Tag Archives: Tug McGraw

Remembering the 1993 NL champion Phillies in their silver anniversary season

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’KCNUY1avQ_x70ZkmI6xDcQ’,sig:’3PjirA6Qj4tul3XnKdesVcragJfRIpeXAYU1xgMv_Ds=’,w:’594px’,h:’401px’,items:’513656068′,caption: true ,tld:’ca’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

Daulton was the acknowledged clubhouse leader of the 1993 NL champions

The Philadelphia Phillies are officially feting the 2008 World Series championship team this weekend.

On the 10th anniversary of the historic season which concluded with that team winning the second title in franchise history, it is wholly understandable and appropriate.
However, there is another beloved Phillies team celebrating a big anniversary this year.
In fact, as someone who has been following the team closely since Veteran’s Stadium opened in 1971, I’ve always maintained that the other anniversary team provided the most fun single Phillies season that I ever experienced.
Sure, the 1980 and 2008 Phillies teams both won the World Series. I attended Game Two of the 1980 Fall Classic as an 18-year-old. I was at the parade celebrations for both championship teams.
I was inside JFK Stadium in October of 1980 when Tug McGraw told New York to “take this world championship and stick it!” I was videotaping at 15th & JFK and captured a fan making a memorable climb up a light pole on Halloween in 2008.
But for all the drama, excitement, and ultimate thrill that those two clubs provided, there was never a more fun Phillies season from start to (almost) finish for me than the one provided by the 1993 team.
It almost seems lost in all the excitement over the 10th anniversary of the 2008 club, but this is now the silver anniversary for the 1993 National League champion Philadelphia Phillies team.
Yes, it has been 25 years now since that mullet-wearing, scruffy-bearded, ‘Macho Row’-led crew stormed through baseball. In a March 2012 piece, Mike Bertha at Philadelphia Magazine summed up that unforgettable season perfectly:

“It began with a bench-clearing brawl at spring training. Then, over the course of 103 total wins, 49 extra innings, 12 playoff games and some late nights (or, more accurately, early mornings), the 1993 Phillies seduced the city. Fans spent the summer flocking to the Vet to watch their appropriately nicknamed “Animal House,” both captivated and agog as the Phillies stampeded through the National League and then marched through Atlanta to earn a date with the defending-champion Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series.”

The Darren Daulton Foundation operates today in the name of, and as a memorial to, the namesake captain of that Phillies team. The foundation provides financial assistance to those who suffer from brain cancer and brain tumors. On June 8, they held a reunion celebration for the 1993 team.
Our own Kevin McCormick here at Phillies Nation reported on the event and those in attendance back in June:

“…the pennant-winning team showed up for the event, including: Tommy Greene, Jim Eisenreich, Larry Bowa, Milt Thompson, Ben Rivera, Mickey Morandini, David West, Tony Longmire, Curt Schilling, and even Danny Jackson who arrived after throwing out the first pitch at the Phillies-Brewers game across the street. Fans in attendance got to meet the players, take pictures, get autographs, and chat with the guys throughout the night.”

Morandini, who shared second base duties with Mariano Duncan, eventually became a minor league manager and then a big league coach with the Phillies. He remains on the payroll as a popular club ambassador.
Five of the men who were in uniform and playing important roles that summer are no longer with us, including Daulton. The catcher and leader of that ball club died a year ago this coming Monday following a four-year battle with brain cancer.

Also now gone off to play on that “Field of Dreams” in the sky is their raspy-voiced manager Jim Fregosi, along with three members of his coaching staff: John VukovichJohnny Podres, and Mel Roberts.
Phillies fans still get plenty of first baseman John Kruk (TV) and reliever Larry Andersen (radio) as members of the current Phillies regular broadcasting crew. Andersen and Daulton hold the distinction of being the only players to appear with the Phillies during both the 1983 and 1993 pennant-winning seasons.
Greene was a member of the 1993 starting rotation, joining Schilling, Jackson, Rivera, and Terry Mulholland. He and shortstop Kevin Stocker can be found chipping in work as a broadcaster and analyst respectively at times.
Some of the more popular members of that hard-charging ball club have become embroiled in controversy over the years. Beginning with nine seasons in Phillies pinstripes, Schilling built a strong Hall of Fame résumé as he continued his career helping the Diamondbacks and Red Sox to World Series victories.
The MVP of the 1993 NLCS victory over Atlanta, Schilling’s shutout in Game Five of the World Series that year is one of the greatest post-season pitching performances in Phillies history. Some now find him controversial as an outspoken conservative political and social commentator.
Mitch Williams was a respected analyst with MLB Network before he was fired in 2014 after an altercation at a youth tournament. Williams filed a lawsuit and was ultimately awarded a $1.5 million judgement in June of last year.
Lenny Dykstra finished as runner-up to Barry Bonds in voting for the 1993 National League Most Valuable Player. ‘The Dude’ or ‘Nails’ as he was alternately known blasted dramatic home runs in both the NLCS and World Series that year.
Over the ensuing decades, the now 55-year-old Dykstra has fallen the farthest and hardest. In May of this year came his latest incident, arrested in New Jersey after allegedly pointing a weapon at an Uber driver and threatening to blow the driver’s head off. Cocaine, marijuana, and ecstasy were found on him by responding police.
Some members of that 1993 team are already immortalized by the organization. Bowa, previously honored in 1991 for his role as a player, would be joined by Vukovich (2007), Daulton (2010), Kruk (2011), and Schilling (2013) on the Phillies Wall of Fame.
It was a completely unexpected, fun summer filled with wild, walk-off wins, some in the wee hours of the morning. Numerous seemingly unlikely heroes stepping up to deliver pivotal hits or make clutch plays at crucial moments. A wild band of misfit characters playing the parts and winning the hearts of Phillies fans for decades to come.
They fell just two games short of the ultimate prize. But even that was nothing to hang their heads about. The Toronto Blue Jays finally ended their magic with Joe Carter‘s walk-off home run in Game Six.
That Toronto club, already defending World Series champions, put a trio of Hall of Famers on the field in Rickey HendersonPaul Molitor, and Roberto Alomar, as well as a handful more all-stars. The 1993 Phillies were within a big blown lead in Game Four and Carter’s heroics of pulling off their most stunning victory of all.
As you justly honor and remember the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies this weekend on the occasion of their 10th anniversary, take some time out to also recall that 1993 Phillies team. A silver anniversary is just as worthy of celebration, especially this one.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as “World Series winners not the only beloved Phillies team celebrating an anniversary

