Baron’s Corner

Clearwater Athletic Field

“Insist on pitchers throwing strikes on warm up pitches between innings.” One of many suggestions to managers on pitching as outlined in a 1959 Phillies instructional school in Clearwater.

Philadelphia Phillies Instructional School

Clearwater, FLA.

Feb. 6–26, 1959

Property of Philadelphia Phillies.

(Confidential).

That was the label on a burgundy-colored, three-ring binder sent to the Phillies offices by George Adams of Claremore, OK, in 2013. He came across it and thought it belonged in the club’s archives. In blue ink on the label was the name Ben Tincup.

Eddie Sawyer, manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, is listed as the director of the school. Under his name at the top of page 1 is his five-man coaching staff and two supervisors of the farm system, Tincup and Al Widmar. Six minor league managers also participated, including Paul Owens, then the manager at Bakersfield in the California League. Clearwater Athletic Field was used for the session.

At the bottom of the page are names of 49 players separated by position. Seven had seen major league action in 1958 — RHP Don Cardwell, RBP Bob Conley, LHP Seth Morehead, RHP Jim Owens, 1B Ed Bouchee, 2B Granny Hamner and OF Harry Anderson. The rest were minor league prospects.

The first 21 pages contain outlines of instruction broken down by position. The last 18 pages lists information on the players: name, position, birth date, height, weight, bats/throws, career stats and comments from managers/coaches from the 1958 season.

At the risk of violating the confidentially aspect, here are some of the “suggestions to managers on pitching:”

*Don’t let pitchers pitch batting practice the day after pitching.

*Keep on pitchers about covering up pitches.

*Insist on all pitchers throwing to 1B with a man on.

*After workouts pitchers should always change shirts and jock straps.

*When possible (every day at home except for starter and possible reliever) pitchers should work out in day time (12–1 PM) to benefit from sun.

*Emphasize fast ball, curve ball and change. Discourage using any other pitch until they master control of these. Stress control.

*Encourage study of opposing hitters during game. Do not tolerate playing around on the bench.

*In spring training, pitchers should not be allowed to pitch batting practice more often than every other day. Time their turns by the clock. At about the fifth or sixth day of training, pitchers may be allowed to start spinning curve balls but insist they not throw them hard until their arms are in condition.

*Insist on pitchers throwing strikes on warm up pitches between innings.

*Don’t pitch a prospect out of turn. Don’t use a good pitcher in the outfield. Pitchers should not be allowed to field ground balls in infield during batting practice or infield practice.

*Don’t allow young pitchers to work too fast, especially when in trouble.

Bobby Wine was a 21-year-old shortstop who had played for Owens in Bakersfield, .311 in 112 games 13 doubles, 11 triples, 11 home runs, 75 RBI. Owens’ comments: “Does everything well. Good hitter with power. Makes all the plays and has great hands and a strong arm.”

Wine remembers the school. “We practiced at the old field (Athletic Field) and stayed at the West Coast Hotel on Fort Harrison Street. Walked everywhere. Breakfast was at the Fort Harrison Hotel and most of the time, we ate dinner at Jimmy Hall’s steak house. Not very many dining options back then.”

Dallas Green, 25 then, was coming off a 7–10, 3.74 ERA season at triple-A Miami. His manager, Kirby Farrell: “This player came fast. Good stuff but needs plenty of work with men on base. Improved more than any pitcher on the club. He has the stuff.”

“Jack Russell Stadium was pretty new but we didn’t practice there or even dress there,” Green said many years ago. “The dressing room at the old field was about the size of a chicken coop. Wine-o was right about the West Coast Hotel, three of us in a room.”

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Larry Shenk offers insight into the past, present-day and future of his beloved Phillies.

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Larry Shenk

Larry Shenk

Larry Shenk offers insight into the past, present-day and future of his beloved Phillies.

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