• Steve Potter

Double “A” Level


Continuing with a historical review of the current Phillies Minor League teams. Today I look at the Phillies history of the “AA” level affiliation with a primary focus on the present club - Reading and the Eastern League.


As previously noted in 1963 minor league classifications were adjusted to create the outline of the present structure with AAA, AA, A levels being the framework. Before that most teams were classified as A,B,C,D with some leagues designated as AA.


The Phillies did have what was designated as an AA level team in 1940 when Tommy Thomson managed an affiliate in Baltimore ... the Orioles ... that lasted just one season however.


The Tulsa Oilers ( Tulsa, OK ) had the AA designation in the Texas League as a Phillies affiliate for the 1957 and 1958 seasons. The Chattanooga Lookouts ( TN ) of the Southern Association were affiliated as an AA Phillies affiliate from 1960 to 1961 and again from 1963 to 1965 ... Andy Seminick managed that team for the ‘64 and ‘65 seasons. In 1966 the Macon Peaches of the Southern League became the AA affiliate for one season ... Andy Seminick also managed that club.


In 1967 the Phillies began the longest minor league affiliation in their history when the Reading Phillies were born as members of the Eastern League, it’s also the current longest minor league affiliation in baseball ( tied with the Tigers & Lakeland, FL ) ... Frank Lucchesi served as the first manager. The long lasting relationship enters it’s 54th year with the 2020 season.


Prior to affiliating with the Phillies the Reading franchise had a long association with the Cleveland Indians and a brief stint with the Red Sox. If you’ve been to the stadium in Reading you are aware of the great historical display found in the walkway beneath the stands ... it’s worthy of museum status ! I could spend a few hours there just reviewing the tremendous baseball history of the stadium and the teams it’s housed.


Reading Phillies Managers :


Frank Lucchesi - 1967 to 1968

Bob Wellman - 1969, 1974 to 1976

Andy Seminick - 1970

Nolan Campbell - 1971

Jim Bunning - 1972

Cal Emery - 1973

Granny Hamner - 1976

Lee Elia - 1977 to 1978

Jim Snyder - 1979

Ron Clark - 1980 to 1981

John Felske - 1982

Bill Dancy - 1983 to 1984, 1988, 1994 to 1995

Tony Taylor - 1985

George Culver - 1986 to 1987

Mike Hart - 1989

Don McCormack - 1990 to 1993

Bill Robinson - 1996

Al Leboeuf - 1997 to 1998

Gary Varsho - 1999 to 2001

Greg Legg - 2002 to 2004, 2017 to 2018

Steve Swisher - 2005

PJ Forbes - 2006 to 2008

Steve Roadcap - 2009 to 2010

Mark Parent - 2011

Dusty Wathan - 2012 to 2016

Shawn Williams - 2019


..............................................


Some Reading Phillies ( name changed to Fightin Phils in 2013 ) Player History :


1967 - Future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts pitched 11 games at the age of 40 and posted a 2.48 ERA in 80 IP 😳 ... 32 year old Dallas Green also pitched 8 games that season for Reading - 1.77 ERA in 66 IP ... position players on that squad included SS Larry Bowa.


1968 - Larry Bowa and Denny Doyle were the keystone combo


1969 - John Vukovich made his debut at Reading ... Ron Allen - brother of Dick Allen hit 25 home runs and drove in 97 posting a .300 batting average in 490 AB’s ... RHP Ken Reynolds went 16-6 in 27 starts tossing 192 innings 😳 ... that wouldn’t happen today


1970 - 19 year old Greg Luzinski hit 33 home runs with 120 RBIs while posting a .320 batting average in 471 AB’s ... his OPS was 1.048 ... Bob Boone was also on the club


1971 - 21 year old Mike Schmidt played in 74 games hitting .211 in 237 AB’s - he would make his major league debut the following season ... another 21 year old, Phoenixvlle, PA native Andre Thornton hit 26 homers that season for the club - Andre later starred for the Cleveland Indians


1972 - Pitcher Dave Downs went 15-7 in 26 starts with a 2.41 ERA


1973 - Outfielder Jerry Martin hit .300 in 460 AB’s with 23 doubles, 5 triples, 17 home runs and 86 RBIs


1974 - 20 year old LHP Tommy Underwood went 14-5 in 23 starts with a 2.51 ERA in 165 IP


