Montreal Sunday Express - October 5, 1980
Boone Waits "His" Turn
By Paul Sowney
It was one hell of a long day for one Bob Boone. The regular Philly catcher had sat quietly and watched as his team came from behind in the seventh inning to take a one-run lead. He continued to sit and watch as his mates dropped the lead and faced the impending arm of Woodie ‘Fireman’, the Expos’ top relief pitcher.
Finally around 8:30 p.m. it was time for Boone to arise. Ten hours had passed since the team arrived, trying to clinch the pennant. With two out, McBride in scoring position, Boone was summoned to face the Kentucky tobacco farmer.
“I thought I may see some action for defensive purposes. I’d been struggling lately with the bat. I just tried to make some kind of contact. Woodie fired me a fast one, I stayed with it and it got to center field,” explained a very relieved Boone.
To say he was struggling was an understatement. Boone was batting a wicked .228 entering the contest but managed to come up with the big hit sending it to extra innings.
The role for Boone now became a familiar one. He was to sit, and watch as McGraw performed his magic. Boone also watched as Mike Schmidt parked a Bahnsen fastball into the left field bleachers.
Expos Anxious For Next Season
By Larry Fredericks
It was almost that familiar call of ‘wait till next year’ in the Montreal Expos’ room after last night’s loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. And surprisingly, it wasn’t as gloomy as one might have thought.
Most of the players looked at the 6-4 victory by the Phillies philosophically, and looked forward to next year.
“We have a lot of confidence in the future,” said catcher Gary Carter, who should be named the Expos’ MVP by the Montreal baseball writers later this week.
Carter was quick to praise the work of Phillies’ pitcher Tug McGraw. “He did a great job on us for two games in a row. I have never seen him throw better,” Carter added.
Veteran Woodie Fryman, who allowed Philadelphia to tie the game when he was only one out away from the win in the ninth inning, took the defeat with a bit of disappointment.
“It’s too bad we had to lose,” the popular Kentucky tobacco farmer noted. “I just needed one more out and I couldn’t get it. I walked Rose and then we just were unable to pull off that double play.”
Fryman also looked towards next season which he insists will be his last. “I have only one more year to be on a championship team here in Montreal,” he pointed out. “I don’t plan to pitch anymore after next season.”
The Expos lefthander also wanted to make a special mention of the Montreal fans. “They deserve a lot of credit the way they sat through the rain delay of over three hours. Despite the final outcome I know they saw a great game of baseball being played out there.”
Warren Cromartie, who failed to come up with a hit in either of the two important games, reflected on the entire season: “We played so well as a unit during the regular schedule,” said Cromartie. “I am disappointed the season had to come to an abrupt end. We went all the way down to the wire and came up with nothing.”
Jerry White drove in three of the Montreal runs, but despite his offensive leadership in the game the defeat was hard to swallow. “In the end we came up short. It was a great season because we did so many things well,” he explained. “But when we came down to a big and important game like this one we couldn’t do the job.”
Fans Drown Sorrows as Expos Fall Apart
By L.A. MacDonald
Despite the Expos’ loss last night, the mood at Toe Blake’s Tavern was loose but subdued at game’s end to say the least.
All TVs were focused on the sporting event of the year for Montreal sports fans. The language was loud, profane, and behind the home team almost to a man.
Billy Clark, 25, a service station attendant from Boston, was the only man rooting for the Phillies.
“As long as the Spaceman (Bill Lee) doesn’t throw the ball the Expos won’t win,” he exhorted to the gathering between beers.
“You’re going to take a beating in here if you talk like that,” his friend Tom O’Connor, also from Boston, told him.
O’Connor, 25, a regular at the Black Rose bar in Boston, proclaimed he had ‘run a mile and a half to get an Expos cap” yesterday before the stores closed.
O’Connor also had a chance to be among the 50,000-plus crowd at the stadium but turned down the ticket because he wanted to be at Toe’s to catch the game with “the gang”.
Mike Goyetche, 32, a teacher from Two Mountains, was confident, even being at the tavern since noon yesterday.
“Yeah, the Expos are going to make it tonight and tomorrow,” he exclaimed.
Cheers went up
Cheers suddenly went up. The score went to 4-3 for the Expos. Hands rose, beers tipped over but nobody cared, the Expos had the lead.
“Aw, if I had a ticket I wouldn’t even go there,” Clark said as he downed another glass of draft. “All right! A (expletive deleted) foul ball.”
