Friday, July 17, 2020

Catching Up: Remembering Legends, Back to the Future

Leaving 1985 in the past, here's a look at a few things going on in the present for the Phillies.

Sadly, we lost a legend on Thursday morning with the passing of all-time Phillies great Tony Taylor.  A fan favorite and a member of the Phillies family for six decades, Taylor was a 2006 Phillies Wall of Fame inductee and a mainstay at the annual Phillies alumni weekends.  He continued to engage with fans up through last year's alumni weekend, signing as many autographs as he could.  He became a favorite of my son Doug as the two of them had a lengthy conversation during the 2017 alumni weekend, in which Taylor singled out Doug to give him some impromptu life advice.

That was the weekend the Phillies honored three recently departed legends - Jim Bunning, Darren Daulton and Dallas Green - and Taylor was overly emotional when Doug asked him to sign the print featuring the three.  From that night:
Tony Taylor . . . the Phillies great singled out Doug and spent about two minutes talking to him.  He talked about the players on the print, he told Doug to follow his dreams and he told Doug to never give up.  He talked about kindness and helping others and hard work.  He wanted Doug to promise to never throw away the print and to remember everything he had told him.  Finally, he told Doug to pass on everything to his kids and to bring his kids to Phillies games when they were older.  Doug took it all in.  I took it all in.  It was a very cool moment.
Something neither of us will ever forget.  Taylor's card was the first card we purchased when we decided to start collecting the 1965 Topps set late last year.

2010 Phillies Alumni Team Issue
1995 Phillies Team Issue #9

* * *

Long-time player and coach Irish Mike Ryan passed away on July 7th.  A catcher for the Phillies between 1968 and 1973, he made his mark as a long-time and popular Phillies coach following his playing days.   Ryan was a coach for the club between 1980 and 1995, and that tenure is second only in length to his long-time friend and teammate John Vukovich.  Ryan is the only coach in franchise history to coach for the club in three World Series - 1980, 1983 and 1993.

* * *

We've enjoyed watching the intrasquad games the team has thankfully decided to broadcast over the past several nights.  The Blue Phillies (wearing white jerseys) have taken on the Red Phillies (wearing red jerseys) at Citizens Bank Park with nary a fan in the stands, coaches playing defense in the later innings and a few players donning face masks throughout the games.  Batters have batted out of order and have occasionally switched teams mid-game to get additional at-bats.  Innings have had anywhere from two to six outs per inning, and everyone seems to be having fun.  It was a little jarring at first to see the shots of the empty blue seats, but I'm grateful to be watching Phillies baseball again.  The team will play one more intrasquad game tonight and then take on the Nationals, Orioles and Yankees for three straight nights beginning on Saturday in exhibition action.

2020 Chachi Almost #4
Camp Head Count:  52 - 2 - 1 + 2 - 2 = 49.  I don't even really know any more, to be honest.  When Summer Camp opened on July 3rd, by my unofficial tally there were 52 players suited up and eligible to participate.  Since then, there have been a few more roster moves that seem to amount to nothing more than paper being pushed around.  On July 13th, the Phillies optioned right-handed pitchers Enyel De Los Santos and Robert Stock to Lehigh Valley.  Both are still in camp and both have appeared in recent intrasquad games, so their removal from the roster was procedural only.

In a move that was more than just procedural, right-handed pitcher Bud Norris was released on July 16th.  Norris has been out of baseball since 2018 but was brought to spring training back in February as a non-roster invitee.  In 4 spring training games before the pandemic, Norris pitched 4 innings, allowing 4 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks.

Also on July 16th, left-handed pitcher Austin Davis and catcher Rafael Marchan were added to the Phillies Player Pool, only to be immediately placed on the 10-day injured list with what the team described as medical conditions.  The Phillies will open the abbreviated 2020 season on July 24th with a 30-man roster.


John Bateman said...

Mike Ryan - every time I hear his name over the years, his 1974 Topps Baseball Card always pops in my head.

Jim said...

It's funny how that works isn't it? For me, for whatever reason, it's his 1972 Topps card I think of first.

Jim from Downingtown said...

Taylor and Ryan - two members of the late-1960s Phillies.

Those weren't good teams, but I started following the Phillies in 1967 so those first few seasons were favorably etched in my young mind.

Jim from Downingtown said...

Funny that John Bateman is commenting on Mike Ryan (having shared the Phillies' catching load in 1972).