Chicago Tribune - October 22, 1980

After 97 years, all Philly breaks loose

 

By David Israel

 

Chicago Tribune Press Service

 

PHILADELPHIA - After 97 years, the Philadelphia Phillies were entitled. They had been waiting for this longer than any other team to punch the clock and don flannels or doubleknits for work. Tuesday night, they pulled out the stopper, had a whopper, and just hoped that someone would get them to the parade on time Wednesday morning.

 

The party commenced promptly at half past 11, when Tug McGraw struck out Willie Wilson to complete a 4-1 Philadelphia victory over the Kansas City Royals in the evening’s event and a 4-2 Philadelphia victory in the World Series of baseball.

 

For 97 years, the city of Philadelphia had fielded a ballclub called the Phillies, but never did it capture a title so cosmic. They missed in 1915, they missed again in 1950, but now the triumph was most emphatic.

 

Tug McGraw thrust both arms skyward, leapt off the mound, and shirked an albatross of staggering proportions.

 

IN A MOMENT, McGraw was joined in his celebration and lost in a swarming sea of red-and-white pinstriped uniforms.

 

There was no question that this was a victory for an entire city, the acting out of a catharsis for millions of fans. Yet, while the rest of them welcome to take to the streets and the saloons, certain precautions were taken to assure that the Phillies’ celebration remained quite private.

 

During the seventh-inning stretch, mounted police took a parade lap across the outfield warning track to remind everyone that decorum was to be maintained. With two outs in the ninth, armed riot police, aided by attack dogs, formed an imposing, breathing barrier along the playing field’s border.

 

To be sure, this was an occasion as decorous as any Philadelphia lawyer’s three-piece suit and high-gloss brogans. From foul line to foul line, from home plate to center field, it was that way in the stands, but for the ballplayers who had denied their past with such a fabulous flourish, this was going to be one extensive moveable feast, a fete more grand and glorious than any Jay Gatsby ever dreamed of.

 

IT STARTED with the backslapping and the hugging and the communal jumping on the center of the infield. It moved to the clubhouse, where tears of joy were shed, and then – at the insistence of the 65,838 spectators who wanted this moment to last forever – it returned to the field.

 

Pete Rose and Dallas Green and Del Unser and Bobby Wine and Greg Gross and Lee Elia and Mike Schmidt and so many of the others came out to take a curtain call and raise a toast – lifting high their bottles of Great Western champagne – to the common foot soldiers who for so long had been with this team through thin and thin.

 

Then, it moved back to the clubhouse, this family affair.

 

Steve Carlton, respectable, stoic and silent to the end -no hypocrite in his desire to attain privacy – offered a magnum of Laurent Perrier champagne to any of his teammates who cared to venture into the trainer s room.

 

Others skipped and then stumbled about the congested clubhouse offering themselves congratulations.

 

Still others, stood passively to talk – swigging bubbly, and swallowing beer all the while. And they made it clear that they understood the nature of the moment, how 97 summers of futility were past but hardly irrelevant, how their success had – for however fleetingly – changed the life and chemistry of a city.

 

TUG McGRAW, NATURALLY, was giddy and goofy and apologizing to all the notetakers because they were too busy to join him for a drink. He rattled off a series of one-liners like a comic working the lounge of a Vegas casino.

 

"This city has been waiting for this since Moby Dick was a guppy," McGraw said now.

 

“I've only been through six years of Philadelphia baseball frustration," McGraw said then. "But in those six years I've been able to get a feeling of what the 97 years must have felt like. The peaks, the valleys, the disappointments, they’re all heartfelt. It makes me more proud to be a part of this. You know, right now I bet you W.C. Fields wishes he were out of his grave joining us for a drink."

 

"Ben Franklin IS out of his grave with a little flask, taking a nip," McGraw said later. "The only problem is tomorrow he s going to be sorry because his gout’s going to be acting up."

