…the team’s all here.
All of the position players have decided to come to Clearwater earlier than the official Saturday date when they are suppose to report. To me, that means that they are all eager to get started, which brings a big smile to my face.
The news that has come out of camp, so far, is that the Phils plan to have Wilson Valdez work out some in centerfield, so that they can use him there during the season, as well as at second, third and short. Sounds like a good idea to me, since they are obviously planning to optimize the use of their bench players so that they can insert them anywhere on the field in the late innings, if they aren’t using them as pinch hitters, or intend to give their starters a few days off to rest.
Raul Ibanez has come to camp in good shape, having worked out during the off-season, showing himself prepared to play a full season without injury, thereby helping the ballclub both with the bat, and in the field.
Dom Brown is prepared to get the right fielder job while admitting that he had played poorly in the Domnican Winter League, and that he has no excuse for that. In fact, he hopes that it’ll help motivate him in his fight for the right field position. He has also mentioned that while he was in Clearwater earlier this year, that batting coach Greg Gross has helped him to correct his swing, to get rid of the kinks that had developed while he was on the bench during the last month or so of the 2010 regular season, figuring it’ll help him out.
Lastly, Chase Utley, when asked if he would take the opportunity to speak with Hall of Famer Ryan Sandberg, the Phils’ new manager for their Triple-A team (Lehigh Valley), said that he planned to pick his brains. In fact, the pair had already spoken with each other, and Sandberg has said that he is impressed with Utley’s work ethic. I hope that the pair’s talking will help Utley bounce back from what happened last season.
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.
Sandberg to manage Phils’ Triple-A club
Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs tab Hall of Fame second baseman
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
Hmm, first Juan, and now Ryne. So far so good, especially with
reports of them trying to sign up fan favorite Mickey Morandini as
PHILADELPHIA — Nearly 29 years after the Phillies traded Ryne Sandberg to the Chicago Cubs, he is rejoining the organization.
The Phillies announced on Monday morning that they’ve hired Sandberg
as the manager for their Triple-A affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Iron
Pigs. Sandberg managed the previous four seasons in the Cubs’ Minor
League system, including last season with Triple-A Iowa. He had been a
candidate to become the Cubs’ manager following Lou Piniella’s
midseason retirement, but Chicago retained Mike Quade instead.
Sandberg, a Hall of Fame second baseman and Cubs icon, subsequently
informed the Cubs he would seek employment elsewhere.
The Phillies had an opening and landed Sandberg.
Dallas Green said last week that Sandberg would make a great manager.
Green has a storied history with Sandberg. Green was the Cubs’
general manager when he fleeced the Phillies in one of the worst trades
in franchise history. The Jan. 27, 1982, deal sent Larry Bowa and
Sandberg to the Cubs for Ivan DeJesus. The Phillies felt they did not
have a position to play Sandberg, and because they felt compelled to
trade Bowa following a bitter contract dispute, Green astutely demanded
the Phillies include Sandberg in the trade.
Sandberg invited Green to his Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2005.
“I would think he would make a great fit for us,” Green said last
week. “We raised him. He’s been let down by Chicago a good bit. He’s a
little bit bitter about that. … When he didn’t get the job, I called
him and commiserated with him. I knew he was disappointed. I still
personally think he should be a big league guy if that’s what he really
wants to do.
“I love the guy. He’s got a great work ethic. I haven’t watched him, but I think he’s going to be a good teacher.”
Sandberg earned Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year honors this
past season, when he led the Iowa Cubs (82-62) to a tie for the best
record in the Northern Division.
Sandberg was a 10-time National League All-Star. He also won nine
Gold Glove Awards and seven Silver Slugger Awards during his 16-year
career. The Phillies drafted Sandberg in 1978, and he played 13 games
for the club in ’81 before being traded.
The Phillies said the remainder of their 2011 player development
staff will be announced at a later date, but Mickey Morandini is
expected to be named to the staff in some capacity.
Welcome back, Ryne. Hope you’ll do well managing over in Lehigh Valley.
Last week the Phils’ picked up, via waivers, infielder Carlos Rivero from the Cleveland Indians.
The team is still looking for low price free agents for their bullpen, while pondering whether to give new contracts to either Chad Durbin or Jose Contreras, or to both pitchers. In the meantime, they are in the hunt to resign Jayson Werth, but since his agent Scott Boras is asking for money in the Matt Holliday/Jason Bay range, it is more than likely that he won’t be back in red pinstripes.
It has been announced on Monday that ex-Phil Jamie Moyer has re-injured his left elbow while pitching winter ball in the Dominican Republic, while trying to prove that he can still pitch. Ouch. Talk about a setback. Hope it wasn’t too bad an injury, Jamie.
