Alumni Notes

Who are the top five in games caught for the Phillies?

Answer can be found at http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

Jim Thome, who is immortalized with a statue outside of Cleveland’s Progressive Field, now has had a highway named after him in his hometown of Peoria, IL. Highway HJR0090 is now named Jim Thome Way.

Major league coaches now include Mickey Morandini (Phillies first base), Ruben Amaro Jr. (Red Sox first base), Rich Dubee (Tigers pitching), Davey Lopes (Nationals first base) and Mike Maddux (Nationals pitching).

Two Phillies Alumni, pitchers Curt Schilling and Bill Wagner, are on the Hall of Fame ballot for 2016. It is Wagner’s first time on the ballot. Schilling who garnered 39.2 percent of the votes a year ago, is in his fourth year on the ballot.

Ballots are being mailed this week to approximately 475 voting members of the BBWAA.  Writers must return ballots by December 21.  Winners will be announced on Tuesday evening, January 6, on the MLB Network. Induction is the July 24 weekend in Cooperstown, NY.

Candidates must be named on 75 percent of ballots cast by BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years of Major League Baseball coverage to gain election.

Catcher Mike Piazza polled 69.9 percent of the electorate in 2015 and fell 28 votes shy of the required amount for election.  Piazza is a native of Norristown, PA.  Should Piazza being elected to the Hall, a color, oil portrait of him would be added to the Native Sons section of the Cooperstown Gallery in the Hall of Fame Club.

Minor League Notes
Nineteen players who were in the Phillies minor league system this year have opted for free agency.  Among the group are OF Kelly Dugan and RHPs Jonathan Pettibone and Ethan Martin.

Congrats to Lehigh Valley IronPigs’ Vice President of Marketing & Entertainment, Lindsey Knupp on being the recipient of the 39th Rawlings Sporting Goods’ Woman Executive of the Year.  Lindsey will receive her award at the Winter Meetings in Nashville next month.

Amanda Koch, the Clearwater Threshers Promotions and Community Relations Manager, is the FSL Emo Murphy Female Executive of the Year award winner. She, too, will be honored in Nashville.

The Threshers, headed by GM John Timberlake, has also won the Florida State League John H. Johnson Award for overall operations.  The Threshers are now among the franchises considered for the national John H. Johnson Award, minor league baseball’s top award.  It is given annually to honor the complete baseball franchise — based on franchise stability, contributions to league stability, contributions to baseball in the community, and promotion of the baseball industry.

Part 3
Strength up–the-middle catcher, shortstop-second base and center field–is key on championship teams. Over a six-week period, we’re examining the players at these positions on Phillies pennant winners. The first two weeks included the 1915 Phillies and 1950 Whiz Kids.  This week, the 1980 World Champions:

C Bob Boone, SS Larry Bowa, 2B Manny Trillo, CF Garry Maddox.

The 34-year-old Boone was a biology major at Stanford University where he played third base. He switched to a catcher in 1971 and after only 169 games behind the plate in the minors, made his major league debut in September 1972.  He was the Phillies everyday catcher for nine years starting in 1973.  An excellent defensive catcher and student of the game, he handled pitching staffs that reached the postseason five times, four with the Phillies and one with the Angels.  He made three All-Star teams with the Phillies and his .991 fielding percentage led the NL in 1978.

Bowa, 34, couldn’t make his high school team and wasn’t among the 824 players drafted in 1965 but signed by the Phillies because he could field, throw and run.  He was ready to quit after his first pro game in Spartanburg, striking out all four times against flame-throwing Nolan Ryan.  Because of a feisty makeup, he developed into a premier shortstop and collected over 2,100 hits.  Larry was the NL’s all-time leader in games played at shortstop when he retired.  As a defender, he had soft hands, a strong and accurate arm, plus-range and was consistent on defense.  Five times he led the NL shortstops in fielding percentage.

At 29, Trillo was the youngest of the group. Originally signed by the Phillies as a catcher out of Venezuela in 1968. Excellent range with a powerful arm that excelled on relays. Led league in putouts in 1980 (360). Also led in range factor three times and among leaders in double plays turned. In 1982, he set a since-broken major league record for consecutive errorless chances at second base (479). Won three Gold Gloves with the Phillies, the 1980 Silver Slugger and selected to three All-Star teams. 1980 NLCS MVP.

Maddox, 30, was originally a second-round selection by the Giants in the 1968 draft. The Phillies acquired him on May 4, 1975, for Willie Montanez, a trade that wasn’t very popular.  He quickly became a fan favorite in Philly with his outstanding defensive play in centerfield, playing on six teams that reached the postseason.  He was nicknamed the “Secretary of Defense”. With long, loping strides, he could track down any ball in left or center.  He was able to play shallow and went back on the ball well. Garry won more Rawlings Gold Gloves than any other Phillies outfielder, eight.

Add 3B Mike Schmidt to the mix and Phillies had the finest defensive team in baseball and franchise history. Schmidt won 10 Gold Gloves in his career, Boone and Trillo, three each and Bowa two.

From 1976 through 1982, the Phillies had 21 award winners, including four in a season three different times. Oddly, they only had two winners in 1980, Maddox and Schmidt.

Next week: the 1983 Wheeze Kids

Tuesday’s ?
Can you name the Phillies legend who attended Michigan State on a basketball scholarship? The answer: Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts, posted by Jim Peyton.

 

1 Comment

Thank you, but the correct answer was posted by another reader named Jim. My fondest memories from the 1980 team include the McBride-to-Trillo-to-Boone play in game five of the NLCS. Still the best playoff series in baseball history.

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