Wilmington Morning News - December 1980

December 2, 1980

Howe NL’s top rookie; Phils’ Smith finishes 3rd


Compiled from Dispatches


NEW YORK – The Phillies may have won the World Series for the first time in their history but they missed out on another baseball first yesterday when rookie Lonnie Smith failed to complete an unprecedented post-season award "triple."


Smith, the fleet outfielder who set a club base-stealing record with 33 thefts and batted .339 in his first full season with the Phils, finished a distant third in yesterday's balloting for the National League Rookie of the Year Award.


The Baseball Writers Association of America named left-handed reliever Steve Howe of the Los Angeles Dodgers as the NL's top rookie. Howe received 12 first-place ballots from the 24-man BBWAA panel and totaled 80 points.


The Phillies had already taken two major awards when pitcher Steve Carlton was named Cy Young Award winner and third baseman Mike Schmidt was named the Most Valuable Player. No team in baseball history has had a Cy Young, MVP and Rookie of the Year in the same season.


Montreal pitcher Bill Gullickson finished second with 53 points, including five first-place ballots, and Smith 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.


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.


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 job 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 two years. But both have had their injury problems and the Dodger relief ace turned out to be rookie Howe.


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

December 8, 1980

Relieved Phils sign McGraw


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


DALLAS – The Phillies are breathing a little easier today, not to mention relief ace Tug McGraw.


The zany McGraw, hero of the Phils' victory over Kansas City in the World Series, signed a four-year contract valued at $1.5 million yesterday.


The 36-year-old McGraw, who elected to go the free-agent route and was not drafted by a single team, received a contract that will enable him to complete his career in Philadelphia.


The Phillies, on the other hand, are certain of having McGraw in their bullpen, thus enabling Paul Owens, player personnel director, to establish a definite plan for the annual winter baseball meetings that open here today.


"I couldn't be happier," said Owens after the signing was announced. "We wanted Tug to remain in Philadelphia and Tug wanted to remain in Philadelphia. We gave a little by giving him the fourth year and he came down in his monetary demands. I think both sides are pleased."


When McGraw, who earned $175,000 each of the last four years, decided to test his value on the free-agent market, he was hoping to get a four-year contract at $500,000 per. Considering the year he had, he was shocked when all teams passed him by in the re-entry draft.


"We could not wreck the salary structure of our club," said Owens. "We realized what Tug McGraw was trying to do, but by the same token he had to realize what we were doing."


Owens had talked very little with McGraw and his agent, Phil McLaughlin, before last Wednesday. On that day, however, serious negotiations were started that ended sometime late Saturday.


"I think the key for Tug was deferred income down the line," said Owens. "He wanted security for his family and I think this contract gives him that."


"I'm tickled," said Manager Dallas Green. "He was one of the few guys on the club who realized the methods to my madness last season. He gave it everything he had and I am sure he can come back and do it again for us. Near the end of the year I almost ran him out of gas, but with Sparky Lyle around next year I don't think that will have to happen again."


"I really did not negotiate in good faith with any other clubs," said McGraw. "I called a few and asked how much interest they had in me. But, I told them I couldn't sit down and talk money until I resolved all the avenues in Philadelphia. I didn't want to get into that kind of negotiating, playing one against the other.


"I wanted to remain in Philadelphia all along, but I had to consider my family and security. I really felt depressed last week because it looked as if we weren't making any progress. Right now, I feel on top of the world."


McGraw appeared in 57 games with the Phillies during the regular season, recording a 5-4 record and a club-high 20 saves. Lifetime, he is 87-84 with 152 saves, most for any National League relief pitcher.


McGraw came down with tendinitis of his pitching arm late in June and was placed on the disabled list. After returning to active status on July 17, he had a 5-1 record for 33 games, 13 saves and an 0.52 earned run average.


He appeared in all five Phillies' games vs. Houston in the National League playoffs, saving two and losing one. He was 1-1 in the World Series with two saves.

Phillies sign all 6 coaches


Associated Press


DALLAS – The six coaches who helped the Philadelphia Phillies to the 1980 baseball world championship will return next year, thew National League team announced yesterday at baseball's annual winter meeting.


Once again aiding Manager Dallas Green will be batting coach Billy DeMars, infield coach Bobby Wine, pitching coach Herm Starrette, bullpen coach Mike Ryan, third base coach Lee Elia and first base coach Reuben Amaro.


