Danny Ozark: Phillies Lose Another Piece Of History

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Danny Ozark: Phillies Lose Another Piece Of History

It was just yesterday I was surfing on the internet and found an all-time Philadelphia Phillies team. Gene Mauch was selected as the manager on this list.

Not a bad choice, but I posted a comment that suggested Danny Ozark should be the manager. 

Today, God has selected Mr. Ozark.

Philadelphia Phillies' team officials have reported that Danny Ozark has died in his home in Vero Beach, Florida today. He was 85.

Beginning in 1965, Ozark was a coach for Los Angeles Dodgers under Walter Alston. He served in that capacity until his hiring as manager by the last-place Phillies in October of 1972.

After two losing seasons, Danny Ozark and the Phillies won 86 games in 1975. In 1976, the Phillies broke through by winning 101 games and the NL East title.  Unfortunately, the defending world champion Cincinnati Reds won the NL pennant in three straight games.

The Phillies won the division again in 1977 and 1978, only to lose in the Los Angeles Dodgers in the playoffs both years.

The Phillies thought they found the missing piece in 1979 by signing Pete Rose. However, due to injuries and a lack of pitching depth, the Phillies struggled and Danny Ozark was fired August 3rd. His regular season record with the Philadelphia Phillies was 594-510.

Ozark returned to the Dodgers and coached under Tommy Lasorda from 1980 to 1982. 

In 1983, he joined the San Francisco Giants as a coach and became the interim manager in 1984 when Frank Robinson was fired. The Giants won 24 and lost 32 under Ozark.

Despite his success with the Phillies, some fans remember Ozark more for his malaprops. 

Two of his most famous were "Half this game is 90% mental" and "Even Napoleon had his Watergate." In 1975, he told a reporter "We're not out of the race" when the Phillies were seven games out with six to play.

I will always think fondly of Danny Ozark since my beginnings as a Phillies fan corresponded directly with the three consecutive division titles under Ozark's reign. 

I remember meeting Mr. Ozark several years ago at a Phillies' alumni game in Clearwater, Florida. I was more excited to get his autograph than I was of the other players that were there.

According to AP wires, Danny Ozark is survived by his wife, Ginny, two children, three granddaughters, and four great-grandchildren. 

 

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