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Eddie Ferenz dies; was Phils' traveling secretary

Eddie Ferenz, 74, the Phillies' traveling secretary from 1970 through 1999 and a resident of Collingswood for 50 years, died of natural causes Saturday in Yardley.

Eddie Ferenz, 74, the Phillies' traveling secretary from 1970 through 1999 and a resident of Collingswood for 50 years, died of natural causes Saturday in Yardley.

Mr. Ferenz, who was in charge of the team's extensive travel plans, spring-training ticket sales, and whatever else the Phils could talk him into, was by all accounts always quick with a joke and a smile.

"Eddie Ferenz was one of the nicest human beings I've ever met," Larry Bowa, a former player and manager for the Phillies, said in a statement.

"He was a great traveling secretary and an even greater human being."

Phillies chairman Bill Giles put it this way in his statement: "He will be missed."

Born and raised in Lethbridge, Alberta, Mr. Ferenz moved to the Philadelphia area in the 1960s and held several front-office jobs with local sports organizations. In 1967, Mr. Ferenz became the public-address announcer for the Phillies and Flyers.

Two years later, he was hired as the Phillies' traveling secretary and in 2001 was awarded the Rich Ashburn Award for distinguished service to the organization.

"Eddie performed his job well and gained the respect of hundreds of Phillies players in doing so," Phillies president David Montgomery said in a statement.

In his role as traveling secretary, Mr. Ferenz had to make often-complicated travel plans for all the Phillies' road trips, juggling airline and bus schedules as well as dealing with weather-related issues and hotel accommodations.

Many of those trips, as well-prepared as they were, did not go as planned.

"If there were problems, then he heard about it," Phillies broadcaster Chris Wheeler said in a statement.

Daily News columnist Bill Conlin recounted one of those tough days in an Oct. 15 column about a Phillies road trip that went awry.

"Traveling secretary Eddie Ferenz was told [after a day-game rainout] the club's charter flight to Philadelphia would not be available before the scheduled 7 p.m. departure," Conlin wrote.

"Worse, the club's charter buses from Dodger Stadium to the L.A. airport were in use. Meanwhile, while the Phillies sat around the shabby visitors' clubhouse, hissing and moaning, the Dodgers had boarded their buses and were transported to their private jet, a Boeing B-720B worthy of Donald Trump."

In August 2003, Inquirer staff writer Frank Fitzpatrick detailed a similar story about Mr. Ferenz that had a happier ending.

Team buses idling outside Veterans Stadium waited for one last player to board amid snarled traffic after an afternoon game, and a police officer threatened to ticket the drivers if they did not depart - with or without reliever Sparky Lyle.

"Traveling secretary Eddie Ferenz explained the predicament to the cop," Fitzpatrick wrote, "and the Phils were escorted to the airport, where their charter to Chicago awaited."

Mr. Ferenz is survived by his brother, Donald; and a nephew, a niece, and a great-nephew.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Monday at St. John's Catholic Church, 809 Park Ave., Collingswood. Relatives and friends may call after 10 a.m.

Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery in Cherry Hill.

Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to the House of Charity, 15 N. Seventh St., Camden, N.J. 08102.