Tag Archives: Keith Moreland

In January 1982 trade of light-hitting shortstops, the Phillies dealt away a future Hall of Famer

This latest installment of the “Phillies Hot Stove History” series was inspired by today’s 66th birthday celebration for Ivan DeJesus. While we may celebrate his birthday, few Phillies fans have ever celebrated the 1982 swap of shortstops that brought him to the team.

In short order this would prove to be one of the worst trades in franchise history. For younger fans who may have heard of the deal but not know how such a thing could happen, let’s take a quick look back at this key “hot stove” moment from the Phillies past.
As always, a little perspective is required to set the stage. At the time of the deal the Phillies were coming off a 1981 season in which they had been dethroned as world champions.
The veteran-laden 1980 Phillies had won the first World Series crown in franchise history. The following season was interrupted by a mid-season work stoppage, and the Phillies would return to the playoffs in 1981 thanks in part to a split-season format adopted by Major League Baseball.
In baseball’s first-ever Divisional Series, the Phillies were eliminated by the Montreal Expos in five games. Following that 3-2 series defeat, Owens looked over his roster and felt that an aging team that had won four of five NL East titles between 1976-80 needed more adjustments.
One key member of that 1970’s core group and 1980 championship team had already been dealt away when left fielder Greg Luzinski was sold to the Chicago White Sox at the end of spring training just prior to the 1981 season.
Owens decided that it was now time to turn the pages on the 36-year-old shortstop Larry Bowa, with whom he was having difficulty reaching agreement on a new contract.

THE GREEN FACTOR

Another pivotal factor in the trade was the man sitting in the General Manager’s seat on the Cubs side of the deal. Dallas Green had skippered the Phillies to that 1980 World Series title. Following the 1981 playoff defeat, Green was hired to become the new GM in Chicago.
Green skippered Phillies to a World Series crown
and 1981 postseason, then became Cubs GM.

Green first raided the Phillies coaching staff, taking John Vukovich and Lee Elia with him. Then in one of this first deals, Green obtained young catcher Keith Moreland and reliever Dickie Noles from the Phillies in a December 1981 trade.

Just over a month later, Green and Owens were discussing another trade. There wasn’t much at the time to distinguish Bowa from Cubs shortstop Ivan DeJesus from one another as a player. Both were light hitters. Bowa had the far greater defensive pedigree. DeJesus was more than seven years younger.
The big factor for Green was that he wanted Bowa’s strong glove, fiery personality, and leadership as the GM instituted his “Building a New Tradition” plan for a franchise that hadn’t been to the postseason since 1945.
On the Phillies side, Owens was looking for a long-term replacement, one where the talent level wouldn’t drop off much, to help keep the club winning. It appeared to be a clean, simple swap at the shortstop position.
However, because of that age difference between Bowa and DeJesus in the Phillies favor, Green insisted that Owens toss in a young infield prospect. With his intimate knowledge of the Phillies farm system, Green had always liked Ryne Sandberg, and insisted on him as the throw-in player as a possible future shortstop. Owens agreed, and the deal was done.

THE THROW-IN

Most in the Phillies scouting department regarded Sandberg, the club’s 20th round selection in the 1978 MLB Amateur Draft out of a Spokane, Washington high school, as a borderline prospect. He could play second base and shortstop, possibly even some third base.
sandberg1-282x400.jpg
Sandberg was a 20th round draft pick who
most felt would become a reserve infielder.

After a less-than-spectacular first full pro campaign with A-level Spartanburg in 1979, Sandberg broke out at Double-A Reading in the Phillies 1980 championship season. That year he hit .310 with 44 extra-base hits, 79 RBI, 95 runs scored, and 32 stolen bases as a 20-year-old shortstop.

As the Phillies took part in that 1981 split-season, Sandberg was enjoying a solid season with Triple-A Oklahoma City. He hit .293 while swiping another 32 bags, earning a September promotion to the big-leagues.
With the Phillies during that month of September in 1981, Sandberg got into 13 games. Seven of those were as a pinch-runner. He also played in five as a shortstop, and another at second base.
Three of Sandberg’s appearances during that cup-of-coffee, including the final two on October 2nd and 3rd, came against the Cubs at Veteran’s Stadium. He also had played short during a game at Wrigley Field in the second game of a September 27 doubleheader.

