Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

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.

No WBC To Blame

A year ago, the World Baseball Classic was held. A bunch of players got hurt and the WBC was blamed.

Well, there’s no WBC this year and injuries are everywhere. Five pitchers are lost for the season because of Tommy John surgeries, two in Atlanta and one each in Detroit, Oakland and San Diego. Three Dodgers went on the DL yesterday.

The Phillies Clearwater MASH clinic is growing with Galvis and Ruf now headed for the DL. Hamels, Gonzalez and Martin have shoulder ailments, Adams and Pettibone are rehabbing from surgeries. All six pitchers will be on the DL when the season starts. J-Roll was out with the flu, Brown has had it and Franco joined the flu fraternity yesterday. Galvis is the most serious with an infection called MRSA. He’s in the hospital undergoing treatment. Phillies clubhouse was professionally disinfected yesterday.

Camp Notes
Yesterday’s 11,210 crowd set a new record for Bright House Field . . . Another big crowd expected for tomorrow afternoon’s game with the Twins . . . With the Phillies out of town today (Pirates in Bradenton), Blue Jays and Phillies AAA and AA clubs will play at the complex. Adams and Pettibone are slated to pitch . . . Tomorrow, camp cay for the minor leaguers . . . Spring Training USA brunch will take place tomorrow morning at Bright House Field; 127 fans are part of the tour group . . . MLB Network’s 30 teams in 30 days will be in Clearwater tomorrow.

Special Birthday
Right-handed pitcher Lou Lucier turns 96 tomorrow, second oldest Phillies Alumnus. The 5-foot-8, 160-pounder pitched for the Phillies in 1944 and 1945, 0-2, 3.22 for 14 relief appearances. He also pitched for the Red Sox, 1943-44.

In a 2009 SABR biography project, it was pointed out the Red Sox won the World Series in 2007 and the Phillies the next year, “How about that?” Lucier was quoted as saying. “Yeah, I’m doing pretty good with my former teams.”

Countdown to Opening Day
9 more days until the 2014 Phillies season opener in Texas against the Rangers.

Von Hayes wore #9 for the most number of seasons, eight, with Mike Ryan next at six. Domonic Brown is heading into his fifth season. Shortest career wearing the number? Mickey Harrington who was as a pinch runner in his only big league game, July 10, 1963.

Opening Day Fun Fact
April 7, 1970—LH Chris Short ties major league record with his third Opening Day shutout, this time 2-0 over the Chicago Cubs in the final Connie Mack Stadium opener. All three of Short’s shutouts are 2-0.

For more opening day moments, visit http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

Comment Corner
From The Cub Den: “I’m excited for the Phillies because of Sandberg but I do enjoy listening to Phillies baseball on the radio late at night when we can pick it up on the radio up here north of the border. A real treat listening to Philly in the car and watching the sunset.”

Great to hear from another fan with Phillies passion.

Signing Day
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. Main concourse, behind section 120. 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.

Emotional Morning

Vet implosion
An emotional morning 10 years ago today. Veterans Stadium, our home for 33 years, went down in a cloud of dust. The multi-purpose sports stadium that took four years to build was imploded in just 62 seconds. Long live the Vet.

Camp Notes
Sell-out this afternoon for the World Champion Red Sox . . . Bradenton tomorrow for another game with the Pirates. Busses leave at 9:30 . . . DH is now gone in NL parks, as is the case during the season. It will be used in AL parks . . . Last minor league games at Carpenter Complex are a week from today . . . Minor league staff will have a roster meeting after tomorrow’s 1 p.m. games (Blue Jays AAA and AA clubs) at Carpenter Complex . . . Buchanan and Manship both pitched well yesterday. Buchanan gave up home runs on back-to-back pitches in the second inning and that was it. Neither is on the 40-man roster.

Spring Training Memories
Mike Lieberthal (C, 1994-2006)
My first camp was in 1993 and I wore 63. We stayed at a hotel on Route 19, either the Holiday Inn or Best Western. Got to face Nolan Ryan in my first game. Walked off Ryan and had two hits later. Ivan Rodriguez, my favorite player at the time, caught for the Rangers. Best part of spring training was getting out early and then playing golf. My least favorite was the early morning running and agility drills.

Countdown to Opening Day
10 days until the Phillies begin their season at the Texas Rangers.

For wearing this number as a player, Darren Daulton edges Larry Bowa, 13 seasons to 12. Add Bowa’s four years as a manager and he is the leader. And, now he’s wearing the number again as a coach.

