The contributors to the Phillies Minor League Digest are billed as ‘The Phreelancers’, a collection of a dozen-and-a-half fans of the ball club rounded up by organizer Steve Potter.
Potter hosts a blog on the team that can be found at facebook.com/Philliesbaseballfan/ and titled “Phillies – A Fan’s View” on the Facebook social media platform.
Together this group has produced a work that any Philadelphia Phillies fan would enjoy. The “4th Annual Phillies Minor League Digest – A Fan’s View” is packed full of information and photographs on the Phillies minor league system.
The forward was provided by Baseball Hall of Fame writer Paul Hagen, the 2013 J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner. Hagen opens with an anecdote about the late Phillies Wall of Fame general manager Paul Owens.
On Potter, Hagen writes: “He’s as much a fixture at the Paul Owens Training Facility at Carpenter Complex as the bronze bust of the Pope – Owens’ nickname – that’s proudly displayed outside the front entrance.”
The 450+ pages in this jumbo paperback are packed with solid writing backed up by tons of stats and strong photography spread across 16 chapters covering everything from spring training to the amateur draft and on through fall instructs.
Some of the contributors should be familiar names to fans who closely follow the Phillies, especially their minors system. Tom Housenick provides chapters on both the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Double-A Reading Fightin’ Phils. Jim Peyton covers the High-A Clearwater Threshers.
On top Phillies pitching prospect Spencer Howard, Housenick writes the following:
“Spencer Howard (23-year-old RHP) is one of those “special arm” guys that you just don’t see come along often. Watching him this summer as he rehabbed on the backfields of the complex gave us an up close look at four plus pitches. The fastball range gets to 97-98 but personally its the hook I was impressed with as it’s a true knee buckler.“
Other writing contributions come from Jay Floyd, Mark Wylie, and Steve Dull. The latter, along with his wife Gail, provide photography as well. Those two are well known in Phillies social media circles as Baseball Betsy and Baseball Ross.
Other photographic credits go to Wylie, Cheryl Pursell, Steve Kiebach, Dannie and Frank Berlingis, Casey Burns, Michael Dill, Vivian Mott, George Youngs Jr, and Tammi Reisbsome. Also providing photographic content are Steve Potter’s wife, Barbara, and their two sons, Dan and Nolan.
I splurged a bit and purchased the color photo version (the book is available with black and white photos at a lesser cost) and am glad that I did. While these photographers are an eclectic mix of professional and amateur, all of their work is stellar.
In addition to the print editions there is an extremely affordable $6 Kindle version available from Amazon.
This is our first Phillies and baseball-related book review of 2020 and there will be more to come. Visit our Reviews section in order to read a half-dozen book reviewed to date. It can be found in the toolbar from your desktop or in the Menu if visiting from your mobile device.
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