THE SHORTSTOPS

On January 27, 1982 the deal was concluded. Bowa and Sandberg were shipped out to the North Side of the Windy City, while DeJesus became the new shortstop in red pinstripes. The rest is, unfortunately for the Phillies, baseball history.
Bowa was a 36-year-old, 12-year
veteran at time of the deal.
DeJesus would play three seasons with the Phillies and help the club to win the 1983 National League pennant. That team would lose the World Series in five games to the Baltimore Orioles. Over those three years, DeJesus slashed just .249/.319/.319 with 153 runs scored and 37 total steals.
Bowa spent most of the next three seasons as the Cubs starting shortstop, slashing .247/.296/.308 with 169 runs scored and 30 stolen bases while helping the team to the 1984 NL East crown. Chicago would release him at age 39 in August of 1985, and he would finish out his career playing for a month with the New York Mets.
Seems like a wash at that point. But of course, that was not the whole story. There was the issue of that prospect tossed into the deal. Sandberg quickly proved to be far more than a throw-in.

THE HALL OF FAMER

During his rookie season of 1982, Sandberg became the Cubs starting third baseman. He hit .271 with 33 doubles, 103 runs scored, and 32 stolen bases, finishing sixth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting.
If the Phillies weren’t already realizing that they had made a grave mistake including him in the trade, Sandberg’s 1983 performance would drive home that point.
In that 1983 campaign, Sandberg scored 94 runs, stole 37 bases, and was honored with the NL Gold Glove at second base. If you thought that his development into a star was tilting the deal way over into the Cubs side at that point, you hadn’t seen anything yet.
The following season he would up his game once again as Sandberg became an NL all-star for the first time. In 1984 he slashed .314/.367/.520 with 19 home runs among 74 extra-base hits, leading all of baseball with 19 triples. He also produced 84 RBI, stole 32 bases, and led the NL with 114 runs scored.
For that performance, Sandberg captured the National League Most Valuable Player award. He also was honored with his second consecutive NL Gold Glove and was awarded the NL Silver Slugger at second base.
Sandberg became an NL MVP and perennial
NL All-Star, Gold Glover, and Silver Slugger
(Photo: Wjmummert)

Over 15 seasons with the Cubs, Sandberg would produce 2,385 hits and score 1,316 runs. He slammed 282 homers, the most by any second baseman in the history of the game at the time of his retirement. He also produced 403 doubles, and 76 triples while swiping 344 bags.

Sandberg won nine consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1983-91, as well as seven Silver Sluggers during that same period. He was an NL All-Star for 10 straight years from 1984-93.

Sandberg finished his career with a .989 fielding percentage, the highest for a second baseman in baseball history.

He produced 15 streaks of 30 or more consecutive errorless games, and at the time of his retirement after the 1997 season, he held the all-time record of 123 consecutive errorless games by a second baseman.

During his third year of eligibility in 2005, Sandberg was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving 76.2% of the vote that year.

As a post-script to this story, Sandberg entered the coaching and managerial ranks following his retirement as a player. Starting as a spring training instructor with the Cubs, he was hired to manage within their minor league system with the goal of becoming the Cubs manager one day.
When that opportunity didn’t come about, Sandberg left to become manager of the Phillies Triple-A affiliates at Lehigh Valley where he became the 2011 Minor League Manager of the Year.
In 2013, Sandberg was back in the big-leagues as the Phillies third base coach. Then in mid-August he was named Manager of the Phillies following the firing of long-time skipper Charlie Manuel. Sandberg would compile a 119-159 record over parts of three seasons before rising the position in early June of 2015.
There have been many trades made during baseball’s “hot stove” months, that late-fall through mid-winter period when teams are positioning their team for the following season, where prospects have been included as supposed “throw-in” players.

Every once in a while a team will hit the jackpot with one of those young players. That was never more the case than with the Phillies-Cubs hot stove trade of Bowa and Sandberg for DeJesus in January 1982.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as Phillies Hot Stove History: The 1982 trade of Ryne Sandberg

Looking back at a key Phillies off-season trade on this date 37 years ago

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Bo Diaz slides home during Game Two of the 1983 World Series 

The Philadelphia Phillies are expected to be big players during this current ‘Hot Stove’ season in Major League Baseball.

