Allentown Morning Call - December 1980

December 2, 1980

Dodgers’ Howe top N.L. rookie; Phils’ Smith 3rd


By John Kunda, Executive Sports Editor


NEW YORK (AP) – Lefthander Steve Howe, who became the long-sought stopper in the Los Angeles Dodgers' bullpen last season, was named National League Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America yesterday. 


Howe received 12 first-place ballots from the 24-man BBWAA panel and totaled 80 points. It was the first time since the award began in 1947 that the panel has voted on a 5-3-1 basis. 


Montreal pitcher Bill Gullickson finished second with 53 points including five first-place ballots and outfielder Lonnie Smith of the world champion Philadelphia Phillies was third with 49 points and four first-place votes. 


Cincinnati infielder Ron Oester finished fourth with 16 points including one first-place vote and reliever Dave Smith of the Houston Astros was fifth with 13 points and two firsts.


Others receiving votes were pitcher Jeff Reardon of the New York Mets, pitcher Al Holland of the San Francisco Giants, outfielder Leon Durham of the St. Louis Cardinals and pitcher Bob Walk of the Philadelphia Phillies. 


Howe, signed off the campus of the University of Michigan, became the ninth Dodger player to capture the rookie award since the BBWAA introduced it in 1947. No team in either league comes close to that figure. 


The southpaw reliever was a surprise for the Dodgers. His only professional experience'before 1980 was 15 games with San Antonio of the Texas League. But Howe won a j ob in spring training and went on to post a 7-9 record with 17 saves and a 2.65 earned run average for Los Angeles. 


The irony of Howe's performance was that Los Angeles, seeking to improve its bullpen, has invested heavily in the free agent market signing Terry Forster and Don Stanhouse over the last couple of years. But both have had their injury problems and the Dodger saver turned out to be the rookie, Howe. 


He is the second straight Dodger to capture the award, following pitcher Rick Sutcliffe. Other Dodger winners after Robinson were Don Newcombe, Joe Black, Jim Gilliam, Frank Howard, Jim Lefebvre and Ted Sizemore. 


Gullickson posted a 10-5 record and had 120 strikeouts in 140 innings for the Expos including an 18-strikeout game. 


Smith batted .339 in 298 at bats and stole 33 bases for the Phillies, filling in for injured Greg Luzinski.


Oester, replacing Joe Morgan, batted .277 for Cincinnati, and Smith was 7-5 with 10 saves and a 1.92 ERA for Houston's West Division champions.

December 3, 1980

A ring is coming


Jake Yakubecek of Whitehall, a veteran scout with the Philadelphia "Phillies" baseball team for more than 30 years, recently received word from the Phillies front office that he will be receiving a World Series ring. 


Jake said, "I still didn't receive the ring. I don't believe it and I won't believe it until! receive the ring.”

December 5, 1980

Luzinski and Lerch… are they on the way out?


By Gordon Smith, Associate Sports Editor


Major league baseball's winter meetings begin Monday in Dallas, and before the inter-league trade deadline of midnight (Dallas time) Dec. 12 passes, expect the World Champion Phillies to unload Greg Luzinski and Randy Lerch.


"They're going for sure," said a Phillies spokesman yesterday. "It's also possible Larry Bowa could go, and that we might give up one of our catchers. 


"But," the reliable source said, "Only Luzinski and Lerch are definitely not going to be Phillies next season." 


There have been myriad rumors concerning trades of Phillies, but the Morning Call source said "Only totally unforseen circumstances would involve any of our other starting players." 


Pete Rose, of course, is locked in as a Phil through various financial deals assuring his salary. There is no reason to deal second-baseman Manny Trillo. Giving Mike Schmidt up, of course, would be suicide. And Garry Maddox has a no-trade clause in his pact, and Bake McBride is the Phils' lefthanded stick. 


“There's a possibility of trading a catcher because everybody is always looking for one and we are loaded," the Phillies spokesman said. "We have Bob Boone and Keith Moreland with us, and we have a super Triple-A kid and we have Ozzie Virgil at Reading." 


It's no secret Moreland wants to play more and has asked Phils Director of Player Personnel, Paul Owens, to find him a team. Owens, however, has reportedly said nothing doing. He wants to hold on to Moreland. 


The Tug McGraw negotiations continue. McGraw has asked, according to our source, for a four-year deal that would give him a $450,000 annual salary. The Phils have offered him a four-year deal that would provide $325,000 annually. 


"Tug's case isn't an easy one," the Call was told. "Although he wasn't drafted in the free agent thing, he has talked to both the Montreal Expos and the Milwaukee Brewers. His charisma, as well as his pitching, is a highly marketable commodity, and he could turn interest around on a dead franchise." 


