Ramón Avilés, Bob Boone, Larry Bowa, Warren Brusstar, Marty Bystrom, Steve Carlton, Larry Christenson, Greg Gross, Greg Luzinski, Garry Maddox, Bake McBride, Tug McGraw, Keith Moreland, Dickie Noles, Ron Reed, Pete Rose, Dick Ruthven, Kevin Saucier, Mike Schmidt, Lonnie Smith, Manny Trillo, Del Unser, George Vukovich.
Joaquín Andújar, Alan Ashby, Dave Bergman, Bruce Bochy, Enos Cabell, César Cedeño, José Cruz, Ken Forsch, Danny Heep, Art Howe, Frank LaCorte, Rafael Landestoy, Jeffrey Leonard, Joe Morgan, Joe Niekro, Terry Puhl, Luis Pujols, Craig Reynolds, Vern Ruhle, Nolan Ryan, Joe Sambito, Dave Smith, Denny Walling, Gary Woods.
Philadelphia won the series, 3–2.
Tuesday, October 7, 1980, at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Game 1 was the most ordinary contest of the series. Starters Ken Forsch and Steve Carlton dueled for the first five innings, with only one run scored by Houston in the third on an RBI single by Gary Woods. Philadelphia's Greg Luzinski essentially decided the game in the sixth when he homered after Pete Rose had singled. This was the only home run of the entire series. The Phillies added another run in the seventh on a run-scoring single by pinch-hitter Greg Gross. Tug McGraw relieved Carlton at the start of the eighth and allowed only a walk over the last two innings for the save. Despite pitching fairly well in a complete game effort, Forsch took the loss.
The Astros arrived in Philadelphia only hours before the first pitch after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in a one-game playoff the previous afternoon to win the Western Division championship. It was the fourth consecutive game in Los Angeles for the club, as the Dodgers swept Houston in the final three games of the regular season to force the playoff.
This was the first home postseason win for the Phillies since the 1915 World Series.
Wednesday, October 8, 1980, at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Houston evened the series in Game 2, a seesaw contest that would prove typical of the series as a whole. Houston opened the scoring in the third when Terry Puhl singled home Craig Reynolds after a sacrifice bunt by Nolan Ryan. The Phillies took the lead with two runs in the fourth on RBIs from Greg Luzinski and Garry Maddox. Houston evened the score in the seventh when Ryan walked and was doubled home by Puhl, and went ahead in the eighth after Joe Morgan doubled and scored on a single by José Cruz.
After loading the bases in the seventh but failing to score, the Phillies got a run in the eighth to tie the game 3–3 when Maddox singled home pinch-runner Lonnie Smith. The Astros went 1-2-3 in the ninth but the Phillies loaded the bases with one out in their half of the inning on singles by Bake McBride, Mike Schmidt and Smith. But Manny Trillo, who would eventually win the series MVP award, struck out and Maddox fouled out to end the threat.
The tenth inning turned disastrous for the Phillies as Houston used three hits to score four runs, with an RBI single by Cruz, a run-scoring groundout by César Cedeño, and a two-run triple by Dave Bergman. The Phillies got an unearned run in the bottom of the inning on an error by Reynolds at shortstop. But Astros reliever Joaquín Andújar came in and held on for the save to tie the series at 1-1.
Friday, October 10, 1980, at Astrodome in Houston, Texas
Houston's Astrodome was always known as a pitcher's park, and the domed stadium lived up to its reputation when the series moved there for Game 3. The two teams' pitching staffs combined to yield only thirteen hits and one run in the game's eleven innings. Houston's Joe Niekro pitched ten strong innings but missed out on what would have been a win, while Phillies closer Tug McGraw took the loss. Both teams did get men to third on a few occasions: Houston in the first and fourth and Philadelphia in the third. But the staffs held firm until the bottom of the eleventh. Joe Morgan led off the inning for the Astros with a triple to right. After two intentional walks Denny Walling hit a sacrifice fly to bring home the game's only run and give Houston the victory. The Astros were now just one win away from the franchise's first-ever appearance in the World Series.
Saturday, October 11, 1980, at Astrodome in Houston, Texas
In what was by now a familiar pattern, Game 4 turned into a back-and-forth contest that wasn't decided until extra innings.
The fourth inning of this game was especially eventful. In the top, Bake McBride and Manny Trillo opened with back-to-back singles off Vern Ruhle. Garry Maddox then hit a low liner back to the mound that Ruhle reached down and appeared to catch (replays were inconclusive). At first, plate umpire Doug Harvey signaled "no catch", but then when Ruhle threw to first baseman Art Howe to either double off Trillo or retire Maddox (according to the call), Harvey called time to confer with the other umpires. Ed Vargo and Bob Engel concurred that Ruhle caught the ball, and Harvey changed his ruling. Howe, seeing McBride at third base, then ran down and touched second for an apparent triple play as Phillies manager Dallas Green and the Phillie infielders (especially Pete Rose) heatedly protested that Ruhle trapped the ball. Meanwhile, Harvey allowed McBride to return to second (determining that his original ruling of "no catch" was what caused McBride to run to third) and declared Trillo out from being doubled off first. Astros manager Bill Virdon protested that decision, but to no avail. The umpires then consulted with National League President Chub Feeney, who was seated in the first row behind home plate, and Feeney agreed with the ruling. Green and the Phillies then resumed their heated disagreement, and both the Phillies and the Astros decided to play the game under protest. After a total of 20 minutes worth of arguing from both sides, it hardly mattered as Larry Bowa grounded out for the third out.