Through both free agent signings and trades, if there aren’t a half-dozen interesting players swapped on and off the roster by spring training, fans of the team will be extremely disappointed.
With that in mind, today I’ll begin a regular ‘Phillies Hot Stove History’ series. In it, we’ll take a look back at some of the big free agent signings, trades, and other transactions made by the club on this date in history.
It was on November 20, 1981, 37-years-ago today, that the Phillies finally decided to turn the page at their catching position by swinging a three-team trade.
That deal involving the Cleveland Indians and Saint Louis Cardinals would ultimately have ramifications that reached up to Chicago and out to California as well.
Bob Boone, a future Phillies Wall of Famer, had turned 34 years old just a day earlier. Boone had been the club’s sixth round pick all the way back in the 1969 MLB Amateur Draft out of Stanford.
Boone made his big-league debut in 1972 and became the Phillies starting catcher the following year. For his outstanding play that first season, Boone finished third in the National League Rookie of the Year voting.
He would remain the starter right on through the 1980 World Series-winning campaign, capturing a pair of NL Gold Glove Awards and being named as a National League All-Star three times.
It was a combination of age, decreased production, and a younger player coming up through the system that finally began edging Boone out during the 1981 season.
That younger player was Keith Moreland, the Phillies seventh round pick in the 1975 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of Texas. Moreland first broke into the big-leagues for a cup of coffee in 1978 and 1979.
In the 1980 World Series campaign, Moreland grew to become a key piece of manager Dallas Green‘s bench. He appeared in 62 games, 39 of those as Boone’s catching backup.
The Phillies captured their first-ever World Series championship against the Kansas City Royals that October. During that Fall Classic, Moreland started three of the six games behind the plate.
During the following strike-shortened 1981 season, the 33-year-old Boone caught in 75 games and a 27-year-old Moreland in 50. The writing was on the wall.
Boone would end up being sold to the California Angels on December 6, 1981. Two days later, Moreland was dealt away along with reliever Dickie Noles and pitching prospect Don Larsen to the Chicago Cubs. The Phillies received veteran righty starting pitcher Mike Krukow in return.
It was the trade two weeks earlier to bring in Diaz that allowed the Phillies to make those two moves. Baudilio Jose ‘Bo’ Diaz was born in Venezuela on March 23, 1953, apparently with a baseball in his hand.
At age 14, Diaz played with Venezuela’s Little League national championship team. The team was unable to travel to the United States for the finals due to a July earthquake which devastated the city of Caracas.
Diaz was good enough that he would be signed by the Boston Red Sox at age 17 in December 1970. That began a long, slow climb through the Boston farm system. He finally got a cup of coffee with the Bosox in 1977.
During spring training for the 1978 season, Diaz was included in a big trade between Boston and the Cleveland Indians. That deal was highlighted by the exchange of a pair of pitchers, with Rick Wise headed to Cleveland and future Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley going to Boston.
Diaz would spend the next three seasons as a backup catcher in Cleveland, the first two seasons to Gary Alexander and then one year to Ron Hassey.
During that 1981 work stoppage campaign, the righty-hitting Diaz split the role in an even platoon with the left-handed batting Hassey. Diaz started red-hot, hitting .356 with 25 RBI in June. That start earned him a berth on the American League All-Star team.
Phillies general manager Paul Owens was trying to keep the veteran Phillies, winners of the NL East in four of five seasons between 1976-80 and a playoff team during the strike-shortened split 1981 season, as a contending ball club.
Owens believed that Boone was aging past his prime as a catcher. He knew that Moreland was an attractive piece who could possibly bring back the veteran pitcher in trade that the GM believed the Phillies still needed. And he liked what he saw both at and behind the plate from the 28-year-old Diaz during that 1981 campaign.
The big trade came down on Friday, November 20. In the deal, the Phillies would obtain Diaz from the Indians and send 26-year-old outfielder Lonnie Smith to the Cardinals. The Cards then sent pitchers Larry Sorensen and Silvio Martinezto Cleveland.
As a final part of the deal, the Phillies would send pitching prospect Scott Munninghoff to Cleveland on December 9 as a player to be named later.
Diaz would excel as the Phillies starting catcher for the 1982 season. He played in a career-high 144 games, starting 135 of those. At the plate he hit .288 with 18 homers, 29 doubles, and 85 RBI. Diaz finished second that year only to Montreal Expos all-star Gary Carter as a combined offense and defensive catcher in new computer rankings.
