The 1985 Philadelphia Phillies may be the only version of the ball club in this ‘Phillies 50’ series of 1971-2019 players who had a minimal impact in that specific season along with a minimal career in Major League Baseball to not have a position player representative who really fits the bill.
Finishing 75-87 and a disappointing fifth of six teams that year in the National League East Division, these Phillies weren’t a bad team on paper or statistically. But they lost eight of their first nine games, 11 of the first 15, and first-year manager John Felske just couldn’t seem to make anything work.
From June 9 through September 19, more than three full months, the Phillies went 53-39 (.576) to claw within two games of the .500 overall mark with still 18 games left to play. But then an 11-game losing streak took all the wind out of their sails.
Chosen as the position player rep for this team is utility infielder Kiko Garcia. He fits the bill well as far as making minimal contributions to this particular team. In his final big-league season the 31-year-old appeared in just four games over two weeks with the club during a late-April, early-May stretch during which he went 0-3 at the plate.
However, Garcia is certainly remembered by fans who were around during that time as he enjoyed a decade-long career in Major League Baseball that began in 1976. He played the first five of those seasons and made his mark with the Baltimore Orioles.
Garcia was the O’s starting shortstop in 1979 and 1980, which included the 1979 pennant-winning season in Baltimore. He performed well in a dramatic seven-game loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series, hitting .400 with four runs scored and six RBIs.
After signing as a free agent with the Phillies during spring training of 1983 he appeared in 84 games with the team that year. Added to the postseason roster, Garcia did not get into any of the Phillies four NLCS games or the five World Series games against his former Orioles team.
“I just looked across there,” he recalled in 2011 per Rory Costello at SABR, “and I said, ‘That’s the same team, almost to a man, except they’ve added Cal Ripken Jr.’ I just knew they were going to beat us, we had an older team and they were just so strong. It was kind of bittersweet.”
After finishing up his big-league career with the 1985 Phillies, Garcia got briefly involved a few years later with the fledgling Senior Professional Baseball Association. Later, he opened a batting cage business. Finally, he turned to coaching young players, eventually working mostly with young women in the sport as his two daughters grew into the game.
Garcia formed the KG Hitters Travel Ball Organization in 2010. “I’ve got a little academy. I’m the hitting coach; I used to coach fielding too, but now my knees are shot,” he told Costello. “I just love it. We work with young ladies and try to help them get college scholarships. We’re in Northern California, and softball is strong in Southern California, so we travel there a lot.”