Friday, March 09, 2007

Phillies Phlashback Phridays: Vuk

There's nothing better than watching somebody go about their business with a fire in their belly and intensity in their heart. John Vukovich lived baseball in that manner, as you could see and feel the determination within the man (just like his childhood buddy Larry Bowa). Yesterday, the Phillies and MLB lost Vuk after a battle with a brain tumor/cancer at the age of 59. I grew up with Vuk in the Phils organization and it's strange to think of him no longer there. He was a member of the World Series Champions in 1980 and he was a coach for the NL pennant winning team of '93. The man saw time at Connie Mack Stadium, the Vet, and Citizens Bank Park...31 years of service altogether.

John Vukovich was drafted in the 1st round (10th pick overall) by the Phillies in 1966. He never amounted to much of a batter in the majors, compiling a lifetime .161 batting average in only 559 at bats during his 10 year career while playing all four infield positions. In all honesty, he was atrocious at the plate, but to stick around for 10 seasons he must have had positive attributes that teams wanted on their roster and in their clubhouse. From all accounts, Vuk was a leader and a gritty hard-nosed player. He was the guy who kept others focused and encouraged them to become better. He started with the Phils in 1970 and ended with them in 1981, playing for Milwaukee and Cincinnati in between. His true measure wasn't as a player, but as a coach where he made his greatest impact for the Phillies. The Phillies will wear a black patch on their uniforms this season with "Vuk" inscribed on it as a testament and tribute for the gratitude the organization owes this fine man.



Farewell Vuk, say "Hi" to Whitey for me.

~Carson

24 comments:

Lake Fred said...

It's so sad. Carson, nicely written eulogy. Thanks for mentioning it on Beerleaguer.

furiousBall said...

Well said amigo. RIP Vuk.

McD said...

RIP Vuke. You were a true Phillies legend.

GM-Carson said...

Growing up, Vukovich was always associated with the Phils in my brain, along with Kalas, Whitey, and Schmidt. I will always have fond memories of those guys.

GM-Carson said...

Rumor- Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Sox GM Kenny Williams has been in talks with Pat Gillick regarding Aaron Rowand. This is not the first time such a possibility has surfaced. Southpaw Boone Logan may be among the relievers going to Philadelphia.

Even after the Freddy Garcia trade, a Philadelphia Inquirer article mentioned that Rowand remained a favorite of White Sox management. If they can't trade for him, there's a chance they sign him as a free agent after the season. Center field and left field are definitely holes for Chicago this season, but I don't expect the Sox to rely on Erstad/Sweeney/Anderson/Podsednik all year long.

Given that a Rowand for Scott Linebrink trade was seriously under consideration, I wonder if the Sox would have to surrender a closing-worthy reliever like Mike MacDougal to seal the deal.

GM-Carson said...

Buster Olney reports that reliever Matt Thorton could also be included in the deal. Sounds horrible for the Phils. Boone Logan is a nobody, Thorton is ok, and MacDougal is an injury risk. Then the Phils have to trade Lieber for an outfielder too.

michael said...

they're saying it because i guess it would go along with the whole leiber for rios trade.

chuckm said...

RIP Mr Vukovich. I just hope his suffering wasnt prolonged. Its a bit hard for me to judge third-base coaches performance, but I do remember it being a rarae occurance when a Phillies baserunner was thrown out at the plate by a mile. In hindsight, he probably should have been hired as manager in 2001 instead of Bowa being that as much of a hard-ass as Vuk was, he was fair, always aired any issues with players face-to-face and got the respect that Bowa never got.

The Omnipotent Q said...

My deepest sympathies to all Phillies fans out there over the passing of John Vukovich. My father worked for the Phillies in spring training and told me what a nice man he was to him. It's also a shame he never got the chance to manage in the majors full-time.

May God bless him and bring comfort to his family and friends.

GM-Carson said...

Hamels is getting lit up by the BoSox.

Helms went deep for his 2nd of the spring.

GM-Carson said...

Braves signed Mark Redman to a minor league contract to fill the void in their rotation caused by the injury to Mike Hampton.

The Phillies are getting torched 10-3...ugly! Our featured left-hander in the bullpen, Matt Smith, got touched up in his 2/3 of an inning worked. Our bullpen is very questionable.

michael said...

Bisenius has been the only bright spot all game 2 IP 1 hit, no runs, 3 SO. Hamels and especially Smith got their asses handed to them today, yuk.

GM-Carson said...

Besides Helms and Barajas, the Phils offense was pretty silent against some no-name Boston pitchers.

I'm disliking what I'm seeing from some of our bullpen candidates (Madson, Geary, Smith, Warden, Simon). Hopefully a decent package for Lieber comes our way.

Skeeter said...

our bullpen is making me cry

das411 said...

Farewell Vuke, it won't feel quite like a Phillies game without you around.

Does anybody know if he is already on that Phillies Wall of Fame out in CF?

BloodStripes said...

Good piece GM. I hope this years Phils will be inspired by wearing the patch in Vuk's honor. RIP Vuk!

GM-Carson said...

I do not believe that Vuk is on the Phils wall-of-fame in CF at the Cit. I think Vuk deserves a statue. 31 years of loyalty to the organization is huge.

GM-Carson said...

The poll over at Phillies.com asks "From the candidates in camp, who should be the Phillies' setup man?" Matt Smith has gotten 9% of the vote, followed by Geary at 20%, Alfonseca at 31%, and Madson at 40%.

Smith is still a rookie and may not even stick in the 'pen for the entire season, he should get no votes. Alfonseca has the most experience and if healthy should be the guy along with Geary who proved last season he's decent. The leading vote getter, Madson, was shitty last season...no way I'm trusting him in the 8th.

Corey said...

madson sucks. and that's all i have to say about that...

michael said...

vuk isn;t on the wall of fame. you can vote for him to be on it this year at phillies.com

TrekMedic251 said...

How sad. Beautiful eulogy. First Sunday home game, there won't be a dry eye in the place.

I went to the MLB shop page and had this shirt made up for my blog:

http://www.weblogimages.com/v.p?uid=TrekMedic251&pid=543872&sid=ctK78jquN5

klkatz said...

Carson,
You stole my line... "Say Hi to Whitey for me."

Mine was posted the day before...
http://phillieschronicles.blogspot.com/2007/03/john-vukovich-1947-2007.html

GM-Carson said...

KLKatz- totally unintentional. Lets just chalk it up to "great minds think alike".

klkatz said...

Carson - okay by me...

next time it happens, I'll have to send over Jeff Stone to ask you some trivia questions...

That should be torture enough.