Phillies Fall Classics V: 1980 World Series Game Six

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’wUKJ_P79R2tdx45u7xY21g’,sig:’cg9tRjUWRNUnl3hzvDnr8DKpPWA23FOtqYxZibuu2tk=’,w:’396px’,h:’594px’,items:’515557386′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

Phillies celebrate winning 1980 World Series

A dramatic, hard-fought, come-from-behind win on a Sunday in the hostile environs of Royals Stadium had left the 1980 Philadelphia Phillies just one win away from the first championship in franchise history.

The series would now return to South Philly for the final two games, the Phils hoping it would be just one, in front of the roaring, partisan fans at Veteran’s Stadium.
Philadelphia at that time had not won a major sports championship in 5 ½ years, since the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers had skated off with their second consecutive Stanley Cup in May of 1975. However, Philly was also in the midst of a pro sports renaissance.
Those Flyers had remained a strong contender throughout the 70’s, still led by future Hall of Famer Bobby Clarke. The Flyers had reached the Stanley Cup finals earlier in 1980, losing in six games.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers, featuring a true living legend in Julius Erving, had also become a perennial contender in recent years. Led by ‘Dr. J’, the Sixers had also come close, losing the NBA Finals earlier that year.
For their part, the long-suffering fans of the city’s pro football team, the Philadelphia Eagles, were enjoying their own emergence as a contender under fiery coach Dick Vermeil. The Birds would eventually fly all the way to the franchise’ first-ever Super Bowl appearance in January.
So on the chilly night of October 21st, 1980 the sports fans of Philadelphia could be forgiven if, for once in the town’s history, they felt on top of the sporting world.
What we were on that night, in actuality, was near the top. Our hockey and basketball teams had come close enough to see the summit, but were unable to reach that ultimate goal of standing on top of the mountain. The Phillies would now take their shot.
For Game Six, manager Dallas Green would get to send the greatest pitcher in the history of the franchise to the mound. 
“Lefty” Steve Carlton was 35-years old, and was wrapping up a season that would see him take home his 3rd career Cy Young Award. He had battled through 8 tough innings in which he threw an unreal 159 pitches to gain a win in Game Two.
Kansas City skipper Jim Frey would counter with his Game Three starter, Rich Gale. The 26-year old righty had gone 13-9 in the regular season , but had not appeared in the ALCS sweep of the New York Yankees. 
He lasted just 4.1 innings at Royals Stadium in his earlier appearance, a game that saw KC eventually rally for their first win of this series.
Carlton strode to the mound in the top of the 1st inning, and immediately let the Royals hitters know what they were in for, striking out both U.L. Washington and Willie Wilson to start it off. He then got star third baseman George Brett to ground weakly to 2nd base.
In the 2nd, a nifty 6-4-3 doubleplay from shortstop Larry Bowa to 2nd baseman Manny Trillo to 1st baseman Pete Rose got Carlton out of a bit of a jam, after he had walked a pair with one out. In the 3rd, Carlton struck out two more, and was cruising.
Gale was able to match Lefty with zeroes over the first two frames. When the Phillies came to bat in the bottom of the 3rd with the game still scoreless, the Vet faithful were still excited and anticipatory, but growing somewhat tense.
Carlton’s battery mate, catcher Bob Boone, led off by drawing a four-pitch walk. Rookie Lonnie Smith then grounded to the right side of the infield. 
Royals 2ndbaseman Frank White fielded the ball, pivoted, and threw to get Boone as the lead runner. But his throw pulled Washington off the bag, and the Phillies had the first two runners aboard.
That brought grizzled veteran Rose to the plate, and the man known as ‘Charlie Hustle’ surprised the Royals with a perfectly placed bunt towards 3rd base. Brett fielded it, but had no play, and the Phillies suddenly had the bases loaded without hitting a ball out of the infield.
Now up to the plate strode the Phillies MVP and future Baseball Hall of Famer, 3rdbaseman Mike Schmidt. With the bases loaded, Gale had no choice but to pitch to the dangerous Schmidt and hope for the best.
Coming through in the most clutch moment of his long career, Michael Jack sliced a single to right center, scoring both Boone and Smith. 
The big 2-run single not only put the Phillies on top by 2-0, but also chased Gura from the game.
Reliever Renie Martin came on and was able to wriggle out of further damage, but his team was now trailing by two runs with Carlton looking strong enough to make that hold up.
In the top of the 4th, Washington led off with a single, bringing Brett to the plate for a showdown of future Baseball Hall of Famers. Carlton won, inducing the Royals’ star to ground to Bowa, who started a 6-3 doubleplay. 
Over the 5th and 6th, all the Royals bats could muster was a two-out single by catcher John Wathan after Lefty had struck out the first two batters of that 5th inning.
Martin had kept the Phillies bats at bay, retiring six straight into the bottom of the 5thwith the Phils still coasting on that 2-0 lead. But Smith doubled to lead it off, went to 3rd on a fly ball, and then Schmidt walked on a full-count pitch
That was all for Martin, and Frey opted to bring in lefty swingman Paul Splittorff to face the lefty swinging Bake McBride
