1983 - The Phillies - 100 Years (from the Philadelphia Daily News)
1970-1982: Free At Last
(taken from Up From the Cellar)
By Bill Conlin
The club's image had taken a battering and it was obvious after the 1969 season that (Dick) Allen would have to go. Reluctantly- Carpenter had developed an almost fatherly fondness for the wasp-waisted prodigal- Quinn began to shop his superstar around. The old man worked out a massive deal with the Cardinals that had as its ultimate spinoff the undermining of baseball's historic reserve system. Veteran St. Louis outfielder Curt Flood refused to report to the Phillies, hired former United Nations Ambassador Arthur Goldberg to plead his case and took the Lords of Baseball all the way to the Supreme Court. The justices refused to rule on the case, but the reserve system was living on borrowed time.
With the move into the city's long-awaited, much-delayed, all-purpose stadium at Broad and Pattison streets just a year away, Quinn made a shrewd public relations gesture. He hired loyal organization man Frank Lucchesi to divert as much attention as possible from the shabby product ready to close down Connie Mack Stadium, where an evening of baseball had become a perilous sortie into a decaying, high-crime neighborhood.
Lucchesi, a Verdi opera in flannels, played his role well. He fought to keep a scrawny shortstop with a gold glove and glass bat named Larry Bowa and became a fan favorite with his vesta la juba personality. Other new faces who led the Phillies to a fifth-place finish in a six-team division (the Padres and Expos had joined the league in '69) were Deron Johnson, Denny Doyle, Don Money, Dick Selma and Joe Hoerner.
It was a watershed season in an off-the-field sense, however. Under farm director Paul Owens and his assistant, Dallas Green, the depleted system was being restocked. A linebacker-sized slugger named Greg Luzinski was almost ready. A converted third baseman named Bob Boone appeared to have major-league catching ability. Ruly Carpenter was becoming a bona fide baseball man, serving in the minor league department under Owens and Green. Bob Carpenter also had brought in Bill Giles, whose operation of Houston's animated Astrodome scoreboard had brought him celebrity, to oversee the quantum jump to Veterans Stadium. When Giles began to lay his promotional plans on Carpenter, the owner threw up his hands and said, "Jesus, Bill, do we have to do all that?" Giles assured him they did.
Despite a horrid varsity waiting for the farm system to produce, the sixth-place 1971 Phils drew a club-record 1,511,223 to a stadium that turned out much better than expected, a truly marvelous facility. Giles quietly gave thanks for the memory of P.T. Barnum for first-time curiosity. The club itself was a tough sell. But Luzinski, "The Bull," hit 18 homers in his rookie season, Bowa was a dazzling young shortstop and staff ace Rick Wise no-hit the Reds, signing his masterpiece with a pair of homers.
Although Carlton, a fearsome strikeout pitcher, had won 20 games for the '71 Cardinals, the fans were mutinous after he was swapped for Wise in Quinn's last hurrah as GM. The skepticism lasted only until Carlton fired a brilliant 14-strikeout one-hitter in San Francisco. On the way to the greatest season a pitcher ever has had for a last-place team, Carlton strung together a club-record 15 consecutive wins and finished 27-10, leading the league with a 1.98 ERA, 30 complete games, 346 innings pitched and an awesome 310 strikeouts. He also won the first of a (then) record four Cy Young Awards.
Owens, who replaced the aging Quinn early in the season, felt he needed an up-close and personal evaluation of the club an emotionally involved Lucchesi was unable to give. So, The Pope- a nickname bestowed by Allen- fired his friend July 10 and took over as interim manager. "Things were worse than I thought," Owens said later. "I found out there were only six or seven young players capable of playing on a winning team in the National League. But I knew I had to be patient, had to build on that nucleus. I couldn't do the job overnight. Too many clubs try to turn a bad club into an instant winner. I had to get us to mediocre before I could get us to good."