The spokesman said that if McGraw were to go elsewhere, then "Our approach at the winter meetings would have to change. Basically, losing Tug would leave us with a Lyle (Sparky) , and we don't feel that's enough. We'd have to take a different approach then." 


The Call was also told that "The winter meetings will have plenty of action. The Cubs have made it known they're going on a youth movement. They plan to unload Bruce Sutter, Rick Reushal, Dave Kingman and Bill Buckner. They'll probably be the most active.


"And, the Cardinals are after Sutter, so you'll probably see a big deal between those clubs, or, perhaps, a three-club deal." 


The Morning Call was told that Owens will be looking for a veteran pitcher with much experience to replace Lerch on the roster. 


"We don't have the experience we really need," the spokesman said. "We have Carlton, then Ruthven then the kids, Walk and Bystrom. Paul feels we have to have an experienced man in the rotation to take the heat off Carlton. And Dallas (Manager Dallas Green) concurs whole-heartedly.


"Basically, expect at least three new names – an outfielder and a pitcher. There's a possibility Bowa could go, but he has a clause in his contract limiting us to the clubs he can be traded to." 


The Call was also told that the rumor of Luzinski and Lerch going to Baltimore for Scott McGregor is "unfounded. Some guy on a talk show dreamed it up. It has no substance." 

December 7, 1980

McGraw lowers demands, but Phils haven’t met them


PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Reliever Tug McGraw, who helped the Philadelphia Phillies win the 1980 World Series, says his contract negotiations with the Phils have reached a critical stage. 


"I'm going to wait until the end of next week and then it'll be the Tug McGraw Traveling Show," he said Friday. "But my preference would be to sign with the Phillies as soon as possible." 


McGraw said he's come down in his salary demands "several times," but the Phillies haven't met them. 


McGraw was not picked in the free agent re-entry draft, partially because he made it known he wanted to stay here. 


Initially, he reportedly wanted a $2 million four-year contract. Although he has revised that figure, McGraw hinted other clubs seem agreeable to it. 


"Clubs are telling me they'll make me a blockbuster deal, the kind of deal that I can't possibly afford to turn down," he said. 


He said his negotiations with the Phillies are frustrating him. 


"I've talked to them four times this week," he noted. "The last time, I gave them what I considered to be my final figure and they came back with a ridiculous offer." 


Paul Owens, the team's vice president of player personnel, has said the two sides will get together eventually.


"I think we're closer than we've ever been," Owens said Friday. "If I felt we weren't going to sign him, I'd say so." 


Among other things, the 36-year-old player wants a four-year contract. The Phillies want to give him three. 


"I want a contract that's based on the existing salary structure of the team," McGraw said. "But for some reasons Ruly (Carpenter, the Phillies' owner) has a thing about not paying pitchers the same thing he pays regular players. I look around baseball and I know other teams have a different philosophy."

Lots of different people involved in the voting (excerpt)


Abe’s Got The Answers


Don Tollefson, a Philadelphia sportscaster, made an offhand remark at the end of his telecast Monday that got Abe – and some of his sports-scribe colleagues – in trouble. 


Abe got put in the dumpster by some acquaintances who agreed with Tollefson, that Lonnie Smith' s third-place finish in the Rookie of the Year voting was caused by writers who didn't like the Phillies. Smith was the Phils' outstanding first-year man. 


Tollefson complained that Smith finished third because the writers were perturbed at the Phillies. It is no secret that the media (local and visiting) was not pleased with the Phils for their overbearing arrogance, princely style and whimpering ways.


But, the Phillies received two of baseball's highest honors. Mike Schmidt won the Most Valuable Player award and Steve Carlton the Cy Young. Both were voted on by writers. 


The baseball writers also voted for Rookie of the Year. Lonnie hit .339, but in only 298 at bats as compared to an average 567 times at bat for a National League regular. Would you classify his fielding as Gold Glove? 


Smith was a fill-in, Steve Howe – the winner – was a regular reliever. 


●       ●       ●


The same guys who were beating my ear about the Rookie of the Year voting wanted to know the major awards and how they were voted on. Here goes. 


The Baseball Writers' Association of America give the Most ValuablePlayer, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year laurels. It's a poll of baseball writers. 


The American League and National League Championship Playoff MVP is awarded by Baseball Magazine through a committee. 


The Mel Ott (most home runs) and Lou Brock awards (most stolen bases) are based on performance. 


The wire services – Associated Press and United Press International – pick a Manager of the Year through a poll of their membership. 


