Philadelphia Daily News - October 6, 1980
All Ends Philharmonic
By Ray Didinger
For seven months, he drove and cussed them, like a crotchety old prospector whipping a mule team up a steep hill.
He lashed 'em and he didn't pay no mind when they whimpered. Every time they tried to lay down, he grabbed 'em by the bit and pulled with all his might. There were times when he swore he'd like to ship 'em all to the Borax factory.
But late Saturday night, Dallas Green walked through a champagne car wash and embraced this Phillies baseball team. He hugged Larry Bowa and congratulated him in terms only his troubled shortstop could appreciate.
"Nice going, you little bleeper," Green said.
Green put his arm around Garry Maddox' shoulders, whispered in his ear and patted him on his bearded cheek. The difference between the men, differences which had clashed like Philharmonic cymbals in the past week, were momentarily put aside in a clubhouse awash in joy.
THE PHILLIES had won the National League East with a bizarre 6-4 victory over the Montreal Expos, a victory that, in many ways, typified their season. They committed five errors, they ran the bases like lemmings rushing to the surf, yet they came reeling through the rainy night triumphant.
It was a victory that, like this Phillies team, defied all logic. It was a victory in which guys dropped pop flies and kicked their batting helmets in disgust, a victory in which Bob Boone and Greg Luzinski returned from the ashes to deliver the clutch hits.
It wasn't pretty – it was ghastly, in fact – but Dallas Green cherished it. He stood there in the middle of the Olympic Stadium clubhouse, his head tossed back, his eyes closed, the champagne running through his hair like a frothy river of gold.
"We won," Green shouted. "Goddammit, we won."
Back in March, Dallas Green was tacking up "We, Not I" posters in the Clearwater locker room, trying not to notice the snickering going on behind his back. He spent the spring selling old-fashioned values to a bunch of guys who kept checking their watches to make sure they didn't miss their tee-times.
Throughout the summer, he spewed fire-and-brimstone in a clubhouse where once you could hear a , bridge hand drop. He dragged words like "pride" and "character" out of the storage trunk, blew the dust off them and mounted them in the Phillies' sparsely appointed trophy case.
IT WAS A long, often frustrating, haul for Dallas Green but, finally, he broke through. The team that once listened when E.F. Hutton talked began listening to its manager. Green's spirit, combined with the fire of kids like Keith Moreland and Lonnie Smith, gave the Phillies a new look this fall.
Last weekend in Montreal, the Phillies became The Team That Came In From The Cool. Watching Mike Schmidt, the club's resident iceman, come across the plate following his pennant-winning homer, slapping hands like some kid at his first pep rally, you couldn't help but get the feeling things had changed.
This is not to say all the Phillies love Dallas Green, even now as they prepare for the National League Championship Series. Some resent his candor, others question his handling of personnel but, even these petty grumblers have to admit the man has given the Phillies a tenacity they never had before.
The Phillies won six straight games the final week of the season, 19 of their last 26, en route to the Eastern Division pennant. They won a few with their under-rated pitching staff, but they also won a few because they knew Green's size 12 shoe was aimed at the seat of their pants.
"In my mind, there are only two candidates for Manager of the Year... that's Dallas and Bill Virdon," said Paul Owens, the Phillies general manager. "Of course, I'm probably prejudiced because I'm so fond of Dallas but I'd have to give him the edge. The job he's done is just out of this world.
"DALLAS WAS just what this team needed, a firm hand. I don't want it to sound like I'm knocking Danny (Ozark) because he did a helluva job for us the first four or five years. It's just that, all of a sudden, he became too close to the players.
"They started running him, instead of the other way around. That's why I sent Dallas down there (to the dugout). I knew he was strong enough to stand up to all the bullbleep. He doesn't care what anybody says, he's gonna do things his way.
"I'm not sure what Dallas' thoughts are about (managing) next season," Owens said. "The job is his if he wants it, that's for sure. But he's always said he doesn't want to be a career manager, he wants to come back to the front office.
"We'll just have to wait and see. I guess a lot will depend on what happens down the road."
