Eddie Sawyer

Edwin Milby Sawyer (September 10, 1910 – September 22, 1997) was an American manager and scout in Major League Baseball. As a manager, he led the 1950 Philadelphia Phillies — the "Whiz Kids", as the youthful club was known — to the second National League championship in team history.

Eddie Sawyer
Eddie Sawyer 1950
Sawyer prior to the start of the 1950 World Series
Born: September 10, 1910
Westerly, Rhode Island
Died: September 22, 1997 (aged 87)
Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB statistics
Games managed817
Managerial record390–423(–4)
Winning percentage.480

A scholar-athlete

Born in Westerly, Rhode Island, Sawyer was a minor league outfielder in his playing days who batted and threw right-handed; he was listed as 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and 210 pounds (95 kg). A rarity among baseball people of his era, Sawyer held an advanced degree from an Ivy League university: a master's degree in biology and physiology from Cornell.[1] He had earned an undergraduate degree from Ithaca College, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and later taught biology in the off-season.[2]

Sawyer signed a contract to play in the New York Yankees' deep farm system in 1934. He reached the highest minor-league level in 1937 with the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League, but soon turned to managing in the Bronx Bombers' system.[3] In 1939, his first year as a player-manager with the Amsterdam Rugmakers in the Class C Canadian–American League, Sawyer led the Rugmakers to a first-place finish and batted .369 with 103 runs batted in.[4]

Manager of the 'Whiz Kids'

In 1944, Sawyer left the Yankees to join the Phillies' organization. He managed the Utica Blue Sox of the Class A Eastern League from 1944–47 and was in his first season with the Phils' top farm club, the Toronto Maple Leafs of the Triple-A International League, when he was promoted to replace Ben Chapman as the Phillies' manager on July 26, 1948.[5]

Concurrently, the Phillies were being transfused with young blood, bringing to the majors many of the players who would become the Whiz Kids: Robin Roberts, Richie Ashburn, Del Ennis, Granny Hamner, Willie Jones, Curt Simmons, Bubba Church and others. Sawyer, a patient man accustomed to working with young players, was an ideal choice to mold the Phillies into a cohesive outfit.[6] He masterfully blended the youngsters with veterans such as Jim Konstanty, Dick Sisler, Andy Seminick and Eddie Waitkus.

In 1949, the Phillies enjoyed their first winning season since 1932, winning 81 games and finishing third.[7] Following the final game of the season Sawyer told his team: “We are going to win it all in 1950. Come back next year ready to win.”[8] On opening day 1950, the Phillies debuted the red pinstripe uniform the team still wears today. Sawyer had designed it after concluding that “the old uniforms were terrible looking.”[9] The NL pennant was up for grabs that season. The 1949 champion Brooklyn Dodgers suffered from pitching troubles and the outbreak of the Korean War had disrupted Major League rosters. The Phillies charged into the league lead and, despite a late-September tailspin, partially caused by the loss of Simmons to military service, they held off Brooklyn in the season's final game as Sisler's tenth-inning home run sealed a 4-1 victory.[10] With 91 victories against 63 losses, the Phillies had won their first pennant since 1915.[11] However, in the 1950 World Series they were no match for the Yankees, who swept them in four low-scoring games.[12] After the season, Sawyer was named "manager of the year" in the Associated Press' poll of sports writers and sports broadcasters.[13]

The 1950 season would be Sawyer's last winning season as a manager. The 1951 Phillies lost 18 games from their previous year's standard and fell to fifth.[14] In 1952, with the team in sixth place and seven games below .500, Sawyer was replaced as skipper on June 27 by Steve O'Neill.[15]

An unsuccessful encore

He was out of baseball until the middle of the 1958 season. On July 22, with the team in seventh place, the Phillies fired Mayo Smith and brought Sawyer back to manage.[16] The gamble fizzled, as the 1958 Phils dropped 40 of 70 games under Sawyer to finish last, and then placed last again in 1959.[17] The second baseman on the 1959 Phillies roster was Sparky Anderson, in his only season in the Majors as a player before he went on to be a Hall of Fame skipper.

