The Phils officially started spring training on Thursday, February 13, as pitchers and catchers arrived at Clearwater, followed this week by the rest of the squad, although a large number of players had been at Clearwater during the off-season, getting ready for the 2014 season, especially first baseman Ryan Howard, who has been trying to get back into playing shape.
On Friday, February 14, former ballplayer and ex-Phil manager Jim Fregosi passed away at age 71 from multiple strokes. Fregosi, who broke into major league baseball as a shortstop in September 1961, had an 18-year career playing for the Los Angeles/California Angels, the New York Mets, the Texas Ranger and the Pittsburgh Pirates. A six-time All-Star and a gold glove winner (1967), he would play in 1902 games, having a .265 career batting average (1726 for 6523) as he hit 264 2Bs, 78 3Bs and 151 HRs, knocking in 706 RBIs, while scoring 844 times. He would also walk 715 times. After retiring from baseball during the 1978 season, he would be hired as the manager of the team that he had begun his playing career, the Angels, starting a career that would end in 2000, during which he would be the manager of the Angels (1978-1981), the Chicago White Sox (1986-1988), the Philadelphia Phillies (1991-1996) and the Toronto Blue Jays (1999-2000), compiling a managerial record of 1028-1094 .484, as he managed a total of 2122 games. He would lead the Angels into the playoffs in 1979 as they won the American League West, but losing the AL Championship Series, 3-1, to the Orioles, and he would lead the Phils in 1993 to the World Series, before losing the series, 4-2, to the Blue Jays.
On the 16, the Phils finalized their one-year deal with A.J. Burnett, in which they would give the veteran pitcher $15 million dollars plus a $1 million buyout on a mutual option for 2015. Burnett also has a player option for $7.5 million if he exercises his option. With the buyout options and other incentives, Burnett could end up receiving a two-year contract worth $ 33.5 million. He also has a partial no-trade clause, in which he would have to sign off on any possible trade involving nine other teams. In order to make room for Burnett on their roster, the Phils placed left-handed reliever Joe Savery on waviers, awaiting reassignment. On Monday the 17, the A’s picked Savery off of waivers. Selected by the Phils in the first round of the draft back in 2007, Savery has pitched for the Phils for parts of three seasons (2011-2013), appearing in 41 games, with a 3-2 record and a 3.15 ERA, as he pitched in 47.2 innings, giving up 42 hits and 28 runs, 22 of which were earned, as he struck out 32 batters, while walking 19.
As spring training continues, former Phil Roy Holladay has come to camp as a special pitching instructor, offering advice to the team’s younger players. Hopefully they’ll listen to the future Hall of Famer.
Since it was made an official offensive statistic in 1954, a Phil had led the National League in hitting sacrifice flies seven times. It would be accomplished by six different Phils.
The first Phil to win the honor was Don Demeter, who did it in 1962, as he hit eleven sac flies. The next Phil to lead the NL in sac flies would be Clay Dalrymple, who, in 1964, the year of the infamous late season collapse, hit eight sac flies. The third Phil to be the league’s leader in sac flies would be Willie Montanez, who would hit thirteen of them in 1971. The fourth Phil would be Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, who, in 1979, would finish the season in a three-way tie with Cesar Cedeno of the Houston Astros and Dave Parker of the Pittsburgh Pirates, as all three would hit nine sac files. Schmidt would then lead the league by himself in 1980, the year that the Phils would win their first World Series Championship, as he hit thirteen sac flies. The fifth Phil to lead the league would be Garry Maddox, as he lead the league in the strike-shorten season of 1981 with eight sac flies. The sixth, and so far, last Phil, to lead the NL in sac flies was Rico Brogna, who, in 1998, would end the season in a three-way tie with Derek Bell of the Astros and Jeff Kent of the San Francisco Giants, who all ended the season with ten sac flies.
