Some games of Wiffle Ball are more memorable than others.
Rob Amaro will never forget one he played yesterday on the beach in Ocean City, N.J. It was halted for this very good reason: The 6-3, 215-pound Amaro, a third baseman, recent graduate of William Penn Charter School and University of Virginia signee, was selected by the Phillies, long tied to his family, in the 40th round of the first-year player draft.
"Some of my Wiffle Ball friends got texts," Amaro said. "They told me."
Rob's father, Dave, also received a text. It read, "Congratulations to Rob."
It came from his brother, Ruben Amaro Jr., the Phillies' general manager, a former player for the same team and the batboy for the 1980 world champions. Ruben Sr., dad to Dave and Ruben, was a Phillies' shortstop in the 1960s and later a first-base coach.
"I texted back, 'For what?' " Dave said. "I was working. I wasn't paying attention to the draft [on MLB.com]. I started getting e-mails from different people."
Dave said he later spoke with his brother.
"Overall, I figured it wouldn't mean that much to get drafted unless it was high," said Dave, a former minor leaguer. "But Ruben said he was hearing that some teams were interested in Rob. And if anybody was going to take him, it should be the Phillies."
"I'm happy and proud of [Rob]," Ruben said in a text message to the Daily News. "We still view him as some kind of prospect. He's a strong-bodied kid with some raw power. He plays third base but may be more suited to catch."
"This is nice, but I think he's going to go to college, for sure," said Dave Amaro.
Does Rob envision a knock-down, drag-out with Dad over that?
"I probably am looking at college," he said. "I was getting some interest from the Phillies and I did pretty well in [a special workout], so I thought it was reasonable that they were looking at me.
"The scout, Eric Valent, said he'll watch me over the summer - they like me as a possible catcher, too - and talk about a contract at a later date."
The Phillies also tapped into another family connection, selecting Penn State first baseman Cory Wine, the grandson Bobby Wine, the former Phillies shortstop and teammate of Ruben Amaro Sr., in the 38th round. Cory Wine, who grew up in Stillwater, Okla., hit .307 with five home runs and 41 RBI as a senior for the Nittany Lions.
Catcher Phil Aviola, from Wilmington College and St. Mark's High, was selected in the 35th round.
The Phillies took three more locals as the draft wound down: Frankford High outfielder Wander Nunez, a Dominican Republic import who uses a wooden bat and likely would have headed back to that country if he had not been drafted, 48th round; Malvern Prep third baseman-outfielder Chris "Goose" Gosik, an East Carolina signee, 49th round; and Emory University outfielder David Hissey, a product of Unionville High in Chester County, 50th and final round. *