 

WHILE McGRAW celebrated with whiskey, Dallas Green, the reluctant manager, wept unashamedly. He gathered his three children around him, put his big, sturdy arms over their shoulders, and – amidst of the cacophonous joy that swirled in the dressing room – shared a moment of peace and quiet with them. Ninety-seven years of ineptitude were past, and he wanted his children to make sure they never forgot.

 

"Remember what this feels like" Green told his children. "We're the world champions. Now you’ll always know what that feels like."

 

This one was very special, this championship for Philadelphia. No team in American sports had waited so long or fumbled so futilely. The New York Mets had to wait less than a decade for the millennium to come. Hard though it may be to believe, when they first started playing these things, the teams of Chicago, the Cubs and the White Sox, were rather regular participants. In Detroit and Cleveland and Boston, in St. Louis and New York and Pittsburgh, they have all had a drink from this cup.

 

"IT S TOUGH TO put in words." Mike Schmidt said. "It was just an eerie feeling to be in Veterans Stadium with one pitch to go for a World Championship."

 

"I can really understand how the people feel," Pete Rose said. "The first one you win is for the fans. This was all they wanted. Now they know that it really is it."

 

"They've been starved," Larry Bowa said. "You could tell all night that this was different. They were giving standing ovations when guys were hitting the ball hard in batting practice."

 

They started then, and they kept on bellowing, sending forth a primal scream.

 

They have never seen such tumult, such shouting here. And they never will again.

 

 

It never gets better than the first time. Especially when it has been a century getting here.

Commentary:   Ticket scam puts KC in the big time

 

By David Israel

 

Chicago Tribune Press Service

 

PHILADELPHIA – Back in Kansas City, they are rather proud of themselves.  What has transpired on the ballfield during this World Series between the Royals and the Philadelphia Phillies is almost of secondhand importance; in a symbolic sense, victory has already been achieved by that city.

 

The good burghers of Kansas City feel that merely participating in an event of such cosmic significance has rendered unto them a status they never before enjoyed.

 

Kansas City feels big time.  And this is no small thing.

 

BUT NOW, THE natives think that they have made a positive impact on the American consciousness.  They figure we are impressed.

 

And, frankly, I have to figure those people know something.  I am impressed.  On Sunday, Kansas City made its mark.  It moved right up there with Chicago and New York and Boston and Philly and Washington and LA; it established itself as a place where any man with a sense of decency and goodness is going to me smashed into oblivion.

 

For on Sunday, Kansas City finally showed us.  It did it all.  It combined the World Series, organized crime, and politics.

 

Harry Wiggins, a state senator in Missouri, had two $20 tickets for the fifth game of the Series.  Shortly before he was to leave for Royals Stadium, he was called by Sal Capra, a former member of the KC city council who is now a consultant for the police board.

 

Capra, Wiggins later told reporters, asked if Wiggins would swap his two tickets in the lower level stands for two worth $15 each in the upper deck.

 

Capra, Wiggins contended, said the tickets would be used by James E. Burke, a 70-year-old attorney of some note who was too infirm to make his way to the seats in the upper deck.  Burke once represented Tom Pendergast, the late Democratic boss of Kansas City who gave Harry S. Truman to the world.

 

During the second inning, Wiggins went down to his original seats so he could pay his respects to Burke.  He was pretty surprised when he found Nick Civella and Peter Tamburello sitting in his seats.

 

The Kansas City Times describes Civella as “reputedly the czar of the Kansas City underworld,” and Tamburello as “a close Civella associate,” which probably means he does not drive an ice cream truck in the summer to earn a few extra bucks while he works on his doctorate in physics at the University of Missouri.

 

FOR HIS PART, WIGGINS proclaimed innocence, though Civella said Wiggins personally delivered the Series tickets to his home.

 

“I’m a grown man and I’ve had a lot of surprises in my life, but I’ve never been so astonished to see Nick Civella sitting in a seat I paid for,” Wiggins said.

 

Wiggins said he called Capra and complained, and Capra, unrepentant, said he knew Burke would not be sitting in the seats.

 

Later, the police board asked Capra to resign his position as paid consultant.

