Monday, February 8, 2016

Revolving door kept managers coming, going

Fast and athletic, Juan Samuel was one of the franchise's great hopes in the early 1980s. By 1988, he was a symbol of what had gone wrong.
Fast and athletic, Juan Samuel was one of the franchise's great hopes in the early 1980s. By 1988, he was a symbol of what had gone wrong.
1988: It seemed like a different manager was in place every few months to oversee the mess. John Felske was canned in late 1987, replaced by local favorite Lee Elia, who would be fired in September 1988. Elia was replaced for the final nine games by interim manager John Vukovich, who should have been given the chance to do the job on a full-time basis.

However, a new GM had arrived in the person of Lee Thomas, who wanted his own man in the job. So a fourth manager in the space of 16 months was hired after the season when Thomas brought Cardinals coach Nick Leyva to Philadelphia. He took over a club that won only 65 games, a club so bad that Juan Samuel led the club with only 67 RBIs, Chris James led the club with only 19 homers, and Kevin Gross led the pitching staff with just 12 wins.

2008: The Phillies have enjoyed stability not only in the manager's chair with Charlie Manuel, but also with their coaching staff. Pitching coach Rich Dubee is in his fourth season and the team's base coaches - Davey Lopes at first and Steve Smith at third - are in their second seasons, as is bench coach Jimy Williams. Milt Thompson is completing his fourth season as hitting coach. Bullpen coach Ramon Henderson, the senior member of the staff, is in his 11th season.

Peter Pascarelli was the Phillies beat writer for The Inquirer in 1988. Joe Juliano writes about the 2008 team.

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Remembering 1988

Average price of a gallon of gas: 99 cents.

Phillies' record: 65-96, sixth place (last).

Phillies' attendance: 1,990,041.

Phillies' first-round pick: Pat Combs, P.

Remember this? CDs outsell vinyl records for the first time. (Would've happened sooner but an entire generation was unable to get the damn things out of the shrink wrap.)

For The Inquirer
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