Unfortunately, the Phillies fell short of their team goal. The club held the lead in the NL East as late as September 13, but losses in 11 of their next 16 games left them three games behind Smith and the Cardinals in the final standings.
Compounding the Phillies frustrations, that Cardinals team would go on to win the World Series with Smith playing a key role. He finished as a close runner-up to Dale Murphy in the NL MVP voting and was a National League All-Star after hitting .307 with 51 extra-base hits, 68 steals, and a league-leading 120 runs scored.
Smith had finished third in NL Rookie of the Year voting with the 1980 champion Phillies. But many around the team believed that he was simply a speedy outfielder who would never fully harness his talents.
In the end, they were wrong. Smith would enjoy a 17-year career in Major League Baseball, one that would see him win a third World Series in 1985 with the Kansas City Royals. He produced a career .288/.371/420 slash line with nearly 1,500 career hits 909 runs scored, and 370 stolen bases. He received NL MVP votes as late as 1989 with the Atlanta Braves.
Diaz and the Phillies would gain a measure of revenge during the following 1983 campaign. Dubbed the “Wheeze Kids” due to the age of most of their key players and as a nod to the youthful 1950 NL champion ‘Whiz Kids’, those 1983 Phillies would pull away down the stretch to reclaim the NL East crown.
Diaz caught 136 games that season with 15 homers and 64 RBI. On April 13, slammed one of only 11 “ultimate grand slams” in MLB history. With the Phillies trailing the New York Mets by 9-6 with two outs in the 9th inning and the bases loaded at The Vet, Diaz ripped a walk-off grand slam to win the game.
As the Phillies were pulling away down the stretch, Diaz had yet another memorable game. On September 28 at Wrigley Field he produced a five-hit game that included a pair of home runs as the Phillies romped the host Cubs by 13-6 to clinch the division title.
In Game Four of the NLCS, Diaz delivered two hits as the Phillies romped the Los Angeles Dodgers by 7-2 at Veteran’s Stadium to take the pennant and advance to the World Series.
The Phillies would capture the first game of that Fall Classic against Baltimore only to see the Orioles charge back to win the World Series in five games. Diaz would prove one of the few solid hitters for the team during the series, batting .333 with a pair of multi-hit games.
Diaz would open the 1984 season as the Phillies starting catcher, but it would prove to be a lost season for the 31-year-old in a year that would ultimately see his time in Philadelphia come to an end.
A pair of knee injuries kept him to just 27 games, nearly half of those coming over the season’s first few weeks. In his absence, 27-year-old Ozzie Virgil Jr took over behind the plate and produced 18 homers and 68 RBI.
Virgil would rip 19 home runs the following year and become a 1985 National League All-Star for the first of two times in his career. Diaz would be gone during that 1985 season, dealt to the Cincinnati Reds in early August as part of a mostly nondescript five-player trade.
Diaz’ story and life would ultimately have a tragic ending. On November 23, 1990 – 28 years ago this Friday – he was killed in an accident in Caracas. While adjusting a satellite dish on the roof of his home, the dish fell on him, crushing his head and neck. Diaz was just 37-years-old and left behind a wife and two sons. He was inducted to the Venezuela Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.
So, it was 37 years ago on this very date that the Phillies swung a fascinating trade, one that brought them a new starting catcher who would help lead them to an NL pennant. But that deal also sent away a talented young outfielder who would enjoy a long, championship-winning career.
As a bit of a post-script to this particular trade, Boone would prove to be far from finished. He would enjoy seven full seasons with the Angels as their starting catcher. He would then play two more in Kansas City, the first of those as the Royals starter behind the plate.
Boone would win five more Gold Glove Awards during that time, four of those in a row from 1986-89 during his ages 38-41 campaigns. During the 1983 season when Diaz was helping the Phillies to the NL pennant, Boone was himself an American League All-Star catcher.
Diaz undeniably made contributions to a Phillies pennant winner. But would the franchise have ultimately been better off keeping Smith and Boone instead of making that trade with Cleveland and Saint Louis?
It’s often easy to judge these things with the 20/20 hindsight of history. However, that history can also serve as a warning. It remains one of the oldest but most wise of sayings: those who refuse to learn the lessons of history are destined to repeat them.
These are the deals from the Phillies past that we will examine as we move forward during this ‘Hot Stove’ series. The hope is that as we look back on the nostalgia of the past, the present Phillies management will be making wise moves which end up helping to improve the current and future versions of the team.

