Philadelphia Inquirer - December 8, 1980

McGraw signs 4-year contract with Phillies


By George Shirk, Inquirer Staff Writer


Nearly six weeks after that magic night in late October when he heaved one final fastball past Willie Wilson and leaped off the Veterans Stadium pitching mound to become one member of a team of champions, Tug McGraw has determined officially that he will, indeed, remain a Philadelphia Phillie.


McGraw, 36, won a four-year, $1,6 million contract from the Phillies, just over a month after each of baseball's 26 teams passed over his name in the free agent re-entry draft in New York.


By all rights, it should have been six weeks of bliss for the" Phillies relief pitcher, a time in which to bask in the afterglow of winning baseball's biggest prize.


But it hasn't been like that at all. Whatever afterglow existed – and it was considerable for the first month afterward – was extinguished by the fact that McGraw had declared himself a free agent, was technically without a job, was without a contract and was losing confidence that he'd ever again take to the mound at the Vet wearing the home team's uniform.


"It began to look more and more like I wouldn't be playing in Philadelphia," McGraw said, "My winter was going by, and I was having so much fun. And then negotiations took over all my thoughts. It became depressing."


Yesterday, however, all the anxiety and depression vanished when. McGraw and the Phils announced they'd come to terms.


"It kind of developed overnight," McGraw said, "and right now, I feel on top of the world."


The pact, according to McGraw, calls for a guaranteed first three years, with the fourth "partially guaranteed." Additionally, McGraw will receive a bonus for signing the contract, although the amount of the bonus was not made public.


Most important to McGraw, however, was deferred money that he wanted as a guarantee for his son's and daughter's education.


It was the deferred payments, more than anything, that had blocked agreement between McGraw and the Phillies, according to Phillies vice president and director of player personnel Paul Owens.


"The key for him was some deferred income down the line," Owens said.


Details of the agreement were worked out Saturday, and yesterday, after an appearance at a surprise "Tug McGraw Day" at the Penn National racetrack in Harrisburg, McGraw phoned Owens and told him that he'd sign the contract.


McGraw, a 14-year major league veteran, pitched in all five games of the National League playoffs against the Houston Astros, compiling an 0-1 record but also saving two games.


In the World Series against the Kansas City Royals, McGraw was 1-1 with two saves. He entered postseason play after coming off an arm injury July 17, and from that date until the end of the season, McGraw posted a 5-1 record with 13 saves in 33 games, and gave up only three earned runs in 52 innings. His earned run average for that time was 0.52.


But between that final, sixth game of the Series last October until yesterday, McGraw had run into a string of frustrations at the negotiating table.


Three times, McGraw and his financial advisor, Phil McLaughlin of Boston, sat down opposite Owens and Phillies owner Ruly Carpenter, and three times the negotiations bogged down.


"It was like getting up every morning, putting on my battle fatigues and walking out the door. It got to be very frustrating," McGraw said.


It was at that point that McGraw declared free-agency, but he was spurned by each of baseball's teams in the re-entry draft in New York on Nov.5.


With no team drafting him, McGraw nonetheless began sending feelers out to "five or six" clubs, but got no hard offers.


"I did not negotiate in good faith with any other club," McGraw said yesterday. "I called a few teams and asked them 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 went straight across the top of the table."


With the re-entry draft three weeks past, McGraw, McLaughlin, Owens and Carpenter began talks again last Wednesday. McGraw was involved personally in all of the sessions, and by Saturday a contract had been agreed upon, with only language in the contract remaining as the only barrier.


"Originally," Owens said yesterday, "we offered Tug only three years. He came down in some areas and we adjusted. The key for him was some deferred income down the line."



Both Owens and McGraw seemed pleased with the negotiations, Owens because McGraw represented himself, and McGraw because he'd won some security for his family and an assurance that he could finish out his career in Philadelphia.

Phillies to retain same coaching staff


By the Associated Press


DALLAS – The world champion Phillies will retain all six coaches next year, the 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 Ruben Amaro.


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



Wine joined the Phillies as a coach in July 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.