Chicago Tribune - October 21, 1980
Bowa, Phillies can silence the critics Tuesday
By Robert Markus, Chicago Tribune Press Service
PHILADELPHIA – They have been booed by their fans, cussed by their manager, condemned by their hometown press, but the Philadelphia Phillies are one victory away from redemption. They have Steve Carlton rested and ready to bury the Kansas City Royals in Game Six of the World Series Tuesday night, and if the National League's probable Cy Young Award winner can't wrap up the Phillies' first world championship, Dick Ruthven is waiting in the wings.
Phils' Manager Dallas Green withheld Carlton from Sunday's fifth game in Kansas City and feels the extra two days of rest "definitely will help him."
Carlton, a 24-game winner in the regular season, has not looked sharp in any of his postseason appearances, although the Phillies eventually won all three games. "I think that Lefty, with more than 320 innings under his belt, can use the extra rest," Green said. "The innings take their toll in arm speed; eventually, I don't care who you are, you've got to wear down.
"It takes away the extra pop you need for your fastball and slider. Earlier everything he threw was cracking; now it's not cracking as often – but often enough to get the job done."
"I like having Steve Carlton pitching for us and Dick Ruthven if there is a seventh game," said shortstop Larry Bowa. "But we can't think we have them with their backs against the wall. If they win tomorrow, whose back is to the wall then?
"I just want to win one more game. I don't care if I hit zero."
BOWA, WHO is hitting far from zero in the Series so far – he's 8 for 20, a .400 average – knows more than most what a Phillies' victory would mean. It would mean vindication to a team that has worn its reputation like a shroud.
"We've been called overpaid, smug, spoiled brats," Bowa said as he waited outside the batting cage during Monday's off-day workout. "We'd read that in the papers every day when we lost.
"A lot of people have been down on our baseball team1 the baseball experts who counted us out in Houston, who counted us out of the NL East, who counted us out in the World Series.
"You start to get offended after awhile, your feathers get ruffled a little. So, sure, some of us have chips on our shoulders. Until you get to the ultimate, you're considered choke artists because you won three division titles in a row and lost in the playoffs.
"I'd think the fans would appreciate a team that wins three division titles in a row. I know they want to win it as bad as the Phillies do – they say. But I know that nobody wants to win it more than I want to. I know what I went through."
ALL THE way back to his Little League days, Bowa was saying, people were telling him he wasn't good enough. Then he came to the Phillies and it was the team that wasn't good enough.
"I know that if it weren't for the fans paying the way I couldn't make this kind of money," he said. "And I know I owe Ruly Carpenter [Phils' owner] a lot. But I want to win this for myself and the Phillies. Because I can quote people who said we were never going to make it. And I can look back and say I was in the World Series When I wasn't supposed to even be in the big leagues."
Bowa kept talking as if he were exorcising all the pent-up bitterness he has carried since the morning "I woke up and read in the papers that I was on drugs. My whole life was affected by that. It took a long time to come to grips with it.
"I'd come to the park and I was mentally unprepared to play.
"I still have some scars from that,” he said. "Sure, there was a retraction the next day. But did the people who live in Boston or California or Japan see that retraction? Am I just supposed to accept that as part of baseball? I can accept criticism when it's fair. But that was unfair."
Carlton, Phils’ silent star, lets his pitching speak for itself
By Bob Verdi, Chicago Tribune Press Service
PHILADELPHIA – A man's home is his castle. In Steve Carlton's case, it is also an embodiment of the man himself. It is miles from commotion, built to his specifications off a dirt road, and busy with glass – the kind of glass through which you can look out, but nobody can look in.
The Philadelphia Phillies' mystical left hander runs silent and he runs deep. And Tuesday night, Steve Carlton will work the most important game of his secret life. If he is himself, the Kansas City Royals will take their aborted cuts, then trudge to the clubhouse for cold cuts, breakfast of non-champions.
And if he is himself, Steve Carlton will sip quietly as the Philadelphia Phillies mark their first World Series title, then slip off to recapture the inner peace that – along with a fastball, curve, and slider – makes him what he is. Baseball's best pitcher.
Steve Carlton parcels out his personal thoughts only to his wife, family, and select friends. The rest of the world, he shuts out as easily and gleefully as he shuts out the Cubs.
"I have said to him often, 'Lefty, baseball is a public game, we owe the public more,' " says shortstop Larry Bowa. "And always, he answers, 'Baseball is our game. We owe the public only one thing. A good performance.'"
Steve Carlton is Frank Sinatra in sanitary hose.
AT LEAST STEVE CARLTON is consistent. When Barbara Walters cleared her throat the other day and offered him $25,000 for an exclusive interview, the 36-year-old "Southpaw Sphinx" – actually, his representative – repeated the one and only answer such requests ever elicit. A flat no. Policy is policy.
Midst a band of Phillies who court hernias by recoiling from the press over alleged media brutality, Carlton is easily the most resolute in his convictions. Yet, even his most militant teammates figure that Lefty could double his income if he went public in this city, where sports fans, even while sleeping, slip into apoplexy.
"It's just not Lefty's style," says Tim McCarver, Carlton's onetime favorite batterymate in Philadelphia and now a Phils' broadcaster. "A couple of times, he's come on the air with me after a game as a favor. But he's also turned me down."
Once, Carlton was not such an enigma. His persona was not private property. He spoke of his interest in martial, arts, particularly kung fu. And his vegetarian ways. And his study of philosophy. And his wine collection. And his inclination to taste it, often.