 

Capra, of course, was not available for comment.  His secretary told reporters he was out of town but she did not know where.

 

So far, the best scam Philly has to offer is scalpers scalping scalpers.

 

It works like this:

 

A scalper stands outside Veterans Stadium hawking his wares.  A gentleman approaches him, flashes a gold-colored badge, identifies himself as a policeman, confiscates the scalper’s tickets, and tells the quaking semi-pro scalper that he gets a pass this time.

 

When the first scalper takes off, the fellow who identified himself as a cop sticks his phony badge in his pocket and starts hawking his ill-gotten wares.

 

Not bad.  But not good enough.

Phillies find glory at last

 

By Robert Markus

 

Chicago Tribune Press Service

 

PHILADELPHIA – Free at last.

 

The Philadelphia Phillies hoisted the weight of the baseball world off their shoulders Tuesday night when they won their first world championship in the 98th year of their existence.

 

Steve Carlton pitched the 4-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals that wrapped up the World Series for the Phillies in six games.  But he needed relief help from Tug McGraw, who in turn needed a near-miraculous catch by Pete Rose to stave off ninth-inning disaster.

 

The Royals, trailing 4-0 against Carlton, who for seven innings had tamed them like Gunther Gebel-Williams facing down a cage full of lions, knocked out the Phillies’ premier pitcher in the eighth and left the bases full against McGraw in each of the last two innings.

 

McGraw finally ended it by striking out Willie Wilson, who thereby set a record for World Series futility by fanning for the 12th time.

 

THE INSTANT THE ball banged into catcher Bob Boone’s glove, the record crowd of 65,838 cut loose with all the pent-up emotion that had been fueled by decades of disappointment.

 

The field resembled an armed camp; mounted police and attack-dog units, already in place, repelled any attempts at invasion.  The only rioters on the field were the Phillies, who were pummeling each other with joyous abandon.

 

Most of the crowd stayed for several minutes and stomped and screamed until Manager Dallas Green and several Phillies players, including Rose, came back out to accept their tribute.

 

ROSE HELD ALOFT a bottle of champagne in a gesture that seemed to embrace the entire world.  The fiery first baseman was in the center of almost everything that happened Tuesday night – good and bad.

 

It was his bunt single in the third that loaded the bases for Mike Schmidt, whose two-run single knocked in all the runs the Phillies were to need and helped the Philadelphia third baseman win the Series MVP award.

 

Rose’s deep fly in the fifth moved Lonnie Smith in position to score an insurance run.  His failure to touch first base on George Brett’s grounder in the eighth enabled the Royals to fill the bases with two out and inject a touch of panic into the hearts of the Phillies fanatics.

 

But it was Rose who was right on the spot when Bob Boone dropped an easy foul popup by Frank White with one out and the bases loaded in the ninth.  Before the ball could hit the turf, Rose lunged for it and squeezed it.  Moments later, McGraw burned the third strike past Wilson and the Phillies’ agony at long last had ended.

 

McGRAW ADMITTED he was tiring and “if I hadn’t gotten Wilson out I was going to call Dallas out there and tell him I couldn’t get the job done anymore.

 

“I was running out of gas and missing with my pitches.  I heard everybody yelling, and I saw the police dogs running onto the field and said to myself I’d better reach back – just like this whole teams has been reaching back since Moby Dick was a guppy.”

 

THERE WAS AN AIR of expectation all day long in Philadelphia.  Even Green seemed to sense it.  “I think we’re ready to end it tonight,” he told reporters before the game.  “I’d like nothing better.  I’m tired.  I admit that.”

 

But Carlton was rested, with five days off since his last start, and he went after the Royals right from the beginning, striking out the first two batters.

 

He wobbled briefly in the second when he walked two in a row, but righted himself immediately.  By the time the eighth began he had been reached for only three singles and no one else had reached second base.

 

Royals’ starter Rich Gale had matched him over the first two innings, but came unglued after a controversial call by second base umpire Bill Kunkel in the third.