A long, sometimes whacky search for Owens' successor produced a startling selection. Former Reds Manager Dave Bristol had been all but hired when the Phillies backed off and offered the job to Dodgers third-base coach Danny Ozark, a virtual unknown outside Chavez Ravine and hardly a household name there. There was another bombshell on Nov. 22, when Bob Carpenter, frustrated by the game's growing financial complexity and the constant haggling with player agents, turned the club presidency over to Ruly.
Although Owens came close to firing him toward the end of the 1973 season, the patient, stolid Ozark proved the perfect man for the job at hand. The young team's fundamental skills improved measurably. Danny stuck with the exceptionally talented third baseman named Mike Schmidt through a wretched .196 rookie season. And, although that team was last with 91 losses, another corner had been turned.
Owens had his sleeves rolled up. A flurry of minor '73 deals were aimed mainly at keeping the wolf from the door. With Schmidt and Luzinski starting to fire home runs, the '74 Phils finished third with an 80-82 mark. After the season Owens traded Del Unser, Mac Scarce and rookie catcher John Stearns for colorful Mets reliever Tug McGraw and two throw-ins.
On May 4, 1975, The Pope made his first major position trade, sending popular Willie Montanez to the Giants for center fielder Garry Maddox. The fans booed that one until they discovered Maddox had more range than a Honda Civic. The deal was upstaged three days later when Dick Allen and reserve catcher Johnny Oates were obtained from the Braves for catcher Jim Essian and prospect Barry Bonnell. Although he was far past his prime, Allen's presence in the Phils' potent lineup inspired respect. The dealing continued: Disappointing former No. 1 draft choice Mike Anderson for veteran right-hander Ron Reed; Tim McCarver, originally part of the first Allen deal, signed as a free agent; former No. 1 draft choice Dick Ruthven, Alan Bannister and Roy Thomas for aging left-hander Jim Kaat.
With Luzinski and Schmidt combining for 72 homers and 215 RBI, the '75 Phils contended until the powerful Pirated wiped them out in a big September series and they finished second with an 86-76 record. "I knew we were just one or two players away from being the club I set out to build," Owens said.
For the next three seasons, the Phillies were a certified powerhouse, winning three consecutive Eastern Division titles with 101, 101 and 90 victories and easily topping two million fans each year.
But disheartening playoff losses to the Reds and Dodgers kept the annual clinching party from erupting into an October celebration. When a less-than-dazzling Dodgers team took them out in the '78 playoffs, fans suffered almost as much frustration as they had during the long stretch of losing seasons. "When the Reds swept us we were a young team going against one of the best of all time," Owens would say in 1980. "But I knew in my heart the Dodgers didn't belong on the same field with us in '77 and '78. We just lacked the intangible something a great team needs to have."
The 1979 season was dominated by the highly publicized acquisition of free-agent legend Pete Rose for $3.5 million and the Aug. 31 firing of the loyal, patient and, in retrospect, eminently successful Ozark. An injury-battered pitching staff had dragged the Phillies out of contention and they limped home in fourth. Farm director Dallas Green was sent to the dugout to play the kind of evaluative role Owens assumed in '72. His opening address to the troops was a clue of things to come.
"Paul Owens and Ruly Carpenter didn't fire Danny Ozark," Green thundered. "You guys fired him with the kind of baseball you've played this season."
Carpenter and Owens asked Green to stay on for the '80 season. "I'm doing this against my better judgment," he said. "I'm a front-office man, not a field man."
Dallas also would prove to be more like a head football coach than a traditional baseball manager, leaning heavily on his coaching staff, notably Bobby Wine, for game decisions and concentrating on motivational aspects. When a four-game Pirates sweep left them six games out of first on Aug. 10, the media began writing the Phillies off. Green chastised his sullen athletes with a fire and brimstone monologue that jiggled seismograph needles from Nantucket to Nome.
