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It was Game 6 of the 1980 World Series at old Veterans Stadium. Tug McGraw threw strike three past Willie Wilson, leaped off the mound and waited for Schmidt to run in from third base to jump in his arms and kick off a wild celebration.

The Phillies beat the Royals to win their first World Series in their 106th season. Brett watched from the dugout.

While Schmidt put up Hall of Fame numbers, he never was really truly embraced by the notoriously tough Philly fans. He would get booed on bad games during his prime and fans held his struggles in the 1976-78 playoffs against him until he was World Series MVP in `80.

“All of us players went through periods where we failed in clutch situations and got booed,” Schmidt said. “In that regard, it’s a tough town to be in. If you didn’t understand the passion that the Philly sports fans have for their teams, like I do now … I’d be a lot better at handling it.”

Schmidt wasn’t fully appreciated till the end of his career because he wasn’t the happy-go-lucky type like McGraw or a headfirst-diver like Pete Rose. Schmidt admits he was aloof and somewhat moody.

“Big-time regrets,” Schmidt said. “It’s hard to put it into words. Not nearly mature enough.”


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