Down the road, of course, means these next three weeks. After Saturday's emotional victory,. Owens raised the possibility he might leave his current post and return to his first love, the farm system, if the Phillies win the World Series.
Yesterday, Dallas Green said he would like to return to the calmer life of a baseball executive next season. That sets the scenario for a Phillies world-championship faduout: Paul Owens leaving the GM's chair and Green jumping in it before it has time to squeak.
DALLAS GREEN is not ruling out the possibility he might resign as manager, even if the Phillies lose in the playoffs or World Series. That would seem less likely, however, for two reasons.
• Owens probably won't step aside unless the Phillies go all the way this year and it wouldn't make much sense for Green to move upstairs to any post lower than general manager.
• Green is not the type to be satisfied by merely coming close to a world championship. If the Phillies fall short again this October, Green's competitive nature would almost surely goad him into making another run at the title in 1981.
But if the Phillies do win the World Series, the Owens-Green change could well become reality. Remember, managing has not been any joy-ride for Dallas. Watching him frolic in that clubhouse on Saturday, it was easy to forget how much he went through this summer.
For Dallas Green, managing his moody, high-strung ballclub was like having his finger caught in a car door for seven months. Sure, he got the Phillies playing his kind of baseball but he spent half the season with his heart sliding down into his socks. Is he anxious to do that again?
"It's been frustrating at times," Green admitted Saturday, referring to this season. "It's had its peak and valleys. This is the peak, obviously, but the most frustrating thing was my inability to convince some of these players that we were on the right track.
"I FEEL WE have 90 percent with the program and that's not a bad percentage... I'm proud of what (the majority of) these guys did. They rallied behind a cause and that cause was winning. It made me goddamn proud, the class and character we showed this last week.
"We didn't blow people away the way we did in '77 and 78, winning games, 8-1, 10-1. We were winning games, 2-1, 3-2. That proved to me that this team has the heart to be a champion. If 1 contributed to that in seme way... well, I'm pleased."
If Dallas Green takes over as GM after this season, he's gonna have a tough job finding someone to replace Dallas Green as the Phillies manager and riding crop. Hmmm. Has anyone got a phone number for Woody Hayes?
Phils’ Future Is Now
By Bill Conlin
MONTREAL – Dallas Green says he's not a career big-league baseball manager.
And doesn't that come as a big surprise?
The day he was named full-time manager last October at a Vet press conference. Green said loudly and clearly that his future was in the Phillies' front office. The matter of when Paul Owens would retire from the general manager's job – vice president for player personnel in Phillies nomenclature – was conditioned by circumstance. That circumstance involved the completion of the job at hand.
The job at hand was winning a National League pennant and World Series title. This was to be accomplished not by some future crop of ballplayers but by the nucleus which won division titles in 1976, ‘77 and ‘78 only to lose in the playoffs. This, Green said (and has been saying ever since), is probably the last shot for that nucleus because time marches on and there are minor-league prospects who can no longer be denied.
GREEN AND OWENS feel in their hearts that they are through knocking at the World Series door. As Oiler Coach Bum Phillips says, this year they're going to kick the sumbitch in.
Yesterday, before a meaningless 8-7, 10-inning loss to the Expos, Green informally restated his goals and how he views his managing future.
There were absolutely no surprises, nothing he hasn't said on many occasions through the season.
"If we went all the way I think we'd have accomplished everything the organization set out to accomplish," Dallas said. "What else would be left to accomplish?"
Wouldn't Dallas like to come back to the field next year for an encore if the Phillies win seven more October games?
"I'm not a career manager," he said. "Let somebody else repeat."
Saturday night, while the party raged in the clubhouse, Owens sat quietly in Green's office, sipping a drink and looking down the road.
"I expect Dallas will be the manager next year." Owens said. "We haven't discussed it formally but he knows how I feel about it I think he's done a fine job. I think we can both look each other in the eye and say we've done the first third of what we set out to do this year. It wasn't easy but we got it done by the guys on the field. Now we've got to go out and nail down the other two."
