Philadelphia Daily News - September 16, 1980
Feeney OKs Bystrom for Playoffs
By Bill Conlin
PITTSBURGH – Charley Finley wanted a slender rookie infielder named Manny Trillo, who had been called up in September, to be declared eligible for the 1973 World Series.
But the Mets hollered foul and Commissioner Bowie Kuhn wasn’t about to do Finley any favors. Petition denied. After jouneyman second baseman Mike Andrews made two errors which cost the A's the second game, Finley went to Plan B. He blackjacked Andrews into signing an affidavit drawn up by the team doctor that he was too injured to play.
It was one of the worst shams in the history of baseball. And on a memorable travel day from Oakland to New York, the snit hit the sham. Several Oakland players wore black armbands to the Shea Stadium workout. Kuhn, smelling rat all the way, ordered Andrews restored to the roster. Mike rejoined the team before Game 3 and admitted at a press conference that he had been pressured while he was still down after the two-error game into exaggerating the extent of a minor injury.
OF ALL FTNLEVS transgressions, the Andrews Incident will be remembered as tne most unsavory.
The 1973 brouhaha comes to mind because a lot of people have been asking if Sparky Lyle will be eligible to pitch in post-season play for the Phillies. They are asking the same thing about unbeaten, unscored-on Marty Bystrom, currently a fixture in Dallas Green's starting rotation after being called up on Sept 1. And what's the status of Kevin Saucier, disabled prior to Sept 1 to make room on the 25-man roster for Greg Luzinski? Saucier came off the DL over the weekend.
The Phillies weren't quite clear on their options, either, so they called National League President Chub Feeney yesterday for clarification.
Feeney gave them some good news, some bad news and some maybe news.
First the good news.
Bystrom will be eligible for the playoffs and World Series if the Phillies put a legitimately injured pitcher on the disabled list. That's a strong possibility because Larry Christenson, suffering from a severe groin pull, is probably through for the regular season.
"CHUB INDICATED that we could disable any pitcher and declare Bystrom eligible, providing, of course, that it is a legitimate, injury," Phils' Vice President Bill Giles said last night. "We thought maybe you had to replace a starter with a starter, but that's not the case. The key is that the pitcher must be somebody called up from your organization, not somebody you picked up for stretch insurance."
That's where the bad news comes in. There is absolutely no way Lyle can be declared eligible for post-season play. Oh, Feeney might review Lyle's case if Dallas Green's entire bullpen staged a wildcat strike. Under normal circumstances, however, forget it. Even Charley O. on his most brazen day couldn't have copped a plea for Lyle.
To reinstate Saucier for October baseball, the Phillies could disable any injured player regardless of position who was on the 25-man roster prior to the Sept. 1 callup. That's a big maybe. The Phillies are as healthy right now as they've been all season. Every non-pitcher is hale and hearty. But with Lyle ineligible, Tug McGraw is Green's only certified left-handed reliever. Sauce might be needed.
Somebody might be forced to bite the bullet – trip on a sprinkler head while running wind sprints or slip in the shower.
Anyway, enjoy Sparky Lyle between now and Oct. 5. What you see is all you're gonna get until next season.
Pitching to Decide Who Wins NL East
MONTREAL (UPI) – Montreal's Dick Williams and Pittsburgh's Chuck Tanner say pitching is going to determine who wins the three-team race in the National League East, but probably not until the final week or perhaps even the final series or game of the season.
The two managers rate the pitching staffs of the first-place Expos, second-place Phillies and third-place, defending-champion Pirates as pretty even – on paper.
"If they weren't, these three teams wouldn't be in the race," Tanner said. "That's why I think there's equal depth on all three pitching staffs."
Williams went into a bit more detail about the three staffs than Tanner did.
"I LIKE OUR staff as much as anyone's," Williams said. "(Steve) Rogers, (Scott) Sanderson and (rookie Bill) Gullickson are our three main guys, and they're solid. Then we've got Charlie Lea and Fred Norman or Bill Lee to use as the fourth starter depending on what club we're facing. David Palmer is going to start some games for us, and if we get a sound David Palmer, we have a solid starter.
