Tag Archives: Philadelphia Phillies

1980 Phillies had a vital walk-off win in their World Series path

I’ve noted before that I enjoy walk-offs with a 6-5 final score, since that was the final score of the greatest walk-off of them all (the 1986 Mets beating the Red Sox in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series).

Turns out that the 1980 Phillies can stake a claim to a pretty cool 6-5 walk-off win on their way to a championship.

I’m referring to their 156th game of the season. They entered their game against the Cubs trailing the Expos by ½ a game in the standings after losing two of three to Montreal. A Bill Buckner (!) RBI double tied the score at two in the seventh inning and Steve Dillard’s RBI ground out put the Cubs ahead. But the Phillies tied the game in their half of the seventh on Pete Rose’s RBI grounder. That would be the last scoring for a while.

Among those who pitched in relief and pitched well were Hall-of-Famers Lee Smith and Bruce Sutter for the Cubs, and standouts Tug McGraw and Sparky Lyle for the Phillies. There was no more scoring in this one until the top of the 15th when the Cubs plated a pair of unearned runs, set up by an error by pitcher Dickie Noles.

But the Phillies weren’t done. Lonnie Smith led off the home 15th with a walk and Pete Rose followed with one as well. A wild pitch advanced each runner a base, and Bake McBride brought home Smith with a ground out.

Next up was Mike Schmidt, who won NL MVP that season and delivered countless big hits along the way. Not this time. With Rose representing the tying run on third base and one out, Schmidt popped out to second base.

The Phillies were undaunted. Down to their last out, they tied the game on Gary Maddox’s single. It should be noted that Maddox had been benched with Greg Luzinski and Bob Boone that day for manager Dallas Green for recent offensive struggles. The three were not happy, with Maddox going as far as to blame an article by young Philadelphia Inquirer sportswriter Jayson Stark for his benching (seriously??). But Maddox redeemed himself. And after a hit by Keith Moreland and a walk to Larry Bowa, Manny Trillo singled home Maddox with the winning run.

This was a vital win for the Phillies, one needed to keep pace with the Expos, who won that night. The Phillies would go on to edge out the Expos in the final weekend of the season to win the division title. It probably wouldn’t have been possible without this win.

If you want to hear Jayson Stark’s take on this game, listen to this interview he did a few weeks ago

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The time there were inside-the-park walk-off HR on consecutive days

The walk-off inside-the-park home run is normally an every few years sort of occurrence. In the time for which Baseball-Reference.com has data (1925 to 2018), there have been 27 documented. It’s a cool list of players, one highlighted by Reggie Jackson and Ken Griffey Jr.

There is only one instance in this time of two walk-off inside-the-park home runs being hit in the same season. In fact, they were hit on consecutive days!

The first came in a game between the Phillies and Astros on August 1, 1966. The Astros came back from three runs down to tie the game in the ninth, and nearly went ahead in the 10th when Jim Wynn tried to steal home. The Astros contended afterwards that Wynn beat the tag at the plate, but umpire Ed Vargo called him out.

It got worse for Wynn in the bottom of the inning. In attempting to catch a fly ball hit by Richie Allen (also known as Dick Allen, which will be important in a bit), Wynn crashed into the fence and disclocated both his elbow and wrist. Allen circled the bases for the walk-off inside-the-park home run. Wynn recovered from the injuries well enough to play nearly the full 1967 season, in which he hit a career-high 37 home runs.

Let’s fast forward one day and 3,000 miles across the country, where the Angels are hosting the Yankees. The Angels trailed 5-1, but rallied to tie. The last two runs came with two outs in the ninth inning against the Yankees closer that day, Hall-of-Famer Whitey Ford.

As if it wasn’t enough that Ford failed that day, how about this: Angels third baseman Paul Schaal batted with the score tied. He hit a line drive to shallow center. Mickey Mantle came racing in for the ball, and missed it. The ball went past him and went all the way to the wall. Schaal joked to sportswriters that it took him five minutes to circle the bases, but he beat the throw home for a walk-off inside-the-park home run.

To which I’d say: Find me another story in which Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle were the goats!

As I’ve noted before, I use old time newspaper stories to write this recap and when you get to a page with a game story, you often find yourself scanning the whole page. In this case, the second page of the game story in the Los Angeles Times is next to an article labeling Mantle ‘The Colossal Cripple.’ The story is about how Mantle is finally getting recognition he deserved as fans realize the end is near.

But there’s something smaller that also caught my eye, a really small ad for “Mr. Toyota” in nearby Inglewood. And who is Mr. Toyota in this case?

A man by the name of Dick Allen. (Please allow the artistic license to make for a fun coincidence!)

The story of Pete Rose’s last walk-off RBI

Pete Rose played in 199 walk-off wins, the most of any player for which Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index has data. That might be the most all-time, though I’m wondering about the totals for the likes of Ty Cobb. Regardless, it’s not surprising that Rose had so many given his longevity.

What I thought was most interesting in Rose’s walk-off ledger was that his 20th and final walk-off RBI was a triple as a 45-year-old player manager in 1986 for the Reds against the Phillies, a month prior to the last game of his playing career.

How amazing that someone of Rose’s age, aptly named Charlie Hustle, would continue to live up to that moniker right to his final days in the big leagues.

And then I was disappointed by an the account of one Philadelphia sportswriter, who said that Rose had been given the triple in error, that he’d never reached (or presumably come close to) third base.

Nonetheless, the scoring stands 32 years later and it’s apt that a goofy decision remains intact given the bonkers nature of the baseball game in which it happened. Let us summarize the newspaper accounts and the box score thusly:

“It was weird. And it was wild. And it was wacky,” wrote a young Jsyson Stark in the pages of the Philadelphia Inquirer the next morning. “But was it baseball?”

Indeed it can be confirmed that each team fielded nine men and moments involving sticks, gloves and spheres took place on a dirt field, surrounded by greenery. So it was baseball. And it was weird.

Though the teams combined for 13 runs, each team yielded three unearned runs. A Rose error opened the door to two Phillies runs in the seventh inning, allowing the visitors to go ahead 3-2 on Jeff Stone’s two-run single.

In the ninth inning, two more Reds errors turned a 4-3 Phillies lead into a seemingly safe 6-3 cushion. Except it wasn’t so safe.

The Reds scored three runs to tie in excruciating fashion. Phillies second baseman Juan Samuel botched a potential double play grounder. The tying run scored with two outs on a passed ball by Phillies catcher John Russell.

Onwards this game went into the 11th inning. Max Venable started the winning rally for the Reds with a walk against reliever Tom Gorman (best known for allowing an 18th inning home run to pitcher Rick Camp the year before). After a force play, Rose came up. Phillies right fielder Glenn Wilson played shallow, not expecting the right-handed Rose to drive the ball to the opposite field.

But that’s what Rose did. Phillies rightfielder Glenn Wilson retreated to try to catch it, overran it, recovered, but then had the ball clunk off his body and his right hand, and fall away. The winning run scored and Rose had his final walk-off RBI. It was the only one scored a triple.