March 2014

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

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

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

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 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.

Five-Header Sunday

Report at 12 noon, busses at 1 p.m. for a long trip south to play the Red Sox tonight (7:05) on the MLB Network. Those two notices were posted on the clubhouse bulletin board yesterday at Bright House Field. Utley and Howard are not on the travel roster.

Two minor league games are at 1 o’clock at Carpenter Complex today.

Same bulletin board also posts the schedule for those who aren’t traveling. Workouts at Bright House Field start at 9:30 a.m. Routine: stretching and exercise, long toss, fundamentals (group or individual), batting practice and conditioning.

Yesterday, Fransden and Franco fielded extra ground balls on the half-field at the end of the workout. Mickey Morandini manned the fungo bat. Before that, pitchers fielding practice under Ray Burris.

Tomorrow, the Pirates and Phillies meet in Clearwater. The 1 p.m. game is just one of five between the two NL clubs. At Pirate City in Bradenton, the Phillies AAA and AA clubs play the Pirates same teams. At Carpenter Complex, two Class A clubs from each organization will play.

Mike Schmidt will be in camp tomorrow and will meet wiht the media at 10 in the morning. Know fans are anxious to learn about his health issues that kept him out of camp earlier. ICYMI: Mike will be part of the Phillies TV broadcast team on Sunday home games this season.

Scouting Notes
Phillies full-time International Scouts, Norman Anciano, Luis Garcia, Jesus Mendez and Carlos Salas, will be in camp starting Tuesday.

Sal Agostinelli and Benny Looper’s staffs are preparing for the July 2 signing date of Latin America players. Not to be overlooked are very young players who will be eligible next year and 2016. Not unusual for 13-14-year-olds to be on the scouting radar.

Countdown to Opening Day
16 days until the Phillies season opener against the Rangers at Texas’ Globe Life Park.

Back-up infielder Terry Harmon wore #17 for eight seasons, most ever for that number. Well, another extra infielder, Luis Aguayo, claims the same distinction for #16. He wore it eight seasons, edging out Cookie Rojas at six. J.C. Romero was third, five seasons. Cesar Hernandez is currently wearing the number.

On The Road Again

Phillies are heading south out of Clearwater today (Bradenton, Pirates) and tomorrow (Ft. Myers, Red Sox). Then, back home on Sunday to face the Pirates.

Saturday will give the Phillies a taste of the regular season, a 7:05 night game followed by a 1:05 day game. Busses for Ft. Myers leave at 1 p.m. and are projected to return to Clearwater around 1:30 a.m. Sleep quick for Sunday’s game.

Tomorrow night’s game will be televised on the MLB Network.

With the team out of town tomorrow fans can catch two Phillies Class A clubs playing the Blue Jays at Carpenter Complex. The Paul B. Stephens Special Olympics Kids will have lunch at the complex and then watch the games.

Camp Notes
Seven players were sent to the minor league camp this morning: LHP Jeremy Horst, C Tommy Joseph, OF Tyson Gillies, OF Zach Collier, LHP Cesar Jimenez, RHP Ken Giles and INF Andres Blanco.

C Lou Marson was released. C Sebastian Valle was brought back from the minor league camp. 44 players left in camp.

E-Mail Bin
From Donald: “I wonder if it would be possible to enter the Phillies managers who took the Phillies to the playoffs or to the World Series in a special place on the wall.”

Appreciate the inquiry, Donald, but I believe we need to maintain the parameters we have for the Wall of Fame: you need to be elected. Dallas Green is in the Wall (2006) and Charlie Manuel’s being inducted in August. Pat Moran (1915 NL pennant winner manager) has never been on the ballot. Eddie Sawyer (1950) was on the ballot a long time ago and didn’t garner many votes. Danny Ozark and Jim Fregosi have been on the ballot in recent years and I suspect they will be there again next spring.

Countdown to Opening Day
17 more days and the Phillies 2014 season opens against the AL West Rangers in Texas.

Another close race as to which Phillies players have worn #17 the longest: Terry Harmon, eight seasons; Ricky Jordan, seven and Scott Rolen, six. Rogers McKee wore it on the last day of the 1943 season when he recorded his only big league win at age 17 years, 7 days, the youngest pitcher ever to win a game.

