Author Archive

11th CBP Opener

Weekend in Chicago and then the 11th Citizens Bank Park opener on Monday afternoon (3:05) against the Milwaukee Brewers. Standing room tickets for the Modell’s Sporting Goods Opening Day go on sale at 12 noon on Monday at the Ticket Office.

Lots of festivities planned for the home opener. Arrive early and enjoy the excitement. A surprise Alumnus it throwing out the first ball.

Do you know who was the first batter in the CBP opener 10 years ago? I’ll give you a clue: Cincinnati Reds. For the answer and many other CBP firsts, check out

All PA Start
Cubs began the season with 3 games in Pittsburgh, now have 3 vs. the Phillies and then face the Pirates again in another 3-game set starting Tuesday at Wrigley.

Well-traveled Emilio Bonifacio is off to a torrid start, hitting .668. He’s had 4 hits, 5 and 2 hits.

Minor League Report
Lehigh Valley shut out Pawtucket, 4-0, a combined 2-hitter by 4 IronPigs pitchers. WP: Dave Buchanan, 2 H, 2 BB, 5 SO, 6 IP (89 pitches, 52 strikes); LH Jeremy Horst, struck out the side in the 8th. 1B Jim Murphy, 1B, 2B, 3B, RBI. CF Clete Thomas, 2 2B. C Cameron Rupp hit the first homer among Phillies minor leaguers, a solo shot in the top of the 4th.

Reading was hitless in a 5-0 loss called after 6 ½ innings by rain. Portland beat Jesse Biddle, 3.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 5 SO.

Clearwater was blanked on 7 singles in Dunedin, 7-0. LP Colin Kleven, 6 R, 4 IP.

Lakewood began season with a 6-3 win in Savannah behind RHP Mark Leiter Jr., 0 R, 5 IP. LF Larry Greene, 3B, 4 RBI. 2B Andrew Pullin, 3 hits.

Released: OF Dave Sappelt

Comment Corner
Raised question yesterday when was the last time the Phillies had a catcher hit in the 2nd position. Bob answered it: Chooch, 3 times last year, the last being 8/20. Thanks, Bob.

Book Time
If These Walls Could Talk is my book which will be available starting May 1. Triumph Books is the publisher. Book will be available in paperback and kindle.

Chapter 2: Cooperstown Parade, featuring Roberts, Carlton, Schmidt, Ashburn, Bunning, Kalas and Gillick.

Next Post
Back to a Monday through Friday format.

Wrigley Weekend

Philadelphia PhilliesMike Schmidt was a terror in Wrigley Field which opened for the first time 100 years ago tomorrow. Phillies are there for three weekend day games.

Check for Mike’s career numbers in Wrigley and some of the wild and crazy games the Phillies have played there. While not with the Phillies any longer, Richie Ashburn’s career ended there, playing a strange position and finishing his career in an unusual way.

Second straight ninth-inning loss last night, a stinging defeat . . . KK was outstanding, allowing 1 run in 7 innings. In his first starts the last two seasons he allowed 12 earned runs . . . Howard’s HR went over the 407 foot sign in center field, hitting a hand-made sign “Welcome Prince”. The Big Piece has two extra base hits off lefties in 3 games; last season, 6 the entire year . . . Ryno showed confidence in Mario and brought the rookie in to pitch a scoreless 8th after losing in his debut on Tuesday night.

Ryno has used 3 different lineups in 3 games. 162 for 162 is still possible . . . When’s the last time a Phillies catcher batted second? Have no idea. Perhaps someone does . . . As Todd Zolecki reported, Adams and Cole are going to start their rehab clock with the Clearwater Threshers. Adams is on the active roster for the Threshers’ season opener tonight at Dunedin. Cole will start 1 o’clock Sunday afternoon at Bright House Field against Dunedin.

Minor League Report
Starting pitchers in season openers tonight:

Lehigh Valley at Pawtucket, RHP David Buchanan
Reading vs. Portland, LHP Jesse Biddle
Clearwater at Dunedin, RHP Colin Kleven
Lakewood at Savannah, RHP Mark Leiter, Jr.

