January 2013

Goodbye January, Hello Baseball

The end of January means one thing….spring training is coming next month. Baseball is replacing winter blahs.

Because of the World Baseball Classic, spring training is starting earlier and running longer.

Mark your calendars:
February 11—Ruben, Charlie and the entire staff meets at Carpenter Field.

February 12—Physicals for pitchers and catchers.

February 13—Pitchers and catchers work out for the first time on the four green diamonds at Carpenter Field. Daily practices begin at 10 a.m.

February 15—Physicals for infielders and outfielders.

February 16—First full squad workout.

Just Out
No Surrender, the official 2012 Phillies video yearbook, is now available online on this site and in the Majestic Clubhouse store.
It is written and produced by Dan Stephenson, best known as Video Dan.

The 65-minuite DVD takes an in-depth look at the ups and downs of this pivotal year, as seen through the somewhat cockeyed view of broadcasters Larry Andersen and Scott Franzke.

Over two hours of bonus footage is included.

Alumni Note
Faithful Phillies phan, Dennis Orlandini, has passed on some sad news, Barney Mussill passed away January 27. At age 93, he was the fourth oldest Phillies Alumnus.

Mussill was a left-handed pitcher with the Phillies in 1944, his only experience in the majors. He relieved in 16 games and was 0-1.

Our condolences are extended to his family.

More Alumni “Stuff”
Check out http://www.phillies.com/alumni for news, notes and vintage photos of the Phillies.

In one of the features, you can read all about the Phillies very first game on May 1, 1883.

Coming next month is a look back at the Phillies season of 120 years ago, 1893.

Did You Ever Wonder?

What Phillie Phanatic would look like if he/she was skinny?

Back In Business

OK, back in business again, now from sunny Florida.

While all is quiet at Citizens Bank Park and Bright House Field, Ruben Amaro and Marti Wolever (Asst. GM, Amateur Scouting) are ending a four-day meeting in Scottsdale on Wednesday in preparation for the first-year-player draft in June.

Joining the meeting are scouting coordinators and supervisors Mike Ledna, Billy Moore, Darrell Conner, Scott Trcka, Gene Schall and Eric Valent.

Phillies selections in the first three rounds are #16, 52 and 89.

Spring training gets underway when Ruben oversees an all-day meeting at Carpenter Complex on Monday, February 11. Ruben’s staff plus Charlie’s staff, other instructors and athletic trainers will review each player in camp during that meeting.

Alumni Notes
**Brad Lidge was at Citizens Bank Park recently for the Phillies Prospect Education Program. He spoke to the seven minor leagues about expectations and preparations.
Now retired, Brad has been enjoying the winter scene with his family in Colorado. 4-year-old Rowan has begun skiing lessons. Brad himself has returned to snowboarding for the first time in some 15 years. “The falls are more painful now,” he laughed. Through his agents, he had let the Phillies know he would like to officially retire as a Phillie as Doug Glanville, Mike Lieberthal and Pat Burrell have done. When told we would be glad to follow through, he smiled, “That would be very special. Thank you.” So, stay tuned.

**Ryan Sandberg is among the 2013 class being inducted into the Ted Williams Hitting Hall of Fame this Sunday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

**1B Ed Bouchee, who played with the Phillies from 1956-60, died on January 23 at age 69 from Alzheimer’s. Deepest sympathy is extended to his family.

**Birthdays……28th, 1B Bill White (79) . . . 29th, 2B Davey Johnson (70) . . . 31st, RHP Joel Bennett (33) . . . Feb.1st, RHP Bob Conley (79) . . . 2nd, RHP Warren Brusstar (61) . . . 3rd, RHP Freddie Toliver (42), LHP Mike Wallace (62), OF Bake McBride (64).

**RHP Mark Leiter, on his favorite teammates: “I could never pick just one. There were some real nice guys on that team, Mike Lieberthal, Kenny Ryan, Kevin Jordan. Ruben Amaro, to name a few. Had a lot of great hanging out time talking baseball and life with them.” Leiter pitched for the Phillies in 1997 and 1998.

For more favorite teammates among Phillies Alumni, visit http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

On Break

Phillies Insider will resume January 29.

Empty Cooperstown

Nobody for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame?

Hard to believe, Harry.

Granted, this year’s ballot featured some of the greatest names in the game’s history who allegedly used illegal substances. Seems as if there is no middle ground on these guys, writers either liked them or didn’t. Five writers didn’t vote, apparently in protest. Guess that’s alright because people don’t have to vote in political elections.

Spitballs are illegal yet Gaylord Perry is in Cooperstown. Ty Cobb wasn’t an angel. There was the dead ball era, the WW II era and the 1990s, different periods of time that featured different stars. Some old-timers were alcoholics and they are in Cooperstown.

Biggest beef is with the voting system. Understand that the Baseball Writers Association of America has a history in the voting, something like 77 years. BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years of major league coverage are eligible to vote and 569 ballots were cast. Of those 569, how many are still active? How many have been selling lollypops since they stopped covering baseball?

A writer with less than 10 years who is currently covering the game doesn’t get to vote. There are writers who saw more of Piazza, Biggio, Schilling, etc, than the lollypop salesman.

BBWAA members get time off during the season. They don’t cover all 162 games as was the case 40-50 years ago. Baseball broadcasters work all 162. They see the players perform way more often than writers or columnists but they have no vote because that exclusive right belongs exclusively to the BBWAA.

Time has changed and perhaps it is to change the system. Proof that times have changed… Hershey bars no longer cell for 5 cents.