Whatever the effect of the manager's brutal oratory, the Phillies turned into a snarling, resourceful, courageous team that kept coming back and pounding away until, with two final weekend victories in rainy Montreal, it had brought Owens his fourth division title. Then, in a five-game series that never will be topped for sustained drama or intensity, they outlasted the game Houston Astros and brought the town its third National League pennant.
The action- four of the games went extra innings- was so intense that the Phillies' six-game World Series victory over the Kansas City Royals seemed almost sedate by comparison.
There was nothing sedate, however, about the events of Oct. 21, 1980, the night Schmidt, Carlton and- indelibly- Tug McGraw set a city afire. And their emotional motorcade down Broad Street to the celebration in JFK Stadium the next day finally purged 97 seasons of frustration.
The euphoria was short-lived. The bitter, 49-day players' strike and ensuing split-season format splintered baseball and eroded the Phillies' taut unity of 1980. With a playoff berth assured by virtue of its first-half title, the club went through the motions after the strike, despite frequent Green eruptions. And the Phillies' elimination by second-half champion Montreal in the fifth game of the division playoff was overshadowed by Green's announcement that he was moving on to the Cubs.
That an era was ending already had been confirmed by the Carpenter family in March. Advised by his financial people that baseball was headed for fiscal ruin and embittered by the impending warfare between players and management, Ruly Carpenter announced that the club was being offered for sale.
A summer of frantic financial maneuvering was consummated on Oct. 29, 1981, when the Phillies were sold to five principal investment groups headed by Bill Giles for a record $31 million.
In a profession in which mistakes are a way of life and consistent success elusive, the Carpenters made their share of blunders. But they were a vital, vibrant force in the history of the Phillies and of the region. As owners and as people, they proved to be big-league in every respect.
Few club presidents have come to the job with backgrounds as rich as that of Giles, who replaced Green with tough, monosyllabic former Phils catcher Pat Corrales. Owens' first moves under Giles were not popular ones. The Pope traded away dynamic outfielder Lonnie Smith for catcher Bo Diaz, sold veteran catcher Bob Boone to the Angels, acquired starter Mike Krukow for young slugger Keith Moreland and pitchers Dickie Noles and Dan Larson and swapped the veteran Bowa and hot prospect Ryne Sandberg for shortstop Ivan DeJesus.
The breakup of the world champions continued apace after the Phils faded badly in September of 1982 and finished second behind the exciting young Cardinals. At the expense of five players, including All-Star second baseman Manny Trillo and minor-league sensation Julio Franco, the Phillies obtained 24-year-old right fielder Von Hayes. And, to obtain the second baseman he needed to replace Trillo, Owens shipped Krukow and two prospects to the Giants for aging legend Joe Morgan and top reliever Al Holland.
So, let us toast 100 years of the Philadelphia Phillies, the way they were and the way they are.
Through all the lean years and in-between years, they survived, an institution in a tough, cynical town. Nothing could move them out, not 100-loss seasons back-to-back, not 23-game losing streaks, not economic depression, impoverished ownership or collapsing grandstands.
Philadelphia has the Art Museum, the Academy of Music and institutions of higher learning. Philadelphia has Fairmount Park, the Schuylkill Navy and Princess Grace.
And Philadelphia has the Phillies, a firm guarantee that every year baseball will breathe a gray, winter-weary city back to life.
McGraw, Schmidt Orchestrate 1980 Celebration
(excerpted from A Tale of Three Series)
By Ray Didinger
The routine was the same as it had been for the previous four weeks. At 3 p.m., the McGraw station wagon pulled into the driveway at the Schmidt's home in Media. Mike kissed his wife, Donna, goodbye and headed for the office.
Hank McGraw drove. Brother Frank, better known as Tug, rode shotgun. Mike Schmidt was in the back. Bruce Springsteen was on the radio.
The date was Oct. 21, 1980.
"I don't remember feeling any different that day," Schmidt said. "I didn't feel any more nervous or any more pumped up. I remember feeling very confident, totally confident, that we were gonna win that night.
