Camden Courier-Post - October 5, 1980

Schmidt’s homer wins East title


By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post


MONTREAL – The team of turmoil now is the team of champions.


Mike Schmidt's dramatic two-run homer in the 11th inning gave the Phillies a 6-4 triumph over the Montreal Expos yesterday and the National League East Division championship.


Schmidt's 48th home run of the season boosted his major-league leading total and climaxed the Phils' emotion-packed drive to the division crown. It was a drive burdened by player squabbles with the press, Manager Dallas Green and among themselves. In the end, however, the Phillies discarded their difficulties and accomplished what was believed impossible in August.

The Phillies entered Montreal in a first-place tie with the Expos and proceeded to capture the first two games of the pivotal three-game series. Yesterday's encounter took the teams on an emotional roller coaster as they stumbled and slid around the slick Olympic Stadium artificial turf.


Schmidt, a prime candidate for National League Most Valuable Player honors, put an end to the madness.


Pete Rose opened the Philadelphia 11th with his third single of the game, and, after Bake McBride fouled out, Schmidt blasted a line shot over the left-field fence to snap a 4-4 tie.


Tug McGraw, 5-4, stopped the Expos on a cold Friday night and came on in the ninth and did it again yesterday. In the two games in which he appeared, McGraw allowed only one hit while facing 16 batters.


Stan Bahnsen, 7-6, absorbed the loss in relief.


The game, delayed more than three hours by rain, was tied 4-4 by the Phils in the top of the ninth on Bob Boone's RBI single off reliever Woodie Fryman. The single sent home McBride, who had reached first on a forceout grounder and taken second on a slow roller by Mike Schmidt.


Pete Rose opened the Philadelphia 11th with his third single of the game, and, after Bake McBride fouled out, Schmidt blasted a line shot over the left-field fence to snap a 4-4 tie.


Tug McGraw, 5-4, stopped the Expos on' a cold Friday night and came on in the ninth and did it again yesterday. In the two games in which he appeared, McGraw allowed only one hit while facing 16 batters.


"We did it'" yelled McGraw. "Celebration tonight and no need to rest for tomorrow.

Fans savor victory


By Bill Roswell, Special to the Courier-Post


"We Won!!"


The cheer is still echoing across South Jersey this morning as thousands of Phillies' fans rejoice in the team's fourth National League East crown.


And in a local taproom packed with more than 40 Phillies' faithful, the cheers last night were deafening as the Phils beat the Montreal Expos, 6-4, in 11 innings.


"They deserve to win," said Tom Maden of Cherry Hill, one of those watching the televised game last night at Jay's Elbow Room on Route 73 in Maple Shade. "The way they fought back, they had to win."


"The force is with us," William Snyder of Washington Township proclaimed just seconds after Tug McGraw struck out Larry Parrish in the bottom of the 11th to cap the Phil's win.


Snyder credited manager Dallas Green for leading the Phils into the playoffs and blamed the five errors committed by the team on Montreal's cold weather and tension among the players.


"I think Green is an excellent manager," the Gloucester County resident remarked a few minutes before the last out "He has to be to bring the team to within one game of the whole division title."


Mike Schmidt, a top contender for the National League's Most Valuable Player award, put the Phils into the playoffs with his 48th homerun – a smash into the left-field seats of Montreal's Olympic Stadium – that brought the bar's patrons to their feet for a standing ovation.


But the win could cause some problems for Debbie Davis, a Moorestown resident and avowed fan of the New York Yankees who won the American League East title yesterday afternoon.


"The Phillies are my second most favorite team." said the 29-year-old. "It's going to be really hard for me if both teams get into the World Series."


Bill Poulson of Palmyra said the pressure of last night's game caused the high number of errors for both teams.


"Even though they're professional players," he said, "they had to be nervous. The three-hour rain delay before the game didn't help much, either."


But hundreds of Pnillie supporters had faith in their team even before the game began around 5:30 yesterday afternoon.


A number of fans equipped with portable televisions and radios began lining up at Veterans Stadium yesterday morning, anticipating the sale of 10,000 playoff tickets. More than 500 fans had flocked to the sta dium a half hour after the game ended.



By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post


MONTREAL – It came at five minutes past nine last night, some 3½ hours after this most bizarre of baseball games had begun.


It was a home run by Mike Schmidt that brought the Phillies a 6-4 victory over the Montreal Expos and their fourth National League East Division championship of the last five years.