Opening Day Fun Fact
April 6, 1974–Mike Schmidt, batting eighth in the order, hits walk-off homer off Tug McGraw in 5-4 win over the New York Mets at Veterans Stadium.

For great moments on opening day, visit http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

Early-Bird Signing
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.

2 Triple Plays!

Well, we’re down to seven more games in Florida after today. Then, two at Citizens Bank Park in the On-Deck Series before a flight to Arlington, TX, and the season opener on the last day of this month.

In case you are wondering, the Phillies have opened the season on March 31 three other times. They are 1-2, losing in 1998 and 2008 and winning in 2003. Abreu played in both the 1998 and 2003 games and may be there again this time around. Deadline for him to be on the opening day roster is next Wednesday. He can become a free agent if not on the Phillies 25-man roster. He’s listed to play right field in Kissimmee today as the Phillies send a split squad there to play the Astros.

Camp Notes
Blue Jays today, Red Sox tomorrow at Bright House Field . . . Nine minor leaguers were added to the travel roster for today’s split squad game in Kissimmee (Astros) . . . Dallas Green is signing his book, The Mouth That Roared, today from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on the main concourse behind Section 120 . . . Budweiser Clydesdales will be in the west plaza area today and tomorrow. Wonder how many hot dogs they can eat in one meal . . . Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will meet with the team tomorrow morning.

Countdown to Opening Day
11 days remain before the Phillies-Rangers open the 2014 season in Globe Life Park.

Jimmy Rollins has another category in which he is the leader, heading into his 13th season of wearing #11. The last player to wear it before Rollins was Kevin Sefcik, (1997-2000). Clay Dalrymple is second to Rollins in tenure, nine seasons.

Spring Training Memories
Von Hayes (OF, 1983-92)
“I had a lot of spring training memories. But, one stands out. I hit into triple plays in consecutive at-bats. I was in my first or second spring training with Cleveland. Being a young guy, I would play in morning “B” games and then dress and sometimes play in the afternoon games. One day I came to bat with runners on first and second and no out in a “B” game, hit a line drive to the second baseman who started a triple play. That afternoon, I got in the game with the same situation, runners on first and second. This time I lined to the first baseman who stepped on first and then threw to second to complete another triple play.”

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

Early Bird Special
I’ll be signing my new book, If These Walls Could Talk, next 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.

Opening Day Fun Fact
April 19, 1937–Phillies win two games, 2-1 in 11 innings and 1-0, at Braves Field In Boston, the only time they have played two games on opening day. Must have had separate admissions as attendance for the first game is listed as 8,127 and 24,936 in the second game. Both were day games as baseball hadn’t started playing night games in 1937.

Snow Day

1944 Wilmington ST snow
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.

Camp Notes
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.

Early-bird Special

IfTheseWalls_Phillies_Mock_REVAEver since I stepped down from the daily life in PR after the 2007 season, family, friends and foes have said, “You should write a book.”

Well, folks, I did.

If These Walls Could Talk will be landing in book stores and websites starting on May 1. Larry Bowa graciously penned the foreword. Triumph Books out of Chicago is the publisher. They’ve published books written by Bill Giles, Dallas Green and Gary Matthews. Pretty lofty company. Mine is more peaceful than Dallas’ “The Mouth That Roared.”

But, here’s the really big news….an early-bird signing will take place on Wednesday, March 26 at Bright House Field from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. More signings will take place back home the next couple of months.

Been involved in hundreds of publications but never solo on a book. When I approached Triumph a year ago, the response: “We like it. Your manuscript is 15,000 words. We need 60,000-70,000. More stories about the Phillies. Can you do it?”

Challenges are challenging. Believe Yogi Berra first said that. This challenge was definitely going to be conquered. Long hours, including late nights, were required trying to remember and research more stories. At times, it was exhausting, creating a mindset of “What did I get into?” Full manuscript deadline was last September 30 and it was met. At the same time, photos were required with full captions.

Now, a year-old idea has turned into “Coming Attractions.”

The book is filled with notes, quotes and anecdotes from 50 years in the game, stories from the field, clubhouse and front office; spring training, championship seasons and jewel events such as All-Star Games and World Series. Those who wore the red pinstripe uniforms offer their many memories down through the years. There’s a history of uniform numbers worn by the Phillies and stories behind those numbers.

There’s my first encounter with the great Howard Cosell and an unusual request from the famous broadcaster, a story that will make you chuckle.

