Complete Handbook of Baseball 1980
Needless to say, the CHB did not exactly foresee greatness for the 1980 edition of the Phillies. After the bad 1979 outing, the best that the CHB saw for the Phils was a third-place finish behind both Pittsburgh and Montreal. Below are the actual words of the CHB for itself, in its entirety (at least concerning the Phillies).
From The Complete Handbook of Baseball, 1980 Season
National League Handicap
Los Angeles Dodgers (2-1): Never stays down long.
Houston Astros (5-1): Good speed, but lacks power.
Cincinnati Reds (6-1): Faces stiffer competition.
San Francisco Giants (15-1): Hard to get over ‘79 flop.
Atlanta Braves (40-1): More staying power this time.
San Diego Padres (50-1): Too many question marks.
Overview: A much healthier field thanks to major adjustments, but DODGERS are too strong from the start, holding off ASTROS’ challenge. REDS in chase for awhile, but lack staying power. GIANTS make early run, but begin to fade midway. BRAVES show promise, but not enough to finish ahead of anybody except PADRES, who never challenge.
Pittsburgh Pirates (2-1): A quick start will match a fast finish.
Montreal Expos (3-1): More speed improves race.
Philadelphia Phillies (4-1): New jockey could help.
St. Louis Cardinals (10-1): Best longshot in the league.
Chicago Cubs (50-1): Always falters in the stretch.
New York Mets (100-1): A conservative estimate.
Overview: It’ll be a tight pack at the start with PIRATES not holding back as long as usual. EXPOS’ speed keeps them neck and neck with Bucs until the finish. PHILLIES and CARDINALS begin fading a little earlier, but make it interesting. CUBS don’t get out of gate quickly and never contend. Neither do the METS, stumblers from the start.
Philadelphia Phillies- Scouting Report
Hitting: Just as the Giants and the Dodgers disappointed in the West, the Phils were the flop of the East considering their pre-season buildup and a reasonably good start. But, with the exception of a horrendous slump by Greg Luzinski and a sub-par offensive showing by Larry Bowa, batting wasn’t the club’s major problem.
Mike Schmidt supplied the power, Garry Maddox and Bob Boone hit well and Pete Rose was everything he was cracked up to be, but the Phils sorely missed Luzinski’s booming bat. Proof of that is 1,216 runner left on base, 24 more than any other team in the league. Luzinski, who nonetheless mustered 81 RBI, will have to bounce back strong, proving ‘79 was a fluke.
There was nothing wrong with Rose or Schmidt, however. Pete made things interesting with another batting streak, another 200-hit season and a .331 average. Schmidt was also in a groove, achieving great heights with only a .253 average by setting a club home-run record (45) and leading the NL with 20 game-winning RBI.
Pitching: The biggest reason behind the plunge was a 4.16 ERA, tying the Giants for 10th in the NL. Injuries didn’t help, reducing the effectiveness of Dick Ruthven, Tug McGraw and, most of all, Larry Christenson. If the latter bounces back strong, the Phils could give the Bucs a run at it. Steve Carlton is still the stopper, but he can’t do it alone. Nino Espinosa had his moments after escaping from the Mets and Randy Lerch and Ron Reed did some fine pitching, but nobody was truly consistent, the bane of the club and the reason Danny Ozark no longer is managing.
Fielding: The club’s strength. Philadelphia made only 106 errors- 12 fewer than any other NL club- and topped the circuit with a solid .983 percentage. It;s almost impossible to get a ball past the infield via an error and Maddox can run them down with the best in centerfield, despite his playoff transgressions of ‘78.
Bowa simply is the best at shortstop. His six errors in 146 games last season established a season record, as did his .991 percentage. He also improved his career record to .982, also tops in major-league history. Manny Trillo made only 10 errors at second and Schmidt is better at third base than his 23-bobbles suggest.
Boone was charged with only two passed balls in 117 games, good even considering the friendly Philly scoring. Maddox ranked second among the outfielders, enjoying a Gold Glove campaign with only two errors and a .996 percentage.
