Camden Courier-Post - October 6, 1980
Believe it or not: Phillies have heart
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
"I've never seen a group of guys who wanted something so much in my life... Maybe we have more heart now.'' Mike Schmidt
MONTREAL – One thing the Phillies have never been accused of having is heart.
The fans, the writers, the people who have watched this team over the years, always have acknowledged its talent. But rarely, if ever, has anyone said that the Phillies have heart. The Flyers have heart. The jury is still out on the Eagles. But the Phillies? Never.
There is reason why that particular word has never been attached to this particular team. While, it was winning National League East Division championships from 1976-78, the prevailing theory was talent was the difference.
And that talent never seemed to be enough to get the Phillies through the playoffs and into their first World Series since 1950. Something – rain or Manny Mota or the Big Red Machine – always seemed to intervene.
So the Phillies' heart – character if you prefer Dallas Green's way of putting things – was questioned.
When Schmidt spoke the words that introduce this column he had just finished winning a fourth East title for the Phillies. His 11th-inning home run Saturday night might have beaten the Expos and clinched another divisional crown.
He and most of his teammates were savoring the emotions that washed over them like a champagne shower. Schmidt was attempting to analyze a season and a team that all but defied analysis.
On paper, the Phillies won because their pitching, fortified by Steve Carlton's 24 victories and miraculously held up despite injuries. They got superb seasons from Schmidt, who won the home run and RBI crowns, rightfielder Bake McBride, who hit .309 and drove in a career-high 87 runs, and second baseman Manny Trillo, who flirted with .300 before finally coming to rest at a career-high .292.
And, the Phillies got a superhuman performance from Tug McGraw, who astonishingly gave up only three earned runs over the final three months of the season.
But outstanding individual seasons are nothing new to the Phillies. Indeed, in past years a greater number of players had put together fine years than the few who played consistently well this season. Still, impressive numbers were not enough to win the pennant.
There had to be another reason why this 1980 team won its division despite the benchings, the bickering and the brooding that accompanied it. And that intangible was what Schmidt was trying to put his finger on when he used the word "heart."
"There was," said catcher Bob Boone, "some controversy that came from people inside and outside (the organization) assessing the team incorrectly. If all that stuff had not occurred, we'd still be in the same position. It didn't affect the team."
The internal assessment came from Green himself, who a week ago accused some of his players of not wanting to win. No one outside the organization disagreed with Green. Boone was not one of those accused. Nevertheless, Green's assessment was accurate enough.
McGraw, another whose desire was never in question, saw it differently, He had been through five other division-championship years (two with the Mets, three with the Phillies), which gave him a unique perspective.
"This is my sixth time and this is the hardest fought and the most deserved," he said. "This team had to come to terms with itself. It had to make adjustments. The players had to adjust and management had to adjust. You name an obstacle and we had it this year."
Green likened the season to the game his club had just won to clinch. It had been a bizarre mixture of the sublime (Schmidt's majestic home run) and the ridiculous (five errors).
"This game was like the season," he said. "It didn't look like we were going to do it... We didn't do well until it got to the end that's when we did it. That's the bottom line.”
The bottom line isthe Phillies did it with a torrid September in which they won 19 of 29 games. The unhittable McGraw figured in seven of those wins (four victories and three saves). Schmidt had seven game-winning RBIs from Sept. 1 until Saturday. McBride batted .355 and Trillo awoke from a 3-for-55 slump to hit .317 over the last 15 games.
"We played one of the great Septembers in the history of the game in terms of winning one-run ballgames (they were 12-3) and coming back," Green said.
If the Phillies do not go on to defeat either Los Angeles or Houston in the playoffs, their character once again will come into question.
But to win the East the way they did, well, it did indeed take heart.
Expos edge Phillies in meaningless final game
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
MONTREAL – That the Phillies lost, 8-7, in 10 innings to the Montreal Expos yesterday seemed hardly to matter.
The end of the line already had been reached with Saturday night's division-clinching 6-4 victory. So yesterday's final game of the regular season was a time for the Phillies to bask in the glory of their fourth National League East Division crown in the past five years.
