Reading Eagle - October 26, 1980
Carlton, Brett Earn Awards
NEW YORK (AP) – Steve Carlton of the Philadelphia Phillies and George Brett of the Kansas City Royals – opponents in the World Series – shared the 1980 Performers of the Year honors in the annual poll of major league managers conducted by Baseball Magazine.
Left-hander Carlton, who was 24-9 for the world champion Phils, collected eight first-place votes from the 12 NL managers and out-distanced teammate Mike Schmidt with 54 total points to Schmidt’s 31.
Montreal’s Gary Carter was a distant third with 14 points, with Los Angeles’ Dusty Baker fourth with 12 and Keith Hernandez of St. Louis, the 1979 winner, fifth with 11.
Third baseman Brett, who flirted with .400 most of the second half of the season and finished at .390, polled eight first-place ballots in the AL and had 58 points to 34 for runner-up Rich Gossage, relief ace for the New York Yankees.
Milwaukee’s Cecil Cooper was third with 20 points, Baltimore’s Steve Stone fourth with 18 and New York’s Reggie Jackson fifth with 15.
Carlton led the NL pitchers with 286 strikeouts in 304 innings pitched and had a 2.34 earned run average for his 38 starts. Brett became only the second man in AL history to have more RBI than games played when he batted in 118 runs in 117 games. Brett had 24 homers and 14 game-winning RBI.
Hernandez’s finish was the highest by a previous winner in the three-year history of the manager’s poll with the NL votes split up among a record 20 different players.
Everything Just Fell Into Place for Phillies
By John W. Smith, Asst. Sports Editor
Why were the Philadelphia Phillies able to win the National League Playoffs and World Series this year when they failed to even make it into the Series in past years?
The stock answer is that Dallas Green helped develop their “character” with his stern manner, and that is accordingly stood the test of the October crucible.
“My team has innards,” he was fond of saying. “I insisted they do it my way, and some people finally came to understand that.” Larry Bowa stressed the importance of the “discipline” which Dallas taught.
Then, when things started to go right, the team built on each success. “We always had
the talent,” said Dallas.
In September, you could feel the electricity.”
“The guys began to believe in themselves,” observed Pete Rose, and others echoed his sentiments.
DALLAS ALSO made wiser use of his pitching staff than Danny Ozark ever did, and capitalized on the strengths of his bench. Dallas pointed to the importance of getting malcontents off the bench, going with cheerleaders (John Vukovich was the prime example) for the really extra men.
You could of course take another tack, and look at the fact that just about everybody did his job. More than one player was saying throughout the month, “I know that a team victory is a cliché, but…”
In the playoffs, Rose, Manny Trillo, and Garry Maddox all hit .300 or better, and Greg Luzinski hit .294. In the Series, Bob Boone, Mike Schmidt, Larry Bowa and Bake McBride all hit over .300. That covers the eight regulars.
The top three RBI men for the Phils in the playoffs were Trillo, Luzinski and Maddox; in the Series, they were Schmidt, McBride and Boone. And Rose tied for first in runs in the playoffs.
THEN YOU can throw in the four irregulars. For postseason play, Greg Gross hit .500, Del Unser .455, Lonnie Smith .333 and Keith Moreland .308. That’s a bench with more power than Johnny.
Pitching? The ace, Steve Carlton, won three postseason games. Four others won one, and another saved one. Another, Larry Christenson, pitched runless ball in one of his two starts. Another, Marty Bystrom, was the starter in two games the Phillies won. Tug McGraw had four saves besides his win.
Still another tack would be to look at some of the seemingly minor points. Any time a team plays as many close games as the Phillies, a lot of those points become major.
Of the Phillies’ 11 postseason games, five went extra innings (two wins). Of the other six, two were decided by a run, three by two runs, and just the final one by as much as three runs. (And the last three games in Montreal saw two go extra innings – including the meaningless one – and the other decided by a run.)
Here are some suggestions for the list of points:
THE September 13 arrival of Sparky Lyle. O.K., so Sparky wasn’t eligible for postseason play. He didn’t win a game and saved only two. But he pitched in six winning games for the Phils. Rose pointed out his value for postseason play: “Getting him meant that Dallas didn’t have to use Tug so much, and he wasn’t blown out by the time we got to the Series.” McGraw had to be called upon nine times in the 11 postseason games.
The crowd in Philadelphia. It never got to the intimidating peak it reached against Burt Hooten in 1977, but the Royals admitted that it got to them somewhat in the first two games of the Series. Dennis Leonard was shaken up by it. And it was making so much noise that U.L. Washington didn’t hear his teammates yelling to make the throw that would have cut off the second run of the sixth game.
The injuries to Cesar Cedeno and the Astros’ catchers. The Astros had to play the last two games of the playoffs without their leading hitter, Cedeno. His replacements accounted for one hit in the two games, both of which Houston lost in extra innings. And somebody other than the third-string catcher might have been able to hold on to the throw on which Rose scored the winning run of the fourth game.
