Philadelphia Sunday Bulletin Baseball Guide - April 6, 1980
The first article is part a story on Luzinski and part a preview of the Phillies season. In the article, Luzinski seemed to be in great shape and raring to put a bad 1979 season behind him. Unfortunately, injuries would turn a 1980 season which began promisingly into a horror show. One interesting thing that I noticed about the preview is that there is a fair amount of ink given to Lerrin LaGrow, the relief pitcher who began 1980 with the Phillies. He lasted 25 games, had a 4.15 ERA (actually just about his career average of 4.11) and was released on July 17. He never played in the major leagues again. He picked the Phils to finish second, behind the defending World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates.
Want to know the middle name of Randy Lerch? It's all in the second article, a preview of the 1980 Phils by Mark Whicker. Interesting is the lack of some of the important cogs that would be called up during the season (Bob Walk, Marty Bystrom) while others who played no or little part with the team were listed (Doug Bird, Rawly Eastwick and Bud Harrelson were all released before the season; one-time prospect Mike Anderson was in the minors in 1980 and released at the end of the season). Also, Mike Schmidt as a leadoff man? Now, I am too young to well remember Schmidt's early career, but I can't fathom him as a leadoff guy. Third or fourth, definitely.
If the Bull Sees Red, Watch the Phillies Go
By Mark Whicker
This is not the first year that Dallas Green has been the man for whom the Bull tolls. In the late summer of 1968, when Woodie Fryman was the only Phillie All-Star and Connie Mack Stadium attendance reached an eight-year low, Green and Greg Luzinski met in Huron, S.D.
The setting was the Northern League. The town didn't even have a stop light. One man's playing days were over, an arid career that contained 550 major league innings and only 20 wins- as a rookie manager, he searched for redemption. Luzinski was 17, having turned down a bushel of football scholarships. A month earlier he had enlivened Phillie batting practice with homer after homer into the seats of Wrigley Field, and the Phils drafted him No. 1. Hulking and quiet, Luzinski flashed an aptitude for smashing curve balls that no one in baseball can teach. He hit 13 homers and had 43 RBIs in 57 games. He couldn't vote and he couldn't buy a beer, but he gave a sick franchise hope.
The has-been and the natural embarked on a decade of happiness. Green impressed farm director Paul Owens, who became general manager in 1972 and promoted Green to replace him. Green's arresting, aggressive style and his insistence on organization filtered through and helped the Phillies catch up. And Luzinski spent only three more seasons in the minor leagues. His home runs jumped from 31 to 33 to 36. Veterans Stadium opened in 1971 and provided fans with comfort, security and access- everything but a star, and Luzinski took care of that with 37 homers and 165 RBIs, his first two seasons.
Today, time has done its 360-degree dance and placed the two in lockstep again. Green starts his first full year of managing the Phillies, a team which crashed from three straight National League East pennants into fourth place last season. Luzinski starts the first real comeback of his career, having started '79 as the most visible symbol of the Phils' success and ended it as the most popular reason for their failure.
For a manager, a star and the best-paid team in the National League, this is a crossroads year.
The "me decade" is over, but Greg Luzinski first adhered to its mores this winter. Part of his routine was the same. He hung out his personal do-not-disturb sign by taking long hunting trips and he attended Notre Dame football weekends. He staged his highly successful tennis tournament for the benefit of the American Cancer Society, inviting civilians to double-fault with celebrities at the Cherry Hill Courts that he partly owns.
But Luzinski also rose at 7:30 and was on the first floor of Veterans Stadium by 9. There, batting coach Billy DeMars set baseballs on a tee and watched Luzinski recover his lizard's-tongue batting stroke that injuries, dalliance and pressure had weakened in '79. When he returned home to Medford, N. J., he took his daily turn on a stationary bicycle. He grew a neat beard and straightened out his disheveled perm hair style. Acquaintances blinked when they saw him. He walked more erectly. He somehow looked taller. Indisputably, he looked good.
The transformation reached its apex when he entered the batting cage at Clearwater late in February. Greg Luzinski was wearing glasses- and liking it. Last summer he temporarily ignored DeMars to concentrate on his stroke, snarled at those who mentioned his weight, laughed when people questioned his vision. He also hit .252 (his major league low), hit 18 homers (worst since '74, when a knee injury held him to 85 games and seven homers) and had 81 RBIs (a drop from 130 in 1977). An aging Bull was learning new tricks.
