The Delaware Valley area was blanketed with snow and more snow this winter. Well, 70 years ago, the Phillies opened their spring training camp in Wilmington, DE, on this date. Guess what. Snow wiped out the first workout. Ron Northey (hitter) and Bob Finley (catcher) posed for photographers that day. Read about the 1944 camp in Wilmington at http://www.phillies.com/alumni.
Back to baseball today, Phillies in Dunedin (11:30 a.m. bus) to face the Blue Jays; same two teams tomorrow at Bright House Field (instant replay testing) plus a Phillies split-squad going to Kissimmee to play the Astros . . . Rained out on St. Patrick’s Day, the Phillies will wear green hats and jerseys tomorrow . . . With Kevin Munson returned to Arizona (Rule 5 draft), the camp number now totals 43. Opening day limit is 25 . . . WIP’s Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis will be broadcasting live tomorrow and Friday from the Tiki Bar . . . No minor league games at Carpenter Complex today but fans are welcome to attend an intra-squad game and general workouts.
Countdown to Opening Day
Yes, 12 days until the Phillies begin their season in Texas against the AL West Rangers.
Mickey Morandini holds the distinction of wearing #12 the most seasons, nine. One behind is John Briggs. Jimmy Wilson and Bill (Swish) Nicholson are next, five seasons each. Coach John Mizerock currently wears the number.
Spring Training Memories
Mike Grace (RHP, 1995-99)
“Minor league camp in Clearwater in 1992 was my first one. Believe I stayed at the Econ-O-Lodge or Howard Johnson’s. Kevin Stocker was my roomie. Have no idea what was my uniform number. First day was a nervous experience. Heard all the stories what spring training was like. Just tried to figure everything out. Always enjoyed spring training, getting to see all my buddies again. And, Clearwater itself. How could you not like Clearwater? Seeing your buddies get cut was the only unpleasant part. Bruce Smallwood and I played college ball, were drafted and signed by the Phillies, played in A ball together and the next spring he got cut. That was difficult. Overall, my nine years in the Phillies organization is the fondest part of my life.”
Opening Day Fun Fact
April 14, 1914–CF Sherry Magee becomes first Phillies player to homer twice on Opening Day in a 10-1 win over the New York Giants at Baker Bowl.
Early Bird Special
I’ll be signing my new book, If These Walls Could Talk, on Wednesday, March 26 at Bright House Field from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Official publication date by Triumph Books is May 1. That’s when it will be available on-line and in book stores. Thanks to Larry Bowa for writing the foreword.