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Dallas Green still tells it like it is

Former Phillies skipper told his 1980 team how to play, and still has a lot to say in his new memoir.

DALLAS GREEN was always screaming at guys to look in the mirror, especially the guys on the 1980 Phillies team that won the World Series. Would have nailed a full-length mirror to the back of the clubhouse door, so guys had to look into it on the way out, after games, but Major League Baseball wouldn't allow it, because that space is reserved for the warning against betting on baseball.

Green always screamed, loud enough to be heard through thick concrete blocks, which happened once in Pittsburgh. The players resented the screaming, especially when it appeared in print the next day.

"I told 'em," Green recalled the other day, "that if they didn't want to see that bleep in the papers, then they ought to talk to the press instead of running and hiding in the trainer's room, which was off-limits to the media."

It's all there, in Green's book, "The Mouth That Roared." The thrill of victory in '80 and the agony of getting there. Green will signing copies at the ballpark tomorrow.

"I preached 'We, not I,' " Green growled. "We had plenty of I's on that team, guys who hit home runs, guys who won the Cy Young, guys who won MVP. But we had never gotten over the hump.

"I didn't care what they thought of me. There's lots of guys managing who want the players to like 'em. I knew that team inside and out. I knew head and heart."

He wanted them to know it, too.

"There was that screaming session in San Diego, or wherever the hell it was," Green said, "and then Pope [general manager Paul Owens] followed up with another screaming session on the first of September.

"From that point on, I didn't have to manage. Those guys sank their teeth into it and recognized what they had to do to win. Hey, we won a lot of one-run games in September, we didn't just throw our gloves out there.

"That's when the pride and character I had preached about came through. Guys showed what they really were."

They had to beat Houston in the most gritty, nerve-wracking playoff series ever. And they did.

"It was unbelievable, the battles," Green said. "I finished that last game with a starting pitcher out there. And when it was over, and we'd won the National League championship, Pope and I cried like babies in the clubhouse."

It is a good, lively book and it mirrors Green's good, lively 6 decades in the game. He rips only three people, Bobby Valentine, Art Mahaffey and Gene Mauch.

"Valentine is a phony and that's what I call him in the book," Green grumbles, choosing to skip details of the possible backstabbing while Dallas managed the Mets.

He reveals that in the minors Mahaffey cared only about his numbers. "He didn't root for other guys to win, because he thought they might take his job," Green said. "I told him, if he was good enough, he'd have a job."

And Mauch, manager of that 1964 team that lost 10 in a row down the stretch?

"Gene, God bless him, hated pitchers," Green said softly. "Especially young pitchers. Hey, he traded away Ferguson Jenkins because he didn't like him.

"In '64, he went with Bunning and Short because they were veterans. Like Spahn and Sain and pray for rain. Bunning and Short and hold the fort. Except . . . the fort didn't hold.

"Worst thing he did was get hissed at Jack Baldschun. Jack had that scroogie [screwball] and was our only closer. The only guys who should have been out there in the ninth inning were Baldschun and Ed Roebuck, but he used a lot of other guys."

Let the record show that Mauch yanked Green out of a game without leaving the dugout, which is downright cruel, at a time when Green's father was dying of cancer, at a time when Green's arm was riddled with undiagnosed aches.

"I still had 5 years in the majors," Green bragged, "because I did exercises and long-tossed and ran my butt off until I couldn't breathe. That's the only way I stayed.

"Mauch used me as a pinch-runner. He did that so he didn't have to pitch me. He didn't fool me. But I felt I was part of that team."

He sees the ranks of Moneyballers increasing, guys who depend on computer readouts of obscure statistics. He's not happy about it.

"Based on the success Oakland had, low payroll, staying in the hunt," he said, "there are four or five guys who have gone on from there to be general managers. They may not be total Moneyball guys, but they lean on it an awful lot.

"Numbers cannot ever tell you, as a scout or an executive, head and heart. And that's what makes the difference between a player and a great player."

It's all there, in the book, strong opinions laced with hard truths.

"I've always believed in telling the truth," Green said. "I keep thinking about that movie, 'A Few Good Men' and Jack Nicholson shouting, 'You can't handle the truth.' Guys just have to look in the mirror."