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John Vukovich dead at 59

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by shotglass, Mar 8, 2007.

  1. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    For most of baseball history, a "character" guy or a defensive stalwart could find a spot at the end of any team's bench.

    Rabbit Maranville begat Leo Durocher begat Ray Oyler begat Tom Lawless begat Rafael Belliard begat Brad Ausmus.

    In the last 10 years, that has changed drastically, and not just in the American League. Light-hitting catchers or middle infielders are rarely tolerated for very long anymore.

    A Soriano is a much more valuable commodity than an Ausmus, even though Alfonso hurts his team in the field arguably more than Brad hurts his team at the plate. Soriano's value (offensive) is quantifiable, Ausmus's isn't.

    Too bad so many teams get seduced by the big, pretty numbers, when a guy like Vukovich can often make a team better, even if it doesn't show up on the back of a baseball card.
  2. Guy_Incognito

    Guy_Incognito Well-Known Member

    I guess anything is arguable, but it would be a pretty lousy argument.
  3. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Good to see Hondo is his usual idiotic senseless even on a thread like this. Measuring a deceased man by his batting average. You stay classy, Hondo.

    He died of an inoperable brain tumor. I presume it was a second tumor and not related to the first one a few years ago?

    Terrible news either way, obviously. RIP.
  4. Zeemer

    Zeemer Member

    Vuke could stare a hole through you and then, just as quickly, crack a wide smile that made you completely at ease. He was baseball, through and through -- a tough man who cared deeply that the game was played the right way. He was a vital part of the chemistry of the 1980 Phillies championship team, even though he didn't play all that much, and just as important, as a coach, to the 1993 NL championship team. Godspeed, pal.
  5. jagtrader

    jagtrader Active Member

    Vukovich didn't really play 10 seasons. Five of those included 15 at-bats or fewer in the big leagues.

    That said, I've followed the Phillies my entire life and I can't remember Vuke not being part of the team. This is a sad day.
  6. joe

    joe Active Member

    Say what you will about La Russa, but Molina was never in danger of losing his job -- or being benched in the playoffs -- despite hitting .216 for the year. There's more room for "character" guys in baseball, and probabably basketball, than there is in the NFL.
    And 59 is too damn young.
  7. XXXX

    XXXX Member

    r.i.p. Vukovich
  8. it's going to be strange as hell to not see Vuke playing hilarious gags on Chris Wheeler during Phils broadcasts. I started watching Phillies games in 1989 (I'm 25 for those wondering), and Vuke had always been a part of that organization from that time until now. He fought well, and hopefully he'll get the rest he deserves on the other side.
  9. lollygagger

    lollygagger Member

    Useless old-school Vukovich trivia, just because...
    In 1975, in between his two stints in Philly, Vukovich was the opening day third baseman for the Cincinnati Reds. He appeared in only 31 games, going 8-for-38. By late April, utility infielder Darrel Chaney was getting most of the starts. By May, Pete Rose was moved from left field to third to get George Foster into the lineup. The rest is history.

    RIP, John
  10. Guy_Incognito

    Guy_Incognito Well-Known Member

    I disagree with the point, but we can talk about it elsewhere. RIP.
  11. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Wow, that's great trivia. You'd win a zillion beers at the bar with that bet, even in Cincinnati.

  12. casty33

    casty33 Active Member

    If you haven't seen it already, may I strongly recommend Jayson Stark's column on Vuke on espn.com. It is outstanding and explains far better than any of us what Vuke meant to the Phillies and the teams he was on.

    And if I may offer one personal note, I spoke to Vuke on the phone about six months ago and all he wanted to talk about was how I was doing with my MS. When I asked him how he was, he said things were pretty good and he was looking forward to another season. Quite a guy.
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