Author Archive

Rumor Monger

Winter Meetings time. Part of baseball’s annual calendar starts Sunday in sunny San Diego, not exactly a winter place.

Baseball executives from the minor leagues and major leagues get together and part a week from today.  Yes, there are league meetings, athletic trainers meetings, PR meetings and the like.  It all starts at 8 a.m. Sunday with a meeting of the Baseball Hall of Fame committee voting on 10 Golden Era former players.  Dick Allen is among the 10.  That announcement will be made on Monday.

Gobs of media will be there but not to cover those-type meetings.  They are there to feed the rumor monger. What is a rumor monger? According to google: “a person who attempts to stir up or spread something that is usually petty or discreditable.”

GMs will set up shops in suites.  Phone calls to other clubs and lobby-scouring for other clubs has gone the way of dinosaurs. iPhones and iPads are the modes of communication now.  Instead of checking the media room for the latest press release, twitter feeds all that information in rapid-fire seconds.  Blink and you miss the latest twitter announcement or rumor.

ESPN, MLB.com and The Baseball Network will have studios for non-stop reports.  All announcements are supposed to take place in a media room.  Announcements aren’t surprises anymore.  They are confirmations.

Agents will be there to peddle their free agents and will work the media to feed the rumor monger.

It is well known the Phillies are willing to talk about anybody on the team.  There are still a lot of free agents floating out there which will have an effect on how much Phillies action will take place. It may be February before we find out what the club looks like.  As Pat Gillick has said, patience.

The rumor monger will love Cole Hamels.  He’ll be going to team A…..no B……no C….no a mystery team…….now A is back in the mix…..but B is preparing a new approach….. C and D are now trying to work a three-team deal. All of that can take place in a matter of twitter minutes.

36 years ago tomorrow the Phillies made the biggest splash when they signed free agent Pete Rose to a four-year, $3.2 million contract which made him the highest paid athlete in team sports.  A $3.2 million contract is another dinosaur.

Rose1978_PR

 

Cooperstown Bound?

 

 

Will another Phillies Alumnus land in Cooperstown?

Well, we’ll know soon.  Dick Allen is one of 10 on the Golden Era ballot.  A committee of 16 will do the voting.  75 percent of the votes is required for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  The announcement is next Monday at the winter meetings in San Diego.

The Baseball Writers Association of America will announce their decision on January 6.  Former Phillies on the ballot include Curt Schilling, Tom Gordon and Pedro Martinez.  Mike Piazza, a native of Norristown, is also on the ballot.

97 Schilling-H

Last Phillie to be inducted was Jim Bunning in 1996.  Allen and Bunning were teammates starting in 1964.  Richie Ashburn and Robin Roberts were mates on the Whiz Kids and two other Hall of Famers, Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt, were stars on the 1980 World Champions.

Alumni Notes
ICYMT…..
Jamie Moyer has decided not to return as a member of the Phillies television broadcast team.  Wanted to devote more time to his family who live in southern California.  Search is underway for a replacement.

OF Jack Mayo (89), a member of the 1950 Whiz Kids, died on August 19, a fact we learned last week.  The Whiz Kids are down to three living members: Curt Simmons, Bob Miller and Putsy Caballero.

Pitcher Don Grate, a member of the Phillies in 1945-46, died on November 22 in Miami Gardens, FL.  He was 91.

For the latest vintage Alumni image, check out the Peek at the Past photo at http://www.phillies.com/alumni. It is a classic.

Alumni Birthdays
Today: RHP Wayne Simpson (66) . . . Wednesday: RHP Chad Durbin (37), RHP Paul Byrd (44), C Clay Dalrymple (78) . . . Thursday: 2B Tadahito Iguchi (40) . . . Friday: RHP Scott Munninghoff (56) . . . Saturday: RHP Jose Contreras (43), RHP Steve Bedrosian (57), SS-CH-MGR-CH Larry Bowa (69) . . . Sunday: C Ozzie Virgil (58), OF Alex Johnson (72) . . . Monday: C Jeff Grotewold (49)

Book Signing
Looking for a $15.00 holiday gift?
Will be signing my book (These Walls Could Talk) during the Phillies Holiday Sale at the Majestic Clubhouse Store at Citizens Bank Park this Saturday.  I’ll be there between 2 and 3 p.m.  A perfect gift for someone you like or don’t like.

