Dick Young gave glowing marks to Philadelphia Mayor Bill Green, Police Commissioner Morton Solomon, and the Philadelphia Police Department for their work during the night of the Phillies' World Series victory. He gave them credit for the relative lack of violence and destruction, and especially the good behavior at beautiful (yes, HE said beautiful) Veterans Stadium.
|From the October 23, 1980
edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer:
How Others View This World Series
By Dick Young, New York Daily News
This city, which taught America much in its restless youth, held out an important lesson to us all on Tuesday night, in a ballpark not too many miles from Independence Hall. Philadelphia show us that people will respect authority, even people bent on anarchy under the guise of good clean fun, if that authority makes itself known.
This is the most important story to come out of the World Series. The stars of the World Series are William Green and Morton Solomon, more so than Dallas Green and Mike Schmidt. William Green is the mayor of Philadelphia. Morton Solomon is its police commissioner. Together, they pulled off a play that was more exciting, more impressive, more memorable than the freaky tip-out that Bob Boone and Pete Rose collaborated on in front of the Phillies dugout.
The Green-Solomon DP began in the middle of the seventh inning. As the K.C. players trotted out to their positions, mounted police, 10 of them, entered the outfield track in the right-field corner and paraded majestically along the fringe to the left field corner, single file, where they disappeared from view for the moment. The handsomely groomed horses strutted as proudly as any show horse I have seen at Madison Square Garden in New York. The uniformed police atop them, tall in the saddle and helmeted for stoic effect, held themselves rigidly proud. A buzz swept the 65,000 citizens packed into the stands. They were impressed. I was impressed as hell.
This was a show of power. There had been scare stories all across Philadelphia for the 24 previous hours. Philadelphia was on the verge of being destroyed. The Goths were at the gates. As soon as the Phillies clinched the World Series, as though on signal, the city would become one big Liberty Bell- cracked. Beautiful Veterans Stadium, The Vet, would be leveled. The AstroTurf? Forget it. It would be torn up and used for wallpaper in apartments the length and breadth of the town.
I am pleased to report that on this, the day after, Philadelphia lives. The Vet is still there, magnificently intact. The AstroTurf field bears not a scar, except for a few road apples here and there. The cavalry forgot its pooper-scoopers, but what the hell. Nobody’s perfect.
The second part of the Green-Solomon DP came just as the game ended. Tug McGraw was facing Willie Wilson with one out to go. More than 20 police, equipped with riot helmets and German shepherds, fanned out along the fence in back on home plate, positioning themselves dugout to dugout, supplementing Commissioner Solomon’s cavalry.
Willie Wilson then struck out for the 12th time in the World Series, a record, the Phillies ran onto the field and hugged and kissed each other, a record, and nobody came out of the stands onto the field, a record. They just stood there, at their seats, those 65,000 people, and yelled their heads off. They chanted for their heroes. Inside the Phillies clubhouse, somebody brought word to Dallas Green that his presence was requested outside.
“Hey, fellows,” the manager’s voice boomed across the din, “the fans are still out there. They want to see some of you guys. Let’s try to go out there.” And with that, Dallas Green, Pete Rose, Tug McGraw and a few others ran down the ramp and emerged from the dugout to take their curtain calls- surrounded by mounted police with their gleaming helmets, and the furry police with their gleaming teeth- and it was wonderful what a good time everyone can have without wrecking the place.
The key word is deterrent. Don’t let anybody tell you that fear of punishment is not a deterrent to lawlessness. If a few dogs on leashes and a few policemen on horses can command respect, think of what an electric chair might do. Just the sight of it, as there was just the sight of the Philadelphia police on that memorable night at the end of the 1980 World Series.
Earlier that evening, a TV type had interviewed a group of four or five teen-agers in the stands.
“Are you going to run onto the field after the game?” she asked, planting the seed if need be. “Oh, sure,” they said. “Yeah, we’re gonna be down there.”
“What about the cops?” she dared.
“We’ll run right past them,” said the kid, grinning.
Something must have changed his mind.
I salute you, Philadelphia, on behalf of My America. Not for your pennant. Not for your World Series. But for what you may have done to awaken people with one simple object lesson.
Dick Young, sports editor of the New York Daily News and a former president of the Baseball Writers Association of America, has been covering baseball for more than 40 years.