As the story goes, Pete Rose said to Larry Bowa just as he was getting ready to head to the plate to lead off the eighth inning of the deciding Game 5 of the 1980 NLCS and said, "Get on and we'll win this thing..."
So choking up on that knobless Adirondack, Bowa laced the third pitch into center field for a single with the Phillies trailing the Astros, by three runs in the eighth inning.
That's three runs in the eighth inning against Nolan Ryan ...
In a game started by a rookie pitcher, Marty Bystrom, making his sixth major league start...
In fact, Bystrom said manager Dallas Green didn't tell him he was started the game until the night prior. Of course, the Phillies had to win Game 4 in 10 innings to force the finale.
"I hadn't pitched in nine or 10 days and Dallas came up to me after Game 4 and said, 'You got the ball tomorrow, kid,'" Bystrom said. "I said, 'I'm ready.'"
Bystrom called that NLCS finale "the toughest game I ever pitched." More than just the pressure of a game with the World Series on the line, Bystrom recalled that the noise from the fans in the Astrodome was deafening.
"I took a suggestion from Steve Carlton and put cotton in my ears," Bystrom said, adding that pitching with Rose, Mike Schmidt, Bowa and Bob Boone on his side in the field made things a lot easier.
The Phillies ended up scoring five runs in the eighth inning off Ryan, lefty Joe Sambito and starter Ken Forsch. Boone, the slowest running catcher in the league, got an infield hit, followed by a bunt single from Greg Gross. Five pitches into the inning and Ryan had already loaded the bases for Rose, who took a seven-pitch walk to force in a run.
A ground out by Keith Moreland against Sambito scored a second run and put runners on second and third for Schmidt. With a chance to be the hero, Schmidt took three straight strikes from Forsch for the second out.
But pinch hitter Del Unser delievered an RBI single to tie it and Manny Trillo laced a two-run triple for the lead. The Phillies were in the drivers' seat.
Only Tug McGraw, pitching in his eighth game in 11 days (and all five games in the NLCS) gave up two runs in the bottom of the eighth. That was 14 2/3 innings over eight games. Counting the postseason, McGraw had 14 multi-inning saves with 108 innings in 66 appearances in 1980. Looking at another two-inning save in Game 5, McGraw was out of gas.
Starter Dick Ruthven pitched a scoreless ninth and 10th in his first appearance since going seven innings in Game 2. In the process, Ruthven became another one of the unheralded heroes of the 1980 postseason with Gross, Unser, Bystrom, Bake McBride and Lonnie Smith.
Anyway, here is four-plus hours of Game 5. Don't watch it all it once ... it's too crazy.