THE necessity of pitching Bob Walk in the Series opener. The Phils had to do this because of using two starters in relief two days before the opener. When they got away with a 7-6 victory behind Walk, it meant that the Phils had their No. 1 pitcher going against K.C.’s No. 2 pitcher, and No. 2 going against No. 3.
On the basis of what their offense did, it is unlikely the outcomes of the first three would have been changed. But Green would have either had to risk using one of his aces twice with three day’s rest, a dangerous proposition, or lose the psychological advantage of having a good pitcher ready for the seventh game.
Chub Feeney’s generosity, allowing the Phillies to replace Nino Espinosa with Bystrom, who had been called up just after the Sept. 1 deadline for postseason eligibility. Espinosa was still suffering from his arm problem, according to the Phillies. However, it was healthy enough to permit him to pitch seven innings of shutout four-hit ball against the Cardinals in his last September outing. Presumably the league president has won forgiveness for forcing the Phils to play in the rain in the ’77 finale.
WILLIE Wilson’s collapse in the Series. The guy who had more hits than anybody in baseball during the regular season (by 30), hit .154 and struck out more times than anybody in World Series history.
Wilson, who admitted that the pressure of his poor performance kept building against him, led off innings 11 times, and got on base three of those (twice by walks). He scored two of those three, but in the eight innings he failed, the Royals scored only twice (and once was on a homer).
As a corollary, Frank White hit .545 against the Yankees, .080 against the Phillies. Frank led off innings nine times and reached twice (once on a walk). The Royals scored in only one of those innings. These two made the Series’ last two outs with the bases loaded. That balanced the fact that the Royals had five batters who hit .375 or better.
SOME real boo-boos by the opposition: Gary Woods’ leaving third base too soon in the
fourth playoff, which cost the Astros a run which would have won the game in regulation; Leonard’s hitting two batters in the first Series game, which led to runs each time; Willie Aikens’
failure to touch first base on a routine out in the fifth game, which led to a run.
Jim Frey’s fear of the Phillies’ right-handed attack. As a result, he never started left-hander Paul Splittorff, who won 14 games this year and gave only one run to the Yankees in 5-1/3 innings in the third playoff game. The Royals won the third game even though Rich Gale did not pitch well, however, and Splittorff did get cuffed in relief in the sixth game. The Phillies’ record wasn’t as good against lefties as against righties this year, though they didn’t see that many lefties.
Frey’s reluctance to believe that left-handers can hit Tug McGraw better than right-handers. Clint Hurdle, who hit .417 in the Series, never got to bat against McGraw because Frey lifted him. His replacements against Tug in games he was lifted went 0-for-3, including a double play and a strikeout, all in key situations.
A couple of hesitations by Lonnie Smith in the fourth playoff. The obvious one was when he lost the ball trying to throw in the fourth inning. That lured Woods into trying for third, and Lonnie was able to throw him out to end the inning. The unobvious one was when he had to hesitate a split second as Rose grounded a single to right past him in the eighth. That may have lured Jeff Leonard into an unwise throw to third, which allowed Rose to take second and eventually score the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly.
SCHMIDT’S two bunts in losing games, which caused Frey and George Brett to be thinking bunt when Schmidt lef off the ninth of the fifth game with his team down by a run. If Brett had been at normal depth for Schmidt, he would probably have stopped the infield hit by Mike which started the two-run rally.
Luck on some balls hit to the mound. Singles by Boone (eighth of the fourth playoff) and Manny Trillo (ninth of the fifth Series) ricocheted off pitcher’s gloves for very big hits. And how about Unser’s being able to find the hole between the first baseman and the bag for vital doubles in both the 10 of the fifth playoff and ninth of the fifth Series?
Some of the Royals were complaining about the fact that the guys who should have gotten on base didn’t. But starting with the second inning of the fifth game, the Royals hit 2-for-27 with men in scoring position the rest of the Series. And the two hits were singles with men on second which neither scored runners nor led to their scoring.
You don’t win the World Series that way. Their four runs in the last 24 innings of Series play were scored on a groundout, a home run and two sacrifice flies. The Royals stranded 54 runners in the six games (nine per game), or 13 more than the Phillies, despite the fact that the Phillies left a record-tying 15 in the third game.
The Royals had one more hit, hit five more home runs, and drew 11 more walks than the Phillies. They erred five more times, and scored four fewer runs.
FREY, WHEN asked about the difference between the teams, talked about the Phillies’ ability to come from behind. The Phils rallied for all their postseason wins except the last one, and tied in the right in two of their losses.
“The big thing,” said Schmidt, “is that the other teams start realizing this. They think, ‘Here they come again,’ when you get the first guy on base in a late inning. That’s the kind of feeling the Pirates caused last year.”
And the Philadelphia Phillies are today where the Pittsburgh Pirates were this time last year.
Larry Bowa’s Some Kind of Character
By Tony Zonca
If Larry Bowa were a dog, he’d be a high-strung, feisty wire-haired terrier, showing his teeth to the mailman… taking on Dobermans.
If he were in the movies, he could bring back the Dead End Kids; he’s a nautral for the belligerent role Leo Gorcey created so capably.