"I wear contacts, but sometimes they slide around," he said. "The wind affects them, too. In San Francisco they pick up a lot of dirt. I wear glasses when I do almost everything else. I figured, why not try it?
"Of course, everybody brings up my weight. They always have. Last year I weighed about the same as I did during the big years (second in the MVP balloting in '75 and '77). But that's the first thing they pick up on.
"My biggest problem last year was that I was injured, and I never really got going or got well. But I figured that working hard over the winter wouldn't hurt me. I've tried hard to keep the weight off (the best March estimates were that he'd lost 25 to 30 pounds, down to 215)."
He laughed cynically, "Now if I have a bad year they'll say I'm too weak, right?" he said, shaking his head. "You can't please everybody." The funny thing was that Luzinski had pleased just about everybody in Philadelphia until 1979, when a thousand plagues descended upon himself and his team. To isolate the unlikely villains in this version of Les Misera-bulls, one can start with O. J. Simpson.
San Francisco's Candlestick Park once featured Astroturf, but when the 49ers obtained O. J. Simpson in 1978 everyone decided to return to God's own grass. Unfortunately they replaced the turf with patches of sod that resembled Bill Cosby's own Jello. As of this March, Giant's manager Spec Richardson pronounced Candlestick unplayable.
Last May 11, the Phillies risked a seven-game win streak at San Francisco. With two out in the fifth, Giants leading 1-0, Willie McCovey muscled Steve Carlton's pitch to deep leftfield. Luzinski had to run hard to his left. He made the catch, "but just as I got there, I slipped on some of that loose sod and I heard something in my thigh pop." Luzinski batted twice more that night, popping to third base and then striking out with the bases full in the eighth. No one thought much about it at the time. The Phillies lost 2-1.
The next day Luzinski wasn't on the lineup card and Danny Ozark sparred with reporters. "Just giving him a rest," Ozark said. "It's a Polish holiday." It was actually the beginning of an eight-game absence for Luzinski, who was hitting .275 overall and .350 with men on base at the time. As a pinch-hitter, he walked during the 23-22 win at Chicago- "the key to the game," he joked later- but the Phillies lost a momentum-breaking three-game series to Montreal without him.
He missed a couple of games in June and his average dropped to .242. He hit two homers the whole month. Occasionally the torn muscle inside his leg would hemorrhage. Ozark jerked him for a defensive replacement or a runner seven straight times at one stretch. Yet on July 2 against the Mets, Luzinski was sent home from second on a single (he slid, but didn't make it) and was signaled to steal second (safe) in successive innings.
Another flareup benched him for eight straight games before the All-Star game, an event to which he was not invited for the first time since 1974. General manager Owens complained that Luzinski "is too heavy through the chest here, and it's hard for him to get through the ball. He's going to have to get in better shape next year." Luzinski complained loudly to owner Ruly Carpenter. Owens snapped back in return ("I hope he's mad, because maybe he'll do something about it"), and the Bull missed the five games after the break. Ozark's tongue lashed anyone who dared question his handling of the situation. And on Aug. 2, Luzinski finished a tear of four home runs in six days- giving him 14 for the season.
By now the Phillies were desperate. On Aug. 5 Luzinski crashed a grand slam in Pittsburgh for an 8-3 lead, but the Pirates joyfully won 12-8 and swept a five-game series. Two nights later the Phillies led Montreal 2-1 at The Vet in the seventh inning. The bases were loaded and when Luzinski went to the on-deck circle, the boos rolled in like morning fog. Then Ozark used Greg Gross as a pinch-hitter for The Bull and sparked an ovation- which grew when Gross hit a sacrifice fly. Ozark never explained his move to the press, but his eloquence was undeniable. With one move he had advised the fans of Philadelphia that Bull hunting season was officially open.
They booed when Luzinski ran to leftfield. They booed when he returned. They booed when he struck out. They cheered sarcastically when he caught easy flies. On Aug. 29 vs. Cincinnati, he struck out with men on second and third in the seventh, and when he jogged to leftfield and heard the animal chorus, something snapped. He doffed his cap twice at full trot and then waved his arms upward, indicating more volume.
"I was just fooling around," he said later. Before the next game, the Phillies fired Danny Ozark. Luzinski finished the season with a .303 average on the road and .187 at home, getting 11 of his 18 homers and 51 of his 81 RBIs outside The Vet.
"I've seen the fans react like that before," Luzinski says now. "I know how they are when a guy's scuffling. I saw the way they treated Roman Gabriel, the way they treated Mike Schmidt last year. It wasn't a big surprise to me."
