Wilmington Evening Journal - March 13, 1980

Noles knows – bullpen may be ticket to majors


By Ralph Bernstein, Associated Press


CLEARWATER, Fla. – The sound of fireworks wasn't the only explosion heard last July 4 at Veterans Stadium, home of the Phillies.


Baseball writers arriving to cover the Phillies-New York Mets game were greeted with a two-page statement, which reported the Phillies' pitching staff was down to two starters.


Larry Christenson, Dick Ruthven and Randy Lerch, three members of the starting rotation would be unavailable for 10 to 21 days, because of various injuries.


Buried in the statement was a line which said the Phillies were bringing up righthand pitcher Dickie Noles from their Oklahoma City farm club.


Phillies' management had talked about a lot of young minor league prospects, but Noles' name usually wasn't among them.


Noles had a 6-4 record at Oklahoma City in the American Association, but had won his last five games, compiling a 1.26 ERA.


This spring, Noles is an intregal part of manager Dallas Green's pitching plans. The Phillies have tried desperately to acquire help for their bullpen without success. Green, therefore, has had to look in his backyard, and he's decided that the hard-throwing Noles could be part of the answer to the relief problem.


"I think Dickie Noles can come in and be a 'hammer'," Green said confidently at the Phillies' spring camp. "He has confidence and the stuff to get guys out in crucial situations. He has that strikeout pitch a reliever needs to survive."


How does Noles feel about losing his potential as a starter for a job as a reliever?


"I'll do anything I can to pitch here," Noles responded. "I'm a scrub. I just want to pitch on this club, so whatever I can do I'll do."


Noles insisted that being a starter wasn't a mental life-and-death thing with the 23-year-old from Charlotte, N.C.


"I just want to pitch in the big leagues, either way, relief, starter, it doesn't matter," Noles declared.


Doesn't he have to prepare differently to handle relief chores as against starting?


Not to Noles. It's all the same, just pitching.


"You still got to get somebody out," he explained. "I just come in and pitch," Noles said. "I don't know. I've never relieved that much, but I'm willing to try it and give it my best."


Noles noted that it's easier these days to accept the role of a reliever. He recalled the day when being sent to the bullpen was a punishment.


"They're specialist now," Noles .said. "You're expected to come in, go right at them and get 'em out."


Noles' advancement to the majors hasn't been without its roadblocks. Even after he came up last season to help bail out the injury riddled starting corps, he found himself back in the minors little more than a month later. He returned 10 days later.


Did this Yo-Yo treatment bother him?


"I accepted it. They explained things to me. They needed an infielder. It came down to who they did need and who they didn't need. I was expendable at the time."


Noles said he learned something from the experience of coming up, going down and coming up again.


"It's better up here than it was down there," said Noles.


Noles believes he's ready to stay up here off his 3-4 record, 2.80 ERA and 4½ years of minor league toil.


If it's relief the Phillies need, Noles claims relief is spelled N-O-L-E-S.

Phils’ Klein, Yawkey elected to ‘Hall’


Associated Press


TAMPA, Fla. – Tom Yawkey was a forerunner of today's blank-check owners. He spent millions trying – in vain – to buy the Boston Red Sox a championship. And Charles "Chuck" Klein was an outfielder who, in today's free-agent market, might have become a recipient of some of those millions.


Yawkey and Klein were named posthumously yesterday to baseball's Hall of Fame by an 18-man Veterans Committee.


The two, along with Duke Snider and Al Kaline, will be inducted into the shrine at Cooperstown, N.Y., on Aug. 3. Snider and Kaline were chosen earlier by the Baseball Writers Association of America.


The Veterans Committee is, in effect, a second chance for players passed up by the writers and for other personalities. One of those players, four-time National League home-run champion Johnny Mize, again failed to make the grade with the veterans, along with Charley Grimm, Jimmy Dykes, Glenn Wright and Walter Alston. Only the top two vote-getters enter the Hall. Mize was third.


Klein, who died March 28, 1958, at the age of 54, grew up in Indianapolis and built his muscles in the steel mills before reaching stardom in baseball. He spent 17 years in the National League (1928-44), mostly with the Phillies. He also played with the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates.


He was one of the game's most potent sluggers early in that span. In his first six seasons, the 6-foot, 185-pounder averaged between .337 and .386, hit between 28 and 43 home runs and drove in 121 to 170 runs.


In 1930 he failed to get a hit in just 21 of the 156 games he played. But his best season was 1933, when he won the NL's Triple Crown (average, homers and RBIs) with the Phillies.


Yawkey, who died in Boston on July 9, 1976, at the age of 73, became a millionaire in the family's lumber and mining business. In February 1933, four days after his 30th birthday, he spent $1 million to buy the Red Sox, a last-place team in the American League for nine successive seasons. The team hadn't won a World Series since 1918, when it beat the Chicago Cubs in six games.


Millions more went to refurbish Fenway Park and fill it with talent. Among the stars Yawkey bought were Lefty Grove, Jimmy Foxx, Rick Ferrell and, from the Washington Senators, Joe Cronin, who took part in yesterday's voting by the veterans Committee.


"Yawkey wrote out the deal on a piece of brown paper," Cronin, the former American League president, said of the $250,000 transaction. "Then he made me his manager."


But tossing around all that green only brought Boston close to the top. Between 1938 and 1942 the Red Sox finished second to the New York Yankees four times. They finally won American League pennants in 1946, 1967 and 1975 - and in each case they lost the World Series in seven games. That 1918 World Series is still the last one won by Boston.