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John Vukovich
Infielder
Born: July 31, 1947(1947-07-31)
Sacramento, California
Died: March 8, 2007 (aged 59)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
September 11, 1970 for the Philadelphia Phillies
Last MLB appearance
August 23, 1981 for the Philadelphia Phillies
Career statistics
AVG     .161
Hits     90
RBI     44
Teams

As Player

As Manager

Career highlights and awards

John Christopher Vukovich (July 31, 1947 – March 8, 2007) was an American third baseman[1] and coach in Major League Baseball best known for his years of service with the Philadelphia Phillies.[2] He played in parts of ten seasons from 1970 to 1981 for the Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, and Milwaukee Brewers. He was mainly used as a utility infielder capable of playing all four positions.[1]

Vukovich was born in Sacramento, California, and was a backup for the 1975 Reds World Series-winning team, although he was traded back to the Phillies before the playoffs began, and also for the 1980 Phillies World Series-winning team.[1] He actually began the 1975 season as the Reds' starting third baseman,[1] but was benched in favor of Pete Rose so that the Reds could get outfielder George Foster's bat into the lineup every day. He batted above .200 only twice in his ten-year career, appearing in 277 games while batting .161 with 6 home runs and 44 runs batted in, and had a .956 fielding percentage.[1] During his second period of playing with the Phillies, he became beloved of the fans even though he seldom appeared in games; he was seen as a blue-collar player and the ordinary fan respected his effort. After his playing career ended, he joined the Chicago Cubs as a coach, and in 1986 he was manager for a day after Jim Frey was fired (he split that day's doubleheader). In 1987, he rejoined the Phillies, and after Lee Elia was fired with nine games to go, he took over as skipper, going 5-4 the rest of the season.[2]

Vukovich stayed with the Phillies as a coach from 1988 to 2004, and was considered for the managing job when Terry Francona was fired in 2000. The job eventually went to Vukovich's childhood friend, Larry Bowa.[2] Vukovich was diagnosed with a brain tumor early in the 2001 season and subsequently had surgery. He would return later that season, and remained on the coaching staff until being named special assistant to the General Manager following the 2004 season. In late 2006, he again exhibited symptoms; he died at Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia at age 59. The 2007 Phillies honored him by wearing a uniform patch with his nickname, "Vuk", and his number 18.[3] The Phillies also publicly dedicated their 2007 regular baseball season to Vukovich.

Vukovich was inducted onto the Phillies Wall of Fame on August 10, 2007. Former Phillies stars including Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton participated in a pregame ceremony led by legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e John Vukovich, URL accessed December 16, 2009. Archived 12/16/09
  2. ^ a b c John Vukovich at baseballlibrary.com, URL accessed December 16, 2009. Archived 12/16/09
  3. ^ Vukovich dies at 59; won Series rings with Phils, Reds at espn.com, URL accessed December 16, 2009. Archived 12/16/09

External links

Preceded by
Jim Frey
Chicago Cubs Manager
1986
Succeeded by
Gene Michael
Preceded by
Lee Elia
Philadelphia Phillies Manager
1988
Succeeded by
Nick Leyva
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