Howie Schultz (1922-2009)
Howie Schultz, a Phillies first baseman in 1947 & 1948 passed away on Oct. 30, 2009 at the age of 87. Schultz had a dual career of professional baseball and basketball. He was a Brooklyn Dodger from 1943 until the opening week of the 1947 campaign when he was traded to the Phillies. In Spring Training that year, Schultz was said to be very helpful in teaching Jackie Robinson how to play first base (Robinson's first MLB position). Schultz quickly gained the Phillies' regular first baseman's job in '47 succeeding Frank McCormick. He was being pushed to the bench when Dick Sisler took over that job early in the 1948 season. That prompted Schultz's trade to the Cincinnati Reds where he finished his MLB career.
Simultaneous to his final years in baseball, in Autumn 1946 Schultz became a charter member of the NBL the league that would later become known as the National Basketball Association. He played seven years as a pro basketball player for the Anderson Packers, Fort Wayne Pistons and Minneapolis Lakers. He won NBA titles in his final two playing years (1951-52 and 1952-53) with the Lakers.
After his playing days were over Schultz completed a degree and became a high school teacher and coach in the Minneapolis area.
Tommy Reis (1914-2009): Last Phillie To Play In Baker Bowl (1938).
Tommy Reis died Nov. 6 at age 95.
He was a righthanded rookie pitcher for the Phillies in 1938, his only year in the majors. He split that season: first with the Phillies and later wih the Boston Braves. He was 0-1 in eight major league games, all relief appearences. He was the last living Phillie to have played in Baker Bowl, which was the Phillies home from 1895 until mid-season-1938, until the team's move to Shibe Park (later renamed Connie Mack Stadium).
Reis was a World War Two Veteran. He worked in Cincinnati and lived in that city's Kentucky suburbs for most of his life before retiring to Ocala,Florida.
Reis was the 3rd oldest living Phillie and 9th oldest living major leaguer at the time of his passing.
At this point, four players who played all or part of their careers with the Phillies are among the 10 oldest living major league players.
5. Art Mahan - 1B - 1940 Phillies- 96 years, 6 Months.
6. Stan Benjamin - OF- 1939-1942 Phillies - 95 years, 6 1/2 months.
8. Alex Pitko -OF - 1938 Phillies - 95 years, 15 days.
10. Nick Strincevich -P - 1948 Phillies - 94 years, 9 months.
Last edited by philliesfiend55; 12-28-2009 at 07:05 AM.
Stan Benjamin (1914-2009)
Stan Benjamin , a Phillies outfielder between 1939 and 1942, passed away on Dec. 24, 2009. He was the second oldest living Phillie and sixth oldest living major leaguer at the time of his death, at age 95 years and 7 months. (Wikipedia).
See separate thread for details on his career.
A Little Help From The Dean Of Public Relations
Former Phillies Vice-President of Public Relations, Larry Shenk, who helmed the Phillies PR Depatment for 44 seasons, from 1964 to 2007, contacted me about discrepancies in the birthdate listed here for Al Monchak. (Shenk, 71, has stepped down from the top post in the PR department but is in charge of Alumni Relations (contacting former Phillies players) and remains as an active PR practicioner with the team. He's obviously an extremely smart guy with a sharp mind, great organizational abilities, and outstanding writing abilities to have secured the top Phillies PR job at age 25 and then to have remained in that position for four and a half decades. He still doesn't miss a thing, as evidenced by him calling attention to Monchak's erroneous birthdate.)
Monchak, a shortstop who appeared as a Phillie briefly in 1940, had two widely varying birthdates listed among various sources.
Previously we had used December 22, 1919, (which was actually his more commonly given birthdate) making him turn 90 years old, just as this Winter started. Another date sometimes given for Monchak's birthday, by a minority of sources is March 5, 1917.
