Chicago Tribune - September 21, 1980

Schmidt, Phils keep pace


By Dave Nightingale


MIKE SCHMIDT got lucky. Marty Bystrom got initiated. Dallas Green got smart. Manny Trillo got hot. And the Philadelphia Phillies got even Saturday.


Schmidt launched a 3-run homer in the first inning to propel the Phils to a 7-3 victory over the Cubs and make a winner for the third straight time out of Bystrom, the rookie right hander called up earlier this month for the stretch drive.


The victory enabled the Phils to keep pace with first-place Montreal [a 5-4 winner over St. Louis] in the National League East. The Expos' margin remained at 1½ games.


Schmidt, as ever, wore his modesty on his sleeve in describing his key home run, giving credit to Dame Fortune, Mother Nature, and just about everyone except himself.


A 14-MlLE-AN-HOl'R wind was blowing toward the bleachers when Mike came to bat against the Cubs' Lynn McGlothen, with Pete Rose on second, Bake McBride on first and nobody out.


"He got two quick called strikes on me and I thought I'd better get in a swing or else I'd have to sit down," said Schmidt, who went reaching for what he called "a very good curve ball" and launched it into the jet -stream. The bull nestled into the last row ot the left field bleachers.


"I guess Mother Nature knows when the Phillies are coming to Wrigley Field." he said.


Baseball aficionados know, of course, that luck never is a factor when Schmidt and Wrigley Field get together. Saturday's homer, for instance, was his seventh of the year in the Friendly Confines in eight games – one more even than Cub slugger Dave Kingman has been able to hit here all season.


"Yeah, I read that in the newspaper or something," Schmidt deadpanned.


HE CAN ALSO read in the newspaper that he now has hit 29 of his 275 career homers in Wrigley – more than 10 per cent; and that his NL-leading homer and RBI totals currently stand at 40 and 109 respectively. Luck, indeed.


Kid pitcher Bystrom gave Saturday's assemblage a graphic demonstration of why the Cubs coveted him back in the winter of 1978, when they tried to get him in the deal that sent Trillo to the Phillies. [The Cubs look pitchers Derek Bolelho and Henry Mack instead. The sore-armed Bolelho is out of baseball. Mack can't win above the Class AA level.] Going into the game, Bystrom hadn't allowed a run in his first 17 major-league innings and was drawing a bead on a 73-year-old record [25] in that category. But his siring ended at 20 when Kingman popped a two-run homer into the center field seats [No. 18] with nobody out in the fourth.


"Too bad he couldn't get the record. " said Green "But what we learned about him today – that he could pitch his way out of a jam, as he did in the fourth after the homer was more important than the record. We didn't know before today's how he would read to working out of a jam."


The Cubs' Bill Buckner singled and doubled in four al-bats. raising his average lo .32258 and past St. Louis' Garry Templeton into the lead in the race for the National League batting title. Templeton was 0-for-1 as a pinch hitter in the Cardinals' 5-4 loss to Montreal and fell to .32244.