Saturday, February 18, 2012

DAHOF Top 100 -- #44 Greg Luzinski

As a fan of the powerhouse mid 1970s Phillies teams, Greg Luzinski owns a very important place in my baseball loving heart. The powerful duo of Luzinski and Mike Schmidt served as the run producing backbone for the NL East champions in 1976-77-78. In his final season in Philadelphia, "the Bull" was a key contributor to the club as they delivered the 1980 World Championship.

Originally from Chicago, Luzinski was a first round draft pick of the Phiilies in 1968. He consistently produced remarkable power as he worked his way as a first baseman through the Phillies minor league system. By 1972 he was in the majors and had been moved to left field.

In 1975, he became a major league star after hitting .300 with 34 home runs and a National League-leading 120 RBIs. He finished second in NL Most Valuable Player voting and made the All-Star team for the first of four straight years.

In 1977, Luzinski put together his best big league season, hitting .309 with 39 homers, 99 runs scored, and 130 RBIs, was again second in the MVP voting. The Phillies won their second of three straight division titles, falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a heartbreaking NLCS.

He hit the only home run in game one of the memorable 1980 NLCS between the Phillies and the Houston Astros. But after the 1980 series win, the combination of his defensive shortcomings and falling power production forced the Phillies to move him to an American League club where he could continue his career as a designated hitter.

In 1981, he went home as the DH for the Chicago White Sox. His first season in the AL, he hit 21 home runs. The following summer, he hit .292 with 18 home runs and 102 RBIs. In 1983, Luzinski was a team leader on the division-winning White Sox club with 32 homers, 3 of which cleared the Comiskey Park roof.

He retired following the 1984 season and can currently be found at "Bull's BBQ" in the right field concourse of Citizens Bank Park.


Kevin Hilley said...

While he'll never be in the HOF, the Bull was by far my all-time favorite Phillie. The guy was larger than life at the plate and just plain fun to watch.

What a thrill I had a number of years ago to meet him at Citizens Bank Park. Boyhood dream realized!

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