Philadelphia Daily News - March 7, 1980

Green:  No Run-In with Lefty

 

By Bill Conlin

 

CLEARWATER – It was 8:30 a m, two hours before the Phillies were due to begin the daily three-hour workout. The grounds crew was busy raking and dragging. The grass was till heavy with morning dew.

 

At one end of Carpenter Complex. Larry Bowa was in a cage, working on his stroke under the scrutiny of batting coach Billy DeMars. At the other end. Steve Carlton was running.

 

Yeah, Steve Carlton, the eminent non-runner, does his running in the morning before the rest of the pitching staff has had its first cup of coffee. He runs and he goes through that brutal routine with Gus Hoefling. He runs in the morning because he doesn't want a media jury rating his form or his effort on a scale of one to 10. That’s part of it.

 

He runs at his own pace and his own distance because the long, pounding three-quarter speed sprints the pitchers do at the end of the workout tighten up legs he has spent much of the day stretching out and limbering up. They also tighten up his lower back. That’s part of it, too.

 

HE RUNS ON HIS own time because he is a slow, ungainly runner. Carlton is a perfectionist who doesn't like to look bad doing anything and be knows he is a bad-looking runner. His pitching motion is poetry itself and he is the best hitter among National League pitchers. But getting from base to base or from mound to bunt is less than half the fun.

 

"Steve has a feeling that the media is trying to write the rules for this camp." Dallas Green said while his coaching staff went over the day's routine. "He resents all eyes being on him to see if he’ll run or won't run, to see if there's gonna be a confrontation between me and him. All I know is he's the first pitcher in this building every morning. He goes out and works his butt off. He's done a full day's conditioning work by the time most of the players are just getting here, and we've got a bunch of guys who get here early."

 

Only Don Seger and the medical staff get to the complex before Larry Bowa. Some days Bowa beats the roosters.

 

But Bowa's in a double blue funk over his contract and Dallas Green is far more concerned about his shortstop's mental state than he is about his lefthander's legs.

 

"That should be something between him and Ruly Carpenter and Paul Owens." Green said. "He's the one guy on this ballclub whose attitude can permeate the other players. When he's got something on his mind there aren’t too many people who don't know about it. He's supposed to be a leader on this club, but I have the feeling he's fighting what I'm trying to establish here. I don't need that and neither does the Philadelphia ballclub. Hey, it ain’t all sweetness and light with a ballclub. I've had my shouting matches with 'em over the years.

 

"BUT WHEN IT comes down to what you're supposed to do on the field, then it's got to end. He's out there doing everything, but it's like he's not with us."

 

Carlton came in from the field he was working on at 9:30. He looked like a World War II infantryman fresh from an all-night patrol in a New Guinea swamp, sopping with perspiration, his face beet red.

 

"That is not a problem that just walked through here." Green said. "Maybe you guys think it's a problem because he wont cooperate with the press. I've talked to Steve about that. I told him I thought we had good press relations going for us right now, a lot of new blood on the scene and that maybe he should try loosening up a little. He says he won't do it, though, that he's been burned too many times in the past."

 

Green was about 30 pounds overweight when he was named interim manager last September. After he took the job full-time, Dallas decided if he was going to tighten up the fleet he would get his own ship in order.

 

He worked out with his athletes all winter, firming up flesh gone soft from too many hours at a desk. His stomach is flat, his eyes clear. The uniform fits. He no longer looks like a man invited back for an Old Timers game.

 

ALL WINTER. WHILE he yanked at the Nautilus machines, grunted and stretched, jogged in the Vet tunnels or the frozen turf, the athletes kept telling him. "If you think this is tough, you should see what Lefty does."

 

"I decided to find out," Green said. "I was a skeptic. One day I asked Gus to put me through what would be a typical workout for Steve. I’ve never done anything so physically demanding in my life. It's an intense, punishing program. None of our other pitchers could go through it and still have the strength to throw a baseball. I almost had to be carried out of the stadium.

 

"I had a little better appreciation of the man's dedication after that I know I was already on record about everybody running – I still would like to see him running with the other pitchers. But I've discussed it with him and I have a much better appreciation for why he doesn't think certain types of running are as beneficial to him as to other pitchers. I'm not hard-headed enough not to be able to recognize a superbly conditioned athlete when I see one and Steve Carlton is a superbly conditioned athlete."

 

When Bob Carpenter was president of the Phillies he brought a college track coach to camp one spring to improve Bobby Wine's running speed. Wine's range at short was unsurpassed, but he ran the bases like, well, Steve Carlton. By the time camp broke, Wino's running form was worthy of an Olympic 400-meter man. But he still went from home to first in 4.6 seconds.

 

 

On a list of the 10 biggest problems facing the Phillies this spring. Carlton's running or not running ranks about 54th.

Owners Don’t Show Panic

 

TAMPA, Fla. (UPI) – The man who talks contract for the major baseball club owners says that while this week's strike authorization vote by the Players Association was not wholly unexpected, negotiations are moving forward.

 

Ray Grebey said yesterday the owners have presented contract proposals which include a 40 percent increase in pension benefits and a 300 percent increase in life insurance.

 

"The owners have submitted proposals which include substantial improvements in the players' pension and insurance plans, plus other important gains for them," he said.

 

Other "gains" are a proposed increase in the World Series pool from $1.4 million to $2 million and minimum player salaries of from $21,000 to $25,000 for the next two years and $28,500 the following two years.

 

Grebey said the average salary of a major league player in the 1980 season will be $130,000.

 

Grebey called Tuesday's strike authorization vote a routine union action.

 

 

"It is not a strike vote." he said. "It was a vote to authorize a strike "