Splittorff would get ‘Shake-N-Bake’ to ground out slowly to short, but ‘Skates’ Smith skated on home with another Phillies run, pushing the lead to 3-0 as the home fans roared.
In the bottom of the 6th, with Splittorff still on the mound, the Phillies bats struck again. 
Garry Maddox led off with a single, but then Trillo hit into a twin-killing, and it appeared that the Royals were out of trouble. But Bowa drove a double to deep left, and Boone singled to bring him home, giving the Phils a 4-0 lead.
Carlton allowed a leadoff single to Brett in the top of the 7th, but kept KC off the scoreboard again, and the game moved into the 8th inning with the Phillies holding a 4-0 lead, their ace on the mound.
Now just six outs from a world title, the excitement level among Phils fans was growing with each pitch. But as with most things involving this battle-hardened team over the last month, these final two innings would not pass quickly or easily.
Wathan led off the top of the 8th by drawing a walk, and former Phillie Jose Cardenal slapped a base hit to left field. 
Having thrown 110 pitches on the night just six days after making 159, Green felt that Lefty had given enough. Carlton was done after 7 official innings, having allowed just 4 hits, striking out 7 and walking 3 batters.
If there was any thought that anyone was coming in to this game now other than Tug McGraw, then whomever had such a thought simply had not been paying attention to Phillies baseball over this last month.
The Tugger confidently strode to the mound, though he was admittedly wearing out, the zip on his fastball almost completely gone. 
However, his assortment of ‘cutters’, the cut fastballs that were his signature pitch, were usually allowing him to remain successful. 
As a young man, McGraw had been part of the ‘Miracle Mets’ championship team in 1969. Now he would try to finish this one off as a veteran closer.
He began by getting White to pop out in foul territory on just his 2nd pitch, but then walked Wilson, and now the Royals had the bases loaded with one out.  
Washington sent a sacrifice fly to center, putting the Royals on the board. But now there were two outs, and the Phillies still led 4-1.
With runners at first and second, up strode Brett as the tying run. One of the top hitters in the history of the game grounded a single to reload the bases. 
Still, under the circumstances, it was a mild setback. McGraw then got the always dangerous Hal McRae to ground softly to Trillo, and the threat had passed with minimal damage.
The Phils got nothing off Royals’ closer Dan Quisenberry in the home 8th, and so Game Six of the 1980 World Series moved into the top of the 9th inning.
Things began calmly enough, with McGraw striking out Amos Otis on a 2-2 pitch to lead things off. 
But Willie Aikens walked, and he was replaced by speedy pinch-runner Onix Concepcion. When Wathan and Cardenal each followed with singles, the Royals suddenly had the bases loaded.
McGraw had to bear down. The tying run was now at 1st base, the go-ahead run would come to the plate, possibly twice. 
First up with a shot was Kansas City’s steady 2nd baseman White, to be followed by the similarly tough and speedy center fielder Wilson.
On the first pitch, White popped a ball into foul territory near the Phillies dugout. Boone tossed off his mask and went in pursuit, reaching up as the ball came down, and appearing set to make it two outs. 
But the ball somehow popped out of Boone’s glove. Just before it fell to the ground, giving White new life, Rose, who had raced over as well, snatched it out of the air for that precious 2nd out of the inning.
Now there were two outs, but the bags were still loaded. The threat to the Phillies 3-run lead was still very real, especially with Brett now just two batters away. 
McGraw battled ahead of Wilson to a 1-2 count. The crowd of 65,838 was on its feet, roaring with every pitch.
The Tugger breathed deep, set, and delivered a fastball right down the middle. Wilson swung mightily, but it was passed him. Strike three. The Philadelphia Phillies were the world champions of baseball!
McGraw thrust his arms into the air. Boone, his knees completely shot, was unable to rush the mound, but simply raised his as well and walked towards his closer.
In a predetermined move, McGraw instead turned towards 3rd base, and was met by the charging Schmidt, who leapt into his arms. 
Schmidt, who would be named the World Series MVP, had driven to the park with McGraw that day, and had told the closer to look for him if just such a situation should arise.
For the first time in the 98-season history of the franchise, the Phillies and their fans were enjoying a World Series championship. 
As fireworks filled the chilly skies above The Vet, the crowd remained to cheer their heroes, and the party would go on long into the night on the streets of Philadelphia.
For the crew that had come up through the organization together, fighting through the lean years of the early mid-1970’s and the tough losses in the ’76-’78 NLCS it had to be especially gratifying. 
Schmidt, Bowa, Boone, Greg Luzinski and Dick Ruthven. And of course, for owner Ruly Carpenter, GM Paul Owens, and for Green.
That Phillies nucleus would never take the field again together. By the time the team returned to the World Series just three years later, there would be new ownership, new management, half the infield and two-thirds of the outfield would be gone, and the pitching staff would have many changes. 
We’ll talk about that team when our series resumes with Phillies Fall Classics VI: Game One of the 1983 World Series.