It was also announced yesterday that former Phil GM Pat Gillick is on the Hall of Fame ballot that is being sent to the committee to elect those managers, executives and retired players who were not elected originally, who come from Baseball’s Expansion-era (post-1960). Congrats on getting on the Ballot, Pat, and wish you luck getting into the Hall. You deserve it.
Lastly, today, there is speculation that former Phil, ex-Orioles manager and fan favorite, Juan Samuel, is thinking of taking over Davey Lopes’ position as the team’s first base coach. If he does, that should be good news for the team, since he was a very successful base stealer during his days as a ballplayer. Is has also been announced that they are looking at Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg as the new manager for their Triple-A Lehigh Valley ballclub, as he is leaving the Cubs Triple-A club after being pass over as the main club’s new manager. He might be another popular move, if the Phils do go after him. Whether the pair will actually get either post is another question.
Roy Halladay becomes the first Phils starter, since Hall of Famer Steve Carlton won 23 in 1982, to win 20 games in a season, as the Phils defeat the Braves, 5-3. The Phils’ lead in the NL East increases to five games, while their magic number falls to six games.
The Phils took the lead in the third as, with two men on, and with one man out, Jayson Werth hits a three-run home run, his twenty-fifth home run of the year, knocking in Placido Polanco, who had earlier walked, and had moved up to second on Chase Utley’s single, and Utley, who had earlier singled, giving the Phils a 3-0 lead. The Braves got a run back in the fifth as, with runners on the corners, and with nobody out, Eric Hinske hits an RBI force out, 4-6, knocking in Alex Gonzalez, who had earlier doubled, then went to third on Rick Ankiel’s single, making it a 3-1 Phils’ lead, while Ankiel, who had earlier singled, was wiped out at second base. The Braves scored again in the sixth as, with runners on second and third and with nobody out, Derrek Lee hits a sacrifice fly, knocking in Martin Prado, who had earlier singled, and had gone to third on Brian McCann’s double, making it a 3-2 Phils’ lead, before McCann, who has earlier doubled, is thrown out at third, 8-5, trying to move up to third, on a sacrifice fly-double play, for the second out of the inning. The Phils got the runs back in their half of the sixth as, with two men on base, and with two men out, Raul Ibanez hits a two-run double, knocking in Ryan Howard, who had earlier walked, and moved up to second on Werth’s single, and Werth, who had just singled, giving the Phils a 5-2 lead. The Braves got a run back in the seventh as, with two men out, pinch hitter Freddie Freeman hits a pinch hit solo home run, the first of his major league career, making it a 5-3 Phils’ lead. That would be the final score as the bullpen would hold down the Braves in the eighth and in the ninth, with Brad Lidge collecting his twenty- fifth save of the year, as he got Ankiel to end the game by poping up to the shortstop for the final out.
Roy Halladay gets the win as he pitches seven innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out three. His record is now 20-10 with an ERA of 2.53. Ryan Madson collects his fourteenth hold as he pitches a scoreless inning, giving up a hit, while striking out one. Brad Lidge gets his twenty-fifth save of the season as he pitches a scoreless inning, giving up a hit, while striking out a batter. Mike Minor took the lost as he pitches only two and one-third innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and a walk. His record is now 3-2 with a 6.18 ERA. Cristhian Martinez and Kyle Farnsworth combines for two and two-thirds scoreless innings, giving up a hit (Martinez) and two walks (Martinez), while striking out four (Martinez (3), Farnsworth (1)) between them. Michael Dunn pitches two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on two hits and a walk, while striking out a batter. Peter Moylan, Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters combine for two and a third scoreless innings, giving up two hits (Kimbrel (1), Venters (1)), while striking out three (Kimbrel (1), Venters (2)) between them.
The Phils had twelve hits in the game, with Placido Polanco, Chase Utley, Jason Werth, Raul Ibanez and Wilson Valdez leading the team with two hits each, with Polanco, Utley and Valdez’s hits being all singles, with Werth’s hits being a single and a three-run home run, knocking in three runs, and Ibanez’s hits being a pair of doubles, knocking in two runs. Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay had the other two Phil hits, both singles. The Phils’ offense left twelve men on base, failing to cash in on several scoring opportunities, but scoring enough runs to win once again.
