New York Newsday - September 25, 1980
For Rose, a September to Cherish
By Joe Donnelly
PHILADELPHIA – If a negative thought enters Pete Rose’s mind, he tries to discard it. It keeps him plunging ahead and eager to play every game in a season in which he will not get 200 hits, and will fail to hit .300 for only the second time since 1964. "All I can do now, baseball’s most aggressive 39-year-old said, "is try and get the timely hits.”
One came last night, a bouncing single up the middle that scored pinch-runner Jay Loviglio from second base in the 10th inning and gave the Phillies a 1-0 victory over the Mets. The hit allowed the Phillies to remain within half a game of the first-place Expos in the National League East. It was not much of a hit. About all that can be said for it is it got the job done.
Rose was 0-for-15 and batting .280 when he carne to the plate against Neil Allen with one-out the 10th. There have been, so many Septembers in his outstanding career, but this is the kind he likes best, despite his slump. "Last year I had 51 hits in September batting .421, but the club wasn’t a winner, he said.
"My goal every year when I go to spring training is to make the playoffs and win the last game you play. We’ve got a good chance to do that, so it makes this a better September, so far. You want to do well personally, but it’s how you fare as a team that can promote the greatest satisfaction.”
Two other veterans had set the inning in motion for the Phillies. Pinch-hitter Del Unser, batting for Bob Boone, opened with a single against Allen, who was in his third inning after Mets starter Ed Lynch, a rookie, had pitched seven innings of two-hit ball. To pinch hit for Tug McGraw, who has been outstanding since coming off the disabled list July 17 (allowing three earned runs in 41 innings for a 0.66 eamed-run average), manager Dallas Green sent up Tim McCarver.
“Timmy wasn’t only activated so he could become part of the trivia game one of those who have played major-league ball in four decades,” Green said. The man can still execute the fine points of the game.” McCarver laid down an excellent sacrifice bunt, moving Loviglio, who was running for Unser, into scoring position. It was McCarver’s third at-bat of the season, and he said, "I hope I get another at-bat and don’t end my career with a sacrifice. I’d rather go down swinging.”
With one out and the lefthanded-hitting Bake McBride waiting on-deck, Rose knew one of the two would be walked so Allen could pitch to Mike Schmidt. "Don’t misunderstand, Rose said. "We all know Mike is the most dangerous long-ball hitter in the game. But he is righthanded, and Allen has that excellent curveball to go at him.”
It was the way Joe Torre was thinking. What Rose did not know was who would get pitches to hit, he or McBride. Rose found out quickly when Allen threw a snapping curve for a called strike one. "I thought he might be pitching around me,” said Rose, "but that first pitch told me he was coming at me. I just did get enough of his next pitch, a fastball in.”
Said Allen: "I tried to get a fastball in on his hands, and that’s pretty much where I got it. It wouldnt have been a hit anywhere but on artificial surface. But you can’t take anything away from him. He is Pete Rose, still one of the best clutch hitters in the game.
And Rose was heading home, knowing the six games the Phillies will play with the Expos, three here this weekend and the closing three in Montreal, are more critical than before. "I’m not looking ahead to 3 o’clock today,” he said, "when I call Sports Phone and see what the score in Chicago where the Expos play this afternoon is.”
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Philadelphia (UPI) The Mets reactivated third baseman Phil Mankowski yesterday. Mankowski, acquired in an off-season trade with the Detroit Tigers, has been sidelined for all except 10 games this season because of injuries. He has been on the disabled list three times.