Pete, Now and Then
Today 64-year-old Pete Mackanin is in his first full year as the Phillies manager. Three times, he’s been an interim manager in the majors, including last season with the Phils. He spent 13 seasons managing in the minors and six in winter ball.
Yesteryear, Pete played in two seasons with the Phillies during his nine-year major league career as an infielder. He was claimed off waivers from Montreal in September of 1978. He also was on the 1979 club and traded to Minnesota after that season. His Phillies career amounted to 18 games, 17 at-bats, a .176 average and one home run, 9/26/79, off St. Louis LHP Bob Skyes at Veterans Stadium. As an enemy player, he took Tommy Underwood and Larry Christenson deep at the Vet.
He’s one eight to manage, play and coach for the Phillies.
Pete’s Spring Training Memories
“First spring training was with the Washington Senators minor league teams in 1970. Stayed at the Holiday Inn in Plant City, which is across the state from Pompano Beach where the big league team trained.
“I signed out of high school in 1969, so it’s all new on my first day. I had played the year before at (Rookie League) Wytheville, Virginia. But, spring training is a whole different entity in itself. So I was just doing what they told me, trying to see how everything worked.
“My first Phillies spring training as a player was 1979. Jim Wright broke his arm that spring. He threw a pitch and his arm just snapped and dangled. He was a top prospect but he was never the same.
“Being around guys like Schmidt and Luzinski and Bowa. Lonborg and Carlton and all these real good players. I was trying to make the team as a utility infielder. I just kept my mouth shut. You go about your business differently when you’re in that situation. You just try to blend in.”
“My least favorite part is watching pitchers throw on the side. Because you see what you think is really good stuff and you get excited. And then, not all of them, but some of them get in the game and get killed.
“My favorite part is the camaraderie in the clubhouse. It keeps me young. We have a lot of fun in the clubhouse, trading jokes and telling stories. If you kept a recording of the stories that pop up on a daily basis, even from back in the day, it would be a real money maker. We laugh. We hear the same stories 10 times and we still laugh.”
With the minor leaguers having started their camp at Carpenter Field, extra bodies are available for the major league club. Every morning an e-mail is sent by Joe Cynar, Assistant Director, Minor League Operations/Florida, to Pete Mackanin and his staff listing the minor leaguers being assigned to the big club for that day’s game.
Tomorrow the Phillies have their second and last split squad, home with the Orioles and at the Twins. Look for multiple extra bodies. Bus for the Twins game in Ft. Myers leaves at 7:45 a.m.
Phillies minor league teams begin exhibition games a week from today (March 15). Two games are at Carpenter Field every afternoon, either AAA and AA or two class A teams. Those games provide an opportunity for players from the big league camp to get some at-bats or innings.
Photo day for all Phillies minor leaguers was held yesterday at 6:30 a.m. . . . Sports Illustrated is doing a cover story for its April issue featuring Maikel Franco and Aaron Nola. Photo shoot is today . . . WIP’s Mike & Ike Show finished two straight days of live broadcasts from Bright House Field today . . . Station’s morning show will be live Thursday and Friday . . . Happy 74th birthday today to Dick Allen . . . Greg Luzinski is in camp as a guest instructor.
The Phillies lost the first game they ever played in Clearwater, 13-1, to the Detroit Tigers on March 11, 1947, at Athletic Field. Their first win came 17 days later, 8-7, over St. Louis on an 11th-inning, walk-off home run by OF Johnny Wyrostek.
Who’s 1st at 2nd?
OK, who has played the most games at second base in Phillies history? Answer is easy. Only one of the top five is relatively unknown. Check out the story at http://www.phillies.com/alumni.
I’m scheduled to sign my new book, The Fightin’ Phillies: 100 Years of Philadelphia Baseball from the Whiz Kids to the Misfits, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Friday, March 18, at Bright House Field. First opportunity to buy the book