PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies thanked everybody from their former Little League organizations to their parents to their future father-in-law to God with the patches on their Players Weekend uniforms, which will be worn this weekend at Citizens Bank Park.Phillies manager Pete Mackanin thanked somebody a little different, and somebody with
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies thanked everybody from their former Little League organizations to their parents to their future father-in-law to God with the patches on their Players Weekend uniforms, which will be worn this weekend at Citizens Bank Park.
Phillies manager Pete Mackanin thanked somebody a little different, and somebody with Phillies ties.
Mackanin thanked Gene Mauch, who skippered Philadelphia from 1960-68. But that is not how Mackanin knows Mauch. He knows Mauch from his time managing the Expos from 1969-75 and the Twins from 1976-80. Mackanin played 130 games for the Expos in '75 and 108 games for the Twins in '80.
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"He just did a lot of things that impressed me," Mackanin said. "The way he handled players, the way he handled the game."
Mackanin then shared one incredible memory of Mauch.
"I hit a fly ball in Boston," Mackanin said, referring to his time with the Twins. "It was foul by 50 or 60 feet, but the wind was blowing to right field. I stood on home plate thinking it was going to be foul, and then all of a sudden it kept moving closer and closer to the Monster. And I said, 'I'm not going to run. If I run now it'll look bad.' And sure enough it hit the top of the Monster for a fair ball, and I got a single out of it. [Mauch] was [angry]. The wind was howling.
"We win the game, and after the game I said, 'What do I owe you Gene?' And he said, 'Whatever you put on my desk is fine with me when we get back home.' So I grabbed an envelope and put $50 -- you know this is back in 1980 -- so I put $50 in an envelope and I put it on his desk, went to go take batting practice, and then the bat boy says, 'Hey Pete, Gene wants to see you.' And I said, 'Aw, [shoot], I should have put more money in there.' We won and he was happy. So I come into his office and he's got his glasses on [wearing them low] and I saw Gene. 'What's up?' He had the envelope and he threw it at me. I pick it up and he said, 'Get out of here.' I picked it up, walked out and I go to my locker and there was my $50 and he put another $50 in it. Because I always played hard. I was one of those guys.
"So just little things like that. You know, he recognized that I played hard, but I [screwed] up. You want the players to play for you, and I really wanted to play for him. He kept telling me how good I was and I wasn't. But I said, 'Maybe I am. If he said I'm good I must be pretty good.' Little things like that."
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.