If he played pro football, give him Wally Henry’s spot on the Eagles. Ask him to fair catch a punt and he’d spit in your eye.
Choose a song that best portrays his character and Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years” is as good as any.
The only law he doesn’t thumb his nose at is the law of gravity, and you can bet he’s lobbying to get that amended.
Larry Bowa, of course, covers shortstop for the Philadelphia Phillies. Make that World Champion Philadelphia Phillies.
For 30 years, the members of this franchise had congregated in shame. Now, the burden has been lifted from their shoulders. They have outrun the history train.
Champagne and beer replaced Gatorade in the Phillies clubhouse Tuesday night, and outside, joy, like a river, was running through the city.
But from knocking around Philly for so many years, Bowa has the paranoia blues.
He was in top form still an hour after Steve Carlton and Tug McGraw had all but silenced the Kansas City Royals 4-1. By then, the Great Western was having an influence on his already fragile psyche. His eyes sparkled, his curly black hair glistened from a bath with the grape, and the words came out fast and defiant.
He talked about his late-season problem with the fans.
“That night, against the Cubs, I had said those were the worst fans I had ever played before – against the Cubs, that night,” he was saying. “And I still say it. They booed us when we fell behind, and they gave us a standing ovation when we went ahead.
“Those fans thing they got me going. Let me tell you something: I’m a better baseball player than that. You going to tell me that they got me to hit? It’s just a coincidence that they started booing when I started hitting. Are you going to tell me their booing made me hit .333 the second half? I’ll tell you you’re a liar.
“I don’t care what any of these people in Philadelphia think; I can play baseball. I had a horsebleep first four months; I was bad. There were a couple of reasons. That horsebleep drug story was one, where there’s no validity to it.
“These fans are great. They come out. That night of that Chicago game they were the worst I’ve ever played before.”
You know who you are, those of you who were among the 20,000 there that night.
“That’s 20,000 people,” Bowa said, “not 2.7 million. Since September 1st, since we’ve been battling, they’ve been great. Ain’t anybody been booing anybody.”
Somebody suggested that, after this glorious season, the booing may cease.
“Yeah, for a year,” Bowa said, grinning. “Till we start next April. They’ll say, ‘You guys can’t do it again.’
“I got teammates who thought because the fans booed me that motivated me. I get hissed off when people boo me, but I ain’t going to let it affect my play. It hissed me off enough to say, ‘I’ll show you!’ Don’t tell me I can’t do nuthin’. The only thing I can’t do it hit home runs. I can steal bases for you, I can field for you, and I can get hits when you want hits.
“I’m the first one to admit I’m not a .300 hitter. But they told me I’d never get 200 at-bats! I’m going to get 2,000 hits before I take this (uniform) off. Hey, they said I should be playing in Williamsport (Little League headquarters).”
People were whispering in July that the 34-year-old Bowa does not go to his right as well as he used to, but who the heck does? And runners have gained half a step on his arm, but he is still in the top echelon of major league shortstops.
Tony Kubek was one of the guys who talked about Bowa’s diminishing skills, and he was blabbing it to the nation. So Bowa chirped at the former Yankee shortstop, invited him out to Monday’s workout, and Kubek went away impressed.
Bowa isn’t perfect, as that other No. 10 named Bo, but that doesn’t mean he can’t strive to be. Or bristle when somebody suggests he isn’t. Or that he is seeing an end of an era in Philadelphia baseball.
“End of an era? Why?” he wanted to know. “We’re a good baseball team. We got Marty Bystrom, who is young; we got Bob Walk, who is young; we got Dick Ruthven, who is young; we got Steve Carlton, who gets better with age.
“We got Pete Rose, who every time he has a birthday, he subtracts a year; I can play three more years, believe me; we got Manny Trillo; we got Mike Schmidt, who has come into his own; Garry Maddox; Bake McBride – this isn’t a bad team.”
Somebody wanted to know the difference between this team and the three that collapsed in the playoffs under Danny Ozark.
“This team has a little bit of discipline behind it,” Bowa reasoned. “Dallas (Manager Green) stayed on us for seven days a week as opposed to two days a week. I didn’t think veteran players needed that, but I guess we do.”
And about the future of Green, who has said he may not be back next year?
“Don’t believe that,” Bowa said. “Dallas never bothered me. There were a lot of things blown out of proportion – little things that happen with every team in the big leagues. The only difference is (there) they’re not in the paper; they’re in the paper here.
“Dallas is outspoken. At times it helped; at times it got players mad at him. Maybe we were so hissed off at him we wanted to win it so maybe he’ll quit.
“Seriously, it doesn’t matter to me. I’m not going to change my style of play. I think he’s done a helluva job. Maybe he wasn’t liked, but he was respected.”
And then Bowa wrestled with a bottle of bubbly. If you’re scoring, mark it E-6.
“Hey, I’m not used to this,” Bowa protested.
If Larry Bowa were a wine, he’d be Asti Spumanti – Italian, bubbly, intoxicating.