As I had predicted, none of the Phillies got any of the top awards this off-season, but many came close. The Cy Young voting was at least interesting; 3 Phillies made the top 5 in voting with Roy Halladay coming in 2nd, Cliff Lee 3rd and Cole Hamels 5th. Not surprisingly, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw took home the award.
Kershaw was very deserving, although Halladay was a close runner-up. But having 3 Phillies in the top 5 is also quite an impressive feat.
Another Phillies pitcher came close to taking home some hardware as well. Vance Worley landed in 3rd place for Rookie of the Year behind two Braves, closer Craig Kimbrel and first baseman Freddie Freeman. I thought Freeman would be the winner, but 2nd place is not too shabby.
And of course, neither is 3rd place. Worley should be proud that on a staff with 4 ace starters, he not only held his own, he also got plenty of attention for a spectacular rookie season.
Also as I predicted, Charlie Manuel was overlooked for Manager of the Year…again. Yes, despite a Major League leading 102 wins, 5 straight division titles and a World Series, Manuel came in 4th place. The D-Backs skipper, Kirk Gibson, took first place.
Even crazier, Joe Maddon of the Rays won for the American league, making it TWO Manager of the Year awards in 4 years. Don’t get me wrong, I like Maddon. He is actually from the Philly area. And certainly, he deserves the honor. But it does seem like a real shame that Manuel cannot get any respect in the National League like Maddon does in the AL. Manuel beat Maddon in the 2008 World Series and has accomplished more overall.
But as is usually the case, Manuel just keeps getting shunned.
In other news, Brian Schneider will be the back-up back-stop once again in 2012. The one-year deal is worth $800,000. There is still no word on a deal for Jimmy Rollins. Stay tuned…
“LIKE” us on Facebook for more updates & photos!
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Despite an early exit from the playoffs, the Phillies 102 regular season wins and stellar individual performances have earned some players much deserved honors.
Earlier this offseason, Placido Polanco was awarded a Gold Glove for his work at third base. Polly also won the award playing second base for the Tigers in 2007 and 2009. He and Darin Erstad are now the only two players in big league history to win a Gold Glove at multiple positions.
MLB.com also handed out awards on Monday. Ryan Howard was named the club’s Player of the Year, while right-hander Roy Halladay was chosen the team’s Pitcher of the Year. And rookie right-hander Vance Worley was voted the Breakout Player of the Year.
Not to be outdone, the Philadelphia chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America put its two cents in as well. Center-fielder Shane Victorino was the winner of the Mike Schmidt Award for Most Valuable Player and left-hander Cliff Lee received the Steve Carlton Award for Most Valuable pitcher.
The big awards come out next week which will include Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year and the Cy Young award. It is expect that many Phillies will be considered for these top honors, but realistically, none of them will win. Charlie Manuel is overlooked every year in the manager category; Worley will probably lose out to Freddie Freeman. As for the Cy Young, both Halladay and Lee will probably get passed over in favor of Clayton Kershaw who had 21 wins and an almost invisible 2.28 ERA.
Of course, anything can happen. But those are my predictions…how about you? Leave your best guess in the comments and we will see who gets it right.
And if anyone missed it, here is my annual Phillies Photo Tribute slideshow. Enjoy!
“LIKE” us on Facebook for more updates & photos!
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Earlier today, the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame announced the Class of 2010. This 7th class for the Hall will be officially inducted during a ceremony which will take place on Thursday, November 11. 2010. These chosen athletes have had exceptional careers in their particular sport, either with a Philadelphia team or having grown up in the Philadelphia area and gone on to an outstand sports career elsewhere.
Here are the inductees:
Several inductees were present at the press conference and spoke with the media. Closer Tug McGraw played 10 years with the Phillies and is best known for recording the final out of the 1980 World Series.
Sadly, McGraw passed away in 2004 from a brain tumor. His son, Mark McGraw, who currently works as an actor, was there to speak on his behalf.
Mark McGraw said, “Well I think you all know how much my Dad loved the city of Philadelphia and especially the fans. And to be honored into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame is an honor for our family, it’s an honor for our Tug McGraw Foundation and Team McGraw which continues on Tug’s legacy and (pause), excuse me, it’s a bit emotional for me, and a very proud moment for Tug if he was here. And we’re very excited to be honored and representing our father and Tug McGraw into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame and we thank them very much.”
Former Philadelphia Eagles receiver, Mike Quick, also spoke at the press conference. Quick played 9 seasons for the Eagles and still lives in the area. He noted that he has been in Philadelphia for 30 years now, which is longer than his time in North Carolina where he grew up. “To me now, this (Philadelphia) is really home,” Quick said, “My kids grew up here, I became a man here and I am very pleased that the Hall of Fame had decided to invite me as one of the inductees.”
Phil Jasner is a writer for the Philadelphia Daily News and currently covers the 76ers. He is to be awarded the “Legacy of Excellence” award and induction into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame for an outstanding career as a sports journalist. Jasner also grew up in the area and graduated from Temple University. Always entertaining, Jasner did not disappoint today saying, “I asked Marcia, my life partner, if she’d still love me when I’m old and miserable. And she said, ‘Of course I do.'”
