Philadelphia Inquirer - November 9, 1980

Sports-hungry Tampa Bay area seriously pursues expansion team


By Allen Lewis, On Baseball


The Tampa Bay area, which supported the football Bucs and the soccer Rowdies in big-league fashion, is serious about trying to land a major league baseball team. The Pinellas County Sports Authority recently selected a site for a 45,000-seat stadium and sports complex, and has already approved an architect's plans for the stadium.


Next comes funding for the $60-million-to-$80-million project. That must be obtained through revenue bonds backed by either the county or its 24 municipalities. That's expected it be completed within a year, and the project is expected to be finished as early as 1985.


Landing a franchise is another matter. The group seems to be aiming for an expansion club and has been in contact with Denver multimillionaire Marvin Davis, who once almost bought the A's and is now also interested in an expansion team. Since no league will add only one team, the two are working in tandem, and their first hard pitch is expected to be made at the winter meetings next month in Dallas.


The Tampa Bay area's main cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Dunedin host five major league clubs during spring training. And a Tampa Bay team could be a reality sooner than a lot of people think.


NOTES: The naming of Ralph Houk as manager of the Boston Red Sox wasn't as popular a move as might be expected. Surprisingly, the top choice of the fans and media was Ken Harrelson, the former first baseman-outfielder who in recent years has been a TV announcer for the Red Sox. Harrelson was hardly the model of hustle and decorum when he was playing for the A's, Senators, Red Sox and Indians from 1963 to 1971, but is said to be respected now.... If you wonder why old-line managers believed in the knockdown pitch, what happened after the Phillies' Dickie Noles decked George Brett in the fourth game of the World Series might explain it. After that "message," the Royals scored just four runs in 23 innings, got only three extra-base hits and averaged a strikeout per inning. That one pitch may have turned the Series in favor of the Phillies.... How difficult is it to hit.400? Since Ted Williams hit.406 in 1941, only Brett (.390 this year), Rod Carew (.388 in 1977), Williams (.388 in 1957) and Stan Musial (.376 in 1948) have hit.370 or higher.... Giants manager Dave Bristol's reply to the blast that outfielder Jack Clark leveled at him at the close of the season: "He just needs someone else to blame for his failure."... Veteran reliever Rollie Fingers is reported to be working on a knuckler. But he'll have to find someone to catch it.... One of the several reasons Don Zimmer was fired by the Red Sox is said to be his downgrading of the young talent coming out of the farm system.... The Expos may regret the deal in which they acquired first baseman Willie Montanez for the stretch run. To get Montanez, they had to give the Padres first baseman Randy Bass off their Denver club. The 210-pound Oklahoman hit 37 homers and knocked in 143 runs to lead the American Association, in both departments, and hit.333 for the second straight year. In 1979, he had 36 homers and 105 RBIs Those who criticized the use of horses, dogs and police to discourage rowdiness when the Phillies won the Series would have been the first to ask why there wasn't more security had there been no such preparedness and a few hundred fans had gone wild.



The answer to last week's Trivia Question: When Rube Marquard set the one-season record for consecutive victories with 19 in 1912 he pitched only one shutout. On May 20, in the eighth game of that streak the lefthander blanked the Reds, 3-0. He allowed just one run in four games and the six he gave up in his 8-6 win over Boston on June 30 for his 18th straight was the most runs scored by any opponent in the streak. First with the correct answer was Ray Leber of Upland, Pa.



This week's question: In 1980, Mike Schmidt hit more than 35 home runs for the sixth time in his major league career. How many other third basemen have had six or more seasons with more than 35 home runs?