Monday, October 26, 2015

Phil Regan (#88)

Here’s relief pitcher Phil Regan, on his last card as an LA Dodger, a first-series card with wide-grain burlap borders.

Phil was signed by the Tigers in 1956, and pitched in their farm system for 4 ½ seasons until making his major-league debut in July 1960. Phil was a starter for the Tigers from that time on through the 1964 season, reaching a high water mark of 15 wins in 1963.

After being limited to only 16 games in 1965 (and spending some time in the minors), Regan was traded to the Dodgers after the season for utility infielder Dick Tracewski. Phil joined the Dodgers for the 1966 season, their last hurrah in the Sandy Koufax era. With the team having a starting rotation of Koufax, Don Drysdale, Claude Osteen, and Don Sutton, Regan became a full-time reliever that year, leading the NL with 21 saves. "The Vulture" also made his lone all-star team that season.

The 1967 season was not kind to the Dodgers or their fans. Koufax had just retired, Tommy Davis and Maury Wills were traded away, and the team began their only 3-season string of 2nd division finishes under manager Walter Alston.

After the 1967 season, the Dodgers began dismantling their veteran bullpen, sending Ron Perranoski and Bob Miller (along with starting catcher John Roseboro) to the Twins for pitcher Jim Grant and shortstop Zoilo Versalles. (Versalles was such a non-factor in his one season in LA that he was left unprotected in the expansion draft and was scooped up by the Padres.)

In late April ’68, Regan was sent packing to the Cubs (along with spare outfielder Jim Hickman) for outfielder Ted Savage. [ What was going on here? In ’65 Regan was traded straight-up for a utility infielder, and proceeded to lead the league in saves. Two seasons later he is traded (WITH another player) for the likes of Ted Savage? Regan then went on to lead the NL again with 25 saves! Couldn’t ANYONE evaluate talent?]

Phil pitched for the Cubs until June 1972. After collecting 25 saves in ’68, he followed up with 17 saves in ’69 and 12 more in ’70. He also won 12 games in both 1968 and 1969.

Regan was sold to the cross-town White Sox in early-June 1972, and pitched in 10 games (13 innings) until getting his release 6 weeks later, ending his 13-year career. In 371 National League games, he made just 4 starts. He started 101 of his 180 AL games, all with the Tigers.

Regan later coached and/or scouted for the Mariners, Dodgers, Cubs, and Indians, and managed the Orioles for the 1995 season.

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