Philadelphia Daily News - September 18, 1980
Garry Tramples Bucs
By Bill Conlin
PITTSBURGH – It was the resistable force against the moveable object.
The Phillies can't win in Three Rivers Stadium. And Bert Blyleven can't beat the Phillies.
Something had to give.
Blyleven fell behind, 4-1, to a team he is 0-6 against lifetime. Then Steve Carlton watched the lead vanish in a three-run Pirates seventh.
Tied 4-4, the game rumbled into overtime. Tug McGraw and Sparky Lyle vs. Enrique Romo and Kent Tekulve.
And in the top of the 11th inning of a marvelous ballgame, Garry Maddox delivered one of the finest clutch performances of a career in which defense has become his middle name.
"Give that ballgame to Garry Maddox," Dallas Green said after the tense 54 victory, after Sparky Lyle recorded his first National League save.
The centerfielder's bat and legs started grinding in the sixth inning.
HE BEGAN IT WITH a single that caromed off Bill Madlock's chest and raced to third on Larry Bowa's third hit, a single to right. Bob Boone was the next hitter and Green wanted to stay out of a double play, which is why third base coach Lee Elia instructed Maddox to break for the plate, "on contact."
"The worst we can get if Garry gets hung up off third is first and third, one out," Dallas said after the Phils moved back into the wind shadow of the Expos, 1½ games back. "If Garry does a decent job in the rundown, we can get second and third. He did a helluva job."
Boone rapped a ball back to Madlock and Maddox got himself hung up. He scurried his way through the rundown long enough for Boone to reach second, which gives you some idea of how much juking, prancing and dancing Garry had to do. Boone goes from home to second like a stagecoach loaded with gold bullion. Bowa was called out because he and Maddox both wound up on third. But the play became a key run when Carlton hit an RBI fly ball to center.
Bill Robinson homered leading off the seventh and pinch-hitter Kurt Bevacqua tied it 4-all with a two-out, two-strike double over the head of defensive replacement Greg Gross in left.
McGraw came on in the ninth and pitched a perfect inning. He worked out of a one-out jam in the 10th after pinch-hitter John Milner singled and pinch-runner Vance Law stole second, getting Omar Moreno on a pop to shallow right and throwing a ground ball to Tim Foli.
"ALL I DID WITH Tim was concentrate on keeping the ball down," Tug said. "He's almost impossible to strike out and he's hurt me in the past with chinkers when I got the ball up to him."
Tekulve came on in the 11th and Maddox greeted him with a single to center. People were thinking it would be nice if Garry stole second so Gross could bunt him to third. Maddox stole the base, but Gross couldn’t get the bunt down and bounced back to Tekulve.
"It was a perfect situation for Garry to steal third," Elia said. "Madlock was playing back with Boonie up. I didn't give him a sign. He did it on his own, but I kind of had a feeling he would." Maddox stole third on an 0-2 breaking ball, beating Steve Nicosia's throw with a head-first slide.
Boone struck out on a breaking ball a foot outside and it was up to old pro Del Unser, enjoying the first pennant race of his long career with a multitude of also-rans. Unser delivered, slapping a lovely single to left-center.
"That was pretty," Pete Rose said. "He reminded me of John McEnroe reaching out and slapping a forehand passing shot down the line."
If it had been a football game, Maddox would have walked out of the clubhouse with the game ball. If it had been a bullfight he would have earned a tail and both ears.
"HIS SINKER MOVES about as much as his breaking ball most of the time," Maddox said in a clubhouse that had all the bounce and enthusiasm of an audition for extras in a zombie movie. "I knew I could get a pretty good jump."
Maddox had to be feeling more on the inside than he was showing on the outside.
"I'm glad we won, I'm happy to contribute," he said. "I feel good about it."
He should have felt good about it. It was a game of big-league hardball all the way. The Phillies lost the lead, the modest momentum they built against Blyleven and still managed to come away with a rare Three Rivers Stadium victory in the final 1980 meeting between the bitter rivals. More important, the Phillies had turned it into a virtual two-team race.. To make up the three games that now stand between them and the Phils, the defending World Champions will need some help. They sure as hell won't get much in the six games between the Expos and Phils.
