Sunday, August 28, 2011

Baseball in Korea

Hello, faithful readers. You may have noticed that my posts here have been less frequent than they once were. There's a big reason for that: I'm currently working in Korea, and I've been so busy adjusting to life here that I haven't had as much time or inspiration to write on this blog (though I do make an effort to put up at least one new post per month).

It just so happens that baseball is pretty popular in Korea, and I live in a city represented by a professional team. Yesterday I went to my first game, and I shared the experience on my Korean blog. If you want to read about it, you can check out my post here.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

PTWSW #77: The 1980 Philadelphia Phillies

Manager: Dallas Green
Record: 91-71
Ballpark: Veterans Stadium
Owner: Ruly Carpenter
GM: Paul Owens
Coaches: Ruben Amaro, Billy DeMars, Lee Elia, Mike Ryan, Herm Starrette, Bobby Wine

Future Hall of Famers: Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt

All-Stars: Steve Carlton, Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt

Team Leaders, Batting

BA: Bake McBride, .309
OBP: Mike Schmidt, .380
SLG: Mike Schmidt, .624 (NL leader)
OPS: Mike Schmidt, 1.004 (NL leader)
2B: Pete Rose, 42 (NL leader)
3B: Bake McBride, 10
HR: Mike Schmidt, 48 (NL leader)
RBI: Mike Schmidt, 121 (NL leader)
BB: Mike Schmidt, 89
SB: Lonnie Smith, 33

Team Leaders, Pitching

W: Steve Carlton, 24 (NL leader)
SO: Steve Carlton, 286 (NL leader)
ERA: Steve Carlton, 2.34
IP: Steve Carlton, 304.0 (NL leader)
CG: Steve Carlton, 13
SHO: Steve Carlton, 3
K/BB: Steve Carlton, 3.18 (NL leader)
SV: Tug McGraw, 20


Oldest Player: Pete Rose (b. April 14, 1941)

Youngest Player: Mark Davis (b. October 19, 1960)

First to Leave Us: Nino Espinosa (d. December 24, 1987) Espinosa was working as a scout for the Cubs when he died of a heart attack at the age of 34.

Last Survivor: Most are still living as of the date of this post.

First in Majors: Tim McCarver (debut September 10, 1959)

Last in Majors: Mark Davis (final game September 28, 1997)

First to Play For the Franchise: Larry Bowa and Tim McCarver (April 7, 1970)

Last to Play For the Franchise: Mark Davis (July 1, 1993)

Pre-union Team: No team had more than two of these guys.

Reunion Team: The 1983-84 Cubs, under general manager Dallas Green, had six each: Larry Bowa, Warren Brusstar, Bob Dernier (1984), Jay Loviglio (1983), Keith Moreland, Dickie Noles and Dick Ruthven.


Mike Schmidt, NL MVP
Steve Carlton, NL Cy Young Award
Mike Schmidt, NL Third Base Gold Glove
Garry Maddox, NL Outfield Gold Glove
Manny Trillo, NL Second Base Silver Slugger
Mike Schmidt, NL Third Base Silver Slugger

Season Summary

There were 16 major league franchises when the Modern Era began in 1901, and by the mid-1960's each of them had a World Series title to its name...except one: the Philadelphia Phillies. They'd only won two league pennants in that time, and between their two appearances in the Fall Classic they'd only managed to win one game. The late 1970's had been a successful but frustrating period for the Phillies; from 1976 to 1978 they'd won three straight division titles but fallen short of a pennant each time. In 1979 injuries and a shaky bullpen did them in, and manager Danny Ozark was replaced by Dallas Green at the end of August. Before the 1980 season, many experts picked the Phillies to rebound with a roster back at full strength.

At the heart of the Phillies' attack were two superstars: third baseman Mike Schmidt and pitcher Steve Carlton. Schmidt led the league with 48 homers and a .624 slugging percentage, earning the NL MVP award in the process. The Phils' rotation wasn't anything special after Carlton, but fortunately, the lefty turned in a Cy Young-winning season where he notched 24 victories, posted a 2.34 ERA and led the league with 286 strikeouts. The bullpen also returned to form, led by closer Tug McGraw and his 1.46 ERA.

The National League was fairly tightly-packed in 1980. While Philly didn't spend much of the summer in first place, they were never far behind the Pirates or Expos, the two teams who'd gone down to the wire the previous season. Things got a little precarious in early August, when a stretch of poor play (the nadir of which was a four-game sweep in Pittsburgh) put them six games behind their two competitors (who were tied for first) on August 10. It looked like a repeat of last year's race was on the horizon, but the Phillies won eight of their next nine to get back into shape. Around that time the Pirates lost their mojo, and they soon fell out of the race. The Expos stayed in the running though, and they were tied with the Phils with three games left in the season. As if it had been written by Hollywood, the final three-game series matched up Montreal and Philadelphia. Philadelphia won the first game, then clinched the division in the second, when Schmidt's two-run homer in the eleventh sealed the deal.

The NLCS against the Astros was a dramatic affair; four of the five games went into extra innings. Game 1 was a pretty straightforward Phillie win, but the Astros knotted the series in Game 2 with a four-run explosion in the tenth inning. Game 3 was scoreless until the eleventh, when Denny Walling's sacrifice fly gave Houston a 2-1 series edge. With their backs against the wall, the Phillies carried a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth in Game 4 only to see it disappear on Terry Puhl's RBI single. Unfazed, Philadelphia scored two runs in the top of tenth on back-to-back doubles from Greg Luzinski and Manny Trillo to tie the series at two games apiece. The final game featured several late-inning rallies which kept either team from feeling safe, and once again, the matter was settled in extras. The winning blow proved to be Garry Maddox's RBI double in the tenth, giving Philly its first pennant in 30 years.

The Kansas City Royals, led by American League MVP George Brett, were a worthy World Series opponent. Behind rookie emergency starter Bob Walk, the Phillies managed to win Game 1, then rode an eighth-inning rally to victory in Game 2. The Royals won Game 3 on a tenth-inning single, then pulled even with a victory in Game 4. K.C. took a 3-2 lead into the ninth inning of Game 5, but the Phillies scored two runs off relief ace Dan Quisenberry, the go-ahead run coming on a single off the Quiz's glove. McGraw escaped a jam in the bottom of the inning to preserve the win, sending the Series back to the City of Brotherly Love with the hometown team one win away from a long-awaited championship. The Phils controlled Game 6 most of the way; they carried a 4-1 lead into the ninth inning, but they wouldn't escape without some drama. The Royals loaded the bases with one out, and the second out required a great play from first baseman Pete Rose on a foul pop-up. McGraw struck out Willie Wilson to nail down the win.

After 97 seasons without reaching the top of the baseball mountain, the Phillies at long last sat on the summit. The World Series MVP matched the one from the regular season: Mike Schmidt's two homers, seven RBI and 1.176 OPS proved to be the Philadelphia side's standout performance.


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