Alumni Weekend

Dallas Green and Jeff Copper, two Delaware natives, two University of Delaware graduates and two long-time Phillies, were the highlights of this weekend’s Phillies Alumni events.

Dallas was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame on Friday night during ceremonies that included past winners Robin Roberts (1978), Jim Bunning (1984), **** Allen (1994), Greg Luzinski (1998), Garry Maddox (2001), Tony Taylor (2002) and Bob Boone (2005). 

Dallas, whose gray hair has turned white, joked that he didn’t get in the Wall of Fame based on “my 20 wins….my career total.”  You are correct big guy.  You got there because of the track record you and Paul Owens put together in building the dynasty of the 1970s and then managing the Phillies to their lone World Series championship in ’80.

“The two biggest moments of my baseball career happened here, winning the World Series and this honor tonight.”

Following the ceremonies, the Wall of Famers, friends and other Alumni dined in the Executive Dining Room and then watched the Phillies big win from Hall of Fame Club suites.  Seated at a round table in the corner of the dining room were Bunning and Roberts and family members.  Wow, 510 wins at that table…..490 more than Dallas!

Cooper has been in the Phillies organization as an athletic trainer since 1970.  Like the players, he worked his way up through the minors before reaching the majors in 1976.  He’s been the Phillies head athletic trainer since 1982.   He’s the most respected athletic trainer in all of baseball.

Prior to tonight’s game, Cooper, who is stepping down after the end of the season, was saluted as part of Alumni Night.

Surprises included a Cadillac SRX from the current players, a trip to Italy for Jeff and his wife from the Phillies, appearances by past and current contemporaries and a parade of 31 Phillies Alumni, from Allen to Vukovich, John, that is.

Among the Alumni was one of Coop’s tormentors, **** Ruthven.  Over the course of 162 games, dozens of plane rides and hotel lobbies, tormenting is needed to maintain sanity.

Vukovich tells the story: “I was riding with Jeff to the park in Clearwater early one morning and he had to stop at the grocery store.  He came out with limburger cheese.  ‘Got to get even with “Rufus” (Ruthven’s nickname),’ Coop said.  When we got to the park, Coop put the limburger cheese in Ruthven’s hair dryer.

“After the workout, Coop grabbed me, ‘Wanna hear something?’  Rufus came out of the shower, dried himself and turned on his hair dryer.

       “All of a sudden Ruthven screamed, ‘DAM IT COOP!’  Coop looked at me and dead-panned, ‘seems as if Rufus has a mental problem.’”
      
       Saturday’s group filled the dining room.  Dinner, stories and laughter filled an hour.  Eventually the Alumni went to various suites to check out the action. 

They’d watch intently, then reminisce.  Cheer, then chat.   Needle and laugh. 

What has always amazed me in being around Alumni, they have the greatest memories from their playing days.  Listening to them reminisce is priceless.

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