1975 - Two lefty 20 year old pitchers you might have heard of had big years - Willie Hernandez went 8-2 in 13 games with a 2.91 ERA ( 91 IP ) and Randy Lerch posted a 16-6 record with a 2.69 ERA in 177 IP


1976 - Warren Brusstar posted a 2.71 ERA in 199 IP 😳 while Jim Wright went 13-5 in 20 starts ( 147 IP ) with a 2.39 ERA


1977 - 23 year old catcher Keith Moreland hit .329 in 401 AB’s with 8 home runs and 55 RBIs


1978 - 21 year old Dickie Noles won 12 games in 27 appearances ( 26 starts ) tossing 159 innings ... another of my favorites - 19 year old Carlos Arroyo went 11-4 in 20 starts - he threw 126 innings ... Carlos is now a roving pitching coach in the Phillies minor league system and Dickie is the Phillies Employee Assistance Professional


1979 - Bob Walk went 12-7 in 24 starts posting a 2.24 ERA in 185 IP


1980 - 20 year old Ryne Sandberg hit .310 in 490 AB’s with 21 doubles, 12 triples and 11 home runs ... he also stole 32 bases - I think you know how he turned out 😂 ... 19 year old Mark Davis went 19-9 with a 2.47 ERA in 28 starts ( 193 IP) ... 20 year old George Bell played in 22 games hitting .309 in 55 AB’s - wonder if they knew then that that club had a future Hall of Famer, a Cy Young Award winner and an AL MVP winner on the team ... 🤔🥴


1981 - Julio Franco made his Reading debut - had a great season hitting .301 in 530 AB’s with 17 doubles, 3 triples and 8 home runs ... also had 74 RBIs and 27 stolen bases - he was 22 years old


1982 - 21 year old Kevin Gross started 24 games and made 26 appearances accumulating 151 innings - he was 10-15 with a 4.23 ERA


1983 - 23 year old Greg Legg hit .306 in 284 AB’s making his Reading debut ... another fella ya may of heard of ... 21 year old Darren Daulton hit 19 home runs and drove in 83 runs playing in 113 games


1984 - Keith Hughes - a 20 year old outfielder played in 70 games - I was one of two pitchers chosen to stay after the initial drills to pitch against Keith during a tryout camp held in Oxford, PA in 1982 ... he was signed the day after that camp ... another of my “almost” claims to fame 🤪🤓 ... BTW Keith went on to play in the major leagues with the Phillies, Yankees, Orioles, Mets and Reds


1985 - 22 year old Marvin Freeman started 11 games ... another 22 year old, Rich Gaynor went 9-4 with a 2.57 ERA in 18 starts ( 126 IP )


1986 - 21 year old Ricky Jordan was the regular first baseman - he hit .274 in 478 AB’s


1987 - Jordan returned to Reading and had a big year - 16 HR, 95 RBIs hitting .318 in 475 AB’s with 28 doubles - he debuted in the big leagues the next season


1988 - Chuck Malone went 12-7 in 22 games posting a 3.77 ERA


1989 - Mickey Morandini played his only season at Reading hitting .351 in 188 AB’s - he also had 12 doubles ... the 23 year old second baseman played at three levels that summer ( also was with Spartanburg & Clearwater ) and hit .338 overall in 482 AB’s with 35 doubles and 26 stolen bases - he made his major league debut the following season


1990 - 22 year old Kim Batiste hit .276 in 486 AB’s with 14 doubles, 4 triples and 6 home runs


1991 - Toby Borland ( 22 yrs old ) posted 24 saves and a 2.70 ERA in 59 games ( 76 2/3 IP)


1992 - 20 year old Mike Lieberthal hit .285 in 86 games ( 309 AB’s) with 16 doubles


1993 - 23 year old Ricky Bottalico posted 20 saves and a 2.25 ERA in 49 games ( 72 IP) ... 23 year old first baseman Gene Schall hit .326 in 82 games ( 285 AB’s ) with 15 home runs and 60 RBIs


1994 - Bottalico returned to Reading and appeared in 38 games, finished 33 posting 22 saves. He recorded a 2.53 ERA in 42 2/3 IP


1995 - 20 year old Scott Rolen played in 20 games accumulating 86 AB’s and hitting .289 ... Pitcher Mike Grace went 13-6 with a 3.54 ERA in 147 1/3 IP