OWENS DID NOT, however, say he would step down if the Phillies bring the town its first National League World Series championship. What he did say was that general managing is not as much fun as it used to be when the job was unfettered by agents, long-term, no-trade contracts and legal problems more suited to a contract lawyer than a grass-roots baseball man. Owens hinted that he would consider stepping down if the Phillies win it all.
"I don't have a big ego in that I'm too proud to go to work for somebody," The Pope said. "I wouldn't mind going back into the field seven months a year and working with kids, spend four months with my wife and grandchildren.
"I have nothing against the agents; they serve their purpose. I'm just tired of all the bullbleep that goes with the job of GM these days. It's not as much fun anymore and when you reach the time where it stops being fun, then it's time to think about stepping down."
Meanwhile, Green and Owens have some heavy field-level decisions to make between now and tomorrow night's first playoff game with the survivor of the Dodgers-Astros sudden-death shootout in L.A. this afternoon.
Somewhere in the vicinity of a 1:30 p.m. Phillies workout at the Vet, Owens expects to receive a phone call from National League President Chub Feeney. Feeney will rule on whether right-handed pitching prodigy Marty Bystrom is eligible for postseason play.
IT IS NO secret that Green is trying to substitute Bystrom for a pitcher neither he nor Owens will name. It is also no secret, though, that the pitcher is right-handed, hasn't started in quite a while and spent a significant portion of the season on the disabled list. Owens feels he has made a strong, legitimate case.
The rest is up to the league president.
To reiterate, Sparky Lyle, whose addition to the squad last month probably pushed the Phils over the top, is definitely not eligible for postseason play. Under any circumstance.
"We understood that when we made the deal for Sparky," Owens said.
Steve Carlton, who will have five days' rest, will pitch the opener tomorrow night. Dick Ruthven will start Game 2. Bystrom's status will determine the rotation after that. If Marty's eligible, Green could go Larry Christenson and Bystrom, leaving Carlton to pitch the final game and a rested Ruthven to open the World Series. If Bystrom is ineligible, though, Green would probably have to choose between Randy Lerch and Nino Espinosa as his fourth-game starter.
The ideal solution to that weighty problem is to win it in three.
PHILUPS: Phils announced last night that Veterans Stadium is sold out tomorrow and Wednesday night... Jerry White's three-run homer in the 10th erased a 7-5 Phillies lead and gave the Expos an 8-7 victory in an entertaining battle between the youngsters of two talent-rich organizations. Some oldsters were in evidence, too. Pete Rose started at first base and lashed two singles, ending his season at.282 with 185 hits. Rose has played in every Phillies game since he joined the club, 325 of them. Tim McCarver pinch-ran for Rose and later got the final base hit of his career, a gap double to right-center. "Not a bad hit to finish with," he said. "Those gappers were always my favorite kind of hit. But it was a just as big a thrill running for the best veteran baserunner in the game."... Rookie lefthander Mark Davis, rusty from lack of work, allowed just two runs and four hits in five innings He was followed by Randy Lerch and Warren Brusstar, whose strong pitching in Saturday's wild classic probably was overlooked... The Phils probably would rather face the Astros, a team they handled 7-2 during the regular season, than the still-potent Dodger offense, but Dallas Green says he doesn't care. "It doesn't matter to me. just so one of them shows up Tuesday night," he said.
McGraw Bellies Up to Pressure
By Bill Conlin
MONTREAL – His stomach muscles were starting to knot. The first waves of nausea were lapping at his consciousness.
It was the bottom of the 11th inning and Frank McGraw was getting sick with the goal in sight. His knees were weak, his left arm dishrag limp.
In moments of such extreme stress. Tug likes to find a face in the crowd and focus on it, a single, tangible object to help him regroup his powers of concentration.
Friday night, McGraw searched for a face and found one he liked. And if you saw him step off the mound before a pitch in the ninth inning it was because "The guy yawned," Tug said. "I couldn't focus on such a disinterested fan."
He couldn't find a face in the 11th inning of the Phillies' psychedelic 6-4 clincher over the Expos Saturday, a game Dick Ruthven called. "The ugliest great baseball game ever played."