It came in the top of the 11th inning with one out and Pete Rose on first base. It sailed deep into the stands in left-center field and unleashed a mountain of emotion among the Phillies.


They had been an out away of seeing the whole thing slip away in the ninth. But Bob Boone, who did not enter the game until the eighth, stroked an RBI single to center to tie it.


They had been down a run in the seventh, but Greg Luzinski, whose struggles have been well-documented, delivered a two-run single that gave the Phillies the lead, 3-2.


Then it came, a shot that rang as clearly in Philadelphia as Olympic Stadium, where a throng of 50,794 sat in stunned silence. Schmidt got a 2-0 fastball from reliever Stan Bahnsen and turned it into his 48th home run of the year.


"That sucker was smoked," laughed Phillies Manager Dallas Green amid a raucous, joyous club house celebration, “And talk about clutch..."


Schmidt, clutching a bottle of champagne, couldn't even remember what thoughts went through his mind as he trotted around the bases.


"I was," he said, "in oblivion."


But he soon considered the enormity of his home run.


"I hesitate to say I'm staisfied because there's a bigger hill (the playoffs) for us to climb. But sometimes you got to sit back and say, "I made it. After all the work, all the hours of batting practice, I made it happen. I think the team needed what I did.


"I don't think anybody though much of our chances to win two or three here. Everybody thought Montreal was too hungry and that we had too much internal strife. They thought we'd find a way to blow this game.


"The worst thing that could have happened to us was if we lost this game. After going through so many emotional highs during the course of the game, it would've been terrible to lose it."


The very start of the game was delayed three hours and 10 minutes by rain and, by the time it began, night was falling on Montreal as steadily as the afternoon's rain.


Under cold, damp, miserable conditions, the Phillies and Expos produced six double plays – one on Luzinski's two-run single – seven errors – two of them on the same play – and one wild pitch. Oh, there also was a near brawl between the Phillies and some fans behind the third base dugout.


Luzinski's single came with the bases loaded and one out. It might have keyed a big inning. But Schmidt overran second and was caught. Luzinski, who tried to reach second before the Expos finished running down Schmidt, was also caught.


"Jeez," said Schmidt, "I forgot about Bull's hit, it happened so long ago in the game. I was concentrating so hard on keeping the throw from going home, I ran us out of a big inning. It was a bad baserunning mistake."


It was hardly the game's only blunder. In the bottom of the inning, with one out, Manny Trillo dropped a Chris Speier popup, paving the way for the Expos to score two unearned runs and take a 4-3 lead.


Lightning-fast Ron LeFlore pinch ran for Speier and immediately stole second, continuing on to third when catcher Keith Moreland's throw bounced into center field. Sparky Lyle relieved Ron Reed and completed a walk to pinch hitter John Tamargo that put runners on the corners.


Montreal manager Dick Williams brought out his No. 2 sprinter, Tim Raines, to run for Tamargo. Raines stole second without a throw. Jerry White, who went 2-for-3 and drove in three runs, followed with a fly ball to center, scoring LeFlore. Had Trillo not dropped the pop up, White's ball would have been the third out.


Rodney Scott followed with a double that scored Raines and suddenly the Phils were down a run with six outs to go. A loss would have forced a "winner take all" final game.


The ninth began with Rose drawing a four-pitch walk from reliever Woodie Fryman. Bake McBride forced Rose and Schmidt narrowly missed beating out a chopper to third base. That gave the Phils the tying run on second with two out.


Boone, who along with Luzinski had been benched by Green earlier in the week, had replaced Moreland in the eighth. Boone looked at one Fryman pitch, then lined the second in center to score the tying run.


"It (clinching the division) took a lot of pressure off Bull, Garry Maddox and myself," said Boone. "But I don't feel any more excited than I did the last time we won."


Maddox, who has been in Green's doghouse all week, was among the chief celebrants in the club house, spraying champagne on anyone within range. And shortstop Larry Bowa, who had been publicly criticized Green for benching Boone and Luzinski, was one of the first to congratulate Green with a bear hug.


Tug McGraw, who fanned five of the six Expos he faced to save Friday's 2-1 win, was almost as awesome last night The lefthander struck out four of the 10 batters he faced over the course of the final three innings.


He had only one tight moment, in the 10th, when White singled and wound his way to third on a sacrifice bunt and a ground ball to the right side.


That brought Andre Dawson to the plate. The only option that seemed open to the Phillies was to walk Dawson and Gary Carter, the next hitter. That would've set up a force at any base with a lefthander, Warren Cromartie, hitting.


