Camden Courier Post - November 11, 1980

Schmidt player of year

 

NEW YORK – It has been the year of the Phillies. And, not coincidentally, the year of Mike Schmidt.

 

Schmidt today added another post-season honor to his growing list by being named the National League Player of the Year by The Associated Press. Schmidt was named most valuable player of the World Series and is a lock to be named the National League's MVP.

 

The slugging third baseman, who led the Phillies to their first world championship in 97 years, easily outdistanced the field, leading a Philadelphia sweep of the first four places in the balloting by a nationwide panel of sports writers and broadcasters.

 

HE RECEIVED 368½ votes, finishing far ahead of the Phillies' pitcher Steve Carlton, who last week won the National League Cy Young Award. Carlton received 81½ votes. Phillies' bullpen ace Tug McGraw was third in the balloting with 13, followed by first baseman Pete Rose, who had nine.

 

Phillie Lonnie Smith took an honor yesterday, too. Smith was among the Sporting News' rookie players and pitchers of the year, the St. Louis-based publication announced.

 

Schmidt set a major league record for third basemen with 48 home runs, breaking the mark of 47 set by Hall of Famer Eddie ' Mathews in 1953. It was the fourth time in the last seven seasons that Schmidt has led the NL in homers.

 

He also won the National League runs batted in crown with 121.

 

A perennial Gold Glove third baseman, Schmidt was selected to the All-Star team for the fifth time last season and either led or was among the NL leaders in several other batting categories, including total bases, sacrifice flies, slugging percentage and runs scored.

 

Schmidt was the driving force in. the Phillies' pulsating race to the National League East Division crown and had the game-winning. RBI in each of his team's last five regular-season victories. It was his home run in the 11th inning on the next to the last day of the season in Montreal that ended the Expos' chances and clinched the division title for the Phillies.

 

AND, ON the night the Phils clinched the Series with a sixth-game triumph, Schmidt recalled his bittersweet career in Philadelphia.

 

"I went through a period in 1978 when I'd get booed every time I put this uniform on," he said then. "I hit about .250, had 20 home runs and about 70 RBIs – a good year for a lot of guys. But they (the fans) blistered me."

 

Schmidt was named the MVP of the Series after batting .381 with two home runs, seven runs batted in and six runs scored against Kansas City.

 

"I would," he said amid the Series celebration, like to chop it (the MVP award) up into 25 pieces. We had a handful of different guys who got key hits down the stretch... Greg Gross... Del Unser... You know what the other guys did."

 

INDEED, a strong case could have been made for McGraw, or catcher Bob Boone, or shortstop Larry Bowa, to be named the Series MVP. But in the end, Schmidt got the award and there is little doubt the Phillies would not have won the Series without his contributions.

 

The same could be said for the regular season. Schmidt put together his most healthy, most consistent year. He, Bake McBride, Carlton and McGraw carried the Phillies through much of the summer while guys like Boone, Bowa and Greg Luzinski were either hurt or struggling.

 

The 31-year-old Schmidt is a favorite to be named the league's Most Valuable Player when the Baseball Writers Association of America announces its selection later this month.

 

Other players receiving more ' than one vote were Dale Murphy, Joe Morgan, Garry Templeton, Keith Hernandez, Bill Buckner, Steve Garvey, Jose Cruz, Dave Parker, Ron LeFlore, Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Dusty Baker and George Hendrick.

 

Smith, an outfielder, got attention from the Sporting News with 33 stolen bases in 100 games while carrying a .339 batting average as the Phillies surged toward the world championship.

 

Joe Charboneau of the Cleveland Indians, Britt Burns of the Chicago White Sox and Bill Gullickson of the Montreal also were honored.

 

Charboneau, an outfielder and designated hitter, batted in .289 in 131 games, with 23 homers and 87 runs batted in.

 

Burns, a 21-year-old righthander, posted a 15-13 record last season while completing 11 games for the White Sox.

 

Gullickson was praised for his fastball, winning 10 games and losing five after being called up by the Expos on May 28.

 

The magazine said the selections were made by a poll of 168 National League and 244 American League players.

Winfield’s rejections may ignite draft war

 

By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post

 

The "Winfield Letter" may turn out to be nothing more than a minor incident for major league baseball. But, then again, there once was a time when Watergate was called a mere third-rate burglary.