DeMars is the dean of the staff and one of the senior coaches in the NL. The 1981 season will be his 13th with the Phillies.


Wine joined the Phillies as a coach in July of 1972 after concluding his playing career and Starrette has been with the club two years. Ryan, Elia and Amaro will be starting their second season on Green's staff.

December 9, 1980

Phils deal Brewing


Lerch, Reed Milwaukee-bound for slugger Thomas


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


DALLAS – Although no decision was made on Greg Luzinski's status yesterday, the Phillies found themselves close to a five-player deal with the Milwaukee Brewers.


Player Personnel Director Paul Owens and Manager Dallas Green left a late-afternoon session with Brewers officials admitting that all it would take would be final approval to swing the deal.


Owens, following his normal policy at the winter baseball meetings, refused to reveal all the names discussed in the lenghty meeting, but it was learned the Phils would send left-hander Randy Lerch and veteran reliever Ron Reed to the pitch-ing-poor Brewers.


In return, the world champions would receive three players from a group that includes outfielders Gorman Thomas, Sixto Lezcano and Dick Davis and pitchers Jerry Augustine and Paul Mitchell.


Owens hinted that either Thomas, who blasted 38 homers and drove in 105 runs for the Brewers last year, or Lezcano, who hit 18 homers, were the keys as far as the Phillies are concerned. They would have to receive one or the other, along with two additional players from the above list.


"We're talking about quality players; that's all I will tell you," said Green. "I think we are compatible with the Brewers because they need pitching. They have plenty of offense and that's what I am looking for."


Aside from optimism about the possibilities of a deal, Owens & Co. had a tough day. The annual draft of minor league players kicked off the winter meetings in the morning and the Phils found themselves losing four prospects from their Oklahoma City roster.


Toronto, drafting fourth, made outfielder Jorge Bell their No. 1 pick, while St. Louis took catcher Orlando Sanchez. The Chicago White Sox chose pitcher Carlos Arroyo and the American League champion Kansas City Royals took injury-plagued pitcher Jim Wright.


"I hated to lose any of those players, but I especially didn't want to give up Bell," said Jim Baumer, the Phils' new minor-league director. "He had a bad back last year and I didn't think he would be chosen. And because of the injuries Wright has had, I didn't think he would be picked, either."


Bell, who hit .309 in 22 games with Reading of the Eastern League last year, was signed by the Phils in the spring of 1978. In 1979, his only full year in professional baseball, he hit .305 at Spartanburg and led the Western Carolinas League in triples (15), runs batted in (102) and finished third in average.


Sanchez hit .307 at Oklahoma City last year, while Arroyo was 8-6 with a 3.23 earned run average.


Wright at one time was the No. 1 pitching prospect in the Phils' system until a series of injuries, including a broken arm in the spring of 1979, sidelined the right-hander. Last season at Oklahoma City, he was 9-9 with a 5.35 ERA.


"We didn't think he would be picked, either," said Baumer, "but with Howie Bedell and Billy Connors with the Royals, they knew a lot about him."


Bedell, recently signed by Kansas City to head instruction in the their farm system, was fired as Phils' minor-league director after the season. Connors, the Royals' pitching coach, formerly worked in the Phils minor-league system.


If Owens is able to pull off a deal for a power hitter, it would almost be a certainty that Luzinski will be dealt.


"Whether or not to move him is the biggest decision we face here," said Owens. "That is an organizational decision. Right now, we are talking to clubs about him, but we are not shopping him."


Green, on the other hand, was more emphatic.


"There has been a lot of interest in Luzinski over the years because he is a quality player," said the manager. "He has meant a lot to our organization and I am the first to admit we have let our hearts make the decisions. Now, I think we have to deal with our heads.


"For two months last year Luzinski showed dedication and intensity. He got off to a fine start. The trouble is, he needed to demonstrate that kind' of dedication for 162 games. He has nobody to blame but himself for the year he had."


While the Phillies' executives were spending most of their day in smoke-filled rooms, the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres made a whopper of a deal, landing relief ace Rollie Fingers and first baseman Gene Tenace in an 11-player swap that saw seven St. Louis prospects heading to San Diego.


"That kinda scares me," said Green. "I think St. Louis really strengthened itself and is now in a position to make some more moves."

December 10, 1980

Phillies might deal for Bench strength


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


DALLAS – How's this for a Phillies' deal?


Trade catcher Bob Boone to Cincinnati for Johnny Bench.


