There’s Jim Bunning, who threw a perfect game in 1964. There’s Chuck Klein, who earned at least a share of the National League home run title four times between 1929-33. All four of the Phillies enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. — Robin Roberts, Richie Ashburn, Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt — are also represented in the Phillies Wall of Fame.
On Friday, they’ll welcome No. 30 to the ranks when Juan Samuel is inducted.
Samuel signed with the Phillies as an amateur free agent on April 29, 1980, and made his Major League debut on Aug. 24, 1983. He hit leadoff in that game, and tripled in his second at-bat. In 1984, he set the Phils’ single-season and rookie records with 72 stolen bases on his way to 105 runs scored and 191 hits. Samuel also set modern Phillies records for triples, with 19, and at-bats (701) in a season. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins broke both marks in his 2007 MVP campaign.
Samuel became the first player in Major League history to reach double digits in doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases in each of his first four seasons.
“It’s a tremendous honor for me to be a part of the Phillies Wall of Fame with so many greats — ex-teammates and guys who I saw play when I was in the Minor Leagues who were part of that 1980 [World Series] championship club,” Samuel said. “Growing up in the Dominican Republic, and finding myself here now is tremendous.”
Samuel’s 6 1/2 years with Philadelphia were just the beginning of a 16-season Major League career that also included time with the Mets, Dodgers, Royals, Reds, Tigers and Blue Jays. Samuel is also a member of the Dominican Republic’s baseball Hall of Fame and a member of the Reading (Pa.) Hall of Fame, for the 47 games he spent there in 1983.
Samuel, 47, will attend the pregame ceremonies for Friday’s contest against the Pirates, and all fans will receive a commemorative poster of Samuel, courtesy of Toyota.
Samuel, now the third-base coach for the Orioles, said that he felt like he never left Philadelphia. On a recent road trip through Toronto, Samuel learned that Phillies fans also feel like he hasn’t left.
“One of the custom agents saw my passport and said, ‘Oh yeah, you played for the Phillies,'” Samuel said. “I said, ‘I played for the Blue Jays, too.’ People who know me know how much I loved the Phillies and the fans in Philly.” (H/T Phillies.com)
Another former Phil will be added to the Walk of Fame. And fan favorite Juan Samuel will be the one receiving the bronze plague this coming Friday. As I’d said earlier, it’s a real shame that the team couldn’t get into the playoff after Juan joined the team full time in ’84, but sadly, this was when the team have left the hands of the Carpenter family and have went into the hands of Bill Giles and his silent idiot partners. Of course, we all know how well the team have thrived under their control. *Sigh* Anyway, enough of that. Anyone who plans to go to the ballpark on Friday to watch the ceremony and the game, please enjoy yourselves.