PHILADELPHIA — Von Hayes has failed to fulfill expectations created when the Philadelphia Phillies obtained him in a controversial five-for-one deal with the Cleveland Indians.
In three seasons with the Phillies, Hayes has batted an average of .275 while accumulating 35 home runs and 169 runs batted in. He frequently has found himself a target of hometown booing.
In April 1985, when he batted .346 for the month, he raised hopes that he might finally match the potential cited by the Phillies when they acquired him. Then he slumped and ended the season at .263.
This April, his average sank below .200 and was only at .198 on May 7 as the Phillies prepared to start a stretch in which they would play 14 of their next 16 games on the road.
Away from the pressures of Veterans Stadium, Hayes rediscovered his stroke. In Philadelphia's next 10 games, Hayes raised his average to .299.
Hayes collected 14 hits in 27 at-bats, including 6 doubles and 2 home runs. He scored 6 runs and stole 2 bases.
"I got into a little bit of a groove and once I got it started, I didn't want to think about it," Hayes said. "I don't even want to talk about it much. I just want to let it happen."
Hayes was moved from the outfield to first base before the season, but his improvement began when the Phillies were forced to return him to left field because of an injury to Gary Redus.
"I do feel a lot more comforable in the outfield," Hayes said. "But I don't think playing first affects my hitting. I've really tried to separate the defense from the offense."
Phillies fans continue to question the deal that sent second baseman Manny Trillo, outfielder George Vukovich, shortstop Julio Franco, pitcher Jay Baller and catcher Jerry Willard for Hayes in December, 1982. Although, Franco has been the only player in the deal that has had success in Cleveland.