Instead, McGraw pitched to Dawson – and struck him out on four pitches.


After it was all over, after the first round of champagne had been drunk, the rejuvenated Bowa hugged General Manager Paul Owens and told him, "We ain't done, either."


 That may well become the Phillies battle cry for the playoffs.

Phillies ecstatic after win


By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post


MONTREAL – Mike Schmidt has crashed some tremendous home runs among the first 284 of his major league baseball career.


None, however, rates with No. 285.


"That was No. 1," Schmidt said after his two-run homer in the 11th inning gave the Phillies a 6-4 victory over the Montreal Expos and the National League East championship yesterday.


"This will give me a heck of a lot more character for future pressure baseball," he said. "There is so much more ahead. We have a bigger hill to climb in front of us. I've yet to prove myself in a playoff and a World Series."


With three consecutive National League playoff losses, almost all the Phillies have much to prove.


However, the Phillies' dressing room yesterday was filled with players who were ecstatic over their immediate accomplishment.


Champagne flowed, most of it on the players. "We did it! We did it!" echoed throughout the room.


The Phillies could point to two vital factors in this critical series: Schmidt's bat and the left arm of relief pitcher Tug McGraw.


"Today's game was one of the most outstanding head-to-head confrontations I can remember," McGraw said. "It was an incredible show by two teams that wanted it badly. We both made mistakes and kept coming back."


McGraw, however, said he wasn't at his sharpest.


"But fortunately I was wild low. I was nervous, but I wasn't worried."


Even shortstop Larry Bowa, who has been a sphinx with the media recently, had plenty to say.


"I can't say enough," he said. "We faced a lot of adversity. We didn't back into anything. We had to play Montreal here and we beat them."


The Expos, meanwhile, were despondent Players sat hands on their heads, staring into their locker space.


In one corner, relief pitcher Stan Bahnsen, who was charged with the loss, stood consoling his pre-school age son, Brent while Willie Montanez patted the youngster on the head.


It was the second consecutive ' year Montreal came within an eyelash of a division title in the franchise's history. The Expos lost last year on the final day of the season.


"My only goal all season was to bring a championship to the city of Montreal," catcher Gary Carter said. "I guess we'll still get there yet."


"I feel very satisfied right now," Schmidt said, as champagne squirted over his head. "We have accomplished an awful lot this year. This team has all the heart possible right now, but if we don't do well in the playoffs, people will say we're the same old Phillies."

Mother Nature gets back seat to television


By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post


MONTREAL – An insistent rain fell on Olympic Stadium, oblivious to the importance of the day.


Didn't Mother Nature know what Saturday was? Hadn't she realized it was Clinching Day for the Phillies; a day with no tomorrow for the Expos?


Maybe Mother Nature is really a closet Yankee fan. If she could rain out the Yanks' potential clincher on Friday, fairness would dictate her taking similar steps here yesterday.


A rumor – completely unfounded, of course – had that the rain was ordered by an ultra-patriot of the Trudeau cabinet. Forcing the postponement of yesterday's game would delay the impending demise of the Expos that much longer.


Perhaps, the rumor went, the rain could be kept falling until the Canadiens opened. With the attention of Montreal fans thus diverted, the Expos could die in solitude and no one would be the wiser. If successful, the clever plan could avert a national embarrassment, shore up the administration and prevent the Parti Quebecois from introducing another separatist referendum. Whatever forces conspired to turn Olympic Stadium into the world's largest working toilet bowl, they had obviously never dealt with National League President Chub Feeney.


Feeney, as Philadelphia fans will readily attest, is no ordinary man. With skin of Scotchguard, Feeney is impervious to rain, snow and indiscreet dogs. Feeney is the only man alive who takes his shower in dry-cleaning fluid.


Feeney once sat in an unprotected seat through a 1977 playoff game between the Phillies and Dodgers. Which might have been no big deal, except that the game was played in a cold, driving rain.


Feeney hadn't simply been moved by the spirit of Ernie Banks. There were other factors to be taken into consideration. Like television. And television. And, of course, television. The show had to go on. It did, despite conditions that made the mere act of walking high adventure.


Yesterday was not the playoffs. But it was no ordinary day in the regular season, either. The Phils and Expos were meeting to decide the championship of the National League's East Division. A Phillie win and it would be over. A Montreal victory would force a climactic final game today.


So there was much to consider before a game of such magnitude could be called off. Like television. And television. And don't forget television.


