Friday, October 5, 2012

Meet the New 2013 Phillies Coaches

1979 Topps #445, 1985 Topps #460 and 1989 Topps #443
Yesterday, the Phillies filled the coaching vacancies created with the dismissal of Pete Mackanin (bench coach), Greg Gross (hitting coach) and Sam Perlozzo (first base coach).  Here's a look at the newest Phillies coaches and a brief history of their cardboard appearances.

2012 Choice Lehigh Valley
IronPigs Update #26
Ryne Sandberg (third base coach) - Hall of Famer Sandberg managed the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs the past two seasons, leading them to the play-offs in 2011.  If he's not snatched away to manage another team, he's the early favorite to take the helm for the Phillies when Charlie Manuel's contract expires at the end of the 2013 season.

The Beckett database lists 4,861 different cards for Sandberg.  Even though he started his career with the Phils, he never received a proper Phillies card until after his retirement.  He's been featured in the IronPigs' team sets over the past two years.

Steve Henderson (hitting coach) - Henderson served as the organization's roaming hitting coordinator in 2011 and 2012, which I believe means he traveled through the minor league system offering his help as needed.  In 2010, he served as the Phillies' outfield/baserunning coordinator.  Before that, he spent four seasons as the hitting coach for the Tampa Bay Rays, where he had a dugout view of the glorious 2008 World Series.

Henderson spent 12 seasons in the Majors with the Mets, Cubs, Mariners, A's and Astros.  He appeared in Topps sets beginning in 1978 through 1986, and he had his final cards as an active player in the 1988 Score and Topps sets.  (On a side note, if you're keeping score at home, the 1979 Topps with Phillies connections tally is now at 112.)

2012 Choice Lehigh Valley
IronPigs Update #28
Rod Nichols (bullpen coach) -  Nichols was Sandberg's pitching coach at Lehigh Valley, and he's worked his way up through the team's minor league system since starting with the Low-A Piedmont Boll Weevils in 2000.  He pitched in parts of seven seasons between 1988 and 1995 with the Indians, Dodgers and Braves.  His rookie cards can be found in the 1989 Donruss and Topps releases, and his last proper card as a player is in the 1993 Topps set.

What's interesting to note is that the Phils are now without a bench coach and they've created the puzzling position of "catching coach" for longtime bullpen coach and catching instructor Mick Billmeyer.  Juan Samuel, the team's third base coach for the past two seasons, will move over to coach first.

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