"We took the same route to the ballpark. We stopped at the same Baskin-Robbins and had the same thing: three black-and-white shakes. Hank, Tug and me started doing this the last week of the season and the team got hot, so we kept doing it. Why take chances, right?
"I remember Tug was his usual self, loose and gabbing away. We got to talking about World Series celebrations... You know, what happens after the final out. I said it seems like the Sports Illustrated cover shot is always the relief pitcher jumping in the air.
"The year before it was (Kent) Tekulve. The year before that it was (Goose) Gossage. I told Tug, 'Look, when you get the last out tonight, wait for me. I want to jump on top of you and get in that picture.' He said, 'It's a deal.' We both laughed."
At 11:29 p.m., Tug McGraw reached down inside his weary left arm and found one last fastball. He fired it past Kansas City's Willie Wilson for strike three and, for the first time in their 97-year history, the Philadelphia Phillies were world champions.
Suddenly, Veterans Stadium was a champagne bottle popping its cork, spraying joy into the night. South Philly dock workers and Main Line preppies pirouetted through the aisles like so many Bolshoi dancers. There was laughter and tears; the sense of a city tossing back its head and shouting, "Dammit, we finally did it."
Few people noticed in all the excitement, but the first thing Tug McGraw did after he struck out Willie Wilson was turn toward third base.
"He looked right at me," Mike Schmidt said. "It was as if he was saying, 'Well, this is it. What are you waiting for?'"
Schmidt ran to the mound, but by the time he got there Billy DeMars and Lee Elia had McGraw around the waist and Lonnie Smith and Larry Christenson were pounding him on the back. So Schmidt simply threw himself onto the pile, like a body surfer diving into a wave.
A thousand shutters clicked and that became the freeze frame of the 1980 World Series: Mike Schmidt, the National League's Most Valuable Player, now the Series MVP, riding the shoulders of his jubilant teammates. The game's ultimate player enjoying the game's ultimate moment.
"It was like everything came together," Schmidt recalled. "It was my first world championship, the first for most of the guys on the team. It was like all of us, every person in the stadium, had the same feeling: 'Wow, we made it.' It was so great, so honest..."
The Phillies came close in other years, but that only added to the frustration felt by Schmidt, McGraw and the rest. There was the National League playoff sweep by Cincinnati in 1976, then the heartbreaking losses to the Los Angeles Dodgers the next two years.
The city, of course, still bore the scars of the World Series wipeouts against Boston (1915) and the New York Yankees (1950), not to mention the infamous collapse of 1964 when Gene Mauch's Fizz Kids blew a 6½-game lead with 12 to play.
There were those who called it destiny, who said the Phillies were a franchise doomed to wander in the desert forever. There were others who said it was a matter of character, that this team, though beautifully sculpted, lacked a champion's heart.
"That was a strong motivating force," Tug McGraw said. "There was this undercurrent of suspicion surrounding our team. We were labeled spoiled, overpaid underachievers. People, the media in particular, said we couldn't win the big one. We didn't have the guts and so forth.
"We didn't talk about it much, but we all felt it. When we won a big game you'd hear a few guys say, 'Take that overpaid crap and stick it up your ass.' Of course, there's only one way to put that rap to rest for good and that's win the World Series. So, yeah, we wanted it... bad."
The Phillies went into the final week of the season trailing Montreal by a half-game. They swept four from Chicago to tie the Expos, then they beat Montreal twice in Olympic Stadium, coming from behind each time, to win the Eastern Division.
In the National League Championship Series, the Phillies dropped two of the first three to Houston, then rallied to win the last two games in the Astrodome. They were at the brink, six outs away from elimination, in Game 4 and again in Game 5, yet each time they battled back.
McGraw was on the roll of his career, three earned runs in 52 innings since coming off the disabled list July 17. Schmidt, who had struggled in past Octobers, rose to the occasion. Nine homers, including three game-winners, in the final two weeks.
