October 2014

Fictional Performance

Joe Buck, on the FOX TV intro last night, said it best, “In all sports, there’s nothing like game 7 of a World Series.”

Baseball was into the seventh game of a World Series for the first time since 2011 and second time since 2002.  That year, the Giants lost at Anaheim.  A road team hadn’t won game 7 since 1979.

But last night they won it all, riding the left arm of Bumgarner.  His postseason performance was fictional.  Five scoreless innings of relief last night on two days rest gave him a save to go along with two wins.  Rest of SF starters, 0-3.

Baseball today is played in the bullpen. It seems as if the closer is on the mound for every last out of a clinching game.  Well, until last night.  The Giants won the Series and their closer, Casilla, pitched twice, both in losses, and threw four total pitches.  There was only one save in the entire series, KC’s Holland in game 3.

Six years ago yesterday, the Phillies won the World Series on a strikeout by their closer, Brad Lidge. There were two saves in that five-game Series and Lidge had both.

More Fingers
Pat Burrell is on some kind of a roll.

He got a World Series ring in 2008 with the Phillies and again in 2010 as a player with the Giants.  He retired after the 2011 season and became a scout for the Giants.  Now, he has two more rings, 2012 and 2014.  He needs more fingers.

As a player he has two rings on one hit in 27 at-bats, which must be some sort of a record.

What do the following Hall of Famers have in common?

1B-DH Frank Thomas,  2B Rod Carew, 2B Ryne Sandberg, SS Ernie Banks, 3B George Kell, 3B Ron Santo, OF Ralph Kiner, OF Billy Williams, OF Andre Dawson, RHP Jim Bunning, RHP Ferguson Jenkins, RHP Phil Niekro. RHP Gaylord Perry, LHP Rube Waddell.

They are among 50 legends enshrined in Cooperstown who never played in a World Series.

Surprise Starter
After posting a 16-7 record as a relief pitcher in 74 appearances, 33-year-old Jim Konstanty was named the starting pitcher by manager Eddie Sawyer in Game 1 of the 1950 World Series.

The Yankees won that game, 1-0, at Shibe Park.


Comment Corner
Rick posted a comment after the last blog, asking if the Phillies are going to have another Alumni Day during spring training and the date.  Also received several e-mail inquiries on the same subject.

Yes, we are planning another one for Bright House Field.  Hope to have the date soon.  Will post right here.

Alumni Note
With former Phillies catcher A. J. Hinch taking over the managerial duties with the Astros he becomes the third Alumnus in a similar role in the majors, Terry Francona (Cleveland) and Ron Roenicke (Milwaukee).

Book Signing
Mark down Saturday, December 6, for my next book signing of If These Walls Could Talk.

The Phillies are having a Holiday Sale that day at the Majestic Clubhouse Store at Citizens Bank Park and I’ll be there between 2 and 3 p.m.


Here and There


Quote of the Day
“We’ve got to walk the tightrope now without a net, but our guys aren’t afraid of walking the tightrope without a net.  We fall off and we’re dead.  But we win today, nobody’s got a net.  It’s going to be winner take all.  So we think it’s going to be fun,”
Kansas City manager Ned Yost.

This Date
October 28, 2009
WS #1 at New York: Chase Utley hits two home runs and Cliff Lee tosses a complete
game, six-hit 6-1 win over the Yankees in the opener.

Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets

Clearwater Time
Everyone in the baseball phase and top management positions with the Phillies is spending three days of organization meetings in Clearwater.  It started Monday morning and wraps up in the middle of Wednesday afternoon.  Everything is held at Carpenter Field and Bright House Field.  Monday and Tuesday sessions began at 8 a.m. and ended at 7 p.m.   No tee times; all business.

Departmental sessions the first two days include a thorough review of every player in the system from the Dominican League to the major leagues. General sessions include topics from the human resource department.  For Johnny Almaraz, the new scouting director and Rafael Chaves, new minor league pitching coordinator, is it an opportunity to get acquainted.

Wednesday’s sessions are broken down into pro scouting, free agent scouting, player development, major league staff, medical staff and international group.  The wheels of change for this off-seasons are slowly beginning to turn.

