When Philadelphia Fans Rooted for Dallas

Yesterday brought the sad news of Dallas Green’s death. Most of the memories of the manager of the 1980 Phillies’ team go back to his role that year in taking a squad that had so much talent but couldn’t cross the finish line to a pennant or championship. Here is one example.

But some of us remember Green when he was a lack luster pitcher. In his 8 years on the mound he had a record of 20-22, and an ERA of 4.26. For this Old Lifer, Dallas Green was part of the team that I first started to follow, the one that in 1964 collapsed at the end of the year and saw the Cardinals go to the World Series to play the Yankees. In that year, Green went 2-1 with an ERA of 5.79.

One of his losses that year was to the team to which the other Old Lifer in residence, Mr. Muether, is partial, namely, the New York Mets. The Mets are the archenemies of the Phillies, just as the Cowboys are the team that Eagles’ fans despise. In 1964, Green’s only loss was to the Mets. Green came in relief and gave up the run that went down as the game winner.

Green was by all accounts one of those baseball guys who esteemed grit and determination more than talent — which may square with his own abilities as a player. As a manager, he was not necessarily more successful, though he did take the Phillies to the promised land. He had an 8 year career of 454-478. Most of his wins (229) came with the Mets, which makes Green the rare baseball career that transcends Old Life rooting conflicts. Most of his losses also came during his four years with the Mets (283).

I don’t think Mr. Muether will deny a Phillies’ fan the pleasure of claiming that Green’s best years on earth were with the Phillies (a winning percentage as a manager of .565). For this Old Lifer, his orchestration of the 1980 championship was surely memorable. But even more lasting was the impression he made on the boy who became an Old Lifer. To see the green of that grass as the background for the red and white of those uniforms is an image that someone never forgets (until Alzheimer’s kicks in).

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4 thoughts on “When Philadelphia Fans Rooted for Dallas

  1. Darryl, Thank you for this remembrance of Dallas Green (an oldie but goodie) and his grit and determination which served him so well as manager of the Phillies in 1980. As one who suffered the Phillies 1964 end of season collapse (my childhood big hurt 🙂 ), I view Dallas as the indispensable overseer of the success of that World Series season.

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  2. It is sad to hear of his passing. One of the stories I remember hearing about Green when he was a manager was that some of the players grumbled that Lefty didn’t have to follow the same training regimen that all the other players had to. So Green let them train with Lefty and they returned to Green’s regimen a couple of days later.

    I think one of the reasons why Green succeeded in 1980 was the grit over talent aspect of his playing days. I think that allowed him to be a better instructor because sometimes too many things are instinctive for those who have a lot of talent and thus they have less to teach.

    And 1964 is a permanent scar.

    BTW, something to add about the Cowboys and the Eagles. Every team in the NFL East despises the Cowboys which is why I call Villain-ova the Dallas Cowboys of the Big 5.

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