Syracuse Post-Standard - October 3, 1980

LeFlore On Sidelines


By the United Press International


MONTREAL (UPI) — They also serve who stand around a lot, kick the earth, and wait for one chance to run from first to second base each night.


"I have seen bad luck, and I have seen good luck, but this is just no luck at all," said Ron LeFlore, summing up the last month of what had once been the happiest season of his life.


LeFlore, base-stealing artist supreme and catalyst of the Montreal offense this season, stared at the cast on his left arm. Inside the cast a bone with a difficult name (scaphoid) was healing. As far as LeFlore was concerned, it might just as well be called his 'achilles heel'.


"I was enjoying this baseball season so much," said LeFlore, who after six major league campaigns was very much a part of a pennant race and had a solid shot at the stolen base title.


LeFlore banged into a wall Sept. 11 against the Cubs. Since then he is lucky to get into action once a night as a pinch runner. His steal total once the highest in the league, now stand at 94, third in the majors and second in the National League behind Omar Moreno.


Doctors removed the cast on his arm Monday. After X-rays Wednesday they decided the bone was healing well, but needed at least 10 more days.


The cast could easily have been left off, but Dr. Larry Caughlin reasoned that LeFlore could not be trusted with his own best interests.


"He asked me if I would take batting practice if he left the cast off," Flore grinned. "I said I might. And really, I am sure I would have. I know I wouldn't have been able to help myself.


"So he told me that in that case he would have it put back on... sort of a way to harness me."


Outfielder-first baseman Warren Cromartie, the resident dry wit of the Expos, entered the clubhouse with consoling words. But it was hard to tell at first whether Cromartie was trying to comfort or kill.


"Tough, tough, tough," he said without looking at LeFlore. "Probably be the last time in your life you will ever get this close to a pennant. Just glad it ain't me."


LeFlore grinned, recognizing Cromartie's attempt at a bit of reverse psychology. "That's my friend as you can tell," he said.


LeFlore was hitting .257 with 93 runs scored before the injury. He and Rodney Scott, who has 83 runs and 62 steals, have already surpassed the league record for the most steals by two men on the same team.


LeFlore's injury poses a dilemma for Montreal Manager Dick Williams.


Should the Expos get by Philadelphia this weekend, their roster will have to be cut from 40 to 25 players for postseason play.


Actually the roster was named Ang. 31 with LeFlore's name included, but rules allow that injured players may he replaced up to one hour before the first game of the playoffs.


Williams would like the luxury of carrying the best pinch runner in baseball on that roster, but he may decide that a healthy hitter like John Tamargo is even more valuable.

Phils Win, Set Stage For Showdown In Montreal


By the United Press International


PHILADELPHIA (UPI) - The stage is now set for the Philadelphia Phillies and Montreal Expos to play a best 2-of-3 series for the National League Eastern Division title.


The Phillies earned the right to go into Montreal's Olympic Stadium tied with the Expos for the lead Thursday night with a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs, their fourth straight victory and 17 in the last 24 games.


The big scries begins Friday night with Dick Ruthven going against Montreal's Scott Sanderson. "It's certainly better than having to look at the Scoreboard," Phillies manager Dallas Green said of the head-to-head matchup. "At least we can see what's going on.


"We feel rather confident. We know what we have to do. We've played pretty darn good baseball for a long time with our backs to the wall. We're really getting the job done."


It was Mike Schmidt's major league-leading 46th home run that tied the game in the fourth.


Veteran Pete Rose felt confident the Phillies could leave Montreal on Sunday night with their fourth divisional title in the last five years.


"This is a year where a lot of teams are going into other teams' parks and winning," Rose said. 'They're playing with a lot of momentum but I'm glad we played today. I'm sure a team that has won five in a row like they have wanted to go to the ballpark today. I know I don't like to sit around all day thinking about tomorrow."


Unser, starting his fourth straight game in place of the injured Garry Maddox, started the Philadelphia seventh off loser Bill Caudill, 4-6, with a slicing double down the leftfield line. Moreland, playing in his third game in four nights in place of slump-ridden Bob Boone, then lined Caudill's next pitch into right center, scoring Unser easily.


The Phillies added two insurance run in the eighth. Pete Rose reached on a single and scored on a three-base throwing error by Cubs' third baseman Steve Dillard that allowed Mike Schmidt to reach third. Greg Gross then singled in Schmidt.


Rookie Bob Walk, 11-7, pitched 7-1/3 innings, allowing six hits and one run in picking up his first victory since Sept 4.