Tag Archives: Jackie Robinson

Four Phillies have won the NL Rookie of the Year Award

Sanford was the Phillies first Rookie of the Year Award winner in 1957.

 

In a scheduled 6:00 pm EST telecast this evening on MLB Network, the 2019 Major League Baseball Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Awards will be announced.

These are the official awards for the National and American League’s top first-year players as chosen in voting by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Finalists for the NL honors are first baseman Pete Alonso of the New York Mets, starting pitcher Mike Soroka of the Atlanta Braves, and shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.of the San Diego Padres.

Over in the AL the finalists are OF/DH Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros, 2B/OF Brandon Lowe of the Tampa Bay Rays, and starting pitcher John Means of the Baltimore Orioles.

(UPDATE: After original publication of this piece it was announced that Alonso and Alvarez had won the NL & AL awards respectively.)

Winners of the IBWAA (Internet Baseball Writers Association of America) Rookies of the Year were announced earlier in the day. Those awards went to Alonso in the NL, with Alvarez capturing the AL honors.

The Chicago chapter of the BBWAA established the original Rookie of the Year Award in 1940 and voted on a single winner for all of baseball through the 1946 season.

In 1947, voting went national, and the winner was the racial barrier-breaking Robinson. Beginning in 1949 a separate award was given for the top rookie in each league.

Originally named the J. Louis Comiskey award after the 1930’s-era Chicago White Sox owner, it was renamed as the Jackie Robinson Award in July 1987 on the 40th anniversary of his breaking baseball’s unofficial color barrier.

The Philadelphia Phillies have seen four players take home the award as NL Rookie of the Year.

The first of these was Jack Sanford. A right-handed pitcher from Massachusetts, Sanford was signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent prior to the 1948 season. He made his first big-league appearances during a brief three-game cup of coffee in 1956.

During his official rookie campaign the following year at age 28, Sanford made 33 starts, going 19-8 with a 3.08 ERA for a .500 ball club. Sanford allowed just 194 hits over 236.2 innings with 188 strikeouts, a figure that led the National League.

For his outstanding freshman season, Sanford not only took home the NL Rookie of the Year award, but was also named to the NL All-Star team that year. In addition, he finished 10th in the NL MVP voting.

Seven years later, in what would become an infamous 1964 campaign for the Fightin’ Phils, a slugging 22-year-old third baseman named Dick Allen took the honors in the National League.

Allen (featured picture accompanying this piece) had also received a cup of coffee in September prior to his breakout season, hitting .292 over 25 plate appearances across 10 games in September of 1963.

The following year, Allen (known then as ‘Richie’) led the Phillies to the front of the National League, a position the club would hold until collapsing with 10 consecutive late-September losses left them a game off the pennant pace.

Allen’s power-speed combination in the middle of manager Gene Mauch‘s lineup made all of the difference. He slashed .318/.382/.557 with 29 home runs, 91 RBIs, and 125 runs scored.

Among his 80 extra-base hits were a league-leading 13 triples, and Allen led all of Major League Baseball with 352 total bases.

In addition to capturing that year’s NL Rookie of the Year honors, Allen finished 7th in the NL Most Valuable Player voting.

It would be more than three decades before another Phillies rookie took home the honors. Once again it would be a dynamic, slugging third baseman. But that player very nearly did not qualify for the award.

Requirements for the MLB Rookie of the Year Awards are that a player must have fewer than 130 official at-bats or fewer than 50 innings pitched in order to be eligible. They must also have fewer than 45 days on the active roster, excluding time on the disabled list, in military service, or time when the rosters are expanded.

In 1996, Scott Rolen was called up for an August 1 doubleheader against Saint Louis at Veteran’s Stadium. He would play so well that he was never sent back to the minor league.

Rolen hit .254 with four homers, seven doubles, 18 RBIs, and 10 runs scored over his first 146 big-league plate appearances with the Phillies across 37 games that summer.

Then, in the bottom of the third inning of a September 7 game at Veteran’s Stadium, Rolen was hit by a pitch thrown by Chicago Cubs starter Steve Trachsel. He would be pulled from the game, and miss the rest of the season.

That left Rolen a single at-bat shy of exhausting his rookie eligibility. With it still intact the following year, he would become a runaway winner in the 1997 Rookie of the Year voting.

That season, Rolen slashed .283/.377/.469 with 21 homers, 59 extra-base hits, 92 RBIs, 93 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases. He also played the hot corner like no one had since Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt nearly a decade earlier, and like no one has since.