1996 - Scott Rolen returned to play in 61 games and hit .361 in 230 AB’s with 9 home runs and 42 RBIs, he was promoted to AAA Scranton and played 45 games there before making his major league debut later that season ... Marlon Anderson ( 22 yrs old ) and Wendell Magee ( 23 yrs old ) each played over 70 games for Reading in the ‘96 season


1997 - Marlon Anderson returned to play 137 games and posted a .266 average in 553 AB’s with 18 doubles, 6 triples, 10 home runs and 62 RBIs - he also stole 27 bases - Marlon would be in the show the following year as a late season call up


1998 - 21 year old Randy Wolf made 4 starts for Reading and recorded a 1.44 ERA in 25 IP, he was promptly promoted to AAA and was in the major leagues the following season appearing in 22 games with the Phillies 😳


1999 - Two more fellas ya may have heard of made their Reading debuts 🤓 ... 22 year old Pat Burrell hit .333 in 117 games ( 417 AB’s ) with 28 doubles, 6 triples, 28 home runs and 90 RBIs ... 20 year old Jimmy Rollins hit .273 in 133 games ( 532 AB’s ) with 21 doubles, 8 triples, 11 home runs and 56 RBIs and stole 24 bases ... they turned out to be pretty good 😁


2000 - 30 year old Pete Rose Jr played in 109 games ( 356 AB’s ) as a corner infielder and left fielder ... Jason Michaels ( 24 years old ) and Johny Estrada ( 24 years old ) both posted .295 batting averages as Estrada played in 95 games while Michaels appeared in 113.


2001 - 23 year old outfielder Marlon Byrd played in 137 games and hit .316 in 510 AB’s and smashed 28 home runs with 89 RBIs while stealing 32 bases. 20 year old Brett Myers went 13-4 in 26 games ( 23 starts ) amassing 156 IP. 22 year old Carlos Silva went 15-8 in 180 IP ( 28 starts)


2002 - 21 year old Ryan Madson went 16-4 in 26 starts ( 171 1/3 IP ) with a 3.20 ERA ... 24 year old third baseman Travis Chapman hit .301 in 136 games ( 478 AB’s ) with 35 doubles, 15 home runs and 76 RBIs - Chapman later played in the show for the Tigers


2003 - 24 year old catcher Carlos Ruiz played in 52 games and hit .266 in 169 AB’s


2004 - 24 year old first baseman Ryan Howard had a monster year hitting 37 home runs and posting 102 RBIs in 102 games ( 374 AB’s ), his batting average was .297 ... Carlos Ruiz returned to Reading and played 101 games hitting .284 in 349 AB’s with 17 home runs and 50 RBIs


2005 - 21 year old Cole Hamels started 3 games and tossed 19 innings posting a 2.37 ERA - he would be in the show the next season ... fellow lefty JA Happ made his initial Reading appearance going 6 innings in one start allowing 1 run on 3 hits. 22 year old outfielder Michael Bourn stole 38 bases in 135 games played


2006 - Michael Bourn returned to play in 80 games and hit .274 in 318 AB’s, he also stole 30 bases ... 23 year old JA Happ also returned and made 12 starts ( 74 2/3 IP ) posting a 2.65 ERA ... 20 year old lefty Gio Gonzalez made 27 starts and tossed 154 2/3 innings


2007 - 20 year old Carlos Carrasco made 13 starts and appeared in 14 games amassing 70 1/3 innings while posting a 6-4 record ... 22 year old Kyle Kendrick made his Reading debut and started 12 games and 33 year old catcher Dusty Wathan appeared in 5 games and went 2 for 5 at the dish ... after appearing in another 75 games with then AAA Phillies affiliate Ottawa Dusty retired as a player after the ‘07 season ... wonder where he’s at now 😂⚾️ ... best third base coach in MLB - that’s where 👍


2008 - Carrasco returned to Reading and recorded a 4.32 ERA in 20 games ( 114 2/3 IP ) ... two 22 year olds ( Lou Marson & Greg Golson ) became lineup regulars - Marson hit .314 in 322 AB’s while Golson hit .282 in 426 AB’s ... 23 year old Jason Donald hit .307 in 362 AB’s