But of course it was. Philadelphia's fans made Luzinski the top man on the '78 All-Star ballot. They put him on a pedestal shared only by Larry Bowa. They correctly marked the beginning of the Phillies' resurrection as the day the Bull arrived.
They loved him because of the statistics, of course, and because he financed "The Bull Ring" in leftfield that provides $20,000 in tickets for disadvantaged kids. But mostly they loved him for his dock walloper's image, the fact that they could just as easily visualize him on their slow-pitch team. The street-corner hoagie salesman, the mechanic, the truck driver sensed a kindred spirit in Greg Luzinski. He was not an enigmatic adonis like Mike Schmidt or an uncompromising prima donna like Steve Carlton. He was one of them.
In retrospect, that feeling evaporated shortly after the Phils' pennant hopes did, and Luzinski has neither forgotten nor forgiven.
"I think it's time the fans here took a good look at themselves," he says. "They've got the reputation as the best fans anywhere, but I don't know about that. The Flyers are having their best season ever, but they're always on Behn Wilson. The Eagles come back from losing to Tampa and there are 500 people at the airport- maybe. The Houston Oilers come back from losing to Pittsburgh and they fill the Astrodome, cheering like they'd won the Super Bowl."
Luzinski's relationship with the Phillie management deteriorated, too. Agent Jack Sands unsuccessfully tried to tack on a couple of years' to Luzinski's contract. Owens' midseason weight appraisal struck a nerve. And Ozark, the stoic Pole who forged a special bond with Luzinski for six years, finally abandoned him.
"It was tough," Luzinski says simply, "to wonder if you were coming out in the eighth inning, to wonder if he was going to pinch-hit for you. He was going through a lot of problems, but I was, too."
The biggest one, he insists, was the injury. The pain kept him up nights, prevented him from walking during some mornings. He didn't volunteer to come out of a lineup that was at full strength for only 74 games, but then it wasn't his place to do so.
"I learned something very valuable last year," Luzinski said. "I tried to keep playing with the thing before it was fully healed. It affected my swing. My timing got all screwed up. I couldn't drive through the ball. In the field I couldn't move as well. If I'd ever felt that I could sit out for awhile, go on the disabled list and just rest it, I might have been all right.
"Look at the kinds of year George Foster had at Cincinnati. He sprained an ankle, and they sat him out until everything was perfect. His teammates picked up the slack while he missed 40 games. He came back and was good as new, had a great year (98 RBIs in 440 at bats). If that ever happens to me again, I'll take the time to get healthy."
If physical fitness means anything, it won't. The last time Luzinski looked like this in spring training was in 1975, after his knee injury. He hit .300 the next three years.
"Greg has a lot of pride," said Sands, his agent. "Last year bothered him in so many ways. He was injured, he was having offensive problems, and I think it affected his play in leftfield. He was visibly having those problems and the fans got on him. I think he understood that. But it was difficult for him to leave all those problems at the ballpark."
Luzinski's anticipated comeback should coincide with a rational batting order to recharge Philadelphia's offense. Ozark used Pete Rose, a Hall of Fame leadoff man for 16 years, in the No. 3 spot. He used Bake McBride, who was batting .330 with runners on base on July 4, as a leadoff man. Green will reverse the two (although Garry Maddox will bat third and McBride sixth against certain lefthanders) and use Manny Trillo at No. 2. Trillo has a natural rightfield swing and tends to get more interested in offense the higher he bats. His September average at No. 2 was .316.
Rose was bumping along at .302 on Aug. 31 before his hitting streak pushed him to .331 and a record-setting 10th season of 200 hits. He has a better chance of doing it again at the top of the order. McBride and Maddox hit quiet .280 and .281 years and stole a total of 51 bases, a figure each could duplicate individually. If Green's tough talk means anything, that will change.
Schmidt's 45 homers and 114 RBIs were a luminous comeback from '78, although he was .222 in August and .188 in September. His home run spurts were awesome and many of them came at big moments, but the day-in, day-out producer on this team, when healthy, is Luzinski.
Bob Boone might have had his first .300 year without a deep bruise on his hand that Chicago's Dennis Lamp inflicted with a fastball July 31. Later came a broken finger and an injured knee, but Boone came in at .286. At this point, he will hit seventh in front of Larry Bowa, although Bowa wants Boone to move up and Maddox/McBride to move down to group the speed together. As it is now, the order is a mishmash or tortoises and hares, but it will work if given a chance.
