09/27/2003 8:29 PM ET
Phillies announce All-Vet team
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
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PHILADELPHIA -- One at a time they walked onto the Veterans Stadium turf, waving
to the appreciative sold-out crowd and taking their place at center stage.
Wearing black tuxedo pants and shirts covered up with a smart red pinstriped
white sports coat, the Phillies announced the members of the All-Vet team, as determined
by an online ballot on www.phillies.com
"They're going to try and sell ice cream later," quipped John Kruk, the first
As if it were a batting order, manager Dallas Green, who guided the city's only
World Series champions came out first. The top three hitters featured players from three
different eras: Shortstop Larry Bowa led off, followed by Kruk and current right fielder
The heart of the order came straight from the 1980 team, with third baseman Mike
Schmidt, left fielder Greg "Bull" Luzinski and center fielder Garry Maddox.
"It's a nice honor," said Schmidt, "to be remembered like this."
"I spent almost my whole career here," said Luzinski. "Now that it's going down,
it's something to remember it by."
Second baseman Juan Samuel, one of the most popular Phillies in the 1980s, and
catcher Darren Daulton, the unquestioned leader of the 1993 team, finished out the
The surprise member of the group was Samuel, who smacked 100 of his 161 career
home runs with the Phillies from 1983-89. He edged out Manny Trillo, a member of the
Currently the third base coach for the Tigers, Samuel was given the weekend off
by the team so he could attend.
"When Larry [Shenk, Phillies vice president, public relations] called me, I
said, 'You're kidding, right?'" Samuel said. "I didn't even know they were trying to pick the All-Vet
team, and I was trying to be here for the final game."
If Samuel knew the members of the All-Vet team were selected by online voting,
he "probably would have had the most votes, from me."
Curt Schilling won the right-handed starter vote, while Steve Carlton won for
southpaws. Carlton got 138 of his 241 wins as a Phillie at the Vet.
The most inspirational appearance and loudest ovation belonged to Tug McGraw,
who jogged out to join the others during a mid-ceremony rain storm that drenched the
McGraw, who has made remarkable progress since undergoing brain surgery in
March, took in the day with his family, including country superstar Tim McGraw.
"I knew I was going to be on this team," he said, breaking into his trademark
wide smile. "And I didn't even vote. I let my sons do that."
He then confirmed this inference. Tim shook his head, 'no,' while Mark, said he
voted for Ron Reed or Al Holland.
Nice props for the man who got the most important out in Phillies history,
striking out Willie Wilson to end Game 6 of the 1980 World Series.
Whenever McGraw sees the highlights, "I still go 'Wooo! Yeah, I got him one more
time.' He ain't never going to hit that ball. Nobody even considered a seventh game."
"That's my fondest moment," said Schmidt, "and probably all the guys on the '80
team would all probably answer the question the same way. It's the 1980 World Series and
the 24 hours following it."
Schmidt was also sorry that Pete Rose couldn't be part of Sunday's closing
ceremonies, or a member of the team.
"Taking nothing away from John Kruk, he would be a great addition to this," Schmidt said. "He's
part of that family, that 1979 to 1984 family. Those were big years in Vet Stadium's
history. There's nothing we can do about it. That's just the way it goes."
And with that, the members of the team climbed in separate convertibles for a
victory lap around Veterans Stadiums, basking in applause as they went. The fans never
got tired of cheering.
"These guys gave me so much pleasure," said Carla Digent, decked out in a
"combo" Schmidt/Carlton shirt. "I love every one of them."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for
MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball
or its clubs.