Winter Ball News
CF Roman Quinn and RH reliever Nefi Ogando have been selected to play in the Arizona Fall League All-Star game this Saturday, 5 p.m. MST. MLB Network will televise the game.

In his first 14 games, Quinn has stolen 10 bases in 11 tries to lead the AFL. Hit his first home run last night.  The 21-year-old switch-hitter was a second round selection in 2011. Barring injuries, he could be knocking on the major league doors in 2016 or 2017.  Ogando is a 25-year-old reliever acquired from the Red Sox in 2013 foe John McDonald.

Elsewhere: Venezuela: SS Freddy Galvis, OF Cam Perkins, LHP Cesar Jimenez, OF Aaron Altherr . . . Dominican: 3B Maikel Franco, 1B-OF Darin Ruf, RHR Hector Neris . . . Mexico: C Sebastian Valle.

Our deepest sympathy is extended to the families of two Alumni who recently passed away.

Lou Lucier, the second-oldest surviving Phillies Alumnus, died in Millbury, MA, on October 18 at age 96.  He pitched for the Phillies in 1944-45.

Ed Keegan, right-handed pitcher signed in 1957 out of Haddonfield (NJ) School, died on October 19 at age 75.  He broke in the majors as a 20-year-old in 1959.  He also pitched for the Phillies in 1962 and Kansas City A’s in 1961.

Alumni Birthdays
Wednesday: LHP Pat Combs (48), RHP Gary Neibauer (70) . . . Thursday: OF Laynce Nix (34), RHP David Coggin (38), RHP Mark Portugal (52) . . . Friday: OF David Dellucci (41) . . . Saturday: LHP Fernando Valenzuela (54), OF Gary Redus (58) . . . Sunday: RHP Ron Reed (72) . . . Monday: RHP Paul Quantrill (46).

Why are Terry Mulholland and Roy Halladay smiling?  Answers can be found at

Phun Fact
Phillies have turned two unassisted triple plays in franchise history, both by second basemen, Mickey Morandini (1992) and Eric Bruntlett (2009).




World Series Memories


(Not every story sent the publisher last fall made my book, If These Walls Could Talk.  From time to time this offseason, I’ll dust off some of my stories that didn’t make the cut.  With  the 2014 World Series underway, here are my World Series experiences while working for Major League Baseball).

In the early 1970s, did volunteer to work All-Star Games and World Series games for Major League Baseball.  MLB was always looking for PR people to assist with the jewel events. Felt it was good exposure for the Phillies and a great learning experience.

One of the early World Series experiences was in Oakland in 1972.  I was assigned to go to the Coliseum from the hotel to get all the credentials for the MLB office the day before the series was to start. The A’s, run by Charlie Finley, had a small staff and the best security I’ve witnessed.  The doors to the A’s offices were locked.  No security guards or humans anywhere. Had to pound on the door numerous times until someone came to let me in.

The A’s mascot was a mule, yes, a BIG mule.  The World Series gala held the evening before the first game took place in the Oakland Convention Center.  Charlie Finley, who ran a tight ship, didn’t spare any expense for the party.  Lobster was everywhere.  I’m dining at a table with Warren Giles, President of the National League. We look up and almost nose-to-nose is this mule.  Mr. Giles said a few choice words.

In 1975, the National League’s PR director resigned late in the season.  Bill Giles was approached about “loaning me” to the NL for the Cincinnati-Boston World Series. I was willing. The series is best known for three days of rain in Boston between Games 5 and 6. The Reds won a terrific Series in seven.  I was with a World Champion team, but, I really wasn’t.

Until we got to a World Series, my most memorable WS moment came in 1977, Game 6.  I was in the middle of history, as it turned out.  Female reporters were not permitted in MLB clubhouses at the time.  I was assigned to Melissa Ludtke of Sports Illustrated.  If she wanted to interview a player, I was to accommodate her but outside the clubhouse.