On the bench, Greg Gross was such a late-season force (.333) that Green has suggested McBride must hustle for his rightfield job. Del Unser pumped three straight pinch homers, a major league record, and was a .300 hitter until his final at bat of the year. But the Phillies got seven righthanded pinch hits last year, one by Luzinski. Lonnie Smith is Green's great hope, but Smith was jittery in both right and centerfield for the Phillies. At Oklahoma City he relaxed and practically commanded the 89ers to a division title with a .330 average, 106 runs in 110 games and 34 steals. "He told me he was going to hit .330 in July," said Lee Elia, his Oklahoma City manager and now Phils' third base coach, "and he did."
Keith Moreland will back up Boone, play a little third and first if necessary, and, above all, hit. The former Texas Longhorn defensive back was a .375 hitter in September.
Defensively it's still a four-Gold Glove team even though Bowa (six errors) was snubbed at shortstop. Rose was a clever first baseman in his first year. Schmidt, Boone, Maddox and Trillo got the Gloves, and McBride and Gross kept throwing people out from right field. Without the consistent defense, the Phillies would have never been within give games of the lead as late as Aug. 2.
Pitching was the culprit, and the reasons only start with injuries. When Warren Brusstar couldn't go, Ozark eased Ron Reed and Tug McGraw into unfamiliar long relief roles and used them to the point of no return. McGraw's 5.14 ERA, inflated by the famous Four Grand Slams, was a career high, and Reed's 4.15 figure was his worst since he became a reliever.
Reed seemed the most shaken pitcher on the staff by the 23-22 Chicago Shootout- he had finished a streak in which he gave up 13 hits in his first 85 batters. McGraw was probably the second MVP on the team behind Schmidt during the first half of the season, but then he broke down.
This year Green will use the relievers more intelligently, and he has better insurance against injuries. Lerrin LaGrow is a hulking fellow who had 41 saves for the White Sox in '77 and '78. Fighting a heel injury, he still had five wins and four saves for the Dodgers last year, who inexplicably left him go in the free agent draft. He throws hard, tight fastballs and sliders, and he will throw them in dire straits. His presence seemed to endanger the puzzling career of Rawly Eastwick, whose experiments with the split-fingered fastball cost him a 4.88 ERA last year.
If Brusstar misses this year, which is not unlikely, Dickie Noles and Kevin Saucier will handle long relief. If Saucier works mostly against lefthanded batters, he could be outstanding. Noles, who started 14 emergency games and gave up 80 hits in 90 innings, will probably move into the rotation with the first injury, if it hasn't already happened. Last year Ozark used a four-man rotation most of the second half and Nino Espinosa's shoulder suddenly wouldn't work in September. He went home early and was lobbing painfully as spring training began.
Espinosa was 14-12, pitched eight complete games and was shut out six times, which is exactly what the Phillies expected of him. He and Steve Carlton, who pitched much better than his 18-11 record indicated and tied an N. L. record by throwing his fifth one-hitter, were lonely in their consistency.
Randy Lerch had enough misfortune to earn a job starting for Charlie Brown, but rallied to get to 10-13. Larry Christenson was deprived of spring training by injury, pulled a groin muscle while backing away from a pitch, ended 5-10. Most poignantly, Dick Ruthven rocketed to a 6-0 start with three shutouts before bone chips in his elbow flared up.
The Phillies expect these three home-grown pitchers, all still young and still developing, to win between 40 and 50 games this season. It is time.
The club's largest improvement, even with a fit Luzinski and a settled pitching staff, will come in the dugout. Green, with tactical advice from coach Bobby Wine, didn't win 19 games last September through pep talks alone. He began handling pitchers and devising a batting order with a degree of logic, a novel approach in that year of disaster.
Ozark used Smith as a leadoff man and put him in rightfield for the home opener against Pittsburgh. Smith had last played rightfield in high school. When he misplayed a couple of balls, he was sent back to Oklahoma City. Ozark took Noles out with a 8-2 lead in the fifth against Pittsburgh, when Noles seemed destined for his first nationally-televised win, and put in Saucier, who had worked in both ends of the previous night's doubleheader. The Pirates won that watershed game, 14-11.
Ozark gave San Diego's Ozzie Smith the first intentional walk of his life, making it possible for Dave Winfield to drive in the winning run. But what Ozark basically did was give the Phillies a tangible excuse for whatever failings they suffered. How can you expect us to win, they seemed to say, with him out there?