Topps Inc., the bubble gum company, picks an All-Rookie team through a committee.


The Gold Glove award, sponsored by Rawlings, is awarded through a players' poll conducted by The Sporting News. 


Other baseball awards selected by The Sporting News through players' polls are: a major league all-star team (not the one selected by fans); player and pitcher of the year in each league; rookies of the year (a player and pitcher in each league) ; comeback player of the year; manager of the year (voted by the managers) , and executive of the year (voted by other executives). 


Player of the year and Firemen of the Year are selected by The Sporting News writing staff. 


Sport Magazine selects a World Series MVP via a nine-member panel. The panel is made up of one writer from each of the competing cities (this year Philadelphia and Kansas City), a neutral writer, and one representative each from AP, UPI, the Baseball Hall of Fame, NBC-TV, CBS radio and Sport Magazine. Schmidt won it and received a $5,000 scholarship, a $9,000 gold watch and of course the trophy.

December 8, 1980

McGraw agrees to $1.6-million, 4-year pact with Phils


DALLAS (AP) – Relief pitcher Tug McGraw, one of the stars for the world champion Philadelphia Phillies in both the National League playoffs and the World Series, agreed to a four-year contract with the Phillies yesterday, the club announced at the major league baseball winter meetings. 


McGraw, who had become a free agent following last season, telephoned his acceptance of a pact estimated at $1.6 million from Penn National Race Track near Harrisburg. He called Phillies personnel director Paul Owens to confirm he would sign the contract worked out over the past month. 


McGraw, 36, said the first three years of the contract were guaranteed, while the fourth year was partially guaranteed.


McGraw pitched in all five games of the NL championship series against Houston, posting an 0-1 record but saving two games as the Phillies beat the Western Division champion Astros 3r2 in the best-of-five set. 


The lefthander was 1-1 with two saves in the six-game triumph over the American League champion Kansas City Royals in the World Series. 


McGraw, a 14-year major league veteran who came to the Phillies from the New York Mets in 1974, had a 1980 season record of 5-4 with 20 saves and a 1.47 earned run average. 


Owens said the agreement actually was finalized Saturday morning, and he was merely waiting for McGraw's acceptance to make the announcement.


In the free agent reentry draft, McGraw had not been selected by any team. He said yesterday, however, that he could have pursued feelers from five or six clubs if he had not come to terms with the Phillies. 


McGraw, who originally sought a four-year, $2 million contract, said he and the Phillies closed the gap over the last several days. 


“It just seemed to happen overnight," McGraw said by telephone from Penn National. "I am extremely pleased to be able to stay in Philadelphia. The most important point is that I can play the rest of my career with the Phillies."


"The contract is as good as I ever hoped for." 


McGraw said his deal was hammered out within the Phillies' desired salary structure. "It didn't go against the (financial) policy they have worked out over recent years," he said. 


Owens said the key to the settlement was deferment money McGraw wanted down the line for his children's education.


"He wanted to stay in Philadelphia and we wanted him, and we found a mutual ground for agreement," said Owens, who confirmed that the pitcher also would receive a signing bonus. 


McGraw came off the disabled list July 17, and from there to the end of the season he compiled a 5-1 record with 13 saves in 33 games, pitching -. 52 innings and giving up just three earned runs. His ERA for that time was 0.52. He also was instrumental in helping the Phillies win two out of three in the final series of the season against Montreal to wrap up the NL East title.

December 9, 1980

A hooray for McGraw; a gulp for Eagles (excerpt)


By John Kunda, Executive Sports Editor


You want the good news first? 


Here it is: 


Tug McGraw decides to stay with the Phillies 




Now, the bad news: 


Eagles lose for the second straight week. 





It was to be a routine "Celebrity Day" at Penn National. The thoroughbred race track near Harrisburg had done this sort of thing many times. Larry Holmes had been there before; so had Billy Martin and Steve Cauthen.


On Sunday, Tug McGraw was there. 


The handshaking, the autograph signings and the plain small talk are right up McGraw's alley. By his own admission, McGraw is a ham, and, in this age of the straight, no-nonsense (and, in some cases, no-talk) approach of the professional athlete, McGraw is refreshing to have around. 


McGraw is a promotional man's dream. He doesn't need any Irish whiskey to rev him up. Give him a stage, a microphone and an audience and the one-liners come as fast as, well, his fastball. 


"We knew we were going to get a live-wire when we got Tug," said Vince Francia of the Penn National publicity staff. "He didn't disappoint any of us." 


