Inside Alumni Weekend
Leftovers from Alumni weekend……
Perfect Meets Perfect
The Wall of Famers were in the Phillies dugout prior to the induction ceremonies on Friday. Senator Jim Bunning spotted Roy Halladay seated at the far end of the dugout. He went down and introduced himself. After Doc’s perfect game, Jim sent him a ball: “From somebody who knows what it feels like, congratulations.” But, this was the first time they had met. Halladay is being honored by the Phillies pre-game on August 26 for his perfect game. Senator Bunning will return to be part of the pre-game ceremonies. “I can’t wait. It will be a pleasure to be come back for him. He’s the best pitcher in baseball.”
Mike Schmidt was also in the dugout but then wandered into the batting cage and struck up a conversation with J-Roll. Meanwhile, he was introduced on the field. People went scurrying all kinds of directions looking for Mike, who ran from the batting cage to the field. Talk about a grand entrance.
For most of his career, Steve Carlton didn’t speak, especially to the media. Being that Darren was his last Phillies catcher and they are good friends, Lefty was asked if he would introduce and welcome Darren into the Wall of Fame. “Be glad to, just give me a few pointers,” he responded. About 30 minutes prior to the ceremonies, I handed Lefty a 5″x7″ index card with some suggested comments. “This is great, except I can’t read the small type,” he laughed. “Very large type and double-spaced, if you can.” Mission accomplished. When given the new larger version, Lefty went into the corner of the Media Room to rehearse, “Need to get these thoughts in my mind.”
Mike Liberthal and Kevin Stocker were roommates early in their Phillies career. They hadn’t seen each other for years until this weekend. It was the first time Stocker had been to Citizens Bank Park.
94-year-old Freddy Schmidt, who pitched for the Phillies 63 years ago, wanted a photo of himself and Mike Schmidt. “Mike’s the wealthy Schmidt, you know,” laughed Freddy.
Three of the Phillies top four pinch-hit leaders were on the field on Saturday night, making a perfect photo op for the Communications Department: Greg Gross, the all-time leader with 117 pinch-hits, Tony Taylor (53) and Greg Dobbs (48). Tommy Hutton ranks third (52).
Following the playing of the National Anthem on Saturday, Charlie and the 2010 Phillies and the Alumni intermingled. It was really cool to see the current and past players shaking hands and hugging. The Alumni were on the third base foul line for the Anthem; while Charlie and his troops were on the first base line.
Wandering the Park
Denny and Martha Doyle were at Citizens Bank Park for the first time. They wandered around the main concourse after the gates opened on Sunday. “This place is beautiful,” beamed Denny. “This weekend has been terrific. The Phillies are the best when it comes to caring about their former players.” On Friday night, Doyle was one of a handful of Alumni that were assigned to autograph stations. “”Give me a minute before we start. I have to remember how to do this. Haven’t signed an autograph in years,” he laughed.
Stocker and Ricky Bottalico were the winners in the three-team Alumni Batting Challenge on Sunday afternoon. Each Alumni got 15 swings, balls in play resulted in points with a home run getting the most points, 10. Stocker hit three into the left field stands which is one more than he hit in 259 at-bats in 1993. Bottalico, once a catcher and a left-handed batter, hit one in the seats in right.
Dickie Noles, Jim Esienreich and Darren Daulton also went deep, leaving Mitch Williams as the only one who didn’t. “Heck, I was just trying to get a ball out of the infield,” said the Wild Thing. Noles, at 53 years of age, is the oldest to hit one out of Citizens Bank Park.
Darren was the last hitter and his homer came on his last at-bat. “And, that was my last at-bat….ever. This body can’t do it anymore,” he laughed.
Best batting challenge news….no one landed on the disable list.
Today, some of the Alumni are playing golf with our sponsors and advertisers. Tomorrow, they return to their private world.
Thanks to Mile Kennedy and Debbie Rinaldi, Alumni weekend is captured in photo galleries on this site http://www.mlb.com/phi/photogallery/year_2010/month_08/day_07/cf13178382.html