Eight years later, in 2005, a hulking first baseman named Ryan Howard would become the fourth and most recent Phillies player to win those Rookie of the Year honors.

Howard may have been ready for his big-league debut a year earlier, but was blocked by future Hall of Famer Jim Thome. Howard did receive his own September cup of coffee promotion in 2004, blasting a pair of home runs over 42 plate appearances across 19 games.

Thome was still manning the first base position at Citizens Bank Park when that 2005 season began, so Howard again began the season at Triple-A.

However, an injury to Thome opened the door for an opportunity, and Howard  was called up on May 3 for what would be another dozen games. The injury to Thome’s elbow would persist, eventually costing his season. Howard came back on July 2 to stay.

Over the final four months of the season, Howard slashed .296/.365/.585 and became one of the most feared middle-order hitters in the game. He blasted 21 homers with 62 RBIs over just 318 plate appearances in that stretch.

During the ensuing off-season, Thome would be traded away to the Chicago White Sox for a package led by center fielder Aaron Rowand. Howard would become ‘The Big Piece’ in the middle of the lineup for five straight NL East Division champs, back-to-back NL pennant winners, and the 2008 World Series champions.

While a member of the Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper took the honors as National League Rookie of the Year as a 19-year-old back in 2012. Harper hit .270 with 22 home runs, 57 extra-base hits, 59 RBIs, 98 runs scored, and 18 stolen bases after being called up on April 28.

Cody Bellinger hits for The Cycle to continue special rookie season

On Saturday night at Marlins Park in Miami, Los Angeles Dodgers rookie sensation Cody Bellinger put on a record-setting show.
Bellinger went 4-5, scored twice, and knocked in three runs to help pace the torrid, first place Dodgers to a 7-1 thrashing of the host Miami Marlins.
His night began with a single in the top of the first inning. In the top of the third, Bellinger’s 26th home run of the season opened the scoring, putting LA on top 2-0.
In the top of the fourth, Bellinger lined an RBI double to right field that upped the visitors lead to 6-0. Then in the seventh, he made history.
On the first offering from Marlins reliever Nick Wittgren, Bellinger ripped a ball to right that sailed over the head of Giancarlo Stanton. As the ball rolled to the wall, Bellinger raced around the bases, sliding into third easily ahead of the throw.
With that triple, Bellinger became the first rookie in the long and storied history of Dodgers baseball to hit for ‘The Cycle’ with a single, double, triple, and home run all in the same game.
“Every time he steps on the field,” manager Dave Roberts said per Andy McCullough of the LA Times, “something special can happen.”

MAKING THE MOST OF AN OPPORTUNITY

Special things have been happening all season where Bellinger is concerned. He entered the season as the Dodgers top-ranked prospect according to Baseball America.
In their evaluation of Bellinger, BA hung a 70 grade on his defense at first base. As for his hitting: “Bellinger has a chance to be a foundational hitter in the middle of the lineup,” went their summation.
They also opined that “he could make his debut in the second half of the year.” Clearly, Bellinger has accelerated that arrival timetable.
When the season opened, the four-time defending NL West champs didn’t have an opening for him. Veteran Adrian Gonzalez manned first base. The outfield had Andrew TolesJoc Pederson, and Yasiel Puig as starters.
However, as so often happens, injuries opened up a playing opportunity. First, Toles went down for the season after suffering a torn ACL in early May that required surgery. Then AGonz went to the DL in June with a degenerative disc in his back.
By the time that Toles was lost, Bellinger had already hit himself to Los Angeles with a .343/.429/.627 slash line at AAA Oklahoma City in April. He then took over the left field role full-time following that injury to Toles. Since Gonzalez went down, Bellinger has shifted to first base.
His hitting has suffered little at the hands of big league pitching. Through Saturday night, Bellinger has a .271/.349/.639 slash line over his first two months of Major League Baseball. He has 26 home runs, 44 extra-base hits, 61 RBI, 52 runs scored, and even stolen five bases.
Those would be strong numbers for an entire season for most rookies. They would make him a Rookie of the Year candidate almost any year. However, Bellinger has those numbers over just 72 games and 301 plate appearances.

