Camden Courier Post - November 4, 1980

Green remains Phils’ manager

 

By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post

 

PHILADELPHIA – Dallas Green is back. Now the question is: Who is leaving?

 

That Green agreed, albeit some what reluctantly, to return for another season as manager of the Phillies is no real surprise. Both owner Ruly Carpenter and General Manager Paul Owens made it clear two weeks ago Green was their man.

 

But even then, in the first blush of the Phillies' World Series triumph, Green held out the hope he would be returned to the quiet sanity of the front office.

 

"I STATED my preference. It's still there," Green said amid a raucous club house celebration after the Phils' clinching sixth-game win.

 

Since then, however, Carpenter and Owens have managed to convince Green that there are degrees of preference. In effect, what they did was give Green an offer he couldn't refuse.

 

Green's ultimate goal is to succeed Owens. It is a move Green would like to have made this winter. But Owens has no intention of stepping down, not after the team he built just won a world championship.

 

With his old job as director of minor-league systems filled and Owens going nowhere, Green's options were limited. He could have taken a front-office position to simply wait for Owens to retire. But that is not Green's style.

 

SO MANAGING – especially with a hefty raise - seemed infinitely preferable to shuffling papers.

 

"The timing just doesn't seem right for a move," Green said yesterday after confirming he would return as manager for the 1981 season. "I hate to become a slave of money, but if I can put the kids through school by managing a couple of years, it won't be too bad. The money is right, three-and-a-half to four times what I can make normally. It's difficult to turn down."

 

With the issue of Green managing settled, attention now will focus on the makeup of the team Green will guide. Green is not anxious to break up a world champion. But he knows his club is getting long of tooth, and that there are a couple of areas in need of strengthening. Moves are all but inevitable.

 

Green is not about to trade first baseman Pete Rose, second baseman Manny Trillo or third baseman Mike Schmidt. It is no secret Green and shortstop Larry Bowa have had their differences. Yet, Green admires Bowa's competitiveness. There is, then, every reason to believe Green will return his infield intact.

 

THERE ALSO are valid reasons why catcher Bob Boone – despite the presence of Keith Moreland – and rightfielder Bake McBride – despite McBride's statements to the contrary – will be part of the Phils' spring training gathering. Center-fielder Garry Maddox, another member of the Dislike Dallas Club, has a no-trade clause in his contract.

 

Most likely, whatever moves Green and Owens make will involve leftfielder Greg Luzinski and the pitching staff. Luzinski spent much of the year injured, or trying to play through injuries. His offense suffered because of it. But perhaps the clearest handwriting on the wall for the Bull was rookie Lonnie Smith, who is the face of the future Phillies.

 

Green would like another starter for his rotation. That does not necessarily mean the Phillies will have to make a deal. Barring injury, Steve Carlton, Dick Ruthven and Marty Bystrom will make up the core of the rotation next year. That leaves two spots for sore-armed Nino Espinosa, Randy Lerch, Larry Christenson and a host of others to fight over.

 

Lerch probably will not be around and Christenson is likely to test his value in the free-agent draft. Espinosa is unsigned, but the Phils have so many young, strong arms in their system, they will have the luxury of turning down all but the most lucrative of offers from other teams.

 

THE PHILLIES bullpen is aged. Lefthanders Tug McGraw, who likely will become a free agent, and Sparky Lyle are well into their thirties. Ron Reed is closing in on 40. Indeed, if the Phils have a pressing need, it is for a righthanded late reliever, a guy capable of putting away a game.

 

"I think we proved as much as anybody that a team has to have a stopper, a guy who can go out there and put the game away," Green said.

Schmidt, Carlton tops

 

ST. LOUIS – The 1980 baseball awards were announced yesterday by The Sporting News and the world champion Phillies were the big winners. Third baseman Mike Schmidt was selected as the National League's player of the year, while Steve Carlton was named the league's top pitcher by the St. Louis-based publication.