2009 - 19 year old Freddy Galvis made his Reading debut appearing in 16 games ... 21 year old Domonic Brown did as well playing in 37 games ... LHP Joe Savery went 12-4 in 21 appearances ( 112 1/3 IP )


2010 - Both Brown and Galvis returned to Reading - Freddy hit .233 in 502 AB’s with 16 doubles, 4 triples, 5 home runs and stole 15 bags ... Brown hit .318 in 236 AB’s with 15 home runs and 47 RBIs, he earned a promotion to AAA and also made his big league debut later that season


2011 - Freddy Galvis played another season at Reading - 104 games - 422 AB’s - 22 doubles, 4 triples, 8 home runs with 19 SB’s - a solid .273 batting average - the slick fielder was promoted to AAA that summer playing in 33 games for Lehigh Valley - he was in the big leagues to start 2012 at 22 years of age


2012 - 25 year old Darin Ruf had a huge year hitting 38 home runs and driving in 104, he also had 38 doubles and posted a .317 batting average with a slugging percentage of .620 in 583 plate appearances 😳 ... two 22 year old infielders also had fine seasons - Cesar Hernandez hit .304 in 411 AB’s and Cody Asche hit .300 in 263 AB’s


2013 - 20 year old Maikel Franco played 69 games and posted a .339 batting average in 277 AB’s with 15 home runs and 51 RBIs ... he had an OPS of .926


2014 - 31 year old Jake Fox hit 22 home runs and drove in 70 while posting a .308 batting average in 286 AB’s


2015 - 25 year old Brock Stassi had an Eastern League MVP year hitting .300 in 466 AB’s with 15 home runs and 90 RBIs, he also stroked 32 doubles ... Andrew Knapp hit .360 in 214 AB’s, Roman Quinn .306 in 232 AB’s ... Aaron Altherr, JP Crawford and Angelo Mora also had solid years ... 21 year old Zach Eflin made 23 starts and recorded a 3.69 ERA in 131 2/3 IP ... Nick Pivetta made 7 starts after being acquired from the Nationals in a trade for RHP Jonathan Papelbon. The team posted an 80-61 record


2016 - The year of the Bash Brothers as 22 year old Dylan Cozens hit 40 home runs with 125 RBIs - he also had 38 doubles ... Rhys Hoskins hit 38 home runs and drove in 116, he had 26 doubles ... Jake Fox hit 23 home runs, Jorge Alfaro had 15 and Andrew Pullin 10 ... the team hit 185 round trippers that season 💪 ... 23 year old Nick Pivetta went 11-6 in 22 starts posting a 3.41 ERA in 124 IP


2017 - Scott Kingery hit .313 in 69 games ( 278 AB’s ) with 18 doubles, 18 home runs and 44 RBIs - he was promoted to AAA Lehigh Valley that season and made his big league debut the following year ... 23 year old Andrew Pullin hit .308 in 266 AB’s while 21 year old Carlos Tocci hit .307 in 430 AB’s


2018 - 22 year old Adam Haseley hit .316 in 136 AB’s after being promoted during the season from Clearwater ... Austin Listi and Darick Hall also earned in season promotions from Clearwater and played 65 and 80 games respectively at Reading. 22 year old Deivy Grullon led the team with 21 home runs. 22 year old LHP Ranger Suarez also earned an in season promotion from Clearwater and made 12 starts at Reading.


2019 - Adam Haseley started the season at Reading and ended it in the major leagues ... 23 year old Darick Hall led the team in HR’s (20), RBIs ( 67 ) and doubles ( 38 ) ... two 21 year old outfielders ( Mickey Moniak and Josh Stephen ) had solid first seasons at the AA level ... 22 year old Luke Williams had a strong year as a versatility player appearing in games at seven positions ... the pitching staff was outstanding - particularly the bullpen - Connor Brogdon, Damon Jones and Kyle Dohy all earned promotions from Reading to Lehigh Valley during the season. The team posted an 80-59 record, they were 2nd half Division Champions.


...............................