The fact is that the Phillies won three divisions under Ozark's management. Ozark felt he had a veteran, responsible club that didn't need many rules or strategies. It was an honest, trusting miscalculation, and at the end Ozark could still say that he was legitimately betrayed. He did not, which is why he is now a third base coach in Los Angeles again and may manage somewhere before the year's out.
Green has installed a punching bag in the dugout and adorned the spring training clubhouse with signs, but none of that will get the Phillies back into the pennant race. Even a great season might not be enough to catch the Pirates, but Green and General Manager Paul Owens have made it clear that a bad season will result in several Phillies changing addresses, far from the milk and honey of Carpenter Farm. They have thrown down the gauntlet, and Greg Luzinski has apparently put down his fork and picked it up.
Mark Whicker’s 1980 Picks
1 – Pittsburgh Pirates
2 – Philadelphia Phillies
3 – Montreal Expos
4 – St. Louis Cardinals
5 – Chicago Cubs
6 – New York Mets
1 – Los Angeles Dodgers
2 – Houston Astros
3 – Cincinnati Reds
4 – San Diego Padres
5 – Atlanta Braves
6 – San Francisco Giants
1 – Milwaukee Brewers
2 – New York Yankees
3 – Baltimore Orioles
4 – Detroit Tigers
5 – Boston Red Sox
6 – Cleveland Indians
7 – Toronto Blue Jays
1 – Texas Rangers
2 – California Angels
3 – Minnesota Twins
4 – Kansas City Royals
5 – Chicago White Sox
6 – Seattle Mariners
7 – Oakland A’s
By Mark Whicker
Steven Norman Carlton
· Turns 36 Dec. 22... Bats and throws left... Born in Miami, Fla... Four All-Star Games.
· Again the league's best lefthander and could have won 22 games with very little imagination... Had two solo one-hitters, shared another, and had six good shots at no-hitters during the season... Also shut out Montreal on the last day of the season to wrap up division for Pirates... Exhibited deadly pickoff move, superb slider, fine fastball throughout season... Hurt knee in late July and wasn't 100 percent for the 10 crucial games against Pittsburgh... Had best innings-hits ratio among pitchers over 200 innings (252-201)... Got fifth 200-plus year in strikeouts and now has 225 career wins... "It was Lefty's second best year (to 1972) as far as consistent pitching goes," said Tim McCarver... Doesn't talk to press, prefers to use own conditioning program, and isn't considered best influence on young pitchers, but few can fault him on the mound.
Robert Raymond Boone
· Turns 33 Nov. 19... Bats right, throws right... Born in San Diego, Cal... Three All-Star Games.
· Caught Steve Carlton in the All-Star Game and several other times, only one highlight of a memorable year... Led league's catchers with a .286 average and won Gold Glove, but was hitting .321 at the break... Then injured his hand and groin, and finally his knee in a home plate collision Sept. 13 with the Mets' Joel Youngblood and needed surgery... Had 58 RBIs in 114 games, the product of diligent work with Billy DeMars... Had only two passed balls... One of the leading subscribers to the offseason conditioning program... Also the National League's player representative in the effort to work out a new Basic Agreement with the owners... Criticism of his pitch-calling (too many breaking balls) seemed to wane in '79... Could have become a free agent, but signed multi-year contract with Phils at end of season.
Peter Edward Rose
· Turns 39 Apr. 14... Switch-hitter, throws right... Born in Cincinnati, Ohio... 12 All-Star Games.
· How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?... Was hitting .302 Aug. 31, then drove to .331 average, 23-game hitting streak, all-time high of 10 200-hit seasons... Broke Honus Wagner's singles record and helped pack 2.77 million into The Vet during a fourth-place season... Stands 258 hits short of Stan Musial's league record and 819 short of Ty Cobb's all-time mark... Also played expert first base in his first try and had career high of 20 steals... Did all of this despite being miscast as a No. 3 hitter most of year... Returns to leadoff spot this season... Conquered challenge of living up to own legend in front of new audience... Still, media and fans overrated his leadership status, and his feats did not cure team's ills... Earthy, fun-loving guy who takes pains to commiserate with rookies and reserves, on every team... One of America's few athletes whose name alone has come to signify a style of play.
Garry Lee Maddox
· Turns 31 Sept. 1... Bats and throws right... Born in Cincinnati, Ohio... Three All-Star Games.