Of the six Phils who had led the league in sac flies, only one would be a Hall of Famer (Mike Schmidt). All seven times that a Phil would lead the NL in sac flies would take place in the 20th Century. Of the seven, two would be in a three-way tie (Schmidt in 1979 and Rico Brogna in 1998). The Phil to win with the most sac fies would be Willie Montanez with thirteen in 1971 and Mike Schmidt, also with thirteen, in 1980, while Caly Dalrymple, in 1964, and Garry Maddox, in 1981, would hit the least with eight.
Who would be the next Phil to lead the National League in sacrifice flies? I really have no idea at this point.
In its 128-year history as a member of the National League, the Phillies have won twenty-one on-base percentage titles. Thirteen Phils have won the title, with five of them winning it more than once.
The first Phil to win the title was Hall of Famer Billy Hamilton, who did in it 1891 with a .453 percentage. He would win the second and third title to be won by a Phil player by winning it two years in a row, in 1893 and again in 1894, with on-base percentages of .490 and .521, respectively. Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty would become the second Phil to win the team’s fourth title, the fourth in five years, by winning it in 1895 with an on-base percentage of .500. The next Phil to win the title would be Roy Thomas, who would win the Phil’s fifth and sixth titles in 1902 and 1903, with marks of .414 and .453. The fourth Phil to win the title, the team’s seventh, would be Sherry Magee, who would win it in 1910, with a .445 percentage. The fifth Phil to win the title would be Gavvy Cravath, who won the title in 1915, the year that the Phils won their first National League title and in 1916, with marks of .393 and .379. It would be fourteen years before another Phil would win the team’s tenth title, which would be done by Lefty O’Doul in 1929 with a mark of .465. The seventh Phil to win the title would be Hall of Famer Chuck Klein, who would win the team’s eleventh title in 1933, the year that he won the batting triple crown, by posting an on-base percentage of .422. The eighth Phil to win the title would be Dolph Camilli, who would win the title in 1937 with a .446 percentage. The next Phil to secure the title would be Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn, who would win the title in 1954, 1955 and 1958, with percentages of .441, .449 and .440. The tenth Phil to become the on-base percentage leader would be Dick Allen, who would win the title in 1967 with a .404 mark. Pete Rose would become the eleventh Phil to win it, winning the team’s seventeenth title in 1979 with a .418 mark. The twelfth Phil to win the title would be Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, who would it in the strike-shortened year of 1981, 1982 and 1983 with marks of .435, .403 and .399. The thirteenth, and at the moment last, Phil to win the title would be Lenny Dykstra, who won the team’s twenty-first title in 1990 with a .418 mark. No Phil has won the title since then.
Of the twenty-one titles won by the Phils, eleven of them, or almost half of them, have been won by Hall of Famers, with Billy Hamilton, Richie Ashburn and Mike Schmidt each winning three titles, while Ed Delahanty and Chick Klein would win the other two titles. Roy Thomas and Gavvy Cravath, other than the three Hall of Famers, have won more than one title, with each man winning two titles. The Phil with the highest on-base percentage when he won the title was Hamilton with his .521 mark in 1894, while the Phil with the lowest percentage was Cravath with his .379 mark in 1916. Phils have won the title four times in the 19th Century, seventeen times in the 20th, and so far have not won it in the 21st Century.
Who will be the next Phil to win the title? I have really no idea.
The Phillies had a few hours ago announced the passing of former Phillies’ manager, Danny Ozark.
According to a press release:
Danny Ozark, who ranked third for most wins among Phillies managers, died this morning at his home in Vero Beach, Fla. He was 85 years of age.
Mr. Ozark was named the Phillies manager on November 1, 1972. In his first five years, the Phillies won 71, 80, 86, 101 and 101 games. They won three consecutive National League Eastern Division titles starting in 1976, a record unmatched by any other Phillies manager. Each year, however, the Phillies missed on advancing to the World Series.
Mr. Ozark finished with a 594-510 record as Phillies manager (1973-79). His winning percentage of .538 is seventh-best in team history. He was named Manager of the Year in 1976 by the Associated Press and The Sporting News.
“Ginny and I really miss Philadelphia,” Mr. Ozark said in a Phillies Magazine story published last month. “We enjoyed our time there. That city is a great sports town. The fans are the greatest. They do express themselves, but that’s OK. We made a lot of lifelong friends there.”