10 Years Ago
April 3, 2004—Cleveland Indians defeat Phillies, 3-1, in On-Deck Series game, the first at Citizens Bank Park. has all the great moments in Phillies history, weekly for the month of April.

Comment Corner
From John: “Why isn’t Schmidt’s 16 (opening day starts) the NL (and MLB) record?”

Elias Sports Bureau response: 18 players started on opening day for the same team for 16 or more seasons.  The MLB record (since 1900) is 21 by Al Kaline for Detroit (1954-1974).  The only players to start 16+ consecutive seasons on opening day for the same team at 3B was Brooks Robinson, 20 consecutive seasons for the Orioles.

Book Shelf
Looking for a Mother’s Day gift or one for Father’s Day?

My new book, If These Walls Could Talk, will be available May 1 in book stores and on-line. Paper back by Triumph Books. Foreword is written by Larry Bowa.

Chapter 1: Men In Pinstripes, from Dick Allen to Bobby Wine.

Replay Reversal Costly

Walks by the pen and a replay reversal costing the Phillies a run gave Texas a win last night. Good luck snowman is outta’ here. Just a puddle now.

Mario had a rough debut, issuing a pair of walks that led to the winning run in the last of the ninth. Phillies pen was among the worst at issuing walks a year ago. Ben got picked off second base, ruled safe until the Rangers asked for a replay. Call was reversed. Byrd followed with a hit that would have produced another run.

Ryan was out of the 4-hole for the first time since 2008, a game that was also against the Rangers. He had batted cleanup in 665 straight games.

Rubber game tonight, flight to Chicago for a day off tomorrow and three day games against the Cubs in Wrigley Field which first opened 100 years ago.

Exclusive Company
J-Roll’s 200th home run on Monday made him the 18th player to reach 400 doubles, 100 triples, 200 home runs. Babe Ruth was the first; Johnny Damon the most recent (career ended in 2012). 15 of the 18 are in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Currently J-Roll has 457 doubles and 107 triples to go along with the 200 dingers.

Tweet Note
ESPN’s Jayson Stark: Fun note from ESPNStatsinfo on 14-10 game (Phillies/Rangers). Eagles & Cowboys have played 110 times and never had a 14-10 game.

10 Years Ago
Ten years ago the Phillies opened two new ballparks, Bright House Field (March 4) and Citizens Bank Park (April 12). That was a baseball first.

Where were the current Phillies 10 years ago?

Sandberg: guest instructor with Cubs in spring training and then out of baseball

Bowa: Phillies manager
Henderson: Rays minor league hitting coordinator
Mackanin: Pirates bench coach
McClure: Rockies minor league pitching coach
Mizerock: Royals third base coach
Nichols: Reading Phillies pitching coach
Samuel: Tigers third base coach

Asche: 8th grader
Bastardo: in high school
Brown: 10th grader
Burnett: rehab assignment in Jupiter, FL
Byrd: Phillies opening day CF

DeFratus: 11th grader
Diekman: 9th grader
Gwynn: Huntsville (AA)
Hamels: Clearwater Threshers (A)
CHernandez: 14 years old

RHernandez: Kinston Indians (A)
Hollands: 10th grader
Howard: Reading Phillies (AA)
Kendrick: Lakewood BlueClaws (A)
Lee: Cleveland Indians

Lincoln: University of Houston
Manship: University of Notre Dame
Mayberry: Stanford University
Nieves: Salt Lake City (AAA)
Nix: Tulsa (AA)

Papelbon: Sarasota (A)
Revere: 9th grader
Rollins: Phillies opening day SS
Rosenberg: University of Louisville
Ruiz: Reading Phillies (AA)
Utley: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AAA)

Minor League Report
Phillies four minor league teams swing into action tomorrow:
Lehigh Valley at Pawtucket
Reading hosts Pawtucket
Clearwater at Dunedin
Lakewood in Savannah

Snowman Returns

Smiling snowman appeared here yesterday. Phillies won. So, snowman returns. What do you mean I’m superstitious?

Spring Numbers
So much for spring training stats.

