Phillies: Top ten moments of Mike Schmidt’s Hall of Fame career
2. Home Run to Clinch NL East (October 4, 1980)
The Phillies held a one-game leading heading into the penultimate game of the season. The weather was chilly, even for Montreal in early October. The Expos got off to the early lead, scoring two in the third off Larry Christenson. The Phillies got a run back in the fifth on an RBI single by Pete Rose, scoring Larry Bowa.
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With the Phillies trailing by one in the seventh, they took the lead on a wacky play. Bake McBride, Rose, and Schmidt were aboard with one out when Greg Luzinski roped a double. Schmidt tried to score and was thrown out. Then, Luzinski got caught between second and third and was thrown out in a rundown to end the inning.
The Expos went back in front and then the Phillies tied in the ninth on an RBI single by Bob Boone, scoring McBride.
The game reached extra innings and after Rose singled to start the inning and McBride popped out, the stage was set for Schmidt. With rookie Don McCormack on deck, Expos Stan Bahnsen grooved a 1-1 fastball and Schmidt did not miss it. His drive was a home run off the crack of the bat. Montreal left fielder Jerry White just turned and watch the ball land well into the seats.
As Phillies radio broadcaster called it, “Long drive by Schmidt, he buried it. He buried it. Way back, outta here home run Mike Schmidt, puts the Phillies up, 6-4!! What a drive by Schmidt, unbelievable!”
Indeed the home run by Schmidt had to be one of the longest of his career and at the most clutch spot. The home run was also his 48th, passing Eddie Mathews for most home runs in a season by a third baseman. It was the deciding factor, as the Phillies won, 6-4 and clinched NL East.