So he decided to tunnel his gaze into the Irish mug of rookie catcher Don McCormack. And what he saw peering at him through a catcher's mask startled and inspired him.
"Here's this kid back there just up from the minors," McGraw marveled during the most satisfying of the Phillies' four division clinchers of the Paul Owens Era. "And maybe if he's lucky he'll get into a couple of games if we get way behind or the race is over. And here he is in the biggest game of the season and he's giving me the impression he's having the time of his life and that he's got everything under control. The dominant feature I could see through the mask were these big white teeth grinning at me.
"I SAID, WELL, if that son of a gun is having so much fun, then how could I be out here being nervous. I really started to relax on each pitch. There were a few pitches before that happened that I really squeezed. My arm was getting tired, I was starting to force a few pitches. Don was having a ball back there. Why should I get all tensed up? I made him pick about three pitches that I bounced up there."
McCormack was grinning. "Most fun I ever had in my whole life." McCormack said yesterday, the grin almost 24 hours old and still shining like a beacon. "The division was on the line. I was catching a great relief pitcher and I was playing a part in iyt.
That's what it came down to, the ballgame in the hands of a grizzled, weary veteran plodding to the end of the most remarkable stretch of relief pitching in his career, and a rookie catcher. No words could have summed up what Dallas Green has been trying to establish this bittersweet season with more eloquence than the veteran and the kid working in concert to get the thing nailed down.
McGraw had been planning a mighty series of leaps if he happened to be on the mound when the Phillies clinched it. He reached deep into his memory and blazed one last fastball past Larry Parrish and it was finally over. McGraw managed one huge leap while a riot of players spilled from the dugout.
And he collapsed on all fours, too weary to get up and leap again. "I was totally exhausted," he said.
And while his teammates went through the early, manic stages of baseball's timeless rite of victory, McGraw was alone in a corner of the visitor's clubhouse, throwing up into a trash barrel, one hand gripping an unopened bottle of Mumm's Cordon Rouge. "I rate this vintage four times better than Chateau Deer Path," Tim McCarver croaked. "The quality of the champagne reflects the progress this organization has made since 77. Hey, guys, throw beer and drink this, it's too good to throw."
McGRAWS HEAD finally emerged from the trash can. His face was beet red. He was sweating like a dock-walloper.
"My stomach just knotted up from the excitement," he gasped. "I've gotta get rid of these dry heaves so I can start filling up on this stuff."
There was one last moment of frustration.
"Stand back, this is gonna explode," he said, wrestling to unwind the wire holding the champagne cork in place while several writers edged nervously away. "Oh, damn!"
The cork snapped off at the neck of the bottle. Tug stood staring in disbelief at the unopened bottle. I don't know whether to cry or keep puking," he said."
There was no celebration for Tug McGraw. He was too exhausted, too emotionally drained to stand in the swirling center of the craziness he had done so much to create. "I'll come to the ballpark bombed tomorrow and make up for it," he said.
He went into the dizzy month of September with an 0-4 record which belied his season-long brilliance. Two of the losses were to Pittsburgh and two were to Montreal. McGraw felt the losses represented an ominous portent for him personally and for a team forced to catch both Eastern Division powers this month.
"I told Dick Williams when he came in to congratulate me, 'Look, you guys beat me two times early in the year and the last few times I pitched against you I was looking for some redeemers." That's what I wanted the most, redeemers, that was my biggest motivating factor. Just like with Pittsburgh, I was 0-4 all year. They beat me twice and Montreal beat me twice and that was hanging on my mind all year. I came back and ended up getting two victories against Pittsburgh in September when we had to have them. That was a redeemer.
"I can't believe that today I got my second redeemer. The save Friday night was icing on the cake. That's what was really going on right here. That was my redeemer."
It was a game for redemptions. Greg Luzinski drove in the lead run in the seventh. Bob Boone drove in the tying run in the ninth with a dramatic, two-out single to center off ancient Woodie Fryman. And when reminded that his two-out, game-tying single in the bottom of the 15th last Monday was the Phillies' biggest single hit of the season, Garry Maddox said through tears, "Whatever it takes to win I'll do, whatever it takes."
