Thursday, April 30, 2009

1976 Topps #57 - Phil Garner

"Scrap Iron." What a great nickname. Today we don't seem to have as many descriptive nicknames like "Sudden Sam" McDowell, "Charlie Hustle" (Pete Rose), and "Mr. October" (Reggie Jackson).
During his career Phil was traded for quite a few good players. The A's traded him to Pittsburgh after the 1976 season with a couple of other players for Tony Armas, Mitchell Page (who had a good 1977 season but didn't do much after that), Rick Langford, Doc Medich, and a couple of others. The Pirates traded Phil to the Astros in 1981 for Johnny Ray, who went on to start at 2B for the Pirates for several years.
Phil had a 16-year career as a player. His best season was in 1979 when he helped the "We Are Family" Pirates win the World Championship. He was an All-Star in 1976, 1980, and 1981.
Garner went on to manage in the major leagues for several years. He managed the Milwaukee Brewers from 1992-1999. The Brewers almost won the AL East in 1992 when Phil instituted a running game. He managed the Detroit Tigers in 2000 and 2001. He was fired by the Tigers in 2002 after they got off to an 0-6 start. He took over as manager of the Astros midway in the 2004 season and almost led them to the playoffs. Houston made the playoffs in 2005 and made their first (and only) World Series appearance. The Astros finished 2nd in the NL Central in 2006 but struggled in 2007 and Phil was let go after 131 games.

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