Wilmington Evening Journal - October 21, 1980
Schmidt enjoying TV spotlight in Series
By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA – Mike Schmidt says he doesn’t know how he will feel if the Phillies win the World Series. He just knows he is glad he finally doesn't have to consult his issue of TV Guide to find out when the games are being played.
"The last few years I tried to talk myself out of watching the World Series on television, but I never could do it," the Phillies' third baseman said before yesterday's workout for Game Six of the fall classic against the Kansas City Royals. The game will be played starting at 8:20 tonight at Veterans Stadium before more than 65,000 fans, who have no doubts that the world-championship flag will fly over the city before dawn's early light.
"You'd think a break here or a break there and we'd be in there," Schmidt recalled his thoughts in past years. "Everybody feels that way. I'm sure Montreal, Los Angeles, the Yankees, Baltimore – they won 100 games and they're not in it – felt that way this year. You watch the finals of the sport you're involved in and say, 'Damn, we should be in there.' I know I went through that in 1976, ‘77 and ‘78."
But this year the playoff disappointments ended and now the Phillies are not only in the World Series, but they are Just one game away from winning it, And with Steve Carlton on the mound tonight against the Royals' Rich Gale, the Phils are primed for the quick kill.
The Royals will face Carlton tonight and Dick Ruthven if another game is necessary tomorrow night. World Series history favors the Phils. Twenty of 28 teams who won the fifth game of a Series dead locked 2-2 went on the win the whole thing. Nobody will soon forget the Phillies' 4-3 comeback victory in Game Five Sunday in Kansas City.
But momentum won't carry the Phillies over the top.
“There is no momentum in the World Series," Schmidt said, parroting the company line that says the World Series is fun and everybody has a great time, win or lose. "Momentum only makes for good print for you guys. Neither team is more confident than the other. I guarantee you if we had to win two games, there's no way they'd have us overconfidenced."
If there is any Phillies' advantage, Schmidt says, it's that the Royals may try to compress two games worth of victory into tonight's back-to-the-wall showdown.
"You may see a play here or there, a break or a turning point, as the result of there being 'no tomorrow' for one team," Schmidt said. "The team without a tomorrow may play a certain way today that may beat us or maybe not make a difference. But it comes down to the team that hits, pitches and fields the best will win."
Phils Manager Dallas Green doesn't think Kansas. City will try anything fancy, even if, as reliever Dan Quisenberry says, the Royals have their "backs to the Berlin wall, East side."
"They won't do a thing different," Green said; "They'll play their best nine and do the things that got them here. They may go to the bullpen earlier, but that's all."
But that's also part of Rich Gale's "give-us-five-good-innings" style. Which brings us to Quisenberry, who has been in all five World Series games so far, winning one, saving one and losing two. That's a surprising record for the American League's top fireman with 12 regular-season victories and 33 saves.
The Phillies, who have grown used to KentTekulve's underhanded sinkerball style for Pittsburgh the past few seasons, feel they aren't seeing anything new or as good as Tekulve – in Quisenberry, who credits a few preseason Tekulve tips for his success.
"If you had to face Quisenberry 50 times a year, he'd come out on top," said Schmidt. "He's that type of pitcher a one-pitch pitcher who makes his sinker work for him. The odds are against putting four-five hits together for a big inning. If the guy doesn't walk anybody, it's tough to get two hits against him. And he knows that.
"A guy like Rich Gossage doesn't need luck. He's a strikeout pitcher who'll blow you away. But Quisenberry's a sinkerball pitcher who knows you'll hit the ball on the ground. All he needs to get out of trouble is one grounder for a double play. Baseball odds are in his favor over a long period of time. But in a short Series, I think the odds may favor the hitting team."
Not that the Phillies are taking Quisenberry to distant parts of the stadium. But there have been enough hits – bullets to the corners or caroms off Quisenberry's own glove – that have made him the . loser two times in the Phils' three victories.