Reggie Jackson hit three home runs that night in Yankee Stadium and Melissa understandingly wanted to interview him.  Reggie’s clubhouse locker was mobbed, so mobbed he was unable to make an appearance in the interview room.  So, my job: get Reggie to Melissa, who patiently, yet impatiently, waited outside the clubhouse. A concourse jammed with fans was where I was supposed to bring Reggie.

One hour went by and I still couldn’t get to Reggie.  I don’t remember how much more time elapsed before I was able to deliver him to Melissa. She was denied equal access and it simply wasn’t fair.  A year later, she filed a civil action suit against MLB and won, clearing the way for other female reporters.

In 1979, was again working the World Series for MLB.  To get to Pittsburgh from Baltimore, we were allowed to travel on the Pirates charter flight.  Once in the Pittsburgh airport, we were waiting for our luggage to appear on the carousel.  All of a sudden a red Phillies bag appeared among all the black and gold Pirates bags.  Bill Robinson, a friend who had played with us and was now with the Pirates, took the chance to embarrass me in front of his teammates.  “Hey, everybody.  Look at this.  A bag from the fourth-place Phillies.  Who owns this bag?”  I was trying to hide but couldn’t.

Two years later the New York Yankees were playing the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Goose Gossage of the Yankees hit Dodgers third baseman Ron Cey in the head with a pitch in Game 5 at Dodger Stadium. I was dispatched to the Dodgers trainer’s room to find out what happened and Cey’s condition.  He was lying on a table.  He didn’t know me and I didn’t know him.  “Excuse me Ron, I’m with Major League Baseball and wondered what happened on the pitch from Gossage.”  He removed the ice pack from his head, “That’s what happened.  Dumb bleeping question.”

The 1984 World Series is another one I’ll always remember, Detroit Tigers and the San Diego Padres.  Series started in San Diego.  I’m assigned to pre-game press box duty, something I enjoyed…answering phones, assisting media with information, seat assignments, etc.  It was a beautiful afternoon, so typical of San Diego.  All of a sudden, my seat rumbled for a few seconds, like I just went over a couple of bumps riding a bicycle.  My first earthquake.

Game 5, the decisive game, was in old Tiger Stadium.  Detroit won and the city began to riot.  From high in the press box we could see fires and smoke.  Sirens dominated the night noise.  More than an hour after the last out, we could still hear sirens.  The buses that were scheduled to take the media back to the hotel were parked on the street.  For safety purposes, the police brought the buses inside the park.  As we exited the park, a fan somehow got on the roof of the bus.  Using great judgment, the bus driver stopped the bus, got out and said, “You hang on tight and I’ll drive very slowly.”  There were unruly fans all around us and it was scary. Several blocks later, our roof rider exited.

Another somewhat harrowing World Series duty occurred in 1985.  The St. Louis Cardinals were leading the series, 3-2, and had a 1-0 lead over the Royals going into the bottom of the ninth in Kansas City.  ABC TV had set up a platform and a camera in the middle of the clubhouse for the trophy presentation to the Cardinals. My job was to cart the bulky World Series trophy.  With one out, the Royals rallied for two runs extending the Series to Game 7.  We had seconds to get out of the clubhouse before the dejected Cardinals arrived from the field.  Compared to the ABC crew, I had an easy job.



AFL To Try Speed-Up

The Arizona Fall League is underway.  Six rosters are comprised of young prospects from the 30 big league organizations. Season ends November 15.

Phillies minor leaguers assigned to the Scottsdale Scorpions (East Division) are pitchers Adam Morgan, Colton Murray, Ryan O’Sullivan, Nefi Ogando and Ethan Stewart; catcher Logan Moore and centerfielder Roman Quinn.  Lehigh Valley’s pitching coach, Ray Burris, will be in the same capacity with Scottsdale.

New this year are several experiments that come from the Pace of Game Committee, headed by John Schuerholz of the Braves.
Batter’s box rule: Hitter required to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box throughout at-bat unless there is foul ball, wild pitch or passed ball — or if a pitch forces him out or the umpire grants “time.”