Phun Fact
Richie Ashburn holds the Phillies record for grounding into the fewest double plays in a season, 1, in 1948.  Strangely, he’s one of six players who share the club record for the most GIDP in a game, 3.

 

 

 

Turkey Time

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Remember…it is legal

To overeat on this holiday.

So,

Gobble till you wobble

#

 

Sign of The Times:
“Be Thankful you are not a turkey”, posted in front of a Methodist church in booth’s corner, PA.

 

 

 

 

              

 

 

 

Snow Poles?

The grass is still green.  No snow…yet.  The concourses have been power washed.  The lockers in the Phillies clubhouse are empty.  Up on the suite level behind home plate is a large room, named the Board Room.  Every other Tuesday morning, a business staff meeting is held there.  Department heads and many others spend a couple of hours planning for 2015.  As many as 40-45 persons will line the large table and chairs that rim the room.

Baseball operations traditionally start the meeting with updates including highlights of players in the winter league, dates of the winter meetings and Rule 5 draft, medical updates, changes in the development, training and scouting staffs.

Sales updates and plans include season ticket campaign, suites, group, theme nights, community nights. Other departments that participate include Finance, Marketing/Sales, Marketing/Advertising, Events, Communications, Ballpark Enterprises, Human Resource, Facility Management and Administration/Operations.

Copies of the minutes are provided to every employee at Citizens Bank Park.

Points of reference:
Spring training tickets for the public go on sale starting December 8.  Three days later, group sales begins.  Tickets to individual games during next year’s home schedule go on sale starting February 19, coinciding with the start of spring training.

Next year’s Phillies Charities 5K will take place on March 28.  Sales will take place on phillies.com, beginning at 9 a.m. on January 12.  Last year, 5,500 runners registered.
Tentative plans are in the works for a first-ever Phillies Bike Race/Ride for next year.

Plans for the various promotions are in the early stage and will continue for the next two-three months.  Being digested is how the Phillies will celebrate their first pennant-winning team 100 years ago.  After finishing sixth in 1914, the Phillies won the pennant the next season.

The first ever clubhouse sleepover will be held this Saturday night, one of the many items that was part of the Phillies Phantastic Auction inventory last spring.  A secret bidder bid over $4,500 and has given the experience to four children from CHOP, along with friends and siblings.

Over 120 fans will attend the Breakfast with Phillie Phanatic on Saturday in the Diamond Club.  That afternoon a Bar Mitzvah will take place in the Hall of Fame Club.

As was announced during the World Series, Jimmy Rollins was the co-recipient of the 2014 Roberto Clemente Award. The Rollins Family Foundation will receive $30,000 and
a Chevrolet vehicle as part of the Award.  This is in addition to a $7,500 donation the Foundation received for Jimmy’s initial nomination. Previous Phillies winners were Greg Luzinski (1978) and Garry Maddox (1986).

The winterization of the ballpark has started.  Plumbers have shut off the water in Suites 30-70 and the main concourse. Electricians have turned on the heaters in concession stands and carpenters have installed snow poles in Harry the K’s and Bull’s BBQ.

Will the snow poles be recycled into baseball bats or toothpicks?
 

 

 

Potpourri

3B Mike Schmidt carries his 1980 Rawlings Gold Glove and MVP award.

1981 was a big year for Mike Schmidt’s trophy case.  He won the National League Most Valuable Player Award for the second straight year, picked up his sixth Rawlings Gold Glove Award and his second Louisville Slugger Award (not pictured).   Five years later, he won his third MVP, matching the league record held by Stan Musial and Roy Campanella.