When it wasn't McGraw and Schmidt, it was someone else: Bob Boone delivering a two-out, ninth-inning single to tie the Expos; Manny Trillo batting .381 in the Houston series; Garry Maddox doubling in the winning run in Game 5; Greg Gross and Del Unser sparking the eighth-inning rally against Nolan Ryan with pinch hits; Marty Bystrom winning five consecutive starts following his recall from Oklahoma City.
"It was our year, simple as that," Schmidt said. "We got that feeling late in September and it carried through to the end. Positive vibrations, like no matter what happened, we'd find a way to win. We didn't have that in the past. We played hard, but we didn't have that intangible. In 1980, we did and that was the difference."
"I was in two World Series with the Mets (1969, 1973)," McGraw said, "and I never felt the pressure the way I felt it in 1980. It was incredible, and it kept building.
"I had trouble going to sleep at night. I had trouble waking up in the morning. I was mentally and physically exhausted. I had pitched a lot in September, then I pitched in all five games against Houston. I was taking Tylenol morning, noon and night to dull the ache in my arm.
"I don't know why I felt the pressure so intensely. Maybe because I was older. When I was with the Mets, I was just a kid. I was new to the relief pitching business. I thought, 'Hey, this is fun.' I was too naive to feel the heat. But I felt it here, that's for sure."
Kansas City was favored to win the 1980 World Series. The Royals had a solid team, evidenced by their three-game rout of the New York Yankees in the American League playoffs. They had a 20-game winner in Dennis Leonard. They had the Fireman of the Year in Dan Quisenberry (33 saves). And, of course, they had batting champion George Brett, fresh from his celebrated near-miss of the .400 mark.
What's more, the Royals were rested. Their sweep of the Yankees had given them time to set up their pitching rotation for the Series. The Phillies, on the other hand, used 12 pitchers in the last two games against Houston and they had to dig out a rookie, Bob Walk, as their Game 1 starter.
The 77th World Series opened Oct. 14 before 65,791 fans at the Vet. Walk gave up a pair of early two-run homers to Amos Otis and Willie Aikens. The Royals led, 4-0, in the third and, with Leonard pitching, things looked grim for the Phillies.
But Boone doubled home Larry Bowa, Lonnie Smith singled home Boone and Bake McBride followed with a three-run homer as the Phils went ahead to stay. Walk settled down and blanked the Royals for four innings before surrendering another two-run homer to Aikens in the eighth.
At that point, Manager Dallas Green summoned McGraw from the bullpen and he preserved the 7-6 win, the Phillies' first World Series victory since Grover Cleveland Alexander beat the Red Sox in Baker Bowl, 1915.
In Game 2, Carlton started against Larry Gura. The Phillies went ahead, 2-0, in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Trillo and a single by Bowa.
Normally, two runs would be enough for Carlton, but not this chilly night. The great left-hander was struggling with his control. The Royals had 10 base runners in the first five innings. They scored an unearned run in the sixth, then took a 4-2 lead in the seventh on three walks and a double by Otis.
Kansas City Manager Jim Frey called in Quisenberry to tidy up, but the Phillies mounted an eighth-inning rally. Boone walked, then Unser delivered a pinch double, McBride singled in the tying run and Schmidt doubled home the game-winner and insurance for a 6-4 victory.
The Royals came back to win the next two games in Kansas City and, when they carried a 3-2 lead into the ninth inning of Game 5, the American League champions appeared to have the Phillies in retreat. Quisenberry again was pitching for Kansas City. Schmidt led off.
"The Series was at a pivotal point," Schmidt said. "We didn't want to come home down three games to two. I felt I had to do something to get us going. As I stepped in the box, I noticed Brett was playing up close at third.
"I had bunted for a hit in Game 4, but there was no way I was gonna bunt in this situation, not when I could tie the game with a home run. Brett should have known that. He said later Frey was yelling for him to move in, so he did."