The Royals, who flew here yesterday afternoon but did not work out, are confident that they will push this Series to a decisive seventh game tomorrow night.
"They gotta win a game and we gotta win two," said Hal McRae, who is hitting a lusty .450 in this Series, which is a full 100 points behind teammate Amos Otis. If we don't win, we go home. But nobody's afraid of going in there."
Over 65,000 screaming fans may have something else in mind.
"You hate to see them (Phillies) keep coming back like that," added McRae, who knows the Phils rallied from behind in all three victories against Houston in the National League playoffs and the three triumphs against the Royals. "But we'll take our chances with a lead every time."
As for Quisenberry's two losses, McRae said it was just one of those crazy things.
"The guy has gone the job all year," he said of the red-haired reliever with more one-liners than even Tug McGraw. "He's the reason we're here. He's been rolling the dice all year. We just have to hope he doesn't crap out now."
Asked the Phils' chances on a 1-to-10 scale, Schmidt smiled and said: "We're gonna win tomorrow's (tonight's) game. You might as well not come to the park if you don't feel you're gonna win."
But if Schmidt were a betting man?
"Then I'd take the underdog," he said. "I always bet the underdog."
Dallas Green isn't the betting type. He likes the sure thing. And he doesn't like waiting around for the game to start.
"We don't like off-days, he said. "There's only a couple of days to go. One, hopefully, and we want to get it over.”
Asked if he has considered what winning the World Series would be like, Green nodded.
"I've thought an awful lot about what it would do for our organization," he said. "I'm an organization guy. I grew up with the Phillies and the Carpenter family. Paul Owens has treated me like a son and I feel close to all of them. Nothing means more to me than winning for the organization, for them as much as for the players.
"We've been regarded as a first-class organization, but you have to win the whole ball of wax before you can really claim that title."
• • •
Larry Bowa took some swings at batting-practice pitches yesterday and took time out to rehash the amphetamine scandal that rocked the Phillies' clubhouse after the All-Star break and put a gag in the normally talkative shortstop's mouth until the playoffs began.
That dispensed with, Bowa addressed the trade rumors that swirled around his head once his batting average began to dip and his fielding slacked off to near-human proportions. As a veteran with 10 years in the majors and five years with the same team, Bowa cannot be traded without his permission.
"But if I know an organization doesn't want me, I won't tie their hands," Bowa said yesterday. "But I won't go anywhere where I have to start at the bottom. I've had enough good years here that, if I get traded, I'll tell them where I want to go.
"If they don't want me here, I won't stay here. But I won't go to no Toronto.”
At which point a writer who covers the Blue Jays yelped.
"Sorry," Bowa laughed. "Ask me again in five years."
Carlton intent on beating Royals
By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor
PHILADELPHIA – When Steve Carlton walks to the pitcher s mound tonight at Veterans Stadium, he will be on public display for 65,000 in-the-flesh fans and millions more watching on television.
But when Steve Carlton arrives at his place of business for the most important game of his career, he will be all alone.
When Steve Carlton steps up to the rubber, he will enter his private world. He will have achieved peace and a degree of concentration that can best be described as a trance.
He will be oblivious to everything and everyone around him. He will seldom see the batters and not hear the fans because he will have wads of cotton stuffed in his ears.
The Phillies are just one victory from winning the 1980 World Series, a triumph that would give the franchise that started in 1883 its first-ever championship.
To reach that long-awaited milestone against the American League champion Kansas City Royals, the Phillies will rely on the left arm of Steven Norman Carlton.
Lefty, as his teammates call him, has struggled ever since he flirted with a no-hitter against Chicago on Oct. 1, choking off the Cubs on just two hits 5-0. But even with his so-so performances in the playoffs and his one start in the World Series, Carlton has kept the Phillies close. And that is what they are almost certain he will do tonight.
