Author Archive

Snowman Returns

snowmen
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.

Noteworthy
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.

PLAY BALL!

snowmen

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 (triumphbooks.com) 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 MLB.com 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

Mack-Harris
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
4:02.

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 Almanac.com)

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 (triumphbooks.com) 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 (triumphbooks.com) 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 http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

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.

Answers: http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

2 More Clearwater Games

Phillies-Ebbets
April 9, 1913 
In the first National League game ever played in Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, Phillies blank the Dodgers, 1-0, behind Tom Seaton.

Camp Notes
Weather-permitting, a big-name pitching match-up is in store when the Tigers visit Clearwater tomorrow afternoon. Scheduled to start are Justin Verlander and Cliff Lee. More rain is in store for today, which could alter pitching plans if both teams don’t play.

Phillies game today is at 7:05 p.m. in Tampa against the Yankees; MLB Network will carry the game.

Grapefruit League season ends Thursday with the Blue Jays at Bright House Field. Phillies fly to Philly after the game.

Chris Stigall will broadcast live from Bright House Field tomorrow and Thursday. His show on WPHT AM runs from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. . . . Phillies minor leaguers have a camp day tomorrow . . . Winners of the Bill Giles, Larry Rojas and John Vukovich awards will be honored pre-game tomorrow.

Spring Training Memories
Jamie Moyer (LHP, 2006-2010)
“My first big league camp came with the Cubs in Mesa, AZ, in 1987. I had been called up the previous season so when I went to camp, I knew a lot of the guys. But, I didn’t know what to expect with the spring training program. I was anxious and nervous at the same time. We stayed at the Mezona Hotel. Don’t remember my roommate; I had a lot of them in my career. Not sure what jersey number I had, probably 49. I always enjoyed spring training and really can’t think of anything I didn’t like. I know I had a lot to prove many years.”

For more spring training memories, visit http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

Countdown to Opening Day
6 days until the Phillies begin their 132nd season by playing the Rangers in Texas.

Tight race as to which players wore #6 the longest. Willie (Puddin’ Head) Jones is the leader, 11 seasons. Tied at 10 each, Johnny Callison and Ryan Howard. Jimmy Rollins wore it in 2003 but switched to #11 when Doug Glanville returned in 2004. Doug wore that number five previous seasons.

Opening Day Fun Fact
Tony Taylor started in left field in the final season opener at Connie Mack Stadium, April 7, 1970.

Countdown to Book Signing
One more day. Yep, I’ll be signing my new book (If These Walls Could Talk) tomorrow at Bright House Field, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., behind Section 120. Book officially hits the stores and websites on May 1 so this is an early-bird signing. Triumph Books of Chicago is the publisher. Foreword was written by Larry Bowa.

Packing Time

1938 season openerApril 19, 1938— With the clubhouses located in center field, the Phillies (front of the band) and Brooklyn Dodgers (behind) marched in on opening day, the last opener at decrepit Baker Bowl. Phillies moved permanently to Shibe Park on July 4 of that season.

In that opener, 2B Heinie Mueller of Phillies and LF Ernie Koy of Brooklyn each hit a home run in first major league at bat in first inning of a 12-5 Brooklyn victory. Attendance was 1,000.

Camp Notes
Amidst a lot of fanfare, a large trailer truck left Citizens Bank Park for Bright House Field back in early February. The truck was loaded with equipment for spring training, including sun flower seeds.

Tomorrow morning, a 53-foot truck will be loaded quietly. Three more games are on the Grapefruit League schedule and less gear is needed. Extra bats, baseballs, uniforms, jackets, helmets and caps will be loaded by the clubhouse crew. Various vendors visited the players during camp, supplying multiple shoes and gloves. Excess of both aren’t needed for three games so they’ll go north. Personnel luggage from the players, staff, broadcasters and front office will also be on the truck.

Sun flower seeds? Completely consumed in spring training.

