players are happy and I'm happy for them, but in their own way, they can't appreciate this the way I can. I made a stop at every level in this organization- player, coach, manager, farm director. I have a feel for all the people behind the scenes, like the scouts, minor league people, the secretaries and the front office staff." - Dallas Green
"We are the best baseball team in the United States of America. We are the best. No one else can say that." - Larry Bowa
From "The World Champion Phillies and the Road to Victory"
Veterans Stadium was packed- 65,838, the largest crowd ever in the 10-year-old stadium. They came to see their heroes try to win the Phillies first World Championship in the 98-year history of the club.
Steven Carlton stode to the mound and served notice that KC was in for a long night. Willie Wilson was called out on strikes. U.L. Washington struck out swinging and George Brett bounced to Manny Trillo.
In the second, Lefty walked two with one out but John Wathan grounded into a double play started by Larry Bowa. Bowa set a WS record for a shortstop by starting his seventh double play in the fourth.
Rich Gale walked Bob Boone on four pitches to start the third. Lonnie Smith grounded to Frank White, who threw to Washington covering second. Boone was called safe by second base umpire, Bill Kunkel, who ruled that Washington missed the bag.
Pete Rose laid down a bunt toward third and beat Brett's throw to first. The Phillies had the bases loaded for Mike Schmidt. Schmidt lined a single to right center scoring Boone and Smith to give the Phillies first blood, 2-0.
The Phillies increased the pad to 3-0 in the fifth. Smith doubled and took third on Rose's fly ball to Amos Otis. Mike Schmidt walked and Paul Splittorff, a lefty, was called on to face Bake McBride.
McBride topped a roller to the left of the mound. Splittorff couldn't field it and all Washington could do was get an out at first, Smith scoring the third run.
With two out in the sixth, Bowa doubled past Wilson in left field. Boone singled up the middle to make it 4-0.
Carlton was breezing along. The Royals could only get two men on base in an inning once and that came back in the second.
When Lefty walked Wathan and Jose Cardenal singled, Dallas Green made the move one more time for Tug McGraw in the eighth.
White fouled to Rose for one out. McGraw walked Wilson, loading the bases. The Royals reduced the deficit to 4-1 as Washington hit a sacrifice fly to Garry Maddox.
Brett beat out an infield hit to again load the bases and bring up Hal McRae. McGraw fell behind the count, 3-0. McRae fouled off two pitches and then tapped weakly to Trillo.
Every post-season Phillies victory was decided by one run (3) or two runs (3). Is it possible they would stop that pattern?
They did, but again, it wasn't easy.
Ninth inning... Otis looked at a 2-2 pitch for strike three. The stadium mob was on its feet, screaming at every pitch. Aikens got a full count and drew a walk. Onix Concepcion ran for Aikens.
When Wathan and Cardenal followed with singles, the Royals loaded the bases for the third time in two innings. Tylenol Tug was in a jam.
White hit a foul near the Phillies dugout. Boone and Rose converged on the ball. Rose stopped as Boone reached out to make the catch. The ball dropped out of Boone's glove but the ever alert Rose was there to make the catch for out number two.
That brought up Wilson. McGraw was ahead in the count, one ball, two strikes and then... swing and a miss!!
WORLD CHAMPIONS flashed across the scoreboard.
The players poured out of the dugout... the fans were applauding and screaming, standing on their feet... Schmidt dashed in from third and jumped on the top of hte happy Phillies mob of bodies...the players popped the champagne corks for the third time this month... Schmidt won the Most Valuable Player award.
Commissioner Bowie Kuhn presented the World Championship Trophy to Paul Owens, Ruly Carpenter and Dallas Green on a platform in the middle of a sardine-packed clubhouse... The fans stayed, chanting 'We're Number One'... Green, Rose, Unser and a few others went back out on the field to acknowledge the cheers... Ships on the Delaware sounded their horns; cars were filled with jubilant fans, waving Phillies pennants, yelling about being No. 1, blowing horns; church bells rang.
It'll go down in Philadelphia baseball history at 11:29 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 21, the PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES WON THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP.
Tomorrow, the players would be treated to the largest and most enthusiastic victory parade the City of Brotherly Love has ever given.