 

From little acorns giant oak trees grow. Wars don't just start, they evolve through a chain of events. And it's quite possible that before San Diego Padres outfielder Dave Winfield is finished with the re-entry draft, all hell will break loose.

 

If Murphy's Law prevails and anything that can go wrong does go wrong, the entire structure of the free agent system could be jeopardized and the very existence of the Players Association may be threatened.

 

Then again, Winfield might earn a ton of money in the New York Yankee outfield and live happily ever after. . Maybe.

 

The sound of distant guns was heard yesterday, when Gabe Paul, president of the Cleveland Indians, reacted to a letter he received from Winfield and his agent, Al Frohman.

 

Basically, the letter was a nice way of telling the Indians not to waste their time drafting Winfield because he wouldn't go to Cleveland if he was transported in a solid gold Rolls Royce.

 

The Indians were among a dozen teams that Winfield deemed undesirable. They all received letters, which Frohman described as, "polite notes, an attempt to help clubs save a draft choice."

 

Paul did not see it as a favor from out of the blue. He needs to save draft picks about as much as he needs to save green stamps. Oh no, he saw it as an attempt to undermine the very spirit of the draft.

 

Although he didn't come right out and say it, Paul wouldn't be alone if he sus-" pects the main reason for the letter was to discourage teams like his from drafting Winfield, thereby opening the door for the Yankees.

 

You see, under the current agreement between the owners and the Players Association, a dozen teams (plus the team losing the player in question) are the only ones permitted to draft the free agent.

 

The order of teams doing the drafting .is based on their respective position in the final standings of the preceding year.

 

In other words, the less fortunate clubs go first while the powerhouses (both on the field and financially) such as the Phillies, Royals and Yankees go last.

 

Winfield and his agent are well aware that if the 13 draft spots are filled before the big money clubs get a chance to join the bidding, there is little recourse. Winfield is stuck with choosing between the Clevelands and the Detroits of this world.

 

The use of letters to dissuade the lesser teams from blocking the path of the money clubs is nothing new. Pete Rose, Nolan Ryan and Reggie Jackson did it.

 

"Yes," said Paul, "but, no one has done this before as brazenly as he (Winfield) has.

 

Winfield's literary manners aren't half as important as the fact that Paul's reaction may be the part of a backlash. It's quite possible that the "dirty dozen" receiving the cold shoulder in the mail may have decided they've had enough of stepping aside for the financial giants.

 

It's well within their rights to use their draft picks anyway they deem fit. This could be the time they decide to make a stand.

 

"It's unfair for any player to try to do this," said Paul. "I'm all for allowing every club who wants a player the right to go after him.

 

"But this isn't what the owners and other players agreed to, so it's not right for any of us, players or owners, to blatantly try to defeat the principle of the draft."

 

Alas, push comes to shove.

 

Whether they've done it intentionally or not, the owners have found the "Catch 22" of the free agent process.

 

The Players Association may have blundered when they agreed to limit the number of teams allowed to seek the services of a free agent. And, Winfield could become the first top athlete caught in the loophole.

 

It's no secret the Yankees want the outfielder desperately. They even tried to arrange a trade with the Padres earlier in hopes of averting the free agent scene.

 

Winfield turned down the trade. And, although one can only speculate as to why, it's quite possible that he cither didn't want to see the Padres receive any compensation for his leaving (there's lots of ill will here), he suspected he might be able to push the Yankee offer even higher by including some competition in the bidding war, or he was advised that such a trade would leave the Padres and Yankees open to charges of collusion.

 

If it turns out Thursday that Winfield misses out on the chance to join the Yankees and become the top money player in baseball by surpassing Pittsburgh's Dave Parker ($1 million per year), things could get explosive.

 

Rumor has it that if the draft procedure blocks his path to the Yankees and either Atlanta or the Mots don't come in with big offers to ease the pain, Winfield may consider taking the matter to court – Sherman Anti-Trust, restraint of trade, violation of civil rights, etc.

 

In doing so, however, Winfield would be in the unique position of challenging the initial bargain struck by his own association.

 

Representatives for the players could end up looking very foolish. But, more importantly, a legal battle might open a can of worms in which the owner's legal counsel could challenge the existence of a union in which (as they see it) is in violation of law because membership is almost automatic for a player moving into the major leagues.

 

Right now, it's just a little squabble about a seemingly insignificant letter. Then again, the first domino may have just fallen in the direction of domino number two.