 

Boone had opened the inning with a walk, and when Frank White tried for a routine force after fielding Lonnie Smith’s grounder, his throw pulled U.L. Washington off the bag.  Or so Kunkel claimed.  It was the kind of play that you see 1,000 times in a season and the call goes to the defense on 999 occasions.

 

Washington’s mistake was in not throwing the ball to first, even though there was no chance to double Smith.  Like a Magician who fails to carry out the illusion, Washington had called attention to the fact that he stepped off the bag.

 

Rose’s bunt followed and this time the Royals’ mistake was more apparent.

 

THE ROYALS were anticipating the bunt, and Brett charged in from third on every pitch until the count reached 3-1.  Then “I thought there was a chance he would be swinging,” said Manager Jim Frey, “so I had George play back.”

 

Even so, Brett might have thrown Rose out had he not taken two steps back toward third after the ball was already on the ground.  By the time he decided to charge, it was too late.  Schmidt’s single finished Gale and brought on a parade of Kansas City relief pitchers who, by and large, performed with great efficiency.  But it was too late.

 

Carlton with a 4-0 lead and breezing is almost impossible to beat.  Yet, there was a tug of anxiety when he opened the eighth by walking John Wathan and giving up a sharp single to Jose Cardenal.  It was enough for Green to go immediately to McGraw and for the paranoid Philly fans to start wondering if it was happening again.

 

Was Lucy going to pull the football away from Charlie Brown yet another time?  It seemed possible when, after the Royals had scored their run on Washington’s sacrifice fly, Brett got a scratch hit when Rose couldn’t stab first base after taking a throw from Manny Trillo.  Now the bases were loaded with two out and Hal McRae, a superb October hitter, was at bat.

 

McRae worked the count full and fouled off three consecutive pitches as McGraw worked from a windup and Brett kept running full tilt with every pitch, representing the tying run.  Finally, McRae grounded routinely to Trillo and a massive sigh shook the stadium.

 

BUT NOTHING HAD COME easy for the Phillies this year, and it was not easy on this night of nights.  McGraw sneaked a third strike past Amos Otis to start the ninth, “but after the first batter I began to feel very tired,” he said.  He walked Willie Aikens and gave up consecutive singles to Wathan and Cardenal, who thus redeemed himself for striking out to end Game Five.

 

White fouled out on the first pitch and McGraw said that Rose’s play “gave me a tremendous lift.  I was very tired and it saved me two or three pitches.”

 

By that time the field had already been secured against fans to had begun to gather over the Royals’ dugout.  The sidelines were filled with horses and dogs and the Royals’ bullpen pitchers were called into the dugout for their own protection.

 

“It was very distracting,” White said.  “They had dogs and horses all over the place.  Who wants to run into a horse?  It just didn’t seem like baseball anymore.  I’ve never seen anything like it, except in Venezuela.”

 

 

The Phillies and their fans had never seen anything like it – not in 98 years.  Green, who managed brilliantly in this Series, was in tears after it.  “I think Larry Bowa said it best,” he said.  “We had some ghosts to put to sleep.”

Schmidt champion of the champions

 

By Bob Verdi

 

Chicago Tribune Press Service

 

PHILADELPHIA – Mike Schmidt, the perfect gentleman, also was the perfect realist.

 

“We are the world champions of baseball,” he said.  “We used to always find a way to lose.  We had a lot of high points, but it always seemed we saved the low points for the most important points.  So we had that image.  Losers.  Chokers.  Whatever it was.

 

“Now, we are the world champions.  Now, we’ve found a way to win.  The last few weeks, in some of these games we’ve been in, we were a base hit away from being losers again.  But we wouldn’t let it happen.  I know who most of you guys will be picking to win our division when spring training starts, though.  Montreal.  Right?  Well, we might just surprise you all over again.

 

There were, however, few surprises Tuesday night.

 

Mike Schmidt got the big hit, a two-run single in the third inning, to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 4-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals and their first World Series title.

 

MIKE SCHMIDT WAS named most valuable player of the World Series.