"To be able to come back and win one here like that I think will help us quite a bit," said Green. "It was a big game for us. You can't help but look at the scoreboard to see what Montreal and New York are doing. They were winning 2-0 and then we looked up and they were losing. It just shows you how fast things can change around and that anything can happen.
Green blanched, reddened and cussed when somebody asked him if he cared to pronounce an epitaph for the Pirates. "Bleep no," he said. "I made some off-hand facetious remarks about the Mets early in the year and you guys couldn't wait to run and tell Joe Torre. The Pirates are alive. Write that."
Maddox also stepped gingerly over the Bucs' corpse.
"They can swing the bat, they got good pitching. They're not out of it by any means," Maddox said. "We know what they're capable of doing. They're gonna need a lot of help to do it. We got Montreal coming in here and that will be a good chance for us."
LYLE PULLED A Phillies uniform on Saturday night and now has pitched in every game in which he stood for the national anthem. Last night he was sharp, despite a rapid-fire four-pitch walk to Bill Robinson with one out in the 11th. Madlock lined out sharply to right and Lyle got the dangerous Lee Lacy on a bouncer to rookie shortstop Luis Aguayo.
One-pitch pitchers aren't supposed to win in the major leagues. But Lyle threw sliders warming up in the bullpen, sliders warming up on the mound, and every pitch to the Pirates was a slider. The man must have an arm constructed of Silly Putty.
He does change speeds on the slider, though.
"I took something off that first pitch that Madlock swung at," he said. "I don't throw it hard every pitch, but I do throw it almost every pitch."
He came from the tedium of a long, hot, inactive summer in Texas to the totally different heat of a division race that has been at full boil most of the summer. A man who thrives on pressure, Lyle feels like a lifer suddenly paroled from the big house.
"Being in a pennant race alone is going to make me pitch as well as I can pitch," he said. "I just hope the three weeks or whatever is left is enough time to really show that I can get my ship back together.
"The biggest thing about tonight was not only us winning the game, it was saving the game for Tug. I gave him the ball and asked him to write something on it."
Lyle laughed. "It's hard to tell what that will be."
PHILUPS: Pirates have an open date today. Chuck Tanner is not looking forward to it. "I wish to hell we were playing two against the Expos," he said. "That's the kind of thing we need to get back in this thing."... Dave Parker, hobbling on his wounded knees, went 0-for-5, struck out three times and was booed by the meager crowd of 23,650... Nostalgia Dept.: Disabled Captain Willie Stargell playing pepper before batting practice while "We Are Familee" blared through the empty ballyard... Phils are off today, go to Chicago for the weekend. Tough one tomorrow. Bob Walk vs. Rick Reuschel, who was 5-0 last month... Phils are back at.500 on the road, but have won 16 of their last 23 games away from the Vet... Pete Rose slashed career double No. 651 to tie Honus Wagner for fourth place on the all-time list. He also went into 12th place on the total bases list with 4,890, an amazing total for a man who doesn't hit home runs.
Tug Dreams of Phils Paradise
The Big Macs By Stan Hochman
PITTSBURGH – Tug McGraw has this dream.
The front office takes off its blindfolds and the writers drain the venom from their poison pens and the fans root, root, root for the home team.
And the players quit savaging each other.
And then the owner and a writer and a fan and a player can raise the championship flag and somebody could take a picture and it would live forever like the one the guy took on lwo Jima.
“Hey. I know it's a dream," McGraw said yesterday. "But if you set up a Utopia situation, maybe some guys take a small step towards it, and even that would help."
McGraw is willing to take the first small step. He knows that stepping out front of this Phillies team leaves you vulnerable to getting a back full of bayonets.
"They buried me in St. Louis, called me a racist," McGraw recalled sadly, thinking back to the last time he spoke out (a 1976 clubhouse meeting following the clumsy division-clinching in Montreal).