Phillies Fall Classics IV: 1980 World Series Game Five

The Philadelphia Phillies had built an early 2-0 lead in the 1980 World Series over the Kansas City Royals with a pair of victories at Veteran’s Stadium.
The Fall Classic then shifted to Royals Stadium (now Kauffman Stadium) for three games over the weekend of October 17th through 19th.
In Game Three on Friday night, the two teams battled into the 10th inning tied at 3-3. 
There in the bottom of the 10th, the host Royals gained life when their offensive star of the series, big 1st baseman Willie Aikens, singled off Tug McGraw to score Willie Wilson with the walkoff run in a 4-3 victory.
Then in Saturday afternoon’s Game Four, Kansas City tied the series thanks to a pair of home runs from Aikens. Those twin blasts had pushed the home side out to an early 5-1 lead after just two innings. 
The Phils fought back with solo runs in both the 7th and 8th innings to make a game of it, but those rallies fell short.

However, a bit of momentum would swing the Phillies way in the 4th inning. With the Royals rolling and the Phils looking listless, KC superstar and future Hall of Famer George Brett stepped into the batter’s box against righty reliever Dickie Noles.
Feeling that the Kansas City hitters were simply too comfortable at the plate, Noles fired a fastball that honed in on Brett’s head like a guided missile. 
Brett’s entire body flew out from under him as he evaded the lethal-looking pitch, eliciting an outburst of indignation from Royals’s skipper Jim Frey, and warnings to both benches from the umpires.
But the pitch appeared to serve its purpose. Noles struck out Brett and then Aikens, both swinging. He then struck out two of the three batters he faced in the 5th as well. 
There was a noticeable swagger gone from the Royals approach after that “intent” pitch by Noles.
As presented at Wikipedia, Phillies’ future Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, in his book Clearing The Bases, called it “the greatest brushback in World Series history.
The stage was thus set for a pivotal 5th game, our dramatic Phillies Fall Classics IV. With the two sides knotted at two games apiece, the winner would take a 3-2 lead and move to within a single victory of their franchise’ first ever World Series championship.
Game Five was played on a Sunday afternoon in direct competition with the NFL, in the days when Major League Baseball was still concerned enough about issues like presenting the national pastime during a time period when young viewers could enjoy an entire game, rather than milking every last possible advertising dollar.
On the mound, the Royals would bring back veteran lefty Larry Gura, who had been fantastic in taking a Perfect Game into the 5th inning of Game Two
For the Phillies, it would be 22-year old rookie righty Marty Bystrom getting the start. Bystrom had been a September revelation for the starting rotation, going 5-0 during the month as a surprising key player in the Phillies drive to clinch the NL East.
The old vet and the young gunslinger traded zeroes on the scoreboard through the first three innings. 
Finally in the top of the 4th, the Phillies broke through with a pair of runs off Gura when Schmidt drove a 2-2 pitch over the wall in deep right center for his 2nd homer of the series and a 2-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Bystrom had worked around trouble in the 3rd and 4th. But down 2-0, the Royals finally broke through in their half of the 5th inning. 
Leadoff singles by U.L. Washington and Wilson, and a sacrifice bunt by Frank White, put a pair of runners in scoring position with one out and the heart of the Kansas City order coming to bat.
Brett grounded out to 2nd base, scoring Washington with a run to cut the Phillies lead in half at 2-1. 
Bystrom was able to wriggle out of further trouble again in the inning, but in the home 6th, KC would get to him again, taking the lead and driving the youngster from the game.
The 6th inning trouble began immediately for Bystrom, as Amos Otis led off the frame by crushing an 0-1 pitch deep over the left field wall to tie the game at 2-2. 
When the next two batters each singled, that was it for Bystrom. Phils’ skipper Dallas Green went to veteran Ron Reed, who was greeted by a sac fly from Washington to score Clint Hurdle with the go-ahead run.
With the Royals now up 3-2, Wilson slashed a ball into the right field corner that would go for a double. A slow-footed Darrell Porter chugged all the way around from 1st base in an attempt to score a run that would possibly begin to bury the Phillies.
But the Phils’ instead executed a perfect defensive relay from right fielder Bake McBride to 2nd baseman Manny Trillo and finally to catcher Bob Boone, nailing Porter as he slid in at home. Reed got out of the inning without further damage, but the Phillies now trailed.
In the top of the 7th, the Phils put two on with one out, and Gura was replaced by closer Dan Quisenberry, who would get out of the inning cleanly. 
Green then turned to his closer Tug McGraw in the bottom of the 7th, and the rest of the game would be a battle between the two talented, veteran closers.
The game moved into the 9th inning with the Royals still holding that 3-2 lead, with Quisenberry having not allowed a hit over his 1 1/3 innings to that point. He was just three outs away from putting Kansas City up 3 games to 2 in the series.
Schmidt led off that 9th inning, and despite the fact that he was perhaps baseball’s top home run threat, Brett smelled a bunt, and played in shallower than normal. Schmidt instead swing away, and sent a smash to Brett’s left. 
Had the Royals 3rd sacker been playing back as normal, he may have fielded it cleanly. But up shallow, he could only dive and watch the ball roll off his glove as Schmidt reached 1st base as the potential tying run.
Green then made a move to his bench that was becoming familiar to Phillies fans at this point, sending up Del Unser to pinch-hit for Lonnie Smith
As he had so often in that postseason, Unser delivered, firing a base hit down the right field line. Schmidt read the ball perfectly, possessed good speed, and never stopped as he went first-to-home, sliding in with the tying run well ahead of the Royals relay throw. 
Unser rolled into 2nd base with a double, and would then move up to 3rd when Keith Moreland followed with a sacrifice bunt.
Quisenberry got Garry Maddox to ground out to Brett, who was able to freeze Unser at 3rd base. So now the Phillies had the go-ahead run just 90 feet away, but there were two outs. 
Trillo, who had come up with a number of key hits in winning MVP honors in the NLCS, stepped in against the Royals closer, who was hoping to keep it tied and give his team a chance to win it in the bottom of the 9th.
Instead, it was Trillo who would again play the hero, smashing a ball right back at Quisenberry, who could not handle the hot-shot. As it rolled away from the mound, Trillo reached with an infield single, and Unser crossed the plate with the go-ahead run.
The Phillies would take that 4-3 lead into the bottom of the 9th, and Green left his indomitable closer McGraw in the game, despite his having already tossed 25 pitches over the previous two innings.
Tug walked two of the first three Royals batters, surrounding a strikeout. He induced the tough Hal McRae to ground into a force out at 2nd base for the second out of the inning, but White moved over to 3rd base, putting the tying run just 90 feet away for Kansas City.
McGraw then pitched around Otis, loading the bases with two outs, and bringing ex-Phillie Jose Cardenal to the plate. 
Cardenal had very nearly crushed a 3-run homer off McGraw back in the 7th inning. But here with the game on the line, the Tugger struck him out swinging on a 1-2 pitch to nail down the dramatic victory.
The road win pushed the Phillies on top by 3-2 in the series, and left them just one win away from taking the first World Series title in franchise history. The series would now shift back to The Vet, where the Phils would have two shots to get it done. 
The first of those would come with ace Steve Carlton taking the mound on a Tuesday night in South Philly in what will be our ‘Phillies Fall Classics V’ presentation.

