Alumni Glee Club Debut

Alumni Weekend began at a sold out luncheon for seniors Thursday noon in the Diamond Club and ended with the first appearance ever of the Alumni Glee Club on Sunday afternoon.

Alumni Glee Club, you ask?

Yep, led by the Phanatic wearing a tux, Gary Matthews, Larry Andersen, Tommy Greene, Ozzie Virgil, Von Hayes, Wayne Gomes, Ricky Bottalico and Ricky Jordan sang “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” in the bottom of the seventh inning.  American Idol next?  No chance.

Mike Lieberthal became the third catcher in the Toyota Wall of Fame on Friday night, surrounded by 12 Wall of Famers. Missing was Jim Bunning who was attending the wedding of one of his 35 grandchildren.

Forty-five Alumni from eight decades were introduced on the field Saturday night.  First was the oldest living Phillie, 96-year-old Freddy Schmidt, who pitched for the Phils in 1947.  Five All-Star catchers followed Freddy and began the parade. The five Bob Boone, Ozzie Virgil, Lance Parrish, Darren Daulton and Lieby.

First ball ceremony was a reversal of a long-time successful battery of Hall of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton and Tim McCarver, honored in Cooperstown last month with the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence.  Between the Cardinals and Phillies, Timmy caught Lefty 251 times, over 1,680 innings.  McCarver’s first pro game was in Waterloo, IA, in 1959 and the home plate umpire was a young man named Brent Musburger.  We brought him in from Montana to ump.  McCaver lobbed a toss that Lefty backhanded way off the plate.  “Strike” bellowed Musburger.

Timmy was as excited as a child at Christmas when asked to throw the ball to Lefty.  MLB.com’s Marty Noble wrote a great story on phillies.com.  Check it out.

Throughout the weekend, Alumni interacted with fans unannounced.  Some signed autographs, others were gate greeters.  John Kruk announced the lineups after picking up some fans in the Citizens Bank golf cart. Darren Daulton and Mitch Williams surprised a young fan celebrating her birthday on Sunday by singing Happy Birthday.  “Hollywood is next,” laughed Darren.

Dick Allen (first), Tony Taylor (second) and Kevin Stocker (third) changed the bases also on Sunday.  “First base is a long way away,” proclaimed Allen as he exited the field by the third base dugout. When the Phanatic came on the field with the hot dog shooter on Sunday, a man in a dark cap and gray shirt was doing the shooting.  Yep, Mike Schmidt had a ball.

For the three days, suites on the Hall of Fame Club level served as the hospitality headquarters.  Dinner was provided in the Executive Dining Room.  Saturday the guys from the 1980 club occupied the largest table in the room.  Instead chicken, crab cakes or filet mignon, Greg Luzinski treated the table to Bull’s BBQ ribs.

It didn’t matter if you were a teammate or not, you were a Phillie. That was a strong and common bond. Tony Taylor introduced himself to Larry Milbourne, who said, “I remember seeing you play.”  Both got a big laugh.

Von Hayes’ college roommate for three years was George Descalso, whose son, Daniel, is an infielder with the Cardinals.  Von made sure to check in with Daniel.  “I remember him when he was a baby.”

Pat Burrell who last played a year ago, was attending his first reunion.  He bonded with everyone from Howie Bedell to Bobby Wine, Alumni he had never met. He said he had a ball and is looking forward to next year. In two years, he’s eligible for the Wall of Fame and should be a first-ballot winner.

Other first-timers were Larry Bowa, Todd Pratt, Parrish, Hayes and McCarver.  Normally, Timmy is broadcasting a FOX game on Saturdays.  Because of the Olympics, FOX didn’t televise Saturday and a week ago Saturday.  “Do I have to wait four more years to be invited back,” he laughed.

Soon we’ll have the 2013 schedule which means we can begin planning next year’s Alumni Weekend.

(Still photographs and video of Alumni weekend can be found on www.phillies.com).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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