After managing the Phillies for the opening game of the 1960 season, a 9-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on April 12,[18] Sawyer resigned his position, famously saying: "I'm 49 years old and I want to live to be 50."[2] He was ultimately replaced by Gene Mauch.[19] Sawyer would remain in the game as a scout, however, for the Phils and the Kansas City Royals.[20]

His lifetime major league managerial record was 390–423 (.480).[21] This unremarkable winning percentage is deceptive. Richie Ashburn called Sawyer "the best manager I ever played for."[22] Robin Roberts stated that “Eddie was a great manager to play for. I wish I could have played for him all 18 years.” [23] Sawyer was elected a member of the Pennsylvania Sports and Ithaca College Sports halls of fame.[24] He died at age 87 in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.[2]


  1. ^ Roberts, Robin, and C. Paul Rogers III (1996). The Whiz Kids and the 1950 Pennant. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. p. 122. ISBN 1-56639-466-X
  2. ^ a b c Silary, Ted (September 23, 1997). "Manager of Whiz Kids Dies at 87". Philadelphia Daily News.
  3. ^ Honig, Daniel (1990). The Man in the Dugout: Fifteen Big League Managers Speak Their Minds. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. p. 59. ISBN 0-8032-7270-7
  4. ^ Pietrusza, David (1990). Baseball’s Canadian-American League: History of Its Inception, Franchises, Participants, Locales, Statistics, Demise, and Legacy, 1936-1951. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 54. ISBN 0-7864-2529-6
  5. ^ Honig 1990, pp. 60-61.
  6. ^ Roberts and Rogers 1996, pp. 273-74.
  7. ^ "1949 Philadelphia Phillies". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  8. ^ Roberts and Rogers 1996, p. 193.
  9. ^ Roberts and Rogers 1996, pp. 217-18.
  10. ^ "Philadelphia Phillies 4, Brooklyn Dodgers 1". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
  11. ^ Dickey, Glenn (1984). The History of the World Series since 1903. New York: Stein and Day. p. 162. ISBN 0-8128-2951-4
  12. ^ Roberts and Rogers 1996, pp. 339-45.
  13. ^ "Eddie Sawyer Honored in Baseball Vote". Prescott Evening Courier. 1950-11-08. p. Section 2, Page 1.
  14. ^ Roberts and Rogers 1996, p. 345.
  15. ^ Webster, Gary (2014). When in Doubt, Fire the Skipper: Midseason Managerial Changes in Major League Baseball. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 89. ISBN 0-7864-7892-6
  16. ^ Webster 2014, p. 99.
  17. ^ "1959 Philadelphia Phillies". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  18. ^ "Cincinnati Reds 9, Philadelphia Phillies 4". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
  19. ^ Rossi, John P. (2005). The 1964 Phillies: The Story of Baseball's Most Memorable Collapse. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 23. ISBN 0-7864-2117-7
  20. ^ Costello, Lou (May 23, 1994). "Ex-Phillie Says Baseball Ain't What It Used To Be". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
  21. ^ "Eddie Sawyer". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
  22. ^ Ashburn, Rich (April 7, 1986). "The Whiz Kids Rich Ashburn Recalls a Special Team". Philadelphia Daily News.
  23. ^ Roberts and Rogers 1996, p. 140.
  24. ^ "Sports Scene". Ithaca College Quarterly. Winter 1998. Retrieved February 28, 2016.

External links

1940 New York Yankees season

The 1940 New York Yankees season was the team's 38th season in New York and its 40th overall. The team finished in third place with a record of 88–66, finishing two games behind the American League champion Detroit Tigers and one game behind the second-place Cleveland Indians. New York was managed by Joe McCarthy. Their home games were played at the Yankee Stadium.

1947 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1947 Philadelphia Phillies season saw the Phillies finish in seventh place in the National League with a record of 62 wins and 92 losses. It was the first season for Phillies television broadcasts, which debuted on WPTZ.

1948 Major League Baseball season

During the 1948 Major League Baseball season which began on April 19 and ended on October 11, 1948, the Boston Braves won the NL pennant and the Cleveland Indians won a 1-game playoff against the Boston Red Sox to take the AL pennant.

1950 Major League Baseball season

The 1950 Major League Baseball season began on April 18 and ended on October 7, 1950 with the New York Yankees winning the World Series championship, over the Philadelphia Phillies. The only no-hitter of the season was pitched by Vern Bickford on August 11, in the Boston Braves 7–0 victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers. This season saw the first use of a bullpen car, by the Cleveland Indians.