Phillies Fall Classics II: 1980 World Series Game One

As a new decade was dawning in mid-October of 1980, the Fall Classic would feature the Philadelphia Phillies and Kansas City Royals. 
In the late 1970’s, both clubs had been frequent bridesmaids in the National and American Leagues respectively. But in 1980, both finally kicked in the door, won a pennant, and advanced to the World Series.
The Royals were a 1969 expansion team founded by a Kansas City businessman named Ewing Kauffman after the Athletics, who had left Philadelphia for KC just 14 years earlier, had left the Missouri city in 1968.
Two years later, the Royals made a sweet-swinging lefty hitter named George Brett their 2nd round pick in the 1971 MLB Amateur Draft
Led by the future Hall of Famer and a talented home-grown nucleus, the team became an American League powerhouse by the middle of the decade.
The Royals won three consecutive A.L. West crowns from 1976-78, and won 102 games in the 1977 season to lead all of Major League Baseball. 
However, each of those three years, Kansas City ran into and could not defeat the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.
In 1976, the Yanks defeated the Royals when Chris Chambliss blasted a walkoff home run in the bottom of the 9th inning of the 5th and deciding game. 
In 1977, the Bronx Bombers rallied from a two games to one deficit to win the final two close games from Kansas City. By 1978, the Yanks simply had the Royals number, and won in four games.
Meanwhile over in the National League, the Phillies were one of the game’s oldest franchise’, claiming the longest continuous one name, one city affiliation in pro sports dating back to 1883.
However, they were also the losingest franchise in pro sports history, and had reached the World Series just twice, in 1915, when they were beaten in five games by the Boston Red Sox, and in 1950, when they were swept in four games by the Yankees.
The Phils had been a contender in the mid-1960’s, including an infamous collapse in 1964 when a trip to the Fall Classic seemed inevitable. 
However, the Phillies sank to the bottom of baseball in the late-60’s and early-70’s. The club moved out of old Shibe Park/Connie Mack Stadium after the 1970 season, and into the new Veteran’s Stadium in 1971.
Some astute drafting and development under GM Paul Owens and farm director Dallas Green brought players such as Mike Schmidt and Bob Boone into an organization that already featured up-and-coming youngsters like Larry Bowa and Greg Luzinski
Then prescient trades added talented players like starting pitcher Steve Carlton, reliever Tug McGraw, outfielders Garry Maddox and Bake McBride, and 2nd basemen Dave Cash and Manny Trillo.
The Phillies began to contend in 1974 and ’75, and finally won the National League East in 1976 led by Cash and his “Yes We Can” spirit. 
They were swept out of the NLCS that year by Pete RoseJoe MorganJohnny Bench, and the rest of the legendary ‘Big Red Machine‘ team that would take back-to-back World Series crowns in 1975-76. But the Phils were clearly a team coming on strong.
In both the 1977 and 1978 seasons, the Phillies would again win the NL East crown. In both seasons, the club first set and then tied a new franchise record by winning 101 games.
In both seasons, the Phils would advance to the NLCS as favorites to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers. And as any true Phillies fan already knows, in both seasons the team would lose disappointing four game series to those Dodgers.
The 1977 NLCS loss might be the most painful playoff series defeat in team history. The Phillies and Dodgers had split the first two games in LA, and the Phils would now have home field advantage for the next two games. 
Game Three was pivotal, since the Phils were scheduled to throw their future Hall of Fame ace lefty Carlton the following day. A win would put the Phillies up 2-1, with ‘Lefty’ set to clinch the series.
That third game, which would turn out to be one of the craziest in baseball history, began on a beautiful afternoon in South Philly. 
Everything appeared to be going the Phillies way. A raucous Veteran’s Stadium crowd would unnerve Dodgers’ starter Burt Hooton, driving him from the mound in the 2nd inning.
The Phillies scored twice in the bottom of the 8th as the crowd went delirious, and headed into the 9th inning with a 5-3 lead. 
As reliever Gene Garber quickly and easily recorded the first two outs, the celebration was already beginning in the stands. Garber got ahead of light-hitting pinch-hitter Vic Davalillo by 0-1. 
And then it happened.
What “happened” next was what turned this game from a big NLCS win into perhaps the most widely remembered single defeat in Phillies history, a game that has become known as “Black Friday” in team lore. 
