Carlos Ruiz spent 18 years in the Phillies organization, but he never had a chance last August to say goodbye in person. He called some of his teammates as he traveled by car from New York to Philadelphia, then to the airport where he joined the Los Angeles Dodgers. He bought a few billboards along major highways in the Delaware Valley to thank Phillies fans.

He will return Tuesday night to Citizens Bank Park with the Seattle Mariners as a visitor for the first time. To Phillies fans, Ruiz was the backbone of one of the greatest eras in franchise history. Within the organization, he emerged as one of the best player-development successes ever.

Ruiz signed for $8,000 as a teenager in Panama. He did not reach the majors until he was 27. The catcher became an inspiration for other Latin American players with long odds in the Phillies system. He befriended many of the foreign minor-league players, even after he established himself as a regular in the majors.

To those Latino players, many of whom have grown into important roles on the current Phillies, Ruiz was special. Here, in their words, is what Ruiz meant to them.

Freddy Galvis

He was somebody who helped me out as soon as I got to the big leagues. He tried to teach me almost everything outside of baseball. Stuff about the hotels, restaurants and stadiums when we were on the road. Always, always how to approach the game the right way. How to play, from the beginning, in the right way. How to prepare myself before a game. I'm just really happy and blessed to have somebody like him when I came here to the big leagues.

I met him when I was [18] years old. They sent me to the big leagues for one game in spring training [in 2008]. We went to play Minnesota in Fort Myers. That guy, I remember, he tried to make feel good in the clubhouse — especially when I didn't know anybody in there. From there, I had a big admiration for him. It's pretty cool.

Cesar Hernandez

We had a great relationship with him. He helped us a lot. I think, throughout my career, he's been one of the best players who has helped me.

He did everything. From the beginning, he helped me with everything. He bought suits for me because that's a tradition in Major League Baseball. He bought food for me. He gave me advice. He was a great influence to me.

He was a role model to the Latino guys.

Hector Neris

I talked to him when I was in double A [in 2013]. He told me a lot of good points. He pushed me. He said, 'You have talent. You're great. Keep working hard. You can play in the big leagues.' He told me to keep working hard every day. He said, 'When I was here in double A, I worked hard no matter what day it was.'

When you saw somebody like that talk to you as a minor leaguer, it's great. He pushed me. I'm thankful for him.

When I was in high A and double A, he talked to the group. Chooch is unbelievable. He's the best. When he talked to the group, it didn't matter — we were the same. Here and there, he talked to you like he knew you his whole life. It's unbelievable when you see that, a veteran guy.

Maikel Franco

Chooch, he gave me everything, man. I remember the first time I came here, he picked me up and brought me to the store. He bought me pants, shirts and suits. He bought me everything. He was always with me. He sat right there. [Franco pointed to Ruiz's old locker, near his.] He always talked with me. Man, he's an amazing guy.

You have to have to somebody to encourage you. Somebody to tell you what you should do, what adjustments you have to make in baseball and outside of baseball. He's Chooch. Chooch did everything for everybody. Not just for me, for everybody. I remember he bought a suit for Neris. All those guys. He did it for everybody. He didn't pick one particular guy. He picked everybody.

When I signed with the Phillies, Chooch was already in the big leagues. He always was a nice guy. He had the same personality when I met him that he has right now. He has changed nothing. He's an amazing guy. The only thing you have to say is thank God for giving me that person in my career. That's the only thing I have to say.