No-pitch intentional walks
20-second rule: 20-second clock will be posted in each dugout, behind home plate and in outfield to prevent pitchers from taking too much time in games at Salt River Fields only.
2:05 inning-break clock: Maximum time allowed between innings, and batters must be in box at 1:45 mark or umpire can call automatic strike. If pitcher throws pitch after 2:05, umpire may call ball.
2:30 pitching-change-break clock: Maximum amount of time allowed for pitching change.
Three “timeout” limit: Teams limited to three trips to the mound by managers, coaches and catchers during game, except pitching changes.  The rule will be in effect even if a game goes extra innings.
The average time of nine-inning games in the major leagues was a record 3 hours, 2 minutes this year, up from 2:33 in 1981.

Missing is time-saving efforts on replay reviews but such technology isn’t available in the AFL.  Personally, it is a waste of time to have a manager meander out to an umpire, look back at the dugout for a signal to request a review and then depart awaiting the review or empty-handed.  It would seem to me there is a correlation between the record time of game set this year and the fact reviews were in play for the first time this season.
Taking a break
Phillies Insider is going on the temporary inactive roster.  Not the disabled list and certainly

not a paternity leave.  Next post: Oct. 23.


Ashburn, Campbell & Crazy Postseason

Will he be the first?

The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum last week announced the 10 finalists for the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for broadcasting excellence and Richie Ashburn is on that list.

The other nine include Billy Berroa, Rene Cardenas, Dizzy Dean, Dick Enberg, Ernie Johnson Sr., Ralph Kiner, Ned Martin, Joe Nuxhall and Jack Quinlan.

“Whitey” started broadcasting for the Phillies in 1963 after a 15-year career as an outstanding centerfielder and two-time batting champion.  He was on the air until his passing in 1997.

Should Ashburn win the Frick Award, he would be the first Hall of Famer to receive the honor.  Ralph Kiner and Dizzy Dean, two more Hall of Famers, are also finalists.

Sad News
Word came last night that Bill Campbell, the dean of Philadelphia Sportscasters, died.  He was 91.  He began broadcasting at an Atlantic City radio station when he was 17 years old.

He, Ashburn and By Saam were the Phillies broadcasting team from 1963-1970.

Soupy,Richie and the By

He was also the voice of the Eagles, Warriors and 76ers in addition to working for several Philadelphia radio stations.

Mr. Campbell was awarded the Curt Gowdy Award by the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.  It is equivalent to the Frick Award, which Saam won in 1990.

Our deepest condolences are extended to Mr. Campbell’s daughter and her family.

Alumni Birthdays
Today: OF Jose Cardenal (71), LHP Morrie Steevens (74) . . . Wednesday: 2B David Doster (44), RHP Jerry Reed (59), OF Mickey Harrington (80) . . . Thursday: INF Kevin Jordan (45), LHP Randy Lerch (60) . . . Friday: OF Pat Burrell (38), 2B-3B Placido Polanco (39) . . . Saturday: INF Ty Wigginton (37), RHP Joe Roa (43) . . . Sunday: LHP Sid Fernandez (52).

This Date
October 7, 1980
NLCS #1 at Veterans Stadium: Greg Luzinski’s 2run homer in the sixth gives the
Phillies a 31 win over Houston. First postseason win at home since World Series game
#1, 10/8/15.

OF Greg Luzinski

October 8, 1915
WS #1 at Baker Bowl: In their first World Series game ever, Grover Cleveland
Alexander throws a complete-game 8-hitter to give the Phillies a 3-1 win over the
Boston Red Sox. 20-year-old Babe Ruth, a LHP who had 18 wins during the season, is
used as a pinch-hitter, his only appearance in the Series.


Check It Out
Visit http://www.phillies.com/alumni for more postseason moments for today and tomorrow.

And, Paul Hagen’s written a new “Where Are They Now?” feature.  Focus is on Luis Aguayo.

Crazy Postseason Notes
Anything can happen when baseball is played at this time of the year.  The unexpected often appears in this wonderful game. Just look at the postseason so far.

**Lester vs. Shields, AL Wildcard pitching matchup: final score 9-8. Lester gave up 6 runs; Shields, 4.

**Kershaw vs. Wainwright, NLDS pitching matchup: final score 10-9. Kershaw gave up 8 runs in 6.2 innings; Wainwright, 6 in 4.1 innings.

