12/15/10 – This Day in Legend History… Marty Bystrom, Ricky Bottalico, and Dave Hollins


When I attended Phantasy Camp orientation last month, in addition to Philly sports staple Scott Palmer, I got to meet two former Phillies and current Legends, Dickie Noles and Marty Bystrom. Marty was the first person I got to speak to. Like Scott and Dickie, he was very cordial and, like everyone else, repeated how much of a great time I will have in Florida. Also, at 6′ 5″, he’s a tall drink of water. I could only imagine the extra height he got with that ‘fro and bucket cap. I laugh every time I watch videos of him in 1980 being interviewed by Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn. Their heads are barely in the shot.

On this day in 1976, Bystrom signed with the Phillies as an amateur free agent. He spent five seasons with the club, but what he is most famous for is his late season heroics as a rookie in 1980. He arrived in September, started six games and went an impressive 5-0 and a 1.50 ERA. He started two games in the postseason, including the deciding Game 5 in the NLCS against the Houston Astros. He also made an appearance in the 1983 World Series. He only spent six seasons in the Majors before finishing with the New York Yankees in 1985.

In 2000, Ricky Bottalico signed as a free agent with the Phillies for his second stint with the club. This time, he was used as a middle reliever setting up the now established closer, Jose Mesa. Bottalico lasted two seasons before being bumped around by five different clubs before finishing his pitching career with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2005.

Like Bottalico, Dave Hollins signed as a free agent on this day in 2001, returning to the Phillies for a second time. His return was met with much happiness, but the reunion was short-lived. He only had 17 at-bat’s before having to go on the disabled list for one of the more odd “injuries” that you will hear. A noted diabetic, Hollins was bitten by spiders. This severely aggravated his diabetes and he could not properly return to playing. As disappointing and frustrating this was for him, players and fans, it was good to know that Hollins finished his career where it started.

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