Tuesday, August 28, 2012
For his part, Mike Schmidt was the best player on the best team in the league. His 48 home runs broke his own team record from the season before. He won the NL HR crown for a fourth time, by a margin of thirteen over Bob Horner, his nearest competitor. Added with a league leading 121 RBIs and 342 total bases... Schmidt was a unanimous choice for the National League's Most Valuable Player Award.
On October 3, 1980 the Phillies went into Montreal tied with the Expos for first place in the NL East. He vaulted the team with a sacrifice fly in the first and a solo home run in the sixth. When it was done, the Phillies won 2-1 and were sitting in first place. The next day, Schmidt hit his 48th home run of the year in the 11th inning to give the Phillies the 6-4 extra innings division clinching win over the Expos. Listen to Andy Muser's memorable HR call here.
After a dismal NLCS (24 ABs, 5 hits, one double, 1 RBI) against the Houston Astros, his bat came alive in the 1980 World Series, hitting two homers and driving in seven runs against the Kansas City Royals to earn him the World Series MVP Award.
To me, no single image of Mike Schmidt is more memorable than him jumping into the arms of Tug McGraw as the rest of the 1980 World Champion Phillies mob them. I had to use it for the 1980 redux card.