The Phils (91-61, 1st) will conclude their series with the Braves (86-66, 2nd) with a night game tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound Roy Oswalt (13-13 (7-1), 2.90 (1.94)), who is coming off a win against the Nats on September 17, as he went six innings, giving up a run on six hits and a walk, while striking out seven, in the Phils’ 9-1 rout. In his last three starts, his record is 3-0 as he had pitched twenty-two innings, giving up five runs on sixteen hits and three walks, while striking out twenty. He will be trying to lead the Phils to a sweep of the Braves. The Braves will counter with Tommy Hanson (10-11, 3.62), who is coming off a win against the Mets on September 17, as he pitched six innings, giving up four runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out four, in the Braves’ 6-4 win. In his last three starts, his record is 1-1 with a no-decision, as he had pitched nineteen innings, giving up twelve runs, nine of which were earned, on fourteen hits and three walks, while striking out thirteen. He will be trying to help the Braves avoid the sweep. The Phils will be trying to sweep the Braves, to extend their lead in the NL East to six games and set things up for an early clinching.
The Phils hits three home runs as they go on to defeat the Nats, 5-2, staying three games ahead of the Braves in the NL East.
The Nats took the lead in the first as, with one man on, and with nobody out, Ian Desmond hits an RBI triple, knocking in Danny Espinosa, who had earlier singled, giving the Nats a 1-0 lead. The Nats tried to add to their lead latter that inning, as they loaded up the bases via Ryan Zimmerman being hit by the pitch, and then a walk to Michael Morse, moving Zimmerman up to second base, and now with two men out, but Kyle Kendrick got out of the inning by getting Wilson Ramos to ground out, 4-3, to end the inning. The Phils then tied it up at one-all in the second as Jayson Werth hits a lead-off home run, his twenty-third home run of the season. Three batters later, with two men on, and with still nobody out, Wilson Valdez hits an RBI double, scoring Raul Ibanez, who had earlier singled, and moved up to second on Carlos Ruiz’s single, giving the Phils a 2-1 lead, while sending Ruiz, who had just singled, up to third base. The Phils increased their lead in the third as, with a man on, and with nobody out, Ryan Howard hits a two-run home run, his thirtieth home run of the season, establishing a new club record as he now has hit 30 or more home runs and driven in 100 or more RBIs in five straight seasons, breaking the old record held by both him and Hall of Famer Chuck Klein, as he knocks in Chase Utley, who had just walked, making it a 4-1 Phils’ lead. Two batters later, with one man out, Ibanez hits a solo home run, his fifteenth home run of the season, giving the Phils a 5-1 lead. The Nats get a run back in the sixth as, with a runner on second, and with two men out, Morse hits an RBI single, knocking in Zimmerman, who had earlier doubled, making it a 5-2 Phils’ lead. That would be the final score as the Phils’ bullpen would handle the Nats for the last three innings, with Brad Lidge recording his twenty-third save of the season as he pitches a 1-2-3 ninth, getting Desmond to end the game by grounding out softly to the pitcher, 1-3.
Kyle Kendrick gets the win as he pitches six innings, giving up two runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out three. His record is now 10-9 with a 4.78 ERA. Chad Durbin collects his fifteenth hold of the season as he pitches a scoreless inning, walking a batter, while striking out two. Ryan Madson pitches his thirteen hold of the year as he pitches a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and two walks, while striking out one. Brad Lidge would record his twenty-third save of the year as he pitches a 1-2-3 ninth. Jordon Zimmermann took the lost as he pitches only three innings, giving up five runs on nine hits and a walk, while striking out three. His record is now 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA. Craig Stammen, Ross Detwiller, Tyler Clippard and Collin Balester combine for five scoreless innings, giving up three hits, (Detwiller (2), Balester (1)) and three walks (Detwiller (1), Clippard (1), Balester (1)) between them.
The Phils had twelve hits in the game, with Raul Ibanez and Wilson Valdez both leading the team with three hits each, with Ibanez’s hits being two singles and a solo home run, knocking in a run, while Vladez’s hits were two singles and a double, also knocking in a run. Shane Victorino followed with two hits, both singles. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz had the other four Phils’ hits, with Utley and Ruiz’s hits being singles, while Howard’s hit was a two-run home run, and Werth’s hit was a solo home run. The Phils’ offense continue to gets hit, as they now head for a sweep with the Nats, while keeping a three-game lead over the Braves, as they defeat the Mets in an afternoon game.
Hall of Fame pitcher Roberts dies at 83
Beloved member of 1950 ‘Whiz Kids’ team was Phillies legend
By Marty Noble / MLB.com
05/06/10 5:20 PM ET
For the second time in three days, baseball lost one of its foremost gentlemen. Robin Roberts, as pleasant and gracious as any man in the game, died Thursday. As readily associated with the Phillies as any player has been with any franchise, Roberts was 83 years old when he passed away in Florida due to natural causes.