Davalillo began it by laying down a perfectly placed drag bunt for a two-out single. Still, the Phils were in the driver’s seat. 
Garber got ahead of yet another pinch-hitter, 39-year old Manny Mota, with an 0-2 count. Mota then drove a fly ball towards the left field wall. It didn’t appear to have enough for a game-tying home run, and as it turned out, it didn’t.
Left fielder Luzinski, who inexplicably was not lifted by manager Danny Ozark in favor of the far-superior defensive player Jerry Martin, which was usual in such a situation, drifted back to the wall. 
For a moment, ‘The Bull’ appeared to snare the final out as he reached the fence. However, the ball clanged out of his glove, and bounced off the wall as Davalillo scored.
Luzinski fired the ball back towards 2nd base in an attempt to nail Mota, but his throw skipped away wildly, allowing the aging Dodger to move on to 3rd base as the tying run. Still, through this insanity, the Phillies had a one-run lead with two outs.
Dodgers 2nd baseman Davey Lopes then stepped in, and rifled a hot-shot smash at Phillies’ 3rd baseman Schmidt. 
The ball caromed off Schmidt’s knee, popped into the air, and came down right in shortstop Bowa’s hand. 
Bowa gunned a throw to 1st baseman Richie Hebner for what appeared to be, what replays have shown to be, the final out.
However, these were days long before instant replay in the game, and 1st base umpire Bruc
Garber then tried a pick-off, but threw wildly, allowing the speedy Lopes to advance into scoring position. Bill Russell then singled, scoring Lopes, and the Dodgers had the 6-5 lead.
That’s far too much rehashing of one non-World Series game, one inning, one-third of an inning, truth be told. 
But it demonstrates perfectly the frustrations that both the Phillies and the Royals had experienced from the mid-through late 1970’s. 
Both clubs would enter the 1979 season as favorites to again win their respective divisions, but things would not go according to plan for either.
Prior to that 1979 season, the Phillies brain trust decided that what they really needed was an experienced winner to help get the nucleus over that postseason hump. 
Owner Ruly Carpenter authorized the free agency signing of the living legend Rose to take over 1st base and provide the perfect final piece.
The 1979 Phillies bolted out of the gates like gangbusters, and following a legendary 23-22 victory at Wrigley Field over the Chicago Cubs on May 17th, the club had a 24-10 record and led the NL East by 3.5 games. 
The Royals struggled early in the season, but by late June had captured the lead in the AL West. However, the 1979 season would end in even more disappointment for both teams. 
The Phillies would be derailed by pitching injuries and inconsistency, collapsing to a 4th place finish that would cost Ozark his job
Team management decided to bring in Green as the new skipper to make an evaluation of who would stay and who would go in the coming off-season. 
Meanwhile, the Royals battled to the end, but finished three games behind the Anaheim Angels in the division race.
So as the 1980 season opened, there were tremendous questions to be answered by both clubs. 
Many thought that time was passing both by, that each had missed out on their best opportunities. Both teams had much to prove that year, and both would demonstrate their toughness, showing that neither was finished.
The Royals started slow again, but grabbed the AL West lead by late May and never gave it up again, rolling up a 20-game lead at one point in the summer and finishing on top by 14 games.
The Phillies, on the other hand, had to fight the whole way. They were in 3rd place for much of the summer, and seemed to be falling out of the race when a stretch of five losses in six August games left them six games behind in the NL East race. 
But the club never quit, and fought to a 23-11 finish, including five straight wins in the season’s dramatic final week.
The NL East came down to a showdown with the upstart Montreal Expos on the final weekend of the season. With the two clubs tied, the Phils took a key Friday night battle by a 2-1 score to take the lead. 
On Saturday, in the pentultimate game of the regular season, they rallied to tie in the 9th and send the game into extra innings. 
There in the top of the 11th, Schmidt blasted a dramatic home run that would prove to be the division winning blow.
It would take a series of articles to go over all the drama of the subsequent 1980 National League Championship Series between the Phillies and Houston Astros. 
Suffice it to say that it may be the single most exciting NLCS in baseball history. The Phils took the opener by just 3-1 at The Vet, and the next four games were all decided in extra innings, with the Phillies capturing a dramatic 3-2 series victory.
