Camden Courier-Post - January 8, 1980

Phillies rally around honorary teammate

 

By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post

 

Everyone who knew Ed Compton agreed the guy deserved a better fate. But it was a number of Phillies players who decided to do something about it.

 

"We're all coming over for dinner next Thursday night," center fielder Garry Maddox told him over the phone. "Me, Bowa, Schmitty, Bull, Pope, L.C., Blade, Boonie, Vuk, McCarver and Ashburn."

 

Compton didn't know what to say. All his life he'd been a Phillies' fan, never dreaming that the athletes he liked so much would be the ones to rally around him when the going got rough.

 

These have not been the best of times for Compton, who spent most of his life trying to build up the reputation of the Log Cabin Restaurant, which bis father opened 45 years ago in Haddon Township.

 

All those years of doing things the right way didn't seem to count for very much a few weeks back, when Compton received reports that some people had suffered flu symptoms following a luncheon at his place.

 

Despite the fact none of the 80 employees who regularly ate their meals at the restaurant suffered similar symtoms, Compton knew his reputation was on the line.

 

He reacted the way you might expect a guy who still wears a crewcut to react. He stiffened his back and dialed the number for the health department people.

 

Compton recalls how the inspectors came in during the middle of the usual lunch rush, and, after checking out the place, noted that a number of patrons had dirtied the floor with their muddy shoes. Basically, that was it.

 

Or, so it seemed.

 

There also was the matter of some tests being run. So. Compton ordered his own doors shut and waited for vindication.

 

What he got was guilt by assumption.

 

The next night, 1 was sitting at home watching the news when the story about patrons at the restuarant getting sick flashed across the screen. And, like a lot of people, I was ready to assume the worst – until it dawned on me that my brother and I had taken my parents there for mom's birthday dinner the night before.

 

I may not be the Galloping Gourmet, but I know a good meal when I get one. A week later, the same assessment could be made. The damage, however, had been done.

 

Compton never said a word, not even to his friend, Phils' traveling secretary Eddie Ferenz.

 

This is how the Phillies became involved in all of this, because seven years ago, Ferenz talked Compton into making a West Coast trip with the team.

 

Members of the front office still chuckle about bow Compton asked a group of people to join him for dinner at the finest restaurant in San Francisco, a former member of the Phils' traveling party joining the group at the last minute without realizing it was Compton 's treat.

 

To make a long story short, the guy got drunk and proceeded to give the silent Compton a piece of his mind, noting quite loudly that Ed was an outsider, a "green fly," which is the baseball term for a free loader.

 

In what is still regarded as a record-setting show of restraint. Compton just kept on being pleasant... right up until the time he signed the $500 tab and excused himself.

 

That was the day the Phillies made Ed Compton one of them. Although, when you consider all the special dinners and celebrations the man delighted in throwing for people associated with the organization, it may well have been the other way around.

 

Now, what you should keep in mind is that professional athletes are accustomed to preferred treatment. It comes with the territory and is quite easily taken for granted – especially when nothing is ever asked in return.

 

Which is why Garry Maddox and Larry Bowa decided to do something about Compton's situation the other day. And why no one said no to the suggestion that they all gather at his place for an open forum with the patrons on baseball.

 

The full impact of the phone call he received from the Phils' center fielder still hadn't hit Compton yesterday as he sat in his restaurant, shaking his head and saying. "I never expected this kind of gesture from those guys. I never expected anything."

Baseball draft today

 

NEW YORK – The Toronto Blue Jays, who had the worst record in major league baseball last season, have the No. 1 pick today at 12:30 in the regular phase of the 15th annual free agent draft of amateur players.

 

The Boston Red Sox will have the first choice in the secondary phase – made up of players previously chosen but unsigned.

 

The draft will be conducted here from the offices of Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn via telphone hookup. It will be held today and tomorrow.

 

The regular phase is determined by the reverse order of winning percentage last season, with the American and National League clubs alternating choices.