However, Shenk who sometimes uses this "Oldest Phillies List", contacted the Major League Baseball Players Association, Pensions Department. The MLB Pensions Dept. uses the less common birthdate for Monchak of March 5, 1917. I can only surmise that if this was the date Monchak used to receive his pension and MLB players insurance, then this must be the correct one and he must have a birth certificate that substantiates that the 1917 birthdate is his correct one. It will be the date that we will use for Monchak in Baseball Fever from now on. I can understand how errors develop using the same birthday, but in diferent years, but how these two birthdates came about for Monchak that are 2 years and 9 1/2 months apart, is a riddle with no obvious answer.
In light of the new birthdate for Monchak, it appears that he just celebrated his 93rd birthday two days ago.
Happy birthday, Al, and Thanks Again, Larry!
-philliesfiend55 - (Dennis Orlandini) -
Last edited by philliesfiend55; 03-07-2010 at 06:50 AM.
John O'Neil, a former Phillies infielder became the 11th living Phillie to reach age 90 on his birthday, earlier this week on April 19. John made his major league baseball debut on Opening Day 1946 (4/16/46), three days shy of his 26th birthday. Many baseball historians would term that day not only the start of a season, but also the start of Post-World War Two Era baseball, if not the start of the Modern Baseball Era.
O'Neil stuck with the Phillies all season, but that year would be his only shot at the bigtime.
He hit a decent .266 in 94 at-bats as a Phillie.
O'Neil was born in Kentucky, but has lived the last few decades in Northwestern New York, in and around Jamestown, NY.
Robin Roberts (September 30, 1926 - May 6, 2010)
A fond goodbye to Robin - The boyhood idol of many a Phillies fan and many baseball fans across the country, regardless of their team allegiances.
Former Phillie Dave Philley turned 90 today.
Wikipedia now reports that Burich died at age 91 on Christmas Day 2009 in Apple Valley, California..
Last edited by philliesfiend55; 07-01-2010 at 02:28 PM.
Sam File (1922-2008)
News came very late about the death of Sam File, as is sometimes the case with reporting the deaths of some of baseball's more obscure players. File died on September 25, 2008 although I failed to notice any report of his passing until this month. He lived in recent years in Ocean Pines, Maryland, which is right across the baY FROM THE summer RESORT CITY OF OCEAN CITY, MD.
File was signed from a semi-pro team by the Phillies and he appeared in a few games as a thirdbaseman and shortstop with the Phils in September 1940. This brief experience in the big leagues at age 18 was File's only major league experience.
Cal McLish (12/1/1925 - 8/26/2010)
Former Phillies pitcher Cal McLish passed away on Thursday, August 26, at age 84.
He was 24-17 as a Phillie from 1962 to 1964
Lifetime 92-92, 4.01 E.R.A.
1944 MLB debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers. The 1964 Phillies were his final major league team.
Career highlights included: 19-win season and all-star game APPEARENCE (HE earned a Save in 0ne of the 2 games) as a Cleveland Indian in 1959. He also won 16 games for The Tribe in 1958.
His 13-11 mark with a 3.26 ERA for the Phillies, at age 37, in 1963, helped the team to a winning record and a fourth place finish in a ten team league.
He remainded active in the game of baseball as a pitching coach and pitching instructor for four decades (until his late 70s) after retiring as a player.
Last edited by philliesfiend55; 08-30-2010 at 09:17 AM.
VALMY THOMAS (1928-2010) Catcher Valmy Thomas, a 1959 Phillie, died on October 19, two days before his 82nd birthday. He was the first Virgin Islander to play in the major leagues. See detailed post in the Phillies section by 'Cowtipper'.
Former Phillies Outfielder/Pinch Hitter Wally Westlake turns 90 today. He is the 12th living Phillie and 66th living major leaguer who is currently 90 years of age or older.
World War Two delayed Westlake's reaching the majors but he debuted in April 1947 at age 26. Wally had four solid years as a regular at the start of his career between 1947 and 1950 with the Pirates. Moving to the St.Louis Cardinals in a trade the following year he made his only all-star team in 1951.Westlake topped 20 home runs three times and topped 100 RBI once. His highest batting aveages as a regular were .285 twice, and .282. After 1952 he saw a sharp drop in his playing time. He had a fine year off the bench for Cleveland in 1953, hitting .330 in 259 at bats. Westlake was a member of the record-setting 1954 Indians team (setting the record for regular season wins and highest winning percentage) and he played for Cleveland in that year's World Series. The 1956 Phillies were Westlake's last stop in a 10 year major league career (1947-1956).