Manager Dallas Green, who says he "prefers not" to return to the field job next season, spent most of the time answering questions concerning the playoffs who his pitchers would be, who would be included on the 25-man roster.
Green had no difficulty answering the first question. Steve Carlton and Dick Ruthven would pitch the first' two games of the playoffs against either Houston or Los Angeles tomorrow and Wednesday at Veterans Stadium.
The second, however, brought a cautious response. "We've sent our roster in (to the National League office) and we're waiting for approval," Green said.
Of course, the Phillies want desperately to have rookie righthander Marty Bystrom available for postseason play. Normally, that would be impossible since Bystrom, 5-0 in September, was among the Phils' Sept 1 call-ups.
But there is a catch. If someone on the regular roster was injured and placed on the disabled list, Bystrom could be made eligible. Green did say the Phillies have filed an injury report with the league office. And the report does involve a pitcher.
Exactly who that pitcher is will remain a matter of conjecture until, perhaps, tonight. But an educated guess is righthander Nino Espinosa, who has been bothered by arm problems all season and hasn't pitched since Sept. 12.
Yesterday's game provided a platform for the Phillies to showcase their rookies. Having given his veterans the day off – Pete Rose was the only regular to play – Green turned his kids loose and let them have a good time.
Mark Davis, a 19-year-old lefthander, may have earned an invitation to spring training with five strong innings. Davis was wild, walking the bases loaded in the fourth, but he allowed only four hits and struck out four. He left the game with a 5-2 lead.
Jerry White slammed a three-run home run with two out in the 10th inning to lift the Expos to victory.
Chris Speier started the rally by beating out an infield single against loser Warren Brusstar, 2-2. Pinch-hitter Willie Montanez singled him to third before White unloaded on a 0-1 pitch.
The blow made a winner of reliever Charlie Lea, 7-5, who hurled the final two innings and allowed two runs in the top of the 10th.
Philadelphia had taken a 7-5 lead in the top of the 10th. Montreal shortstop Jerry Manuel's two-base throwing error allowed Ozzie Virgil to score one run, and the Phils added another run on John Vukovich's single.
The Expos tied the game 5-5 in the eighth. Pinch-runner Ron LeFlore stole second and third, giving him 97, tops this year in the National League. He scored on Larry Par-rish's sacrifice fly.
Tim McCarver hit a two-run double in the Philadelphia fourth, and Luis Agayo drove in the third run of the inning with a single.
Montreal scored twice in the sixth on Tony Bernazard's bases-loaded single.
Andre Dawson's RBI double and a run-scoring single by Tim Wallach gave Montreal a 2-0 lead in the first. Orlando Isales and George Vukovich singled home runs in the Phils third.
PHIL UPS – Rose went 2-for-2 before retiring for the day... Phils finished the season 20 games over.500... The last time they were 20 games over.500 was in 1977... Over the last five years, Phils have won more games than any other National League team (467). Reds are next with 460... Lonnie Smith broke Richie Ashburn's 1948 record for the most steals by a rookie with his 33rd of the season... Schmidt's dramatic home run Saturday night gave him 48 – a single-season record for a third baseman... Eddie Mathews hit 47 for the Milwaukee Braves in 1957.
Fiery Green forges new Phils’ attitude
By Hal Bodley, Gannett News Service
MONTREAL – Dallas Green's voice vibrated up and down the corridor outside the Phillies' dressing room in Pittsburgh.
"... and you've got to stop being so cool; you've got to get that through your heads! If you don't get that through your (bleeping) heads, you're going to be so far buried it won't matter!"
The Phillies manager was shouting, and profanity flowed.
"Get the (bleep) off your butts and go beat somebody the way you can... because you're a good baseball team, but you're not now. You can't look in the (bleeping) mirror. Yon keep telling me you can do it, but you (bleeping) gave up!
"If you don't want to play, get into my office and tell me, 'I don't want to play anymore!' because if you feel that way, I don't want to play you!"