BOONE HUGGED Luzinski and said with a half-smile, "They can't write us off yet, Bull. We're both still hanging in there."
For Paul Owens, like his team, it was a bitter struggle right to the end. He and owner Ruly Carpenter almost got into a rumble behind the dugout Saturday night with a fan who showered first-base coach Ruben Amaro with a cup filled with brandy as the Phils left the field after the eighth inning.
"I tried to have the guy run out," Owens said, "but I could tell the way he was just sitting there looking smug and the way the security people refused to act, that he knew somebody upstairs in the owner's box. My people don't have to take that kind of abuse."
Then the only big-league general manager to watch his team play an average of a 159 games a year the past eight seasons rattled the ice in his cup and leaned his head against the wall of Dallas Green's office. Outside, the veterans had quieted down. The kids had taken control of the party, Keith Moreland and Lonnie Smith, Kevin Saucier and Dickie Noles. For the better part of an hour. Don McCormack had sat at a table in the middle of the room watching everything. The grin was still there.
"In a way, this one means a little more to me than the others," Owens said. "This is the first one we've won with Phillies people, Dallas managing, a couple of the coaches we brought up this year."
Danny Ozark never had the free hand Green gave himself this season. He was Family. Ozark was an outsider. Danny never could have survived the brutal judgments and pronouncements Green made during the final homestand.
It came down to Tug McGraw pitching on Muhammad Ali legs to a grinning rookie catcher.
As Garry Maddox said, whatever it takes. Whatever it takes.
Schmidt – Reachin’ Out, Movin’ Up
By Bill Conlin
MONTREAL – The dive is majestic, fully extended toward the backhand side. A familiar green bottle pops into the grinning first baseman's glove.
The stance is classic. But before the batter can bash the baseball lopsided, a familiar green bottle pops out of home plate right into his right hand.
Reachin out. Movin' up. America is turnin' 7-Up.
Mike Schmidt is turnin" 7-Up on the TV ad he shares with Dave Parker and Bruce Sutter.
Mike Schmidt will be the 1980 National League MVP. It's tough to argue with 48 home runs, 121 RBI and a .286 average, all career highs. It's tough to fight with the four home runs he hit in the last four crucial games, culminating in the thrilling, awesome, two-run shot in the 11th inning of Saturday's flawed but fevered classic. Most Americans should know who Mike Schmidt is, even though NBC decided in its wisdom to pull the plug at 7 p.m. to show whatever program had enough cosmic importance to merit leaving one of the most exciting baseball games of the TV age.
THERE IS STILL a nagging thought, however, that if his career ended tomorrow, Schmidt would be best remembered in the hinterlands and outbacks of the nation as a classically built athlete who turns 7-Up with precision. Which is to say they probably will not remember him as well as they will remember Marv Throneberry, who appears on the much more effective Lite Beer commercials, high-camp works of art.
"National recognition comes from playing in a World Series," Schmidt said yesterday in the afterglow of a stretch performance unsurpassed by a hitter since 1967, when Carl Yastrzemski produced a big hit whenever the Red Sox needed one. "I got to do more than catch a bottle of 7-Up on national TV. I think that did a great deal for recognition, but I'm nowhere near a household word."
Schmidt doesn't want the hassle which goes with national recognition, the constant demands on his time, the kind of crowd-drawing visibility which drives many celebrities to become hermits with social access only to other beautiful hermits. Nah, Schmitty doesnt need that.
But he needs the things which lead to national celebrity status, the accomplishments, the numbers.
He wants to be remembered as Mike Schmidt, MVP, great clutch hitter, World Series winner.
"IF WE'RE GONNA discuss the subject, the reason I'm not a nationally known professional athlete is that the team I play for, the Philadelphia Phillies, hasn't competed in the competition that the whole nation watches for a couple of weeks. Or I don't play in New York, I don't play in L.A., and haven't come across the opportunities outside the game, except for a couple of little national things that I have.
"I think people in Philly would be surprised at my national recognition. It's not nearly what it could be if we had a couple of championship rings on our fingers. I can walk down the street in L.A. or Houston or someplace and I'll be recognized. I don't enjoy that, but it's not nearly what it could be for a lot of guys on the team if we had won a couple of World Series."
