3/12/2014 1:40 P.M. ET
First spring Phillies Alumni Day is a big hit
By Larry Shenk / Special to MLB.com
The first Alumni Day in Spring Training went well on March 8, except for Larry Andersen's golf cart. Anderson was driving a golf cart to the parking lot and carting fans to the main gate at Bright House Field. He made one trip and then the gear shift jammed.
"It only worked in reverse," laughed Anderson. "I'm not a good driver going backwards, so we had to call it a day."
The line for autographs was a long one, but almost everyone got through by extending the session for 65 minutes. Dick Allen, Greg Luzinski, Shane Rawley, Jack Baldschun, Kent Tekulve, Billy DeMars and Sixto Lezcano were behind the tables.
John Denny, Gary Matthews, Tomas Perez and Dick Noles greeted fans at the four gates, distributing an alumni newsletter. Inside the Diamond Outfitters cashier area, Darren Daulton and Dave Cash served as bag stuffers. Cash also announced the starting lineups before 35 alumni were introduced on the field.
"The Bull" teamed with Phillie Phanatic and the hot dog shooter.
They came from all parts of the country to celebrate the life of the late Jim Fregosi on March 5 at Bright House Field -- former players, former teammates and fellow scouts.
Mr. Fregosi's widow, five children and four grandchildren were on hand for a pregame tribute and a postgame, invitation-only party for the baseball community. That party, held under a large tent on the half-field, totaled more than 300 participants.
Among Mr. Fregosi's teammates were Buck Rodgers, Bobby Knoop, Clyde Wright and Lee Thomas. Nearly 40 scouts also came to Clearwater, Fla., and five general managers attended the party.
Phillies Alumni included Daulton, Tekulve, John Kruk, Randy Ready, Milt Thompson, Cash, Robert Person, Lee Elia, Mike LaValliere, Don Robinson, Dave Hollins, Darold Knowles, John Morris, Dave LaPoint and Luzinski. Ready traveled in from California.
Infielder Alex (Al) Monchak is the oldest of eight nonagenarian Phillies Alumni. He turned 97 on March 5. Among big leaguers, only catcher Mike Sandlock (98) and pitcher Connie Marrero (102) are older.
Monchak's big league career as a player was a short one, as he played 19 games (.143) with the Phillies in 1940. During World War II, he served in the army for three years, 1943-45. While his playing career was short, he coached in the Majors for 17 seasons with the White Sox, A's, Pirates and Braves. He earned a World Series ring with the Pirates in 1979.
Right-hander Lou Lucier is the second-oldest former Phillies player (96 on March 23). He pitched for the club from 1944-45.
Belated congratulations to Rice University baseball coach Wayne Graham, who posted his 1,000th win on Valentine's Day.
Graham, 77, was an infielder originally signed by the Phillies in 1957. He played briefly in 1963, was traded to the Mets in a deal for Frank Thomas and then came back to the Phillies organization in a deal involving Dick Stuart going to New York. His career included part of one season for both the Phillies and Mets and 11 years in the Minors.
Brad Lidge spent eight days as a guest instructor with the Phillies. He's studying online at the University of Leicester for his Master's Degree in Roman archaeology. … Ron Stone's son, Jon, and his musical group American Young had their second No. 1 hit, "Woman Like You," by Lee Brice. … Brandon Duckworth is now scouting for the New York Yankees . . . Tekulve and LaValliere were guest instructors in the Pirates' camp. … Don Robinson is a coach at a Bradenton (Fla.) High School . … Camp visitors have included So Taguchi, Pedro Feliz and Chris Coste.
Did you know?
The Phillies have been training in Clearwater, Fla., since 1947, when the Cleveland Indians left for Arizona. Lunch for players consisted of one sandwich and one small milk in 1947. Now, a chef from Lenny's Restaurant serves breakfast in the Bright House Field clubhouse lunchroom every morning.
Larry Shenk is the vice president of alumni relations for the Phillies. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.