Rookies Were Unsung Heroes of Phillies 1980 Champions

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Rookie Marty Bystrom’s perfect September helped win the NL East in 1980

Much of the credit for the Philadelphia Phillies winning the franchise’s first-ever World Series championship back in 1980 has gone to the core of veteran players.
That title would not have been won without those veterans. Stars such as Mike SchmidtLarry BowaGreg LuzinskiBob BooneLarry Christenson and Dick Ruthven came up through the Phillies farm system.
That homegrown core was supplemented during the 1970s by players brought in through astute trades such as Tug McGrawGarry MaddoxManny Trillo, and Bake McBride.
And then, of course, there was the franchise’s first-ever big free agent signing of first baseman Pete Rose prior to the 1979 season.
All of those players, with the exception of Rose, were together and won the NL East Division crown for three consecutive years from 1976-78. However, the team was eliminated in the NLCS each time.

A BIG FREE AGENT AND A NEW MANAGER

Feeling that they just needed a proven winner to lead the way, ownership shelled out the money to sign Rose. The result? The Phillies finished in fourth place in his first season of 1979.
Many have given credit for the Phillies finally getting over the hump and actually winning that World Series in 1980 to the managerial change from the laid-back Danny Ozark to the fiery Dallas Green.
While the addition of Rose and the change to Green were certainly key pieces to the team ultimately winning it all, there is another component that is often overlooked.
In 1980, a handful of young players emerged to play pivotal roles. Without those rookies and young players, the fact is that the great veteran core does not win.
I’m not only talking about winning the Fall Classic, but even the division crown. Without these youngsters, there are no playoffs in Philly in 1980, let alone a world championship.

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT

Lonnie Smith was a 24-year-old outfielder in the 1980 season who had received 17-game cups of coffee with the team in both 1978 and 1979.
But in 1980, Smith appeared in 100 games and was given 331 plate appearances. The speedster hit for a .339 average and produced a .397 on-base percentage. He slashed 14 doubles and four triples, scored 69 runs, and swiped 33 bases.
Keith Moreland turned 26 years old in May of 1980. The catcher had also received the same 1978 and 1979 cups of coffee as Smith, appearing in 15 total games in those seasons.
But in 1980, Moreland was given 171 plate appearances over 62 games. He hit .314 with 29 RBI, and was a legitimate weapon when Green wanted to give veteran Bob Boone a rest.

YOUNG PITCHING ALSO STANDS TALL

Bob Walk was a 23-year-old right-hander who had been strong in the Phillies minor league system over the previous three seasons.
In 1980, Walk went 11-7 and gave the Phillies 27 important starts. Longtime starter Randy Lerch had collapsed with a terrible season, while Christenson missed two and a half months with injuries.
Reliever Kevin Saucier turned 24 years old in May of 1980. He saw one game in 1978, then 29 games in the 1979 season. In 1980, the lefty appeared in 40 games. He went 7-3 with a 3.42 ERA over 50 innings.
Dickie Noles was a righty reliever who was 23 years old that summer. After his own 14-game audition in 1979, Noles became a full bullpen member in that 1980 season. He tossed 81 innings over 48 games, even registering a half-dozen saves.

A PERFECT SEPTEMBER

The final influential kid to step up for those Phillies may have been the one without whom which the playoffs never happen.
Marty Bystrom turned 22 years old at the end of August. The 6’5″ righty had a strong season with AAA Oklahoma City and got his call-up when rosters expanded in September.
In his first appearance, Bystrom came in from the bullpen and set the Los Angeles Dodgers down in order during the eighth inning of a 6-0 Phillies loss at Dodger Stadium.
Three days later he was given a starting opportunity against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium. Bystrom was dominant, firing a complete game shutout.
Green gave him another shot, and another, and another, and another. Bystrom won them all. He went 5-0 that month, allowing just 26 hits over 36 innings with a 1.50 ERA.

WINNING THE WORLD SERIES

Smith, Moreland, Walk, Saucier, Noles, and Bystrom all made the Phillies postseason roster. Bystrom got in thanks to a late injury to starting pitcher Nino Espinosa.
All acquitted themselves well in either the dramatic NLCS victory over the Houston Astros, that historic World Series versus the Kansas City Royals, or both.
The Phillies were indeed a veteran-laden team that finally got over the hump and ended the franchise’s 97-year championship drought in 1980. But they never do it without the pivotal contributions of those youngsters.