Goyetche got onto a friend’s shoulders obviously very happy the Expos were leading. Other patrons dashed off to the men’s room to exchange a few dollars.
“This has to be the greatest sporting even in Montreal sports history,” Tom Griffin of Montreal said. He went back to watching the game.
Nearing the ninth inning cries of “Woodie, Woodie,” echoed through the tavern.
“If Fryman gets him out, I’m going down to the game,” Bernie Goyetche of Two Mountains shouted to the tipsy gathering. “Who’s got a Metro ticket?”
Fryman struck him out.
“Give me some money, I’m going to the Metro,” Bernie shouted. A few coins landed his way. He didn’t go. Someone sent another round of beer over.
The game was tied at this point.
“If the Expos lose, he’s not getting out alive,” O’Connor said referring to Billy. Another bet went down the table. Would the batter get on base? No. The money was grabbed up.
“If it moves the guys from Boston will bet on it,” O’Connor pointed out, watching for Billy’s reaction.
Anyway, this reporter lost a few dollars last night on the 1980 Expos and the first Expo I see on Guy Street will be asked to pay up because like ever other Montrealer “I thought they had it!”
Green Praises Expos’ Courage
By Brodie Snyder
A visitor to Dick Williams’ office last night, minutes after Philadelphia had won the National League East with a 6-4 victory in 11 tough innings at Olympic Stadium, was Phillies’ manager Dallas Green.
“Congratulations,” said Williams, breaking away from his impromptu press conference. “I was going to come over and see you afterward.”
“No need,” said Green, waving a hand. “I just wanted to tell you you got a helluva ball club. You battle like the devil.”
It was a sentiment with which Williams found it easy to agree.
“I’m proud of everyone out there,” the manager said, motioning in the direction of the silent clubhouse in which most of his players sat staring into their lockers, trying to absorb the agony of coming so close for the second season in a row. “They played their tails off.”
In the aftershock of a spine-tingling and oh-so-disappointing loss, it was too early to think about the future and Williams preferred to dwell on the immediate past.
“Like last season, we came up a little short,” he said, recalling a loss to the same Phillies and Steve Carlton on the final day of the regular season that made the Pittsburgh Pirates champions, “and there’s not much you can say now.
“I thought we played pretty well, pretty darned well, all year long. Sure, we had injuries, but they’re part of the game. And our extra men played well all year. We used our whole squad. Our bench held up all right.”
Williams was asked to compare the two teams that came so close. “Without a doubt, this team was better than last year’s“, he said without hesitation. “We had more speed and better defence. So you’d have to say that this us a bigger disappointment this time. The schedule last year, with all the doubleheaders, did us in.
“This time, we had it within our grasp but just couldn’t do it. We just went head-to-head with them and lost the first two and that knocked us out.
“I’ve enjoyed managing,” added Williams, who has a contract through the 1981 season, “but we haven’t grabbed the brass ring. But we have the nucleus of a good ball club.”
What, he was asked, so the Expos have to do to win it? What changes are needed?
“We’ll decide that in a little while,” he answered.
That decision- or those decisions- will be awaited eagerly by the Expos’ fans because after two close calls, there will be some changes made.
The club, as it has during Williams’ three seasons here, lacks a lefthanded power hitter in the middle of the batting order to take some of the pressure of such righty swingers as Andre Dawson, Gary Carter and Larry Parrish. President-GM John McHale will be looking for that in the off-season.
There is a need for a quality righthanded relief pitcher, a man who can come in and slam the door on the opposition, a Bruce Sutter or a Rollie Fingers. That’s because Elias Sosa, the ace a year ago, has had a so-so season despite nine wins and nine saves. Both the Cubs’ Sutter and the Padres’ Fingers are available, and McHale will be looking in those directions, too.
The case of Ron LeFlore remains unsolved. He has the option of becoming a free agent and is looking for a four-year contract at $800,000 per year. McHale may well feel that 95 stolen bases don’t offset a .257 batting average.
Ellis Valentine represents another decision that will have to be made. The talented rightfielder has suffered through a season of injuries- fractured cheekbone, pinched back nerve, sprained wrist- and has appeared in only 86 of the team’s first 161 games. The fact that he has 67 runs batted in is a tribute to his ability but his reluctance to play with pain- and his failure to develop to his apparent potential- may mean a move.
