Camden Courier Post - November 13, 1980

Time for Phillies fans to follow Tug McGraw’s apology


By Pete Finley of the Courier-Post


I know your names, you Tug McGraw and Barry Whatshisname fans! I know you've teamed up to get me. Well, it won't work. I'm not about to turn in my typewriter, computer. No way.


AS a flatter of fact I demand an apology. Yes, an apology from all of you who disagreed with my observations on one of the unclassiest moments in Philadelphia sports history. (Boy, that sounds important doesn't it?) Why not an apology?


I understand McGraw apologized to the New York fans about his remark concerning what they could do with the World Series just won by the Phillies. You heard me correctly, McGraw apologized. How does that grab your pennant?


Now if he apologized to the fans he demeaned 90 miles away, he certainly should apologize to the thousands of hometown fans who sat in front of him as he made the great utterance. And if he apologizes to them, then you should apologize to me.


I mean it, now. I'm just a bit frosted about the whole thing. It's bad enough I have to wait for crispy chicken in a Gino's while that Barry guy's dentist-office-songs torture me. And it's bad enough to find half-page ads about his concerts (forgive me for abusing that word John McCormack and Enrico Caruso) stuffed in my mailbox here at the paper.


Now I have to get abuse about Barry Mannimow in the same letters taking me apart about the McGraw column. Well I have a limit too, you know. And the end is almost in sight, so just watch out.


Karen Petruzzi of Bellmawr thought I was too hard on McGraw and all the Phillies. Karen, you sound as proud and defensive of the Phillies as I do about Notre Dame. Imagine my despair when those sports pollsters failed to give ND a first place vote all season, then voted them into first place because Alabama lost and then voted them back to seventh place just because a lucky Georgia Tech team played miles over its head. Jeez!


But Karen, you stepped over the limit when you disagreed with me about New York being THE town, the capital of the world. For your penance write a 500 word composition about the Empire State Building. In ink! After you write your apology, of course.


Here's something for you to ponder, you Phillies fans. The Phillies organization would have ended the season of 1980 without a profit (with a loss, as a matter of fact) without the tremendous support of the ticket-buying fans in the playoffs and in the series. And of course, we have to include as profit, the tons of refreshments bought by the same fans.


Also, the organization owes a great debt of gratitude to the thousands of loyal fans who continued frequenting Vet Stadium during those roller-coaster weeks of July and August when the Phillies looked like anything but contenders.


Now then, with all this admittedly super fan support, why couldn't the organization have rewarded the faithful with a planned parade complete with fireworks, bands, a reviewing stand... something like a Super-Sunday with streets roped off to traffic and food stands all over? Why did the organization respond with a goofed-up parade, absolutely spontaneous and absolutely ill-timed which brought great hardship to many caught in the traffic and much disappointment to thousands who had to stay in school or be at work?


I'll tell you why. Because too many of the players wanted to cut out real fast. They wanted to blow out of Philly as quickly as possible. They certainly did not reciprocate for the sacrifices made by their fans all season. And believe me, going to a game, almost any game, does call for some sacrificing. All is not ginger-peachy all the time sitting in the stands and bucking traffic getting to and from the game.


I know some kids who played hooky from school to attend the game, some with and some without their parents' permission. At Highland and Washington Township high schools, coaches suspended some athletes for cutting practice because they went to the parade. Good for the coaches. Some parents tried to compromise the team's discipline by asking our sports department for support in the form of an article. No way. Our sports writers are in total agreement with the coaches on this matter.


Now get busy with those apologies. I'm going to wait only so long.

Brett named AL player of Year


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – It was early May and George Brett was of f to a terrible start, barely hitting .240.


"I don't think I'm a .240 hitter," said the Kansas City Royals' third baseman, whose lifetime average stood at .310. "I still don't think there's any reason I can't hit close to .329 like last year."


As it turned out, Brett finished 61 percentage points away from .329.


He wound up at .390, the highest total in the major leagues in 39 years. He also led the American League in slugging percentage (.664) and on-base percentage (.461).


In the meantime, he reeled off a 30-game hitting streak, averaged an RBI per game, and captured the interest of baseball fans around the world with his quest to hit .400.


In no surprise, Brett was an overwhelming choice of a nationwide panel of sportscasters and broadcasters as The Associated Press American League Player of the Year.


Brett's storybook season was marred only by sporadic injuries that kept him out of more than 40 games and a hemorrhoid condition that threatened to sideline him in the World Series.


The way the 27-year-old All-Star handled the reaction to his hemorrhoid ailment was vintage Brett. His problem became known after the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Royals in Game 1 in Philadelphia. The next night, he reached base three times in three plate appearances, but took himself out of the game in extreme pain.


Comedians made jokes. Players made jokes. Everybody was laughing, it seemed, but the horribly embarrassed Brett.


But minor surgery on the off-day relieved the pain and pressure. He came back with a smile on his face.


"All my problems are behind me," he announced to the army of writers and sportscasters. "If I don't play third base, I'm going to Preparation DH. Everybody else is having fun with this, so I decided I should, too. Of course, I don't enjoy being the butt of the joke."


He returned to action and hit safely in the final four games before the Phillies finally beat the Royals for the world championship.


By mid-season, Brett was hitting .337, although an ankle injury kept him out of the All-Star game. He hit an astonishing .420 the second half of the season and on Aug. 17, a Sunday game in Kansas City against Toronto, he slammed a three-run double that pushed his average for the first time over .400.


Three times he dipped below the magic number only to creep back above it. He was hitting .400 as late as Sept. 19. He finished with 118 RBIs in 117 games.


Brett amassed 488½ votes for AL player of the year honors, compared to 11½ for Reggie Jackson of the New York Yankees and 11 for Cecil Cooper of Milwaukee. Willie Wilson, Brett's teammate, was fourth with nine votes, followed by Baltimore pitcher Steve Stone with three and Kansas City relief ace Dan Quisenberry, with two.


Mike Schmidt Phillies' third baseman, was earlier named AP Player of the Year for the National League.