With Bench aboard, move Pete Rose to left field, put Bench on first base and let Keith Moreland handle most of the catching.


Mention this proposal to Manager Dallas Green and he flashes a smile. Mention it to Player Personnel Director Paul Owens and he quickly tells you how eager the Reds are land a catcher because Bench has told them he is willing to catch just two games a week this coming season.


Ask Pete Rose if he would like to have his old Reds' teammate in Phillies' pinstripes and he seems excited.


"Sure, I'd be happy to play left field if it happened before spring-training started," said Rose. "I would need spring training to get accustomed to the position again. I think Bench would make a good first baseman and you know once he's not catching everyday his hitting will improve."


As far as the Phillies are concerned, not much happened at the winter meetings yesterday. They are still waiting to see if the Milwaukee Brewers will trade them outfielder Sixto Lezcano. And before Owens moves in any other direction, he needs an answer from Harry Dalton, the Brewers' general manager.


While the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs were making most of the noise, Owens went about the business of finding out just what other clubs are willing to give him and what they want in return.


The proposed deal with Milwaukee, as it now stands, has the Brewers sending the Phils 25-year-old Lezcano and outfielder Dick Davis for pitchers Randy Lerch and Dickie Noles, and infielder Jay Loviglio.


"I think the reason we did not get an answer from them today was because they are talking to other clubs," said Owens. "They want to be sure they make the best deal. Teams are also talking to them about Gorman Thomas and it is obvious they cannot trade both Thomas and Lezcano."


Houston, it was learned, has offered pitcher Ken Forsch to Milwaukee for either Thomas or Lezcano and there is also a possibility the Brewers might send an outfielder to St. Louis for reliever Rollie Fingers.


As far as Greg Luzinski is concerned, Owens says he has had numerous inquiries about the outfielder, but that no serious conversations have developed. The Mets may be agreeable to trade outfielder Joel Youngblood and pitcher Neil Allen to the Phillies for Luzinski, a possibility that Owens will investigate before the meetings end.


"Just about everybody is asking about Moreland," said Owens. "I talked with the Reds this morning and they asked about him. I've said all along I really don't think we can move him. He is an outstanding hitter."


Late in the day Owens had a session with Toronto. The Phils are interested in pitchers Jim Clancy (13-16) and Dave Stieb (12-15), while the Blue Jays said they are committed to a youth movement and would be willing to talk about some of the Phils' youngsters.


"They named just about all of our good, young prospects," said Green. "One thing is for certain. We're not going to give them a Marty Bystrom, a Keith Moreland or a Mark Davis. They have done a lot of homework as far as our organization is concerned."

December 11, 1980

Big Bucks move, but Phils stay on hold


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


DALLAS – On Monday morning, Bowie Kuhn, the commissioner of baseball, stood up and told the world his sport is headed for economic disaster if teams do not stop paying free agents so much money.


Apparently, some of the club owners did not listen.


Yesterday morning, as the winter baseball meetings approached the halfway mark, Houston General Manager Al Rosen stood up and said the Astros had signed free-agent catcher Dave Roberts to a five-year contract valued at $1.1 million.


Now this is not a knock at Dave Roberts, but he was nothing more than a back-up to the Texas Rangers' Jim Sundberg last season. He played five different positions, but hit only .238 with 10 home runs.


Now if Dave Roberts, who has been in the majors off and on since he made it with San Diego in 1973, can demand that kind of contract from Houston, what is the Phillies' Keith Moreland worth?


Moreland, frequently asked about by other clubs as they attempt to make trades with the Phillies, hit .314 during his rookie year with the world champions. Although he is ineligible to be come a free agent, he still is unsigned for 1981 and if Roberts' signing is a pattern, Moreland should get a nice salary for his sophomore year.


Neither Moreland nor Roberts were the main concerns of Paul Owens, the Phils' player personnel director, yesterday.


Owens, as usual, spent most of his day discussing trades and at the same time waiting for a phone call from Harry Dalton, the Milwaukee Brewers' general manager.


Owens, as has been reported here daily, is trying to obtain Brewers' 'outfielder Sixto Lezcano. On Mon day, it looked like the two teams were close to something. Tuesday and Wednesday have gone by and the Phils are still waiting.


And to make their case appear dim, the persistent rumor yesterday had the St. Louis Cardinals sending catcher Ted Simmons, pitcher Pete Vuckovich and reliever Rollie Fingers to the Brewers for Lezcano, infielder Jim Gantner and pitcher Larry Sorensen.