Before Schmidt, the previous MVP from the Phillies was Jim Konstanty in 1950.  Check out a new feature on Konstanty at http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

Alumni Birthdays
Today: RHP Tom Gordon (47), LHP Jamie Moyer (52) . . . Wednesday: RHP Clay Condrey (39), RHP Dickie Noles (58), C Bob Boone (67), OF Bobby Tolan (69), 3B Joe Morgan (84) . . . Thursday: RHP Chuck Ricci (46), RHP Steve Schrenk (46), SS Alex Arias (47), OF Joy Johnstone (69), CH Herm Starrette (76) . . . Friday: INF Bill Almon (62) . . . Saturday: OF Ricky Ledee (41), OF Greg Luzinski (64), RHP Cy Acosta (68) . . .
Sunday: OF Casper Wells (30), RHP Adam Eaton (37), LHP Eddie Oropesa (43), INF Dale Sveum (51).

Condolences
Deepest condolences to the family of Alvin Dark who died November 13 in Easley, SC.  He was 92, leaving seven Phillies Alumni in their Nonagenarian Club.

Mr. Dark played 14 years in the majors and then managed 13 seasons.  He played 55 games with the Phillies in 1960, his final season as a player.  An outstanding football player at LSU, Mr. Dark was drafted by the Eagles in 1945 but chose baseball.

AFL Summary
Jim Callis, MLB.com reporter, filed a summary of the best prospect for each of the 30 big league clubs following the conclusion of the Arizona Fall League.  Here’s his report o the Phillies.

Best Performance: Center fielder Roman Quinn was the league’s fastest player and used his speed to finish first in steals (14 in 16 tries) and second in runs (19). He batted .250/.361/.359 and displayed newfound plate discipline with 16 walks, which ranked fourth.

Best Prospect: Quinn, who has also used his quickness to make a nice transition from shortstop. He covers the gaps well and has a stronger arm than most center fielders.

Book Signing
Will be signing my book (These Walls Could Talk) during the Phillies Holiday Sale at the Majestic Clubhouse Store at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday, December 6. I’ll be there between 2 and 3 p.m.  A perfect holiday gift for someone you like or don’t like.

Phun Fact
Harry Kalas broadcast the first game in the Astrodome in 1965 while with Houston, a game against the Phillies.  With the Phillies he broadcast the first and last game at Veterans Stadium and the first game at Citizens Bank Park.

 

Revisiting Japan Trip

(Here’s another segment that didn’t make my book, If These Walls Could Talk. With an MLB All-Star team touring in Japan, timing was right to post my experiences in Japan in 1990).

When Bill White played for us, we became friends.  He stayed in Philadelphia one offseason and made appearances for $200.00.  He asked me to be his booking agent, for which I received 10%.  Neither of us became millionaires.

His post-playing career took him to the broadcast booth and eventually president of the National League. Following the 1990 season, he chose me to be the PR person for the MLB All-Star Tour of Japan.  For years, MLB would send a group of players to Japan to play a series of games against their stars.

Julie and I were honored and excited to be part of the 11-day tour.  To me, it was considered a jewel event. While in Japan, she got to do some sightseeing with the wives while I spent time at ballparks.

Only American player I knew was Lenny Dykstra.  But, new friendships developed, Don Zimmer (manager), Mike Scioscia (catcher) and Ken Griffey Sr. (coach).  Barry Bonds was on the squad and we didn’t become friends.  Far from it.

As it turns out, we were the first American team to lose the series, 4-3.  Our third win came in the last game, a combined no-hitter by Chuck Finley and Randy Johnson. Games were played in five different ballparks.  Like our leagues, one league (Pacific) used the designated hitter while the other (Central) didn’t.

I became the last American PR person to provide the stats for both teams.  I never did understand why but for some reason I was expected to type not only our stats but the Japanese stats.  Hey, I wasn’t going to complain.

We had a squad of 26 players, Japan used 28 players and 39 pitchers.  Japan had roster changes every game, a real challenge trying to keep up with all their players.  Most likely, I missed one or two of their players. Just don’t tell anyone.  One of their ace pitchers was 21-year-old Hideo Nomo, winner of the Sawamura Award, equivalent of our Cy Young Award.

An interpreter was assigned to me to help with the language barrier.  Sadly, I don’t recall his name.  He was with me every day and extremely helpful as I couldn’t speak their language.

There are some distinct differences from baseball in the USA.  Here are a few:

**Fans returned all foul balls but they kept home run balls.

**”Music” in three stadiums was provided by trumpet players parked in the outfield bleachers.  Sometimes, drummers accompanied the trumpets, creating an annoying noise that lasted the entire game.  While the bleacher fans cheered, the rest sat in virtual silence.  There was no booing.