ALL-STAR GAME AND HOME RUN DERBY

Bellinger was selected for the National League team in last week’s MLB All-Star Game. He even participated in the Home Run Derby, falling with no shame to eventual champion Aaron Judge in the semi-finals.
Throwing to Bellinger during that Home Run Derby was his own father. Clay Bellinger appeared in four seasons from 1999-2002 with the New York Yankees. The senior Bellinger was a part of two World Series championship teams in the Bronx.
Clay knew early on that Cody had a special talent for the game. “We knew right away he was going to be pretty good,” he was quoted by McCullough in another LA Times piece. Clay had coached Cody as a kid, including their team that reached the 2007 Little League World Series.
Special talent. That’s what Bellinger has brought to the LA lineup here in 2017. Thanks in no small part to his contributions, an already good Dodgers team has become a powerhouse. If he can continue to rake as he has, he’ll add a Fall Classic to his Midsummer Classic appearance.
Corey Seager won the NL Rookie of the Year Award last season, becoming the 17th Dodgers rookie to capture that honor. The list includes such legends as Hall of Famers Jackie Robinson and Mike Piazza.
Bellinger is sure to become the 18th winner this fall. He and Seager are just beginning what should be a dynamic 1-2 combination in the Dodgers lineup for years to come.

Racist Phillies Episode Earns City Apology

Today, the Philadelphia city council voted to pass a resolution which had been introduced by Councilwoman Helen Gym. 
The resolution was basically a formal apology from the City of Philadelphia to Jackie Robinson for words and actions which baseball’s racial trailblazer experienced while playing here against the Phillies.
The resolution reads as follows:

Be it resolved by the Council of the City of Philadelphia, that City Council hereby recognize, honor and celebrate April 15, 2016 as a day honoring the lifetime achievements and lasting influence of Jackie Robinson, and apologizing for the racism he faced as a player while visiting Philadelphia.”

The date of April 15th is significant in that it intentionally coincides with what Major League Baseball has traditionally celebrated as “Jackie Robinson Day” across the game. All players wear his uniform number, a number that is retired across the game, on that day.
Beginning in Robinson’s rookie season of 1947, the first black player in MLB in over 60 years was subject to taunts, derogatory comments, and outright racist harassment by some fans and opposition players across the National League.
Nowhere was that harassment more offensive than here in the City of Brotherly Love, where Phillies’ manager Ben Chapman infamously attacked Robinson with racist verbal barbs that would make a sailor blush.

Allen Barra of The Atlantic interviewed Chapman for a piece just three years ago, asking “Is it true that you said those things to Jackie Robinson? You know, the names, the words, that everyone said you used?

Heck, yeah,” replied Chapman, per Barra. “Sure I did. Everyone used those kind of words back then. Heck, we said the same things to Joe DiMaggio and Hank Greenberg.

Those things included calling DiMaggio names such as “Dago” and “Wop” on the field, and the Jewish Greenberg “Kike” as well.
It was all part of the game back then,” said Chapman. “You said anything you had to say to get an edge. Believe me, being a southerner, I took a lot of abuse myself when I first played in New York. If you couldn’t take it, it was a case of if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
The Phillies and their fans, however, became well-known for their vocal racial attacks on Robinson in his early years. As Philly.com’s Tricia Nadolny tells it, Chapman really laid into Robinson. 

“When the Phillies traveled to Brooklyn that 1947 season, Phils manager Ben Chapman led the bench in crude taunting of Robinson such as, “Go back to the cotton fields,” and “They’re waiting for you in the jungles, black boy.””

It was part of a questionable racial history for the team. It wasn’t until 1957, a decade after Robinson had broken baseball’s color barrier, that the Phils added their first black player, shortstop John Kennedy.
Kennedy came into a game for the first time on April 22nd, 1957 as a pinch-runner in the top of the 8th inning against, ironically, the Brooklyn Dodgers. It was exactly 10 years to the day after Chapman had first verbally berated Robinson, who had retired after the 1956 season.
Philadelphia would go on to experience some questionable racial attacks by fans on 1960’s superstar Richie Allen during that decade as well. Today’s apology by the Philly city council may be specifically geared towards Robinson, but is certainly an attempt to begin overcoming those old unacceptable actions and attitudes as well.

Philadelphia was one of the most disappointing places where he experienced racism,” said Gym per Nadolny. “And I felt like it was important for City Council to acknowledge that, to acknowledge a great man. And that sometimes can start with an apology.

One way that the Phillies as a ball club have permanently chosen to acknowledge Robinson is to hang his number in Dodger blue upon an outfield wall, prominently displayed at Citizens Bank Park alongside greats of the franchise’ past, right next to the numbers of pitchers Steve Carlton and Robin Roberts.

