Virus permitting, the Phillies are going to pay tribute to their 1980 World Series title team this season. It’s the 40th anniversary of their first world championship, and members of that team are scheduled to be honored throughout Alumni Weekend from Aug. 7-9 when Gabe Kapler and the San Francisco Giants are supposed to be in town.
That, of course, is all subject to change given the uncertainty of everything in the world right now.
Manny Trillo, the slick-fielding second baseman whose bat earned him a Silver Slugger Award and the NLCS MVP in 1980, will become the 11th person affiliated with the Phillies’ first championship team to be placed on the Wall of Fame. He would have been the 12th if not for the 2017 last-minute cancellation caused by one in the long list of Pete Rose controversies that never seem to end.
Trillo, 69, will be the first from the 1980 team to go on the Wall of Fame since the late John Vukovich in 2007, and it’s possible he will be the last. The second great era of Phillies baseball is likely to receive most of the Wall of Fame attention for the remainder of this decade with Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, and Carlos Ruiz guaranteed spots. Pat Burrell became the first player from the 2008 title team to be inducted, in 2015, joining manager Charlie Manuel (2014), and general manager Pat Gillick was honored in 2018. Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth deserve consideration, too.
The Wall of Fame tributes to the 1980 team, however, should not be finished and, in fact, the Phillies should push to settle that order of business before turning their attention to the 2007-11 era during which the team won five straight division titles.
Three more people affiliated with the 1980 team still deserve a spot on the Wall of Fame, and it would be nice if they got there while they were still living. Former owner Ruly Carpenter tops that list.
“Oh, big time,” said Larry Bowa, a 1991 Wall of Famer. “I would have had him at the top of everybody. He was one of the best owners in baseball, especially during that generation. You talk about a guy you could go up and talk to. He was a very humble person.”
The Carpenter family owned the Phillies from Nov. 23, 1943 through Oct. 29, 1981, and Ruly was in charge from 1972 through the sale of the team to a group headed by Bill Giles. During his nine years, the Phillies went from one of the worst franchises in baseball to the very top, and Bowa believes Carpenter had more than his fair share to do with that ascent.
“Ruly was a grassroots guy,” Bowa said. “It is very seldom that you see owners get involved with the farm system, but Ruly cared a lot about the minor leagues. He took a lot of pride in having a good system.”
Carpenter, 80, was told by a reporter a few years ago that he belonged on the Phillies’ Wall of Fame, and he politely disagreed. “That should be for the players and the other people on the field,” he said. It was a modest response from a classy man who belongs on the Wall of Fame.
There are also two players from the 1980 team who still belong. The only remaining regular position player who has not been voted in is right fielder Bake McBride, who came to the Phillies in a June 1977 deal that sent pitcher Tom Underwood and outfielders Dane Iorg and Rick Bosetti to the St. Louis Cardinals. That was just one of many great trades Paul Owens made utilizing the outstanding farm system he also had helped build.
McBride batted .292, stole 98 bases and scored 299 runs in his 553 games with the Phillies and was at his absolute best during the 1980 season, hitting .309 with a career-high 87 RBIs. He hit .304 with a homer and a double in the World Series.
Perhaps today’s metrics tell the best story about McBride. Of all the position players who were part of the Phillies from 1976 through 1983 when the team reached the postseason six times in eight years, McBride’s 12.1 WAR rating is third, behind only Mike Schmidt and Garry Maddox.
“He was a very integral part of that team and that era,” Bowa said. “He definitely has a case.”
So, too, does Ron Reed, who was arguably the best relief pitcher of the Phillies’ first great era of baseball.
“He was basically the right-handed complement to Tug [McGraw],” Bowa said. “He was an innings-eater, too. He’d come on in the sixth inning and finish the game. He’s very worthy.”
Reed, acquired in a December 1975 deal that sent top prospect Mike Anderson to St. Louis, went 57-38 with 90 saves and a 3.06 ERA in eight seasons with the Phillies. All of Reed’s numbers are comparable to those posted by McGraw, who was added to the Wall of Fame in 1999. Reed is seventh all-time on the Phillies with 90 saves (four fewer than McGraw) and sixth all-time in games with 458 (five fewer than McGraw).
McBride is 71. Reed is 77. Ruly Carpenter is 80. They all deserve to take one final bow in front of Phillies fans.