This article is from the World Series edition of Sports Illustrated, dated October 27, 1980. It contains summaries of the first five games. This excerpt is from Game 5 of the Series.
|From the October 27,
1980 edition of Sports Illustrated:
One Heartstopper After Another
Philadelphia returned home with a 3-2 World Series Margin over K.C. when reliever Tug McGraw fanned Jose Cardenal to win the fifth game.
by Ron Fimrite
The question, said Mike Schmidt, made him slightly ill. “Somebody asked me if we’d run out of miracles,” the Phillies captain recalled. “Everybody keeps talking about luck and miracles and heart and character. But we’ve got talent. We’ve got Del Unser coming off the bench.” That they did and they also had Schmidt and a little bit of luck and lots of character, and they mixed it all up in a crazy, movie-script ninth inning to bring off another, well, miracle. The ninth, which can compare for raw excitement with any played in the World Series, gave the homeward-bound Phillies a 4-3 win and the edge they so desparately needed after consecutive defeats in Kansas City. Now they led three games to two, with the rest of the season to be played in their own noisy ballpark.
Appropriately, it was Schmidt himself who ignited the final wrenching rally. He had given his team its only two runs of the game in the fourth when, with McBride on base, he hit a Larry Gura changeup over the 410-foot sign in centerfield. Now he was the leadoff man in the last inning with his team trailing 3-2, and the Kansas City fans, charged as never before, howling at him to fail. Schmidt had surprised the Royals the previous evening by bunting for a hit down the third-base line, and with the score as close as it was, Brett, who normally plays Schmidt deep, played him even with the bag in the event of further trickery. But Schmidt was hitting away this time, and he sent a screamer to Brett’s left that the third baseman was able to reach with a dive, but was unable to hold.
It was the first hit off Quisenberry, who had entered the game in the seventh in relief of Gura and had been getting groundball outs with his sinker. Unser, batting for Smith, also hit a ground ball, but he hit it, as he later explained, “about as well as I can.” The hard shot skimmed off the Tartan turf just beyond the reach of Aikens’ flailing glove and bounced down the rightfield line that scored Schmidt with the tying run. Moreland sacrificed Unser to third and Brett retired Maddox on a fine throw for the second out. After Quisenberry got two quick strikes on Trillo, the Phillies second baseman lined a sinker of his own directly back to the mound. “The ball hit my glove and then the tips of my right hand,” Quisenberry said later. “He hit it hard. I didn’t have time to think. I saw it at the last millisecond, then I played hide and seek with it. I wish it would have hit me in the stomach because then it would have dropped in front of me.” Instead it rolled behind him where Brett retrieved it and tried trantically to throw in time to catch a flying Trillo. He didn’t, and Unser scored the fourth run.
But McGraw, a quintessential Phillie who thrives on stress, pitched himself into a bases-loaded situation in the ninth, walking White, whose brilliant fielding had kept the Royals in the game for most of the day, then Aikens and finally Otis, who had homered in the sixth and hiked his Series average to .550. The next hitter was Jose Cardenal, who had pinch-hit for Hurdle in the seventh. “All it broke my heart,” Hurdle said of the substitution. Although Cardenal has a reputation as a clutch-hitter, McGraw said later that he preferred pitching to him than to the red-hot Otis. For one thing, Cardenal had spent more than 10 years of his 17-year major league career in the National League, and McGraw had learned something about him. He also knew something about himself, which made him wonder if he was up to the task. “I felt guilty because my wife and I stayed up a little too late last night and I had a few extra beers,” he confessed.
McGraw had already endured anxious moment in tis tulmultuous inning. He had struck out Brett on three pitches for the first out, catching him looking at a John Jameson fastball on the outside corner, because he knew that Brett wanted a pitch he could pull. Then McGraw watched in visible horror as McRae hit a ball barely foul into the leftfield seats. At leftfield Umpire Paul Pryor’s foul signal, McGraw patted his heart in relief. But McRae forced a runner and was on second base when Cardenal came to bat.
Cardenal fouled off the first pitch and after McGraw threw high for a ball, he fouled off two more. The house organist played a rousing polka as McGraw and Boone conferred on the mound, and the crowd began clapping and cheering for the little Cuban batter. McGraw was ready. He fed him a Cutty Sark fastball that sailed inside. Cardenal swung and missed. “How would he know about a Cutty Sark?” said McGraw. “He probably doesn’t drink anything but rum.”
For the Royals, Cutty Sark was pure poison. Their clubhouse, normally as lively as a kindergarten classroom, afterward was silent and forlorn. They had tasted the bitterest of defeats.