Alumni Profile: Manny Trillo

When Dave Cash went the free agency route after the 1976 season, the Phillies looked for stability at second base. Unfortunately, they would struggle at the position until the arrival of Manny Trillo in 1979. Trillo's stay in Philadelphia was relatively short – four seasons – and it has also been underrated by many people. Trillo's contributions were an important part of the Phillies 1980 World Series Championship.

Few infielders have ever been more confident in their defensive skills than Manny Trillo. Balls that were hit to Trillo were scooped up and examined by Trillo himself before he would make a quick, pinpoint throw to first base to throw out the hitter. With his ability to get to the ball, field the ball cleanly and know that he had a cannon for an arm, Trillo had plenty of time to actually look at the ball and be sure that he had the correct grip before releasing. It was a trademark that not all players could have ever gotten away with.

Trillo's fielding was strong enough to set major league records for most games (89) and most chances (479) without an error during the 1982 season. During the 1980 postseason, Trillo's defensive abilities made the difference for the Phillies. In the fifth game of the League Championship Series against Houston, it was Trillo who gunned a relay throw to the plate, cutting down a run. He struck again in the fifth game of the World Series when he put a relay throw perfectly in the glove of Bob Boone to throw out Darrell Porter at the plate.

While he wasn't generally known for his bat, Trillo provided some big offense in 1980 as well. He hit .292 for the Phillies in '80 and set career highs in runs scored, average, doubles and triples. In the LCS, Trillo hit .381, which combined with his stellar offensive play won him the honor of MVP in the series. It was also a hit off Trillo's bat that drove in what would be the winning run of game five of the World Series.

Although Trillo came to the Phillies in a trade with the Cubs along with Greg Gross and Dave Rader. Ironically though, Trillo was originally signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent in 1968. Few remember that Trillo's major league career started with the Oakland A's in 1973 before he moved on to the Cubs where he played until coming over to the Phillies. After the 1982 season, Trillo wanted a long-term contract from the Phillies. The team was willing to give him the years that he wanted, but Trillo's financial demands were more than the team wanted to commit. Finally, the Phillies sent Trillo and four other players to Cleveland for Von Hayes. The fact that Trillo was included in the deal was one of the main reasons that the trade was so unpopular with Phillies fans.

In his final season with the Phillies, Trillo was selected to be the starting second baseman for the All-Star Game. When he went to Cleveland, he was again picked to start the game, becoming the first player to start consecutive All-Star Games in different leagues. Shortly after the 1983 All-Star Game, the Indians dealt Trillo to Montreal where he stayed for the rest of the season. Trillo signed with San Francisco in 1984 and played there for two seasons before being dealt back to Chicago and he would finish his career with a season in Cincinnati before retiring after the 1989 season.

Ironically, Trillo twice suffered broken bones when he was hit by pitches. The first time was less than two months into his Phillies career when Rick Sutcliffe hit him in the forearm. Later, as a member of the Giants, Trillo suffered a broken hand when he was hit by a pitch from Steve Rogers of the Expos.

Besides his appearances in the '82 and '83 All-Star Games, Trillo was also an all-star in 1977 and in 1981. He won Gold Gloves in 1979, 1981 and 1982.

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