Philadelphia Daily News - October 27, 1980

Letter from the Editor


By Gil Spencer


I can't remember the exact date or even the, exact year. But it was sometime in the mid-Sixties.


The truck was headed in to Philadelphia, turning onto Vine Street from the Schuylkill Expressway. It was rolling right along when it hit something or something hit it.


Now, unless the truck piled into a bunch of cars, or burst into flames, or managed to get some people killed, you may be wondering why I'm trying to bore you with a 15-year-old truck story.


Well, the truck didn't do any of those things. All it did was spill its cargo all over one of the key roads into Philadelphia and out of Philadelphia – six fun-filled lanes.


The cargo was pigs. Live pigs. Live, squealing, outraged pigs. Like a hundred of them.


Of course, it was rush hour. The pigs stopped the rush just like that. Nothing moved for hours, except police trying to catch the pigs, and cursing drivers abandoning their cars.


I wasn't there, a fact I regret. But I caught some magnificent moments on television. When the whole thing really got going – pigs, cops, motorists, the Go Patrol helicopter, the media – any semi-conscious Broadway producer would have fought a tiger for a piece of the action.


Anybody who saw any part of it would have sworn that there would never be anything like it again... for pure theatrical appeal.


It should be emphasized right here that I find no resemblance what ever between the 1980 World Champion Philadelphia Phillies and a truckload of escaped pigs.


I don't really know what got me thinking about those damned pigs. Maybe it was because I thought the fun, chaos and hysteria they created on Vine Street would remain in a class by itself and it did.


Until September.


What happened in September and continued into October will never happen again. The Phillies may make a magnificent run again, win their division in the last desperate days, fight their way through the playoffs and even win another World Series, or two or three...


But for this starved, bridesmaid town, no world championship will ever ever match the first. No September no October will ever equal the magic autumn of 1980.


Feelings had had so long to build up. There had been so many awful years, so many good years ruined in the final days.


Then here comes Crazy '80.


Why would it be any different? There had been wonderful Phillies teams before. Fun teams. Dramatic teams.


Everybody has heir own idea about what made this team different. Or, let's say. they have their own idea now.


But whatever made it different, it gave this town something it never had before.


Much has been written about the flat-out refusal of some Phillie ballplayers to cooperate with the press and, in some instances, the public.


That doesn't seem to be an exorbitant price to pay for the major league baseball championship of the world.


Before this town went completely crazy, there was one moment that said everything that should have been said.


Paul Owens, vice president and director of personnel, is the man who has had as much to do with putting this team together as anyone alive. He was standing in front of the cameras. He wasn't talking. He was crying, sobbing, choking on emotion.


He looked like he was still trying to believe what had happened. He and a cast of millions.

J.R. Released From Hospital


SAN FRANCISCO (UPI) – Pitcher J R. Richard of the Houston Astros was released from the University of California's Moffitt Hospital late Saturday, and he was reassured by vascular surgeons that he can look forward next spring to resuming an active baseball career.


Richard was operated on at the hospital on Oct. 14 to replace an obstructed artery in his right shoulder. A hospitalized recuperation period followed, ending Saturday, when he was discharged and sent home.


"Mr. Richard is in good condition and it is expected he will resume an active baseball career," a hospital spokesman said in a prepared statement from the doctors who operated on the big righthander.


Richard was felled July 30 from the blockage in his right shoulder but it was a month before anyone knew for certain what was wrong with him.


Despite his loss, the Astros went on to win the National League West title but lost out to the eventual world-champion Phillies in the National League playoffs.


Richard has made two appearances at the Astrodome since his collapse. Late in the season, he presented the Astros lineup to the umpires at home plate. Later, during the playoffs, he threw out the first ball for one of the games.