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Hey CD... The Playoff Roster and Former Phillies

Hey! CD is a weekly Q&A column by California Dreamin, a Phillie die-hard from SoCal. Known as CD to baseball friends, he is a favorite source of information by Phillie fans, curious about his unique perspective on various Phillie baseball issues & events. Send your comments or questions to CD at <a href="mailto:connectthedots@earthlink.net">connectthedots@earthilink.net</a> and read his response to you in a future edition of this column.

Q: On Phillies Potential Playoff Roster, Joe from Charlotte, NC

Hey! CD, if the Phillies make the playoffs what would their playoff roster look like? How many pitchers would they have on the roster?

CD says...
Good question, Joe, and one that the Phils brain trust is probably discussing right now. In my opinion 24 of the spots are really not open to conjecture. The Phils will go with 12 pitchers and 13 position players. The position players will be the starting lineup of Lieberthal, Thome, Utley, Rollins, Polanco, Burrell, Byrd and Abreu. The 5-man bench will consist of Todd Pratt, Ricky Ledee, Jason Michaels, Tomas Perez and Nick Punto.

The Phils will use Millwood, Padilla, Wolf and Myers as their four starting pitchers and 7 of the bullpen spots will be filled by Plesac, Cormier, Williams, Silva, Wendell, Telemaco and De los Santos.

Now the tough 25th sport will either go to former bullpen closer Jose mesa or former starting pitcher Brandon Duckworth. Actually, a case could be made for both of them but my suspicion is that the Phils will opt for sentimentality and experience or youth and ability. Mesa will be put on the playoff roster both for his past service to the club and as a player who has been there before and might contribute in ways other than just performing on the field. To be honest, I would think it unfair if Mesa were left off the playoff roster.

Q: On Gene Mauch's Philosophy on Platoon Baseball, from Drew Mcgill

Hey! CD, I read your touching article on Gene Mauch, great job! Mauch was famous for platooning players, would he have platooned players like Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig?

CD says...
Thank you, Drew, for your kind words on my Open Letter to Gene Mauch, lets hope he gets well soon!

Mauch was famous for many things, and platoon baseball was definitely one of them! Ironically, Drew, he was asked the same question that you just asked me and in typical Mauch fashion, he ignored political correctness and gave an honest answer to the question. In fact, he said that while he would not have benched Ruth because he was an asset defensively and ran well, there would have been occasions when he sat Lou Gehrig! An amazing answer and one that was obviously not popular.

Nevertheless, Mauch insisted that Gehrig was only average defensively and wasn't a particularly speedy runner. So, against certain lefties he would have had Gehrig sitting next to him on the bench. Although he never specifically answered the question about Williams, it was well known among Mauch admirers that he considered Williams as quite possibly the greatest hitter who ever lived.

Lets take a not so giant leap of faith here and suggest that Mauch would have found a way to play Teddy Ballgame on a daily basis!

Q: On, Tony Gonzalez, Gus Triandos and John Buzhardt, from Alan Stager, Tampa, FL

Hey! CD, whatever happened to these three fine players from the early ‘60s?

CD says…
My, the questions this week have a 1964 flavor to them! Thanks for asking about the three players who played significant roles in the Phils rebirth in the early ‘60s.

Tony Gonzalez is retired and now lives in your state, Alan! He resides in Miami, Florida and still has fond memories of the 1964 team. Gonzalez was a very good left-handed hitter during the ‘60s and was famous for almost NEVER making an error in the outfield. Although on the smallish side at 5'9", Gonzalez had great opposite field power and in one year, he hit 20 home runs, 19 to the opposite field.

Triandos, who came over with Jim Bunning in the trade that solidified the 1964 Phils as pennant contenders, was most famous for coining the phrase, "The Year of the Blue Snow". This was in reference to the Phils wondrous run at the National League pennant in ‘64.

Triandos, a solidly built right-handed hitting catcher, now resides in San Jose, California. Sadly, he missed the 1989 reunion of the team as he was recovering from an automobile accident. Although his stay with the Phils was relatively short, he will forever be remembered for his positive contributions to the most beloved Phils team of all-time.

As for John Buzhardt, he is best remembered as the pitcher who won the game that preceded the Phils 1961 streak of 23 straight losses and then ended the streak with a victory in Milwaukee.

Although his two seasons with the Phils in 1960 and ‘61 resulted in records of 5-16 and 6-18, he was actually a very solid pitcher who almost always gave the Phils a strong effort. Sadly for him, he played for two of the worst Phils teams of all-times.

His contribution to the revival of the Phils came when he was traded to the Chicago White Sox in 1962 for slugger Roy Sievers. Sievers immediately became a powerful bat in the middle of the Phils order and helped lead the Phils to wining records in ‘62 and ‘63.

Buzhardt is now retired and living in South Carolina.

Q: On the Anniversary of the beginning of the greatest collapse in baseball history, from Many Readers

Hey! CD, today, September 21st, is the anniversary of the day Chico Ruiz stole home, which started the infamous ten-game losing streak in 1964. What do you think would have happened in the game if Ruiz had not stolen home?

CD says...
September 21…today's date and a day that will forever live in Philadelphia infamy…the day Chico Ruiz stole home! Yes, friends, its been 39 years and still people ask me what would have happened if Ruiz had not chosen that magic moment frozen in time to do the unthinkable.

This question is posed to me often and my answer is always the same…the Phils would have won the game 1-0 and would have been the World Champions in 1964. Lets revisit that game for a moment and see what I mean.

Hall of Famer Frank Robinson was at the plate in the sixth inning when Ruiz decided to steal home with two outs. If Ruiz stayed put, he would have never scored as Robinson eventually made the third out against tough luck loser, Art Mahaffey. The reds would never again threaten to score.

Now, let's fast-forward to the bottom of the ninth inning of what still would have been a scoreless game. Few remember that slugger Wes Covington led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a double off the wall. Speedy Adolfo Phillips immediately was put in to run for Covington. John Herrnstein was the next hitter and here is where I try to think like Gene Mauch.

Trailing 1-0, Mauch decided to let Herrnstein hit away and he eventually popped up. However, if the score was scoreless, Herrnstein is bunting and would have sacrificed Phillips to third base. The next hitter was Clay Dalrymple and his ground ball would have skipped past second baseman Pete Rose had Rose been playing shallow.

However, playing deep and on the edge of the grass, Rose was able to throw out Dalrymple for the second out. So, the Phils would have been 1-0 winners and history would have been changed in so many ways.

Quite possibly, Mauch and rookie slugger Richie Allen would now be in the Hall of Fame and the '64 Phils would be remembered for their success…instead of their late season failure!


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