By FRANK CORSOE
A perfect game for Larry Bowa would consist of making two sterling plays in the field from his shortstop position, saving a run, getting a hit, stealing a base, scoring a run, getting a walk and barking at the second base umpire and home plate umpire for missing obvious calls.
If Bowa is not in your Top 10 list of all-time favorite Phillies players then you have a serious issue. You may need professional baseball counseling. Some may consider it a character flaw. Bowa may have grown-up in Sacramento. He is a product of Philadelphia just as much as a traffic jam on the Schuylkill.
Bowa’s numbers with the Phillies and Cubs:
He could have easily learned his craft from sandlots in the Great Northeast, South Philly, Cherry Hill or Newark, Del., instead of the west coast. He was one of us. He was our little ball of hate. Not in a bad way, mind you, but he hated umps bad calls, opposing players, teams, teammates who didn’t hustle and everything in-between.
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Bowa never wavered in his belief that he could play baseball even after being cut from his high school baseball team multiple times because he was “too small.” What’s that about a rubber tree plant? Bowa played the game with fire in his belly, heart on his sleeve, and a mind that refused to yield to a couth gene while competing.
Unknowingly, Bowa was the conscience of the Phillies. He was determined to prove the baseball talent evaluators wrong when he went undrafted. While many were nonbelievers, Bowa’s belief system was, “I’ll show you.”Embed from Getty Images
Bowa was Rocky in cleats, taking on all comers with abash. What he lacked in size, he made up for it with speed. What he lacked in hitting, he practiced and practiced and practiced. How else would someone explain Bowa taking up switch-hitting in the minor leagues. His mind was a spinning wheel of baseball stats and strategy.
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His fielding? When mentioned in the same breath as Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith, that’s a fair assessment of his fielding acumen. Incredibly, he had only six errors in 683 chances for a .991 fielding percentage in 1979. He led the National League fielding percentage for six years. That’s simply brilliant.
Unfailing passion for his team, his game, his sport has netted him a 50-year career in the game. Larry Bowa has worn a Phillies uniform that began at Connie Mack Stadium ran through the Vet and continued to Citizens Bank Park. He is a baseball lifer and even had a winning record (337-308) managing the Phillies who were void of talent.
That guy who was too small for high school baseball won a pennant in 1980, was NL manager of the Year, was a five time All-Star and two time gold glove winner and inducted to the Phils wall of fame. Fifty years in the game makes him worthy of this appreciation.
And that’s why Bowa is Phillies royalty.