For fans of the Philadelphia Phillies who were around and following the team back in the early 1970’s, the ‘Phillies 50’ position player representative chosen for that club will probably be easily remembered if for nothing other than his name.

Mike Rogodzinski was the lesser known player with a name ending in “zinski” from those days, with Phillies Wall of Fame slugger Greg Luzinski obviously far more well known.

Rogodzinski was the Phillies second round pick in the 1969 MLB Amateur Draft out of Southern Illinois University. Never spending a day in the lower minors, Rogodzinski was a starting outfielder at Double-A Reading in both 1970 and 1971, then at Triple-A in 1972.

After starting the 1973 campaign back at Triple-A Eugene, Rogodzinski was promoted to the big-leagues in May and would stay with the Phillies for much of that season, appearing mostly as a pinch-hitter.

In 1974 and 1975 he would split his final 33 games in Major League Baseball almost evenly, with 17 games in the 1974 season for which he was chosen to represent and then a final 16 in 1975. He hit just .067 (1-15) with those 1974 Phillies.

His lone base hit of that 1974 campaign came on a Sunday night May 12, 1974 at Veterans Stadium against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates in front of a national television audience.

Rogodzinski was sent up by manager Danny Ozark to pinch-hit for reliever George Culver with two on and nobody out in the bottom of the 3rd inning and the Phillies trailing the Bucs by 4-0. He lined a clean single to right field off Pirates’ starter Doc Ellis, loading the bases.

Two batters later a balk by Ellis allowed Bob Boone to score. Larry Bowa then followed with a base hit to score Rogodzinski and Del Unser delivered a game-tying, two-run single that scored Dave Cash and Bowa.

The Phillies would go on to an 8-7 victory that night which left them in first place in the National League East Division at 17-14 and dropped the Pirates to 10 games below the .500 mark at 9-19. Two weeks later the Phillies would reach seasonal high-water mark of seven games over .500, leading the division by 2 1/2 games.

Those Pirates were still 14 games under .500 as late as June 7 and nine games out of first place. They were eight below .500 and seven back sitting in fourth place on July 14. But then Pittsburgh suddenly turned it on. They won eight straight, 10 of the next 12, and finished the season 51-33 to capture the division crown by a game and a half. The Phillies finished in third, eight games out.

But back to our highlighted ballplayer. Overall, Rogodzinski would record a .219/.318/.307 slash line over his parts of three big-league seasons all spent with the Phillies. He produced two home runs and four doubles, scored 17 runs and drove in a dozen, and was thrown out in his only stolen base attempt.

In 2017, Rogodzinski made an appearance at Citizens Bank Park for Phillies Alumni weekend, getting another chance to hear applause from the Phillies faithful after more than four decades.


2 thoughts on “Phillies 50: Forgotten 1974 – Mike Rogodzinski

  1. Matt, I’d have to double check it, but I think Rogodzinski led the National League with 17 pinch hits in 1973. He then fell behind JayJohnstone on the depth chart and as you noted didn’t play much in the following two seasons. I distinctly recall Richie Ashburn saying he had a beautiful swing.


    1. Jon,
      You are correct. Rogo holds the Phillies record for most pinch hits in a season by a rookie. That record has stood for 49 years and will likely be unbreakable now that we have the DH in the National League.


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