To make it an even more significant appearance, McGraw made the announcement that he's returning to the Phillies next season. He and the Phils signed a four-year contract estimated at $1.6 million, thus ending his fling in the free agent market. 


Of course, McGraw had the details ironed out long before he came to Penn National and he told Paul Owens that he'd call him sometime Sunday afternoon to formally accept the contract.


He did this around 5 or 5:30 Sunday afternoon. "He was on the phone (to Dallas, where Owens is attending the baseball meetings) for 40 minutes or so," said Francia. 


There was no formal announcement at the track, but McGraw did hint to newsmen as well as the public who surrounded him for autographs that he was going to remain in Philadelphia. 


It would have been a shame to see him leave. 


McGraw's pitching talents are one thing. His personality is another. The combination makes the Phillies all the better. 


From Dallas, Owens said: "He didn't want to leave this team, and we didn't want him to leave. It just proves that in any good negotiation, if people sincerely want to reach an agreement they can do it." 


McGraw said pretty much the same thing. 


All along you got the feeling that McGraw didn't want to leave Philadelphia any more than he wanted to give up a high fast one to Willie Wilson on that celebrated night at the Vet some weeks ago.

Kuhn paints gloomy picture for baseball


By Ralph Bernstein, Associated Press Sports Writer


DALLAS – Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn has painted a dark economic picture for major league baseball in the next five years, predicting losses 10 times greater than in the past five years. 


"Operating costs will not even come close to the vaulting costs of doing business in our game," Kuhn told a gathering at the major league winter baseball meetings yesterday. 


Kuhn predicted player compensation for an average player by 1984 at $320,000. 


Barring the discovery of oil wells under second base, or some other miracle, one has to ask what is to become of some of our more afflicted franchises, " Kuhn said. 


"What is to become of ticket prices?" Kuhn asked. Baseball long has been able to place ticket prices in a range that has been acceptable to the family group… ticket prices have increased less than our inflation rate." 


Kuhn said the average ticket price last season was $4.53, and described it as the very best buy in entertainment. He added, however, that unless something was done to arrest the trends now evident, this bargain rate cannot continue. 


"The competitive problem brought about by free agency is a threat to the competitive balance in baseball," Kuhn said.


The commissioner said players notify clubs that they want to play with a winner, or that they don't want to go with a noncontender. 


"Who is to blame them for that philosophy?" Kuhn asked. 


"The fault lies not with the players but with the system," Kuhn observed. "The system plainly needs changes." 


Kuhn said that he hoped the study committee of owners and players could come up with a solution to the free agent compensation issue. 


"Certainly it is hard for any reasonable person to quarrel with the idea that compensation is needed and is fair," he said. "I believe it will help somewhat to -maintain the competitive balance. 


"I feel that it is imperative that compensation be worked out," Kuhn emphasized. "It behooves the Players Association and the (owners) Players Relation Committee to work diligently and honestly to achieve that end." 


The commissioner said the players and everyone connected with the game are going to have to recognize that there is a problem.


Kuhn said his dire economic predictions are not based on tricky bookkeeping. 


"The prospect of staggering losses for our clubs is an emphatically real problem," he said. 


"Some argue that the 26 clubs are solely to blame for the problem," Kuhn noted. "Most of our clubs have behaved quite rationally. Foolish player contracts signed by a few have certainly aggravated the situation. There can be no question about that." 


Kuhn added that there can be no solution until the players and the clubs recognize that corrections in the system must be made. 


"If that light doesn't begin to shine pretty soon, a lot of players along with the clubs are going to be the financial losers," Kuhn warned.

December 11, 1980

McGraw collects Series wager


WASHINGTON (AP) – Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Tug McGraw collected a World Series wager on Capitol Hill yesterday and kidded Sen. Bob Dole about the superiority of Pennsylvania professional sports teams. 


The bet was between Dole of Kansas and Sen. John Heinz of Pennsylvania, both Republicans. Dole wagered 25 pounds of Kansas steaks against beer and a giant 50-pound soft pretzel from Philadelphia. Heinz, who won when the Phillies beat the Kansas City Royals, four games to two, designated McGraw to pick up the winnings. 


"You're going to have to wait many more years to taste one of those pretzels," McGraw joked to Dole. 


The Kansas senator told the ace relief pitcher he was happier to see him in person than coming in from the bullpen to snuff out a Kansas City rally. 


"We had a great team. You had a better team," Dole said.


McGraw, who has helped raise money to fight multiple sclerosis, said the steaks would be donated to needy children in Philadelphia. 


Heinz said the Phillies gave the nation a lesson in , overcoming adversity. "If we can work together, we can do the same thing for the country," he said. 