"That's the beauty of this man," said Pete Rose. "When he's on the mound, he does not fool around. He works quickly and you know he is going to keep it close. Frankly, I look for him to crank up a masterpiece. He's due."
In his first start against the Royals last Wednesday night, the tormentors attacked his concentration. They did everything possible to keep him from settling into his pattern. Adding to his problem were slick baseballs that prevented him from throwing is nasty slider, considered the best in the majors.
Carlton's critics insist he cannot win important games, but you cannot achieve a 24-9 regular-season record without winning some crucial games along the way.
"And don't forget," said Manager Dallas Green, "he pitched 304 innings during the season. That's a lot of innings for any arm. He has to be tired, but there's not a manager in baseball who wouldn't like to have him out there against the Royals. If they beat Lefty and Dick Ruthven in two games in our park, they deserve to be world champions."
Ever since Carlton arrived here from St. Louis' in 1972 in a deal for Rick Wise, he has been the ace of the staff. He won 27-of-37 decisions that first summer and his performance this past season has most assuredly earned him a third Cy Young Award.
For most of the year he was almost invincible. People ask why.
CARLTON HAD GOOD YEARS while Danny Ozark was the manager, but Steve never liked the man and this type of mental agony disrupts his concentration. Almost from the moment Green arrived on Aug. 31, 1979, you could see a change in Carlton.
"We could all tell Steve was a much happier person when Dallas took over the team," said shortstop Larry Bowa. "I don't think Steve had anything personal against Danny Ozark, but I don't think he thought Danny was a competent manager. And we all know how imcompetence drives him crazy.
"I think he respects Dallas more because Dallas actually learned the ropes as a big-league pitcher. Danny had a tendency to go with the hot hand. Like, if Tug McGraw was hot, Danny would go with him. That's OK, but eventually you're using Tug too much. Dallas wanted to use everybody and Steve knew this.
"We were losing a game early in the year, down something like 2-0, and Dallas lifted Lefty for a pinch hitter. I heard him tell Dallas later, 'You did the right thing.' Last year, Lefty would have gone crazy. Oh, not in public, but he still would have gone bananas."
"I don't think it was any secret that there was no love lost between Lefty and Ozark," said Green. "I'm not saying he loves me, but I think we have mutual respect and I know he's a happier person. I let him do his thing; I'm convinced he works harder than anyone else on the team. I tried the program and could not handle it."
"A transformation has taken place, and I think it's responsible or the way he's pitching," said Tim McCarver, Carlton's close friend and former catcher. "Absolutely nothing fazes him now. He pitches through a hitter right to the catcher as if the hitter isn't even there. He has been transformed into a calm, peaceful person, completely in control, and there have been times when Lefty has not been completely in control. I can tell a distinct difference beetween Steve this year and Steve last year."
Carlton, of course, no longer talks to reporters. A year or so ago, however, he and I were on a flight together and he quickly summarized his approach to baseball.
"You can't let yourself get on that emotional roller-coaster ride over wins and losses," he said. "That's why you have to try and keep an even level of intensity. It becomes harder and harder rather than easier with the years.
"There are so many distractions in this game. And there is always something else going on besides baseball. So often you just have to Isolate yourself from everything else and keep up with your goals."
And then Carlton added: "It is very, very easy to forget your goals. And how can you succeed without goals."
Tonight, Steve Carlton's goal is the obvious and the world knows what it is. Carlton, however, will not be aware the world will be looking down on him.
Unser puts Royals in a pinch
By Rod Beaton, Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA – You play with a team, you're married to it. Probably no one knows Del Unser as well as his teammates on the Phillies, except his wife and two daughters.
So when George Vukovich surveyed Unser in the Veterans Stadium batting cage yesterday, taking swings in preparation for Game Six of the World Series tonight against the Kansas City Royals, he called out: "Get out of there, Del. Everyone knows you only hit in the ninth inning."
Unser has hit well in the ninth inning, and eighth, too. He is a pinch hitter without parallel in this or many other World Series.