· Still faster than a speeding line drive in centerfield... One of three N.L. outfielders with over 400 chances, he won his obligatory Gold Glove... Veterans Stadium catches against Dan Driessen, Chris Speier and Terry Puhl should have been bronzed for posterity... Missed 22 games with sundry injuries, and his average slipped to .281 under that burden with worst RBI year since 1976... Usually batted no higher than No. 6, but stole 26 bases... Didn't feel particularly close to new manager Dallas Green, but maybe that will change... Introspective man who reads the Bible and rarely feels satisfied with his own performance... "I get credit for my good plays, so I should get blame for bad ones," he said after feeling that he cost the club a game... Likes to swing at the first pitch, doesn't like people making an issue of it.
Lawrence Robert Bowa
· Turns 35 Dec. 6... Bats and throws right (note: Bowa was a switch-hitter)... Born in Sacramento, Cal.... Five All-Star Games.
· The shortstop from Vesuvius... Starting his second decade as a Phillie starter with the highest career fielding percentage of any SS in history... Made six errors last year, none at home, but lost Gold Glove to Dave Concepcion... Phillie clubhouse was eerily quiet when he missed 16 games with broken thumb in May-June... So was their performance: they went 3-13... Was hitting .302 at time of injury but ended at .241 with fewest steals (20) since '73... The spur in the Phillies' hide, he inspires some with his Voice of Doom talk and turns off others, but the club needs his spunk... After blowup with media in '78 he became the most cooperative Phillie in '79... Says Garry Maddox: "Larry would make more great plays, but he doesn't have to. He's always in position to handle the routine play.
Gregory Michael Luzinski
· Turns 30 Nov. 22... Bats and throws right... Born in Chicago, Ill... Four All-Star Games.
· He became The Whipping Bull, hitting .188 at home, slumping to five-year lows in runs, HRs and RBIs, and catching the wrath of the homefolks... Missed 21 games with torn thigh muscle; should have been on disabled list in order to heal completely.
· Jesus Manuel Trillo
· Turns 30 on Dec. 25... Bats and throws right... Born in Caritito, Venezuela... One All-Star Game.
· Best defensive second baseman in the league... Missed 40 games with broken forearm (hit by Rick Sutcliffe's pitch in Los Angeles May 3) and the Phils were 18-22 without him... Still ranked second among N.L. second basemen in double plays... Fastest gun in the East on a double play, and hit well in No. 2 spot in September to hike average to .260 with 22 doubles... Stylish figure in uniform, described by Tim McCarver as "the new Tyrone Power"... A fine early-season hitter, but people still doubt his stamina... Quiet, smiling presence whose Boston-educated wife Maria serves as agent... Maria's family is one of Venezuela's richest... The big prize in the six-player deal with Cubs in '79 that sent Jerry Martin and Barry Foote to Chicago.
Arnold Ray (Bake) McBride
· Turns 31 Feb. 3... Bats left, throws right... Born in St. Louis, Mo... One All-Star Game.
· Every proposed major trade in the off-season involved McBride's name... Was hitting .216 May 21 but ended at .280 with 25 steals and 60 RBIs, one under career high... Market value is obvious, with sprinter's speed and fielding reputation that reached new heights in '79... Also had 582 atbats, second to Rose, proving he can at least make an appearance with pain... One of four National Leaguers who had double figures in doubles, triples and homers... Batted leadoff a lot, but struck out 77 times and may be more effective batting third or fifth... Only he can answer the widespread accusation that he doesn't always hustle, but he's a much better clutch hitter than people think... And how many players score 82 runs in an "off" year?
Michael Jack Schmidt
· Turns 31 Sept. 27... Bats and throws right... Born in Dayton, Ohio... Four All-Star Games.
· All or nothing at all... Came back from disappointing '78 to hit league-leading 45 HRs (Note: Dave Kingman actually led with 48 HRs. Schmidt finished second.), and he leads baseball in homers over six seasons... Should pass 300 career homers in 1981... Second in slugging percentage and RBIs, and led league in walks... Hit four homers in succession July 7-8 and seven in four games... Won Gold Glove again and led 3Bs in double plays... Yet hit .188 in September and had several periodic droughts... Haunted at times by staggering expectations, on his part and others... Would like to hit .300 someday and, in fact, may be most effective as leadoff man... Considered best baserunner on team, one of best athletes in game... One of the bridge-playing Phillies... A complex, aloof, highly intelligent man who is on pace for Hall of Fame admission despite everything.
Richard David Ruthven
· Turns 20 March 27... Bats and throws right... Born in Sacramento, Cal.... One All-Star Game.