Outlook: Not as good as it was at this time last season. Pittsburgh is firmly entrenched as the team to beat and the Expos are coming. The Phils aren’t getting any younger. If Rose’s dynamite season couldn’t push them over the hump, it makes you wonder if the team has what it takes to go all the way. Pitching is particularly suspect, but if some hitters make a comeback this is a ballclub which could be very offensive.
Pete Rose (38, 5-11, 200): “Charlie Hustle” didn’t have the profound effect on the Phillies that was anticipated, but he drew crowds to the ballpark and enjoyed another dazzling campaign.... Signed four-year, $3.2 million contract and responded by establishing a major-league record with 200 hits for 10 years.... After setting a modern NL record with a 44-game batting streak in ‘78, Pete stitched together a 23-gamer in ‘79, longest in the league.... Named Player of the Week Aug. 5 for a pair of four-hit games and again Sept. 16 for batting .666.... Player of the Month in September, batting .415.... Put together eight straight hits against the Cubs and the Mets.... Set an all-time NL record for singles with his 2,427th.... Set and All-Star Game record by playing first base, his fifth different position in the classic.... No sign of slowing down.... Born April 14, in Cincinnati.
Mike Schmidt (30, 6-2, 198): Erased Chuck Klein’s club home run record (43) by blasting 45, 24 more than in slump-ridden ‘78.... Top vote-getter for the All-Star Game with three-million votes.... Belted five homers in four games vs. L.A. in May.... Hit four straight homers against S.F., including three July 7.... In five games, July 6-10, he whacked seven homers in 17 at-bats.... Born Sept. 27, 1949 at Dayton, Ohio.... Put together a 17-game batting streak.... NL Player of the Month for July, batting .354 with 13 homers and 32 RBI.... Just missed Ed Mathews’ homer record for third basemen, 47.... Excellent home run ratio of one per 12 at-bats in ‘79.... Slugging feats obscure his solid fielding.... His 216 homers are tops over last six years.
Garry Maddox (30, 6-3, 175): Generally accepted as the finest centerfielder in the NL following yearly Gold Glove success after going from S.F. to Philly.... Like many of his teammates, Garry tailed off a bit in ‘79, a fact partially attributed to a toe injury in the early going.... Born September 1, 1949, at Cincinnati.... Despite fielding prowess, Garry was embarrassed in ‘78 playoffs, dropping a fly ball and misplaying another as Dodgers edged Phils.... Has been a respectable hitter, but has never approached his .330 high of 1976
Greg Luzinski (29, 6-1, 225): “The Bull” endured his most frustrating campaign in ‘79, cutting his home run production in half.... Made no excuses for his slump, but was hampered by a pulled thigh muscle.... Philly boo-birds made him a scapegoat for the team’s failure, but Greg still knocked in 81 runs, good for most players.... Born Nov. 22, 1950, at Chicago.... Became only second player to reach the fifth level in left field at Three Rivers Stadium with a homer, April 18.... A zero-for-17 slump in June had him in the low .200s.... Might have been affected by the catcalls because he hit .100 higher on the road.... Buys ticked for underprivileged children to a portion of left field stands called “The Bull Ring.”
Bob Boone (32, 6-2, 208): Continued to show remarkable consistency in ‘79, batting .286 after successive .284 and .283 campaigns.... Named Player of the Week July for a .565 binge.... Interrupted string of 10 straight Gold Gloves by John Bench by winning the award in ‘78.... With Tim McCarver retiring, “Boonie” now will be able to catch temperamental Steve Carlton as well.... Born Nov. 19, 1947, at San Diego.... Very steady and underrated performer.