Then there are the youngsters from the farm system- Tim Wallach, perhaps baseball’s next great slugger, and Tim Raines, perhaps the game’s next great base-stealer. Places for them to play regularly will have to be found- perhaps not immediately, but certainly in the not-too-distant future.
There are great young arms on the roster right now- Bill Gulluckson, Scott Sanderson, David Palmer- and others waiting in the wings like Hal Dues and, if he can come back from elbow surgery, fireballer Bob James.
If all of those pitchers figure in the team’s plans for 1981, decisions will have to be made about people like Stan Bahnsen, who is 35; Fred Norman, who has been in and out this season and is 38; and oft-injured Bill Lee, who is 33 and has won only four times this season after leading the club with 16 victories in 1979.
It will be a busy and interesting off-season for the Expos, but last night Dick Williams didn’t want to talk about that. In fact, he didn’t really want to talk about much of anything although he was gracious as reporters asked him questions.
“Why don’t you go over where the party is?” he finally asked, meaning the Phillies’ clubhouse. “Go get some champagne.”
And he turned back to his plate of fried chicken and his can of beer, his chance at the bubbly gone for another year.
It Was a Rough Day for Carter Family
By Brodie Snyder
Among the empty seats at Olympic Stadium for yesterday’s game were those to have been occupied by Gary Carter’s family. His wife, Sandy, her parents, and the wives of David Palmer and CFCF’s Jeff Rimer were riding to the park together when they were involved in a minor traffic accident.
Their car, driven by Sandy’s father, stopped for a yellow light and was hit from behind. No one was injured, but a doctor who examined them suggested the wisest course of action was for them to go home and watch the game on television.
Both Sandy Carter and Ferrel Rimer are expecting any day now.
Tug McGraw, the winning pitcher, came into the Expos’ clubhouse about 20 minutes after the game and made a circuit, shaking hands with the players who were there and chatting with his fellow lefthander, Bill Lee.
The crowd was as animated as it has been all season, in an uproar from the first pitch, chanting “WOODIE… WOODIE… WOODIE” when veteran southpaw Fryman came out in the eighth to strike out pinch-hitter Garry Maddox with two men on.
They screamed “Go EX-POS” over and over when they threatened in the bottom of the 10th, and there were signs and banners greeting the club from such places as Lisgar, Ont. and Kingston.
When Dallas Green, the Phillies’ manager, came around to shake Dick Williams’ hand after it was over, the Expos’ manager wished him luck in the National League championship series against either the Dodgers or Houston.
It’s some salve when the team that beats you wins it all- as the Pittsburgh Pirates did a year ago, edging out the Expos on the last day of the season and then whipping Cincinnati three straight and coming back to beat Baltimore in seven games in the World Series.
National League president Chub Feeney, operating by telephone from New York, had suggested postponing the game and playing it as part of a doubleheader today, when rain continued to fall two hours after the scheduled 2:15 p.m. start.
Dick Williams wanted no part of that, probably reasoning that it would be a lot tougher to win a double than two single games in a row. The Expos, of course, had to win the last two to win the division.
The playing conditions were atrocious. Both Jerry White and Rowland Office slipped after fielding balls in the outfield and in Office’s case, it may have cost a run. Larry Bowa was on first when Larry Christenson singled sharply to right. Despite slipping, office just missed nailing Bowa at third. Bowa then scored the Phils’ first run.
Gary Carter said this loss “was a little tougher for me than last time. Last year, I was injured (thumb) and missed the last five games (of which the Expos lost four). It’s a crying shame we couldn’t carry it off.
“My No. 1 goal since I came to the Expos has been to be part of a championship team, and I really thought that this was the year. But I still think we’re the team of the future.”
Phils Make Pilot Proud After Win
By Larry Fredericks
There were many proud people at the Olympic Stadium last night when the Phillies-Expos game finally came to an end but one of the proudest had to be Philadelphia manager Dallas Green.
“I knew in spring training that we had to play team baseball,” said Green who took over the Phillies later last season after Danny Ozark got the gate.
“I told the player we had to play team baseball and now I am so proud of the job they have done.”
Green was quick to play down a suggestion that his club had problems over the month of September. “It was probably one of the greatest Septembers the team has ever played,” Green mentioned.
“In terms of winning one-run ballgames, of coming back and being down it was good. We had great pitching and clutch hitting and Mike Schmidt proved that again today.”
The Philadelphia manager also figured that a victory earlier this week against Chicago Cubs that saw his team fight back from being one out away from losing could have been the key to the division-clinching. “We got clutch hitting in that extra-inning game,” said Green about the contest that went into extra innings before the Phillies won.