Alumni Day to Return in 2015

LineUp0198Another photo gem by Phillies photographer Miles Kennedy, the lineup of former players on Alumni Day last week. It was the first ever promotion in spring training. Plans are to continue it every spring in Clearwater.

0 to 4
Baseball can be a crazy game. The Phillies offense has been meek and week so far this spring. They were the only NL team without a triple going into yesterday at Sarasota.

So, what happened? They hit four triples in a one-run win. According to Phillies records dating back to 1917, the most triples they ever had in a game was 5, August 2, 1986, against the Cubs at the Vet. Three persons in camp played in that game: Sandberg was 0-3 and Sarge 1-3 for the Cubs; Samuel had one of the five triples. The others: Gary Redus 2, Steve Jeltz and the slow-footed John Russell.

Camp Notes
Home today and then at Bradenton (Pirates) tomorrow and Ft. Myers (Red Sox, 7:05) Saturday . . . Back-to-back home games Sunday (Pirates) and Monday (Orioles) . . . Minor league games tomorrow feature the Phillies and Blue Jays class A clubs; 1 p.m. at Carpenter Complex.

CBP Top Ten
Tomorrow is the last day to cast your vote for the top 10 moments in the first 10 years of Citizens Bank Park. You can vote on

Countdown to Opening Day
18. Yes, that’s how many days are left before the Phillies begin the season in the Texas Rangers Globe Life Park.

49 different players have worn #18 since the Phillies began wearing numbers on their jerseys in 1932. When Darin Ruf plays in a game this season, he’ll get credit for wearing the number for three seasons. That will tie him with four other players for longevity: Pancho Herrera, John Vukovich, Kiko Garcia and Chris James. A couple of notable players who have worn the number include Rick Wise as a rookie in 1964 and Shane Victorino in 2006.

Spring Training Memories
Pat Gillick (LHP, minor leagues, 1959-63)
“First spring training was with the Orioles AAA team in Yuma, AZ, 1959. I remember staying at the Starlight Motel. Didn’t have a roommate and can’t recall my uniform number. Did know a couple of the other players which made it easier the first few days. Always liked spring training, the camaraderie and the continuous learning process. Wasn’t anything specific that I didn’t like. One memory that stands out was with the Orioles training camp in Miami in 1962. My locker was between Marv Throneberry and Whitey Herzog. Whitey complained that he wanted something to drink other thank orange juice. Next day, Throneberry came in with a large thermos, saying it was filled with lemonade. Whitey took a sip and passed it on to me. I took a big gulp but it wasn’t lemonade. It was a martini. I had been duped.”

For more memories of spring training by Alumni check out

Same Matchup Today

Sarasota-bound today for a game with the Orioles. Same two starters as last Friday, A. J. and Jimenez in the same park . . . Tomorrow, Yankees split squad at Bright House Field. Could be Jeter’s last Clearwater visit . . . Tomorrow is another instant replay testing game . . . Sarge is signing his book (Few and Chosen Phillies) tomorrow on the main concourse near the Diamond Outfitters store . . . Photographer Miles Kennedy is shifting from the field to taking photos for the Phillies pet calendar . . . Another group of Phillies sponsors is coming for the weekend. Perhaps they’ll bring a fresh batch of bats . . . Michael Barkann and Ike Reese will be doing their WIP show live from the Tiki Bar tomorrow and Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. . . . Week ends with a 1:05 game in Bradenton (Pirates) on Friday and a 7:05 night game in Ft. Myers (Red Sox) on Saturday. Home again on Sunday (Pirates) . . . All games are live on

Minor League Notes
No minor league games at Carpenter Complex tomorrow; camp day instead for all the Phillies minor leaguers. Games resume Friday.

Four pitchers were released yesterday, Felix Santos, Rob Marcello, Matt Soren and Ronald Mendez. Many more cuts to come.

Out of Options
Phillies have three in camp who cannot be sent to the minors without clearing waivers, Fransden, Lincoln and Mayberry.

Opening Day Countdown
19 more days on the friendly calendar before the Phillies season opener at the Rangers.

Greg (Bull) Luzinski wore #19 for 10 of his ll seasons with the Phillies. Pitcher Bob Miller was one season behind. Third place goes to Kevin Stocker, five. Tony Gwynn Jr. is wearing this number in spring training this year, same number his dad wore on his way to the Hall of Fame.