**Cardinals hit the fewest HR in the NL (105): they hit 3 in first 7 innings of their first NLDS game.

**Matt Carpenter hit 2 HR off a LHP in the season and has 3, 1 in each game so far.

**Royals became the first team to win 3 straight extra-inning games. During the season, they won 5 of 12 in extra innings.

**Royals hit he fewest HR (95) in the majors but won 2 games on homers.

**In the world of the expected, KC stole 12 bases (13 attempts) so far.  Expected because they led the majors with 153 during the season.  But, the unexpected also popped up when DH Billy Butler stole a base, his first since 2012 and sixth of his 8-year career.

**Orioles swept the Tigers in 3 games, facing 3 Cy Young winners.

**Orioles’ Norris started 3 games against the Tigers during the season, 16 runs in 17.1 innings.  In clinching game 3, 1 run in 6.1 innings.

**Giants and Nationals played the longest postseason game by the clock (6:23) on Saturday: 18 innings, 16 pitchers, 17 hits, 34 strikeouts, 485 pitches, 3 runs.

**Royals’ Brandon Finnegan pitched in the College World Series in June, drafted by KC in the first round, had 13 outings in the minors and seven in the majors, made the postseason roster, pitched in 3 games so far, winning NLDS game 2.

**Then, there’s the Giants’ Hunter Strickland, a 7-year minor leaguer who never pitched above AA ball.  He pitched in A and AA (11 saves at Richmond) during the season, had 9 scoreless September relief outings with SF, made the postseason roster, gave up 2 homers in his first postseason game on Friday and recorded a save in the 18-inning marathon the next night.

**The Angels became the first team to have the best record in the majors and get swept in the first round of playoffs.

**The A’s and the Tigers made hyped deadline trades.  Both are home watching.


Who Stays?

Who goes and who says.  That’s the burning Phillies question this offseason.

We’ve had the greatest era in franchise history, riding the core of Howard-Utley and Rollins.  No one in baseball history played as many games together as that trio.  Individually, each is the best player at his respective position in franchise history.

Will that trio be broken up? Who are the starting pitchers?  Who’s in the outfield?

There will be plenty written and said about changes this offseason. It is not an easy process, one that may take some patience as Pat Gillick has said.

The annual General Manager’s meetings will be held in Phoenix in November (11-13).  Then, baseball’s winter meetings in San Diego the following month (8-11).  Got to say San Diego is a great place to have “winter” meetings.

It adds up to an interesting offseason, one filled with rumors and more rumors.

Just Wondering
We’ve just finished the 50th anniversary of the Phillies 10-game losing streak that saw a World Series disappear.  I case you haven’t heard, the Phillies had a six and one-half game lead with 12 games to go. They then dropped 10 games in a row.

World Series tickets were printed but never distributed.

Well, this year’s Milwaukee Brewers led the NL Central for 150 days and then finished 24-34 and out of the postseason.

Just wondering if the Brewers have replaced the Phillies in the greatest collapse category.

Clearwater Baseball
Young Phillies prospects continue in the annual Florida Instructional League, a program Paul Owens began in 1967 after Carpenter Complex was built in Clearwater.

The last FIL game this year is October 10.

Baseball than takes a hiatus in Clearwater until February 19, the first spring training workout for pitchers and catchers. Can’t wait.

Magical Moments
One of the magical moments in Phillies history took place on this date in 2008:

NLDS #2 at Citizens Bank Park: Shane Victorino hits a grand slam home run off CC
Sabathia to cap a five-run second inning that lifts the Phillies to a 5-2 win and 2-0 lead
over the Brewers.On base for Shane’s slam were Pedro Feliz, Brett Myers and Jimmy

Also on this date in 1916, Grover Cleveland Alexander recorded his 16th shutout of the season, 2-0, over Boston at Bake Bowl.   The record still stands.

Time of game for the shutout: 1 hour, 20 minutes.  Amazing.

Oh, he finished the season 33-12 with a 1.55 ERA. Amazing.