When you analyze the Phillies of 1980, that's where you start – Aug. 10.
Veteran baseball men can't remember a manager going into such a hysterical, emotional tirade. Green's blast came between games of a Sunday afternoon doubleheader. The Phillies had sleep-walked their way to a 7-1 first-game loss and went on to lose the nightcap, 4-1.
When the sun set on National League East that night, they found themselves in third place, six games behind Montreal and Pittsburgh, which were tied for the lead with 63-48 records.
But with only 55 games remaining, Green told visitors to the scary-quiet clubhouse the Phillies were not finished. They would come back.
And come back they did.
They won eight of their next nine games and on Aug. 19 were just 2½ games behind first-place Pittsburgh.
And they proceeded overall to win 35 of 53 games, and were one game ahead of Montreal going into Saturday's rain-delayed meeting with the Expos.
"I didn't want to let these guys quit on themselves," Green said. "I never quit on them, and I'm sure most of our fans did not quit on them, so it was my job to not let them quit on themselves. If I had to yell to get them going, I yelled good and loud."
Green, a 45-year-old former pitcher who was being groomed to take Paul Owens' position as general manager, was summoned from his farm director's chair on Aug. 31, 1979 when the front office decided it was time to replace quiet, gentle Danny Ozark.
He arrived like a bull in a china shop. He set out to return the Phillies to the top spot in the Eastern Division they had held in 1976-77-78.
The players, who had settled into the comfort of a country-club atmosphere, did not know how to handle Green. Many were not ready to give up their personal ambitions and subscribe to his "We, Not I" doctrine.
And as recently as 10 days ago, he shook up his team again after two costly losses to Montreal when he said he thought there might be some players on the team who would be just as happy if the Phillies didn't win the division.
Green benched what some consider to be the best centerfielder in baseball, Garry Maddox, for various reasons. He criticized shorstop Larry Bowa for his remarks about the fans and his criticism of the manager when Maddox, Greg Luzinski and Bob Boone were benched.
In summary, Dallas Green said he could care less about his players' feelings or what they might be saying about him.
"I could quit," Green said. "That's what Danny Ozark did after seven years. He just quit, he threw it (authority) over to them. He said, 'Here, do it your way.' Now I can see why. Well, these guys aren't giving me any ulcers. They might give a weaker guy an ulcer, but they won't give me no (bleeping) ulcer.
"What people don't know about me is I sincerely want to win. I want to win for Paul Owens, I want to win for (owner) Ruly Carpenter. Sure, I want to win for Dallas Green a little bit, but most of all, I want to win for the organization.
"What these guys want... I don't know. I don't think it's just the fat contracts, either. I think it's a total rebellion against authority."
From that point, the Phillies went out and played their best baseball of the season. They whipped Chicago in four straight to gain the first-place tie and set the stage for the final three games of the season, and they won Friday's first showdown with Montreal to go ahead by one.
How did they do it?
They did it with a marvelous blend of multi-talented veterans and hungry, eager youngsters.
Without Green's boldness in meshing rookies with the sometimes complacent veterans, the Phillies would not have had the success they enjoyed.
In the beginning, the crusty veterans did not know what to think of the youngsters. Didn't they know that when you put on Phillies' pinstripes you're supposed to be cool, unemotional? Don't get high after victories, low after defeats. Face the world the same every day.
The Class of '80 refused to accept that. When Green put together his 25-player roster last spring, he sent shock waves through the clubhouse. Veterans such as Rawly Eastwick, Doug Bird, Dave Rader and Bud Harrelson were sent packing.
Skeptics said there was no way they could win a pennant with a bench consisting mostly of rookies.
But they did.
“The kids have done an outstanding job," Green said. "It has been a lot of fun watching the clubhouse. At first, the veterans did not get involved. The kids want to win so badly, and what they're doing and saying has rubbed off on the others."
"I think they have given this team a new spirit" Coach Bobby Wine said. "They refused to be quiet. They refused to fall into complacent habits. And to top it off, they have a lot of talent. That is the bottom line.