Street & Smith Baseball Yearbook 1980
Street & Smith apparently did not put much faith in the Phillies, as they are not mentioned in the context of the pennant race in Phil Collier's National League overview. The favorites were the Expos and the Pirates, with the Cardinals considered a longshot chance. The Phillies were destined for fourth place.
Like most of the other baseball annuals, Street & Smith focused on the injuries in 1979, pointing to the unknown recover of Phils pitchers as a main reason for skepticism in 1980. They were on the money in terms of rookies (Walk, Bystrom, Moreland and Smith), but may have underestimated the contributions that they provided the team.
Dodgers, Pirates In Close NL Race as Cardinals Take Darkhorse Role
by Phil Collier, San Diego Union
National League Predictions
1. Pittsburgh Pirates
2. Montreal Expos
3. St. Louis Cardinals
4. Philadelphia Phillies
5. Chicago Cubs
6. New York Mets
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Cincinnati Reds
3. Houston Astros
4. San Francisco Giants
5. Atlanta Braves
6. San Diego Padres
Eight of the American League’s upper level players will be visiting new cities this season, which promises to lend more excitement and even closer competition in the National League’s two division races.
Fourteen of November’s top re-entry draft free agents cast their lot with NL teams and most of the off-season gains, some via trades, were made within the Western Division, which fared poorly in 1979.
Two teams that did little or nothing to improve themselves were Pittsburgh’s world champions, who struggled to outfinish Montreal in the East, and the Cincinnati Reds, who nipped Houston at the wire in the West.
Most of the others have rearmed and could further fortify themselves during spring training, when another inter-league trading period rolls around.
The races are difficult to figure.
Houston, possessor of the best pitching staff in the West, may have bought a pennant with its signing of baseball’s most exciting pitcher, Nolan Ryan, who defected from the California Angels for a contract worth more than $1 million a year.
Los Angeles, decimated by injuries last season in its quest of a third straight NL title, spent millions to sign two free agents who fill their most obvious needs- a righthand starting pitcher, Minnesota’s Dave Goltz, and a righthand reliever, Baltimore’s Don Stanhouse.
The dark horse among the two divisions could be the St. Louis Cardinals,who finished 12 games behind Pittsburgh and 10 in arrears of Montreal last year. The Cards no longer will be a prey for lefthand pitchers now that they have the power and speed of Bobby Bonds, the righthand-hitting outfielder they acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Indians.
In San Diego, where interest began to decline because of a fifth-place finish, things should be better as a result of the trades for two regular infielders-Montreal second baseman Dave Cash and Detroit third baseman Aurelio Rodriguez- and the $3.8 million Ray Kroc spend to sign two free-agent pitchers, Cleveland’s Rick Wise and San Francisco’s John Curtis.
San Francisco, distressed over last season’s disappointments, also invested heavily in the re-entry process to come up with a second baseman (Pittsburgh’s Rennie Stennentt), a catcher (the White Sox’ Milt May) and a reserve outfielder (Milwaukee’s Jim Wohlford).
Atlanta spent a fortune signing the lefthand relief pitcher it needed, Kansas City’s Al Hrabosky, and traded for the lefthand power hitter it has been seeking, Toronto’s Chris Chambliss, without having to sacrifice either of its young power hitters, Bob Horner or Dale Murphy.
It’s possible that Pittsburgh and Montreal, the top two teams in the East, will be a bit weaker as a result of free agent losses.
Montreal lost power-hitting first baseman Tony Perez and lefthander Rudy May (10-3) in the re-entry and gambled heavily on winning the pennant with a December trade that sent lefthander Dan Schatzeder (10-5) to Detroit for fleet outfielder and .300 hitter Ron LeFlore.
The Expos also divested themselves of a good hitter and experienced infielder, Dave Cash, but signed two re-entry choices, Cincinnati lefthander Freddie Norman and reserve Atlanta outfielder Rowland Office.
The Chicago Cubs picked up a second baseman who might help them, Mike Tyson of St. Louis, and the New York Mets moved sideways with their trade of Richie Hebner to Detroit for a centerfielder (Jerry Morales) and a young third baseman (Phil Mankowski).
The Dodgers, who finished with a rush late last season, should have enough pitching, power and experience to nip Cincinnati and Houston in an exciting Western Division race. Montreal may have the balance to finish ahead of Pittsburgh and St. Louis in the East. The Pirates have some questionable pitching arms.
But no one should run away with either title. It should be close. The NL will present new managers at San Francisco (Dave Bristol), San Diego (Jerry Coleman), Philadelphia (Dallas Green) and at Chicago (Preston Gomez), amounting to a 33 1/3 percent turnover and emphasizing the impatience of losing owners.
Nowhere is the emphasis on winning more significant than in Los Angeles, which will host the mid-season All-Star Game. The Dodgers, with an astronomical payroll and 18 players tied to no-cut contracts, drew a remarkable 2,860,954 fans last year but that was a decrease of 486,891 from the all-time baseball attendance record of 3,347,845 in 1978.