He is within one pinch hit of the Series record, three. He doesn't want it.
"If I don't bat, that would mean Lefty (starter Steve Carlton) is in command," he explained.
That's Unser, a 35-year-old consummate team man on a squad that until mid-August featured 25 players pulling In opposite directions. He is a veteran of 13 baseball summers, some more active than this one, but none as rewarding.
Unser, you see, after a 29-hit regular season, has become one of the indlspensible Phils in this giddy assault on history. He is the man Manager allas Green summons in a late-inning situation begging for a base hit.
And Unser is producing.
He has four straight pinch hits since the National League Championship Series began. Three are doubles.
The most recent was the most telling blow in the decisive ninth-inning rally Sunday against the Royals' relief ace, Dan Quisenberry. Unser ripped a line-drive double over first base, scoring Mike Schmidt with the tying run. Unser came around to score the game-winning run.
It has been a long time since. Unser debuted with the Washington Senators in 1968. What a long, strange trip it has been.
He never hit more than 12 homers in a season. He never hit .300. He suffered through the lean (Frank) Lucchesi years with the Phils in '73-74.
"This is all very gratifying," Unser said yesterday, trying reasonably well not to click his heels over his four-star performance.
"I feel pretty good about things now," he said. "We're so close. We need one win. We've got two tries. We're at home and we've got the big guy (Carlton) going."
If Carlton falters and if the Phils need yet another comeback, Unser will apply the pine tar to his Louisville Slugger, stroll to the clubhouse and practice his smooth left-handed swing.
"I don't ever go into a game cold," he said. "I stay real loose. I swing the bat a lot. I study the pitcher as much as I can."
He graduates summa cum laude. Quisenberry is serving the diplomas.
"You put things out of your mind, like what you know he won't throw you," said Unser, who also reached Quisenberry for an RBI double in the Phils' eighth-inning surge in Game Two. He has two RBI doubles against the American League Fireman of the Year, an underhanded way to treat a submariner.
"We've seen a lot of him in this Series (all five games)," Unser noted, "and a lot of Kent Tekulve of Pittsburgh. They have a lot of similarities. I got a big hit off Tekulve in September and I was lucky enough to get a big hit off this guy yesterday (Sunday)."
"As a pinch hitter, you have to go up there to swing," unser said. "If you start taking, it can go boom-boom and you're behind and in trouble.
"The pitcher doesn't always start with his toughest pitch. It's usually his strike pitch, so he can get ahead in the count. That's the one you want to go after. Some 60-to-70 percent of the time it's a fastball."
Unser is an excellent fastball hitter. Pundits use the expression "dead fastball hitter," but Unser s verv much alive and keeps the alive in play, too.
"It's not 100 percent guesswork up there said. "There are times, too, when the count's 3-and-0 and you know you're going to get a fastball then and, hopefully, where you want it."
Not that Unser's pinch-hit litany is anything strikingly original, but it seems to be a lesson it takes considerable major-league tenure to absorb. Unser is another potent pinch hitter who is a veteran, joining venerated names like Smokey Burgess, Dave Philly and the still-playing Manny Mota.
"Well, many of us experienced ballplayers don't play every day. We have to make ourselves worthwhile."
Unser does so by adding duty as a first base and outfield caddy to his portfolio. He even shares left-handed pinch-hitting duty with Greg Gross, and, when the moon is full and Green feels daring, Vukovich.
"They look at me as a long-ball pinch hitter-because of those three home runs," Unser said, referring to a record three consecutive pinch homers hit last season. "But I didn't hit one this year.
"Still, if they want a line-drive single or execution (sacrifice), they use Greg Gross. They look at me for the extra-base hit.
"This year Dallas used us all. The more you come off the bench, the more you get a feeling you're part of things."
Unser is a big part. He's another example of the obscure player who achieves national and permanent notoriety with a good World Series. He's a Dusty Rhodes for our time.
