The Phillies under Charlie Manuel have become a National League powerhouse, with four NL East titles, two pennants and the 2008 World Series championship to show for it. But they haven't always been so successful. No club has ever finished in last place 29 times, as the Phillies have. What other team has ever lost 23 games in a row, or blew a pennant after holding a six-and-a-half game lead with 12 games left to play? What other team hit .315 for the season, but lost 102 games while finishing 40 games out of first place? Fans should look at it this way, however - the Phillies are a team that has won two World Series and no less than seven National League pennants. All of these things have been accomplished since 1883, too. The Phillies might also be among the league leaders in bizarre incidents and unusual characters. Some of the personalities fans will meet in "Tales from the Phillies Dugout" include John Kruk, Tim McCarver, Bob Uecker, Russ Meyer, and Jay Johnstone. All played with the Phillies. So did world-famous evangelist Billy Sunday, NFL Hall of Fame coach Greasy Neale, and a guy who did some managing named Casey Stengel. Some of their experiences are told here.
Many of the stories head in the direction of being humorous, a few more serious. Some are even tragic. All in all, though, "Tales from the Phillies Dugout" is a book about a franchise that has overflowed with colorful characters, and the strange, the odd, and the outrageous events with which they have been connected.
Rich Westcott is a sports writer, game scorer, and die-hard Phillies fan. In 1983 he founded the Phillies Report, which would go on to become the nation's oldest continuous baseball team paper. He has written over twenty books and is one of the official scorers at Phillies games. He has covered the Phillies for numerous national publications including Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, and Baseball America. He lives in Springfield, Pennsylvania.