 

A third Phillie, second baseman Manny Trillo, was also named to the National League squad.

 

George Brett of the Kansas City Royals and Steve Stone of the Baltimore Orioles were selected as the player and pitcher of the year in the American League. The selections were made through a poll of the players in each league with 244 AL players and 168 NL players participating.

 

Schmidt led the NL with 48 home runs and 121 runs batted in and also scored 104 times. He received 81 votes, more than twice as many as runner-up George Hendrick of the St. Louis Cardinals, who batted .302 and drove in 109.

 

Carlton, who had a record of 24 victories, 304 innings pitched and 286 strikeouts while turning in 13 complete games last season, was selected as the top pitcher for the third time, having been accorded top hurling honors in 1972 and 1977. Jim Bibby of the Pittsburgh Pirates finished a distant second to Carlton.

 

Brett, who led the league in batting with a .390 average, drilling 24 homers and batting in 118 runs, received 136 votes to 77 for his nearest rival, Cecil Cooper of the Milwaukee Brewers.

 

Stone, who led the league in victories with 25, losing seven, and who posted a 3.23 ERA, garnered 139 votes to 77 for Mike Norris, the Oakland A's righthander.

 

The offensive-minded St. Louis Cardinals placed three players on the National League squad – first baseman Keith Hernandez, shortstop Garry Templeton and Hendrick. Rounding out the NL squad were left fielder Dusty Baker of Los Angeles, center fielder Cesar Cedano of Houston and catcher Gary Carter of Montreal.

 

The New York Yankees claimed five spots on the American League All-Star team with Reggie Jackson being named in right field and as designated hitter. It was the fourth time Jackson had been selected to the squad.

 

Other Yankees named included second basemen Willie Randolph, catcher Rick Cerone and lefthanded pitcher Tommy John. Besides Cooper, the Milwaukee Brewers placed shortstop Robin Yount and left-fielder Ben Oglivie on the all-star team. Baltimore center fielder Al Bumbry was also named to the squad.

Wealthy owners shop thin free agent market

 

First in a two part series previewing major league baseball’s free agent draft.

 

By Bob Kenney, Courier-Post Sports Editor

 

Although there are precious few gold nuggets available, the upcoming free agent draft has major league baseball owners drooling.

 

What could be the last open draft is scheduled for Nov. 13, and baseball's big spenders are making plans.

 

The new Basic Agreement recently signed by the players and the owners calls for compensation in the future. Hence, this may be the last chance for wealthy owners like Ted Turner, Gene Autry and George Steinbrenner to buy a world championship.

 

A COMMITTEE of players and owners will decide what constitutes "just compensation" in the future, but the current crop of free agents will not cost the purchasing team any playing personnel.

 

This fifth annual auction has the least amount of quality merchandise available but the possibility of buying a title already has some of the owners fidgety.

 

Three of baseball's four major league divisions enjoyed exciting races this summer and that has several teams contemplating solutions to their near-misses.

 

"We're in a position to catch the leaders in our division with one or two key additions," said Atlanta Braves' Manager Bobby Cox at the World Series. "That's what makes the draft so important.

 

"THERE ARE not a lot of quality guys available, but we'll make an honest effort to sign the players we draft."

 

There are at least a handful of players capable of turning a contender into a champion – if the price is right.

 

Dave Winfield, Darrell Porter, Dusty Baker and Ron LeFlore all represent instant offensive improvement. Don Sutton, Geoff Zahn, Dick Tidrow and Larry Christenson all could supply instant pitching help.

 

"Most of those available represent expansion-type talent," said a member of the Phillies front office. "But there are some blue chips available."

 

THREE COULD come from the world champions, although free agents can sign contracts right up to the last minute. If the draft were held today, the Phillies would lose Tug McGraw, their relief ace; Del Unser, the clutch pinch-hitter, and Christenson, a solid starter when healthy.

 

The American League champions from Kansas City also stand to lose. In addition to Porter, their starting catcher, the Royals have relief pitcher Marty Pattin, reserve first baseman Pete LaCock and back-up third baseman Dave Chalk on the list.

