Lee Elia

Lee Constantine Elia (born July 16, 1937) is an American former professional baseball infielder, who played only sparingly in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Chicago White Sox (1966) and Chicago Cubs (1968). Following his playing career, he managed the Cubs (from 1982 to 1983) and Philadelphia Phillies (from 1987 to 1988), then served as a coach for the Phillies, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Baltimore Orioles, and Seattle Mariners. Elia was hired by the Atlanta Braves as a special assistant to general manager Frank Wren in November, 2010.[1]

Lee Elia
Shortstop / Manager / Coach
Born: July 16, 1937 (age 82)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 23, 1966, for the Chicago White Sox
Last MLB appearance
September 13, 1968, for the Chicago Cubs
MLB statistics
Batting average.176
Home runs3
Runs batted in25
Games managed539
Managerial record238–300
Winning %.442
Teams
As player
As manager
As coach

Early life

Elia was born on July 16, 1937 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Constantine D. and Florence C. (Soulas) Elia. His father, Connie Elia, was born in Albania and emigrated to the United States in 1920. He worked as a supervisor for a food service for 30 years. Elia also grew up with a younger sister, Diane. Elia graduated from Olney High School in Philadelphia and the University of Delaware.

Playing career

Elia played most of his career through the minor league system. He was signed as an undrafted free agent to his hometown team the Philadelphia Phillies in 1958 as a shortstop. He played eleven seasons in the minor leagues and nine of those seasons being in AAA. He played in the Phillies minor league system for six years, totaling 72 home runs, about 300 runs batted in (RBI) and a .260 combined batting average. He was then signed by the Chicago White Sox organization in 1965. He played out the entire 1965 season in AAA, and began the 1966 season in AAA as well, before being called up to the Major Leagues. He was on the roster with the 1966 Chicago White Sox season for 80 games in the 1966 season, and played in 77 of those. He played shortstop in 75 of those games. That season he hit .205 with three home runs and 22 RBI. That 1966 White Sox team finished fourth in the American League with a record of 83–79. The following season he was dealt to the National League's Chicago Cubs. He played the 1967 season in the minors and finished with 14 home runs, 59 RBI and a batting average of .267. The following season he was called up to the Cubs major league roster, only appearing in fifteen games racking up only three RBI and a .176 batting average. After the season, he played in twenty AAA games, three with the Cubs and seventeen with the Yankees. Shortly after he stopped playing baseball before coming back at the age of 35 in 1973 and playing AAA ball with the Phillies. However, he only appeared in 16 games and retired after. He was efficient in the field with a career fielding percentage of about .940.

Coaching career

Elia was hired as a bench coach for the 1980 and 1981 Philadelphia Phillies major league team. They finished the season NL East Champions with a 91–71 record, one game ahead of the Montreal Expos. That season he helped lead the Phillies under manager Dallas Green to the peak of all the sport, a 1980 World Series Championship. The following year in 1981 the Phillies finished with a 59–48 record. The won the NL East first half with a 34–21 record, however, finished third in the second half with a 25–27 record. They still qualified for the playoffs however and were matched up with the NL East second-half winners, the Montreal Expos. The series went to all five games and the Expos knocked out the defending Champions 3–2 in the NLDS. Some notable players he coached in these two years with the Phillies include Larry Bowa, Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, and Ryne Sandberg.

Elia was hired once again as a Phillies bench coach in 1985 and 1986. In 1985 his Phillies finished 75-87, which was fifth in the NL East. Then in 1986 they finished 86–75, good for second place in the NL East however they finished a remarkable 21.5  games back of the New York Mets who were 108–54. Elia was still a bench coach through the first 61 games of the 1987 season, but the Phillies were 29–32 at that point and manager John Felske had been fired mid-season. Elia was hired as the replacement manager.

Elia was a New York Yankees coach in 1989.

Since ending his managing career he has worked as many different smaller positions within organizations. He was a special assistant to the manager, scout, and hitting coach with the Seattle Mariners. After that, he was a special assistant to the general manager, and scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was also a bench coach and scout in the Baltimore Orioles organization.

Managerial career

In 1975, at the age of 37, Elia had begun his managing career in the Western Carolinas League with the Class A Spartanburg Phillies. After his first season of managing he led his team to a league best 81–59 record. The following season the team took a bit of a nosedive and finished with a 59–80 record. In the 1977 season, Elia was promoted as the manager of the Double-A Reading Phillies in the Eastern League. He managed his team to a 63–75 finish, which was good for third place in the Can-Am Division. Notable players he managed on this team were future 1980 World Series champions Kevin Saucier and Keith Moreland. During the 1978 season, Elia remained head man in Reading and turned it around significantly. They finished the 1978 season with a 79–57 record, which was good for second in the league and only 1.5 games back of the first place Yankees. In 1979, he was named manager of the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, the Oklahoma City 89ers. The 89ers finished with a 72–63 record and won the west division. They went on to play the Evansville Triplets (Detroit Tigers affiliate) in the American Association Championship Series. They lost the series in six games as the Jim Leyland led Evansville team won the league. A notable player on this roster was Lonnie Smith, who was a 1982 All Star and a three-time World Series champion left fielder.

