The ‘Phillies 50’ series pitching rep from the 1981 team is right-handed reliever and spot starter named Mike Proly. He appeared in seven big-league seasons, making over 60 appearances twice, including his final year with the Chicago White Sox in 1983.
With the 1981 Phillies, Proly appeared in 35 games, including making two starts on the mound. He went 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA, allowing 66 hits over 63 innings with a 19/19 K:BB ratio.
Proly had been originally drafted by the Saint Louis Cardinals in the ninth round of the 1972 MLB Amateur Draft out of St. John’s in his native New York and made his Major League Baseball debut with the Cardinals four years later.
After spending the 1978-80 campaigns with the Chicago White Sox during which he made 114 appearances including 62 for Tony LaRussa in 1980, Proly was traded to the Phillies on April Fool’s Day of 1981 in exchange for Jay Loviglio.
Proly made 21 relief appearances during the first half of the 1981 season with the Phillies. The club went 34-21 before the player’s strike would shut the game down for two months. When the game resumed with the Phillies having been crowned first-half champions with an automatic playoff berth, Proly would get two chances to start in the second half of the season.
In those two shots as a starter, Proly pitched well. He lasted six innings in each of a pair of no decisions against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Veterans Stadium on September 20, 1981 and the Saint Louis Cardinals on October 1, 1981. He was not given a chance to pitch during Phillies tough five-game loss to the Montreal Expos in the 1981 NLCS.
The Phillies would release Proly at the end of spring training in 1982. He caught on with the Chicago Cubs with whom he would pitch in 104 games over the next two seasons. Released by Chicago in late April of 1984, Proly signed with the Toronto Blue Jays and appeared in 13 games with their Triple-A club at Syracuse before calling it a career at age 33.
In 1991, Proly was inducted into the St. John’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
One thought on “Phillies 50: Forgotten 1981 – Mike Proly”
My dad, Joseph E Durham coached Michael Proly when he was young baseball player. A gentleman as a young man and we all knew of his potential. A wonderful person!
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