Reading Eagle - September 16, 1980
Short-Fused Green Has Infused Younger Players
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – “You may miss infield (practice) anytime you wish. Simply write out a check for $100 to ‘Philadelphia Child Guidance Center’ or to DFRC (Delaware Foundation for Retarded Children). Give it to me.”
This memo, signed by Dallas Green, manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, is taped to the door between the lockerroom and the dugout.
Green hasn’t collected one check all season.
It’s a tipoff on how Green revitalized a team which finished fourth, 14 games out of first place last year, and this year enters the final three weeks of the 1980 season one game behind the leading Montreal Expos in the National League East.
The Phillies replaced Danny Ozark, an easygoing, tolerant, see-no-evil, do-no-evil manager, with Green, a guy with a short fuse and a locker room pep talk vocabulary that turns the walls purple.
Green took over a team loaded with talent, but labeled as prima donnas. He infused some younger players, used them all without concern for seniority or hurt feelings and came up as big as his 6-foot, 5 inch, 250-pound frame.
“I’m not looking for any accolades,” said the handsome Green before taking off on a critical seven game road trip. “I’m not on an ego trip. I have just one goal, bring this organization the championship.”
Green said the most difficult challenge was changing the work habits developed under Ozark. He had to convince his players that the time for winning on talent alone was long gone. He had to instill the squad with his gung-ho approach to the game.
“It’s not that this team doesn’t have enough talent,” Green explained. “It’s that the other teams have caught up to us in this area. We have to grind it out. This has been a difficult thing to get through to some players. I don’t think I’ve reached them all yet.”
Green said he has tried to hone the strengths of the team and work on the weaknesses. He has tried to sell the T-E-A-M concept. He has tried to convince them they can’t wait for the home run, the natural talent to carry them through, that raw ability has its place.
“There still are skeptics,” Green said. “I guess there will be when I leave. But I know deep in my heart that the “we not us” theory has brought us this far. We’re not missing as many signs. We’re playing aggressive. We’re executing the hit and run, playing squeeze type baseball.”
Green has a simple outlook on these last three weeks.
“I think we are as ready as anybody around. Our work should pay off. Guys are beginning to believe that maybe this was the right way to do it. There was a big breakdown between the starting eight and the extra men. But using them all, interchangeably, has welded them together. They know I’m not afraid to use anybody at any time.”
Green insists that he doesn’t know if he wants to continue managing.
“I haven’t even thought of it, honest,” said the boyishly enthusiastic manager. “I don’t care to think about it. I have only one thought, win the championship… But it’s been a great experience that will help me in the future.”
Green said the bottom line for his club was eliminating the thinking that talent will overcome. He feels the Phillies at long last ARE a T-E-A-M.