In 1982, at the age of 44, Elia was hired as the manager of the Chicago Cubs. He was hired by Dallas Green, who had been his manager the previous two years in Philadelphia. That season they brought players such as Ryne Sandberg, Keith Moreland, and Dickie Noles over from the Phillies roster. They finished the season with a 73–89 record and finished fifth out of six in the NL East.

Elia is often remembered for a profanity-laced tirade directed at the fans at Wrigley Field on April 29, 1983. After the Cubs suffered a one-run home loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Elia made post-game remarks to four reporters—the Chicago Tribune's Robert Marcus, the Chicago Sun-Times' Joel Behrig, the Daily Herald's Don Friske and WLS-AM's Les Grobstein (who recorded it with the only microphone that was in the room)—in which he blasted Cubs fans in the stands for booing and heckling the team:

I'll tell you one fuckin' thing—I hope we get fuckin' hotter than shit just to stuff it up them three thousand fuckin' people that show up every fuckin' day. Because if they're the real Chicago fuckin' fans, they can kiss my fuckin' ass, right Downtown, and print it! They're really, really behind you around here. My fuckin' ass! What ... what the fuck am I supposed to do? Go out there and let my fuckin' players get destroyed every day, and be quiet about it? For the fuckin' nickel/dime people that show up? The motherfuckers don't even work! That's why they're out at the fuckin' game! They ought to get a fuckin' job and find out what it's like to go out and earn a fuckin' living. Eighty-five percent of the fuckin' world is working. The other fifteen come out here. A fuckin' playground for the cocksuckers. Rip them motherfuckers! Rip those country cocksuckers, like the fuckin' players! We've got guys bustin' their fuckin' asses and those fuckin' people boo ... and that's the Cubs? My fuckin' ass! They talk about the great fuckin' support that the players get around here, I haven't seen it this fuckin' year![2][3]

After being fired by the Cubs, he was hired as manager for the Triple-A Portland Beavers (Phillies organization) in the Pacific Coast League. Elia's tenure in Portland is perhaps best remembered for his role in an unusual incident during a May 30, 1984, game against the Vancouver Canadians. Elia was ejected for arguing a called third strike and subsequently threw a chair onto the field before leaving the dugout; this in turn led to the ejection of the team's batboy, Sam Morris, when he refused (acting on instructions from Beavers players in the dugout) umpire Pam Postema's demand that he retrieve the chair that Elia had thrown on the field.[4] Elia led the Beavers to a 62–78 record. He was hired as a bench coach for the Phillies the next season.

In 1987, 61 games into the season, Elia was hired as manager for the 29–32 Phillies. He proceeded to lead the team to an 80–82 record to finish fourth in the NL East. The team was 51–50 that season once he took over as manager. He remained the head man in 1988, but a very disappointing season led to his firing once again as manager. They finished with a 65–96 record and that was good for last place in the NL East.

Elia was named manager of the Clearwater Phillies for the 1990 and 1991. In his first season, he led the team to a 50–87 record. In the following season, he made a dramatic turnaround with the team as they finished with an 81–49 record.

In 1992, at age 54, he was hired as the manager of the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons of the International League. He led the team to an 84–58 record before retiring from being a manager.

Awards

Elia was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.

Personal life

Elia resides in Odessa, Florida, with his second wife Priscilla, and his two daughters, Tana and Ashley.[5] He is the uncle of Olympic swimmer Frank Leskaj, the first Albanian-American to represent Albania in the Olympics.

References

  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-11-16. Retrieved 2011-01-21.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Drehs, Wayne (April 29, 2008). "Fans won't let Elia forget meltdown". ESPN.com. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  3. ^ Jaffe, Jay (April 26, 2013). "Happy anniversary, Lee Elia and Hal McRae (NSFW)". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  4. ^ Kindred, Dave (June 1, 1984). "To obey or not to obey?". The Atlanta Constitution. p. D1. Retrieved September 8, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "Lee Elia".

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Tom Trebelhorn
Baltimore Orioles Bench Coach
2006
Succeeded by
Tom Trebelhorn
Preceded by
Jeff Pentland
Seattle Mariners Hitting Coach
2008
Succeeded by
José Castro
Preceded by
Jim Riggleman
Seattle Mariners Bench Coach
2008
Succeeded by
Ty Van Burkleo
1966 Chicago White Sox season

The 1966 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 66th season in the major leagues, and its 67th season overall. Eddie Stanky managed the White Sox to a fourth-place finish in the American League with a record 83–79, 15 games behind the first-place Baltimore Orioles.