This year the Phillies sent every living Phillies player who was at least 90 a Current-style Phillies uniform with the player's name on the back. Each year a different type of gift is sent to Phillies nongnearians from the Phillies Alumni Office, a division of their Public Relations Department.
After Westlake, no other former Phillies are due to reach age 90 for 14 months (none at all in 2011). Al Dark, 88, born Jan. 7, 1922, who played for the Phillies at the end of his career in
1960, is the next oldest former Phillie on the list.
Last edited by philliesfiend55; 11-08-2010 at 07:26 AM.
- I removed pitcher Angelo LiPetri (Phillies & Major League Career: 1956 & 1958). I originally listed him with the birthdate of 7/6/29 (second youngest player on the list). However, is birthdate is disputed and most sources list his birthdate as 7/6/1930, which I tend to believe and which disqualifies him from the list.
- Ryne Duren is the latest player on the Oldest Phillies list to pass away. He was a three time all-star with the Yankees (1958, '59 & '61) and his fiery fastball intimidated hitters especially since he wore coke bottle eyeglasses and was reknowned for his poor vision and occaasional bouts with control. A Phillies reliever between 1963 and 1965, Duren passed away on January 6, 2011 about six weeks before his 82nd birthday.
Update To This Update: Restored Angelo Li Petri (P) to the list (May 2011). The more reliable sources indicate he was born in 1929 and not 1930.
Pitcher Duane Pillette (Phillies 1956 and Major Leagues 1949 to 1956) - died in early May 2011, just short of his 89th birthday. He Pitched the last game in St. Louis Browns history (September 27, 1953).
Last edited by philliesfiend55; 05-10-2011 at 08:28 AM.
Former Phillies outfielder, Danny Litwhiler, who represented the Phils on the 1942 National League all-star team passed away 23 days past his 95th birthday in Clearwater, Florida. He coached college baseball at major universities (Michigan State and Florida State) for several decades after his retirement as a player, after the 1951 season. MLB career wa from 1940 to1951, missing one season, 1945 for military service.
He was a Phillie from 1940 through 1942, also playing for the St.Louis Cardinals. Boston Braves, and cincinnati Reds. He was a regular outfielder and key contributor to the Cardinals' 1944 Worlds Championship team.
Alex Pitko & Roy Smalley Jr. Pass away
Oldest living Phillies, Alex Pitko passed away just short of his 97th birthday in Late summer. He was an outfielder with the 1938 team and he was the last survivor from any Phillies team before 1940.
Roy Smalley Jr. a middle infielder with the Phillies from 1955 to 1958 passed away in October 2011 at age 85.
Pitko's death means that pitcher Nick Strincevich is now the oldest living Phillie at 96 years and nearly 8 months. Strincevich was pitched in th majors from 1940 to 1948 mostly with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but played for the Phillies the first two months of the 1948 season before being released. In mid-June 1948, his roster spot was given to Robin Roberts who then made his major leagues debut in what would become a Hall Of fame career. Al Monchak. who was a major league coach for decades, is the living player who played for the Phillies the most seasons ago. Monchak, 94 and 4th oldest living Phillie, played for the 1940 Phillies, prmiraily as a shortstop.
David Cole, 81, a Phillies pitcher from Maryland, who was with the 1955 Phils' team (majors: 1951-1955) also passed away in October 2011.
Last edited by philliesfiend55; 10-31-2011 at 11:21 AM.
John O'Neil a shortstop with the 1946 Phillies team (his only year of major league service) PASSED AWAY ON APRIL 17, 2012. He was two days shy of his 92nd birthday when he died. In his brief stay in the majors he hit .266 in 94 at bats.
(2B) Ford "Moon Mullen" is now the Oldest living Phillie, following the death of (P) Freddy Schmidt at age 96 on 11/19/12. See details in seperate Phillies section post.