For their part, the Royals got to exact direct revenge for their 1970’s playoff disappointments by sweeping out the Yankees in three straight games, winning by scores of 7-2, 3-2, and finally by 4-2 in the series-clinching victory provided by a home run bombed by Brett into the upper deck at Yankee Stadium.
With the weight of the world off both teams, the two clubs entered the 1980 World Series with the Royals as the favorites. 
Kansas City had run away with their division, and had swept a talented rival in the LCS. The Phillies had to be worn down by their season-long battle and wiped out by an emotional LCS that went the distance.
What the Phillies had in their favor was the home field advantage, which was alternated in those days between the two leagues. 
It was the NL team turn to host the first two and final two games, so those would take place in front of the Phils’ fans at Veteran’s Stadium, with the middle three taking place at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
This was the stage as it was set for our Phillies Fall Classics II, the first game of the 1980 World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the Phillies at The Vet.
With a record 65, 791 fans in attendance thanks to extra seating built into what was previously a walk-around area at the top of The Vet’s 700 level, the Phillies sent a rookie to the mound as their starting pitcher.
Bob Walk was 23 years old and had gone 11-7 with an unimposing 4.57 ERA across 27 starts in his freshman campaign. 
The Phils’ 3rd round pick in the June 1976 MLB Amateur Draft, Walk had risen steadily, climbing a rung at a time through the team’s minor league system in the late 70’s, succeeding at each level.
His final start had come in one of those big wins during the regular season’s final week, a masterful 7.1 inning performance in a key 4-2 victory at The Vet over the Cubs on October 2nd. His postseason inexperience had left him out of the NLCS vs Houston.
But this was the very reason that he was chosen to start here in the World Series opener. Walk was one of the few pitchers on the Phillies staff who was well rested and not drained by that NLCS experience. Still, his two-week layoff had to also be a bit of a concern.
Walk was in no way overpowering on the night for the Phillies. However, he gave them what they needed most – innings. 
Walk battled through seven innings in which he tossed 123 pitches. He allowed eight hits, including three home runs, and six earned runs in all. But he kept throwing, showing no fear.
The Royals scored twice in the 2nd and twice in the 3rd for an early 4-0 lead. 
In the 2nd, Amos Otis drilled a two-run homer off Walk. In the 3rd, it was a two-run blast from Willie Aikens, who would prove a thorn in the Phillies side all series long.
In the bottom of the 4th, the Phils finally broke through with a big rally, scoring five times off Royals’s starter Dennis Leonard to capture the lead. 
With one out, Bowa singled, stole 2nd, and came home on a double by Boone. Lonnie Smith followed with a single that scored Boone, but was thrown out trying to stretch a double.
With two outs, Leonard still had a 4-2 lead. But he hit Rose with a pitch and walked Schmidt to bring up McBride. The Phillies right fielder then ripped a 3-run homer to deep right field, putting the club on top for the first time.
Walk then began to settle down, retiring nine straight KC hitters and shutting the Royals out into the 8th while the Phils added to their lead with solo runs in both the 4th and 5th innings.
In the bottom of the 4th, Trillo singled with one out. Leonard tried to pick him off, but threw the ball away at first base, allowing Trillo to move to 2nd base, where he would score on an RBI double by Boone. 
In the bottom of the 5th, the Phils loaded the bases with one out, scoring when a Maddox sacrifice fly brought home Schmidt with a run to make it a 7-4 lead.
A two-run home run by Aikens in the top of the 8th cut the Phillies lead to 7-6, and finally drove Walk out of the game. 
Tug McGraw came on in relief and recorded a tidy two-inning save, striking out the final two Kansas City batters to end the ball game.
Fireworks went off and the Veteran’s Stadium crowd celebrated as the Phillies congratulated one another on the field for the franchise’ first World Series victory in 65 years. 
They had a 1-0 lead in the Fall Classic, and were just three wins away from the franchise’ first world championship in it’s then 97-year history.
Those three wins would not come easily. We’ll visit each of them in the coming days as this Phillies Fall Classics series continues.
The next installment is the only Phils’ World Series game that I have ever personally attended. That ‘Phillies Fall Classics III’ will be 1980 World Series Game Two.