Phils most obnoxious team in history, so he says
By Tom Callahan, Washington Star Service
PHILADELPHIA – The most singularly unattractive, unappealing and, besides that, obnoxious baseball team of modern times is about to win the World Series.
How to win one more game from Kansas City isn't what's worrying the city fathers of Philadelphia. How are they ever going to get the Phillies' players to come to the parade?
Steve Carlton's last Cy Young Award is still in the mail room at Veterans Stadium. Has anyone ever said "So what?" to a world championship?
Take away Tug McGraw, Pete Rose, Del Unser, Mike Schmidt (on his good days) and one or two subs like Greg Gross and John Vukovich, and you pretty much have a collection of sneering and sniveling boors who would kick the crutch out from under Tiny Tim if he asked for an autograph.
Left fielder Greg Luzinski, aptly nicknamed "Bull," finally moped back into the lineup Sunday. He walked in the seventh inning, was pinch-run for by Lonnie Smith, who was pinch-hit for in the ninth by Unser. When Del cracked the second pitch to the left of first baseman Willie Aikens, Aikens avoided being gored while executing a "veronica" worthy of more than just ole!. He should have been awarded Bull's tail.
It got chewed up a little before the game. Phillie Manager Dallas Green, who is said to be a nice enough guy turned rude and gruff only by the company he keeps, talked about trading Luzinski. Nice note on which to start Game Five, huh?
The word is, when Luzinski enrolled himself in sick bay for Game Two, Green may have wondered about how much Greg cares. (After all, there was a guy on the other side who wasn't taking hemorrhoid surgery sitting down.) Apparently, after Luzinski sauntered in to report himself fit for duty again, Green let him wait a while.
That steamed him. In the Phillie tradition, he sought out the Philadelphia press for a chance to bleat about how mistreated he was and to weep about how that just goes to show he wouldn't have batted .229 this year if he hadn't been so misused.
"Nobody loves Greg Luzinski more than I do, but we're not falling into that old syndrome of the tail wagging the dog," Green said. "Isn't it about time we start looking at production? I'd be glad to play Greg Luzinski 162 games, but he's the one who hit .229, not me. He can give all the reasons he wants about hitting .229, but the bottom line is that's what he hit. I get tired of players popping off. The front office is going to have to decide if his production is off or he just doesn't care."
Looking around the winning clubhouse, you would almost think none of them care. If it weren't for the money, that is.
Even Rose looked underwhelmed. Going 3-for-19 will do that. Hal McRae's frightening foul with two men on in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game Five caused McGraw to pat his heart to hold in the beat, but a stethoscope wouldn't get a sound from some of these guys.
"Earlier, I thought a little bit that this World Series was sort of an anticlimax," said Unser, the journeyman who began the seven-stop trip 13 years ago with the Washington Senators, "but now it's warming up."
Yet the room was as cold as Steve Carlton's heart.
"Talk about (unintelligible) character now, huh?" Larry Bowa grumped and groused. "We've been hearing about their (character assassination deleted) character for two days. What about it now, huh?"
Only the Phillies can sound so mean-spirited on the subject of character.
Tonight, the ball will be in the hands of a man who plays the game and picks up the money and nothing else.
Even the "Phillie Phanatic," sort of a minor league "Chicken," has been ripping the Phils for their rudeness to kids.
Carlton's boorishness extends to people of all ages, even occasionally to his former valet catcher, Tim McCarver.
"Sometimes he won't even talk to me," said McCarver after Sunday's game. "Lefty" kept McCarver in baseball a couple of extra years simply because Tim was the only catcher with whom he would even make sign language. One finger is a fastball, two fingers...
"What an athlete," said McCarver, who appeared in a game this season just to be able to say he was a four-decade player. Then he took up broadcasting and got in line at Lefty's locker. "Three hundred and twenty-five innings at 35, what a physically conditioned man. But it was good he didn't pitch Sunday. (There had been talk of that alter two straight losses.) With rest, he should be ready."