Phillies were shut out in their last 3 spring games, getting 6 total hits. J-Roll struggled all spring and Cliff was lights out, 26 strikeouts in 26.2 innings.

In his second AB in yesterday’s season opener, J-Roll hit a grand slam, his 200th home run. Cliff saw a 6-0 lead evaporate but being an AL game with the DH in play, he stayed in the game and picked up a win despite allowing 8 runs. Shocking? Even more shocking: 1 strikeoout.

Phillies bats exploded with their biggest opening day run total since 1900 when they beat the Boston Beaneaters, 19-10, a major league record that still stands. A year ago, Phillies didn’t reach double figures in runs until their 81st game.

J-Roll, who is awaiting the birth of his second child, started his 14th straight game, matching the major league record for one team by Cal Ripken. NL record was 13 by Cincinnati’s Davey Concepcion. Phillies record is 16 years by Michael Jack.

Phillies are 3-0 in season openers in Texas, 1965 and 1993 the previous in Houston.

Last Phillies pitcher to give up 8 runs in a win? Dick Ruthven, 1981.

Only other grand slam on opening day for the Phillies? Placido Polanco, four years ago.

Phillies and Rangers scored more runs (24) than total points in the first game last season between the Eagles and Cowboys (20).

Yesterday marked the first time since 1962 that the voice of Richie Ashburn, Harry Kalas or Chris Wheeler was not heard on a Phillies broadcast.

Yesterday Tweets
Jake Diekman: First time for an opening day. So excited to have this opportunity! Baseball is back!! It really should be a National Holiday!

Philadelphia Eagles: Hey neighbor, feel free to hit home runs into our backyard any time. Good luck this year.

Book Shelf
Coming May 1, my book filled with notes, quotes and anecdotes from 50 years with the Phillies. Title: If These Walls Could Talk. Publisher: Triumph Books. Foreword: Larry Bowa. Number of pages: 212.



This Phillies snowman obviously enjoyed the winter of winters. Check out his smile. Now Phillies fans are the ones smiling because it’s time to PLAY BALL!

Yes, we’re down to 0 on the countdown to opening day which is this afternoon in Texas. In Phillies history, one player wore 0, OF-1B Al Oliver in 1984.

Time for a commercial: there’s a chapter in my new book (If These Walls Could Talk, Triumph Books, May 1 publication date) about uniform numbers. Actually, Phillies first wore numbers on their jerseys starting in 1932.

New utility infielder Jayson Nix is wearing #7. The chapter on uniform numbers includes a story on how Bobby Wine lost #7 to Dick Stuart. Chapter also has other stories about uniform numbers and who assigns them. End of commercial.

New Faces
Opening day roster contains the following who didn’t wear a Phillies uniform last year: Burnett, RHernandez, Lincoln, Manship, Hollands, Nieves, Nix, Byrd and Gwynn Jr.

Minor League Camp
Closed for now.

Extended spring training at Carpenter Complex begins Thursday. A week from today, they start games against the Yankees, Pirates and Blue Jays until the Gulf Coast League season begins in June.

Potential exists that Cole and others rehabbing in Clearwater will participate in those games.

Four Phillies minor league teams start their respective seasons on Thursday. Daily reports on the minor league games will be included in this blog.

Opening Day Fun Fact
May 1, 1883–Phillies lose their initial opener, 4-3, to Providence at Recreation Park, 24th and Columbia Avenues in Philadelphia, when the Grays scored four runs in eighth to overcome a 3-0 deficit. Attendance is an estimated 1,200. Future Hall of Famer Charles (Old Hoss) Radbourne is the winner, the first of 48 victories for him that season. John Coleman is the loser, the first of his 48 defeats (13 wins).

Alumni Birthdays
Today: OF John Herrnstein (76) . . . Tuesday: OF-1B Willie Montanez (66), RHP Tommy Qualters (79) . . . Wednesday: RHP Jon Lieber (44), OF Pete Incaviglia (50), INF Tommy Barrett (54) . . . Friday: OF Eric Valent (37), 3B Scott Rolen (39), 2B Tom Herr (58), RHP Eddie Watt (73), C Al Kenders (77), INF Don Hasenmayer (87); Jim Fregosi would have turned 72 . . . Saturday: LHP Ryan Karp (44), C Jimmie Schaffer (78) . . . Sunday: RHP Tommy Greene (47), INF Wayne Graham (78).