Schmidt ripped a line drive off Brett's glove for an infield single. "If he's playing back," Schmidt said, "it's an easy out." The Phillies had life.
Unser pinch hit for Lonnie Smith and the 35-year-old journeyman came through again, pulling a double down the line. Schmidt scored, tying the game, then Trillo's two-out single put the Phillies ahead, 4-3.
The suspense was far from over, however. McGraw walked Frank White and Aikens to open the Kansas City ninth. Then he threw a 0-1 slider that Hal McRae hit deep into the left-field stands, just barely foul. McGraw watched, fluttering his hand over his heart.
"I was amazed it came that close," McGraw said. "I threw a good pitch, a slider off the inside corner. I didn't see any way McRae could hit it fair. But the way it hugged the line, my heart did flutter."
McGraw retired McRae on a force, then walked Otis to load the bases. With the 42,369 Kansas City fans on their feet, roaring on every pitch, McGraw got Jose Cardenal on a called third strike to end the game.
On Oct. 21, the Phillies returned home for Game 6. The atmosphere was that of a New Year's Eve party- everyone counting down the minutes until the big celebration.
There were 65,838 fans in the Vet, the largest crowd ever to see a baseball game in Pennsylvania. The streets were deserted. The city was absorbed in the drama.
Carlton started and, unlike Game 2, he was at his best. The Royals did not manage a clean hit until John Wathan's two-out single in the fifth. Carlton had seven strikeouts in the first six innings and, by then, the Phillies had a 4-0 lead.
Schmidt delivered the big hit, a bases-loaded single that drove in two runs and KOd Kansas City starter Rich Gale in the third inning. As Schmidt made his turn at first, he threw his fist in the air. "I felt we had it then," Schmidt said.
But the Royals clawed back. A walk to Wathan and a single by Cardenal leading off the eighth finished Carlton. In came McGraw, making his 12th appearance in 15 games. He squirmed out of the jam, allowing one run on a sacrifice fly.
"Dallas asked if I could work the ninth," McGraw recalled. "I told him I could, provided I didn't have to throw too many pitches. We had a 4-1 lead and I was hoping for a nice, 1-2-3 inning, but it didn't work out that way.
McGraw fanned Otis, but walked Aikens. Wathan and Cardenal singled and, suddenly, the bases were loaded.
"My arm was really hurting at that point," McGraw said. "You know how you bump your crazy bone and get that tingling in your fingers? Well, that's how my arm felt."
Frank White was the next hitter. He looped a foul in the direction of the Phillies' dugout. Boone and Pete Rose converged on it. Boone called for the ball, then watched it pop out of his mitt. Rose alertly grabbed it before it hit the ground. "I would've kissed him," McGraw said, "but I had to cover home."
The last Kansas City hope was the slumping Wilson, 4-for-25 in the Series with 11 strikeouts. The 1980 fall classic had come down to this: a pitcher with a dead arm facing a hitter with a dead bat.
"I thought about calling Dallas out and telling him I couldn't make it," McGraw said, "but then I psyched myself up. I said, 'C'mon, Tug. You can get one more out. Hell, you've pitched 15 years in the big leagues. You mean you can't get one more out?'
"I looked around the stands; I often do that when I'm tired. I pick out a fan who's going crazy and I'll siphon off some of his energy. It didn't matter where I looked that night- everybody was going bananas."
McGraw ran a 1-2 count on Wilson, then struck him out to end it. The Phillies 97-year quest was over.
The next day, more than a million Philadelphians turned out to watch the new champions parade down Broad Street to John F. Kennedy Stadium.
"When we pulled into the stadium (filled with 85,000 people), I couldn't believe my eyes," McGraw said. "We had a ticker tape parade in New York when we won the '69 Series and I thought that was the ultimate, but it was nothing compared to the feeling I had that day in JFK.
"Philadelphia," McGraw said, "really knows how to win."