By Sam Bush

Ruly (Robert R.M. III) Carpenter, who owned the Phillies when the team won their first World Series title in 1980, died yesterday at 81.

He took over as team president in 1972 at age 32 from his father, Robert R.M. Carpenter Jr. His grandfather, R.R.M. Carpenter, bought the Phillies for $400,000 in 1943 after the team fell into bankruptcy.

Carpenter made Mike Schmidt the highest paid player in baseball in 1977 and signed Pete Rose as a free agent for $3.2 million in 1979. However, those rising salaries convinced Carpenter to sell the team in 1981 to a group led by Bill Giles for $30 million.

Under Carpenter’s watch, the Phillies won the National League East in 1976, ’77 and ’78, only to lose to in the NLCS each time. The Phils fell to the Cincinnati Reds, 3-0, in 1976, and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1977 and 1978. They lost both of those series, 3-1.

The Phillies finally broke through and won their first title in 1980. They outlasted the Houston Astros in an epic five-game series. Each of the last three game went into extra innings. The Phils then beat the Kansas City Royal, 4-2, to win their first World Series.

“Sad to hear of the passing of Ruly Carpenter,” former player Greg Luzinski said on Twitter. “Owner of the 1980 World Champion Phillies. It’s very hard for me to express my feelings. Condolences to Stephanie and family.”

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