The most accomplished right-handed pitcher in the history of the Phillies, Roberts was a Hall of Famer, card-carrying member of the 1950 “Whiz Kids” and an active force in the creation of the Major League Baseball Players Association. Most of all he was an agreeable, genial man whose company was enjoyed by those who met him.
Roberts’ death followed, by two days, the passing of beloved Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell, and it leaves another conspicuous void in the game. Few men who reached the levels Roberts and Harwell attained have been so widely hailed for their pleasant natures and general goodness.
The Phillies observed a moment of silence in Roberts’ memory prior to their Thursday afternoon home game against the Cardinals. They also announced that Phillies jersey No. 36 will be hung in the team’s dugout during games for the remainder of the season, that players will wear No. 36 patches on the right sleeves of their uniforms beginning Friday, and that the 1950 pennant will be hung at half-mast at Citizens Bank Park. It was a championship the Whiz Kids wouldn’t have won without Roberts’ contribution.
“Robin Roberts was a Phillies treasure, a Hall of Fame pitcher and a Hall of Fame person,” Phillies president David Montgomery said in a statement. “He will be sorely missed. Having known Robin since the late 1960s, this is a personal loss as well as one felt by the entire Phillies organization and our fans.”
Roberts’ funeral will be at 6 p.m. ET Monday at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Temple Terrace, Fla., where he lived. In lieu of flowers, mourners are asked to donate to the church, the Baseball Assistance Team or the Gold Shield Foundation.
Former Phillies owner Bill Giles said, “When I think of Robin, there is definitely one word that comes quickly to mind — class. He was a class act both on and off the field. He was definitely one of the most consistent quality pitchers of all time, and the way he lived his life was exemplary. Every young baseball player should model their life after Robin.”
And former Phillies president Ruly Carpenter issued this statement: “Baseball and the Phillies not only lost one of the greatest pitchers the game has ever known but the Carpenter family also lost a true friend. He was my idol as I grew up with the 1950 Phillies.”
Robin Evan Roberts was a remarkable pitcher because of his effectiveness and a level of stamina uncommon even at a time when pitchers routinely worked overtime. Beginning in 1950, the only year his Phillies reached the World Series, Roberts won 20 or more games and pitched at least 304 innings in six consecutive seasons.
He was the winning pitcher in the Phillies’ 4-1 pennant-clinching victory against the Brooklyn Dodgers on Oct. 1, 1950. That distinction, of itself, paled to a degree in comparison to the circumstances surrounding it. Roberts pitched a 10-inning complete game in smallish Ebbets Field and if not for a home run by Pee Wee Reese, would have shut out Dem Bums.
Moreover, that start occurred three days after he had pitched nine innings in a loss to the New York Giants in the unforgiving Polo Grounds, and four days after he had thrown four in another unsuccessful start in New York. And beyond that, Roberts was the starter in Game 2 of the World Series against the Yankees on Oct. 5 — he pitched 10 innings — and threw an inning in relief in the final game of the Yankees’ sweep two days later.
“He was like a diesel engine,” Roberts’ teammate and fellow Phillies starter Curt Simmons said from his home in Arizona. “The more you used him, the better he ran. I don’t think you could wear him out. The end of the 1950 season, I was in the Army and I think Bob Miller had a bad back. I know Robin had to throw almost every day.”
Dallas Green, the former Phillies manager and pitcher, became one of Roberts’ friends despite an eight-year difference in age. Green who broke into the Majors in 1956, attended Roberts’ professional debut in 1948 in Wilmington, Del., where Green lived. Roberts’ first game was as a member of the Blue Hens. “Robbie was a real special person to me,” Green said Thursday. “I love him. He was as old-school as you could get. He’d just run and throw to get in shape. I tell all the kids that now.”
Roberts contended that pitching came easily to him. “Too many people try to make it more complicated than it really is,” he would say as part of his continuing effort to deflect praise. His efforts in that regard weren’t as successful as his pitching. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976.
He won 286 games overall and still was pitching in the Minor Leagues when he retired because he wanted 14 more wins. “Three hundred was big to him. He wanted it,” Green said. “We were roomies at Reading in the old Eastern League and we were both at the end. Robbie just ran out of gas. The will was there. It was always there.”
The second-leading all-time winner among the Phillies — Steve Carlton won 241 games to Roberts’ 234 — Roberts was recognized primarily as a power pitcher until late in his career when he pitched for the Orioles, Astros and Cubs. His career strikeouts total of 2,357 was unremarkable. It ranks 40th all-time. But he walked merely 902 batters and never more than 77 in a season.