Larry Bowa (34, 5-10, 155): Followed Luzinski in a plate dive, dropping .053 to .241.... Was batting .302 when he fractured his thumb May 22.... Big comedown after ranking third in the 1978 NL MVP voting.... Born Dec. 6, 1945, at Sacramento.... Only his fielding didn’t suffer, Larry playing errorless ball at home in ‘79.... No longer Dave Concepcion’s main competition for top shortstop in NL, thanks to Garry Templeton’s development.... Won Gold Gloves in 1972 and 1978.... Holds major league record for lifetime fielding percentage by a shortstop playing a minimum of 1,000 games.... Holds NL mark of only nine errors at shortstop in 1972.
Bake McBride (31, 6-2, 190): Signed a five-year, $1.6 million contract and responded with a solid, if unspectacular, season.... Stilll trying to regain .300 touch after doing it for five straight years with St. Louis.... Belted career-high 12 triples and was only one RBI shy of his previous high.... Born Feb. 3, 1949, at Fulton, Mo.... Nicknamed “Bake” by father and monicker stuck.... Real name is Arnold.... NL Rookie of the Year in ‘74.... Topped all outfielders in 1978 by making only one error, a .996 percentage.... Was a baseball and track star at Westminster College (Mo.), running the 100 in 9.8.
Steve Carlton (35, 6-5, 210): Pitched fourth career one-hitter, blanking Astros 8-0, June 5.... Padded his total as all-time NL strikeout leader with 213 more for 2,683.... Two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, combining for 50 victories in 1972 and 1977.... Struck out 19 batters in one game, to share nine-inning record with Tom Seaver.... Four-time 20 game winner.... Born Dec. 22, 1944, at Miami.... Only the Niekro brothers won more NL games last year.... Ninth on all-time strikeout list.... His 148 wins since 1972 are the most by a NL hurler in that span.... Also carries a big bat, leading NL pitchers with a .291 average in ‘78.
Nino Espinosa (26, 6-0, 185): Blossomed after coming over from Mets in early-season swap.... Pitched three shutouts for new club, one less than Carlton.... Was Mets’ biggest winner in 1977 and 1978, totaling 21 victories.... Posted first winning season as a major leaguer after joining Phillies.... Born Aug. 15, 1953, at Villa Altagracia, Dominican Republic.... Boyhood pitching hero was fellow Dominican Juan Marichal of the Giants.... Went first 71 games as a major leaguer before making an error in ‘78.... Came to U.S. in 1970 to live with a brother.
Randy Lerch (25, 6-3, 190): Overcame a broken wrist early in the season to log 214 innings and inspire confidence for a big improvement this year.... Showed great promise down stretch in ‘78, posting a 7-2 record.... He won the Phillies’ division clincher against Montreal that season, belting two homers in the process.... Born Oct. 9, 1954, at Sacramento, Cal.... Ranks along with Carlton among the top hitting pitchers in the bigs.... Earned a look by the Phils by going 16-6 with a 2.69 ERA for Reading in ‘75.... Has won at least 10 games in each of his three full seasons with the big club.
TOP PROSPECT- Lonnie Smith (24, 5-9, 170): Played his fourth straight season at Oklahoma City (Triple-A) after flubbing spring trial with Phillies, but may be ready following best minor-league season ever: .330 average, 106 runs, 34 steals.... Speed is top asset.... Born Dec. 22, 1955, at Chicago.... Topped American Assn. with 66 steals in ‘78.... Other top prospect is right-hander Marty Bystrom.
Manager Dallas Green: His only previous experience prior to succeeding popular Danny Ozark as the Phillies’ skipper was two years as a minor-league pilot.... Finished fifth in the Northern League in ‘68 and won a championship with Pulaski (Va.) in the Appalachian League in ‘69.... Became assistant farm director under Paul Owens in ‘69.... When Owens became general manager in 1972, Dallas was promoted to director of minor leagues and scouting.... Born Aug. 4, 1934, at Newport, Del.... An athlete at U. of Delaware, Green signed professionally following his junior year and eventually worked four major-league seasons as a pitcher with the Mets, Senators, and Phillies, posting a 20-22 career record.... Because of his front-office duties has a good knowledge of the Phillies.... Now he’ll have a better understanding of the pressure Ozark endured while the star-studded club flopped in ‘79.