 

Mike Schmidt accepted the award only after suggesting that he didn’t deserve it.

 

“Really, what should happen is that 25 guys get a piece of this thing,” said Schmidt.  “Because that’s how we got here.  We got here together.  This team used to seem destined to lose, for one reason or another.  But this year, we were destined to win.  I don’t know exactly when I started feeling that way.  But after we won close game after close game with somebody else doing something different every night, you had that feeling.

 

“And the more we won, the happier we got.  I don’t know which came first, being happy or winning, but it definitely hadn’t existed here before.  That’s why one guy shouldn’t be singled out.  Six or seven or eight guys could have won this thing.  I didn’t do anything spectacular.  I just happened to do something every game.  That’s all.”

 

FOR SIX GAMES, Schmidt had 8 hits in 21 at bats for a .381 average.  He hit safely in all six games, had at least one RBI in the last five, and seven total.

 

In Game One, he walked twice, scored twice.  In Game Two, his eighth inning double scored the game-winning RBI.  In Game Three, he homered in a losing cause.  In Game Four, he hit a sacrifice fly to tie the score in the eighth inning.  In Game Five, he poked a two-run homer to snap a scoreless tie, then singled to commence a vital rally in the ninth inning.

 

Tuesday night, Game Six, Bob Boone opened the third inning with a walk off Kansas City starter Rich Gale.  Lonnie Smith, next up, tapped a grounder to second baseman Frank White, whose flip to U. L. Washington pulled the shortstop off the bag.  At least that’s the way second base umpire Bill Kunkel saw it.  It would seem a little late in the season to become strict on phantom double plays, but that loaded the bases.

 

“All I want there is to get the bat on the ball and drive it,” said Schmidt, who drove it hard to right center field.  “The biggest hit of my mediocre career.”

 

MIKE SCHMIDT is not a mediocre ballplayer.  No is he one of the fat-headed Phillies you’ve been reading about.  He cares about his teammates, cares about his team, and cares about the city in which he plays.  Two years ago, he hit only 21 home runs and had only 78 RBI.  The Philadelphia fans almost booed him off third base every time he took his position.  But he never shot his mouth off.

 

Last year, he hit 45 home runs and collected 118 RBI.  This year, 48 home runs and 121 RBI.  Every time he took his position, the customers roared their approval.  But Mike Schmidt never said I-told-you-so.

 

“You know what he is,” says Pete Rose, “he’s cool.  When he’s out there, he’s in charge.  You just look at him and you feel confident.”

 

Also you look at Mike Schmidt and you see a complete ballplayer.  That wasn’t always the case.

 

“I feel like I learned to hit under pressure,” he says.  “I wanted to add that to my repertoire.  I didn’t want to retire and have people say that I could hit a baseball as far as anybody and that he fielded well and that he always drove in a hundred runs, but he couldn’t hit in the clutch.

 

“The key is concentration.  And whenever the pressure is coming from is what breaks up your concentration.  The feeling that ‘I gotta do it,” that fear of failure, that feeling that you’re 0-for-4 and just gotta get a hit this time up is pressure.  And the more pressure, the more ‘you gottas’ you put on yourself, the less your concentration is what it should be.

 

“MY ACCOMPLISHMENTS don’t mean as much to me as what we have done, though.  You can call us anything you want, and that bothers me.  I don’t like reading that we’re uncooperative, or arrogant.  I didn’t like in the middle of the summer reading that we were supposedly on drugs.  It upsets me.  And I didn’t like reading some of the things about the way we played earlier in the year, even though they were probably justified.  We certainly didn’t play like champions for the first few months of the year.  Like I say, call us anything you want.  But make sure to call us World Champions because that’s what we are.

 

“Dallas Green, we had our differences with him this year.  But the man managed his way and made it work.  He was right.  You can’t doubt what it did now, even though I didn’t feel sure we’d be champions until that last pitch.  They are a great team, Kansas City.  They didn’t lose this thing because of lack of heart.”