BUT HE IS 36 and he wants to experience a World Series in Philadelphia because he saw the party the town threw for the Flyers, and one of the things Tug McGraw loves is a parade.
"I'm part of the nucleus that's been labeled a great ballclub since 76," McGraw said over breakfast (steak and eggs, salad, orange juice, milk, coffee).
"And we have never achieved our full potential. I think the years are going by. Me, Bowa, Boone, Luzinski, Schmidt, Maddox, McBride, Lefty. Even Rufus and Christenson.
"Time's going by and we don't accomplish what people thought we could, we'll look back on those years as disappointing.
"Before some guys get too old, before they start breaking things up, among those guys there's a tremendous desire to win the damn thing while we can."
A streetcar named desire? The Phillies bury their feelings so deep they are a subway named disdain.
McGraw sees it, hears it, feels if, and is now willing to speak out about it.
“Teams have personality," he said, "but I don't think that has much to do with success or failure.
"The A's and Yankees proved that. The supposedly 'dissension-riddled' A's and Yankees. The bottom line is talent.
"A TEAM CAN have any personality you want and still win. The Pirates, they thrive on Ever-Ready batteries. All those tape decks blaring.
"But that isn't why they win. Talent is why they win.
"This team, since I've been here, is kind of unemotional because it's a little bit selfish. Often times, it only thinks of itself. And individuals often times only think of themselves.
"They don't want to show their emotions for fear of letting people know where they're coming from.
"This team, see, has a tendency to really tease, to get on other guys. I'm not sure why.
"As a test maybe? A test of what? Of ability to deal with pressure? I guess.
"So, as the team developed, it hid its emotions. Guys didn’t want to give other guys any more ammunition to tease with.
"And. as a result of holding emotions in, it's hard to act as a unit. And that's one of the things that bothers me about this ballclub."
It bothered McGraw enough for him to sit down and write four pages of problems and solutions, a meandering manifesto littered with spelling errors and nuggets of harsh truth.
"I came from New York." McGraw explained. "The players had a wonderful relationship with the press.
"The years '65 through 70, the players always got along among themselves.
"BUT HERE IN Philly. for whatever reason, there's a terrible relationship between the fans and players. The fans make it very difficult for the players to enjoy their presence.
"And the players make it difficult, through their indifference, for the fans to enjoy them. Sure, they'll give a gay a standing ovation after a big homer, but I'm talking about the day-in, day-out relationship.
"Plus the players and press are always griping at each other.
"Now. the one area where there could be peace and tranquility is among the players, in the clubhouse. Get away from all that. The one place we have control ever.
"So what happened? We bring it with us. The very thing we dislike, we do to each other. It's the one thing about the club that bothers me."
It should have ended a long time ago. the go-for-the-jugular needling, the same kind of drab humor that sees clubhouse man Kenny Bush badgered. Why hasn’t someone, anyone, spoken out about it?
"Pitchers are rarely leaders on a team," McGraw said bluntly. "We're not out there every day. You’ll never have a pitcher as a 'team captain. They simply don’t have to go out there and grind it out every day.
"So, a pitcher may analyze, criticize, speak positively. A pitcher talks, but a team doesn't listen.
"We didn’t have a leader on the Mets in '69. Grote? Went around mad all the time. Harrelson? Mr. Nice Guy. Charles? Another nice guy. The Glider.'
"We didn’t have a profound leader, just a lot of guys with leadership influence. Unity is important I'm not sure having a leader is.
"The idea that every platoon has to have a platoon sergeant, I don't think that's true. But people should be able to co-exist."
Co-exist. A lot of people wondered if McGraw could co-exist in the same bullpen with Sparky Lyle, another 36-year-old lefthander.
"Why not?" McGraw said. "I've always worked with one or two other guys. Why should I be upset? Getting Sparky is going to enhance me.
"LAST NIGHT (TUESDAY), he used Sparky, kept the game close. We got within 3-2 and I was warming up.
"I know through experience, pennant drive, four-man rotation, the bullpen is gonna be very busy. We're all gonna get plenty of work. I don’t sit there and say, ‘I wanna be the hero.’
