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Paul Francis Owens (February 7, 1924 — December 26, 2003) was an American front office executive and manager in Major League Baseball.

Contents

Philadelphia Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies, the team for which Owens worked during his career, have had seven National League champions since their founding in 1883, and Owens was general manager of two of them, including the first Phillies team ever to win a World Series, the 1980 edition. He was general manager of the Phillies from early June 1972 through the end of 1984, and twice (1972; 1983-84) added the title of field manager to his job description. In 1983 he took the managerial reins of the Phillies in midyear and led them to their fourth pennant, but lost to the Baltimore Orioles in the 1983 World Series.

Playing career

Nicknamed "The Pope," Owens was born in Salamanca, New York, and attended St. Bonaventure University. Owens' professional playing career began in 1951 at the relatively advanced age of 27. It was spent entirely at the minor league level, and largely centered in his native upstate New York. A first baseman who batted and threw right-handed, he twice (1951, 1957) batted .407 with the Olean Oilers of the Class D PONY League (now the NY-Penn League) and set a league record by hitting safely in 38 consecutive games in 1951. During his relatively brief playing career, Owens compiled a lifetime average of .374.

Managerial and front office career

In 1955, Owens was named Olean's playing manager; the following year, the Oilers became a Phillies' affiliate and Owens moved into their organization. In 1958-59, he managed Class C Bakersfield of the California League. He then became a scout, and, eventually, director of the entire Philadelphia farm system. On June 3, 1972, he replaced John Quinn as the Phillies' general manager. Then, five weeks later, on July 10, Owens fired manager Frank Lucchesi and assumed that job as well, to get a closer (if temporary) look at the last-place Phillies' on-field struggles.

He then returned to the front office and proceeded to turn the Phils into pennant contenders within three seasons. His farm system, one of the most productive in the game at the time, bore fruit — yielding players such as Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski, Bob Boone, Larry Bowa and Dick Ruthven. In addition, Owens aggressively swung trades to add missing pieces such as relief pitcher Tug McGraw and outfielders Garry Maddox and Bake McBride. The Phils won the NL East in 1976 - 1977- 1978 — each time falling short in the National League Championship Series.

1979-1984

Owens thought he added the final piece in 1979 when he signed free agent Pete Rose, but the Phils stumbled and finished fourth. Finally, in 1980, under manager Dallas Green, the Phillies beat Houston in an intense NLCS and then defeated the Kansas City Royals for the team's first world championship.

In 1983, Owens again decided to don a uniform and run the Phillies from the dugout as well as from the front office. He fired manager Pat Corrales — even though Philadelphia was in first place at the time, albeit just one game over .500 — and led the club to 47 wins in 77 games. They then defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in four games in the NLCS to win the Phillies' fourth pennant. During the World Series, the Phils lost to Baltimore in five games.

Owens returned to managing in 1984, but the results were disappointing. The Phillies played only .500 ball and finished fourth, 15½ games behind the division champ Chicago Cubs.

Life-long Phillie

Paul Owens was relieved of both his GM and managing jobs during the off-season, but remained with the Phillies as a senior advisor and special scout until his death, in 2003, at age 79 in Woodbury, New Jersey. His career managing record was 161-158 (.505).

Honors

See: List of Philadelphia Phillies award winners and league leaders#Paul Owens Award

Each year, the Phillies present the "Paul Owens Award" to the top pitcher and the top position player in their minor-league system.[1]

Footnotes

  1. ^ The 2009 awards were presented September 15, in a pregame ceremony at Citizens Bank Park. Hagen, Paul, "Phillies minor leaguers Drabek, Taylor receive awards", Philadelphia Daily News, Sept. 16, 2009. Philly.com; Philadelphia Newspapers' Reorganization. Retrieved 2009-09-18.

External links

References

  • Johnson, Lloyd, ed., The Minor League Register. Durham, N.C.: Baseball America, 1994.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
John Quinn
Philadelphia Phillies General Manager
19721984
Succeeded by
Bill Giles
Preceded by
Frank Lucchesi
Pat Corrales
Philadelphia Phillies Manager
1972
1983–1984
Succeeded by
Danny Ozark
John Felske
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