Nevertheless, the NL posted a record attendance of 21,175,630 and expects this year to log its fifth attendance gain in a row. Philadelphia’s Pete Rose, baseball’s man of the decade, will continue his march toward even more NL records than he now holds and Cincinnati’s Tom Seaver will attempt to become the first pitcher ever to win four Cy Young Awards.
The presence of Ryan, LeFlore, Bonds, Goltz, Stanhouse, Wise, Chambliss and Hrabosky should add up to two close races and even more revenue at the box office.
by Phil Collier, San Diego Union
New manager Dallas Green, formerly the Phillies’ farm director, shouldn’t have to contend with the injuries Danny Ozark faced last season when the Phils failed in a bid for their fourth Eastern Division title in a row. The club suffered 22 serious injuries and dropped into fourth place with only 84 victories, six fewer than in 1978.
The problems began during the winter when righthander Larry Christenson fell off a bicycle and broke his collarbone. He won only five games, compared to 13 in 1978.
Righthander Dick Ruthven, hobbled by an elbow problem, went from 15 victories to seven and underwent post-season surgery.
Reliever Warren Brusstar, who had a sore shoulder, went from six victories to one.
Catcher Bob Boone fractured a finger and underwent post-season knee surgery. Shortstop Larry Bowa (broken hand) and second baseman Manny Trillo spent time on the disabled list, Trillo missing no fewer than 44 games.
Righthander Jim Wright, a bright rookie prospect, fractured his forearm throwing a pitch in spring training and was out the entire season.
The Phillies also were slowed by injuries to leftfielder Greg Luzinski (pulled leg muscle).
“I’ve never heard of a team having so many physical problems,” said Pete Rose, the 39-year-old free agent first baseman who came over from Cincinnati to help the Phillies set an all-time club record with their home attendance of 2,775,000.
The Phils made the fewest errors in the league (106) and the remarkable Bowa didn’t commit a single bobble at Veterans Stadium (all six of his errors were on the road). However, the Philadelphia pitching staff understandably fell apart, finishing with the 10th best earned run average (4.16) in the NL.
The Phillies also suffered a decline in runs scored (708 to 683) and in homers (133 to 119). They also dropped off in stolen bases (152 to 128).
Green says his biggest concern is with his relief pitching. It wasn’t long ago that the Phils had the about the deepest and strongest bullpen in the league. Last year, however, the Phils were next-to-last in the NL in saves, logging only 29 for the second year in a row.
Sixteen of those were recorded by McGraw (4-3, 5.13 ERA), the witty lefthander who will turn 36 next August. Eastwick was 3-6, 4.88 with six saves. Righthander Ron Reed was 13-8 and 4.15 with five saves, Doug Bird 2-0, 5.16, no saves, Kevin Saucier 1-4, 4.21, one save.
Barring spring trades, the Phils will take long, hard looks at three rookie righthanders who might be ready to help them. They are Marty Bystrom, 21 (9-5, 4.08 at Oklahoma City), Scott Munninghoff, 20 (14 wins, 3.73 ERA at Reading), and Bob Walk, 22 (12-7, 2.24 ERA, 135 strikeouts at Reading).
Considering their operations, there is no way of knowing how much help Ruthven (7-5, 4.28) and Christenson (5-10, 4.50) will be able to give other starters such as Steve Carlton (18-11, 3.62), Nino Espinosa (14-12, 3.65), Randy Lerch (10-13, 3.74) and Dickie Noles (3-4, 3.80).
The Phils used to live by the home run bust last year they died by it, serving up the second highest total in the league (135).
When the Phillies are healthy, their regular eight-man lineup is one of the most impressive in baseball. Boone (.286, 9 HR, 58 RBI) is backed behind the plate by Dave Rader (.240, 1 HR, 5 RBI) and rookie Keith Moreland, who batted .375 and drove in eight runs in 14 games last September after being called up from Oklahoma City (.302, 20 HR, 109 RBI).
The Phillies’ infield is solid. Rose (.331, 4 HR, 59 RBI, 20 stolen bases) returns at first to persue a number of NL records. Trillo (.260, 6 HR, 42 RBI) made only 10 errors at second base. Bowa (.241, 0 HR, 31 RBI, 20 stolen bases) should have a better season offensively and Mike Schmidt (.253, 45 HR, 114 RBI) is set for another big year at third.
Luzinski (.252, 18 HR, 81 RBI) must rebound from persistent leg problems if the Phillies are to overtake Pittsburgh, Montreal and St. Louis. Garry Maddox (.281, 13 HR, 61 RBI, 26 stolen bases) has no peers in centerfield. McBride (.280, 12 HR, 60 RBI, 25 stolen bases) wants to remain in Philadelphia, despite repeated attempts to trade him.
Twenty-four-year-old speedster Lonnie Smith (.330, 7 HR, 44 RBI, 34 stolen bases at Oklahoma City) may divide time with McBride. Del Unser (.298, 6 HR, 29 RBI), Greg Gross (.333) and Mike Anderson (.231) give the Phils additional outfield depth.