1950 World Series

The 1950 World Series was the 47th World Series between the American and National Leagues for the championship of Major League Baseball. The Philadelphia Phillies as 1950 champions of the National League and the New York Yankees, as 1950 American League champions, competed to win a best-of-seven game series.

The Series began on Wednesday, October 4, and concluded Saturday, October 7. The Phillies had home field advantage for the Series, meaning no games would be played at the Yankees' home ballpark, Yankee Stadium, until game 3. The Yankees won their 13th championship in their 41-year history, taking the Series in a four-game sweep. The final game in the Series resulted in the New York Yankees winning, 5–2 over Philadelphia. It was the only game in the Series decided by more than one run. The 1950 World Series title would be the second of a record five straight titles for the New York Yankees (1949–1953). The two teams would not again meet in the Series for 59 years.

This was also the last all-white World Series as neither club had integrated in 1950. It was also the last World Series where television coverage was pooled between the four major networks of the day: that season, the Mutual Broadcasting System, who had long been the radio home for the World Series, purchased the TV rights despite not (and indeed, never) having a television network. They would eventually sell on the rights to NBC, beginning a long relationship with the sport.

1951 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1951 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 18th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 10, 1951, at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Michigan the home of the Detroit Tigers of the American League. The game resulted in the National League defeating the American League 8–3.

1952 Major League Baseball season

The 1952 Major League Baseball season was contested from April 15 to October 7, 1952. The Braves were playing their final season in Boston, before the team relocated to Milwaukee the following year, thus, ending fifty seasons without any MLB team relocating.

1959 Major League Baseball season

The 1959 Major League Baseball season was played from April 9 to October 9, 1959. It saw the Los Angeles Dodgers, free of the strife produced by their move from Brooklyn the previous season, rebound to win the National League pennant after a two-game playoff against the Milwaukee Braves, who themselves had moved from Boston in 1953. The Dodgers won the World Series against a Chicago White Sox team that had not played in the "Fall Classic" since 1919 and was interrupting a Yankees' dynasty that dominated the American League between 1949 and 1964.

The season is notable as the only one between 1950 and 1981 where no pitcher pitched a no-hitter.

1959 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1959 Philadelphia Phillies season was the 77th season in the history of the franchise. During spring training, manager Eddie Sawyer told the press, "We're definitely not a last place club... I think the biggest thing we've accomplished is getting rid of the losing complex. That alone makes us not a last place club." The Phillies finished in last place in 1959, seven games behind seventh-place St. Louis and 23-games behind the pennant and World Series winning Dodgers.

1960 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1960 Philadelphia Phillies season was the 78th in franchise history. The team finished in eighth place in the National League with a record of 59–95, 36 games behind the NL and World Series Champion Pittsburgh Pirates.

Amsterdam Rugmakers

The Amsterdam Rugmakers were a Canadian–American League baseball team based in Amsterdam, New York, USA, that played from 1938 to 1942 and from 1946 to 1951. They played their home games at Mohawk Mills Park and were affiliated with the New York Yankees during their entire existence.

The team won one league championship, in 1940 under manager Eddie Sawyer.Vic Raschi and Daffin Backstrom both played for the Rugmakers.

Granny Hamner

Granville Wilbur Hamner (April 26, 1927 – September 12, 1993) was an American shortstop and second baseman in Major League Baseball. Hamner was one of the key players on the "Whiz Kids", the 1950 National League champion Philadelphia Phillies. He was born in Richmond, Virginia and graduated from Benedictine High School.

Hamner (whose brother Garvin was also an infielder in the majors) spent ​15 1⁄2 years with the Phillies, coming to the club as a 17-year-old during World War II and becoming one of the team leaders of the 1950 champions at the age of 23. A right-handed hitting shortstop with power, Hamner compiled more than 80 runs batted in four times. In the 1950 World Series, a four-game New York Yankees sweep dominated by Yankee pitchers, Hamner batted .429 (6 for 14) with three extra-base hits. In March 1952, Hamner was named captain of the Phillies by manager Eddie Sawyer.An All-Star three years in a row, Hamner was the National League's starting shortstop in the 1952 All-Star Game, played on his home field, Shibe Park, in Philadelphia. The game was called off after five innings due to rain.