The numbers that distinguished him most during and after his 19-year career were his victories, shutouts (45), complete games (305) and home runs allowed (505), the most ever. But like fellow Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter, Roberts was renowned for limiting the damage. Sixty-five percent of the home runs he surrendered were hit with the bases empty.
His complete-games total ranks 38th all-time and nearly all of those who pitched more played well before Roberts broke in on June 18, 1948. He pitched 28 consecutive complete games from August 1952 to July 1953. What would closer Brad Lidge have done during Roberts’ time with the Phillies?
That will remain an unknown, but Lidge certainly developed an appreciation for the pitcher now memorialized by a statute outside Citizens Bank Park.
“Every time he came around the clubhouse he would start talking about pitching,” Lidge said Thursday. “He talked with me about my slider, and anything he had to say, I was all ears. Another thing about Robbie was that he never talked about the way things were when he played the game. He realized that the game changed with time. I was really fortunate to be able to talk with a living legend about pitching.”
Lidge’s teammate Jamie Moyer provided this perspective: “Almost every day I look at the Phillies Hall of Fame jerseys that hang in the hallway by the clubhouse. I try to appreciate what Robin did as a pitcher. Looking back at the impact he had on the game, it was special. He would always kid around when he came by and would be concerned about how I was and how my family was doing. I feel like I lost a friend. He bled Phillies Red. He was a true Phillie top to bottom.”
Roberts’ contemporaries saw him in a different light. “Probably the best fastball I ever saw was Robin Roberts’.” Ralph Kiner once said. “His ball would rise around six or eight inches, and with plenty on it. And he had great control.”
“He looks like the kind of pitcher you can’t wait to swing at, but you swing and the ball isn’t where you thought it was,” the late Pirates slugger Willie Stargell once said.
“You know,” Green said, “for all the success Robbie had, he did it without a breaking ball. He had that little ‘slurvy’ thing that was an ugly pitch. But he got you when it counted. A man on third with less than two out just didn’t score. He’d bear down like nobody else. And he never threw at any one. That wasn’t him.”
Stan Lopata, one of Roberts’ catchers with the Phillies, recalled that he didn’t have the best move to first base. “They’d always be running on him,” Lopata said Thursday. “[Fellow catcher] Andy Seminick and I went to Robbie one day and said ‘You gotta give us a chance.’ And Robbie said ‘They can steal second, they can steal third, but they’re not gonna score. And 99 times out a hundred, they stayed at third.”
Roberts was born in Springfield, Ill., the son of an immigrant Welsh coal miner. He attended Michigan State University and participated in an Army Air Corps training program. He returned to the school following World War II. He signed with the Phillies in 1948.
His extraordinary workload in the early to mid-’50s took a toll on his shoulder. In 1956, he lost 18 games but won 19. In the following seasons his career took a steep descent. He won 10 games, his fewest victories since his rookie season, and he lost a career-high 22 games, the most in the National League, in 1957. He won in double figures through 1960 but produced a 1-10 record in 1961.
The Yankees purchased his contract after that season, but Roberts was released by the Yankees without pitching for them in May 1962. He became something of a finesse pitcher thereafter, pitching for three teams before returning to the Phillies’ Reading team at age 40.
He played an integral role in establishing the Players Association. Michael Weiner, the current executive director of the union, noted as much in a statement Thursday. Weiner said Roberts helped “the players of his day understand the benefits to be gained by standing together as one. Robin and his peers had the foresight to hire Marvin Miller as the MLBPA’s first executive director in 1966, a decision that has since benefited all Major Leaguers and their families.”
Miller could not be reached Thursday.
Roberts later served as head coach of the University of South Florida in Tampa and roving Minor League instructor for the Phillies.
He is survived by four sons, Robin Jr., Dan, Rick and Jim; one brother, John; seven grandchildren and one great-grandson.
“Dad didn’t miss a Phillies game on television, including [Wednesday] night,” Jim Roberts said Thursday. “He really loved this team and was so thrilled that he was included in the World Series festivities the last two years.
“He’d sit there and would comment, ‘Did you see Jimmy make that play? … Chase can really play this game … My man Jayson is some kind of an athlete … Did you see that change-up from Cole? … How strong is Ryan? … Roy makes pitching look so easy and it isn’t … I wish I had Brad’s slider … Shane can fly. Can’t he?'”
And thus another great of the game, and a gentleman, fades away. Condolences to both your family and to the Phils, Robbie. You will be missed.