32 In Pinstripes
He was cut from his high school baseball team. He was by-passed by all clubs in the first ever summer draft that took place in 1965. 824 amateur players were drafted but not this skinny shortstop from Sacramento, CA.
On Tuesday, the Phillies announced that Larry Bowa is returning as the bench coach for Pete Mackanin. It will be his 32nd season in a Phillies uniform. No one in Phillies history has worn their pinstripes longer. No one is close. Quite a testimony for the 69-year-old. He was an All-Star-Gold Glove shortstop (1970-1981), third base coach (1988-1996), manager (2001-2004) and back for his third season as the bench coach.
He played in the last game at Connie Mack Stadium (1970), got the first hit in the opening game at Veterans Stadium (1971), managed the Phillies in the last game at the Vet (2003) and the first game at Citizens Bank Park (2004). Last ejection at the Vet and Jack Russell Memorial Stadium? Bowa. Surprised?
Juan Samuel is also returning to the staff but is switching from first base to third base where he had coached for the Phillies in 2011-12. Bowa and Samuel are two great instructors for the Phillies young infielders.
A Moment to Remember
For the second straight year, the Phillies were in the World Series in 2009. This time the enemy were the New York Yankees. After opening in Yankee Stadium, the Series switched to Citizens Bank Park on October 31. It was the first time the Phillies were in back-to-back World Series. Consecutive World Championships didn’t happen as the Yankees won in six games.
OF Cord Sandberg joined 1B Rhys Hoskins in the Australian League . . . RHR Alberto Tirado is now pitching in the Dominican League
Strength up-the-middle is key on championship teams–catcher, shortstop-second base and center field. Over the next six weeks, we’ll examine the players at these positions on the Phillies pennant winners. We begin with the first championship club of 100 years ago:
C Bill Killefer, SS Davey Bancroft, 2B Bert Niehoff, CF Dode Paskert.
You may find this hard to believe, but I never saw them play. But I do know Killefer was considered the best defensive catcher of his time and Bancroft, a rookie, was a gifted defensive shortstop who wound up in the Hall of Fame after later starring with the New York Giants and Boston Braves. Niehoff was Cincinnati’s starting third baseman in 1914 who moved to second base after the Phillies acquired him in a trade. While he made 50 errors to lead the league, he finished second in assists (411). The fleet-footed Paskert was considered one of the elite defensive outfielders of his era.
Take note that the word defense was used in describing the catcher, shortstop and centerfielder. You don’t win without good defense up-the-middle. Next week: we’ll look at the 1950 Phillies players at these four positions.
World Series Morsels
The Mets have never won Game 1 of the WS. They never trailed in 42 postseason innings until Harvey’s first pitch to Escobar in Game 1.
The Royals have scored 19 runs in the eighth inning this postseason.
41 of the 51 teams that took a 2-0 lead in the Series went on to win it, including the last nine.