A shortstop at Indiana University, Mickey Morandini took an unusual route to playing in the big leagues with the Phillies. He was originally a seventh-round selection of the Pirates in 1987. He didn’t sign and picked in the fifth round by the Phillies the following year. But he never put on a Phillies uniform until spring training of 1989. In between he won a Gold Medal as a member of Team USA in the Olympics held in Seoul, Korea, in September of 1988.
His pro debut season wasn’t the norm as he played in three different levels. Following spring training at Carpenter Complex, he was assigned to the Spartanburg Phillies. After 63 games (.338) he moved up to the Clearwater Phillies (17 games, .302) and then the AA Reading Phillies (48 games, .351). Combined .338 in 128 games. In 1990, he played at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before making his major league debut on September 1 of that season.
“Mel Roberts was my Spartanburg manager and I wore number 5, my college number. Went 2-for-4 in my first game. First hit was a blooper to left field. Roomed in an apartment with Todd Elam. He had car which was a bonus. Very excited that I got my first pro baseball card only to see my first name was listed as Mike.
“Elam was promoted to Clearwater and I soon followed. Roommate with a car again. Kim Batiste was the shortstop but he was moved to third base while I played short. I was only there for a couple of weeks before being moved up to Reading. Was able to get my own car from Indiana.
“Road trips were different at each level. Spartanburg had mostly long trips, Clearwater few overnights and Reading had a mixture. Accommodations for road trips in college were better.”
Playing for three different teams Mickey had a lot of teammates, many of whom reached the majors. Most prominent, RHP Andy Ashby (Spartanburg/Clearwater), Batiste (Clearwater), INF Steve Scarsone (Clearwater/Reading) and LHP Chuck McElroy (Reading).
Major League Career
Spent 11 years in the majors, Phillies (1990–97, 2000), Cubs (1998–99) and Blue Jays (2000). Played in 965 Phillies games, finished with 911 hits and a .267 average. Member of 1993 NL champion Phillies and 1995 NL All-Star team. 1989 Paul Owens Award winner. After pro ball, coached Valparaiso (IN) High School baseball team for four years (2007–10). Returned to the Phillies as a minor league coach (2014–15, Lehigh Valley, Reading). Thereafter, minor league manager at Williamsport (2011) and Lakewood (2012–13) and big-league coach, first base and base running (2016–17). Club Ambassador since 2018.
(Steve Potter and Larry Shenk are teammates on a book planned for this spring, “Life In The Minors, 5th annual Phillies Minor League Digest”. Book includes capsules of the 115 teams in Phillies minor league history plus other features and rare photographs. Foreword by Tom McCarthy.)