Tuesday, July 19, 2011

1973 Spartanburg Phillies program

When I moved to Spartanburg, South Carolina, in 1997 to work on Sports Editor Jim Fair's staff at the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, I just missed, by a few years, the opportunity to see Philadelphia Phillies minor-league baseball on a daily basis.

The Phillies' Class A affiliate had two long stints in at Duncan Park Stadium in Spartanburg -- from 1964 to 1980 and again from 1986 to 1994. Notable future major leaguers who played in Spartanburg included Larry Bowa, Scott Rolen, Juan Samuel, Ryne Sandberg, Lonnie Smith, Manny Trillo1, Kevin Stocker and Willie Hernandez.

So while I didn't have an opportunity to see any Spartanburg Phillies games during my time in The Palmetto State, I did get to see the old stadium2 and pick up some Spartanburg Phillies memorabilia, such as the 1973 souvenir program pictured here.

The 30-page program has a message from Spartanburg mayor Robert L. Stoddard, a photo of the Spartanburg Phillies' booster club (Hans Walker, president), baseball tips, a full-page photo of Philadelphia pitcher Steve Carlton, and advertisements for Spartanburg-area businesses such as Community Cash, Sugar 'n Spice, Jimmy's Restaurant, Wakefield Buick, The Steeple Drive-In, Wade's Restaurant, and the Regency Health Spa in the K-Mart Shopping Center (which touts its "Inhalation Room" and "Yogi Relaxation Room").

The manager of the Spartanburg Phillies in 1973 was Howie Bedell, who coincidentally also has a strong connection to baseball history here in York, Pennsylvania.

Bedell was a member of the York White Roses in 1964, 1965 and 1966. In 1994, then York Mayor Charlie Robertson controversially hired Bedell as a consultant (for $100 per hour, it was later learned) to help spearhead the effort to bring baseball back to York.

Years later, Bedell argued that he had played a role in the 2006 deal to bring the Atlantic League's York Revolution to the city, and that he was owed a previously-agreed-upon fee for his efforts.

The souvenir program also has its typed and photocopied roster insert intact. It's for the July 9, 1973, game between the Spartanburg Phillies and the Anderson Tigers. The sheet has this interesting note on the bottom:
"There are a few seats left on the charter bus trip to Atlanta on Sunday July 22nd to see the Big Phillies play the Braves. Henry Aaaron [sic] needs only 18 more hr's to break the Babe's record. It's on first pay basis so sign up in our business office."
Hank Aaron would, of course, go on to surpass Babe Ruth's home-run total on April 8, 1974.

1. I learned something writing this entry. I hadn't known that Manny Trillo was originally signed by the Philadelphia Phillies (as a catcher!) in 1968 and thus played for the Spartanburg Phillies in 1969. Later that year, the Oakland A's selected Trillo away from the Phillies in the Rule 5 draft.
2. I also lost a ton of enjoyable tennis matches to good folks like Mike McCombs, Richard Coco, Chris Winston, Ken Bradley and Chris Horeth at the Duncan Park courts.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading this post immensely. My father was the Mayor Bob Stoddard you referred to in your article. He passed away in 2006 but we still have his team photos and a good number of team autographed baseballs from the many first games when he was asked to throw out the first pitch of the season. As you may be aware the team led the minor leagues in attendance one season under GM Pat Willliams who left Spartanburg to become GM of the Philadelphia 76rs and then moved to Orlando Magic of the NBA. My father also threw out the first pitch at the last minor league game ever played at Duncan Park (it is now used for American Legion and highs chool games)As a child I had the opportunity to see the Big Phillies play Pittsburgh Pirates at Duncan Park in an exhibition game. int e 1950s out local team was the Spartanburg Peaches and the team was led by Rocco (Rocky)Colavito, who went on to star for the Cleveland Indians.
    Wesley Stoddard