Third and last night game of the spring is on tap tomorrow, 7:05 in Tampa against the Yankees. Busses leave at 3 p.m. The MLB Network will televise the game. Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen will be on radio and leave Wednesday for home as they will not be broadcasting the Wednesday (Tigers) and Thursday (Blue Jays) Clearwater games.

Minor League Camp Notes
INFs Jim Negrych, Logan Pierce; LHP Kyler Burke, RHP Zach Cooper and C          Francisco Herrera, Josh Ludy and Justin Dalles were released yesterday morning. Benny Looper and Joe Jordan had the unpleasant task of telling the players the Phillies didn’t want them anymore. More cuts will come this week.

Two Class A clubs from the Yankees will play the Phillies tomorrow afternoon (1 o’clock) at Carpenter Complex. Last games at the complex are Friday.

Alumni Birthdays
Wednesday: LHP Al Neiger (75) . . . Thursday: 3B Tom Quinlan (46), RHP Dick Ruthven (63), RHP Mike Jackson (68) . . . Friday: RHP Shawn Boskie (47) . . . Saturday: SS Juan Bell (46), RHP Tom Hume (61).

Countdown to Opening Day
7 days (or a week) before the Phillies begin their 2014 season at the Texas Rangers.

Ted Kazanski, who received a $100,000 bonus to sign with the Phillies in 1951, wore #7 for the most seasons, six (1953-58, playing in a total of 417 games). Bobby Wine is next with five. When the Phillies acquired Dick Stuart in 1965, he was given #7 and Wine switched to #13. Stuart lasted one season and Wine got the number back again. As a coach, Wine wore #7 for 10 seasons. One other oddity for this number, four different players wore it in 1940.

Book Signing
I’ll be signing my new book, If These Walls Could Talk, on Wednesday 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.

Roster Countdown Continues

Countdown to opening day roster continues. Three cuts yesterday lowered the camp number to 40, of which there are 15 healthy hurlers. Eight players are expected to begin the season on the DL, which means there are 32 still in camp that could make the 25-man roster.

Phillies ended 0-4 vs. the Pirates in Florida yesterday. Two games against the Pirates this Friday and Saturday in the Citizens Bank Park On-Deck series. The two don’t meet in the regular season until the July 4 weekend (in Pittsburgh). Cross-state rivals have four games in Philly in September.

Tomorrow, the short trip to Dunedin for their sixth game against the Blue Jays, who hold a 4-1 edge. Final Clearwater game is Thursday afternoon, also against Toronto.

Meanwhile, the Yankees AAA and AA clubs will play the Phillies at Carpenter Complex tomorrow.

Spring Training Memories
Art Mahaffey (RHP, 1960-65)
“My first spring training camp was in Clearwater in 1957.  I played in Mattoon (IL) in 1956 right out of high school. I think my uniform number was 28, which was the same number I wore my entire career. I remember staying at the Fort Harrison Hotel, but the first year it could have been at a small hotel a few blocks north of the Fort Harrison. I don’t remember the name of it. Chris Short was my first roommate. The memory of the first spring training day was walking into the clubhouse, putting on a Phillies uniform, meeting all the other players, and then walking out on the field and pretending to be a big leaguer. I liked everything about spring training. I was 18 years old and had never been to Florida. Clearwater was a beautiful little resort town and it was a thrill to be there and to be wearing a uniform that said PHILLIES on it. Every day was better than the day before. There wasn’t anything I didn’t like about spring training.”

Countdown to Opening Day
8 days until the Phillies and Rangers begin the season in Globe Life Park, Arlington, TX.

Close race among four players: Tony Taylor, 11 seasons; Bob Boone, nine; Shane Victorino, seven and Juan Samuel, six. Hall of Famer Chuck Klein wore the number in his final season 70 years ago.

Opening Day Fun Fact
April 19, 1890—RHP Kid Gleason (5-foot-7) tosses Phillies first Opening Day shutout, 4-0, over the Giants in New York.

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.

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