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Robert Searles, Phillies' photographer

IF PETE ROSE got into a hitting slump and couldn't figure out what he was doing wrong, all he had to do was yell, "Hey, Video!"

IF PETE ROSE got into a hitting slump and couldn't figure out what he was doing wrong, all he had to do was yell, "Hey, Video!"

"Video" - Robert Searles - would show Pete videos of his batting before his slump and during his slump.

"See," Bob would say, "this is what you were doing then, and this is what you're doing now."

Enlightened, Pete would go out and tear the cover off the ball.

Bob Searles did that for every player on the Phillies squad in the 1970s and '80s, then did the same for the Chicago Cubs for a couple of years.

Bob died Sunday of complications of a stroke suffered in January. He was 80 and lived in Palm Harbor, Fla.

Before joining the Phillies, Bob worked 20 years in the Inquirer/ Daily News press room.

Bob was born in Philadelphia to Robert and Winifred Searles. Although he was named after his father, he never liked to be called "Junior."

He enlisted in the Navy at age 14 during World War II. The answer to how he managed that depends on whom you talk with.

His son Robert III believes that his father forged his birth certificate because he once did the same for him when he was 6 and about to play Little League ball with 8-year-olds.

"So, he had experience forging birth certificates," his son said.

His father served in the Pacific Theater. After his discharge, he went to work for the Inquirer/Daily News.

Bob III recalls that when he was 10, he arrived at their home in Kensington one day to find suitcases ready for travel.

"You and I are going to Florida," his father announced.

He had become friendly with Al Beans, the Phillies' official photographer. Al needed an assistant and Bob took the job. His son went back to Philly and his father remained with the club.

Al died in 1968 and the Phillies management announced to Bob Searles, "You're now the photographer."

Bob developed the idea of videotaping players to help them with their performance.

"He was a pioneer in that," his son said.

Bob became ubiquitous at Phillies games and practices. A sportswriter once called him the "10th man" on the Phillies team. He helped many a player improve his skills.

He was with the team in 1980, when it won the World Series under Dallas Green. Bob was proud to receive a World Series ring, now worn by his son.

"I feel honored to wear it," his son said. "I thought it would be better if I wore it rather than putting it on a shelf where nobody would ever see it."

When Dallas Green was hired by the Chicago Cubs as executive vice president and general manager, his job was to try to turn around a traditionally losing ballclub. He decided he needed Bob Searles to help him.

Bob worked in Chicago until 1992, when he retired. However, Green left the Cubs and returned to the Phillies.

Bob III said that Green called him one day and asked, "What's the old man doing?"

I told him, "Sitting around getting fat."

"Well, tell him I have a job for him," Green said.

So, Bob Searles went back to the Phillies in 1996, videotaping players in the Phillies' minor league clubs. By 2002, however, he had had enough and fully retired to sunny Florida.

"He was a macho man," his son said. "He played softball in a Fairmount Park league until he was 48. I was his shadow. He was my buddy."

Bob married the former Margaret Reichardt in 1951. She died in October 2007.

Bob is also survived by another son, John; two daughters, Margaret Slavin and Deborah Streeper; two half-daughters, Mary Ann Conaway and Jean Snell; a brother, Joseph; 10 grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

Services: Memorial service 1 p.m. Sunday at the North Penn Veterans of Foreign Wars post, 2519 Jenkintown Road, Glenside.