**Dugouts were deeper than long.  Field level locations for photographers were longer than the dugouts.  We averaged over 125 photographers per game.

**Once his team made two outs, the Japanese pitcher began warming up in front of his dugout.

**Public Address announcers were females.

**There was no seventh-inning stretch.

**In each of the five ballparks in which we played, a 6’-9’ fence was positioned in front of the first row of seats completely surrounding the playing field.  Thus, there were no problems with fans interfering with a ball in play or running on the field.  Fans were also protected from wicked foul balls.

**Players received money for television interviews, which is a custom in Japan.  For interviews at the ballpark, 20,000 yen ($140.00).  Away from the park, 50,000 yen, including the print media.

**Players also received “lucky money” (20,000 yen) for hitting home runs.  When I gave Bonds a lucky money coin after the game in which he homered, he threw the coin on the floor.  It wound up in my pocket.

Personal highlight came when the interpreter said one of the Japanese newspapers wanted to interview me.  Next day the interpreter showed me the paper but he was laughing.  Right in the middle of the girlie ads, was my picture and a story which I couldn’t read.

It was an interesting experience to witness the Japanese culture.  Everything was so clean and everybody was so friendly.  The subways, trains and air planes were crowded, really crowded. Masses upon masses of people.

 

Giles Is Fourth

Ken Giles finished fourth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting that was announced on Monday.  Not bad for a guy who began the season at Reading, was promoted to Lehigh Valley before making his major league debut.  He was certainly lights out in the bullpen.  Bodes well for the future as the Phillies enter a rebuilding mode.

Giles55195

Three years ago Vance Worley was third in the ROY voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America.  Vance faded and resurfaced this season with the Pirates.

So, who are BWAA ROY in Phillies history?

1957 RHP Jack Sanford
1964 3B Richie Allen
1997 3B Scott Rolen
2005 1B Ryan Howard

First ever ROY winner was Jackie Robinson (Brooklyn Dodgers) in 1947, when only one was selected.  Two years later, the award was issued to the top rookie in each league.  First NL winner was RHP Don Newcombe of the Dodgers.

Alumni Notes
Curt Schilling will be inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday night Sheraton Society Hill Hotel. Honored posthumously will be Herb Pennock, Phillies general manager (1943-48), and Phillies-Philadelphia A’s broadcaster By Saam (1938-75).

Mike Schmidt was inducted into the Rawlings Gold Glove Hall of Fame last week in New York . . . Charlie Manuel will hold a winter instructional camp in St. Petersburg, FL, next month.  Among the guest instructors were Jim Thome, Tom Gordon, Pedro Feliz and Rich Dubee.

Do you know how many pair of brothers have worn a Phillies uniform?  Well, the answer can be found at http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

Twenty-seven years ago yesterday, Steve Bedrosian became the first Phillies closer to win the Award.  40 saves were tops in the majors, a first for a Phillies reliever.  Set an MLB record with 13 consecutive saves, May 25-June 30. Had a hand in 45 of the Phillies’ 80 wins. “Bedrock” won the Award in the closest balloting ever with 57 points to 55 for Rick Sutcliffe (Cubs) and 54 for Orel Hershiser (Dodgers).

1980BEDR8x10

Happy Birthday to….
Today: RHP Roberto Hernandez (50) . . . Thursday: RHP Dave Shipanoff (55), RHP Gene Garber (67), INF Bobby Pfeil (71) . . . Friday: RHP Curt Schilling (48), LHP Willie Hernandez (60) . . . Sunday: OF Don Hahn (66) . . . Monday: OF Billy McMillan (43), LHP Mitch Williams (50).

Today In Phillies History
Two years after leading the Phillies to their first pennant in 1915, RHP Grover Cleveland
Alexander and starting C Bill Killefer were traded to Chicago Cubs for RHP Mike
Prendergast, C Pickles Dillhoefer and $60,000 on this date. Owner William Baker
admitted he traded his battery because of financial difficulties and fear that Alexander
would be drafted in World War I.

