Friday, December 11, 2015

1971 Philadelphia Phillies (6th): 67-95, .414, 30GB

The Phillies were smack dab in the middle of a 5 year period that would see them finish near or at the bottom of the NL East.  By 1971 most of the players who helped put the franchise in contention during the mid 60's were either gone or in the process of transitioning out.  The far system was starting to produce the pieces that would eventually lead to a nice championship run during the middle to latter part of the decade.  At this point the Phillies had a dreadful pitching staff and an offense that was close to being the worst in the NL.  Only two regulars managed double digit home runs:  Derron Johnson (34) & Willie Montanez (30), with the latter being the NL ROY runner up.  With a .233 team batting average it's no shock that the Phightin's didn't have all that much Phight in them.  On the hill Rick Wise worked his tail off tossing what today would be an incredible 272 innings.  He could only manage a 17-14, 2.88 record, because of the poor run support that his offense afforded him.  The highlight of Wise's career and the Phillies season came on June 23rd when he no hit the Big Red Machine and hit 2 homers.  With the anemic Phillie offense Wise needed to carry both the pitching and offensive load.  He had another 2 homer game later in the season.  Besides Wise the rotation had a pair of 14 game losers (Chris Short and Barry Lersch).  Both would probably have been .500 pitchers on a decent team, but a 3.85 ERA was not going to win many games with this squad.  The pen was underrated.  With no true closer, and not many save opportunities the Phils relied on two workhorses:  Bill Champion (108 IP) and Woodie Fryman (149 IP).  Joe Hoerner (4-5, 1.97, 9 sv) was impressive, but more than likely un-noticed due to the ineptitude going on around him.

In total 12 cards were created to finish off the team set.  Most of the photos were provided by Jeff D and via Google and ebay searches.

Known mainly for his role as a key utility player on the 1969 Amazin' Mets, Pfeil was traded to the Phillies in 1970 and spent that full season in the minors.  In his 70 AB's for the '71 Phils he hit .271 and played at least 1 inning at every position in the field, except pitcher.  His career highlight was on July 27th when he caught the first game of a twin bill and threw a runner out trying to steal second and recorded his first major league homer.  After the season he was dealt to Milwaukee and then to Boston.  He played one more year in the minors and hit .272, but decided to hang it up and go into business.
Brandon, best known as a 1967 Impossible Dream Boston Red Sox, arrived in Philly in 1971 and had 3 pretty good years in the pen before hanging it up to go into the insurance business.  Brandon was an innings eater out of the pen this season.
In 28 games "the bull" hit .300 with 3 homers and 15 RBI's.  His raw power and his poor defensive skills were apparent to all who knew that he would be a mainstay in the Phillie lineup for the rest of the decade.  The only question mark was, "where would he play in the field ?"
Lis was one of those no hit / average glove outfielders that the Phillies seemed to have corned the market on during the early 70's.  I find it amazing that he was able to forge an 8 year career hitting just .233 with 32 career homers while playing traditional power positions on the field (corner OF / 1B).  Lis hit over 30 home runs in the minors 4 times, so the MLB folks just kept hoping he'd make it to the next level, which he never did.  He's one of may guys who are called you "classic AAAA or 4A player".
"Vuke" was a beloved coach and backup with the Phillie organization for most of his career.  Amazingly he was the 1971 team's starting third baseman, considering the fact that he hit just .166 in over 200 AB's.  He was an excellent defender, but his lifetime .161 average more than indicates that he was not an accomplished bat.  Vuke bounced around baseball and bounced up and down between the bigs and the minors, then settled in to a role as Mike Schmidt's "caddy", before retiring and becoming a beloved coach.
The Phillies gave Reynolds a key spot in the rotation as a 24 year old rookie, which he did not make the most of.  Going 5-9 with a 4.49 ERA in 25 starts, Reynolds was lucky to be invited back the following season where he lost his first 12 decisions out of the gate and wound up going 2-15, 4.26.  A few cups of coffee with Milwaukee, St. Louis and San Diego ended after the 1976 season when the 29 year old journeyman was relegated to Triple A for the balance of his career.

Muniz' entire major league career encompassed the 5 games that he relieved for the 1971 Phils.  Muniz went 0-1, 6.97 over a 10 inning stretch, which impressed no one, which ultimately led to his release after a sub par minor league season in 1972 for Eugen of the PCL.

20 year old Mike Anderson began his major league career with the Phightin's in 1971.  In 26 games he would hit .247 with 2 homers and just 5 RBI's.  Not a big power guy he would carve out a nice career as a 4th outfielder for 9 years.  His best season would be 1976 when he hit .291 for a poor Cardinal team.  In 1979 he returned to Philly to resume his role as a backup outfielder.  He hit just .231 and was sent down to double A the following year, thus missing the Phillies championship run.  After a stint in the Mexican league he gave Triple A one more shot in '81 and hit .193 and was given his release.
Koegel was drafted in the fourth round of the 1965 Major League Baseball Draft by the Kansas City Athletics. He remained in the organization through its move to Oakland, California before being traded along with Bob Meyer to the Seattle Pilots for Fred Talbot in 1969. Koegel again remained in an organization through a move, this time when the Pilots moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to become the Milwaukee Brewers. During his time with the Brewers, Koegel played at the Major League level with the team in 1970 and in 1971 before being traded that year along with Ray Peters to the Philadelphia Phillies for Johnny Briggs. Koegel played at the Major League level with the Phillies that year, as well as the following year. In 1973, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Chris Zachary, but never played a Major League game with the organization. (furnished by wikipedia)

Freed, the "patron saint" of the AAAA player hit just .221 with only 6 homers as the Phillies full time right fielder.  On the triple A level this man was a beast.  If you'd like to read an article I wrote about him a few years back when ARAIG played the 1977 MLB season, click here.  Unfortunately I could not find a photo of him with a Phillies cap on, so I used this photo which came from regional supplemental card set.
Twitchell was an All-Star in 1973 for the last place Phillies when he had a 2.50 ERA, good for 3rd in the league. In the All-Star game, he pitched one scoreless inning. Twitchell was also noted for giving up the home run that got Hank Aaron into 2nd place all-time (649). He attended Wilson High School in Portland, Oregon, the same high school as Dale Murphy. Twitchell was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

His career record was 48–65 in 282 games (133 starts). He had a 3.98 ERA with 1063 innings pitched.  (wikipedia)

In 1971 he went 1-0 with no earned runs in 6 games as a rookie.
Known throughout his career as a slick fielding firstbaseman, Montanez was the Phils starting centerfielder in 1971.  Batting .255 with 30 homers Willie finished second in ROY voting, but never again achieved such lofty numbers.  Know also as a "hot dog" Montanez consistently moved around during a 14 year career that never saw any post season action.  An interesting footnote:  Montanez was a last minute replacement player in the infamous "Curt Flood" trade.  When Flood refused to report to the Phillies the Cardinals had to send Montanez to the city of Brotherly love to complete the deal.

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