Barney Mussill a pitcher with the 1944 Phillies and Bill Glynn, a first baseman with the the 1949 Phillies died recently. Mussill passed away at age 92 in late January and Glynn passed away about ten days later, at age 87, in early February 2013.
Mussill pitched one complete season in the majors (mostly in relief) - with the Phillies 1944 team and Glynn had a cup of coffee with the 1949 Phillies. Glynn also had 2 1/2 seasons with the Cleveland Indians from July 1952 through the end of the 1954 season. He was a good contributor off the bench with the 1954 Indians American League pennant winning team that set the major leagues record for regular season wins and winning percentage (since broken by the 2001 Seattle Mariners).
Last edited by philliesfiend55; 02-08-2013 at 05:55 AM.
From: Phillies Alumni.com
By Larry Shenk / Phillies | 6/17/2013 4:38 P.M. ET
Two-time All-Star catcher Stan Lopata, a member of the Phillies' 1950 Whiz Kids, died from heart complications Saturday at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. He was 87.
A native of Detroit, Lopata graduated in 1943 from Southwestern High School, where he was known as "Babe," and entered the Army that fall. He received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart while serving in Marseilles, France, during World War II.
The Phillies signed Lopata to a $20,000 bonus before the 1946 season and assigned him to Terre Haute. The following season, he hit .325 at Utica and was named the Eastern League's Most Valuable Player. After spending most of the 1958 season at Triple-A in Toronto, Lopata joined the Phils for 15 games in September.
Lopata remained with the Phillies through the 1958 season and then was traded to the Milwaukee Braves with Ted Kazanski and Johnny O'Brien for Gene Conley, Harry Hanebrink and Joe Koppe. He played a total of 32 games over two seasons in Milwaukee, then retired.
For his Phils career, Lopata hit .257 with 115 doubles, 25 triples, 116 home runs and 394 RBIs in 822 games. His biggest year was 1956, when he had 33 doubles, 32 homers, 95 RBIs and a .267 average. Lopata was selected to the National League All-Star team in '55 and '56.
Among Phillies catchers, Lopata holds the single-season record for most triples (seven) and home runs (32), both set in 1956.
With the 1950 pennant winners, Lopata batted .209 in 58 games. He was the backup to Andy Seminick during the early years of his career and later teamed with Smoky Burgess.
Lopata's passing leaves four others from the Whiz Kids: Curt Simmons, Bob Miller, Putsy Caballero and Jack Mayo. Said Miller: "Stan was one of my dearest friends -- great family. We were together as teenagers in American Legion Ball [Turnstead Post], and together 10 years later with the Phillies."
Lopata is survived by his wife of 65 years, Betty. While with the Phils, they resided in Abington until 1986, when they moved to Mesa, Ariz. Last fall, they relocated to the Philadelphia area.
Lopata is survived by six children -- Anthony Lopata, Gregory Lopata, Joann Sarver, Mary Terese Lopata, Carol Chornock and Matthew Lopata -- plus 16 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. Another son, Thomas, predeceased Lopata.
A calling will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 10 a.m. ET at the Donohue Funeral Home, 8401 West Chester Pike, Upper Darby, Pa., on Wednesday. Mass will follow at 10:30 a.m. at the St. Bernadette of Lourdes Church, Turner Avenue, Drexel Hill, Pa. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested donations may be sent to the Felician Sisters, 36800 School Craft Road, Livonia, MI 48150-1172.
Larry Shenk is the vice president of Alumni Relations for the Phillies.
From Phillies Fiend55 - Stan Lopata was known as a very nice man who was fan-friendly player who was much sought after as an autograph signer at Philadelphia area card shows. He lived much of his later life in Mesa, Arizona, (a Phoenix suburb). He was the bottom player listed on Wikipedia's "oldest living major league players" list at #110, at the time of his passing.
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List in Post #1 of this thread has been adjusted to reflect the passing of Charlie Bicknell (11/24/13).
- philliesfiend55 - (12/3/13).