Billmeyer Won’t Be Back
Billmeyer might not have been the most high-profile coach on the big-league staff, but his presence loomed large in the clubhouse. Earlier this week, the Phillies announced pitching coach Rich Dubee will not return. It could lead to bullpen coach Rod Nichols being promoted to pitching coach, or the Phillies could go outside the organization to fill the spot.
Billmeyer joined the organization in 2000 as the Minor League catching coordinator before he joined former manager Larry Bowa’s staff as catching instructor in 2004. He served that role five seasons before he became bullpen coach in 2009. He held that position four seasons before the Phillies moved him into the dugout as catching coach this year.
Billmeyer, 49, was one of the most well-liked people in the clubhouse and organization because of his high-energy personality, positivity and sense of humor. It actually is why the Phillies moved him into the dugout this season.
Besides his regular duties, he simply had a knack for knowing when to keep things loose in the clubhouse. The Astros swept the Phillies in a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park in Aug. 2010 to drop them three games out of first place in the National League East. The Phillies then flew to San Diego to open a seven-game road trip. Billmeyer, sensing the team was down and tight, had players rolling on the ground before the series opener at PETCO Park, impersonating pitchers’ mannerisms on the mound.
The Phillies swept the series and finished the season 27-8.
Sure, it might have been coincidental, but he frequently brought levity to the clubhouse when it needed it.
Manager Ryne Sandberg must fill the coaching spots vacated by Dubee, Billmeyer and himself. He had been third base coach before the Phillies fired Charlie Manuel in August.