I saw Andy Phillips play a game during his first professional season. This was also the first year of the Staten Island Yankees – in 1999 – when they played on the field of the College of Staten Island (and before they had the ballpark down by the Ferry). Phillips was doing very well that season – coming off a college year where he was a Baseball America Third-Team All-American.
That was an interesting S.I. squad. Alex Graman, Brandon Claussen, and Dave Walling were the three big studs in the rotation and the future of Yankee pitching. That worked out well, huh?
Andy Brown was on that team – a 1st round draft pick, taken by the Yankees before they took some HS RHP pitcher by the name of Mark Prior (who elected to go to college instead). Brown might be one of the all-time worst 1st rounders taken by the Yankees. They stayed with that kid forever and he could just not make contact.
Chad Sutter was the catcher on that team – Bruce Sutter’s kid. In fact, at the game where I saw Phillips, Bruce Sutter and his wife were there – sitting way out in the CF bleachers, by themselves, to watch their son. Chad could not hit at all either and was soon gone.
But, Phillips looked good that night. The next year, a friend of mine was looking for names of prospects – as he wanted his son (who was 11, I think, at the time) to send out some balls to promising minor leaguers for autographs. I mentioned Andy and my friend did send out the ball to him. Phillips signed the ball and returned it to my friend’s kid.
The funny part of the story is that Andy made a reference to the bible on the ball under his signature – something like “3:11″ – and when my friend’s son got the ball in the mail, he called his Dad right away at work and said that Phillips signed the ball and that he even put “the time” on it. Hearing the story later, I had to explain to my friend that it was not really the time that he wrote on the ball, etc.
Long story short (too late?), Phillips seems like a good guy who has put in his time in the minors – six years. That’s a very long time for someone who was drafted as a college senior. It’s very nice to see something good happen (like today) to a person like that.
Yanks are now 8-11 on the season – the same mark that they had last year at this time. However, last season, when they reached 8-11, they then went on to win their next 8 games in a row to push their record to 16-11. Can they do that again now? I hope so.