Bunning, Back At Vet, Lauds Fans: `I Was Not Booed Once'

Posted: August 10, 1996

For Jim Bunning, the newest member of the Hall of Fame, last night was a time to thank the Phillies.

Bunning was honored in ceremonies before last night's Phillies-Astros game, and the pitcher-turned-congressman paid tribute to ``the Carpenter family for bringing me to Philadelphia'' in 1964, and to club president Bill Giles ``for remembering that I was a Phillie even after I couldn't play.''

And then he added the kicker: ``And I know it may be hard for you to imagine,'' he told the crowd, ``but I was not booed once in my six years in Philadelphia.''

The crowd's cheers were interrupted by a smattering of good-natured boos.

Bunning, 64, trim and looking much younger than his age, smiled.

``For six years you were more than fair,'' Bunning continued. ``You knew I never gave less than 100 percent, and when Phillies fans see you do that, they're for you 100 percent.''

This time, there were no boos. Just a thundering ovation.

Bunning, an eight-time all-star, was inducted into the Hall of Fame Sunday. In last night's ``Jim Bunning Night'' festivities, the righthander's first minor-league manager, Ralph DiLullo, was introduced to the crowd. Bunning gave him a hug.

Three of Bunning's former Phillies roommates - Art Mahaffey, Johnny Callison and Terry Harmon - also attended the ceremonies. Phillies coaches Larry Bowa and John Vukovich, two former teammates of Bunning's, were introduced.

Bunning said it wasn't difficult for him to be inducted into the Hall with a Phillies cap, even though he spent only six years in Philadelphia and nine with the Detroit Tigers.

``It was an easy decision,'' he said. ``My best years were in this town.''

BEECH BALL. Lefthander Matt Beech gave Thursday's game ball to his mom, Linda.

``It's hers; she deserves it,'' said Beech, who outdueled the Braves' Greg Maddux, four-time defending Cy Young Award winner, and pitched the Phils to a 4-1 victory in Atlanta Thursday. ``She and my whole family have supported me since I started playing when I was 6 years old.''

Beech will have a rematch against Atlanta Tuesday at the Vet. The Braves are undecided about their pitcher - Maddux could pitch Monday or Tuesday.

RETURN TRIPS. Jeff Parrett returned to the Vet as a Phillie for the first time since 1990. That's only six years ago, but no one on the current 25-man roster was on the team when he first played here.

Pitching coach Johnny Podres, who has been on a medical leave of absence, rejoined the team and will work with the pitchers during the current 10-game homestand. When the homestand ends, Podres will not travel with the club to the West Coast.

MISCELLANY. Outfielder Wendell Magee and righthander Larry Mitchell, both of whom are at triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, are among the top candidates to be promoted when major-league rosters are expanded in September, manager Jim Fregosi indicated. . . . Entering last night, Gregg Jefferies had raised his average from .176 to .279 since June 24. . . . A decision probably will be announced today on whether to send Bobby Munoz on a another minor-league rehabilitation assignment. . . . The Phils' Aug. 24 game in San Diego, originally scheduled for 4:05 p.m. to accomodate Fox, has been moved to 10:05 p.m. and will not be one of the network's telecasts. . . . Starting with last night's contest, 29 of the Phils' final 47 games are at home.

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