"I don't know whether that is going to happen or not," said Owens. The fact they (Brewers) are talking with St. Louis would indicate that they are close. If it is not made, I think Milwaukee will get back to us."


The Phils had offered the Brewers Ritchers Randy Lerch and Dickie loles, and infielder Jay Loviglio for Lezcano and outfielder Dick Davis.


Owens would be just as happy if something would happen one way or the other, because the apparent stalemate is keeping him from making any moves at all.


Yesterday afternoon, however, he flatly turned down an offer from Toronto. The Blue Jays asked for pitchers Marty Bystrom and Mark Davis for either Jim Clancy or Dave Stieb. Both are pitchers and so similar that Owens says it is virtually impossible to choose between them.


Davis is the best pitching prospect in the minors and Bystrom has already proved his value, winning all five starts in September.


"We're probably just as well off with what we have," said Owens. 'Clancy and Stieb have experience, but I don't think Bystrom and Davis are too far behind them."


It was mentioned here the other day that the Phils might have some interest in the Reds' Johnny Bench. Owens admitted to having talked with Cincinnati yesterday and said, yes, he is interested in Bench.


"But I'm not so sure we could work anything out for him," said Owens. "I have heard two different stories. He would have to OK a trade and I am not sure he would do that. Because he has said he will catch only two days a week for the Reds next season, they are shopping for a catcher and Keith Moreland's name keeps coming up."


Owens spoke with Mets' officials yesterday and it was learned that they have interest in outfielder Greg Luzinski. The Phils said the Bull might be available for the likes of outfielder Joel Youngblood and either Neil Allen or Jeff Reardon, both pitchers.


"They don't really want to talk about moving Allen or Reardon and I can understand why," said Owens. "But they feel that are in a better position than the Yankees to sign (free agent) Dave Winfield. One of the stipulations in his signing, I keep hearing, is that they get another power-hitting outfielder to go with him. So, they are shopping for an outfielder."


Owens spoke briefly with the Chicago White Sox, who still covet Luzinski. The Phils have shown interest in pitchers Britt Burns, Dick Dotson and Steve Trout.


What all this boils down to, though, is that Owens must sit back and wait for Milwaukee to make its move. After that, he will have some kind of course to follow.

Tigers get Saucier


Associated Press


DALLAS – In a deal announced yesterday at baseball's winter meetings, shortstop Mark Wagner was sent from the Detroit Tigers to the Texas Rangers for left-handed relief pitcher Kevin Saucier. Wagner batted .236 for Detroit last season in just 72 at-bats. Saucier, 7-3 with the world champion Phillies, was obtained by the Rangers to complete a deal made last September for reliever Sparky Lyle.


In another development, Dave Roberts became the highest paid utility player in baseball history when he agreed to a five-year deal worth an estimated $1.3 million w ith the Houston Astros.


Roberts, a catcher-infielder with a .240 career batting average, struck it rich in the free agent marketplace. Last season, he earned $65,000 with the Texas Rangers. His new contract with the Astros will bring him about four times that much in each of the next five years.


The Astros announced the contract as a $1.1 million deal but it was learned from sources at the meetings that incentive clauses could add the remaining $200,000 to the package.


"He fits the mold of our club very well," said Houston Manager Bill Virdon. "I see his role as a utilityman. If he can play regularly, it's there. All he has to do is do the job."


Roberts was the fifth free agent signed during the meetings. The others were catcher Darrell Porter (St. Louis), pitchers Tug McGraw (Philadelphia) and Dan Spillner (Cleveland) and designated hitter Lee May (Kansas City).


Trade talk continued to circulate with a number of clubs reported close to deals.


St. Louis, armed with one of the best bullpens in baseball in Bruce Sutter and Rollie Fingers, could move one of those premier relievers in exchange for some starting pitchers. The Cards have been talking with Oakland and Milwaukee, among others.


California, thwarted in an attempts to obtain pitcher Bert Blyleven, still was shopping for pitching help. The Angels wanted Blyleven but Pittsburgh swapped him to Cleveland instead.


Both New York teams – the Yankees and the Mets – still were talking, occasionally with each other, - but did not seem close to finalizing a deal. "I won't make a cosmetic trade," said Frank Cashen, general manager of the Mets.

Tug collects on bet


WASHINGTON – 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.