McGraw presented Dole and Heinz with official World Series baseballs, Phillies caps and record albums of him narrating "Casey at the Bat."

Reds top N.L. fielding team; Rose, Carlton best of their spots


NEW YORK (AP) – The Cincinnati Reds led the National League in fielding in 1980, according to official statistics released yesterday. 


The Reds fielded at a .983 clip during the past season, beating out St. Louis and Los Angeles, tied for second at .981. San Diego was fourth at .980, while the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies came in fifth at .979. 


Philadelphia first baseman Pete Rose was the leader at his position with a .997 average while Doug Flynn of the New York Mets was the top second baseman at .991 ; Ken Reitz of St. Louis led third basemen with a 979 average; Tim Foli of Pittsburgh was the leading shortstop at .981, and the top defensive catcher was Gary Carter of Montreal at .993. 


Tony Scott of St. Louis led regular NL outfielders with a .993 fielding average while Steve Carlton of the Phillies was the top defensive pitcher with a 1.000 percentage on 44 chances.

December 12, 1980

December 14, 1980

Talent on the farm… Marion Campbell… TV bucks (excerpt)


By John Kunda, Executive Sports Editor


Items of interest heard along the way: 


It's no secret among the baseball crowd that the Phillies have more talent down on the farms than some of the teams have on their rosters. This is what keeps Dallas Green and Paul Owens smiling. You saw what happened when the Phils had to dip into the well last season up popped the likes of Lonnie Smith, Keith Moreland and Marty Bystrom. At the baseball meetings last week in Dallas, a number of teams inquired about some of that minor league talent. They were especially interested in Mark Davis, the young pitcher who did so well at Reading last summer. Green and Owens quickly put the "do not touch" sign on Davis. They did the same when a number of other clubs inquired about Bystrom. The Phils have pitching to trade away, but don't look for any of Green's pets to be involved. Green, as farm director before he took the managerial job, had these kids from day one and he's going to nurse them all the way through – in a Phillies' uniform.

December 16, 1980

Phillies boost ticket prices


PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The better seats in Veterans Stadium will cost 50 cents more this coming baseball season, the Philadelphia Phillies announced yesterday. 


Ticket prices will increase in the 200, 300, 500 and 600 levels, the National League club said. The 200 level box seats will go from $6.50 to $7, the 300 and 500 level boxes from $5.50 to $6, and the reserved seats on the 600 level from $4.50 to $5. 


General admission seats for adults, $2.50, and children under 14, 50 cents, and 700 level reserved seats, $4, will not be affected. 


The World Champion Phillies will meet the Reds in Cincinnati April 8 in the traditional first game of the National League. 


The Phillies will help the Cardinals open their season in St. Louis April 11 and then will open their own home season April 13 against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first of a three-game set.

December 23, 1980

Del Unser signs again with Phillies


PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Veteran outfielder and pinch-hitter Del Unser signed a two-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, the National League team announced yesterday. 


Unser, 36, was a key player in the Phillies' battle for the World Championship last season. He batted .400 with two key hits in the NL Championship Series against the Houston Astros and then went 3-for-6 with two RBI in the World Series against Kansas City. 


A veteran of 13 major league seasons, Unser has been the team's top pinch hitter during the last two years, totaling 26 hits, a .310 batting average and 20 RBI.


Unser had opted for free agency for the second time following the 1980 season, during which he hit .264. 


He had been a free agent following a 1978 season with Montreal. The Phillies signed Unser during spring training the following year.

December 26, 1980

Baseball banquet


Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Greg Gross will be the guest speaker at the Upper Perkiomen Championship Baseball Banquet scheduled for 6: 30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17 at the East Greenville Firehouse. 


The event will honor Perkiomen Post 184. champions of the Bux-Mont American Legion League, and the Upper Perkiomen Chiefs, champions of the Tri-County League. Both teams also won titles in 1979. 


Tickets are available at local businesses or from team players. For more information, contact George Bonekemper: 697-xxxx.

December 28, 1980

Fractured Sports Tributes – from Ali to the Phillies (excerpt)


Abe’s Got The Answers


Tradition dictates that sports writers list their all-something teams or honor certain individuals or groups at year's end. 


Abe, the noted and renowned sports scribe that he is, has again taken it upon himself to grace his reading public with his annual third annual Fractured Sports Tributes.


The Love in the City of Brotherly Love Oscar is given to the Phillies' Dallas Green and Paul Owens, who celebrated their team's decisive World Series win by embracing each other for what seemed like hours, and hours and hours.

December 31, 1980