04/15/2003 9:26 AM ET
Carlton, Schmidt made their mark
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
Schmidt and Carlton bobbing head dolls highlight salute to 1980s weekend in June
PHILADELPHIA -- The number of last names on the cover of the 2003 media
guide is 517, representing every player who wore Phillies pinstripes at Veterans
Stadium, now in its 33rd year at the corner of Broad and Pattison.
Go ahead and count. There are three Joneses and three Jordans, yet only one
Smith. There's Andersen and Anderson, Matthews and Mathews. There's the obscure
(Campusano and Scarce) and the familiar (Bowa and Luzinski).
Among the recognizable names are two that leap out: Schmidt and Carlton.
Both earned Hall of Fame honors wearing Phillies red. Both left the home
fans with historic memories. Both were instrumental in the 1980 World Series championship
season. In the Series, Carlton beat the Royals in Game 2 and the deciding Game 6.
Schmidt smacked two homers and was MVP of the Series and the National League.
The pair rank the 1980 celebration after beating the Royals as their
greatest memory -- not like that should be a surprise.
"The memorable years were when we all put it together, 1980 through 1983,"
said Schmidt, who is also of the opinion that the 1981 team was better than the
team that won it all. "To me that's what I remember most."
Both had their numbers retired at the Vet and both will dominate the fans'
voting this summer for the Phillies' All-Veterans Stadium team. That 12-member
group will be unveiled Sept. 27, the next-to-last game in the stadium's history,
before that afternoon's game against the Braves.
Carlton arrived in a trade from St. Louis in a controversial swap for
pitcher Rick Wise before the 1972 season. In 1971, Wise accomplished an amazing
task when he no-hit the Reds and slugged two home runs.
"Lefty" quickly erased any negative feelings about the trade with a 27-10
season in 1972, one of the greatest performances in Phillies and baseball history.
Included was a 15-game winning streak, the only bright spot for a last-place team
that won 59 games.
"We knew we didn't have to score many runs on nights Lefty pitched," said
manager Larry Bowa, the shortstop on that team. "We were a World Series team every
The game generally would also be over in under two hours, as quick as
Carlton was known to work.
Carlton made his Veterans Stadium debut against his ex-St. Louis mates,
beating Bob Gibson, 1-0, on April 19, 1972 in 93 minutes, the fastest game in Vet
history. His last Vet appearance as a Phillies pitcher also came against the
Cardinals, in a five-inning outing June 21, 1986.
Other memories for Carlton include winning his 100th and 200th games at the
Vet. Another major milestone came April 29, 1981, when he entered a game against Montreal three strikeouts away from 3,000.
Broadcaster Chris Wheeler was there.
"He went right out and struck out the side," said Wheeler. "(Home plate umpire) Frank Pulli said he was going to get that over with. He wasn't kidding."
Schmidt was a homegrown talent since being selected in the second-round of
the June 1971 First-Year Player Draft out of Ohio University. He arrived in
September 1972 -- wearing number 22 -- and struck out in his first at-bat on Sept.
12 against the Mets. His first home run came four days later at the Vet against
Balor Moore of the Expos. His 548th and final homer also came at home, May 2, 1989,
off Houston.s Jim Deshaies.
In between his other milestone homers --- 100th, 200th, 300th, 400th and
500th all came on the road.
"It would've been nice to get some of those milestones at home," Schmidt
said. "You can't tell when you're going to do things."
Schmidt still had many great games at the Vet. He is one of two Phillies to
hit four consecutive home runs there -- spread over two games. In another game, he
struck out four times on 12 pitches and then hit the 13th pitch for a dramatic,
game-winning two-run homer in the last of the ninth.
One enduring memory of Schmidt came in 1985, when he wore Larry
Andersen's wig. Schmidt had been critical of Philly fans in an out-of-town
newspaper and a major backlash was expected when he stepped on the field in
"They talked me into it and I ended up thinking that it might ease the
tension of the moment, and that's what happened," Schmidt said. "(The fans)
appreciated it because it was something totally out of character for me."
The team plans to honor Schmidt in many ways this season. Fans coming to the
game on June 20 will receive a Carlton bobblehead. A Schmidt bobblehead will be
given out to fans for the June 22 game. Theirs will also be two of four 10-foot
bronze statues -- along with Richie Ashburn and Robin Roberts -- that will be
placed around the stadium.
"I have a lot of memories there. (Veterans Stadium) was the result of an
era -- the technology, multi-purpose (stadium), Astroturf," Schmidt said. "It made all the sense in the
world. Fewer rainouts. Now we've come full circle to what people want -- green
grass, closeness to the field, seats that point toward home plate, music, getting
the old-time feeling back in the game. When the season starts next season, I think
people will forget about the Vet."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for
MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball
or its clubs.