There are behind the scenes settings and insights into Phillies general managers, managers and players, including Hall of Famers Richie Ashburn, Robin Roberts, Mike Schmidt, Jim Bunning and Steve Carlton.

Learn the thought process behind the emotional closing ceremonies of Veterans Stadium and the opening of Citizens Bank Park.

Hey, you might even fall asleep reading the epic but that’s OK. Don’t tell anyone, but I dozed off a few times while writing this book.

Happy reading.

Day Off Tomorrow

Tomorrow is a day off for the players. Today’s iffy weather forecast may make it two in a row. Back in the clubhouse at 8:30 a.m. again on Wednesday for a three-mile trip to Dunedin.

Fashion Survey
Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day. Unfortunately, the Phillies bats weren’t so bright.

Spent 20 minutes before the game charting Phillies uniform jerseys worn by the Phillie faithful. No t-shirts, just jerseys.

Saw 19 different player jerseys in all colors: red, pinstriped, cream-colored, gray, powder blue. Chase was the leader with 11. Among Alumni, Schmidt, five, including thee power-blue babies.

Guess it qualifies as a useless note.

More Serious Notes
Marlon Anderson was in camp, wearing a media credential. He’s a baseball analyst on MLB.com radio . . . Great to see Mike Schmidt again and more importantly, glad to learn he’s overcome a bout with skin cancer. He was touched by all the well wishes he’s received. He then spent two innings in the TV booth. ICYMI, Mike will be in the booth for Sunday home games.

Minor League Camp
More releases: OFs Hilton Richardson, Jonathan Knight; RHPs Geoff Broussard, Karl Gelinas and LHP Braden Shull.

Carpenter Complex games tomorrow: Phillies and Pirates, two Class A clubs each.

This Week’s Alumni Birthdays
Tuesday: OF Dwayne Murphy (59) . . . Wednesday: 1B Tim Corcoran (61) . . . Thursday: OF Mike Young (54), C Pat Corrales (73) . . . Saturday: LHP Dick Ellsworth (74), RHP Paul Stuffel (86) . . . Sunday: RHP Lou Lucier (96).

Countdown to Opening Day
14 days until the Phillies and AL West Rangers open the season in Texas.

The greatest Philadelphia native to play for the Phillies, Del Ennis, wore #14 for 11 seasons. Next were Jim Bunning and Tommy Hutton, six each, with Pete Rose having worn it in his five seasons with the Phillies. Bunning was in inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996. The Phillies retired #14 on April 6, 2001, the 30th anniversary of the first game in Veterans Stadium, a game won by Bunning. C Gary Bennett was the last player to wear #14, 2000.

Countdown Bonus
With Tuesday being a day off, we’ll toss in tomorrow’s countdown today: 13 days and the regular season begins, Phillies at Rangers.

Freddy Galvis is the 12th player ever to wear #13 since the Phillies began wearing numbers on their jerseys in 1932. This season will be the third for Freddy, which ties reliever Roger McDowell for the most years (1989-91). First ever to wear the number was RHP Claude Passeau (1938-39).

March Madness
Love this part of the college athletic season.

The University of Delaware plays Michigan State U. in a first-round mismatch. Game is part of the East Region but being played in Spokane, WA, which is east of the Pacific ocean.

Quick Turn Around

Following last night’s win in Ft. Myers, the Phillies face a quick turn around for today’s 1 p.m. game against the Pirates at Bright House Field. No batting practice, just individual infield drills on the half-field.

Wearing Green
Following a tradition started by the late Tug McGraw, the Phillies will wear green hats and jerseys tomorrow on St. Patrick’s Day at Bright House Field. The Orioles are the opponent. Baltimore also has a night game in their Sarasota home tomorrow.

Back in 1979, Tug strolled out of the bullpen at Jack Russell Memorial Stadium on St. Patrick’s Day wearing green socks and a green undershirt. Ever since green has been the Phillies color on this day.

Promotions tomorrow, Cory the Magician will roam the concourse, Sarge will be signing his book by section 120 and NoBurn Sports Screen samples will be handed out at the gtes.

Tuesday is a day off although some players may wind up playing in a minor league game at the complex. The Phillies and Pirates Class A clubs, two each, will play at 1 in the afternoon. Free parking and admission.

Opening Day Countdown
15 more days until the Phillies season opener in Texas, a 2:05 p.m. EDT game.

Dick Allen holds the longevity for wearing #15, eight seasons, with Dave Hollins second, at seven. Jack Mayo and Walter (Boom-Boom) Beck are next, five each. John Mayberry is heading into his fourth season wearing this number.

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