Reading Eagle - February 1980
February 7, 1980
‘Carlton Will Run’ – Green
By John W. Smith, Asst. Sports Editor
POTTSVILLE – Dallas Green has become more definite on one point and more confident on another regarding his pitching staff.
“Steve Carlton will run,” Green stated flatly at Wednesday’s stop of the Phillies press caravan which is touring eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey this week (it comes to Reading in alternate years).
“I don’t know where some people got the idea that I’m evading the issue,” said the rookie manager. “The media made a bigger thing of it than it is. I guess it gives them something controversial to write about.
“Steve Carlton will have a different training program than the others, because he’s always followed a different one and because he’s had great success with it. (Carlton’s program is more rigorous than the one other pitchers follow, but it has not included running.)
“But Steve Carlton will run, because he’s part of the team and we’re stressing ‘we’ this year,” Green continued.
Translated, Carlton will run more than last year, but not as much as the rest of the staff. “Yes, you could call it a compromise,” Green agreed.
“I haven’t had a chance to talk to Steve about this, but I don’t expect any trouble. He’s the leader of the staff, and he wants to be the leader. I’m sure he’ll see it that way. Now if he doesn’t, then I’ve got a problem.”
Green may be blaming the controversy on the media, but it was his own pitcher which raised it first here. “If Steve Carlton don’t run, I ain’t running,” said Randy Lerch to the diners at a combined service-club luncheon.
Lerch was trying to be funny, which is difficult for Randy, but you can bet it wasn’t all in fun.
The one new facet of the Phillies staff since Green’s visit to Reading last week for the Hot Stovers banquet has been the signing of veteran reliever Lerrin LaGrow as a free agent.
“I’m tickled to death to get him,” said Green. “We hope he can fill the bill in Brusstar’s spot.”
“He’s a good worker with good experience,” said G.M. Paul Owens. “We might be darn glad we got him. He’s got a good fast ball, slider, sinker. You know, we tried to get him from the Tigers back when we sent them Woody Fryman, and they wouldn’t give him up.”
LaGrow, 31, managed to lose 19 games for the Tigers back in 1974, which takes some doing. The right-hander traveled to the Cards and then the White Sox. He had a fine year in Chicago in 1977, going 7-3, 2.45, allowing just 81 hits in 99 innings.
But in ’78 he fell to 6-5, 4.40, and was 0-3, 9.00 last year before moving on to the Dodgers. “He had problems with a bone spur in his foot in July and August,” Owens reported, “but he had a helluva September.”
Indeed, LaGrow ended up 5-1, 3.41 for the Dodgers with four saves in 37 inning in 31 games. He tried free agency, was picked only by the Red Sox, and was free to negotiate with anybody.
“There were several clubs in our league which wanted him, but he wanted to come with us,” said Owens.
Paul, like Green the week before, played down the possibility of a major deal before the season opens. He’d like to get a good pitcher, but so would almost everyone else.
Seeking RH Hitter
More likely would be a deal for a right-handed hitting reserve, either a veteran outfielder (“an Ollie-Brown type”) or an infielder who could play three positions and hit more than Buddy Harrelson.
“I wouldn’t want to have to go with Buddy three weeks at a time, said Owens. “Keith Moreland is going to help us with right-handed pinch-hitting, but if we carry only two catchers, you can’t use him too early in a game.”
The other right-handed swingers on the bench, as of now, would be rookie Lonnie Smith and veteran Mike Anderson.
Owens admits he wouldn’t mind getting switch-hitting Billy Smith from the Orioles. Smith, 26, hit .249 in 68 games after .260 in 85 the year before, with a total of 11 homers in the two years. He started the first two games of last year’s World Series at second base.
In return, the Orioles would like to get Lonnie Smith, whom Green does not want to let go.
“I’m not disappointed we didn’t make a major deal,” said Owens. If our pitchers just get healthy, we’re all right there, and I’ll match the rest of the team with anybody. (Owens thus echoed Green’s statements of the week before.) I never considered at any point breaking up this club.”
February 8, 1980
Larry Bowa On Target
By John W. Smith
Larry Bowa has grown up in more ways than one.
He’s a much better hitter, a more mature individual, a more acknowledged leader than when he first came up to the Phillies.
He’s also a much better speaker.
There’s no question Bowa was the hit of Wednesday’s Phillies press caravan in Pottsville with his Don Rickles one-liners. He was on target as much as he is with his throws.
“Greg Gross gets up and talks for 20 minutes,” Bowa began. “He calls himself an extra man. Let me tell you, extra men talk for two minutes and the regulars talk for 20.
“Then Randy Lerch tries to talk. Tell you what, Randy. Next time write it out and I’ll read it for you.
“Dallas is going to get up and tell you about ‘Repair and Prepare.’ I’ve heard that so much I think I’m working on the Schuylkill Expressway for PennDOT.
“Let me tell you about Paul Owens as a general manager. He goes out and gets up Pete Rose and Greg Gross. They both hit .330 and we go from first to fourth.
“Bill Giles will ask you come down and see the games. So you write for tickets and you’ll wind up in the 750 level (applause).
“The Phillie Phanatic gets 20 minutes in the highlight film. If that’s the best thing that happened to us all year, we’re in trouble.
“Mike Schmidt. As long as he doesn’t think, there’s no telling what he can do.
“Bob Boone’s a Golden Glove catcher. Golden Glove, now that’s a joke,” Larry added, with no explanation necessary.
Bowa did get serious at one point, though. He seemed eager to defend Danny Ozark, who had been unflatteringly compared with Dallas Green in Lerch’s speech. (“The difference is night and day. Danny would sit back and say, ‘You know what to do, go do it.’ Dallas is like a cheerleader, he likes to get involved,” said Randy.)
“It’s totally wrong to blame the manager,” Bowa told the diners. “It was a lot easier to fire one man than 25.”
Everybody was talking about the 1979 injuries, of course. The highlight film does a superb job of showing one Phillie falling after another. There haven’t been that many bodies tumbling in a film since the last John Wayne epic.
“But it wasn’t only injuries,” Bowa insisted. “We really didn’t execute the way we should have fundamentally.”
Larry, who “guaranteed” a world championship during the caravan’s 1979 visit to Reading, wasn’t making any guarantees this time. But he did tell the diners, “We will be back.”
The Willies Again
Greg Gross also pleased the crowd with his dead-pan humor, as he did the Hot Stovers gathering the week before. He changed his speech somewhat, though it dealt with the same topic, the extra man.
“I like these caravans, because I’m in shape for sitting on the bus,” he cracked.
Green told the diners the same story he told the Hot Stovers about giving up a longer home run on the fastball Gene Mauch wanted him to throw than on the earlier curve.
The only difference was that this time the batter was Willie Mays instead of Willie Stargell.
“You must have given up a lot of long home runs in your career,” suggested somebody who attended both functions.
“If you don’t like the jokes, don’t listen to them,” said Dallas Green.
You can bet he won’t tell that to any of his squad members who don’t like what he has to say about working hard in spring training.