David Murphy, in today’s Daily News, made an interesting comment: “The writers were no longer part of the story. They were the story and that just doesn’t make sense.”

There are numerous Phillies in Cooperstown, some elected by the writers (Alexander, Schmidt, Carlton). Some were voted in by the Veterans Committee (Klein, Ashburn, Bunning).

When a certain Phillies outfielder retired in 1901, he was the game’s stolen base leader and a career .349 hitter after 12 .300 seasons. He held the all-time record for runs scored in a single season (1894) and still does. Yet, it took 60 years for him to be enshrined, posthumously by the Veterans Committee, not the writers.

Hard to believe, Harry.

Who is this man? Check out the Past Profile in http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

Warm Thoughts

Spring training tickets go on sale Thursday right here on phillies.com. Then, four weeks from today, the equipment truck leaves Citizens Bank Park for Bright House Field. Three weeks from tomorrow (Wednesday) is the first day for pitchers and catchers.

The sound of a bat hitting a ball on Wednesday evening at Citizens Bank Park doesn’t mean the season is here. Rather some of the 135 Phantasy Campers will be getting batting practice in the cages. Clearwater will host the annual Phillies Phantasy Camp, January 16-20.

Alumni Notes
Ruben Amaro Sr. and Ruben Amaro Jr. are being inducted into the Latin American International Hall of Fame on Saturday in Laredo, TX.

Richie Hebner is back in the game as a hitting coach for New Hampshire (Blue Jays, AA). Bobby Thigpen is the White Sox new bullpen coach. Greg Gross, hitting coach with Reno (Diamondbacks, AAA).

Mike Lieberthal became a daddy again in December, third son, Case.

Prospects Program
Major League Baseball’s annual Prospect Development Program will be held Thursday through Sunday in Virginia. Phillies participants will be Darin Ruf, Cesar Hernandez and Jonathan Pettibone.

The Phillies own similar program will take place at Citizens Bank Park, January 15-18.

Happy Birthday
To the following Alumni………….
January 7—OF Scott Reid (66), RHP Ray Semproch (82), INF Alvin Dark (91) . . . January 8—INF Randy Ready (53) . . . January 9—SS Ivan deJesus (60) . . . January 11—RHP Ben Rivera (45), RHP Donn Pall (51).

Donn is the answer to a trivia question: Who recorded the last out when the Phillies clinched the 1993 NL East title in Pittsburgh on September 28?

Special Birthday
January 7, Lester Shenk, my dad, who turned 97!

Alumni Online Page
Paul Hagen has an interesting “Where Are They now?” feature on Lee Thomas, GM of the Phillies 1993 NL champions, on http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

Also new is a terrific photo of the three catchers in the Phillies Wall of Fame.

Check it out.

Special Thanks
MLB.com has posted the top 100 blogs for 2012. Thanks to all of you, Phillies Insider is #15 in the Pro category.

That means you clicked on the blog and then fell asleep reading it, much better than the other way around.

Appreciate your support!

Happy 2013

Happy New Year.

Didn’t break any resolutions so far.  But, the reason is simple: I didn’t make any.  Why make ‘em and then break ‘em.

Hall of Fame
Baseball Writers have voted for the Hall of Fame inductees for this year.  Results will be announced on January 9.

Phillies Alumni on the ballot include Dale Murphy (15th time on the ballot) and first-timers, Curt Schilling, Kenny Lofton, Julio Franco, Jeff Conine and Jose Mesa. Norristown native, Mike Piazza, is also on the ballot for the first time.

To be inducted, a candidate must receive 75% of the votes.  Players are removed from the ballot after 15 years.  Players who receive 5% of the votes the first time are no longer eligible.

Top 100 Last month, ESPN.com posted its’ Hall of 100, the top 100 players of all time.  Phillies have 13 Alumni who are listed.  In case you missed it:
#16 – 3B Mike Schmidt
#20 – 2B Joe Morgan
#26 – LHP Steve Carlton
#28 – 1B Jimmie Foxx
#37 – 1B Pete Rose
#41 – RHP Pedro Martinez
#48 – 2B-1B Nap Lajoie
#50 – RHP Grover Cleveland Alexander
#62 – RHP Ferguson Jenkins
#79 – RHP Robin Roberts
#82 – RHP Kid Nichols
#92 – RHP Roy Halladay
#94 – 1B Jim Thome

Hard to believe Chuck Klein is not on that list.

Out To Sea
Charlie Manuel, Rich Dubee, Ryne Sandberg, Larry Bowa and Ben Revere will join Scott Palmer on the Phillies cruise, leaving from Florida this Sunday. They return a week later a little heftier from all the dining.

Happy Birthday
December 31—OF Sil Campusano (48) . . . January 2—C Jim Essian (62), RHP Garrett Stephenson (41) . . . January 3—C Darren Daulton (51) . . . January 4—LHP Ken Reynolds (66), MGR Charlie Manuel (69) . . . January 5—LHP Danny Jackson (51), OF Milt Thompson (54), OF Bob Dernier (56), C-CH Bob Oldis (85) . . . January 6—2B Marlon Anderson (39), SS-CH Ruben Amaro Sr. (77).

Alumni Features/Photos
Don’t forget to check out www.phillies.com/alumni.

New photos and features will be posted there over the next three weeks.

Comments and suggestions about the Alumni page are welcomed.

Did You Ever Wonder?
Why college football coaches have police escorts when entering and leaving the field?