1968 Chicago Cubs season

The 1968 Chicago Cubs season was the 97th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 93rd in the National League and the 53rd at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished third in the National League with a record of 84–78.

1982 Chicago Cubs season

The 1982 Chicago Cubs season was the 111th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 107th in the National League and the 67th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished fifth in the National League East with a record of 73-89, 19 games behind the eventual National League and 1982 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals. For the first time in more than a half a century, the Cubs were not owned by a member of the Wrigley family. Instead, it was the first full season for the Cubs under the ownership of the Tribune Company, owners of the team's broadcast partner WGN TV and Radio, and for Cubs TV viewers the first season ever for them to see and hear Harry Caray on the broadcast panel.

1983 Chicago Cubs season

The 1983 Chicago Cubs season was the 112th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 108th in the National League and the 68th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished fifth in the National League East with a record of 71–91.

1987 Major League Baseball season

The 1987 Major League Baseball season ended with the American League Champion Minnesota Twins winning the World Series over the National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals, four games to three, as all seven games were won by the home team.

Future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey, Jr. was selected with the #1 overall pick in the draft in June by the Seattle Mariners.

1988 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1988 Philadelphia Phillies season was a season in Major League Baseball. The Phillies finished sixth in the National League East with a record of 65 wins and 96 losses.

2006 Baltimore Orioles season

The 2006 Baltimore Orioles season involved the Orioles finishing 4th in the American League East with a record of 70 wins and 92 losses.

Al Verdel

Albert Alfred Verdel (June 10, 1921 – April 16, 1991), nicknamed "Stumpy", was a Major League Baseball pitcher. The right-hander appeared in one game for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1944. The 23-year-old rookie was a born in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He resided in the Trenton, New Jersey, and Bordentown, New Jersey, area for most of his life before retiring to Sarasota, Florida. After his playing career, he coached baseball and football at Bordentown Military Institute and Football at Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. During his coaching career, he had the opportunity to coach athletes who went on to play MLB (Chris Short and Lee Elia, who were also with the Phillies organization) and the NFL (Floyd Little). He also continued his affiliation with the Phillies organization as a field representative.

Verdel is one of many ballplayers who only appeared in the major leagues during World War II. His only major league action came on April 20, 1944, in a home game against the Brooklyn Dodgers at Shibe Park. He entered the game in the top of the 9th and hurled one perfect inning of relief in the 8–2 loss. His lifetime earned run average stands at 0.00.Verdel died at the age of 69 in Sarasota, Florida.

Batboy

A batboy or batgirl in sports is an individual who carries the baseball bats around to a baseball team. A batboy may also lay out the equipment and mud the baseballs to be used in the game.

Dave Bristol

James David Bristol (born June 23, 1933) is an American former manager in Major League Baseball in the 1960s and 1970s. He managed the Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves, and San Francisco Giants during this period.

Del Unser

Delbert Bernard Unser (born December 9, 1944) is an American former professional baseball center fielder and utility player who had a 15-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career, from 1968 to 1982.

Frank Leskaj

Frank Constantine Lescas ( also known as Frank Leskaj), (born April 16, 1971 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American swimmer who swam for Albania at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona by swimming in the 50m Freestyle, 100m Freestyle, and the 100m Breaststroke. Frank was the first Albanian swimmer to compete in the Olympics as well as the first Albanian-American to represent Albania.

Leskaj's all four grandparents were Albanian, and after contacting the Albanian officials he was allowed to represent the country in the 1992 Summer Olympics. The most isolated of the former Iron Curtain countries, Albania had competed in only one Olympics prior to 1992, the 1972 Summer Games, because the government feared contact with foreigners would corrupt its athletes. But in April, Albania elected its first non-communist government since 1945, which allowed the formation of an eight-person Olympic team: four weightlifters, two shooters, one heptathlete and Leskaj.

Leskaj made his first trip to Albania in July 1992. He stayed with a cousin in Tirana, the capital, for a week.There he received all the Albanian Swimming Federation had to offer: 4 leks (nine cents) per day for food, and access to the federation's finest facilities. "There were two 50-meter pools, a 25-meter pool, a diving well and a baby pool—but no water," said Leskaj. "Only the 15-meter-wide diving pool was filled, but there was no chlorine, no skimmer. I couldn't see the bottom. I didn't want to see the bottom."

After two days of countless turns in the diving well, Leskaj began practicing in the Adriatic Sea. At the Summer Olympics, he finished last in all three of his heats: the 50m & 100m freestyles and the 100m breaststroke.