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.

December 12, 1980

Phils still pursuing Lezcano


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


DALLAS – The Phillies flashed the alert light on last night, an indication a trade could be close – or maybe just another false alarm.


Larry Shenk, publicity director for the world champions, cautioned Philadelphia-area reporters not to stray too far from the headquarters hotel where the winter baseball meetings are taking place.


Player Personnel Director Paul Owens was unavailable for his routine press briefing last night, an indication that except for a "must" dinner with Pittsburgh Pirate officials, he was prepared to negotiate through the night to pull off a trade.


The Phillies, it was learned, are back to square one. They are still trying to land Milwaukee outfielder Sixto Lezcano. Owens met with Brewers' officials several times yesterday and to his delight, found out that Lezcano would still be available even if Milwaukee completes the much-publicized multi-player deal with St. Louis that Wolves catcher Ted Simmons.


"We thought Lezcano was in that deal, but he is not," said Shenk. "I would guess right now getting him is our main objective before the meetings end."


In other less-serious conversations yesterday, the Phils learned the Angels' Don Baylor, the American League's Most Valuable Player in 1979, is available as is Atlanta outfielder Gary Matthews.


The 27-year-old Lezcano, however, remains No. 1 in the eyes of Owens and Manager Dallas Green. And to get him the Phils are offering three pitchers: Randy Lerch, Dickie Noles, Ron Reed plus a minor-league prospect.


The Brewers, on the other hand, keep asking for either Marty Bystrom or Mark Davis, two youngsters Green insists are not available.


If the deal is made, the Phils will undoubtedly give up at least three players, while the Brewers will part with only Lezcano and possibly a lesser player.


"The Brewers are ready to trade Lezcano and I think the Phillies can make the deal," a source close to the scene said. "But the Phillies are going to have to sweeten the pot."


Lezcano, who was born and lives in Puerto Rico, has been with the Brewers since the end of the 1974 season. A 5-foot-ll, 175-pound right-handed hitter, he has been described by scouts here as a complete outfielder.


His best season with Milwaukee was 1979 when he hit .321 in 138 games, with 28 homers and 101 runs batted in. He played right field and earned his first Gold Glove with a .986 average. He had 10 assists.


Last year he was in 112 games, had 18 homers and only 55 RBI and his average slipped to .229, far below his lifetime mark of .283. He earns $303,000.


If the Phils get Lezcano, Green has hinted he will be played in right field, with Bake McBride and Lonnie Smith platooning in left. And once this deal is completed, if it is to happen, Owens will concentrate on seeing what quality starting pitcher he can obtain for outfielder Greg Luzinski.


The Angels are willing to trade Baylor, but are demanding a catcher. They would like to have the Phils' Keith Moreland, but it is unlikely Green will part with him. Although Baylor is an outstanding offensive player with good speed, he has a below-average throwing arm.


The Braves are asking for a starting pitcher for Matthews and make no bones about the fact they intend to move him. Matthews, like Baylor, is a fine offensive player, but a defensive liability. A pitcher such as Bob Walk could bring him to Philadelphia.


Owens had a brief morning meeting with Chicago Cubs' officials, who have shown interest in Luzinski. The Cubs are willing to trade outfielder Jerry Martin and pitcher Rick Reuschel.


Stay tuned.

December 16, 1980

Phils to increase some ticket costs


Associated Press


PHILADELPHIA – The better seats in Veterans Stadium will cost 50 cents more this coming baseball season, the 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 17, 1980

December 19, 1980

Baseball owners are united in giving until it hurts


By Bob Kenney, Gannett News Service


DALLAS – He stood in a corner of the hotel and sounded like a funeral director.


His tone was serious.


His message was one of future problems.


"The fans are being forced to pay for this nonsense and it has to end soon," said Bowie Kuhn, the commissioner of baseball, to a group of reporters. "I just asked them to use some common sense."


Just moments before, he had painted a very gloomy picture for the major league owners who had gathered for the annual winter meetings.


"Expenses will increase ten-fold in the next five years and the average salary will be nearly $400,000," he had warned. "You can't keep throwing money away and expecting the fans to support you."


Within hours, the owners had ignored the warning and were falling over each other in an effort to give more money away.


Common sense is just one of the things the Lords of Baseball are missing.


They're also slow learners.


