The Philadelphia Phillies have invited a group of former big leaguers to participate in spring training as guest instructors.
Continuing a decades-long tradition, the club has decided to bring in seven alumni during the course of 2016 spring training and the Grapefruit League season.
This year’s group will feature:
– the greatest player in Phillies franchise history and arguably the greatest all-around 3rd baseman to ever play the game, Schmitty appeared in parts of 18 seasons with the club from 1972-89. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995, and has been a guest hitting instructor at spring training with the Phils since 2002. The now 66-year old Schmidt also has coaching experience, having spent the 2004 season as manager of the Phillies’ High-A Clearwater club in the Florida State League. Schmidt, whose first-ever big league game was the subject of a piece
during our Phillies History Month here at TBOH back in January, also serves as a television broadcaster with the club during regular season Sunday home games.
– the manager of the 2008 World Series championship team who guided the club to five consecutive NL East crowns from 2007-2011 turned 72 years old just last month. Manuel was the manager for parts of eight seasons from 2005-12, and currently serves as a senior advisor to new general manager Matt Klentak. He was previously both a hitting coach and manager with the Cleveland Indians. He has an overall career big league managerial record of 1000-826, with a 29-22 postseason record. As a player, Manuel appeared in parts of a half-dozen big league seasons, and another half-dozen in the Japanese professional league.
– having turned 77 years old back in November, he pitched in parts of 25 big league seasons across parts of four decades.
Kaat pitched with the Phillies from 1976-79, and was a regular member of the starting rotation during the 1977-78 seasons in which the club won a then-record 101 games each year. Kaat won a Gold Glove in each of those two seasons, and was the winner of 16 Gold Glove Awards during his career, including a dozen in a row from 1962-73. He finished 4th in AL Cy Young Award voting the year before coming to the Phils, and finished 5th in the AL MVP voting in 1965. Kaat was also a 3x All-Star. On retirement, Kaat became a broadcaster, and is a 7x Emmy Award winner. Just last year, he was considered by the Veteran’s Committee for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Needing a dozen votes, he received 10, falling just two short.
– now 65-years old, “The Bull” is a regular fixture around Citizens Bank Park at his namesake Bull’s Barbecue joint out in the right-center field concourse area. One of the most feared sluggers of the 1970’s, he was with the Phillies from 1970-80, starting with the final year in Connie Mack Stadium, and ending with the first-ever World Series title in franchise history. He finished as the runner-up for the NL MVP Award in both 1975 and 1977, was a 4x NL All-Star, and was a middle-of-the-order threat as that 1970’s era team grew from also-ran to regular contender. He was the 1978 winner of MLB’s Roberto Clemente Award for sportsmanship and community involvement.
– the 3rd baseman on the 1993 National League pennant winning ‘Macho Row’ team, and one of its key figures. Hollins appeared in parts of a dozen big league seasons, and was with the Phillies from 1990-95, and again at the end of his playing career in 2002. With the Phils, he was an NL All-Star during that magical ’93 summer, and he received NL MVP votes during the previous year when he had a career-high 27 homers and 93 RBI. The now 49-year old Hollins spent the 2004 season as hitting coach with the Mets’ AA Binghamton affiliate in the Eastern League, and currently serves as a scout with the Phillies.
– the now-62-year old Andersen will be down in Clearwater anyway in his role as a member of the regular broadcasting team, a role that he has filled since the 1998 season. Andersen appeared in parts of 17 big league seasons, including two separate stints with the Phils from 1983-86, and again in 1993-94. This makes him the only player to appear with both the 1983 and 1993 Phillies NL pennant-winning teams, both of which lost in the World Series. He also reached the NLCS with Houston in 1986, and with Boston in 1990. He was famously traded straight-up in August 1990 for a likely future Hall of Famer, Jeff Bagwell
– elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame last February, Stairs will turn 48 years old in late February. He spent parts of 19 seasons in Major League Baseball, and is the all-time leader with 23 pinch-hit home runs. He spent the 2008 and 2009 seasons with the Phillies, helping win the ’08 World Series and an NL pennant the following year. Of course, Phils’ fans will always remember him for his famous pinch-hit home run “deep into the night” to win Game Four of the 2008 NLCS in Los Angeles.
The Phillies pitchers and catchers are due to report to Bright House Field in Clearwater by February 17th, with the full squad including position players having to report for workouts beginning the follow Tuesday, February 23rd.