Leskaj is married to Tamara (née Vosbikian). He has three daughters; Savannah, Kylee, and Cheyenne. He is the son of Theodore and Diane (née Elia) Lescas. Leskaj is the nephew of former Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies manager Lee Elia.

John Felske

John Frederick Felske (born May 30, 1942) is an American former professional baseball catcher, coach, and manager in Major League Baseball (MLB). Felske reached the big leagues as a player with the Chicago Cubs (1968) and Milwaukee Brewers (1972–1973). Most notably, he was the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, where he achieved a record of 190 victories and 194 defeats (.495), across almost 21/2 seasons (1985–1986) and the first 61 games of 1987, before being succeeded by Lee Elia.

John Vukovich

John Christopher Vukovich (July 31, 1947 – March 8, 2007), nicknamed "Vuk" or "Johnny Vuk", was an American professional baseball utility infielder, manager, and coach in Major League Baseball (MLB), best known for his years with the Philadelphia Phillies. He played in parts of ten seasons between 1970 and 1981 for the Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, and Milwaukee Brewers. Vukovich is also known for recording the lowest career MLB batting average (BA) (.161) of any non-pitcher with 500 or more at bats (AB).

José Castro (baseball)

José Castro (born May 5, 1958, at Havana, Cuba) is a coach in Major League Baseball who spent 2018 as the assistant hitting coach with the Atlanta Braves. He was previously the hitting coach of the Seattle Mariners for part of the 2008 season and later the quality assurance coach with the 2014 Chicago Cubs.

A former minor league infielder who played for 14 seasons (1977–1990) without ever reaching the majors, Castro also spent part of the 2010 season as the manager of the Tacoma Rainiers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Mariners.

Castro also has served as the hitting coach with the San Diego Padres Triple-A affiliate Portland Beavers from 2005–2006, and the Montreal Expos now-defunct Triple-A affiliate Edmonton Trappers in 2003. He was announced as the roving minor league hitting instructor for the entire Seattle Mariners organization in December 2007.Following Seattle Mariners manager John McLaren's firing on June 19, 2008, bench coach Jim Riggleman was promoted to the top spot, Lee Elia was moved from hitting coach to bench coach, and Castro became the new hitting coach for the team. On January 13, 2009, he was named the Mariners' minor league hitting coordinator.Castro went to Miami Jackson Senior High school where they retired his number, "9". Signed out of high school in 1977, Castro played minor league ball for 14 years, with 10 of these being at the Triple-A level, however, he never played in the majors, and instead went right into coaching, which he has done ever since.

Castro defected from Cuba with his family at the young age of seven in 1965.

On August 9, 2010, Castro was promoted from hitting coach to interim manager of the Tacoma Rainiers, replacing Daren Brown. The Mariners had named Brown their manager after firing Don Wakamatsu earlier that day.

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.

Tom Harmon (baseball)

Thomas Harold Harmon (born December 16, 1948, at Lubbock, Texas) is an American baseball coach and a former minor league catcher and manager and Major League coach. He was assistant coach of the University of Texas Longhorns men's varsity baseball team from 1989 to 2012.As a player, Harmon batted left-handed and threw right-handed; he stood 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) tall and weighed 185 lb (84 kg). He graduated from Eastern Hills High School of Fort Worth, Texas, and The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in marketing. Harmon was a first-round, secondary phase selection of the Kansas City Royals in the June 1970 Major League Baseball draft, and broke into professional baseball at the advanced Double-A level, with the Elmira Pioneers of the Eastern League. In 1972, while a member of the Jacksonville Suns, he set a Southern League record with six hits in an extra-inning game — although he batted only .201 in 209 at bats for Jacksonville that season.Although he never reached the Major Leagues, Harmon spent all or parts of seven seasons at the Triple-A level, and he finished his career in the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies organizations, batting .254 in 649 games played with 12 home runs and 179 runs batted in. He then coached and managed in the Phillies' organization, where he won the 1979 Northwest League championship, from 1978 through 1981. In 1982, he spent a year at the major-league level as bullpen coach on the staff of Chicago Cubs manager Lee Elia. Like Harmon, Elia was a veteran of the Philadelphia organization brought to Chicago by the team's new general manager, Dallas Green.

Harmon returned to his native Texas in 1983 as manager of the Double-A Midland Cubs and, after a period in private business, joined the Longhorns' coaching staff in 1989.

Tom Trebelhorn

Thomas Lynn Trebelhorn (born January 27, 1948) is a former manager in Major League Baseball for the Milwaukee Brewers (1986–91) and Chicago Cubs (1994). He was the manager of the Class A Salem-Keizer Volcanoes from 2008 to 2012.

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