I had been working at the Daily News for six months when the 1980 World Series happened. I figured it was always going to be like this. You know, like Murphy.
They didn't let me out of the office much back then -- I had only just graduated from school. I helped out on the copy desk, helped with headlines and captions, wrote whenever they would let me. As it turned out, one of my jobs during the Series, after Game 1 or 2, was to ghostwrite the Phillie Phanatic's columns. (Yes, for the Series, the Phanatic had a column in the Daily News, with a big honking logo and everything.) Somebody else did it at the start, but then it fell to me. We had really late deadlines then -- like 6 in the morning late -- and so my job after the game was to call Dave Raymond, the original Phanatic, and talk to him for a few minutes and hear about a couple of the sights and sounds that impressed him that night and then turn it into about 650 words of a column, in his voice.
One thing I remember about the columns was that one night, we had a Steve Carlton quote -- something innocuous he had said to Raymond in a hallway -- when nobody else in the world had anything from Silent Steve. The other thing I remember is the night when Raymond fell asleep without calling in, and we couldn't rouse him, and the guy running the desk yelled at me at about 5 am and asked where the Phanatic column was. I explained my predicament. He said, "Make it up." And so I did. I'm sure it was fabulous.
I'll never forget the night the Phillies won. Our offices faced out on Broad Street, and we used to keep the windows open a lot, and my memory is that the horns honked all night, until 4 or 5 in the morning, before the city finally went to sleep. That is my memory of it -- headlines, captions, Phanatic columns, honking horns.
The front page of the Daily News that next day is famous -- Tug McGraw waved it around at the parade. And this is a true story. They had two dummy front pages made up that night -- one said WE WIN!, the other said THEY DID IT! The editor at the time, Gil Spencer, couldn't decide between the two. He went back and forth, asked people, just couldn't make up his mind. Finally, it was getting close to time. So Spencer took the two dummy pages and collared the seventh-floor janitor and held them up side-by-side and asked him what he thought.
The janitor pointed to WE WIN! And that was it.