· Even when he was 6-0 with a 1.65 ERA, his elbow didn't feel quite right... Went on disabled list with hip and arm problems and finally had post-season elbow surgery... Phils are convinced he's ready again... Of the first 209 batters to face him, only 37 got hits... Had two-hitter in Los Angeles May 5 and one-hitter in San Diego May 9... Won 19 of his first 24 decisions after Phillies traded Gene Garber to Atlanta for him in mid-'78... Another two-time Phillie... His last win was July 26 at Chicago... Deliberate motion gives basestealers a break... "I wanted him back ever since I traded him the first time," says Paul Owens.
Arnulfo Acevedo (Nino) Espinosa
· Turns 27 Aug. 15... Bats and throws right... Born in Villa Altagracia, Dominican Republic.
· Was doing fine until a tight shoulder curtailed his season... Didn't give up an earned run from April 15 to May 10... Mike Schmidt hit homers during 12 of his starts... Righted a mid-season slump with a 5-1 July... Obtained from Mets for Richie Hebner and was glad to join a contender, but began to wonder when Phils were shut out during six of his starts... Still beat Mets three times and broke a 12-game jinx to West Coast teams by beating San Diego in may... Was a pinch-runner and pinch-hitter in the same inning of the 23-22 win at Chicago May 17.
Dickie Ray Noles
· Turns 24 Nov. 19... Bats and throws right... Born in Charlotte, N.C.
· Doesn't particularly like batters... May go into bullpen because Dallas Green likes his tenacity... Also his fastball... In two tours with the Phillies, gave up 80 hits in 90 innings, and own three starts after Ruthven and Christenson went on disabled list... Had rocky minor league career until he won five in a row at Oklahoma City... Phils were shut out twice during his good outings... Walked nine in beating Giants at The Vet July 9, but his control improved when recalled.
Larry Richard Christenson
· Turns 27 Nov. 10... Bats and throws right... Was born in Everett, Wash.
· His luck was even worse than Lerch's... Broken collarbone postponed his first start until May 19 and first win until June 9... Then he pulled a groin trying to escape a pitch from Mets' Kevin Kobel... Minor surgery to smooth out collarbone followed... In between, didn't get his second complete game until Aug. 7 and raised questions about stamina... Was on the showroom floor during the winter meetings... "They can't trade me, I'm a 5-and-10 man," he joked. "That was my record last year, 5-and-10."
James Douglas (Doug) Bird
· Turns 30 March 5... Throws right, bats right... Born in Pomona, Cal.
· Started and won Dallas Green's first game as Phillies' manager... So much for the highlights... Yielded seven homers in 61 innings and had trouble adjusting to higher N.L. strike zone... Was on disabled list with sore shoulder in June... But steered ERA down from 8.10 on May 19... His 11-4 performance in 1977 probably won Kansas City an A.L. West pennant... Had a 20-save year in '73... Over here, his slip pitch didn't slip... Needs an excellent spring to make this club.
Warren Scott Brusstar
· Turns 28 February 2... Throws right, bats right... Born in Oakland, Cal.
· Probably the biggest reason the Phils' staff fell apart... A strained shoulder muscle degenerated into a lost season, with only 13 games and 14 innings... Rested the arm completely from August to January... Meanwhile, no one could step into the long relief role he filled so brilliantly.
Randy Louis Lerch
· Turns 26 Oct. 9... Bats and throws left... Born in Sacramento, Cal.
· Phils got him a 7-0 first-inning lead in Chicago May 17, but he lasted one-third of an inning and the score eventually became 23-22... It was that kind of year... Between scarcity of runs, a broken right hand in a downtown Philly altercation, and a Lee Mazilli line drive off his left hand, nobody knew the trouble he'd seen... Pitched his first major league shutout in New York Sept. 12 but Green fined him for not running out a ground ball... It was his first losing season in organized ball... Snuffed out the Pirates in a crucial game Sept. 20 and had six complete games... Is encouraged to forget the fancy stuff and just rely on his two fine fastballs... Close confidant of Carlton... Managed a 3.74 ERA despite everything... Likeable guy who's still maturing.
Rawlins Jackson (Rawly) Eastwick III
· Turns 30 Oct. 24... Bats and throws right... Born in Camden, N.J.
