Phillies Sign Former Top Pick Anderson

The Phillies had nothing to lose when they signed right-hander Matt Anderson to a Minor League contract.

Anderson, who was the first overall pick in the 1997 First-Year Player Draft, will report to Minor League camp in Spring Training in Clearwater, Fla. He spent parts of seven seasons in the big leagues with the Detroit Tigers (1998-2003) and Colorado Rockies (2005), but has not pitched professionally since 2008, when he had a 5.60 ERA in 15 relief appearances with Triple-A Charlotte.

Anderson, 34, last pitched in the big leagues with the Rockies on July 1, 2005.

He is 15-7 with a 5.19 ERA and 26 saves in 257 appearances in his Major League career.

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Phillies president David Montgomery and his wife Lyn, Ruben Amaro Jr., Pat Gillick, Charley Kerfeld and Ryne Sandberg attended Christina Taylor Green‘s funeral yesterday. Del Unser attended the wake.

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John Mayberry Jr. has changed his number to 15. He wore No. 40 in the past.

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15 Comments

Why are the Phillies pursuing and/or signing pitchers whose ERA is their hat size?? Has beens, never wases, I just don’t get it.

When the Tigers selected Matt Anderson #1 overall in the 1997 draft the Phillies had the #2 pick. They decided to waste it on J.D. Drew.

In response to golpher1, Matt Anderson was signed to a “minor” league contract. With the trades the Phillies made in the past 2 years they have no high level minor league pitchers to fill a roster at AAA Lehigh Valley. That’s why they had guys like Brandon Duckworth, Ryan Vogelsong and Oscar Villarreal in AAA last year. It also serves as insurance because you never know how well (or how poorly) these guys will play. Same thing happened in 2009 when the Phillies signed Rodrigo Lopez to a minor league contract. He pitched for the LV Ironpigs in AAA but when the need arose, he was promoted to the Phillies where he went 3-1. Guys like this can be of value as an experienced short-term band-aid, but mostly they are AAA roster fillers.

Interesting that John Mayberry changed his number. Is he trying to change his luck now that rightfield is open? I would love to see him become a productive big leaguer for us.

“John Mayberry Jr. has changed his number to 15.”
Hmm … no doubt, causing thousands of Phillies fans to rush to the Majestic Clubhouse store to update their jersey wardrobe.

John Mayberry Jr. has been #15 with the AAA Lehigh Valley Ironpigs the past 2 seasons.

We could get into the whole number-retiring thing — so, let’s!
Lots of people my age would remember Allen as #15, as we would Callison as #6 (Rollins’ original number and Howard’s) and Bowa as #10, later donned by Daulton.
You’d wind up like the Yankees, who will eventually need to go to an alpha-numeric system at their current pace, figuring Jeter and Rivera are the next to go.

I’d guess that the Phils have a Hall of Fame requirement before they retire a number, even though Ashburn’s #1 was retired prior to his induction.
I wonder which (if any) of this current group has their numbers retired? And with that, we can discuss which of this current group is headed to Cooperstown.

Richie Allen’s number (15).
Should be retired.

Richie Allen was a pivotal person in Phillies history, far beyond just his performance on the field. It’s a complicated issue, but the Phillies owe him. If they had taken a different approach with him when he was a young man, i feel he would have been the best player in their history and a lock for the HOF.
JMO, but I guess you had to be there.

phan: I WAS there when Allen was here. There was so much more going on than simply his performance in the field. There were underlying racial issues that went back to when Jackie came into the league.
There were the suspicious circumstances surrounding his wrist injury, which allegedly occurred while he was pushing a car. There was the clubhouse fight with Frank Thomas. There was the “talk back” that Allen did by doodling words in the infield dirt during his waning days as a Phillie.
Of course, he would go on to Chicago and win an MVP award and return here in ’75.
As far as “owing him,” I don’t think they owe him anything. He was a product of his time. A supremely talented young man, and my favorite player as a kid, but he couldn’t escape the environment he found himself in.

You’re right, it is a complicated issue, but I don’t think retiring his number is a blip on anyone’s radar at the ballpark.

guess it all depends on the criterea for retiring a number. Is it HOF? best at his posistion with Phillies? Great numbers? IMO Bowa was the heart and soul of the mid ’70s-’80 team and should have had his # retired. However, based on whose # has been retired, I can only expect Howard, Cole (assuming he continues to pitch for us after he is FA elegible) and perhaps Manuel to have their numbers retired. Utley was a shoo in until the past 2 seasons saw a drastic drop in production, and J-Roll just doesn’t have the numbers to warrant it.

muleman, we were both hero-worshipping kids at the time, and my feelings about Richie Allen are probably formed by that.

I read a book recently that took on a lot of the issues surrounding Richie Allen and the ’64 team, titled “September Swoon: Richie Allen, the ’64 Phillies, and Racial Integration”. A great read if you can get your hands on it (I got it at the library). Kind of tough if you remember the ’64 meltdown as I do (it kind of formed my innate Philly sports cynicism), but it goes beyond that season, and how the race climate in Philly effected how Richie Allen was regarded by the phans and how he was treated by the team and the press. He didn’t help with his brooding and drinking, but I believe a lot of that was his response to the way he was treated. He was a kid out of his element.

phan: I kept a scrapbook in ’64 and for 4 years after that. I clipped out lineups, photos and game stories and pasted them in a big book – every day.
As a kid, I didn’t understand the racial significance of both the Phillies’ history and Allen’s troubles. That’s the beauty of being a kid.
I remember him hitting a ball over that roof in left field and others to that cavern in dead center at old Connie Mack. I also remember them putting him in left field after he injured his wrist. He could still hit but couldn’t make the throw from third base. Wine had to go out to short left field to reterieve his throws. It was painful to watch.

The book is available on amazon.

I can remember being at a Phillies/Cardinals game at Connie Mack Stadium when Richie Allen hit a line drive that almost hit the pitcher in the head. The ball kept rising until it hit high off the center field wall near the flagpole.

The Richie Allen era in the 1960’s also brought the entire Curt Flood challenge of the reserve clause to the forefront when Allen was traded to the Cardinals and Curt Flood refused to report to the Phillies. Dick hit 34 homeruns in his 1 year with the Cardinals while only playing in 5 games (9 at bats) after August 14th.

My understanding of the Richie Allen – Frank Thomas dispute was that Frank Thomas either rubbed or attempted to rub the top of Allen’s head. Innocuous at first blush but less so when it is understood that at that time a white would do this to a “Negro” for good luck.

Frank Thomas had a habit of calling Johnny Briggs ‘boy’, and he called Allen ‘Muhammed Clay’ or ‘Richie X’. Allen often made it clear that he didn’t like it, and one day during batting practice he just went off and attacked Thomas. Thomas was the one who used a bat, and he was unconditionally released the next day. A lot of the press and phans blamed Allen for what happened and that was the beginning of the end for him. The Phillies would not let Allen tell his side of the story to the press, threatening him with fines and suspension.
Right when that happened, he was htting .348 and hitting prodigious, record-setting HR’s, but he said, ?After the Thomas fight, I started playing angry baseball,? he confessed. ?It seemed the whole city of Philadelphia blamed me for what happened. They hung banners from the bleachers at Connie Mack Stadium in support of Thomas. I began getting hate mail and lots of it. Most of the letters I got started off with ?n*****.? None of them were ever signed. Racists are cowards. ” Tough thing for a young black man to be able to handle. It’s all in the book. The writer, Bill Kashatus, was very thorough on the matter.

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