Doylestown Daily Intelligencer - April 11, 1980

On Paper, Phils Are Looking Very Tough

 

New Version of Phils Promise Great Season

 

Another opening another show. At least until May 22 strike to be deadline major league baseball will be happening in Philadelphia. Tonight at 6 05 the Phillies open the 1980 baseball season against the the Montreal Expos.

 

What happens to the Phillies in 1980 depends on the team staying free from injures for the better part of the season and wnat happens in the coming; weeks in talks between the Players Association and the owners.

 

On paper the Phils have to be considered the number one every day team in all of baseball. The first eight: Pete Rose, Manny Trillo, Larry Bowa, Mike Schmidt, Bob Boone, Greg Luzinski, Garry Maddox and Bake McBride have to be one of the most talented. But no one has ever won anything on paper.

 

Anyway, with tonight's opener the first and foremost happening in the Philadelphia area, here is a capsule look at new manager Dallas Green and the team.

 

DALLAS GREEN - A very solid baseball man. Former major league pitcher with size 6'5" 235 to back up his policies. Green strives on fundamentals and conditioning with a better than average manager's knack on the handling of pitchers. Green believes in playing the game hard and has instructed his pitchers to add what he calls the purpose pitch. Said purpose pitch is whats coming when the pitcher is ahead 0-2 in the count. In the old days it used to be called the knock down or brush back pitch.

 

PETE ROSE - No other like him in baseball. Plays the game only one way, very hard. He didn't get the nickname "Charlie Hustle" for nothing. Will even be more productive this season since he'll be starting and finishing as the team's leadoff hitter. Just to see him play is worth the price of admission. A constant talker. Plays the game with more confidence than any other player in the game today.

 

 

MANNY TRILLO - May be disappointment of 1980. Seems to have lost something in his stroke since broken wrist sidelined him for a spell last season. Would have been number two hitter in lineup if he had a better spring. One of baseball's top defensive second basemen. Has to go some though to catch up with Pittsburgh's Phil Garner and Los Angeles Davey Lopes in all around consistency.

 

LARRY BOWA - Number one shortstop in all of baseball. A tough competitor, but has tendency to get down on himself when going through a slump. Could be more selective at plate. Most vocal player in clubhouse. Always says what's on his mind. He may not always be right but he's not afraid to speak up for what he believe. Too many of today's ballplayers lack this touch of brass.

 

MIKE SCHMIDT - Baseball's premier third baseman. Knows his role and is willing to sacrifice average for home run and RBI. Has a tendency of trying to be too fine. No one plays third base any better. Possibly baseball's top all-around athlete. Could hit 50 home runs if he stays healthy.

 

BOB BOONE - Has developed into NL's number one catcher. A constant worker, master of physical conditioning. Still has tender knee from off season operation but has learned to play with pain. Knows NL hitters and how to handle pitchers. Articulate talker.

 

GREG LUZINSKI - Silent type who leads by example. Should have banner year in 1980. Takes the game more seriously than many know. Tries at times to do it all himself which hurts him more than it helps. Could be needed leader of ballclub if he'd show more emotion.

 

GARRY MADDOX - Excellent defensive centerfielder, none better. Free swinger at the plate. Deep thinker, very sensitive. Currently unsigned which may lead him to another team. Seems to be a silent riff between him and Green, which could quicken forthcoming trade. Green has down-played his offensive skills.

 

BAKE MCBRIDE - Doesn't know how good he could be. Will be team's number two hitter until he proves he can not do the job. Underrated defensive outfielder. Seems to be more outgoing this season, opened up personality. Has potential to be consistent 300 hitter and 50-plus base stealer.

 

GREG GROSS - Many believe he could be starter for a number of other clubs. Many said the same about Tommy Hutton. Can fill in at all three outfield positions without a much-noticed loss.

 

DEL UNSER - Has developed into top pinch-hitter. Has learned to discipline self at plate knowing you get but one pitch to hit each at bat. Can play outfield and will be late defensive replacement for Rose at first base.

 

LONNIE SMITH - Centerfielder of the future. Exciting speed. Can make things happen. Better than average hitter. Defensive skills need polish.

 

GEORGE VUKOVICH - Earned spot on roster with impressive spring bat. Rookie still to be tested in major leagues.

 

JOHN VUKOVICH - Throwback to ballplayers of the past. Worked very hard at learning to be number three catcher. Can also play infield, especially third base. Defensive ability unquestioned. Has yet to prove he can hit major league pitching, although he did have a good start with the Reds a few years back, before he was taken off of third when Rose moved in and George Foster went to left field.

 

KEITH MORELAND - Promising catching prospect. Will be pleasant surprise with bat. Can be next Johnny Bench.

 

LUIS AGUAYO - Along with Moreland, Smith, pitcher Scott Munninghoff and George Vukovich will be one of five rookies on Phils' roster. Fine defensive utility infielder who can also play the outfield. Can hit the long ball. Made the team with daily impressiveness during the spring.

 

STEVE CARLTON - NL's premier left-hander. Had finest spring of all pitchers in camp. Could win 20. Lives and works in own world. Has own conditioning program. Incommunicado with media.

 

RANDY LERCH - Yet to find consistency. Potentially has best left arm in NL. Has tendency to lose concentration. Could be traded if he fails to produce this season.

 

DICK RUTHVEN - All depends on recovery from off-season elbow surgery. When he's right, he's one of NL's top right banders. Phillies are in trouble if he does not come through.

 

LARRY CHRlSTENSON - Injury prone. Would have been traded if 100 percent healthy. Phils can not wait any longer for him to reach forecast potential.

 

NINO ESPINOSA - Another question mark because of nagging shoulder stiffness. Is on 21-day disabled list. Will be brought along slowly. Can give Phils top staff if he returns to mid-season form of last year.

 

TUG MCGRAW - Had off-season in 1980 (sic - 1979). People are starting to wonder. Needs to be at top form for Phils to win. One of last remaining players on team who knows how to keep clubhouse atmosphere loose.

 

RON REED - Will be pressed this year as number one right-handed stopper out of bullpen by Lerrin LaGrow. Has to be used just right to be effective. Had rib cage problem during spring.

 

LERRIN LAGROW - Could be surprise of bullpen corps. Knows how and when to throw "purpose pitch." Isn't afraid to go at hitter. Also throws split-finger fastball.

 

KEVIN SAUCIER - Heir apparent to McGraw. Gutsy left-hander who will be used in middle innings unless McGraw falters.

 

DICKIE NOLES - Earned spot on roster because of the way he pitched after being recalled from Oklahoma City last season when Phils lost Ruthven and Christenson One of Green's favorites. Will also be used in middle timings, but could revert to starting role if Ruthven and Christenson are bothered with injuries.

 

SCOTT MUNNINGHOFF - Another rookie who earned job with impressive spring. Keeps the ball down, throws a lot of ground balls. Another one of Green's favorites. Will be tested early. Likely candidate to go back when Espinosa comes off disabled list.

 

SEASON OUTLOOK-Phils should jump out on top. There is a feeling of hunger for winning. However, future of season, if there is one after May 22, depends on pitching Color this a big question mark right now.

 

Play ball!