1 More Day

Ashburn Richie 1584.68WTt_BAT_NBL1 more day. Yes the 2014 season opener is tomorrow afternoon in Texas’ Globe Life Park, the Phillies against the Rangers.

#1 as a player and #1 in the hearts of millions of Phillies fans was Richie Ashburn. He wore that number for 12 seasons. The Phillies retired #1 in 1979. Only 15 different players wore this number in Phillies history with CF Kiddo Davis being the first in 1932. Among Phillies managers who wore #1: Doc Prothro, Hans Lobert, George Myatt (interim) and Frank Lucchesi.

Opening Day Numbers
The Phillies have won 59 openers, lost 70 and been involved in two ties, 1923 and 1924.

Openers in the state of Texas, 2-0. March 31, 1-2. This decade, 3-1.
Most Home Runs
CF Sherry Magee, 2 (April 14, 1914, Baker Bowl)
LF Lefty O’Doul, 2 (April 18, 1929, Baker Bowl)
CF Chuck Klein, 2 (April 14, 1931, Baker Bowl)
SS Don Money, 2 (April 8, 1969, Wrigley Field)

Most RBI
Sherry Magee, 6 (1914)
Placido Palanco, 6 (April 5, 2010)

Last Win by a LHP
Terry Mulholland (April 5, 1993 at Houston)

Double Digit Strikeouts (through 1914)
Chris Short, 11 (April 12, 1965 at Houston)
Curt Schilling, 11 (April 1, 1997 at LAD)
Art Mahaffey, 10 (April 9, 1963 vs. Cincinnati)
Chris Short, 10 (April 10, 1968 vs. LAD)

Home Runs, First At-Bat
1886   George Wood
1938   Emmett Mueller (lead-off)
1951   Mike Goliat
1962   Clay Dalrymple
1964   Roy Sievers
1979   Garry Maddox
1980   Greg Luzinski
1984   Mike Schmidt
1995   Tony Longmire (pinch-hit)
Minor League Camp
Released yesterday, 3B-1B Cody Overebeck.
Book Shelf
“If These Walls Could Talk” is the title of my new book which will be available starting May 1 in book stores and on-line. Triumph Books ( is the publisher. Larry Bowa wrote the foreword.

Spring Training Awards

With today’s rainout, the preseason is officially over. So, the Phillies didn’t score a run in their last three games. It doesn’t matter. What matters starts Monday.

Infielder Jayson Nix was acquired last night filling a need as a back-up infielder. He’s the younger brother of Laynce Nix. They become the 10th pair of brothers to wear a Phillies uniform. The most recent were Dave and Dennis Bennett 50 years ago.

Spring Training Awards
Spring training 2014 for the Phillies in Clearwater is history. That means it is time for the annual recap, not to be confused with the Academy Awards.

Most Impressive Newcomer
Tough call. Buchanan, Manship, Hollands stood out among the pitches. Gwynn among the position players. But, the overall winner: Sandberg. He brought a new approach, work ethic and attitude to the clubhouse and dugout.

Most Impressive Oldcomer
Right-fielder Byrd.

Brightest Future
Third baseman Franco. Scouts raved about him. He just needs to play more in the minors.

Biggest Change
Came in the TV booth with Moyer and Stairs joining T-Mac.

Biggest Farce
Multiple media reports that claimed Phillies officials were trying to move Rollins. One tweet spurred an avalanche.

Best Yummy for the Tummy
Clear winner once again, strawberry shortcake. Bright House Field’s best by far for the fourth straight year. Delaware County cheese steaks are in second place.

Strangest Yummy
The concessions sign that proclaimed “loaded baked potato.” Which raises the question, is there is such a thing as a sober baked potato?

