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.
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.
This was earlier posted on Phillies.com:
Phils broadcaster Kalas passes away
Long-time announcer collapses prior to Monday’s game
WASHINGTON — Long-time Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas died at 1:20 p.m. ET Monday, shortly after collapsing in the team’s broadcast booth before the scheduled series opener against the Nationals.
“We lost Harry. I’ve been 39 years with the Phillies and 39 years with Harry and, as I said in this clubhouse, we lost our voice today,” said team president and CEO David Montgomery at about 1:50 p.m. outside the team’s clubhouse. “He has loved our game and made just a tremendous contribution to our sport and certainly to our organization.”
The 73-year old Kalas was found in the team’s broadcast booth around 12:30 p.m. and was taken to George Washington University Medical Center. Team officials quickly cleared the locker room and talked with the Phillies.
Montgomery said he didn’t know the exact cause of death yet.
“I know that when they took him away that they were very concerned,” he said.
Kalas had been the team’s broadcaster for the past 38 years. Prior to that, he was a member of the Houston Astros’ broadcast team from 1965-70. He was inducted into the broadcaster’s wing of the Hall of Fame in 2002 and received the 2002 Ford C. Frick Award.
Montgomery said Monday’s game would be played, but that the Phillies were going to reach out to the White House and pass up Tuesday’s scheduled trip there.
Like a lot of Phillies’ fans, I grew up listening to both him and Richie Ashburn. Now they’re both gone. Goodbye, Harry, thanks for all those wonderful broadcasts, and I hope that Richie will be the first one there to meet you in broadcaster heaven.
Excuse me, folks, but I need a hanky.