 

Up to 13 teams may draft a free agent, then join his old club in bidding for his services.

 

Winlield is the top name available. A better than average outfielder, he hit only 20 home runs and had 87 RBIs last season while engaging in a running feud with Padres' owner Ray Kroc.

 

HE HAD 34 homers and led the league with 118 RBIs a year ago, though, and is a four-time All-Star and a .300 hitter. Only his price tag, $13 million for 10 years, makes him questionable.

 

Kroc, who owns the McDonald's hamburger chain, has written off his star. That leaves the Yankees most likely to meet the payroll demands, though the New York Mets are expected to bid high.

 

Baker, if he doesn't sign with his Dodgers, might be a better investment. He hit .294 for Los Angeles and drove in 97 runs with 29 homers.

 

"He doesn't have the name," said one scout recently, "but he's averaged 25 home runs a year and is a solid player. He could be the best player for the price."

 

UNSER COULD be a sleeper. Despite his big pinch-hits in the post-season, the lefty probably won't command big bucks from the Phillies but he could help an American League team as a designated hitter.

 

Rusty Staub fits the same mold. He'll be 37 next summer, but hit .300 for the Texas Rangers and would be a real asset to an American League contender.

 

Another sleeper could be Roy Howell, the 27-year-old third baseman for Toronto. He has hit as high as .300, had as many as 15 home runs and has knocked in as many as 70 runs.

 

Pitchers are always a gamble and the free agents are no exception.

 

SUTTON, although 36, won 13 games for the Dodgers and had the lowest earned run average in the league, 2.21. Dan Spillner won 16 for the Cleveland Indians but was hit hard at times. Zahn was 14-18 for the Minnesota Twins, but five wins were shutouts.

 

Bullpen pitchers have even more highs and lows and some club might be willing to pay big bucks to McGraw, who carried the Phillies after the All-Star break. He had a 1.47 ERA and won all five of his games in September, but will be 37 next year.

 

Tidrow was 6-5 and had six saves for the Chicago Cubs, where he was overshadowed by Bruce Sutter. Pattin was. 4-0 with four saves for the Royals, who depended mostly on Dan Qusenberry.

 

Owners willing to gamble big money on tainted merchandise could select from LeFlore, Porter, Travers or Christenson. All have had problems which have kept them from reaching full potential.

 

CHRISTENSON has been on the disabled list five times in the past three seasons with various injuries ranging from a broken collarbone to a chronic back problem. He was written off twice this year but came back to win five of six decisions and is a solid starter when healthy.

 

Travers has the same background in Milwaukee. He, too, has spent plenty of time disabled but ranks with the best lefthanders in the game when healthy. He was 12-6 for the Brewers this year.

 

The 28-year-old Porter came back from alcohol and drug-related problems this spring, then suffered through his worst season, hitting only .249 and knocking in 51 runs. But he's capable of better, as his 20 home runs and 112 runs batted in a year ago indicate.

 

LeFlore stole 97 bases for the Expos but talked his way right out of Montreal with a midseason interview that blasted management, fans and teammates alike.

Vermeil battles for respect from opponents

 

By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post

 

PHILADELPHIA – Eagles Coach Dick Vermeil is learning what Phillies Manager Dallas Green already knows. If you're from Philly, the rest of the country isn't about to give you the benefit of the doubt.

 

If you don't believe it, then you didn't get the opportunity to read what the outside world was saying about this area and its teams after the Phils won a world championship.

 

You see, what actually happened was that most people in general, and the national media in particular, looked at the World Series as just another opportunity to drag out all those time-worn cliches about people here booing funerals... and how the Liberty Bell isn't the only thing cracked around here... and how Washington crossed the Delaware because Philly was closed... and how first prize is a week is Philly and second prize is two weeks in this town.

 

It's easy work if you can get it. Just drag out the old W.C. Fields routines and let it rip. Only this time, the Phillies spoiled the fun by winning.

