Lieberthal's dad was his first 'skipper'
Phils catcher cites father's support growing up in California
PHILADELPHIA -- To Phillies catcher Mike Lieberthal, calling his manager "coach" or "skipper" is an unfamiliar thing.Not because Lieberthal hasn't been around the diamond much, but he just always used to call him "Dad." "I have so many memories just because my father was my coach from Little League to high school," said Lieberthal, who added that all his time spent with his father on the baseball field made it impossible to pick out his favorite memory. But if he had to pick a memory that defined his childhood, it would be his father "running me from field to field, playing for so many teams." It wasn't like the younger Lieberthal was getting bad coaching, either. His father, Dennis, served as a scout for the Giants when Lieberthal was growing up in Southern California. Despite his father's allegiances to the team from up north, Lieberthal was no stranger to his hometown club. "He had Dodgers season tickets," Lieberthal said, "and I used to go in Little League." But what about all of the fantasies associated with growing up in a Major League household? Maybe for sons of ballplayers, but not so for sons of scouts. "No big-league clubhouses," Lieberthal said. "[I] just played on semi-pro league teams with Minor League players." While Lieberthal may not have had the chance to run around a clubhouse with any of his heroes as a kid, his father gave the eventual two-time All-Star what he really needed. A little coaching.
Zachary Levine is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.