"I think you’ll see him use Lyle against a lineup loaded with lefthanders. If there's one flaw in my history it's that I've had more troubles with lefthanders than righthanders.
“I think seven oi my eight grand siammers were hit by lefthanders."
Yep, McGraw will talk about the grand slammers he gave up last year. You don't erase memories by burying them.
"I have never been able to block out the thought of grand slams, whenever I get the bases loaded," McGraw confessed.
"I think, ‘Oh, shoot.’ Hey. if I can't block it out. I'm not gonna use a whole lot of energy trying to. I've learned to live with it. Accept it.
"Except for the grand slams it wasnt that bad a year, last year. Considering the way I was used, I feel glad to have survived with my health.
"I managed to save 16. I was 4-3. This year I have 17 saves and I'm 2-4. You look at that, you'd say the guy is having a horsebleep year."
He knows better. Pitching in the final year of a modest contract he is having one of the best summers of his life. He picked up his second victory last night with two spotless innings in a tense 5-4 triumph.
“I’M GLAD I DIDN’T have to face Dave Parker." he said afterward. "He said that the next time he hit a homer off me, he was gonna slap his leg all the way around the bases.
"Two of my four losses are against the Pirates, so it felt good to get these two wins against them."
In July, August and September, McGraw has been used in 24 games. He has saved 10, won two. He has been nicked for only three earned runs, an ERA of 0.75 for that stretch.
The only blotch on that brilliant ledger is the game against Los Angeles. Joe Ferguson swatted a pitch that was supposed to be part of an intentional walk. McGraw bracketed Bill Russell, the next hitter, before plunking him in the hip.
"Each time I missed him," McGraw said, "I got more and more upset. I was so mad, I lost my temper and my aim.
"You gotta realize I had no desire to hurt him. I look back, and I was never more embarrassed in my life. I wasn't very proud of myself.
"It was unprofessional. Plus, I embarrassed my teammates, too. They knew I was wrong."
He has been hearing about professionalism for years, ever since he arrived on the New York scene pounding his glove to his thigh as a private message to his wife.
THE LEAPS, THE clenched fists, the Irish jigs, they all spring naturally from the well of emotion that burbles inside him.
"When I see that stuff in the highlights I even get embarrassed," McGraw admitted. "But it's the way I feel at the time.
"Sometimes I do hold myself back. And when I do, I get accused of not being with it. People asking, 'What's wrong with you... what's wrong with you?'"
There has not been much wrong with McGraw since the early shoulder miseries that were traced to a sidearm curve he was over-using.
"Picasso," he explained, "didn't paint the same picture all the time."
He has shelved the pitch for future use, sticking it in his cluttered drawer alongside the knuckleball he has been throwing on the sidelines.
"It is not a knuckleball," he insisted. "No one throws a ball with his knuckles on the ball. He uses his finger-tips.
"So, when I throw it, I am going to insist it not be called a knuckler. I want it called a moth pitch, because that's the way it will act, like a moth."
McGraw figures the moth pitch will keep him fluttering in the big leagues until he is 40. Meanwhile, there is a pennant to be won, butterflies to be netted.
"Every time the phone rings, I get butterflies," he, said. "And, in September, every game, every inning, every pitch, just seems like the most important of the season.
"The thing about a relief pitcher is that there is always intensity. Every time you warm up, you ask yourself, 'How do I feel? What kind of stuff do I have today?'
"No matter how you feel warming up, it doesn't mean you'll have the same stuff when you get out there and the adrenalin starts to flow.
"Let me tell you about one time in Atlanta, when I was still with the Mets. I started a game, filling in for Koosman.
"It was early in my career and if I had done well, I might have remained a starter. But I got belted, three innings, seven runs. I was despondent.
"I had a long talk with Uncle John Jameson. I was a blocked punt, really blitzed. Didn't get back to my room til four in the morning.
"THE MESSAGE LIGHT was on. 'Your wife called, important' I called her. She had tried to get me til 3:30. There'd been a death in the family and she was upset.