Mr. Ozark began his pro career as a first baseman in the Brooklyn Dodgers system in 1942. Following a minor league career, he turned to managing in 1956, with the Dodgers’ Class B team in Wichita Falls.
Nine years later Mr. Ozark joined the Los Angeles Dodgers as a coach. After leaving the Phillies, he returned to the Dodgers as a coach (1980-82). His career ended with the San Francisco Giants as a coach (1983-84) and their interim manager in 1984 (24-32).
Born Daniel Leonard Orzechowski on November 24, 1923, in Buffalo, N.Y., he married Ginny Zdinski. The couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in February.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Ozark is survived by two children, Dwain and Darlene; three granddaughters; and four great-grandchildren. His hobbies included golf and following the Phillies. He was an active golfer in charity events conducted by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association.
Funeral arrangements are pending. (H/T Phillies.com)
And another ex-Phil goes to that red pinstriped heaven in the sky. My condolences to Danny’s family. And thanks, Danny, for helping make the Phils into a contender instead of the laughing stock of baseball back in the mid-70s.
In 126-years as a member of the National League, the Phillies have won twenty singles titles. Eleven Phils have won the title, with five of them doing it multiple times.
The first Phil to win the singles title was Hall of Famer Billy Hamilton, who, in 1890, ended up in a tie for first place with Cliff Carroll of the Chicago Colts (now the Cubs), with each men hitting 137 singles. Hamilton then won the title outright in 1891-92 and 1894 with 147 (1891), 152 (1892) and 176 (1894) singles each. The second Phillie player to win the title, the fifth to be won by a Phil, was Eddie Grant, who won it with 147 singles in 1909. In 1910, Grant won his second straight singles title by hitting 134 of them that season. The next Phil to win the singles title was Beals Becker, who hit 128 singles in 1914. The fourth Phillies player to win the tile was Lefty O’Doul, winning it in 1929, in a tie with Hall of Famer Lloyd ‘Little Poison’ Waner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, with each man getting 181 singles, presently the Phillies’ record for the most singles hit in a season. The fifth Phil to become the singles champ was Chick Fullis, doing it in 1933 with 161 singles. Eddie Waitkus became the sixth Phil to win the singles title, helping to lead the Phils to their second National League title in 1950, by hitting 143 of them. The following year, 1951, Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn won the first of his four singles championships, as he hit 181 singles, in the process tying Lefty O’Doul’s record. He won his second singles title, hitting 169 singles in 1953, then won his third title in 1957 with 152 and then his fourth and final title the following season, 1958, with 176. The next Phil to win the title was Dave Cash, who won it with 167 singles in 1974, then won it for the second straight year with 166 singles in 1975. Three years later, Larry Bowa became the ninth Phil to win the title as he hit 153 singles in 1978, the year the Phils won their third straight National League Eastern Division title. Pete Rose, the following season, became the tenth Phils to win the title, as he hit 159 singles in 1979. Rose won his second singles title as a Phillie player by hitting 117 singles in the strike-shortened season of 1981. The eleventh and final Phil to win the singles title was Doug Glanville, doing it in 1999 with 149 singles. No Phillie player has won the title since then.
Of the twenty singles titles won by the Phils, almost half of them, eight, has been won by two Hall of Famers, Billy Hamilton (4) and Richie Ashburn (also 4). Three other Phils have won two titles each, Eddie Grant, Dave Cash and Pete Rose. Two Phils have won the title tied with another player, Hamilton in 1890 and Lefty O’Doul in 1929. The Phils to have hit the most singles to win the title were O’Doul (1929) and Ashburn (1951) with 181, which is still the Phillies’ record for most singles in a season. The Phil to have won the title with the least number of singles was Pete Rose with only 117 in the strike-shortened season of 1981. The Phillies have won four singles titles in the 19th Century, sixteen in the 20th, and, so far, none in the 21st Century.
Who will be the next Phils to win the single titles? At this time, I really have no clue who might win it.