Phun Fact
Who is the only person to play at Connie Mack Stadium, Veterans Stadium and Citizens
Bank Park?

The late organist Paul Richardson.

Book Signing
Will be signing my book (These Walls Could Talk) during the Phillies Holiday Sale at the Majestic Clubhouse Store at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday, December 6. I’ll be there between 2 and 3 p.m.  A perfect holiday gift for someone you like or don’t like.

 

 

McCarver & The Series

After 24 years of being in a broadcast booth during the World Series, Tim McCarver was in the comfort of his living room watching the fall classic.

Did he miss it?  “No, not really.  I didn’t think I would and it turned out that way.  24 years was enough.”

How much did he watch? “Every minute.  I loved the entire series.  It was a fabulous seven games.  Bumgarner looked as if he didn’t have a pulse.  My goodness what a performance.”

During the season, McCarver did 30 TV games for the Cardinals, enough to keep him close to the game.  No more game of the week, travel, preparation during the entire season and then the World Series.  His WS record of 24 years will last a very long time.

McCarver started his broadcasting career with Harry Kalas, Richie Ashburn and Andy Musser in 1980.

McCarver2

Hall Ballot
Jim Kaat and Dick Allen are among 10 candidates on the Baseball Hall of Fame Golden Era Ballot (1947-72). A 16-member committee, which is reconstituted each time it meets every three years, will review the ballot.  Announcement will come December 8 at the winter meetings in San Diego.

Any candidate named on 75 percent of the ballots will be enshrined in Cooperstown on July 26.

The Baseball Writers Association of America ballot will be released after Thanksgiving. Voters have until December 31 to return their ballots.  Announcement will be held January 6.

BBWAA Awards are scheduled for November 10 (Rookie of the Year), 11 (Manager of the Year), 12 (Cy Young) and 13 (MVP).

Chuck Klein (1932) is the first Phillies player to win the MVP (1932).  Who was next?
Check out the cool A peek as the past image at http://www.phillies.com/alumni for the answer.

GM Meetings
Trade talk will heat up next week when the general managers hold their annual meetings in Phoenix, Monday to Thursday. Doubt there will be much action, mostly groundwork for later. MLB.com will have a bevy of writers covering the meetings, including Paul Hagen.

Baseball’s Winter Meetings will take place December 7-11 with the Rule 5 draft taking place on the last day.  Plenty of media coverage then, including MLB.com and the MLB Baseball Network.  The hot stove is heating up.

Book Signing
Will be signing my book (These Walls Could Talk) during the Phillies Holiday Sale at the Majestic Clubhouse Store at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday, December 6. I’ll be there between 2 and 3 p.m.  A perfect holiday gift for someone you like or don’t like.

 

 

Here ‘n There

DennyCyYoung
Right-hander John Denny won the N. L. Cy Young Award 31 years ago.  He led the league with 19 wins (6 losses) and a .760 percentage.  2.37 ERA finished second. Won 13 of 14 decisions after the All-Star break, including seven in a row as Phillies won the NL pennant. Was 1-1 in the NLCS and 0-0 in the World Series.

Second straight Cy Young winner for the Phillies as Steve Carlton earned the 1982 honor.  Denny had 103 points to 61 for Mario Soto (Reds)

Alumni Birthdays
Today: INF Domingo Cedeno (46), OF Tito Francona (81), SS Dick Groat (84) . . .
Wednesday: LHP Glenn Dishman (44), INF Putsy Caballero (87) . . . Friday: LHP Les Walrond (38), RHP Russ Springer (46), RHP Dave Bennett (69), LHP Jim Kaat (76)
. . . Saturday: INF Nick Punto (37), RHP John Denny (62), OF Wally Westlake (94) . . .
Sunday: RHP Chad Ogea (44), LHP Andy Carter (46) . . . Monday: RHP Larry Christenson (61), RHP Gene Conley (84).

Where’s Gary Bennett?
MLB.com’s Paul Hagen has a “Where Are They Now?” feature at http://www.phillies.com/alumni.  Check it out…

Today In Phillies History
2004–Charlie Manuel named new manager, succeeding interim manager, Gary
Varsho.
2009–WS #6 at New York: Andy Pettite shut down the Phillies offense in a 7-3 win
that gave the Yankees the World Championship.

