BY DON SCOTT
Sam Perlozzo, the Philadelphia Phillies current first base coach, was one of the featured speakers at the recent 51st annual Reading Hot Stovers banquet that honored Berks county athletes.
“I’ve been pretty fortunate having spent the last 25 years in the major leagues without any breaks and I’m proud of that,” Perlozzo said in a pre-banquet chat. “I managed in the minors for five or six years and had two cups of coffee as a player in the big leagues. I’ve managed, been a bench, third base coach for 18 years and now a first base coach so baseball has been good to me.
“Playing is always a kid’s dream, but after that I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do other than not take the uniform off,” Perlozzo added. “My last season I was a player-coach for Norfolk at the Triple-A level and the GM suggested I think about being a manager.”
It was that decision that started his managing career for the Little Falls Mets in the New York-Penn League taking over for Lebanon County native Rich Miller.
“Rich and I go way back to when it was really a perfect time to be with the Mets,” Perlozzo said. “He was a good man who stayed with the Mets a long time and did a heck of a job for them.”
Perlozzo admitted that once he managed in the minors the thought of moving up was certainly on his mind.
“I had a slight opportunity to do that with Baltimore and wish it would’ve been longer but then a lot of people never get one chance,” said Perlozzo.
The majority of Perlozzo’s time was as a third base coach, including a brief stay there with the Phillies until he was asked to move to first when Davey Lopes left.
“I knew I was stepping into a beehive replacing Lopes,” Perlozzo said with a laugh. “I told Charley (Manuel) I’d go to first only if I also worked with the base runners. I was the base running coach in Cincinnati, Seattle and Baltimore. Last year was a challenge for me and I enjoyed it because at the end of the year our stealing of 80-percent was the best in the majors. On the other hand, you don’t have to be the fastest runner to be the best base runner.”
After having, as he put it, ‘a pretty good run’ as a coach of playoff experiences including a couple years with the Orioles, he had about a 10-12 year drought.
“All of a sudden I got the job with Philly, something I was trying to do for a couple years,” Perlozzo stated. “I knew people in the organization that I kept in touch with so when I got the opportunity to come to a team with the talent and resources they have I have to say I’m spoiled right now to be honest with you. We have all the sellouts for the games and that makes it very special, just like my early years in Baltimore when you couldn’t even borrow a ticket from the players.”