Time for a Phillies history lesson. 30 years ago today, GM Paul Owens made a managerial change in Atlanta. The Phillies, Eastern Division winners the three previous seasons, were 12.5 games out, resting in fifth place in the six-team division.
Broadcaster Chris Wheeler has a book coming off the presses next month, View From The Booth. Here’s an excerpt from his book……four decades with the Phillies by Wheeler with Harold Gullan:
“I was in my room in Atlanta in the afternoon. The season had been lost to injuries and the runaway Pirates but we still had a month to go. I was working on the daily stats and notes, still doing double duty as the traveling PR representative and a part-time broadcaster. A lot of the pre-game material now is computerized but in ‘those days’ we had to type everything on stencils—and it was a lot of time-consuming work.
“The phone rang and it was the Pope (Paul Owens). He sounded a little agitated and said, ‘I need you in my room right away to talk about something.’ I know I got up there real fast because I didn’t want to keep him waiting. His suite door was half open so I knocked and walked in and sitting there on the couch was Big ‘D” himself (Dallas Green). ‘Bet you’re surprised to see me,’ Dallas barked. ‘I know you know why I’m here.’
“The three of us spent time talking about a press conference to announce Danny Ozark’s firing and how were going to word the release which was being prepared back in Philadelphia by Larry Shenk.
“It was a tough day because we all really liked Danny but knew this was part of the business, an unpleasant part but something that just happens and you have to move on.”
Dallas was the Director of Minor Leagues and Scouting at the time and the Pope wanted him in the dugout as an interim manager for the rest of the season to gauge what changes needed to be made. The Phillies finished 19-11 under Dallas. When the World Series had ended, Dallas was named manager.
Using a tough-guy style of managing, the Phillies paraded down Broad Street as World Champions a year later.
“Wheels” remembers were he was 30 years ago. For you “veterans”, do you remember where you heard the news that Dallas was the new manager?
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