Pete Rose Hustles to Phillies

Pete Rose was the first big Phillies free agent signing
On December 5th, 1978 the Philadelphia Phillies dipped into the free agent market for the first time, and hauled in a big fish. Pete Rose, the man known as Charlie Hustle, was signed away from the Cincinnati Reds.
The driving force behind a 2-time World Series-winning ‘Big Red Machine’ in Cincy, Rose would bring his signature hustle, determination, leadership, and overall winning attitude and game to the Phillies, pushing a group of under-achieving stars over the top to a title.
The deal with Rose is small by today’s contract standards, but at the tail end of 1978 it was considered a huge contract when he signed with the Phillies for $3.2 million over four seasons. It made him the highest-paid athlete in the history of team sports at that point in time.
The Phillies had been growing into a winner over the previous handful of seasons. In 1976 and 1977 the club had won the National League East Division title with identical 101-win seasons that were a franchise record for regular season wins.
However, in both seasons the Phils had come up short in the playoffs. In ’76, it was Rose and his Reds teammates who had swept them in the NLCS. In ’77, the Phils suffered through the “Black Friday” loss and gone down in 4 games to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Rose seemed the perfect fit. He had won the two World Series in Cincinnati. He was an 11x NL All-Star. He had been the 1963 NL Rookie of the Year as well as the 1973 NL Most Valuable Player. He had won 3 batting titles and a pair of Gold Gloves.
But not only was Rose outstanding on the field, he was also well-known as being one of the game’s leaders and spark plugs. He fully earned his Charlie Hustle nickname by playing with his hair on fire. He ran down to 1st base after a walk, and his head-first slides into 3rd base had become a signature.
While the Phillies in those days had some tremendous talent, with players such as future Hall of Famers Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt, slugger Greg Luzinski, athletic outfielders Garry Maddox and Bake McBride, and All-Stars raised in the organization such as Bob Boone and Larry Bowa, there was clearly something missing come playoff time.
Rose would bring that postseason experience, the knowledge of how to perform in the clutch at the most important time. It was also hoped that he would instill some of the confidence required to finally get over that October hump to the other players, in particular the superstar talent that was Schmidt.
Schmidt and Luzinski
That first season of 1979 in Philly turned out to be a tough one. The Phils took over first place on April 21st, and for the most part the held it for over a month. But following a loss to the Cubs on May 28th that dropped them a half-game behind the Montreal Expos, they went into Montreal and were swept in a 3-game series.
Those 1979 Phillies would never recover. They hung around near the lead into early August, but collapsed as the ‘Dog Days’ of summer drew to a close. Injuries were a big part of the reason. They would finish in a hugely disappointing 4th place with an 84-78 record.
The disappointing season was hardly the fault of Rose. In his first Phillies season, Charlie Hustle hit .331 with a .418 on-base percentage. He drilled 208 hits, including 40 doubles. He scored 90 runs and stole a career-high 20 bases.  In short, he was all the team paid for…except that he never got a chance to show that postseason leadership.
As everyone who follows the team knows, 1980 would prove a different story. Rose was strong again with 42 doubles and 95 runs scored. This time the team came along for the ride. Schmidt became an MVP for the first time, and largely credited Rose for his taking this step up in his overall impact from star to superstar.
And of course, that 1980 team would also not only reclaim the NL East crown, but would to on to win the World Series. The leadership, confidence, and experience that Rose was signed to bring was on full display, especially in the dramatic 5-game NLCS victory over the Houston Astros.
In the World Series vs. the Kansas City Royals, Rose provided a signature moment, one that fully encapsulated his “Charlie Hustle” persona. With one out in the 9th inning of Game 6, the Phils leading the Series by 3-2 and the game by 4-1, the Royals loaded the bases.
Frank White, the Royals experienced 2nd baseman, stepped to the plate and popped the first pitch foul over near the Phillies dugout between home plate and first base. Boone was set to catch the ball for the 2nd out. Suddenly, however, the ball popped into and out of his glove.
For a brief instant, it seemed that the Royals were going to get a huge break, with a Boone error allowing White another shot with the bags loaded and still just the one out. But as the ball popped out of Boone’s glove, another reached out and snatched it from the air. Rose had hustled over from first base, and was Johnny-on-the-spot to snatch the ball for that precious 2nd out. 
One batter later, Tug McGraw struck out Willie Wilson, and Rose and his Phillies teammates were champions. It was the first World Series title in franchise history after 98 seasons.
Rose would go on to play 3 more seasons in Philadelphia. He was an NL All-Star in each of the first 5 seasons here, and in 1983 would help the team back to the World Series for a 2nd time. The loss to Baltimore would be his final games in a Phillies uniform.
In his 5 seasons with the Phillies, Rose appeared in 745 of a possible 810 games. He came to the plate more than 3,000 times in those seasons, recording 826 hits. He hit for a .291 average, scored 390 runs, and won a Silver Slugger Award at 1st base in 1981.
There can be no doubt that the Philadelphia Phillies first-ever foray into free agency was well worth the enormous financial expenditure. It was 36-years ago today that the historic signing happened.