October 7, 1977 – Black Friday

by BigGreek24

Coinciding with today’s NLDS Phillies/Rockies opener is a memorable playoff game from the Phillies past: 1977 NLCS game 3 against the Los Angeles Dodgers which happend 32 years ago today.

Anyone my age remembers this game.  The Phillies were up 5-3 in the top of the 9th looking to go ahead 2 games to 1 in the best of five series.  The Phillies fans had booed Dodger starter Burt Hooten off the mound and everything looked like it was going to go the Phillies way as they got the first two outs in the 9th inning.   Vic Davillo laid down a perfect bunt on an 0-2 pitch and there it began.  Manny Mota followed with a drive to left field that Greg Luzinski trapped against the wall and Davillo scored when Phillies 2nd Baseman Ted Sizemore mishandled Luzinski’s throw to second, allowing Mota to go to third.   All hell broke loose next when Davey Lopes hit a smash to Schmidt at third that went off his glove – Bowa picked the ball out of the air and in one motion threw a strike to Richie Hebner at firstbase.  The throw appeared to get Lopes at first for the final out, but Lopes was called safe and Mota scored to tie the game.   Hebner, Sizemore and Ozark all argued the play, and television replay clearly show that Lopes was out.  After a wild pickoff throw put Lopes at second, Bill Russell’s single broke the tie and the Phillies backs at 6-5.  The Philllies would go on to lose the next game as Tommy John and Steve Carlton dueled in the rain and Friday, October 7th, 1977 would be forever known as Black Friday.  Danny Ozark was forever scrutinized for not replacing Luzinski with Jerry Martin -  a move he frequently made late in games that season.  A move  made so frequent that the coaching staff had to summon Luzinski out of the Phillies clubhouse to take his position in left field even though Jerry Martin had been stretching expecting to go out for the 9th inning himself. 

Many believe that the 1977 team was the best Phillies team of that era even though the 1980 team won the World Series.  Greg Luzinski had an MVP season but lost out to Cincinnati’s George Foster and his 50 home runs.  Steve Carlton won another Cy Young Award.  Although the Phillies would win 90 games in 1978 and get back to the NLCS against the Dodgers, they would fall short again.  The Phillies would bring on big-ticket free agent Pete Rose in 1979, but injuries to key players and pitchers saw the Phillies fall to a 84-78 finish and saw Danny Ozark out of a job by Labor Day in favor of the loud and outspoken Dallas Green who would lead this group of underachieving superstars to the promised land in 1980.

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