Camden Courier Post - December 13, 1980

Phillies’ role not all dark

 

By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post

 

DALLAS – At the stroke of midnight last evening, baseball's glittering bandwagon turned back into a pumpkin and the curtain came down on the gala, mid-winter trading ball.

 

The Phillies, World Series Cinderellas just a short time ago, didn't even get asked to dance, the other trade-less wallflowers being the Mets, Dodgers and Orioles.

 

First reaction for the Phils would be to check their breath and deodorant, a good idea for a team that spent a week strolling down the primrose path listening to the heavy breathing of executives on the make, only to wind up going home with the newspaper.

 

It's not like Paul Owens & Co. walked in out of the rain wearing a sack dress with the potatoes still inside. They had enough to offer in the way of enticements: Greg Luzinski, Randy Lerch, Ron Reed, Dickie Knowles, an array of promising youngsters and, if the discussions got really hot and heavy, catcher Bob Boone.

 

But, they never figured the St. Louis Cardinals came on like Mae West and doing a roster strip-tease that had everyone waiting their turn to go up and see them sometime.

 

With player assets such as Ted Simmons' and Rollie Fingers to flaunt, small wonder the Cardinals looked like the Playmate of the Year in comparison to the competition.

 

Not that the Phillies didn't get anything accomplished. For, this is not the Last Tango in Dallas. Seeds of trades sown here may be able to blossom right up until the waning days of spring training, thanks to a readjustment of the inter-league trading period.

 

It would be surprising, for example, if Lerch and Reed aren't transplanted by then, if and when Toronto stops dreaming of grandeur, the Mets break their streak of talking trade like they were the Yankees and the White Sox escape the ownership tangle that has them tripping all over themselves.

 

The Mets are like the, guy wearing a checked suit, striped tie and white socks who sends a beer to Miss America's table and expects her to jump at the chance to spend the weekend at his dump.

 

They ask the Phils about Luzinski and Bake McBride. Then, in the same breath, insist that they couldn't possibly part with pitchers Neil Allen or Jeff Reardon.

 

Cincinnati rides around in the dented Big Red Machine hollering things like, "Heeeeey, what's happening? How about if we go for a ride and you give me Keith Moreland for nothing?"

 

And, while the big spenders are spending millions of dollars on "tens" like Dave Winfield and "fives" like John D'Acquistq, the Chicago Cubs keep rummaging through their pockets in search of last week's lunch money.

 

When the great Cardinal-Brewer romance made right fielder Sixto Lezcano something less than available, the Phillies took up with the California Angeles in hopes of getting slugger Don Baylor.

 

Boone was to be a part of that deal, but when the Angeles read the medical reports on their current catcher Brian Downing, they were so conflicting that it was decided to wait until spring training before anything was to be decided.

 

Which brings us to the question, would the Phillies have been better off staying home and watching Love Boat?

 

Not at all. The meetings probably gave them the extra shove they needed to sign reliever Tug McGraw. Plus, it gave the Phils an opportunity to prove to right fielder McBride that, for all his paranoia about always being traded, they have no intention of even mentioning his name in the trade market.

 

The same appears to be true about youngsters Bystrom and Davis, the pitching foundation of the next Phillies generation. They aren't going anyplace.

 

Now, Del Unser may be another matter, since the Phils used the occasion to give him a bit of a slap in the face. "If he doesn't want to play for us, the hell with him," said Owens, who may change his mind after being unable to pick up a replacement as part of several deals he had hoped to make.

 

What people should realize, however, is that even though the championship didn't boost the value of players as much as the Phils had hoped, this is a team that isn't going back to floor-scrubbing in the kitchen.

 

They remain number one, a distinction they reached by the slimmest of margins. The hope was that they could improve enough to win it all "walking away" next year. But, if they have to squeak by again, so be it.

 

If there is a bottom line to the Phillies' participation (or lack of it) at these meetings, it's this – the drop ping of player's names during last year's trade talks ruffled some feathers, but also created an atmosphere that discouraged complacency.

 

"We've got plenty of time," said Owens. "We're not the ones down here who had to make a trade. In the old days, the Phillies were the ones that had to do something, Not anymore."

 

Now, it's clubs like the Mets, who went pushing toward the midnight hour knowing that if they don't make a trade, the media and the fans will be giving them a rough time.

 

"Heck," one Met executive told The Pope, "if you don't make a trade, they'll probably hold a parade for you. If we don't, we'll probably have to land in Newark.”

Players and agents win as game loses

 

By Bob Kenney, Courier-Post Sports Editor

 

DALLAS – It wasn't supposed to be this way.