Officially, the decision of whether or not to play was in the hands of umpire John Kibler, whose patience became something to behold. Calling the game would mean the two teams would have to play a double-header today, an idea without much appeal to the Expos.


It also would mean changing the scheduled 3:05 p.m. start to an earlier time, an idea without much appeal to Roone and the boys. The last thing ABC wanted was direct competition with regional NFL games. And rival NBC, which televised last night's game, naturally did not want to lose a solid ratings vehicle.


So it should have come to the surprise of no one who recalled the playoff game of 1977 that great pains would be taken to play this one. It should not have raised an eyebrow when the grounds crew began removing the tarp at 4:30, nearly 2½ hours after the game was supposed to start.


The Montreal fans who sat patiently through the rawness of the afternoon, who awited three hours and 10 minutes and gladly skipped the playing of the national anthems, would be rewarded. They would get a chance to sit through a pneumonia night.


And the players, who matter nearly as little as the fans in situations like yesterday's, would be given the opportunity to risk serious injury on a rain-slicked surface more conducive to that other sport played in Canada.


Once again, Mother Nature be damned, the show had to go on.

Ruthven duel with Carter key for Phils


By Bob Kenney, Courier-Post Sports Editor


MONTREAL – Gary Carter stepped to the plate Friday night, and 57,121 fans, fueled in the stadium beer gardens and hyped by the German oom-pah band, stared in anticipation.


Their beloved Expos had fallen behind 1 -0 in the top of the first inning, but surely Carter, just named National League player of the month, would take care of that.


In the third base dugout, Philadelphia Manager Dallas Green and pitching coach Herm Starrette shuffled in unison. After two easy outs, Rowland Office had singled and pitcher Dick Ruthven had just walked Andre Dawson with a 3-2 breaking ball.


After 159 games, the drive toward a possible world title through the National League East had boiled down to the final three games here in Olympic Stadium.


In that night, certainly no plate appearance would be any more important to either the Expos or the Phillies, who came into the final weekend dead even.


Momentum in a big series is crucial.


Here in Montreal the home field advantage and the support of the Canadian fans hinges on early success.


"They're a quiet crowd," said Pete Rose, Philadelphia's hustling first baseman. "But once their Expos get going, the fans get going. The secret is to keep them quiet, to keep the Expos from scoring early."


It was an eerie quiet as Carter dug in at the plate.


On the mound, Ruthven glared at catcher Bob Boone and went to work.


It was showdown time, and the guns-lingers were ready.


The Expos' leading run-producer took a breaking ball for a strike, then backed away from a tight fast ball. The third pitch also was inside, but Carter caught it flush and whistled a liner into the seats in left.


The fans came alive. But umpire John Kibler watched it hook foul, made the call and the fans groaned. Carter circled back to the plate to try again.


Another ball, then Carter tipped a fast ball back. Five pitches and it was a 2-2 count.


The stakes were climbing. There could be oo backing down now, for either man.


Ruthven made a move to first keep Dawson honest. Boone trotted to the mound.


"I reminded him of the runner on second, and we changed the signs," Boone said. "Ruf us was battling him and we didn't want to give them any edge."


A breaking ball missed away, then Carter ripped two fouls straight back.


"It was one of the best at-bats I've ever had," Carter would say later. "I was right on him."


Ruthven's ninth pitch was in tight and Carter put it into the left field seats again, this time foul by a wide margin.


Inside again and Carter just missed a double down the third base line.


In tight and another hard foul past third.


Eleven pitches and Carter and Ruthven were still eyeball to eyeball. Somebody had to blink.


On the 12th pitch it was Carter. Ruthven came in with a fast ball low and away and the big catcher got under it, lofting an easy fly to Del Unser in medium-deep center field.


The inning was over.


The Phillies led 1-0 and the fans remained deadly quiet.


"He took something off the ball," Carter recalled yesterday as he and his Expos waited out a rain delay with their backs to the wall.


"A helluva matchup," Montreal Manager Dick Williams added.


In the grand scheme of the season, it could turn out to be the ultimate component. The atom was split but there was no explosion.


"He saw everything I know how to throw," said Ruthven, who went on the post his 17th victory of the season.


"The pitch I got him out with was my pitch."


"It was a fast ball, away. If I get it any closer to him, he hits it into the seaway."


In a season when Mike Schmidt's 47 home runs could earn him the MVP trophy and Steve Carlton's 24 victories could earn him the Cy Young Award, people will remember the night Dick Ruthven didn't back down against feared Gary Carter.