 

Mike Schmidt says it won’t sink in for weeks, this happiest night of his life.  There will be other happy ones to come, for surely he will be named Most Valuable Player in the National League.  Next spring training in Clearwater, Fla., he will take great joy when the Philadelphia Phillies take the field as world champions.

 

“WE DON’T COME from New York or L.A. or Chicago, but we are world champions and that’s the way you get recognition,” he said.  “That’s not what we play for.  But the magazines and the networks and the big newspapers will be in Clearwater on the opening day of spring training.  To see the Phillies.  And it will be nice. Very nice.”

 

Mike Schmidt then dipped his chin and looked through his bottle of champagne.

 

“I don’t want to sound melancholy,” he said, “but I pray a lot.  I prayed more than ever this season, and all of them were answered but one.  On my birthday, Sept. 27, my grandmother died.  Viola Schmidt.  She’s the first one who ever threw Mike Schmidt a baseball.  Dayton, Ohio.  I wish she was here to enjoy this with me tonight, this unbelievable feeling and togetherness we have.  When I think of her, it makes me very humble.

 

 

Mike Schmidt, a most valuable person, doesn’t have any worries in that department.

Series Notes

 

Chicago Tribune Press Service

 

Cubs name 3 coaches

 

PHILADELPHIA – The Cubs have announced that Peanuts Lowrey will return to the club to assist Manager Joey Amalfitano.  And, as reported earlier, Les Moss, who managed the Detroit Tigers for the first half of the 1979 season, will become pitching coach.

 

Moss, who played, coached and managed [the last five weeks in 1968] for the White Sox, replaces Mike Roarke, who resigned at the end of the season.  Lowrey left the Cubs at the end of the 1979 season when Herman resigned as manager.

 

Another addition to the staff is Jack Hiatt, who managed at Wichita the past two season, as bullpen coach.  Billy Williams (batting coach), Cookie Rojas (third base coach), and Gene Clines (first base coach) will be back.

 

Ohio U. benefits

 

MIKE SCHMIDT of the Phillies said he would donate the $5,000 scholarship that goes with the World Series’ Most Valuable Player award to his alma mater, Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.  Told that the award also carries with it a $9,000 engraved gold watch, Schmidt said, “You mean I don’t get a car?  I’ve already got a watch.  Heck, I’ll just trade it for a car.”

 

Getting ready

 

PHILADELPHIA STREET vendors were so certain the Phillies were going to close out the World Series Tuesday night that they were hawking pennants and T-shirts inscribed “1980 World Champion Phillies” before the game.  The newspapers considered the city’s first baseball title a fait accompli and so did most Phillie fans.

 

A victory parade was scheduled for Wednesday morning, with Thursday as an alternate date just in case.  But Philadelphia Manager Dallas Green appeared unconcerned.  “I’d be worried if those banners were for the Royals,” he said.

 

Still the same

 

PHILLIE MANAGER Dallas Green remains a determined foe of the designated-hitter rule.  He admitted the rule helped his team in the World Series opener when it enabled him to save his weary bullpen.

 

“It helped us and hurt us,” Green said Tuesday.  “But I still don’t care for the designated hitter, and I’ve fought against it the little bit I can fight.”

 

Another look

 

FORMER CUB Jose Cardenal was grateful, but not surprised, he got a chance to play Tuesday after striking out to end Game Five in Kansas City.

 

“What happened Sunday can happen to anybody,” said Cardenal.  “You can’t judge somebody on one time at bat.  I’m in a tough situation.  My contract expires this year and everybody is here from all the other teams and you want to look good.  I tried to overdo it, and I swung too hard.”

 

Royal revenge

 

KANSAS CITY third baseman George Brett presided at a table at Old Original Bookbinders Tuesday afternoon.  All the waiters wore Phillies caps.  Could that be why a hard, round cracker came flying out of left field and landed in a waiter’s water glass?

 

Police action

 

THERE WERE more riot police than ballplayers on the field at Veterans Stadium during batting practice, leading one writer to wonder, “Are we here to cover a ball game or a coup d’etat?