But the real highlight of the day for me personally was having the opportunity to speak with former Phillie, Dick Allen. Allen played for the Phillies from 1963-1969 and 1975-1976. He earned the NL “Rookie of the Year” award in 1964 and was a 3-time All-Star with the Phillies. His early career in Philadelphia was marred by several personal incidents.
Allen played during a time when racism was still prominent in America and certainly, in baseball. Allen was subjected to racial slurs and taunting by both fans and fellow players. In 1965, he got into a fight with a white teammate, Frank Thomas. Thomas hit Allen in the shoulder with a bat and was released the next day. Fans blamed Allen for the dismissal of Thomas and his problems were only exasperated by his own temper and demeanor, which were often seen as negative.
However, when I spoke with Allen today after the press conference, I saw a kind, gentle human being with a great sense of humor. Allen asked if I was going to take his picture and I told him I would.
He then pinched me on the arm, winked and told me, “You are such a pretty girl, I should be taking your picture.” Ok, so I’ll take flattery wherever I can get it. But that aside, Allen stayed to speak with reporters for an extended time after the press conference and was gracious and forthcoming with everyone he spoke to.
When asked about his difficulties back in the 60’s, Allen said, “Mother sat me down and had a long talk with me,” and went on to say his mother also taught him about the importance of forgiveness. Another question arose about the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Many think Allen should be in the Hall, but may have been snubbed because of his earlier temperament. Allen’s numbers certainly warrant a bid to the Hall. Allen’s career stats include a batting average of .292, a slugging % of .534, and his on-base % was 378.
When asked about a possible bid for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Allen said, “I don’t even know how that works. Maybe politics or something like that. I don’t know. I think everything speaks for itself. Possibly had I been a little kinder to some of the writers or maybe the right persons along the way, I don’t know.” But ultimately, he said has always been at peace with everything. Allen stated, “I played it all and gave it my heart so I am particularly enjoying this,” referring to his Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame induction.
I particularly enjoyed meeting and speaking with Mr. Allen. I would like to thank him for taking the time to talk to me. I would also like to thank all the other attendees and especially the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame for inviting me to the press conference. Congratulations to all the inductees!
For more information on the PSHOF, visit www.phillyhall.org.
Here is the full Photo Album from the press conference.
Photosby Jenn Zambri Photography
Phillies fans were taken by surprise this afternoon as it was announced that Ryan Howard will be with the Phillies through at least 2016 with a contract worth about $125 million dollars. Howard was already on-board through 2011 and here is how the remaining years will pay out: $20 million a year for 2012-2013; $25 million a year for 2014-2016 plus an option for 2017 worth $23 million and a $10 million dollar buyout.
There is a limited no-trade clause attached as well, plus award bonuses. Needless to say, Howard will be laughing all the way to the bank.
Not he isn’t worth the money; Howard leads all major league players in home runs with 222 and RBI’s with 650 since 2005. He also has a National League MVP award under his belt and was named the NL Rookie of the Year in 2005.
What is surprising about the deal is both the timing and Howard’s willingness to commit. It is the end of April and the Phillies are in the middle of a West Coast road trip; so, the timing is weird. Plus, it was almost assumed by most experts that Howard would want to test free-agency, in search of a bigger paycheck. And while the paycheck here is plenty large, it is still nice to see that Howard wants to stay in Philly.
The only possible drawback I see is this: Remember all these years past when the Phillies used Pat Burrell’s large salary and long contract as the excuse for not resigning key players or not going out and getting players to improve the team? Oh yeah, that. While GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is set on winning, let us all hope that the financial commitment does not translate into a boat-load of excuses later.
Imagine when Chase Utley’s contract comes up for renewal in 2013, as an example. Is Howard worth losing Utley, the best overall player and most dedicated member of the team (in my humble opinion, of course)? Nope. But, I promise not to panic until it comes to that ;o)
In the meantime, congratulations to Ryan! Now go hit some more homers….please and thank you :O)
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Before the game tonight, 3 Phillies players received their Gold Glove awards for 2009; Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco. Polly’s award was from his time at 2nd base with the Tigers. The transition to third this year with the Phillies has been no problem, especially where his bat is concerned. Polanco was hitting at an average of .444 coming into tonight’s game; he was also leading the entire league in hits with 20 and tied for 1st in runs with Chase Utley and the Dodgers Matt Kemp.
JA Happ was also honored tonight; as a rookie in 2009, he came in 2nd place for the Rookie of the Year voting. But he did receive the rookie award that is voted on by the players, The Players Choice Award for the 2009 National League Outstanding Rookie.
Fellow starting pitcher, Jamie Moyer, started tonight’s game against the Marlins and got off to a very bad start. He allowed 5 runs in the first inning, including a Ronny Paulino 3-run bomb. Paulino was down in the count 1-2 and nailed the cutter that Moyer threw, which was right in his happy hitting place, down and in.