Championship Teams :


1968 - 81-59 - defeated Pittsfield 3 games to 1 - Frank Lucchesi - MGR


1973 - 76-62 - defeated Pittsfield 3 games to 1 - Cal Emery - MGR


1995 - 73-69 - defeated New Haven 3 games to 2


2001 - 77-65 - declared co-champions due to stoppage of league play - Gary Varsho - MGR


Championship Finalists :


1975 - 84-53 - lost to Bristol 3 games to 0 - Bob Wellman - MGR


1978 - 79-57 - lost to Bristol 2 games to 0 - Lee Elia - MGR


1986 - 77-59 - lost to Vermont 3 games to 2 - George Culver - MGR


2000 - 85-57 - lost to New Haven 3 games to 1 - Gary Varsho - MGR


2015 - 80-61 - lost to Bowie 3 games to 2 - Dusty Wathan - MGR


....................................


Some “Did Ya Know” stuff 🧐 :


The Eastern League was founded in 1923 😮


......................................


“Triple Crown of Pitching Leaders “ - led the league in ERA, Wins & Strikeouts - only 5 have done it in the history of the league - one was Juan Marichal in 1959


Reading’s Mark Davis did it in 1980 - ERA ( 2.47 ) - Wins ( 19 ) - Strikeouts ( 185 ) - he tossed 193 innings 😳 - quite a year ! Davis would later win the National League Cy Young Award in 1989 with the San Diego Padres


......................................


44 Eastern League Alumni have been enshrined into Baseball’s National Hall of Fame - 8 played for or have worked for the Phillies in the Big Leagues ( Richie Ashburn, Jim Bunning, Pat Gillick, Pedro Martinez, Robin Roberts, Ryne Sandberg, Mike Schmidt and Jim Thome )


......................................


Reading Phillies who won the Eastern League MVP Award :


Greg Luzinski - 1970

Mark Davis - 1980

Jeff Stone - 1983

Marlon Byrd - 2001

Ryan Howard - 2004

Darin Ruf - 2012

Brock Stassi - 2015

Dylan Cozens - 2016


Three former Phillies : Wes Chamberlain ( 1989 ), Matt Stairs (1991 ) and Andy Tracy ( 1999 ) won the EL MVP as members of the Harrisburg Senators franchise - know ya know 🤪


....................................


Reading Phillies honored as EL Pitcher of the Year ( Award began in 1995 )


Ryan Madson - 2002


Note : Jean Mar Gomez won the award in 2009 pitching for Akron


................................


Reading Phillies honored as EL Rookie of the Year :


Pat Burrell - 1999

Marlon Byrd - 2001

Ryan Howard - 2004

Chris Roberson - 2005

Michael Taylor - 2009

Darin Ruf - 2012

Rhys Hoskins - 2016


......................................


Reading EL Manager’s of the Year Award winners :


Bob Wellman - 1975

Lee Elia - 1978

Bill Dancy - 1983 & 1995

Al LeBeouf - 1997

Gary Varsho - 2000

Dusty Wathan - 2015 & 2016


.........................................


Reading Phillies who led the league in Batting Average :


Bob Kelly - 1969 - .323

Greg Luzinski - 1970 - .325

Jim Olander - 1986 - .325

Randy Ruiz - 2005 - .349

Tagg Bozied - 2010 - .315


.....................................


Reading Phillies who led the league in Home Runs :


Willie Darkis - 1983 - 31

Fred McNair - 1995 - 23

Jeff Inglin - 2003 - 24

Darin Ruf - 2012 - 38

Jim Murphy - 2013 - 23

Dylan Cozens - 2016 - 40


..........................................


Reading Phillies who led the league in Total Bases :


Greg Luzinski - 1970 - 287

David Doster - 1995 - 254

Darin Ruf - 2012 - 303

Dylan Cozen - 2016 - 308

Darrick Hall - 2019 - 207


.....................................


Reading Phillies Pitchers who led the league in ERA :


Bob Terlecki - 1971 - 2.30

Bob Walk - 1979 - 2.24

Mark Davis - 1980 - 2.47

Jay Baller - 1982 - 2.68

Gavin Floyd - 2004 - 2.57


...................................


Reading Phillies Pitchers who led the league in K’s :


Ken Reynolds - 1969 - 180

Roy Thomas - 1974 - 168

Bob Walk - 1970 - 135

Mark Davis - 1980 - 185

Brandon Duckworth - 2000 - 178

Austin Hyatt - 2011 - 171


....................................


Till tomorrow - Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

 
  • Facebook

©2020 by Phillies - A Fan’s View. Proudly created with Wix.com