Phillies 2016 Promotions and Giveaways

The Philadelphia Phillies have announced special promotions and giveaway items for the 2016 season.

With the scheduled opponents, dates, and times already released earlier in the off-season, the Phils began to fill-in the rest of their schedule with the always highly anticipated list of giveaways and special promotions for the upcoming season.
One highlight will be the 32 scheduled “Theme Nights”, for which special tickets will be required aside from the usual game tickets in order to be a part of the festivities. 
The first two will be held during the weekend of April 1st and 2nd, when the Phillies play a pair of exhibitions prior to the official regular season opening.
On those two dates, the Phillies will hold a “Scouts Parade” at Citizens Bank Park. Friday is a 6:05pm start time vs. the Baltimore Orioles, and Saturday will be a 1:05pm Futures Game featuring the club’s top minor league prospects. 
These events will feature a pregame on-field parade of the scouts in full uniform, with special Phillies patches distributed on the field for those scouts who participate.
Friday April 15th at 7:05pm vs. the Washington Nationals will be a “Jackie Robinson Salute” with the club honoring the baseball barrier-breaker and Hall of Famer. 
The first 500 fans who purchase the special tickets through this promotion will receive coupons for a Philadelphia Stars t-shirt. 
The Stars were a Negro League baseball team from Philadelphia (1933-1952), members of the Negro National League (1934-1948) who won their only championship in their first year.

The following night, Saturday, April 16th at 7:05pm again vs. the Nats will be “Philadelphia Science Festival Night” with the club presenting fun baseball-themed science activities throughout the concourse areas. 
Kids can complete tasks at each stop, earning a stamp which upon completion of their visits can be presented for a special science prize. This is the 6th consecutive year that the Phils have teamed with the Philadelphia Science Festival.
Monday, April 18th at 7:05pm vs. the defending NL champion New York Mets will be the team’s first ethnic celebration of the year with an “Asian Pacific Celebration” with food, dancing, and music from various Asian nations and cultures.
Other ethnic celebrations throughout the year include “Greek Heritage” (6/2), the “Goya Latino Family Celebration” (8/19), and finally an “Oktoberfest” (10/1) celebration featuring German food and entertainment.
The always popular “Fireworks Shows” will come on both Friday, July 1st (7:05pm) and the following evening of Saturday, July 2nd (5:05pm) following games those nights against the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals.
Dollar Dog Nights are back once again, with $1 hot dogs on sale. Be prepared, there are always long lines at the stands the closer it gets towards game time, as well as during the games. 
The dates for dollar doggies are: Tuesday April 12th (7:05pm), Monday April 18th (7:05pm), Monday May 16th (7:05pm), and finally on Thursday June 2nd (7:05pm).
August 12th-14th will be Phillies Alumni Weekend, with a number of festivities. Friday is designated as “Wall of Fame Night”, Saturday as “Phillies Alumni Night”, and Sunday there will be a “Wall of Fame Fathead” giveaway for all fans. More details will be announced as the weekend approaches.
Sold out for two years running, the popular “Phillies Social” games will return, bringing together the team’s followers on various social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Pinterest and more. 
These events will take place on six Friday nights, all during 7:05pm games vs the Indians (4/29), Reds (5/13), Brewers (6/3), Mets (7/15), Cardinals (8/19), and Marlins (9/16).
Some of the many giveaways include the following: 
Caps (4/11 – all fans)
Opening Night T-Shirts (4/12 – 15/over ages)
Kids Pullover Jacket (4/16 – 14/under)
Phanatic Flair Hair Visor (4/23 – 14/under)
Ladies Infinity Scarf (5/1 – 15/over women only)
Phillies Cap (5/14 – all fans)
Bat & Ball Set (5/15 – 14/under)
Phanatic Children’s Book (5/21 – 14/under)
Phillies Visor (5/22 – all fans)
IBEW Aaron NolaTShirt (6/4 – 14/under)
Retro Socks (6/5 – all fans)
MLB Network Tote Bag (6/16 – all fans)
AT&T Maikel Franco Bobblehead (6/18 – all fans)
WB Mason Collectible Truck (7/16 – all fans)
Citizens Bank Park Pride of the Phillies Print (8/4 – all fans)
There are a number of other events, promotions, and giveaways scheduled already. The team is sure to add a few as the season approaches and unfolds. 
Check the Phillies Official Team Site regularly for updates, as well as the television and radio broadcasts during the 2016 season.