Wilmington Morning News - September 11, 1980

Bystrom fulfills promise… in a hurry


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


NEW YORK – This was going to be Marty Bystrom's year. After serving three summers in the minors, he was ready to help the pitching-poor Phillies.


But when spring training opened, the young, curly-haired righthander could hardly walk. He limped around the camp with a pulled hamstring and any chances of making the team were quickly forgotten.


Bystrom quietly returned to the bush leagues to rebuild his future. Last night, he got his second chance and not even in the Phils' wildest dreams did they envision a performance like they got.


Bystrom methodically throttled the Mets, putting them down 5-0 on five singles. He became the first Phillies' rookie to pitch a shutout since Dave Downs blanked Atlanta and Mike McQueen 3-0 on Sept. 2, 1972.


"You want to hear something strange?" asked Bystrom after the game. "Last night I kept thinking about this start and kept telling myself I was going to throw a shutout. Honest."


To complete his sensational debut, Bystrom singled to center to-start the Phils' ninth and scored on Greg Gross' single off reliever Jeff Reardon.


The victory was the Phils' fourth in a row and seventh straight at Shea Stadium. It left them a half-game behind Montreal in National League East. The Expos turned back Chicago 4-2 last night at Olympic Stadium behind Bill Gullickson's 18-strikeout performance.


Bystrom, who was signed by Green and scout Hugh Alexander, pulled his hamstring just before the start of spring training, then reinjured himself again when he slipped on the clubhouse concrete floor.


"It was disappointing and depressing," he said. "I went to camp with the idea that I might be able to make the club. Once I got hurt, I knew I had no chance."


Bystrom, who was. bothered by the hamstring much of the first part of the season at Oklahoma City, ended with a 6-5 record and 3.66 earned run average in 19 games before joining the Phils on Sept. 1.


He was given his chance to start last night's game when Larry Christenson, a charter member of Dallas Green's new four-man rotation, pulled a groin muscle last Saturday night in Los Angeles.


Bystrom, who walked just two batters, said he was really not nervous when he went to the mound.


"I didn't have any butterflies," he said. "Being able to pitch that one inning in Los Angeles last weekend really helped me. I had a pretty good idea about what it would be like out there."


"How about the hit?" somebody asked from the media mob around his locker.


"I think it's only my second hit in organized baseball," Bystrom smiled. "They have the designated hitter in the minors and the only hit I can remember was one against Indianapolis."


The Phils sprinted out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, then turned the game over to Bystrom.


Pete Rose, who was 0-for-10 at the time, opened the game by ripping a double to the gap in left-center. He raced home on Bake McBride's single to center and, after Mike Schmidt grounded out, Greg Luzinski doubled to the left-field corner to make it 2-0.


Manny Trillo grounded out, but Garry Maddox followed with a single to center and it was 3-0.


McBride, who had three singles and a double, led off the third with a two-base hit, but stayed there. In the fourth, with one out, Larry Bowa and Bob Boone singled, but nothing happened.


And in the sixth, Maddox and Bowa singled off reliever Roy Lee Jackson, but the threat quickly died.


Bystrom gave up an infield single in the first and a single in the second, after which he retired eight Mets in a row before Joel Youngblood beat out an infield single. The Mets had a runner on in the fifth and seventh innings, but the rookie easily worked out of trouble.


"Marty pitched the way we know he could," said Green. "You have, to be realistic, though. That first major-league start is an important thing for anybody who ever wears the uniform. We couldn't expect him to do what he did. He was just outstanding and since I was involved in his signing and was a minor-league man for all those years, this has a lot of meaning for me. I am pretty high right now.


“It's just too bad we didn't have him for more of the year because I think he would have helped this team. He really didn't get going until July and it wasn't until his last couple of starts that. the reports were good on him."


Bomback won his first two decisions against the Phils before they defeated him here on Aug. 15 during that five-game sweep. The righthander, now 9-7, worked five innings, allowing the three runs and eight hits before being lifted for a pinch hitter.


Maddox, who led the Phils' brilliant 5-4, 14-inning victory over Pittsburgh on Tuesday night at the Vet, slashed out three singles and drove in the fourth run in off Jackson in the eighth.


With one down, Luzinski walked and Jay Loviglio was sent in to ruh. He stopped at second on Trillo's infield out and scored when Maddox's smash bounced off third baseman Elliott Maddox's glove for a single.


Bowa, who had three hits, singled to right before Boone grounded out.


EXTRA POINTS – Rose needs just one more double to tie Nap Lajoie for fifth place on the all-time list at 650. He needs two more to tie Honus Wagner for fourth… Luzinski, who has 13 career homers at Shea, has not hit one here this year and has yet to hit one off Bomback... The Phils have a 22-17 record on natural grass fields, compared to 53-46 on the plastic... The Phils wrap up their season play here tonight, with Dick Ruthven (14-9, 3.74) going against the Mets' Ray Burris (7-10, 3.88)... Ruthven, incidentally, is 0-3 vs. New York this season... After 138 games last year, the Phils were 69-68, in fifth place, 13 games out of first.