"We had trouble earlier; Philadelphia had trouble earlier. Pittsburgh was strong all year; now they've been having trouble and that's why they went into a slump and dropped into third place," Williams added. "But Pittsburgh knows their starters and bullpen are capable because they have done the job in the past. They're probably the best in the league and they can be again. But Philadelphia has to be stronger since they got (Sparky) Lyle. I think it's going to go down to the last week, maybe to the last series, just like it did last year."
The fact that both the Phillies and Montreal are depending upon rookies who never gone through the pressures of a pennant race – the Phillies on Bob Walk and Marty Bystrom and Montreal on Gullickson – also add to the unpredictability of the situation.
The Pirates, however, must be considered the longshot because they are 4 games off the lead with 18 games to play. The Phillies, with 19 remaining, are only one game behind Montreal, which also has 19 to play. The Pirates still have two games each with the Phils and Expos, and Montreal and the Phillies have six games remaining with each other.
Phils Kill DH
By Bill Conlin
PITTSBURGH – Maybe someday there will be a plaque hanging in the National League wing at Cooperstown which will say:
"William Yale Giles – Executive, Houston and Philadelphia, known for his innovative approach to the promotional phase of baseball. In August 1980, Giles singlehandedly defeated a proposal to adopt the Designated Hitter rule for National League play."
The Dreaded DH is off the agenda at tomorrow's major-league joint meeting in Chicago. The proposal, defeated last month by the slimmest margin ever, 5-4, with three teams abstaining, will not be reintroduced in the foreseeable future because John Claiborne, who sponsored the motion in August, is no longer general manager of the Cardinals. With Claiborne out, owner Gussie Busch , Jr. is solidly aligned with the DH opponents. And none of the rule's proponents feel strongly enough about it to sponsor a renewed attempt to push it through tomorrow or at the winter meetings in Dallas.
THE PHILLIES; Pirates and Astros were the teams that abstained in August. And it turns out that if Bill Giles had followed Ruly Carpenter's instructions explicity, National League pitchers would be batting for the last time in the playoffs next month.
"I was ordered by Ruly to vote in favor of the DH," Giles said last night. "I personally didn't feel we should vote for it unless there was a one-year trial period. When the motion was introduced as a permanent adoption of the DH, I tried to reach Ruly. But I couldn't locate him. I couldn't in good conscience vote yes without a trial period. But I also couldn't go against my owner's wishes and vote no. So I abstained with the view that if it were proposed at a later date with a trial period we would support it Now seven clubs are definitely opposed to it."
So how did Giles' failure to cast a yes vote keep the DH from being passed? A 5-5-2 tie would have defeated the motion, which required a simple majority for passage.
"Pete Peterson, the Pirates' GM, was instructed by his owner, Dan Galbreath, to vote yes if the Phillies voted yes," Giles said. "When I abstained, Pete abstained, too. Our vote and the Pirates vote would have made it a 6-5-1 victory for the DH. The Astros were abstaining all the way."
GILES LAUGHED. "I was talking to (National League President) Chub Feeney today and he was kidding me about saving the league. Some clubs were upset with me when I abstained. They felt the Phillies had sold them out. But I don't think they understood our position. We wanted to be able to see the DH in action for a season to determine if it did increase attendance, interest and result in more offense.
"I'm basically opposed to the DH personally. But I also don't like to see a pitcher hitting a ground ball to short and jogging five steps toward first. I don't like to see a good offensive player who doesn't do more than pinch-hit because he doesn't have a position. Then I see a game like our extra-inning game with the Pirates last week, all the decisions that were made by both managers around the pitcher's spot and I think we have a great game the way it is."
We still don't know what happened to Judge Crater, where Jimmy Hoffa is buried or whether Bruno Hauptmann really kidnapped the Lindbergh baby. But one mystery has been unraveled.
The man who almost killed Kiteman, also killed the DH. And a lot of baseball fans who like the game the way their forefathers played it would like to pin a medal on Bill Giles.