Kurtz pulled his head back in to tell his buddies what he had found, and then began to pester the Cardinals pitchers for a ball. Finally, the players said that if the kids would go get them some food, they would meet them after the game with a ball. So Kurtz and his friends pooled together their money, bought the food, delivered it to the players - among them pitcher Steve Carlton, who would go on to win a club-record 241 ballgames and the sixth and deciding game of the 1980 World Series for the Phillies - and then watched the rest of the game from the stands.
"Steve Carlton sees us [in the stands] after the game and walked away and laughed," Kurtz said.
Present day, Kurtz has worked for KYW since September 1985. In March 2009, he began interviewing former Phillies coaches and players for a 10-part series celebrating the 30th anniversary of the 1980 World Series championship. After completing the interviews, Kurtz realized that he had a wealth of information, too much for the 10-part series.
"I would play these clips in the office and the guys I work with said, 'You ought to write a book,' " Kurtz said. "So I pitched the idea and [the publishing company] turned me down. A few days later, they e-mailed back with the 162-0 idea."
Beginning in June 2009, Kurtz began writing his book, titled "162-0: A Phillies Perfect Season." While completing the book, Kurtz walked into his office one day this past August, and there was Carlton, all 6-4 of him.
"I stopped and went over and introduced myself and then I start telling him the story," Kurtz said. "[Carlton] smiled and nodded and said 'I remember that,' which kind of made sense, because how often does that happen?"
At the end of their conversation, Carlton asked Kurtz for his address and said he would send him the ball he owed him. A few weeks later, a package arrived in the mail for Kurtz and it was a signed ball, as promised.
The ball had a message written on it:
"To Paul, you finally got the ball; It's a great story, something to tell the grandkids." *