Results tagged ‘ Ruben Amaro Jr. ’

12/16/10 – “We’d like to introduce…”

At three 0’clock yesterday afternoon, I got very excited. At 3:01, I had the chills. Cliff Lee was back, wearing a Phillies uniform again. This time, for good. At the end, I became a giddy schoolboy. I don’t think I’ve been this excited for an upcoming baseball season… and this is after four straight years of baseball nirvana. Excellence on the diamond has almost become old hat for the Phillies, but with the addition of Lee, this just turns it up to 11.

You could see it everyone’s faces. The moderator, Phillies Public Affairs Director Scott Palmer, stood in front of the podium to introduce Ruben Amaro Jr. and Cliff Lee. Scott has a very distinctive smile, one that all Philadelphians know from his days on Channel 6. I saw that smile firsthand the night of the Phantasy Camp Orientation. It’s a truly genuine smile…. So there he stood, in the corner of the press room… the same room I started my Orientation in… and beamed. He beamed like a little kid on Christmas morning. His joy over the return of Cliff was clearly obvious.

Ruben spoke first and had the exact same smile. This was more than just landing a big free agent. This was bringing pure elation to a loving and devoted fanbase. Amaro has been a Phillie from birth: From his father, a former Phillie, to growing up in the area, to having two tours with the team as a player, to working his way up through the front office to General Manager… today, he was simply a fan.

After the press conference was over and Amaro had handed Cliff his old number 33, MLB Network’s Matt Yallof and Phantasy Camp Legend Mitch Williams (both Comcast Philadelphia alumni) interviewed Lee. Mitch, who makes no bones about the fact he is still a tried and true Phillies fan, also fell under Lee’s spell. As comfortable he was questioning him and being as objective as possible, you could see how excited he was about his return… the whispering, the joking around… A truly special time in the franchise’s history has been taken to a whole new level.

Other than his constant reiterations about how much he wanted to be in Philadelphia and play for this team, the one statement that actually got me to say out loud, by myself, “yes”, came after a question about Lee “leaving money on the table” and not taking the much bigger contracts offered to him by the Yankees and Rangers:

“I guess I did. I mean, I could potentially earn this in a shorter term, so whatever. It’s plenty of money. When you hit a certain point, enough is enough. It’s a matter of where you’re comfortable, where you’re happy, where your family is most comfortable, what team gives you the best chance to win.”

Two hours earlier, about 90 miles south of Citizens Bank Park, Jayson Werth was introduced to the Washington Nationals. If you saw the press conference or have been reading Werth’s comments, you know that the Phillies-Nationals games will be very interesting now.

But my favorite quote of the day from Werth easily had to be this:

“I’ve been to the postseason a lot the past few years, and that’s what it’s all about.”


12/9/10 – This Day in Legend History… Von Hayes and Juan Samuel

Photo Day 1989

One of Chris Berman’s most famous signature “punny” nicknames was given to long-time Phillie Von Hayes. Von “Purple” Hayes also had another nickname bestowed upon him by the Philadelphia Phaithful, although this one wasn’t quite as whimsical or endearing. On this day in 1982, Hayes secured the nickname “5 for 1” when he was traded to the Phillies from the Cleveland Indians for five players (Manny Trillo, Julio Franco, George Vukovich, Jay Baller, and Jerry Willard). This is not a rare transaction, especially when it involves an established player. But when the player in question has only one full, modestly successful season under his belt AND the other players involved included a veteran All-Star and Phillies folk hero in Trillo, and a prospect who went on to have a very long and successful career in Franco… the target was placed on his back before the ink even dried. 

Hayes didn’t quite live up to the huge billing he got, but he provided very solid and steady numbers at the plate, being a very good compliment to Mike Schmidt in the middle of the lineup. He helped the team to the 1983 World Series in his first year with the team and was 8th in the MVP voting in 1986. In his nine seasons with the Phillies, probably his most famous moment came in 1985 against the New York Mets. In the bottom of the opening frame, Hayes became the first player ever in MLB history to hit two home runs in the same inning. That would be a sign of things to come for the rest of the game as the Phillies went on to a 26-7 victory. In 1989, three months after the above picture was taken, Hayes hit three home runs in one game against the San Francisco Giants. 

On December 8, 1991, Hayes was traded to the California Angels where he only played 94 more games before retiring, never recovering from a broken arm resulting from a pitch from Tom Browning in the season before. Since then, Von continues to succeed as a minor league manager.

Oh… one of the players involved in the 1991 trade? Ruben Amaro Jr.


On this day, we also wish a very Happy Birthday to Juan Samuel!


I forgot to mention my favorite Mike Lieberthal story in my post on 12/6. My friends and I made a last minute decision to go see the Phillies play the Atlanta Braves on 4/10/98. Curt Schilling was facing Greg Maddux and we could not pass up this opportunity to see these two monsters of pitching face each other. We got there about 45 minutes late, thinking the game was still in it’s early stages. We were all aghast when we saw it was already the bottom of the 5th! As advertised, it was an incredible pitcher’s duel. It was such knock down-drag out fight. Mike Lieberthal came up with two on and one out and singled to center off of Mike Cather who was replaced for Greg Maddux. Game over. Even though it was early in the year and the prospects of the Phillies making any push for the playoffs were thin, the crowd that night was electric. There was nothing more satisfying than beating the hated Atlanta Braves at their own game. Thank you Lieby for providing a fantastic win.