Busiest Places
Diamond Outfitters Store. Fans love to gobble up Phillies merchandise. And, the Tiki Bar. Fans there are socializing so much they have no idea what is going on on the field.

Most Valuable Employees
Opie Cheek, the amazing groundskeeper who has Carpenter Complex and Bright House Field playing surfaces looking like something in a a high-grade color magazine and Scott Palmer for his endless videos provided and Philly TV stations.

Oops Award
Goes to Larry Andersen, who was assigned to drive a golf cart on Alumni Day, bringing fans from the parking lot to BHF. Cart would only go in reverse after one trip.

Most Unique Fan
The possum who parked itself on top of the outfield fence at Carpenter Complex early in the camp.

Most Entertaining Award
Easy winner, Robert Person, who joined Phillie Phanatic in performing dueling banjos on Alumni Day.

Most Touching Moment
The pre-game tribute to Jim Fregosi.

Countdown to Opening Day
2, yes, 2 more days to the season opener for the Phillies in the Rangers’ Globe Life Park.

Granny Hamner wore #2 for 11 seasons, the most of any Phillies player. Next at four seasons each, Buster Adams and Rico Brogna. Coach Billy DeMars wore it for nine seasons. Ben Revere is #2 currently.

Good-bye Clearwater

Phillies and Pirates meet in a two-game, O-Deck Series starting tonight at Citizens Bank Park. From 1903 through 1955, the Phillies and Philadelphia A‘s played pre-season exhibition games called the City Series. Managers in 1943 were Bucky Harris (Phillies) and Connie Mack. Bob Warrington photo.

Outta’ Here

The digital clock atop the Bright House Field scoreboard registered the end of the last spring training game yesterday. Good-bye Clearwater. After starting 2-10-1, the Phillies finished 7-7-1, losing the last two via shutouts and getting only three total hits. Hopefully, those bats weren’t boarded on the charter flight home last evening.

Cole tossed two innings in a Class A game at Carpenter Complex at the same time the Phillies and Blue Jays were starting next door at Bright House Field. He threw 30 pitches (20 for strikes) in two scoreless innings.

Cole was on the charter flight, will go with the team to Texas on Saturday for Monday’s opener and then return to Clearwater to continue his rehab program.

After the game, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 21, along with Gonzalez, Martin, Ruf and Galvis. Adams was put on the DL, retroactive to March 26. Pettibone, who pitched two scoreless innings against the Blue Jays, was optioned to Lehigh Valley.

Clearwater total attendance ended at 121,915. It is the eighth straight spring they have topped 120,000. The 11,210 crowd for the Red Sox on March 21 set a new Bright House Field record.

Starting on Monday, the Phillies will honor longtime owner Claire Betz this season with a patch on their uniforms with the initials “CB.” Mrs. Betz died on Feb. 6. She and her late husband, John Drew Betz, became Phillies owners in 1981.

Minor League Camp
Lehigh Valley, Reading and Lakeland clubs leave Clearwater tomorrow. Players assigned to the Clearwater Threshers carry their bags 600 feet south to Bright House Field.

Players not making those rosters will continue at Carpenter Complex in extended spring training which begins on April 3. Williamsport and the Gulf Coast League Phillies begin their seasons in June.

Releases yesterday: Colby Shreve and Samuel Dove.

Countdown to Opening Day
3 more day and the Phillies 2014 season begins in Texas.

When it comes to which player wore #3 for the most seasons, Todd Pratt comes out on top, six. Hall of Famer Chuck Klein wore it in 1932-33. On the bench, seven seasons each for manager Danny Ozark and coach Claude Osteen. Currently, Marlon Byrd is #3.

Opening Day Moments
April 11, 1907–Following a heavy snowstorm, the Phillies open the season against the Giants in New York’s Polo Grounds. Groundskeepers shovel large drifts of snow onto the outer edges of the field in foul territory. After falling behind, 3-0, disappointed NY fans began hurling snowballs onto the playing field, disrupting play. Fans began rushing the field to continue the snowball fight. After home plate umpire Bill Klem was hit by a snowball, he called a forfeit in favor of the Phillies, 3-0. (Baseball

Bookmobile“If These Walls Could Talk” is the title of my new book which will be available starting May 1 in book stores and on-line. Triumph Books ( is the publisher. Larry Bowa wrote the foreword.