The San Francisco Giants shelled out a bundle for Ronnie Stennett, who limped his way through a .244 season. San Diego gave $1 million to Oscar Gamble after one good year in Chicago. The California Angels have thrown Gene Autry's money away on a regular basis for free agent failures.


Just moments after Kuhn's speech, Dave Roberts, an average performer at best, received $1.3 million to become a reserve infielder with Houston. Manager Bill Virdon justified the move because of his versatility but didn't sound very convincing.


The Angels gave pitcher John D'Acquisto a big contract, and manager Jim Fregosi talked vaguely about late developments and potential.


The owners even came up with a new gimmick, paying veteran players to accept a trade. Ken Reitz got nearly $200,000 to okay a St. Louis trade to the Chicago Cubs. Richie Zisk got special considerations to approve a move from Texas to Seattle. Ted Simmons of St. Louis got $900,000 to accept a trade to Milwaukee.


"I had no choice," Brewers' boss Harry Dalton said. "If I don't come up with that kind of money, the competition does."


That, though, was the not the case when Atlanta signed Claudell Washington, a much traveled outfielder, for more than double his next best offer.


Or when the Chicago White Sox tripled Ron LeFlore's salary to sign the Montreal Expo nobody else wanted.


Then the New York Yankees topped them all with a $15 million contract to Dave Winfield that could be worth as much as $215 million when cost-of-living increases are included.


"Money wasn't the reason I signed," said Winfield, who has never played on a first-division team. "I had better offers from a couple of teams."


A 29-year-old outfielder with better-than-average statistics, he picked up the contract the same day the New York Mets, Philadelphia and Texas announced higher ticket prices for next year.


Winfield, who averaged 26 home runs and 99 runs batted in the past four years, can never prove he is worth that much money. He isn't.


The entire Oakland franchise went for slightly more than $12 million this year.


A single individual could be worth that kind of money. National Basketball Association owners chipped in to help lure Wilt Chamberlain away from the Harlem Globetrotters two decades ago, and they all made money.


The Phillies dug deep to get Pete Rose and the team got $600,000 a year from a local television station to help meet the contract. Both the TV station and the Phillies have gained from the deal.


Even Winfield could pay off for the Yankees. Bonus money, donations to charity and other deferred payments simply lower the tax structure for George Steinbrenner.


The real damage, though, comes from the twisted wreckage of a salary structure.


If Winfield is worth what he got, what will Reggie Jackson want when his pact expires next year?


What will Mike Schmidt demand from the Phillies? He thought he signed for the moon a few years ago but his $500,000 pay check puts him into a poverty bracket now. As the unanimous National League MVP, he is in a position to ask for some really big bucks when his current contract runs out in '83.


Fred Lynn, the Boston Red Sox center-fielder deluxe, has refused to sign more than a one-year contract. A year younger than Winfield, he has a better lifetime average and hits with just as much power.


Can you imagine what Lynn is thinking?


Top stars sign for top wages, then watch a free agent such as Roberts walk in and command much more. And it can only get worse.


The Mets, a rejected suitor in quest of Winfield, rebounded to sign Rusty Staub for a million bucks.


Staub batted .300 in 109 games with Texas last season, driving in 55 runs, mostly as a designated hitter.


There are dozens of hitters with better credentials and, at 36, he certainly has enjoyed his finest years.


"All the player thinks of now is green backs," Detroit Manager Sparky Anderson said.


But if the owners are willing to give them away, why not?

Phillies biggest vote-getters in year-end poll


By Matt Zabitka


The major national sports story of the year?


Why, the Phillies winning their first-ever World Series, what else!


The denizens of the Vet pulled the most votes in the Emzee year-end poll to detertnine the national story that made the greatest impact on Delaware sports personalities.


State-wide, the people polled expressed varied opinions as to the in-state sports story that made the biggest news in 1980. Dickinson High beating Salesianum for its first state football tournament championship received strong support. So did University of Delaware's football team. And there were a few surprises along the way.


Here's how the voting went:


BOB REED, Wesley College baseball coach: "I thought Renie Martin (of Dover) pitching in the World Series had to be the biggest local story, with the Phillies winning the World Series the biggest national story."


BOB KELLEY, the ''voice" of University of Delaware football and basketball, and Delaware Park's p.r. man: "Delaware beating Temple and Villanova in football in the same season, and Genuine Risk, a filly, winning the Kentucky Derby."


