The biggest moment in Pensacola native Kevin Sausier’s baseball career was the delayed celebration.
The horses had to pass.
Yes, it actually happened.
Saucier was in the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen, loosely needed, when fellow Phillies reliever Tug McGraw recorded a final out in Game 6 of the 1980 World Series at the team’s former Veterans Stadium. McGraw had just recently handed out the first World Series title in Phillies history.
There was a stampede.
“So, knowing how crazy these Phillies fans were going to be, you had all these horses with the police and I saw them all come,” said the 1974 Escambia High graduate Saucier, laughing at the memory. “So, all of us in the bullpen, we had to wait for the police horses to go to the field before we got out.”
“That’s why a lot of us weren’t in the starting pile on the pitcher’s mound. I can remember running out and thinking, ‘Hey, how do I get around all these horses to go to my teammates? I am!’ Oh man, that was something, but it was an incredible feeling.”
The memory and glee of that night of October 21, 1980 will be shared and cherished on Sunday, when Saucer, who is part of the Pensacola Blue Vahous Gameday staff, took his 1980 Phillies teammates on the field to be honored for that historic achievement. is involved with.
Teammates will include baseball legend Pete Rose, 81, who would make his first appearance in a Phillies game since being banned from Major League Baseball in August 1989, following an investigation that he had played on games, including the manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Bet was placed. 1985-87.
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The reunion will feature two Phillies players from that team – third baseman Mike Schmidt and left-handed pitcher Steve Carlton, who have since been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame among the sport’s greatest.
“It will be very special,” said Saucer, who rose to the pinnacle of the game from youth baseball in Pensacola. “I’m not going to say that it will be the same feeling I felt when I won it, but I think it will be very close. Putting all the former teammates together and I know a lot of them People are getting excited like me.”
The event is part of the four-day Toyota Phillies Alumni Weekend at Citizens Bank Park, Phillies home stadium since Sunday 2004. On Friday nights, Sausier and his 1980 partner will be guests of Phillies owner John S. Middleton at his home.
On Saturday, two players from that team, outfielder Beck McBride and reliever Ron Reed, will be honored on the Phillies Wall of Fame, which will include 1980 teammates. McBride was the 1974 National League Rookie of the Year. He batted .299 in 1,071 games for 11 seasons.
Reid ranks first among Phillies relievers in all-time wins (54) and innings (763), second in strikeouts (519) among Phillies relievers.
“Covid pushed it back to 2020 and I thought they were going to do it last year, but I think it’s too late to plan until the season starts are announced,” Saussure said. Said, who works at every Blue Vahoos house. The game is working as a liaison with professional baseball scouts and meeting with season-ticket holders.
“I know we’re going to announce one at a time. I’m going to be most curious to see how these Phillies fans react with Pete (Rose). I don’t know, I Looks like he’ll go crazy. I’m so glad he’s going there. In my opinion, he was one of the greatest players in the game and should be in the Hall of Fame.”
Saucer will be joined by his wife Cindy. Both have been married for the last 12 years.
“I told him, you’ll see something you’ve never seen before,” she said.
Unfortunately, a void will exist with Tug McGraw, who passed away in 2004. His son, Tim McGraw, became one of the best-known country music singers in history.
“I know when everyone hears the name McGraw now, they naturally think of Tim. But I have to tell you, Tug McGraw was one heck of a pitcher. I think people in baseball forget that too. Know how good he was.
“He was a great pitcher. When he came off the disabled list in August of that year, he lifted the load. He was amazing.”
Sausier, 65, completed an incredible rise from boyhood to becoming World Series champion. He is one of Pensacola’s famous athletes, a baseball star who has risen from the community to the highest level of the sport.
Sausier, sometimes nicknamed “Hot Sauce” for his varied temperament, had his finest MLB season in 1980, going 7-3 as a middle reliever. The Phillies held on to the Montreal Expos on the final weekend to win the division title, then beat the Houston Astros in the deciding fifth game of the 1980 National League Championship Series. Four of these matches were decided in extra innings.
He made two appearances in the NLCS, then breathed a sigh of relief in Game 4 of the World Series. During the World Series, Saucier did a daily diary for the Pensacola News Journal. He called the PNJ office every night to give his thoughts about the day and the game.
“I loved it,” he said. “This team we had was great, of course, but it wasn’t easy to pull off. We were really tested all the way. When we won it, I remembered, ‘Hey, I’m on the best team in the world’ I am one of the 25 (players).’ There have been a lot of great players in baseball who have never won a World Series.”
Saucier (pronounced So-Shay) grew up from humble beginnings, playing in the Myrtle Grove and Warrington Youth Baseball Leagues. He graduated from Escambia High in 1974 after helping lead the school to the state championship in 1972 and his senior year.
He was selected in the second round by the Phillies in the 1974 draft. At age 17, he was in the minor leagues, making his debut for the Pulaski (Virginia) Phillies in the East Appalachian League that summer. Saucier then rose through each level of Minor League Baseball to make his MLB debut with the Phillies in 1978.
He played five seasons in the big leagues before a shoulder injury was bad enough to end his career with the Detroit Tigers in 1982. Then he moved to scouting professional baseball. He became the regional director of the MLB Scouting Bureau.
Now in retirement, Saucier has cherished her new role of working with pro scouts attending Blue Vahos Games, providing information to the Pensacola community, and being a Goodwill Ambassador for Blue Vahos.
The reunion this weekend in Philadelphia will be Soccer’s first in a Phillies game in a while. He has been in close contact with pitcher Dickie Knowles, a teammate of the 1980s. The two attended a game at Citizens Bank Park several years ago.
On the night the Phillies won the World Series, Saucer remembers the party that took place all night. It went from clubhouse to star slugger Greg Luzinski.
“The bull (his nickname) wanted to keep going,” said Saussure, laughing. “We stayed there until the next morning, then went back to town for the parade.”
That year, The Phillies opted for an immediate parade the next morning, with a stop at Philadelphia’s former John F. Kennedy Stadium, which could accommodate up to 100,000 people – still a fraction of the crowd on the parade route.
“I think they said more than 2 million people attended our parade,” Sausier said. “There were more people than I had ever seen in my life. You can imagine how ticklish those fans were.”
He knows the response will be good on Sunday as well.
Bill Willona is a retired Pensacola News Journal sports columnist and now senior writer for the Pensacola Blue Vows. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
kevin saucer file
born: August 9, 1956
Playing Height-Weight: 6-1, 190
High School: Escambia, 1974 graduate.
MLB Draft: Second Round, 1974
Minor League Debut: 1974 Pulaski (VA) Phillies Rookie League
MLB Debut: October 1, 1978 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (age 22)
Last MLB Game: July 25, 1982, Detroit Tigers
MLB Era: 3.31.
MLB Stats: 94 strikeouts, 19 saved, 203.2 innings pitched