Baseball Forecast - 1980 Edition

Baseball Forecast gave the Phillies some credit, calling them "probably the best fielding team in baseball," and also acknowledged their hitting prowess. That was still not enough for the magazine to predict great things for the Phillies, slotting them in 3rd behind Montreal and Pittsburgh. There were a few names dropped as possibilities that didn't pan out: Paul Thormodsgard, who never pitched for the Phillies, and John Poff, who had a cup of coffee with the team in 1979, but never played with the team again. To their credit, they mentioned the possibilities of contributions coming from Keith Moreland and Lonnie Smith, though they thought that Smith would push Bake McBride for playing time rather than Greg Luzinski.

Philadelphia Phillies

1979: 4th Place 84-78 .519 14 back


Manager: Dallas Green


The team everyone expected to run away with the league title, inexplicably skidded from first to fourth place in the N.L. East after winning the divisional crown for three straight seasons. Dallas Green replaces Danny Ozark as manager of the star-studded Phillies and is convinced his ballclub, if healthy, has sufficient talent to get back on top in 1980.


A prime factor in the skid was the inconsistency of the pitching staff - specifically in the bullpen where a real stopper is still needed. Lanky Ron Reed (13 wins, 5 saves) is the standout of the returning crew that includes lefthander Tug McGraw (4 wins, 16 saves), Rawly Eastwick (3 wins, 6 saves), Warren Brusstar, Don Larson, and soph Kevin Saucier among others.


The starting rotation has two members, righthanders Dick Ruthven (7-5, 4.28), and Larry Christenson (5-10, 4.50), coming off winter surgery. Both are expected back in good shape and should join ace lefthander Steve Carlton who fanned 213 hitters while compiling another fine (18-11, 3.62 with 13 complete games) record. Nino Espinosa (14-12, 3.65) and southpaw Randy Lerch (10-13, 3.74) complete the list of key returning starters but young Paul Thormodsgard, comes over from Minnesota seeking a berth.


First baseman Pete Rose ranked second in the N.L. with his .331 average and became the only player in history to get over 200 hits (208) ten times n his career. "Charlie Hustle" now has 3,372 career hits and is closing in on Stan Musial's N.L. record of 3,630. Star slugger Mike Schmidt blasted a club record 45 home runs and drove in 114 while batting .253 and winning a Gold Glove for his defensive play at third base. Larry Bowa (.241) set a new record with a spectacular .991 fielding percentage at shortstop while Manny Trillo (.260) was also the recipient of a Gold Glove for fielding excellence at second base. Infield reserves include John Vukovich and Bud Harrelson (.282).


All-Star catcher Bob Boone, another Gold Glove recipient, should at least duplicate his .286/9/58 offensive production in 199 games last year and will be afforded welcomed respites by scrappy soph Keith Moreland, the former Texas Longhorn defensive back.


Powerhouse leftfielder Greg Luzinski had a dreadful year (.252/18/81) but is eligible to revert to his 35 HR/100 plus RBI level of past years, this coming campaign if he can get off fast. Gold Glove centerfielder Garry Maddox (.281/13/61) is a super athlete with great speed (26 steals), capable of delivering a big season at the plate. Bake McBride (.280/12/60 with 25 steals) is the incumbent in right field but may be challenged in camp by rookie flash Lonnie Smith. Del Unser (.298/6/29) hit a record three consecutive homers in pinch-hitting appearances and remains a key reserve, together with Greg Gross (.333). Rookie outfielder/first baseman John Poff could make the club.


In defense of the Phillies, it must be noted that they still managed to win 84 games despite suffering 22 major injuries during the 1979 campaign. They are probably the best fielding team in baseball and rank among the better hitting clubs, too, so it all comes down to their pitching. If they again come up short in what is expected to be a tight four-team race in the N.L. East this season, heads will undoubtedly roll.


Forecast: 3rd Place


National League East

American League East

1. Montreal Expos

1. New York Yankees

2. Pittsburgh Pirates

2. Milwaukee Brewers

3. Philadelphia Phillies

3. Baltimore Orioles

4. St. Louis Cardinals

4. Boston Red Sox

5. Chicago Cubs

5. Detroit Tigers

6. New York Mets

6. Cleveland Indians


7. Toronto Blue Jays



National League West

American League West

1. Houston Astros

1. California Angels

2. Los Angeles Dodgers

2. Kansas City Royals

3. Cincinnati Reds

3. Minnesota Twins

4. Atlanta Braves

4. Texas Rangers

5. San Diego Padres

5. Seattle Mariners

6. San Francisco Giants

6. Chicago White Sox


7. Oakland A's