Wilmington Evening Journal - March 24, 1980
‘Invisible’ Rader looks for a team
By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor
CLEARWATER, FLA. – Promptly at 10 o'clock each morning when the Phillies were still at Carpenter Field an announcement would blare over the intercom: "All non-uniformed personnel, please leave the clubhouse."
Twice, Dave Rader started toward the door. His teammates would laugh and he'd return. These, however; aren't happy days for David Martin Rader, sometime catcher.
Dallas Green has been emphatic ever since he became manager that he intends to carry two catchers. Bob Boone is one and Keith Moreland the other. And Dave Rader watches Green attempt to make emergency receivers out of infielder John Vukovich and outfielder Mike Anderson.
"Dallas has been good," said Rader. "He called me into his office the first day of spring training and said he wants to carry just two catchers. He wanted me to know that right away. I appreciate the honesty in people."
So, in a sense, the 31-year-old Rader is a man without a team. He keeps hearing that some of the weaker American League clubs, such as Seattle, might pick him up, but nothing has happened.
Rader came to the Phils last spring in the multi-player deal with the Chicago Cubs for second baseman Manny Trillo. He became the third-string catcher behind Boone and Tim McCarver. He played in just 31 games, hitting only .204.
"I had the feeling last year the Phillies knew I was here but never saw me," said Rader, who has been nicknamed "The Invisible Man" by his teammates. "Come to think of it, maybe they didn't know I was here."
Funny about baseball. A player picks up a reputation and no matter where he goes, it follows. The word on Rader when he came here was that he no longer was a starter. He was tagged, at best, a backup for a few games.
He had two strong years with the San Francisco Giants in 1974 and 1975, hitting .291 each time. He hit .263 with the Giants in '76, then was traded to St. Louis where he played in only 66 games behind Ted Simmons and batted .263.
"After the trade from St. Louis to Chicago, I was happy," he said. "I figured I was going to get a chance and was excited about it. Playing behind Simmons in St. Louis was not great."
But as soon as Rader arrived with the Cubs in Arizona, he learned they were still looking for a catcher.
"That bothered me from the start," he said. "But I have to say I got a chance. Herman Franks started me regularly, but I only hit .203.
"I really didn't see eye to eye with Franks, but look at the stats. It's right there. I got the chance and apparently didn't do the job. But I had six game-winning hits and the only guy on the team in 1978 who had more was Dave Kingman with 10. 1 really didn't think I played that poorly. I called good games and handled the pitchers well."
SO DAVE RADER CAME to the Phillies and his career continued to wilt. Until he was injured in September, Boone was an iron man. When Steve Carlton pitched, Tim McCarver caught. And when Boone went down, Moreland was already aboard and caught most of the late-season games.
Rader married Karen Schroeder last fall and they have a home in San Diego. They also have a pickup truck here with a camper attached.
"When Karen goes to the store I tell her to buy food for just one day," kids Rader. "Most everything we brought with us is in the camper, but the other day she drove it into the overhang of a hotel and messed it all up. I guess when things go bad, they go bad.”
Through it all, Rader continues to work hard, preparing for a season somewhere. He had appeared in five exhibition games and has three hits for a .231 average.
"All I can do is work as hard as I can. I know I will be somewhere," he said. "I think I can still hit and catch. The whole thing, though, has made me very anxious, or any other word you want to throw in.
"Disappointed? Not really. Depressed? No, not depressed. Frustrated? No, not frustrated. I'm just anxious to find out what is going to happen. I want it to happen soon so we can settle down – somewhere."
Cards rock Lerch but who worries?
By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor
CLEARWATER, Fla. – The St. Louis Cardinals rocked . Randy Lerch yesterday but Dallas Green, the Phils' manager, says he isn't worried. Lerch, too, exhibited a What – Me Worry?" attitude.
Are things better than they seem on a pitching staff that, once again, is starting to exhibit a few more aches and pains than necessary?
Spring training still has 16 days remaining before the team breaks camp and even though Green insists you don't need a full corps of starting pitchers the first month of the season, he has to be concerned.
Lerch gave up five runs on seven hits in four innings at St. Petersburg yesterday as St. Louis whipped the Phillies 6-1. The young left-hander, whom Green is counting upon to team with Steve Carlton as the team's 1-2 southpaw punch, has now been ineffective in two of three outings.
"I've had something just behind my shoulder blade," said Lerch." "It's almost like a knot. (Trainer Don) Seger says the problem is caused by adhesions."
Lerch, however, does not seem too concerned about his ailment.
"I have always gotten off to a slow start in the spring," he said. "The only exception was the year I had to make the ball club. I was ready to pitch in National League games the first week of spring training. And if you remember, I got off to a fine start that season and then had problems."
"I've maintained all along that you reach a low point in the spring," said Green. "It seems to bother the pitchers more than the everyday ball players."
With yesterday's loss, the Phils' Grapefruit League record is 7-4.
The Phils are off today and the open date signals the start of Phase III of Green’s spring-training program.
"The first 10 days were devoted to conditioning and fundamentals," said Green. "The second period was the first half of the exhibition games. I played as many people as possible. We got a good look at most of them. Now, we are going to concentrate on getting ready for the National League season."
Green did not seem alarmed by Lerch's performance yesterday.
"I think he got behind on a lot of counts and they waited for his fastball," said Green. "I thought he threw some good breaking pitches and he covered first base extremely well once."
Ken Reitz drove in three runs and Bob Forsch pitched seven strong innings to lead the Cardinals yesterday.
St. Louis touched Lerch for three runs in the second as Reitz drilled a bases-loaded single to center and Garry Templeton singled in the third run. The Cards raised their lead to 5-0 in the third. as Bobby Bonds doubled in a run and Roger Freed lined an RBI single to left.
The Phillies got their only run in the sixth' when Manny Trillo bounced a bad-hop RBI single to right.
EXTRA. POINTS The Phils made their first squad cut yesterday morning... Sent to Carpenter Field were pitchers Dan Larson, Bob Walk, Carlos Arroyo, Jose Martinez, Marty Bystrom and Jim Wright; catcher Ozzie Virgil; infielders Ramon Aviles and Jay Loviglio and outfielder Orlando Isales... The Phils now have 36 players in camp... The team's annual golf tournament will be held today... Tomorrow, the American League-champion Orioles come to town with Dickie Noles pitching against the Birds' Dennis Martinez.