While the players may be the names that everyone knows, there are a lot of other people in an organization that play important roles. Some are seen and known, while others are rarely, if ever, in front of the press or even mentioned.
Our first annual list of the VIPs - Very Important Phillies - is not a list of greatness or a list of power. It's a list of importance, based on the jobs that need to be done and the people who are in charge of doing those jobs.
13. Gorman Heimueller - Minor League Pitching Coordinator
Heimueller is one of the unsung heroes of the organization. After serving three seasons as a pitching coach in the Phillies minor league system, Heimueller took over as the Pitching Coordinator in 2002 and has been in the role ever since. He's got a way of getting through to young pitchers and is a tireless worker. He's also got a good eye for when to move pitchers along and when to be more patient with them and plays a huge behind-the-scenes role with the Phillies young pitching staff.
14. Gordon Lakey - Major League Scouting Director
Lakey is the guy who the Phillies rely on to get them accurate reports on players from other teams through the network of Phillies scouts. It's the information that Lakey puts together that helps Ruben Amaro evaluate other team's players and whether or not the Phillies should have an interest in pursuing them either as a trade option or a free agent. Many times, it's the information from the scouting department on some of the lesser known players that helps the Phillies decide on whether or not to pull the trigger on a key move.
15. Jay McLaughlin - Baseball Information Analyst
The Phillies have possibly the best track record when it comes to arbitration cases and one of the reasons is the information that they get from McLaughlin. He's the one that crunches the numbers and gives Amaro the reasons why a player deserves a certain amount and why he shouldn't get more than that. It's that information that the Phillies use to base contract offers not just for arbitration cases, but for potential free agent signings and when putting together a long-term offer to a young player.
16. Brad Lidge - Closer
Mr. Perfection. The Phillies bullpen truly came together this past season after Lidge was acquired from Houston in a winter deal. The move gave the Phillies someone they could rely on to close out games, although at the time of the trade, there were question marks about Lidge's health. Those question marks grew larger when he tweaked his knee in spring training, but in the end, it all worked out very well for Lidge and the Phillies. Lidge is an example of the scouting and medical staffs of the Phillies giving the GM the right information on a player and shows why some of these behind-the-scenes people are as important as they are.
17. Dr. Michael Ciccotti - Director of Medical Services
This is the guy with a keen knowledge of the inner workings of many of the shoulders, elbows and other key body parts of various Phillies players. He's well respected not just around baseball, but in other professional and amateur sports circles and the Phillies and their players can rely on his decisions and skills to keep players on the field. He's perhaps going to be very important with rumors about Chase Utley's ailing hip that he reportedly played on for much of the 2008 season and is possibly still bothering him.
18. Brett Myers - Pitcher
Having Myers in the rotation gives the Phillies a strong one-two start to their rotation. While he struggled early in the season, the Phillies rotation was piecing things together and the bullpen was widely overworked. Once Myers returned from a stint in the minors, the rotation took a big step forward and the bullpen could pretty much plan on at least a little rest when Myers was on the mound. His presence in the rotation is a key and the Phillies need him to stay on track to defend their World Series title.