It doesn’t matter to Green whether the Phils meet the Dodgers or Astros in the playoffs that begin in Philadelphia on Tuesday. “I couldn’t care less,” he said.
Green naturally will not use Steve Carlton in today’s game against the Expos. “We are going to start Mark Davis and use a complete lineup of youngsters. But don’t stay away from the game because of that. All the kids are going to play but they will give you good baseball, I can promise you that.”
Rose Happy With Triumph
By Paul Sowney
Pandemonium reigned supreme in the Phillies dressing room, shortly after the Phils did away with the Expos, capturing their fourth division title in the last five years. The celebration was led by the veteran players- Rose, McGraw, and even Tim McCarver.
There was no sign of that so-called dissension.
It was just moments after Schmidt’s record blast silenced the throng at the Big O, that the Phillies began to realize they were on their way.
“With Tug in the game and a two-run lead, there was no way they were going to come back,” said an ecstatic Pete Rose.
Rose, who was three for five during the game, scored ahead of Schmidt. For the All-Star, it was his first championship with the Phils after so many division titles with the Reds. “Certainly this one has to be the most satisfying. We were never really mentioned or picked to win, but each game we got better. The reason we are here is our great read record of late. That streak could not have come at a better time. Imagine going into a pennant race and winning 21 of 27 road games; it’s just phenomenal.
Schmidt Ends Expos’ Hopes
By Brodie Snyder
Midnight came early for Cinderella.
It was precisely 9:05 p.m. last night when Mike Schmidt hammered a Stan Bahnsen pitch into the left-field seats with a man on base in the top of the 11th inning to give the Philadelphia Phillies a 6-4 victory and the National League East division title.
Schmidt’s 48th homer of the year- he leads the majors and has set a new record for big-league third basemen- was the difference in as exciting a baseball game as ever has been played in Montreal.
The Expos, often down during the 1980 season but never out, could not bounce back one more time after they’d battled from behind all year and went down one-two-three at the hands of Tug McGraw in their half of the inning.
They had come back once already on this cold, damp night in a game whose start was delayed for three hours and 10 minutes by steady rain- scoring two in the seventh after the Phils had taken a 3-2 lead in the top of the inning.
They held their 4-3 advantage into the ninth, with veteran southpaw Woodie Fryman on the mound and what was left of the paid crowd of 50,794 screaming on every pitch.
But Fryman walked leadoff man Pete Rose on four pitches and then came the play that turned the tide. Bake McBride bounced to Rodney Scott and the second baseman tagged Rose in the baseline and fired on to first for what the Expos thought was a double play. But first-base umpire Dick Stello called McBride safe, despite protests by manager Dick Williams and his infielders.
Schmidt then chopped a ball toward short and third-baseman Larry Parrish cut across to barehand it and fire to first. Schmidt appeared to beat the throw, but Stello called him out- a case, perhaps, of evening up for the previous call.
The problem was that McBride advanced to second on the play and scored from there on Bob Boone’s two-out single to centre, tieing the game at 4-4 and setting the stage for Schmidt.
“It’s too bad we had to lose that kind of a game,” Fryman said. “I needed an out, and I couldn’t get it. I walked Rose, but thought we had the DP. We didn’t get the call.”
Said Williams: “I thought we had a guy out at first but then we got a break. We didn’t think we had the play on the next guy (Schmidt) but they called him out.”
Bahnsen came on to pitch the 10th and after he retired the Phils in order, the Expos had a chance when Jerry White- who had a homer and three RBIs earlier- led off with a single. Scott sacrificed him to second and he moved to third on Rowland Office’s groundout. But McGraw, who now has allowed the Expos only one baserunner in seven innings of relief against them in the last eight days, struck out Andre Dawson swinging to end the threat.
Rose led off the top of the 11th with his third hit of the game, a sharp single to right, and after McBride fouled out to catcher Gary Carter, Schmidt delivered his big blow on a 2-and-0 pitch. He hit it so hard that White in left field didn’t even make a move to go back to the fence, just giving it a cursory glace over his shoulder as it landed in the seats.
McGraw then put it away with ease, earning his fifth win of the season by getting Carter to pop to first, Warren Cromartie to fly to right and Parrish on a swinging strike three.
The Phils out-hit the Expos 17-8, but made five errors- the Expos had two miscues- as the players were hampered by the atrocious weather conditions.