This Week At Citizens Bank Park
As always, there’s plenty going on at the Phillies home.  Folks interested in scheduling an event at the ballpark may call 215-218-5100.

Today: Advanced Driver Training School, Lot W
Tomorrow and Thursday: Driver Dynamics, Lot W
Tomorrow: Alzheimer’s Association Meeting, Hall of Fame Club
Thursday: Bucknell University Alumni, Hall of Fame Club
Friday: Ballgirl tryouts, Media Room/Batting Cages
Friday: Syracuse Grad Management Discussion, Executive Dining Room
Saturday: Heart Association Walk, Main Concourse/Parking lots
Saturday: Burnham Bat Mitzvah, Diamond Club
Sunday: Alzheimer’s Walk, Main Concourse/Parking Lots

Book Signing
Mark down Saturday, December 6, for my next book signing of If These Walls Could Talk.

The Phillies are having a Holiday Sale that day at the Majestic Clubhouse Store at Citizens Bank Park and I’ll be there between 2 and 3 p.m.

Phun Fact
Four months from yesterday, the Phillies will play their first spring training game in Florida.  Check the spring training schedule at http://www.phillies.com/spring.

 

Fictional Performance

Joe Buck, on the FOX TV intro last night, said it best, “In all sports, there’s nothing like game 7 of a World Series.”

Baseball was into the seventh game of a World Series for the first time since 2011 and second time since 2002.  That year, the Giants lost at Anaheim.  A road team hadn’t won game 7 since 1979.

But last night they won it all, riding the left arm of Bumgarner.  His postseason performance was fictional.  Five scoreless innings of relief last night on two days rest gave him a save to go along with two wins.  Rest of SF starters, 0-3.

Baseball today is played in the bullpen. It seems as if the closer is on the mound for every last out of a clinching game.  Well, until last night.  The Giants won the Series and their closer, Casilla, pitched twice, both in losses, and threw four total pitches.  There was only one save in the entire series, KC’s Holland in game 3.

Six years ago yesterday, the Phillies won the World Series on a strikeout by their closer, Brad Lidge. There were two saves in that five-game Series and Lidge had both.

More Fingers
Pat Burrell is on some kind of a roll.

He got a World Series ring in 2008 with the Phillies and again in 2010 as a player with the Giants.  He retired after the 2011 season and became a scout for the Giants.  Now, he has two more rings, 2012 and 2014.  He needs more fingers.

As a player he has two rings on one hit in 27 at-bats, which must be some sort of a record.

Empty
What do the following Hall of Famers have in common?

1B-DH Frank Thomas,  2B Rod Carew, 2B Ryne Sandberg, SS Ernie Banks, 3B George Kell, 3B Ron Santo, OF Ralph Kiner, OF Billy Williams, OF Andre Dawson, RHP Jim Bunning, RHP Ferguson Jenkins, RHP Phil Niekro. RHP Gaylord Perry, LHP Rube Waddell.

They are among 50 legends enshrined in Cooperstown who never played in a World Series.

Surprise Starter
After posting a 16-7 record as a relief pitcher in 74 appearances, 33-year-old Jim Konstanty was named the starting pitcher by manager Eddie Sawyer in Game 1 of the 1950 World Series.

The Yankees won that game, 1-0, at Shibe Park.

konstantyws

Comment Corner
Rick posted a comment after the last blog, asking if the Phillies are going to have another Alumni Day during spring training and the date.  Also received several e-mail inquiries on the same subject.

Yes, we are planning another one for Bright House Field.  Hope to have the date soon.  Will post right here.

Alumni Note
With former Phillies catcher A. J. Hinch taking over the managerial duties with the Astros he becomes the third Alumnus in a similar role in the majors, Terry Francona (Cleveland) and Ron Roenicke (Milwaukee).

Book Signing
Mark down Saturday, December 6, for my next book signing of If These Walls Could Talk.

The Phillies are having a Holiday Sale that day at the Majestic Clubhouse Store at Citizens Bank Park and I’ll be there between 2 and 3 p.m.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 93 other followers