"And, in addition, she's hissed because where was I? Well, there's a day game the next day. I'm shagging flies and I'm so sick I have to lean against the wall.
"The seventh inning, I can barely stay awake and the (bullpen) phone rings. It's Gil Hodges and he wants me ready.
"My first few warmup pitches I'm falling off the mound. I get in the game, a one-run game, the camera's behind home plate and the little red light comes on.
"I know my wife, Phyllis, is watching. I know she knows I've been out til four in the morning. I know if I don't do good I'm in deep trouble.
"I pitch three of the best innings I ever pitch in my life.
"It's how you do that counts. And how you feel doesn't dictate how you're gonna do."
And how guys feel about each other may not keep them from winning a championship.
"Hey," McGraw said, summing up his sermon, "a team's personality won't keep it from winning. But it may keep it from reaching its full potential, and that might keep it from winning."
The McGraw Manifesto
Excerpts from Tug McGraw's Manifesto:
• "All of us want a world championship in Philadelphia... We haven't pulled it off. Why? 'Why' is what we've become in October so often. Each year there are all the whys and becauses. The answers are similar injuries, intensity, coolness, manager, umpires, weather and on and on."
• "We must learn from our mistakes. The key is unity."
• "I see too many bad relationships or conflicts. They stand in the way of the most intangible aspect of winning... momentum."
• "The players don't get along with the fans. There's a lack of understanding. The press and players are constantly at odds, which has led to poor rapport. The players among themselves are sarcastic, selfish and insensitive. Ownership and management above the field level seem to play the role of ostrich."
• "The fans have to become part of the team. Don't tear guys down."
• "The same thing goes for the press. Let's not pick at old wounds. Be part of the team" and pull for Philly baseball, not whys and becauses."
• "As players, we've all had a few failures this year. But we've had many more successes or we wouldn't be where we are. We are still going to make a few mistakes before the year is over... We will not, and cannot afford to, point fingers and dwell on them. We shall overcome. Pull each other up every day and every game. Unity is the key."
• "Fans, press, players shall become one team."
Unser’s Hit Phils’ Biggest So Far
By Tom Cushman
PITTSBURGH – This column came very close to being a sketch of Kurt Bevacqua and how he lifted the Pirates off the floor one more time, but will instead be mostly about the knockout punch of Del Unser, thereby underscoring two truths about baseball in its autumn finery. No dame was ever more fickle than this splendid game. And, when it comes to heroes in September and October, baseball is an equal opportunity employer.
Bevacqua – and happily this is all you will need to know about him in 1980 – was recently acquired by the Pirates from San Diego to add depth to the pinch-hitting corps. In the City of Champions, of Stargell and Parker, his arrival was not exactly accompanied by drum rolls along the Monongahela. Pittsburgh fans had not yet learned to spell his name when he stepped in against Steve Carlton in the bottom of the seventh inning last night with two on, two out, and the Phillies leading, 4-2.
Mismatches have seldom seemed more obvious. Willie Stargell, following an evening of spectacluar swings and misses in this same park several years ago, uttered the famous line, "Hitting Carlton is like trying to drink coffee with a fork."
ON HIS FIRST couple of cuts last night, Kurt Bevacqua looked like he had found Willie's fork and carried it with him to the plate. Then, will September's wonders never cease, he suddenly drove a ball beyond the reach of Greg Gross in left-center to tie the score. In summary, profiting from that one improbable swing, the Pirates might still be be afloat in the Eastern Division race, had it not been for a later swing by Del Unser.
Dallas Green gave credit for last night's TKO of the Pirates to Garry Maddox, reasoning that easily can be justified. Maddox singled to open the 11th, stole second, stole third, but did not become the winning run until Del Unser took a professional swing at a professional delivery, and defeated Kent Tekulve.
"It was a real good pitch, thrown exactly where it should have been thrown," Chuck Tanner, the Pittsburgh manager, said later. "Credit goes to Unser for being able to handle it. He reached out and hit it into no man's land."