When he won 27 of the Phillies' 59 games in 1972 and was justly labeled "The Franchise," he was an open book. But he lost 20 times the next season, and felt the media betrayed him when it ascribed the slump to his kaleidoscopic mind. Two mediocre seasons followed, and by that time, Steve Carlton's silence was deafening. Friends reason that he wasn't as fearful of ruining his image by further exposure as he was fearful of ruining his concentration.
"LEFTY IS A THOROUGHBRED, a complete dedicated professional," says McCarver. "When it comes to pitching, he is completely prepared, completely in charge, completely confident. He blocks everything out of his mind, including, maybe, the batter. It's as though he's looking right past the batter so he can sort of play an elevated game of catch with the catcher. When Lefty is pitching, a bomb could explode at second base and he wouldn't know it."
And not only because Carlton stuffs cotton into his ears when he goes to the mound. The consummate achiever, he drives himself through thick and thin, brushing aside bad calls by umpires, fielding gaffes by teammates, base hits, as experiences that will make him better, or at least more learned, the next time out. By being introverted, or insightful, he seems oblivious to the inanities that bug the average ballplayer. Yet, Steve Carlton obviously does not suffer, as Manager Dallas Green says, the ailment that stifles too many athletes – paralysis through analysis.
This season, Carlton won 24, lost 9, and struck out 286 batters to become the all-time leading left hander in that department. If he doesn't win his third Cy Young Award, it will be only because the writers who vote looked elsewhere in spite, their egos bruised by his rebuffs.
Despite the careful way he treats his 35-year-old arm, and his powerful 6-5 frame, the 304 innings he pitched have sapped his strength. Steve Carlton has not been his vintage self during the National League playoffs, or the World Series. But that might prove to be the ultimate booby trap that finally subdues the Royals, because he can win even when he isn't dominant.
PITCHING IS, after all, more than anything the art of outthinking the hitter. And Carlton is so smart, so coy, that he needn't have his best stuff to survive. Even when his slider isn't working brilliantly, his mind is. Thus, he can be alternately overpowering and cunning. How many pitchers, at any age, can make that statement?
"His best pitch is the slider," says Bowa. "It breaks down and in on right handed batters, and it's awesome. It can look like a fastball until the last second, then it just falls out of sight. Just explodes. You'll see man after man go after it in the dirt. You'll also see a lot of check swing strikeouts when he's on. When he isn't, he'll go with other pitches and other speeds, then come back with something completely different the next time around. Just when you think you got him figured, bam, he lights you up. One upmanship. Lefty is always one up."
The Phillies are one up with two to go now, and if Steve Carlton is Steve Carlton Tuesday night, there will be a parade Wednesday in Philly.
Lefty, who is the only Phillie who hides on Camera Day, who challenged Dallas Green about running laps during spring training, who meditates before every start so he can do it his way, will be the toast of Philadelphia for many jobs well done.
Then, it will be Philadelphia's job to find him.
World Series notes
From Tribune Wire Services
Cardenal gets another shot at Carlton
PHILADELPHIA – Former Cub Jose Cardenal, whose strikeout ended the fifth World Series game in Kansas City, will start in right field for the Royals Tuesday night against Steve Carlton, the only left-handed starter on the Phillies' pitching staff.
Cardenal will replace Clint Hurdle, who is hitting .417 in the Series. Cardenal has failed to hit in six times at bat and has struck out three of those times.
"I feel he Cardenal has a better chance against Carlton," explained Kansas City Manager Jim Frey.
PETEY ROSE is having the time of his life as a bat boy for the Philadelphia Phillies, but it took a court order to get him to the World Series.
Paul George, a Hamilton County Pomestic Relations Court judge, issued the order in Cincinnati permitting the youngster to join his father, first baseman Pete Rose, in Kansas City for the Series games with the Royals.
Karolyn Rose, whose 15-year marriage to Rose ended in divorce in August, objected to the trip because only 10-year-old Petey – and not the couple's 15-year-old daughter, Fawn – was to be included, according to her lawyer, Dominic Mastruserio.
"We think a parent should visit with both of his children," said Mastruserio. "She wants to see the kids with their father."
While Rose has visiting rights, Mastruserio said, "he just doesn't exercise them. He hasn't seen his children since last March."
But according to Pete's attorney, Douglas Cole, the Phillies' star doesn't have facilities to take care of his daughter. Cole said Petey is sharing his father's hotel room and was welcome in the Phillies' locker room.
Rose was to have returned Petey to Cincinnati Monday morning after the games in Kansas City ended and the Series moved back to Philadelphia. But Petey did not return. Instead, he called his mother from Philadelphia Monday morning and asked if he could stay for the remaining game [or games, if necessary]. Despite Karolyn's reluctance, Mastruserio said, Petey won her over.
BILL VIRDON. who managed the Houston Astros to their first championship the National League West Division, beating Los Angeles in a one-game playoff in their 19-year history, was named the major league's Manager of the Year by The Sporting News. It was the second time Virdon, 49, was so honored. He also was tabbed in 1974 when he led the Yankees to a second-place finish in the American League East.
Atlanta's Bobby Cox and Oakland's Billy Martin, who replaced Virdon in New York in 1975, tied for second.
It was some kind of consolation for Houston, which despite its 92-70 record, tops in the league, lost to Philadelphia in a five-game championship series.