Last Florida Game

Ten years ago, Bobby Abreu hit the first home run in a regular season game at Citizens Bank Park. Yesterday, the Phillies told him post-game he wouldn’t make the opening day roster.

Someday, Bobby will be a shoo-in for the Phillies Wall of Fame. He’s told friends he wants to retire as a Phillie, following the path of Doug Glanville, Mike Lieberthal and Pat Burrell. That would be cool.

Real Duel
Real classic pitcher’s duel yesterday as Detroit nipped the Phillies, 1-0.

Final spring numbers: Verlander, 0 runs, 17 strikeouts, 20 innings; Lee, 7 runs, 26 strikeouts, 26.2 innings. Guess you could say both are locked in.

The Phillies had scored 17 runs in a 3-game winning streak but Verlander dominated, allowing just two hits.

Bright House Field this afternoon, Citizens Bank Park tomorrow night. Spring training is replaced by two On-Deck Series games with the Pirates, Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Phillies fly to Dallas to take on the Rangers on Monday afternoon in the season opener.

Stutes Tweet
Michael tweeted after being released: Thank you phillies fans for all your support over the last six years. It was an honor to play in front of such passionate fans.

Countdown to Opening Day
4 days until the Phillies 2014 season opener in Texas against the AL West Rangers.

Lenny Dykstra holds the distinction of wearing this number for the most seasons as a player, eight. Eddie Waitkus is next, five. Manager Gene Mauch wore it for eight seasons. Don Hurst first wore the number in 1932. Currently the number is vacant.

Countdown Fun Fact
Phillies will have three season openers this year, Monday in Texas, April 4 in Wrigley Field and April 7 at home.

Coming Attraction
“If These Walls Could Talk” is the title of my new book which will be available starting May 1 in book stores and on-line. Triumph Books ( is the publisher. Larry Bowa wrote the foreword.

Notes, quotes and anecdotes from my 50 years with the Phillies.

Alumni Page
For Alumni features and photos visit

Final Days in ST

What began with the first day of pitchers and catchers on February 13 ends tomorrow as the Phillies and Blue Jays close out spring training, 1:05 p.m. on The Comcast Network.

After the game, there’s a charter flight to Philly leading from the near by St. Pete/Clearwater airport. Sports coats, slacks and shirts with collars are the dress code for the flight. Travel roster will include extra players for the Phillies-Pirates in the On-Deck Series, Friday night and Saturday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

The Blue Jays also head north but to Montreal for a pair of games against the Mets. Then, get this, they return to Florida to open the season Monday afternoon to play the Rays in St. Petersburg.

Awards Day
Before today’s game:
Bill Giles Award (OF Justin Parr)
Larry Rojas Award (C Gabriel Lino)
John Vukovich Award (Lehigh Valley coach Sal Rende)

Countdown to Opening Day
5 days and baseball 2014 officially starts, Phillies at Rangers.

Among all Phillies players, Pat Burrell wore #5 for the most seasons, eight. Three years each, Kim Batiste, Larry Cox, Roy Sievers. As a coach, Mike Ryan was #5 for 12 seasons. Coach Steve Henderson currently wears the number.

Classy tweets from Fransden
Kevin Frandsen?@KevinFrandsen Leaving an org. who gave me huge opp is as difficult a choice one could make! Ryno will lead the way and great things will happen! #Believe
Kevin Frandsen?@KevinFrandsen Thanks to ALL @Phillies @IronPigs fans for last 3+ yrs. It was an honor to play w/ passion in front of the fans with the most passion!!

Opening Day Fun Facts
April 19, 1900–Phillies beat Braves in Boston, 19-17, in 10 innings, the highest scoring opener in National league history. Braves score nine in the ninth to send the game into extra innings.

Opening Day Numbers
Which Phillies icons have hit the most home runs and won the most games on opening day? Really hard question, I know.



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