 

Instead of learning about what a grand experience it was for the people here, however, sports fans around the nation were fed a steady diet about how the Phils are just a bunch of jerks, how the fans (and I quote) are illiterate, how the brutal police force overreacted with their crowd control and how silly it was for folks here to be happy when they lived in a garbage can.

 

The sad part is that this general animosity isn't merely directed at the Phillies, but at this area as a whole. Philly has a tradition for losing and obviously some people would prefer to keep it that way even if the Eagles match the Phils' glory by going to the Super Bowl and the Sixers win the NBA.

 

The Phillies should be the darlings of baseball. They did it all. And that includes the manager, who incredibly finished fourth in the voting for manager of the year.

 

Yet, as those who listened and watched the descriptions of the team's history-making finish will attest, the Phils remained baseball's step children.

 

It is Vermeil's turn. His Eagles are the only team in the NFL with an 8-1 record, and he is still waiting to hear some type of outside praise for his people.

 

"Every time we beat someone," Vermeil said yesterday afternoon, "it's either a case of bad officiating... or we beat a weak team... or we're the most illegal team in football... or pass interference should have been called against us.

 

"No one gives the other guy credit. I don't care, but a thing like that has to irritate you."

 

During his early years here, Vermeil found himself constantly fighting with the NFL hierarchy about an attitude that prevailed in which there seemed a reluctance to call penalties against established winners. Vermeil was not the first Eagle coach to argue that point, but he was able to change it by simply becoming a winner.

 

This lack of appreciation of what the current Eagle team is accomplishing is another problem, however. Despite all the statistical achievements of the team and its individual players, one gets the feeling that even if the Eagles won the Super Bowl tomorrow, they would receive pretty much the same treatment the Phillies received.

 

"I think we've got a good football team," said Vermeil with a shake of his head. "How good depends on how well we do in the regular season and the playoffs.

 

"But the thing I've noticed in this league that's different from college is, well, when I was coaching in college it was not unusual for someone when they were beaten to tell the other guy he did a helluva job. You know, 'You outplayed us. See you next year.'

 

"In the pros, it's not that way. No one wants to give the Eagles credit. Me, I go the other way. This year, I walked into the St. Louis locker room with a lump in my throat (after losing) and congratulated them for their first win.

 

"I was just trying to show the kind of class that I'd like people to show us when we beat their butts."

 

Vermeil shouldn't hold his breath while waiting for that miracle to happen. One by one, the coaches he has defeated have done nothing but filled the air with excuses, sour grapes and negative opinions about the Eagles.

 

Now, it's the schedule. The Birds play the winless Saints next week in New Orleans and you would think it was some sort of crime.

 

Vermeil keeps trying to ignore all the negativism, but be doesn't like the way it has kept his players from receiving the credit they deserve.

 

He called Ron Jaworski's quarter-backing in Sunday's victory over the Seattle Seahawks an All-Pro performance. Despite having one of the most high-powered passing games in the league and almost a halftime of possession, Vermeil noted Seattle still couldn't generate a touchdown against the Bird defense in the first two periods.

 

He said people fail to look at the positive side'of things. For instance, the Eagles are not adept at causing opposition fumbles. That would be a costly statistic if not for the fact that it is offset by Jaworski's ability to avoid throwing interceptions.

 

"I can remember Ron being booed," he said. "But, if we hadn’t stuck with him, he wouldn't be performing the way he has. Without his performances, we'd be in trouble."

 

Maybe some day, the rest of the world will realize that Jaworski, like many other Eagles, has matured into an outstanding player. A winner. That's a very big maybe. Vermeil is finding that out.

 

"I don't care what they say about us," Vermeil said. "Every time we had to prove how good we are, we proved it. I don't know what we ha ve to do to prove ourselves to people."

 

Would you believe, move to New York or Los Angeles? Everyone and everything there is terrific. If you don't believe it, just ask them.