SI Vault
Ron Fimrite
October 27, 1980
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
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October 27, 1980

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

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The balls in question were special-edition World Series models, which ostensibly differ from the American and National League balls only in the logo and the signature, which is Commissioner Bowie Kuhn's. The Phillies had observed in batting practice that the new balls were harder than usual. But, then, the season has yet to be played when the players haven't complained about balls. And, good or bad, the balls were no different for the Kansas City pitchers. Even though he was throwing ice cubes, Carlton did last long enough to win, and as Schmidt commented, "Steve at his worst will keep us in every game that he pitches."

The Phillies' reserves, especially Unser, Greg Gross and Moreland, a former University of Texas third baseman and defensive back, have also done their share of game-keeping. It was Unser who ignited this night's winning rally and More-land, subbing for Luzinski, established that the DH rule is more help than hindrance to the National Leaguers. He got the first hit off Gura, scored the first run and drove in the last one. "We've got the juices flowing in that dugout," said Green. "I just say, 'Hey bench, get things going.' And it does." "This team used to be eight regulars, four starting pitchers and a reliever," said Shortstop Larry Bowa. "Dallas has utilized 25 players. When the late innings come along, we have guys who know they'll contribute."

Hal McRae got the Royals' last hit in the ninth, and before he was forced at second he had a conversation with the garrulous Rose. "If you guys win this one, you'll be in great shape," McRae said. "We've still got a long way to go," Rose responded. "You know who you're talking to, so don't give me any of that bull," McRae replied tartly. "You want to trade places?"

Rose did not.

game 3

And so it was on to Kansas City, a town that had never before experienced a World Series. Lord knows the citizens were up for the occasion. By student-body vote, a K.C. grade school became the George Brett Southeast Elementary School for the week, the teachers appearing in class wearing Royals shirts and the sign on the door of Principal Les Short's office reading DARRELL PORTER, PRINCIPAL. Baseball madness even affected the drama critics. Consider the lead sentence of a review in The Kansas City Star. "I'm not afraid to use him in any situation," Green...said of his clutch player, Unser, "and that's pretty much the way producers—the smart ones—feel about Patty Duke Astin."

Brett, the city's bachelor king, said he was gleefully anticipating the Phillies' reaction to a town many of them might yet regard as a frontier outpost. "They'll come in here expecting to see Matt Dillon on the street, Miss Kitty in the saloon and horses tied to the hitching post," said George.

Brett himself was the source of good news after the team's sorry showing in Philly. His pain had been alleviated, at least for the time being, by surgery, and he would play in Game 3. The proctologist, as the wags had it, came through in the end. In fact, that physician, John Heryer, held a press conference to explain just how the problem was surgically resolved, surely a first in World Series history. At the ballpark Brett appeared chipper, if a trifle wan. He had stayed in bed all of the off day, he said, not getting up until three hours before this game. He warded off a succession of execrable jokes with some of his own. "The pain," he said confidently, "is behind me."

And to prove his point, he slammed a bases-empty home run into the seats down the rightfield line in the very first inning. The Phillies tied the score in the second when, with the bases loaded, Royals starter Rich Gale knocked down Lonnie Smith's hard grounder back to the mound and, in obvious confusion, threw to first base instead of home for an easy force on Manny Trillo. The Royals took the lead again in the fourth on Aikens' twisting triple to left and McRae's single and then were tied once more, in the fifth, when Schmidt homered into the Phillies' bullpen in leftfield. The Royals forged ahead yet again in the seventh on Otis' homer, but the Phils came back when Rose, ending an 0 for 10 drought, singled home Bowa.

For the fifth time since the regular season ended, the Phillies had carried a reluctant opponent into extra innings, while leaving 15 men on base. The Phillies had yet another chance in the 10th, but Schmidt's screaming line drive was speared by Frank White, who doubled Boone off second after the catch. Quisenberry, given a second chance against his tormentors of a few days ago, rushed over to pump the hand of the second baseman. "DP all the way," he remarked later. Now it was the Royals' turn. With two out and two men on base, Aikens lined a 2-1 pitch from McGraw into the hole in left-center to drive home Wilson with the deciding run in the 4-3 win. It was Aikens' fifth hit of the Series.

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