· Devoted the year to mastery of the split-fingered fastball and naturally his his ups and downs... Gave up eight homers in 83 innings and suffered the cycle (single-double-triple-homer) in one inning at Chicago... His ERA hit 7.39 at one point, but came down just as quickly... Enjoyed one stretch of six earned runs in 17 appearances... Had two big moments, fanning Dave Kingman to wrap up 23-22 game and retiring Willie Stargell to beat Pittsburgh in 12 innings Aug. 10... Former Fireman of the Year who threw strictly heat at Cincinnati... Probably the youngest-looking Phillie... Dallas Green considers him the possible ace up the Phillies' sleeve in '80.
Ronald Lee Reed
· Turns 38 Nov. 2... Bats and throws right... Born in LaPorte, Ind... One All-Star Game.
· Before May 17 he had faced 85 batters and given up 13 hits... After May 17 his ERA went off the launching pad... Had five saves in 61 games, compared to 17 in 66 the year before... Went from May 10 to July 20 without a save, and strikeouts declined from 86 to 58... Problems may have come from too much concentrated work and too many middle-inning appearances... Seemed to come back a bit in September.
Gregory Eugene Gross
· Turns 28 Aug. 1... Bats and throws left... Born in York, Pa.
· Welcomed back into the fold with multi-year contract after trying free agent route... Third among N.L. hitters with more than 150 at bats (.333)... Had 28 at bats in first two months before winning Ozark's confidence with key double in Cincinnati... Hit .389 in June... Had five assists in limited outfield time.. Has nearly 2,300 major league at bats despite his age... Boasts only six major league homers but is starting to pull more... His pay goes up, through incentive clauses, if he starts a prescribed number of games.
Bobby Keith Moreland
· Turns 26 May 2... Bats and throws right... Born in Dallas, Tex.
· Had two fine seasons in one and now ranks as No. 2 catcher... First, hit .302 with 109 RBIs as Oklahoma City won its division of the American Association... Voted baseball's Triple-A catcher of the year... Came up in September and had slugging percentage of .521 with Phillies, playing fulltime after Boone was injured... Hit famous homer Sept. 20 against Pirates that was first allowed, then ruled foul by umps, prompting ejection of Dallas Green.
Derrel McKinley (Bud) Harrelson
· Turns 36 June 6... Switch-hitter, throws right... Born in Niles, Cal... Two All-Star Games.
· Retired after '78 and was working for collection agency and playing softball on Long Island when he heard of Larry Bowa's injury... Rode to the rescue June 26 and had some big moments.
Frank Edwin (Tug) McGraw, Jr.
· Turns 36 Aug. 30... Throws left, bats right... Born in Martinez, Cal... One All-Star Game.
· Believe it or not, had seven saves and a 2.25 ERA on June 30 and seemed an All-Star Game possibility... Then came the first of the record-tying four grand slams that culminated with Ed Ott's pivotal blow in the Bucs' 14-11 win Aug. 11... Gave up nine homers in 84 innings, but his 16 saves were a six-year high... Started strong with fastballs, but seemed to lose confidence in the screwball and guessed wrong the rest of the way.
Kevin Andrew Saucier
· Turns 24 Aug. 9... Throws left, bats right... Born in Pensacola, Fla.
· Would probably brush back Don Cordelone if he felt the need... Got most of his publicity from plunking, then fighting, the Cubs' Mike Krukow, but his running fastball earned respect, too. "He throws a heavy ball," said Dave Parker after Saucier got a save vs. Pirates... Survived starts of 0-12 and 0-6 during two minor league seasons... This was his first year of relief.
Delbert Bernard Unser
· Turns 36 Dec. 9... Bats and throws left... Born in Decatur, Ill.
· Came to Clearwater on a tryout last spring and went on to enter record books... His three pinch-hit homers in a row broke a major-league record... The last one, a three-run, ninth inning shot vs. San Diego June 10, capped a comeback win and electrified the Vet... Didn't see many fastballs after that.
· Turns 25 Dec. 22... Bats and throws right... Born in Chicago, Ill.
· His manager, Dallas Green, believes in him and that may be all he needs... Started in home opener at RF, a position he'd never played, and misplayed a couple of balls... Nervousness and understandable... Then-farm director Green was enraged at Danny Ozark's treatment of Smith... Scored winning run in victory over Dodgers, but was sent back to Oklahoma City... Hit .330 there with 34 steals and led American Association with 106 runs.
Michael Allen Anderson
· Turns 29 June 22... Bats and throws right... Born in Florence, S.C.
· Made the club's catch of the year May 13 in San Francisco, crashing against rightfield fence for back-to-the-plate grab... Was the late-inning defensive replacement for Luzinski most of the year, getting 78 at bats in 79 games.