“It wasn’t the finest baseball in the world by any means,” Williams said, “but it was a good one to watch and a tough one to lose. It was a case of too much McGraw at the end, but we had some opportunities earlier- we couldn’t open it up.”
The Phils turned double plays to kill Expos’ threats in both the first and second innings, before the Expos took a 2-0 lead in the third on White’s sixth homer of the season after a leadoff walk to starter Steve Rogers.
NOTES: In his last 15 games, McGraw has not allowed an earned run in 26 innings pitched. He also has five wins and five saves since Sept. 1. “He did a great job,” Williams said…
The crowd brought total paid attendance for the year to 2,178,071, extending the new record… The Expos now are 50-23 in game in which they have stolen two or more bases… Gary Carter is on the cover of the issue of Sports Illustrated which will be on the newsstands Monday…
Marty Bystrom, a rookie who is 5-0, is expected to pitch this afternoon as the Phils save ace Steve Carlton (24-9) for the opener of the National League playoff series Tuesday.
By Bob Amesse
The blow came with such suddenness that it took several moments to absorb its impact. And the home run- Mike Schmidt’s 48th of the year- provided a lesson in the fragility of dreams built around pennant races. The Expos, who all season long were a flamelike fulfillment of years of planning and dreaming, came within an eyelash- one out in the ninth inning and one full game- of finally realizing an Improbable Dream that everyone had been predicting for so many weeks.
There were times in September when every player on the Expos had played like a champion- they felt they couldn’t be beaten or even seriously challenged. But then, as they raced alongside the Phillies in an eagerly awaited, match race in a cold and dank Olympic Stadium, they just couldn’t keep up with them.
But in the way human beings measure human drama, in the way more than 50,000 Expo fans measure the beats of their hearts, in the way thousands of people stayed close to their TV sets all day, in the way cold, professional athletes warmed to the excitement, yesterday’s game will be one that will be remembered for a long time.
In a solemnly quiet Expo clubhouse Dick Williams stood before a group of reporters and made no excuses. “It was another great year but we’re second again,” he said. More silence. “It just wasn’t to be. We just needed one more out and we couldn’t do that.”
The disappointment was etched on the faces of all the Expos, but catcher Gary Carter was particularly upset.
“They just didn’t quit,” he said, referring to the Phillies. “It’s hard to believe that 1980 is over. I’m just sitting here and it’s hard to believe. We battled. It was a heck of a series.”
The game was over and their eyes glittered with exhilaration, and some of them threw back their heads and whooped triumphantly.
Walking with the Phillies was a sturdy man who seemed strangely subdued. Not a hair or an emotion was out of place. There was about him an air of quiet satisfaction- nothing more. Dallas Green, the tough-talking general of the Phillies, then walked into the clubhouse and shook hands with all his ballplayers.
“We had to play team baseball this year and we did,” said Green. He hesitated for a moment and then the hint of a smile came across his lips. “Everyone has been saying and writing that we’ve been feuding with one another. It’s just not true. You know, I told these guys in spring training that we couldn’t out-talent anyone anymore and we had to play as a team. It was sometimes difficult to get that across to them but that was because they have such great talent. We have a team with character. I couldn’t be prouder.
When asked whom he’d rather face for the National League title- the Dodgers or the Astros- Green said, “I couldn’t care less. Just as long as they show up in Philadelphia on Tuesday.”
The Philadelphia manager had plenty of praise for the Expos when it was all over. Before he met with reporters, Green went into the Expo clubhouse and spoke with Dick Williams.
“I will say this about the Expos,” he said, “they are a fine baseball team. They’ve got good young kids who want to play. You’ve got every right to be proud of ‘em.”
“We came so far,” said Gary Carter after the 6-4 loss. “We thought for sure we’d be in it tomorrow (today). We thought it would be like last weekend in Philly.”
Tug McGraw, the Phillie southpaw who dropped his own Steel Curtain on the Expos with a thud yesterday and Friday, said an off-season conditioning program at Veterans Stadium is the single most important reason why he has been so successful again this year. “It’s helped a lot.” But he added that Dallas Green is also a major factor in his comeback. “Dallas knows how to handle pitchers. He’s been a big difference for me.”
Don’t expect any regulars in the Phillie lineup today. And Steve Carlton won’t be starting, either. Mark Davis will get the nod instead. “I will rest all regulars,” said Dallas Green. “But you can show up. We’ll still give you a good ballgame.”