Wilmington Morning News - January 15, 1980
Injured players still top priority for Phils’ Green
By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Correspondent
Dallas Green says the Phillies' walking wounded are healing rapidly and he looks forward to his first full year as Phillies' manager. But will the Phillies' players be ready for Green's spring-training regimen, which is structured to separate the men from the boys with big bucks?
Green laughs off suggestions that the Carpenter Complex in Clearwater, Fla., will look more like Parris Island or that anyone who drops a pop fly will have to run the gauntlet to get to his agent.
"I just think we can organize ourselves a bit better than we've done in the past," Green said before last night's Wilmington Sportwriters and Broadcasters Association banquet at the Hotel du Font's Gold Ballroom. "Spring training had been tailored to letting the players get themselves in shape and that didn't work out as well as we'd have liked.
"I prefer a program that will prepare the players for a 162-game schedule. We'll have a refresher course on fundamentals, as well as a conditioning course. I think that's why we had as many injuries as we had last year. We weren't in as good a shape as we thought we were."
Green doesn't think there will be a strike over the Player's Agreement, which expired after last season. He says he's planning on starting spring training as scheduled. Actually, Green's timetable will include an extra week's work for surgically repaired players like catcher Bob Boone and pitchers Dick Ruthven, Larry Christenson, Warren Brusstar, Jim Wright and Jose Martinez.
"That'll be my 'cripple week,' although they won't be crippled by then," Green said of the early start for selected Phils. "That will give those players some time to have supervision without the stress of a tough spring training."
Asked for a current health report on the squad, which may have set a record for broken bones last season, Green was all smiles.
"Our health status is good," he said without hesitation. "Guys are working out every day now and the guys with injuries are repairing nicely. Boone's more advanced than anyone else, but Christenson is close and Ruthven's doing fine. As for Brusstar, we're just getting our feet on the ground but the trainers are optimistic."
Green was asked if the Phils planned a repeat of last year's infamous Tug McGraw bike ride down the West Coast that left Christenson 's collarbone a shambles and led to Brusstar's shoulder woes.
Green managed a smile.
"Tug's talking about jumping off a cliff," Green joked of the Phils' clubhouse flake, "but I don't think he's taking anyone along with him on that one. I think that's an individual idea."
Green admits that the idea of managing the club from the starting gate gets him more excited as spring training draws closer.
"I'm thinking of new things we can do every day," he said, "and the juices are really flowing. I'm really excited about this. I'm ready to go – right now."
Mercifully – for the Phillies' recruits, anyway – spring training is still seven weeks away. But that will just give Dallas Green seven more weeks to think up new ways to get the Phillies back in shape... and on the right track toward the Eastern Division title they surrendered to Pittsburgh last season.
"I can't wait," said Green, the gleam in his eye reaching meteoric proportions. "I just can't wait."
Vermeil, Rose, Sanders get postseason awards
Compiled from Dispatches
Those who serve are not the only ones honored with post-season sports accolades. There are awards for the men who run the teams as well as the players who excel.
Dick Vermeil is such a man. Yesterday The Sporting News, a weekly publication, named him the 1979 National Football League coach of the year.
The Sporting News also named John Sanders, the San Diego Chargers' general manager, the 1979 executive of the year.
In another award announced yesterday, the Philadelphia Sports Writers' Association named Phillies first baseman Pete Rose the Outstanding Athlete of the 70s Decade.
Vermeil, 44, received 12 votes in a poll of 27 NFL coaches. He led the Eagles to an 11-5 record and a playoff win over Chicago before bowing out of the NFC playoffs in a loss to Tampa Bay.
Vermeil follows Seattle's Jack Patera, who was named coach of the year for 1978, and Denver's Red Miller, 1977.
Sanders, 57, received 10 of 47 votes of NFL executives. The Eagles' Jim Murray and Bears' Jim Finks were second with five each.
Sanders was named the Chargers' GM Feb. 16, 1976, after the team had suffered six seasons below .500. The Chargers were 6-8 in 1976, then improved to 7-7 in 1977 and 9-7 in 1978 before compiling an outstanding 12-4 record in 1979.
The 12 victories last season equaled the Super Bowl-bound Pittsburgh Steelers for the best record in the NFL and represented the most wins by a San Diego club since 1961 when the Chargers lost to the Houston Oilers in the American Football League's championship game.
Rose was named for his consistent production during the decade in which he played five positions and averaged .314 with 2,045 hits.
Earlier this year, The Sporting News also named Rose as the Athlete of the Decade.