ED MALEY, University of Delaware's defensive coordinator: "Locally, I think Dickinson beating Salesanum was a big story. It was the first time Dickinson ever won a state title. Also a big story was Archmere repeating as state football champion in Division II. The Phillies were the biggest news nationally."


MIKE WALSH, conductor of a sports show, "Local Sports", seen Mondays 6-6:30 p.m. on Channel 2, CableVision: "I have two choices for the top local story Blaise Giroso winning his second. straight Delaware Amateur golf title and Todd Anderson successfully defendng his Delaware Junior Championship, carding an incredible 62 on Wilmington Country Club's South Course. Giroso's win was a remarkable feat, worthy of the highest praise and respect. And as for Todd, his 62 has to be phenomenal. I used to play competitive golf in junior play and the best I ever did at WCC South was 78. You have to play that course yourself to truly appreciate Todd's monumental accomplishment. Nationally, the biggest story was the Phillies-Houston playoff series. To me, that was even bigger than the World Series."


BILL GEROW, chairman of the board of the Wilmington Touchdown Club: "Delaware beating Temple in football and the Phillies winning the World Series."


CHARLEY WALLACE, veteran soccer official and sponsor of baseball, softball, basketball and soccer teams: "Locally, the biggest news had to be Colonial-Wallace sweeping everything in the Delaware Semi-Pro Baseball League winning the regular-season title, the all-star game, and the post-season playoffs. Nationally, it was the Phillies winning the World Series."


JIMMY FLYNN, 16-year-old two-way end for Friend School: "Dickinson winning the Division I state football championship and the U.S. winning a Gold Medal in ice hockey last February."


AUSTIN BROWN, vice president and general manager at Delaware Park: "Delaware beating Villanova and Temple, finishing 9-2, and not going to the playoffs, I feel was the biggest sports story on the state level. Nationally, it's a toss-up between Jack Nicklaus winning the U.S. Open and Genuine Risk, a filly, winning the Kentucky Derby.


BOB HANNAH, University of Delaware baseball coach: "Dennis Carey (of Holly Oak) swimming the English Channel is my choice as the top local story of the year, with the Phillies the biggest story nationally."


LARRY WHEELER, Claymont High athletic director and baseball coach: "Colonial-Wallace, with its ex-major and minor leaguers, giving semi-pro baseball a big boost locally and Dallas Green leading the Phillies to the World Series championship."


ARCHIE RAPPOSELLI, former head football coach at Claymont High, now training coordinator for the Highway Department: "Locally, the biggest news-maker was Dickinson, with its win over Salesianum for the state (Division I) football chapionship. Many fans felt that Dickinson's chances of beating Sallies were as good as my chances of being named head coach at Notre Dame. Nationally, it was the Phillies."


HARRY ANDERSON, former Phillies and Cincinnati outfielder: "Todd's.(Anderson, his son) shooting a 62 on Wilmington Country Club's South Course and winning the Delaware Juniors to me was the biggest local sports story of the year. Nationally, it was the Phillies, definitely."


DON BURAWSKI, head football coach at St. Mark's for 10 years before retiring from coaching prior to the 1980 campaign: "Delaware not making the playoffs with a 9-2 record made the biggest news locally, and the Phillies nationally."


REV. ROBERT KENNEY, Salesianum baseball coach: "Kevin Reilly's comeback (after a series of operations that ultimately cost him the loss of an arm) was the most amazing and most inspirational local story of the year. The message he exudes during his speaking engagements is so very positive. He has the greatest outlook on life. He isn't cursing the Eagles or the NFL (for his problems). With him, everything is positive. And nationally, the Phillies made the biggest stories, especially with their late-season play against Montreal, Houston and Kansas City."


JAY HOOKS, Delaware's brilliant spread end from Glasgow High: "Delawaere finishing 9-2 and not making the playoffs and the Phillies winning the World Series were the ' biggest stories of the year."


And that's the way Delawareans viewed 1980 from the catbird's seat.

December 23, 1980

Unser signs with Phillies


PHILADELPHIA – Veteran outfielder and pinch-hitter Del Unser has signed a two-year contract with the Phillies, Paul Owens, Director of Player Personnel announced yesterday.


Unser, 36, had been a key player in the Phillies' rise to the World Series Championship. He batted .400 with two key hits in the League Championship Series victory over the Houston Astros and then went 3-for-6 with two RBI in the World Series triumph against Kansas City.



A veteran of 13 big-league seasons, Unser had opted for his free agency for the second time following the 1980 season.