To his credit, Moyer did settle into the game and went 5 more innings without allowing a run, but the damage had been done. The Phillies are having a lot of issues with their pitching right now as both Moyer and Kyle Kendrick have gotten beaten up in their first 2 starts of the year. Add to that the bullpen disasters of the last few games and things are getting scary.
On the hitting side, the Phils offense had been unstoppable until tonight. They had only 5 hits and scored just one run. Ryan Howard had a big opportunity to bail them out in the 6th inning with 2 outs and the bases loaded, but he grounded out to end the inning.
Raul Ibanez is a real issue too; he is hitting a pathetic .179 right now. Not only is he not hitting, he is causing damage by doing things like hitting into double plays at crucial moments to kill the offensive momentum. Raul had better try something soon; maybe make a sacrifice to the Gods by burning these obviously cursed bats? Frankly, I do not care how he finds his Mojo again, as long as he does find it. And until the curse if lifted, maybe Charlie Manuel should put in Ben Francisco for a while? Just a thought…
Jayson Werth helped the Phillies avoid the shut-out by hitting a homer in the 9th, his first of the year. But Ricky Nolasco did pitch a complete game for the Fish and did the job well. The Phillies lost by a score of 1-5.
The Phillies can still win the series if Cole Hamels keeps his head on straight tomorrow; oh, and finding the strike zone might be good too ;o) Game time is 1:35pm; if you are going, bundle up, it might be chilly. I’ll be the one on the first base side wearing 6 layers and shivering like it is January….I hate cold. So, if I do not turn into an ice cube, I should be back with photo.
Moyer photo by Jenn
What would have been the perfect ending to an outstanding season for rookie pitcher JA Happ went instead to Chris Coghlan of the Marlins. The Rookie of the Year award is voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and this year, it looks like they may have gotten it wrong.
While it is difficult to compare a hitter like Coghlan to a pitcher like Happ, perhaps the deciding factor should be which player had the greatest impact on their team? Happ filled the void left by starters Brett Myers and Jamie Moyer; without him, the Phillies would not have made the playoffs. Coghlan’s resume is impressive, but his team did not go to the post-season.
To review, Happ went 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA, topping all rookies in innings pitched (166), strikeouts (119), complete game shut-outs (2) and 3 total shut-outs. Coghlan hit .321 with 9 homers, 47 RBI, 162 hits and a .390 on-base percentage. Again, difficult to compare, but clearly good pitching beats good hitting as has been demonstrated by years of baseball past.
So while myself and probably a lot of people feel that Happ was snubbed having come in 2nd place, these awards are seldom fair. But the second place finish does not diminish what was an amazing season for Happ, who has more than proved his worth to this team. As a consolation prize, I hereby dub JA Happ the “Fan Rookie of the Year“! Yes, complete with a photo montage:
In other news, the Phillies have removed the following players from the 40-man roster, making them free agents: Eric Bruntlett, Tyler Walker, Paul Hoover, Andy Tracy and John Ennis. Tracy will likely be back next year with the Iron Pigs (AAA) in Allentown as well as Ennis. Hoover may find himself serving as a back-up catcher if not one fills that spot right away. But it does look like Bruntlett and Walker will probably be gone.
Free agent signings will begin on Friday.
Photos by Jenn
Even though there is still a lot of baseball left to play, JA Happ is definitely making a case for Rookie of the Year. Tonight, he took the Phillies through 7 solid innings of 1 run ball. This win gives him a record of 10-2 on the year plus an outstanding ERA of 2.59. Happ is the first rookie of the year to reach 10 wins even after starting his year in the bullpen – amazing. If I could reach through the TV and bear hug him, I totally would. He has made a lot of Phillies fan very, very Happ-Y this year!
Chase Utley added to the happiness in the 6th inning when he finally got the Phillies on the board with a 2-run homer. Until that moment, the offense was shut down by Tim Redding of the Mets in his 5 innings of work; Redding is a very below average pitcher but every time he faces the Phillies, he looks like a Cy Young candidate. Thank goodness Redding is old and can’t get much past 5 innings, because he is a Phillies nightmare.
After the Utley bomb, Raul Ibanez and Pedro Feliz went back to back with doubles to score one more run. The final RBI came off a sac fly from Carlos Ruiz.
Hoping for a small amount of redemption, Brad Lidge was given yet another save opportunity in the 9th inning. He struck out the first batter he faced to notch his 700th career strikeout, and get off to a good start. The next batter grounded out and the final batter struck out for #701. That’s right Phillies fans – Lidge saved a game and did it without a base runner! Is this a sign of things to come? Let us hope so.
We now go from 2 night games with the Mets in which the Phillies are 1-1, to 2 day games starting tomorrow at 1:10pm. Pedro Martinez will face his old team for the first time and face Oliver Perez of the Mets. After Martinez had a rain shortened outing his last time out, this is going to be a big game for him on a number of levels. Good luck to him!
Happ photo by Jenn