It will be a lot easier for the Phillies to win a pennant and play in a World Series if Schmidt continues to relax in pressure situations the way he did this weekend in the cold, rain and gloom of Olympic Stadium.
"The home run came strictly because I wasn't even thinking home run," he said of the rocket he drove deep into the left-field seats Saturday night on a 2-0 Stan Bahnsen fastball that was out over the plate in his Happy Zone. "I had on my mind so much to hit a gapper to right-center, drive the ball there. I could see it in my mind, going right over the second baseman's head and skiddin' off the wet turf right to the wall and scoring Bake McBride. That's all I had in my mind and I think that's what kept my shoulder in there. Instead of hitting it back here I hit it out here and it went that way."
IT WENT "THAT WAY for about 420 feet, ensuring that the world championship will stay in the USA for another year.
"I was thinking bottom line, hit the ball up the middle or hard right at somebody, do something," he said.
Something to atone for the called third strike he looked at in the fifth inning with bases loaded and nobody out, when that gapper or ball up the middle could have broken open the game.
"He stopped when I was walking to the plate and said, 'If you ever picked me up, big guy, pick me up now,' " Greg Luzinski said. "I tried. I put a good stroke on the ball and hit it hard – right into a line-drive double play. But that swing helped me get started."
Schmidt says the key to his game is "letting it happen," the way he let it happen Friday night, when he was too weak from a high fever to try to muscle-up on the ball.
"You should never try to force the ball out of the park because that creates too many fundamental problems," Mike said. "Under pressure I was able to stay within myself and keep my fundamentals in order. In fact, I laid off two pitches in order to get to 2-0."
SCHMIDT FEELS ENORMOUS inner satisfaction about the season-ending tear which made him the game's single-season all-time home run hitter at his position. He feels people will no longer think of him as a guy who has won some home run titles, but never caused anybody to nickname him "Clutch Cargo," or "Special Delivery Schmidt."
"I feel real good inside about it," he said. "Just as I'm sure Greg did when we had great years and we won the division. Obviously it's my best year all the way around, my best year in every size, shape and form. But I feel this is the year I need to be a catalyst for the next two, three, or four years, hopefully.
"I felt learning to hit under pressure was the one item I wanted in my repertoire, in my baseball life. I know when I retired they were gonna say, 'He could hit a baseball as far as anybody; he was a great third baseman; he always drove in a hundred runs, but he could have been a better clutch hitter.' Just because I did it this year in September doesn't automatically make me a career clutch hitter by any means. But there's going to be other pressure-filled at-bats, and there's going to be other big times in my career. But to be able to look back on how I did it this year, to know I've been able to ht under pressure before and had success under pressure makes it easier the next time it comes up. You have to have it happen to you to know what it's like.
"THE KEY IS concentration. And wherever the pressure's coming from is what breaks up your concentration. The feeling that I gotia do it,' the fear of failure, the feeling that you're 0-for-4 and just gotta get a hit this time up is the pressure, or part of it. The more 'you gottas' you put on yourself the less your concentration will be on what it should be on."
Schmidt exorcised the devils this weekend. He banished, at least temporarily, a demonic host of "you gottas."
He is, at least temporarily, the best all-around baseball player in his league, if not in his game.
And that's one "gotta" you've just gotta believe. Mike Schmidt is entering a phase of his career where he will be reaching for much more than 7-Up.
7 HR Payoff Winners
There were seven winners during the weekend in the Daily News Home Run Payoff.
In yesterday's fifth inning, Samuel J. Newman and Ted Wright, both of Philadelphia, and Sister Terence of Aston each won four tickets to a Phillies game next season.
In Saturday's third inning, Mathis J. King of Philadelphia won $50 and tickets on a Mike Schmidt double and John Miller of Philadelphia won $10 and tickets on a Bake McBride single. Henry Lee Bell and Ada Tomlinson, both of Philadelphia, each won tickets.
So far the Daily News has paid out $19,275.