Unser's memories of that moment were similar. "I was trying to hit a little line drive somewhere – not quite that soft, though," he said, as the media made one of its infrequent calls at his locker. "It was a tough pitch. I think it might have been outside. I'd started to commit when I saw it going away, so I went with it."
The ball sailed beyond the reach of shortstop Tim Foli, Maddox trotted home, and when the Pirates went down against Sparky Lyle in the bottom of the 11th, they were done. Not just for the night, for the season.
BASEBALL DECORUM prevailing as usual, there were no post-game speeches of either triumph or concession. "You can't sell Pittsburgh short They have the capabilities of coming back, and I think they've been through their rough period," said Dallas Green, reciting from a speech that obviously was written by Abner Doubleday and is memorized by managers along with the rules.
But Dallas Green did admit, "They have two of us to go over, and that's a rough thing to do at this point."
Chuck Tanner, of course, could be suspended from a frayed rope, with Niagara Falls below, a 60 MPH wind at his back, and he'd use one hand to suggest to the world that his Pirates still are No. 1. Since his first day on the job in Pittsburgh, Chuck has had a chapped index finger.
Nevertheless, the music in the Pittsburgh clubhouse last night was mostly saxophone solo, subdued and melancholy. The Pirates will not quit, no matter what the numbers say, but they can read the signs. The bounces, the breaks, the calls that have gone their way in other Septembers have now turned against them.' Twice within eight days the Phillies have edged them in extra innings, an audacity the Pirates would not have thought possible when the same opponent staggered out of Three Rivers Stadium in early August, not only beaten but humiliated.
"COMING BACK ON Lefty like they did, if they'd gone on and beaten us tonight it could have been disastrous," Del Unser was saying later. "There was a down feeling in the dugout after Bevacqua got the hit, but there also were guys saying, 'Forget it, let's go.'
"It's tough for some on this team to show emotion, but I've seen it in recent days. I'd like to see it more often'. Maybe I feel that way because I'm excited. I've never been in a situation where a team was this close to winning before. Coming to the ballpark in September has always been a matter of just finishing the season for me."
You tend to forget this, Del Unser having been a member of the Phillies periodically during the 70s. But he was traded to the Mets in the deal that brought Tug McGraw to Philadelphia in 1975. From 76 through 78, while the Phils were winning division titles, Unser was observing from first New York, and then Montreal. He returned last year, in time for the flop of ‘79.
His role has been minimal, primarily that of a pinch-hitter, and his thoughts on no longer being a regular are well-catalogued. "This is something that I do for a living now that I don't like," he says, "but I do it the most professional way I know. Who am I gonna replace on this team... Pete Rose, Garry Maddox? My responsibility is to be ready for any eventuality. Something can happen to anybody... a bottle thrown from the stands, whatever."
Usually, though, the call is for his bat. Last night's was his 36th appearance of the season in that capacity (he has 10 hits), but none of the previous situations were comparable. "This is the time of year," he said, "when you watch the other guys, and you see that money isn't everything. They're into winning this thing. It's fun. I love it."
PART OF THE FUN is that a guy like Del Unser, the role player, can emerge from the shadows and contribute a hit that can cause the season to pivot for two teams. The Phillies have the opportunity to take last night's impetus and run. The Pirates are still talking about tomorrows, but the words are little more' than an echo now.
"I wish we didn't have a day off after a loss like this. I'd like to be playing Montreal a double-header tomorrow," Chuck Tanner said, smiling bravely.
"The thing about the hit," Del Unser had said earlier, "is that Tekulve had the right pitch and the right spot. He can throw that to me 100 times and 90 of them I'm not gonna do with it what I did tonight. It wasn't much to look at, but it was my biggest hit of the year."
The Philadelphia Phillies, in 1980, have not had a bigger one.
Jack Myers of Philadelphia won $50, plus tickets to a Phillies game next season, on a double by Bake McBride in the Daily News Home Payoff contest.
Other winners in the third inning of the Phillies-Pirates were, Carl Walling of Brookhaven, Marshall B. Lewis and Gene Wartman, both of Philadelphia. Each won four tickets.
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