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1954 Philadelphia Phillies 1954 Philadelphia Phillies

Preseason review of players and management - Baseball History

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Keep in mind some of the players who once were stars, were by the time 1954 rolled around - aging veterans no longer capable of playing up to their younger days. And some of the ballplayers were in their first few seasons in the majors and hadn't as yet played up to their potential.

From our old copy of the "1954 Street and Smith's Yearbook" Actual Wording of article as follows:

"Only four regulars remain from the 1951 team which swept down on the sporting populace, the Dodgers in particular as the spectacular Whiz Kids. Those four are outfielders Richie Ashburn and Del Ennis, and infielders Granny Hamner and Willie (Puddinhead) Jones. This is ample proof that the Phillies aren't standing still.

The big three of the pitching staff which brought the Phils their first flag in 35 years - Russ Meyer, Ken Heintzelman, and Bubba Church - have departed. The Phillies, gay spenders for bonus babies in the open market, went to camp at Clearwater with what they described as their finest talent group in years.

Their assault on the National League citadel held by Brooklyn still was led by the peerless pitching twosome of Robin Roberts and Curt Simmons, who fell short of expectations in 1953. Roberts, aiming at 30 victories, was stopped short at 23-16. Simmons, who lost an argument with a power lawnmower in mid-season, was held to a 16-13 tabulation. (Simmons injured his pitching hand). Their combined records of 39-29 were only 10 games above .500, hardly enough for pennant purposes.

Around the league many thought Roberts' mound schedule was too heavy - (Roberts started 41 games, completed an amazing total of 33, hurled 5 shutouts in 347 innings, and picked up 2 saves in 3 relief appearances). Yet Roberts and t the left-handed Simmons were the only consistent winners. Jim Konstanty, fireman hero of the 1951 champions, finished at a respectable 14-10 and Steve Ridzik had 9-6. But Karl Drews, deemed a 20-game winner was 9-10.

The Phils were equally wanting in other departments. Willie Jones was only a .225 batsman at third base. Granny Hamner, shifted to second from short, batted .276. His shortstop replacement, 20-year-old Ted Kazanski, a flashy fielder, batted only .217. Neither veteran Earl Torgeson nor veteran Ed Waitkus at first base was a ball of fire. Ashburn paced the outfield with a classy .330 average sand his 205 hits were high in the league.

Del Ennis plodded along with a .285 mark and a highly respectable 125 RBIs, including 19 homers. Smoky Burgess and Stan Lopata gave the Phils only ordinary performance back at the plate.

Just before they set out for spring training camp the Phillies extracted Pitcher Murry Dickson from the Pittsburgh Pirates, paying an estimated $80,000 plus Infielder Jack Lohrke and Pitcher Andy Hansen for the 37-year-old right-hander. Despite his 10-19 record last year (for the last place Pirates), Dickson doubtless will take some pressure off Roberts and Simmons. He joins a 1953 teammate, Johnny Lindell, also 37, who was a 5-16 flop with Pittsburgh. Lindell is a former outfielder converted to pitcher.

Among the pitching rookies were Jack Stanford, 14-13, and Bob Greenwood, 11-12, both from Baltimore (minor leagues). Paul Penson, who won 50 games in three army seasons; Johnny Meyer, 13-11 for Schenectady in the Eastern Minor League; and Jim Owens, 22-8, for Terre Haute in the Three-Eye League, a long jump from the big time.

The sleeper was John Moskus, first baseman from Salt Lake City who hit 28 homers and batted in 117 runs. He's a 6-2, 200-pound southpaw slugger. Ben Tompkins, former University of Texas star who hit .316 at Terre Haute, was accounted a second base candidate if Kazanski entered military service and Hamner returned to shortstop.

The Phils also had the Eastern League batting king, Clyde Schell, who batted .330 at Schenectady and his teammate, Joe Tesauro, who hit .297. Another new outfielder was Stan Jok, a 279 clubber for Baltimore. Top rookie catcher was Joe Lonnet from Baltimore. - Archives

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