Ozark Dies, Manny Being Manny

ozark.jpgFormer Phillies manager Danny Ozark died today.

He was 85.

“Our family is deeply saddened by the news that Danny passed away,” former Phillies president Ruly Carpenter said. Danny was more than a baseball manager, he was a genuine human being.  We would not have had the success in the ’70s if it wasn’t for him.  He taught those guys how to play the game,” former Phillies president Ruly Carpenter.

“He was a good friend, my first major league manager, played a major role in early years my career, and was instrumental in building us into prominence in the mid-1970’s,” Mike Schmidt said. “He brought a wealth of baseball experience from his years with the Dodgers to Philadelphia and we were fortunate to have him as our leader throughout that time. My wife and I extend our deepest sympathy to Ginny and the Ozark family.”

“Danny was the guy that took us from last to first,” Bob Boone said. “He was the perfect manager for the Phillies in the 70’s.  He had the patience of Job and helped all of us grow up as men and players. He was a wonderful man. He will be missed but his legacy will live on.”

I spoke with Ozark last summer for a book I was working on. He couldn’t have been nicer. I talked with him for about 45 minutes about everything from the greatest players in Phillies history to his decisions during Black Friday. Very generous with his time. Very open and honest. I appreciated that.

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So we learned earlier today that Manny Ramirez has been suspended 50 games for violating the league’s policy against performance enhancing drugs.

Do you care?

Personally, I’m tired of it. But let’s begin the “Are you shocked?” questions and “Should he be in the Hall of Fame?” questions. Don’t worry, it should be over in about a month or two.

I think Matt Stairs put it best.

“People are going to have to stop taking this health bull (bleep) and go back to being chubby and having fun,” he said.

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8 Comments

I wonder if they’ll add another memorial patch to the uniforms. Maybe a combo, like they did for Tugger and The Pope?

Maybe I’m too young to fully understand Ozark, but does anyone feel that he was like a precursor to Bowa?
A manager who brought the team to respectability, but was gone right before a World Championship.

Got hooked on the Phillies during the Ozark era. Another said passing for the Phillies organization.

Ozark was teh first manager I remember and the first one to win anything in a phillies uniform since 1950. He had a great young team and taught them how to be winners. The core of that team went on to bring home the first WS championship in our history. He arrived in Phila a year after lefty (who hated him) and was the manager of such home grown talents as Schmidt, Bull, Boone, Bowa, Larry Christenson, and more. Without his influence we’d never have won in ’80, or, dare I say it, last year either. Taught this town that the Phillies could actually go out and win games. 101 wins two years in a row.

It’s sad when anyone passes away, no matter how old they are. My condolences go out to his family and friends. I remember the post season frustrations more than the 101 wins, to be honest. No doubt Ozark made his mark on the Phils of old, but I don’t remember much about him even though I must have watched every game he managed for the Phils….. I guess I’m getting old.

RIP, Danny!

Was Ozark a precursor to Bowa? I don’t think you’ll find two different personalities. When Bowa played, he definitely had his run-ins with Oze. The feeling was more like “Yeah, we’ve won all these games in spite of him. A real manager would have gotten us through the playoffs.” There’s a great story I’d like to share from Frank Fitzpatrick’s book You Can’t Lose ‘em All.

In 1978, the Phils played the Mets. Bowa was on third and Jerry Martin was on first. Jose Cardenal was at the plate, the count was 0-2, and there were 2 outs. For some reason, Oze calls a double steal. (It’s 0-2, and Cardenal is swinging if it’s anywhere near the plate). Bowa’s about 10 feet from home and Cardenal lines a foul ball inches from Larry’s head. Probably would have killed him if it hit him. Later, when asked about it, Ozark said “We flubbed that dub a little bit.”

Not the master baseball tactician.

phan52: “Hey, where’s Jerry Martin? How come he’s not out in left field?”

Danny Ozark’s legacy.

Jerry Martin is pulling pork at Bull’s Bar-B-Que. When Danny managed, I never thought he was capable of ever winning the big one, but in hindsight he brought winning to this team. They did have some up and coming talent as the chemistry is similar today.
You sort of new they couldn’t beat the Reds, but having two chances to beat the Dodgers and not was depressing. Ozark always could make a game fun especially when he would argue with an umpire. Managers did more arguing back then and they protested games which Ozark did a lot. I always wondered if he could have won it all in 1980 if the Pope didn’t fire him. You were fun, Danny, RIP.

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