The bottom of the fourth featured two fielding gaffes by Phillie left fielder Lonnie Smith as the Astros got their first. Enos Cabell doubled to left on what appeared to be a catchable fly ball. Smith mistakenly turned to face the left field wall as if the ball would carom, but the ball instead dropped on the warning track a few feet away from him. After Joe Morgan grounded Cabell to third, Gary Woods walked. Howe then hit a fly ball to left that Smith caught as both runners tagged. As Smith attempted to throw home to retire Cabell, the ball slipped from his hand and Cabell scored. Woods reached second and attempted to advance to third on the miscue, but Smith recovered the ball and threw him out on a close play as the Astros protested once again.
The Astros got another run in the fifth as Luis Pujols tripled and scored on a single by Rafael Landestoy. In what would prove to be critical failings, the Astros loaded the bases in both the sixth and seventh but couldn't add to their lead. In the sixth, a run for the Astros was taken off the board when Woods left third base too early on a sacrifice fly attempt and the Phillies successfully appealed.
The Phillies took advantage by going ahead with three runs in the eighth. Pinch-hitter Greg Gross and Smith opened the inning with singles off Ruhle and Rose singled in Gross. Smith advanced to third and Rose to second on the throw to third. Mike Schmidt then beat out a grounder up the middle, scoring Smith to tie it and moving Rose to third. After McBride struck out, Trillo hit a sinking line drive that Jeffrey Leonard made a shoestring catch on and Rose tagged and scored the go-ahead run. However, on yet another "catch/no catch" controversy, Schmidt was doubled off first (ending the inning), thinking Leonard trapped the ball.
The Astros didn't go quietly and leveled the score in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI single by Terry Puhl. But the tenth was ruinous for Houston. The Phillies' Greg Luzinski doubled home Rose with the go-ahead run on a close play at the plate where Rose ran over Astros catcher Bruce Bochy. Manny Trillo then singled home Luzinski with an insurance tally. The Astros went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the tenth, and the series was tied.
Game 4 of the series was a Saturday afternoon affair that ran into the early evening of October 11. A NCAA football game between the University of Houston and Texas A&M had been scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. Rather than move the game to a different day or to another stadium, the schools elected to play the game at the Astrodome as scheduled. The conversion of the Astrodome from baseball to football took several hours and the football game did not kick off until 11:33 p.m. The game ended at 2:41 a.m. with the Houston Cougars taking a 17–13 victory over Texas A&M. The Astrodome crew then began work on converting the Dome back to a baseball setup for Game 5 of the NLCS.
Sunday, October 12, 1980, at Astrodome in Houston, Texas
Game 5 capped the series in fitting fashion, with seemingly endless surprises and excitement. The Astros jumped to an early lead in the first on a run-scoring double by José Cruz. Philadelphia bounced back to take the lead on a two-run single by Bob Boone in the second. The Astros saw Luis Pujols and Enos Cabell thrown out at the plate in the second and fifth, but finally broke through to tie the game 2–2 on an unearned run in the sixth, due to an error by Philadelphia's LF Greg Luzinski.
Houston took what seemed like a solid 5–2 lead in the seventh on an RBI single by Denny Walling, a wild pitch from Phillies reliever Larry Christenson, and a run-scoring triple by Art Howe. A three run deficit in the eighth inning against Nolan Ryan seemed insurmountable. But the Phillies would not die. They loaded the bases with nobody out on three straight singles, including an infield hit by Bob Boone and a bunt single by Greg Gross. Two runs came in on a walk to Pete Rose and a groundout by Keith Moreland. An RBI single by Del Unser tied the game 5–5, and then series MVP Manny Trillo put the Phillies ahead with a two-run triple.
The Astros promptly came back to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth, with Rafael Landestoy and José Cruz each singling in a run. Neither team scored in the ninth, but the Phillies got doubles from Unser and Garry Maddox in the tenth to take an 8–7 lead. Philadelphia's Dick Ruthven retired the Astros in order in the bottom of the tenth the last out being a soft liner to Maddox, and the Phillies had won their first pennant since 1950, while the Astros had to wait 25 years before they would make a World Series appearance. Philadelphia went on to defeat the Kansas City Royals four games to two in the World Series.
1980 NLCS (3–2): Philadelphia Phillies over Houston Astros