Within earshot of the mute man munching potato chips and staring into inner space, McCarver was asked to think of something nice about the man, so he said:
"His sense of humor."
Carlton squirmed on his seat like George Brett.
"It's the kind of stuff that you have to have been there," Tim said after thinking a while. "If other people said the things Lefty says, it wouldn't be that funny. But when he says something funny, he doesn't care if it's funny and he doesn't mean it to be funny and it's just funny. His timing has always been impeccable."
His timing in the biggest games has always been peccable.
"You mean he hasn't won the penultimate game," his old backstop said. "That's right. And I think – now I don't want to speak for him, but I really think this – that he wants to win Tuesday's game more than you could imagine. He doesn't care about records – he really doesn't. He didn't pick up the last, Cy Young Award and he probably won't want this one.
"But from a personal point of view, I think winning this game would mean more to him than the Hall of Fame will."
The joy will come through the Phillies when the money dawns on them, but it's hard to feel too joyful for them.
If they win, Green will probably step down just to get away from the aggravation. When he does, Bake McBride will cheer. Someone else will be sad that Bake's happy. What a clubhouse!
Kansas City isn’t ready to surrender
By Bob Kenney, Gannett News Service
PHILADELPHIA – The Kansas City Royals are not about to roll over and die for the Phillies.
If the National League champions are going to finally win a World Series championship, they are going to have to take it away from the Royals.
"Sure it's going to be tough," said third baseman George Brett. "We have to go in and beat Steve Carlton. But we had to go to New York and beat Rich Gossage."
The Royals admit they were intimidated by the Philadelphia fans and the thought of facing Carlton, a two-time Cy Young Award winner about to get a third, the last time they were in the City of Brotherly Love.
"It's always tough when you see a guy for the first time," explained .Brett. "Maybe it won't be as tough now that we've seen him once."
Carlton, who won 24 games in the regular season and two more in post-season play, will be on the mound tonight when the World Series resumes in Veterans Stadium.
The 6-foot-5 lefthander annually' is voted the toughest pitcher to face by his National League peers. He throws a pitch described as a "vicious slider" and he has been known to completely dominate games when he is on.
"I said before this thing started, we would have to beat Carlton to win it," said Rich Gale, the hard-throwing giant Kansas City will send to the mound. "Now we are at that point. We either beat Carlton or lose it in six games."
It's that simple for Kansas City. Manager Jim Frey gave his American Leaguers the day off and hopes the break will do some good.
"I've told them we have nothing to prove," said Frey. "We're the best team in our league. We just have to relax and have some fun."
The Phillies are in the best position to have fun. Carlton has won 100 times while losing just 38 in Veterans Stadium and he should have an edge against the left-handed power of the Royals.
Since Labor Day, the Phillies have played inspired baseball, coming from behind time after time to finally get within reach of a world title.
"It's sort of scary," shortstop Larry Bowa said during the Phillies' workout yesterday. "I don't want to get my hopes up until it actually happens. I'm just waiting.
"I like Steve Carlton pitching for us," said Bowa. "And we have Dick Ruthven if there is a seventh game. I just think, because we're hitting last, that's a little edge right there."
Neither manager plans any major lineup changes. The Royals will bench Clint Hurdle against Carlton and go with either John Wathan or Jose Cardenal.
In Game Two, Frey had Wathan behind the plate and his right-handed lineup ripped Carlton for 10 hits and six Walks but lost the game.
Gale struggled in Game Three, but the Royals rallied to win after he left. In that one, the 6-foot-7 right-hander left in the fifth inning.
PHILADELPHIA - The weather will be cool tonight for the sixth game of the World Series between the Phillies and the Kansas City Royals, the National Weather Service predicted.
Temperatures will be around 50 at game time (8 20 p.m.) and in the low 40s by the game's end.