On May 16, 1959, Hamner was traded to Cleveland, but he batted only .164 for the remainder of the campaign. He then became a manager in the minor league system of the Kansas City Athletics, reappearing briefly with the A's as a pitcher during the 1962 season (he had dabbled on the mound for the 1956-57 Phillies). But the change did not prolong Hamner's playing career. He briefly managed in the Phils' farm system in the 1970s and 1980s.

In 17 major league seasons, Hamner compiled a .262 batting average with 104 home runs. He was winless with two losses with an earned run average of 5.40 in seven games and ​13 1⁄3 innings as a pitcher.

In 1981, Hamner was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.

He died of a heart attack at age 66 in Philadelphia.

List of Ithaca College alumni

This is a list of Ithaca College people.

Ithacans are persons affiliated with Ithaca College, especially alumni. The following is a list of such notable Ithacans.

List of Philadelphia Phillies managers

In its 133-year history, the Philadelphia Phillies baseball franchise of Major League Baseball's National League has employed 54 managers. The duties of the team manager include team strategy and leadership on and off the field. Of those 52 managers, 15 have been "player-managers"; specifically, they managed the team while still being signed as a player.The Phillies posted their franchise record for losses in a season during their record-setting streak of 16 consecutive losing seasons (a season where the winning percentage is below .500), with 111 losses out of 154 games in 1941. During this stretch from 1933 to 1948, the Phillies employed seven managers, all of whom posted a winning percentage below .430 for their Phillies careers. Seven managers have taken the Phillies to the postseason, with Danny Ozark and Charlie Manuel leading the team to three playoff appearances. Dallas Green and Charlie Manuel are the only Phillies managers to win a World Series: Green in the 1980 World Series against the Kansas City Royals; and Manuel in the 2008 World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays. Gene Mauch is the longest-tenured manager in franchise history, with 1,332 games of service in parts of nine seasons (1960–1968). Manuel surpassed Mauch for the most victories as a manager in franchise history on September 28, 2011, with a 13-inning defeat of the Atlanta Braves; it was the team's final victory in their franchise-record 102-win season.

The manager with the highest winning percentage over a full season or more was Arthur Irwin, whose .575 winning percentage is fourth on the all-time wins list for Phillies managers. Conversely, the worst winning percentage over a season in franchise history is .160 by the inaugural season's second manager Blondie Purcell, who posted a 13–68 record during the 1883 season.

Maje McDonnell

Robert A. "Maje" McDonnell (July 20, 1920 – July 8, 2010) was an American coach, scout and official with the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball. Until he retired in 2009, McDonnell served for four decades as the Phillies' "goodwill ambassador," and was an employee of the team for five of the seven National League pennants it has won, and both of its World Series championships. McDonnell was considered a face of the Phillies franchise.Born in Philadelphia, McDonnell was a right-handed pitcher in college baseball who stood 5 feet 6 inches (168 cm) tall and weighed 135 pounds (61 kg; 9 st 9 lb). He attended Villanova University, where he also played basketball despite his stature. He joined the United States Army during World War II and rose to the rank of major, saw combat in the European Theater of Operations, and was awarded a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and five battle stars.McDonnell joined the Phillies as a batting practice pitcher in 1947, and was serving as a coach when the 1950 "Whiz Kids" won the National League flag — at that time, only the second pennant in Phillies' history. He was a member of the Phils' coaching staff through 1957, working under managers Ben Chapman, Eddie Sawyer, Steve O'Neill, Terry Moore and Mayo Smith. He was a Phillies' scout from 1958–60.

After working for the Ballantine Brewery and coaching at the high school and college level in the Philadelphia area, he returned to the Phillies in 1973, serving as a "ticket seller, tour guide, Phantasy Camp instructor, and the organization's face and voice in the community." He was thus part of Phillie teams that won NL pennants in 1980, 1983, 1993 and 2008, and its 1980 and 2008 world champions.

Utica Blue Sox

The Utica Blue Sox was the name of two minor league baseball teams based in Utica, New York.

In the 2010s, the Utica Blue Sox is the name of a collegiate wooden bat baseball team of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League based in New York State.


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