 

The major league baseball owners came to the annual winter meetings here this week fully expecting to whip the free-agent madness with a rash of major trades.

 

There have been several deals, but the inmates still are very much in control of the asylum. While owners and general managers walk around the hotel lobby looking perplexed, the agents run the show.

 

IN AN effort to solve the problem, many teams announced before the meetings their intention to trade potential free agents a year early.

 

Boston's Haywood Sullivan came here to unload All-Star shortstop Rick Burleson and all-star center, fielder Fred Lynn. Both said they would file as free agents after the 1981 season.

 

"We're not going to sit around and lose them," said Sullivan, who dealt Burleson to the California Angels in a five-player trade early in the week.

 

But moving Lynn has been a different matter.

 

Jerry Kapstein is his agent and he has his own idea how the system should work.

 

HE HAS Sullivan, the Red Sox general manager and executive vice president, between a rock and a hard place, and he is applying pressure.

 

On advice from Kapstein, Lynn is not willing to sign anything but a one-year contract with his new team, whichever one that might be. That news, of course, sent potential buyers for the coat racks.

 

The New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers had been bidding for Lynn, considered one of the top players in the game.

 

Actually. The Dodgers shook hands on a deal late Wednesday night.

 

"WE THOUGHT we had it," said Al Campanis, the LA. vice president. "We worked everything out and shook hands on it. Then we talked to Lynn."

 

Despite saying for weeks he wanted to play in California, he told the Dodgers he could sign for just one year, then would file as a free agent. That would enable Freddie to sign with the highest bidder and leave the Dodgers with absolutely nothing, including the three players they would have shipped to Boston.

 

"We have no interest in a one-year pact," Campanis said.

 

Since Lynn won't sign with the Red Sox and, by not signing a multi-year contract elsewhere, cannot be traded, he is a lame-duck performer in Boston.

 

WILL HE risk injury by diving for a sinking line drive?

 

Will he go into second base breaking up a double play quite as hard as he normally would?

 

It is a situation that can't help baseball. Just one more problem for the game already so tied up in red tape the season could come to a screeching halt once again this spring.

 

But there is more trouble.

 

THIS TIME it's agent LaRue Harcourt pulling the strings. He represents Ted Simmons, the superb hitter who earned All-Star catching honors for the St. Louis Cardinals last year.

 

The veteran hitter was very unhappy with his team, which signed free agent Darrell Porter of Kansas City a few days ago, then followed with a pair of trades that landed much-needed pitching help.

 

Whitey Herzog, who doubles as general manager and field manager of the Cardinals, was playing a hot hand. "I expect to see you every day," he told reporters. "We're going to do some more things."

 

That included a biggie with Milwaukee involving Simmons. The trade was viewed as a blockbluster by several teams and the hotel lobby here was alive with anticipation before it was, indeed, completed.

 

But wait:

 

As a 10-year player with at least five years with his present club, Simmons had the right to veto any trade.

 

"MY MAN has had his feelings hurt," Harcourt said in so many words. "Pay up and ease the pain."

 

St. Louis and the Chicago Cubs came up with $200,000 early in the week to convince third baseman Ken Reitz he would not mind moving from St. Louis to Chicago. Certainly the Cardinals could find some traveling money for Simmons.

 

They did...

 

"A million dollars," said Harcourt, who later admitted that demand could be "restructured."

 

Simmons got nearly that much for okaying the trade, and it could mean the end to player exchanges.

 

"I REMEMBER when we used to stand in the lobby, exchange names and make a deal," said Hugh Alexander, the super scout who learned his craft from Branch Rickey. "Now you need two lawyers just to read the contracts."

 

The players are richer.

 

The agents are richer.

 

But somebody has to pay the tab. The fan eventually shells out, and the entire game of baseball is quite a bit poorer.

Joseph Roman, 61, scout for Phillies

 

CHERRY HILL – Services for Joseph Roman, a local scout for the Philadelphia Phillies, will be 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at St. Peter Celestine Church, 402 Kings Highway North, Cherry Hill.

 

Roman, 61, died yesterday at the Cherry Hill Medical Center.

 

A former scout for the Kansas City Royals, Mr. Roman conducted area training camps for the Phillies for several years. He also was a purchasing agent for Siemen's Corp, in Cherry Hill.

 

Before moving to Burlington County, he had lived in Camden for many years.

 

He is survived by his wife, Alice; a son, Joseph Jr. of Mount Laurel; a daughter, Barbara of Metuchen; and four grandchildren.

 

Friends may call Monday evening at the Cinoski Funeral Home, 4405 Westfield Ave., Pennsauken.

 

He will be buried Tuesday at St Joseph's Cemetery, Lower Landing Road, Chews Landing.