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Ruben Amaro Sr., legendary Phillies figure, has died

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Amaro Sr. was a Phillies player, golden glove winner, scout, coach, manager, and father of Ruben Amaro Jr.

There’s sad news from the Phillies family today.

Ruben Amaro Sr. has passed away at age 81. Amaro was primarily a shortstop, spending 11 years in the majors, six of them as a Phillie. His best season was in 1964, when he earned a Gold Glove and hit .264/.307/.341. By some horrible coincidence, 1964 was also one of the darkest years in Phillies history, when the team blew a 6 12 game lead with 12 games left. They lost 10 games in a row and finished one game out of first place.

After his playing career, he spent more than 20 years in the Phillies organization in various roles, most notably as first base coach and scout. He also managed in the minor leagues, as the Williamsport Crosscutters reminded us all.

He was a fascinating player and person, and you should read Frank Fitzpatrick’s excellent obituary on Philly.com. That likely won’t be the last excellent writing about Amaro over the next few days, and we’ll feature more on the site on Monday.

In the last few years, the Amaro that was most talked about was Ruben Amaro Jr. Junior was a player just like his dad, but he’s mostly known for his career in the Phillies front office. He started in 1998 as assistant GM, and became the GM right after the Phillies won the World Series in 2008. He was let go in 2015, and is now the first base coach for the Red Sox.

Whether it’s Senior or Junior, Amaro is a name that will forever be connected with the Phillies. As a family, they’ve played an indelible role in this franchise. Their legacies are complicated; they’ve been involved in Phillies failures, but also great Phillies successes.

And it’s not over. Junior may be the first base coach for the Red Sox right now, but he’s just 52. He could come back to the Phillies someday as a special assistant, or a scout, or a spring training instructor, and continue to work with the Phillies like his father did. As the Phillies come into maturity, I hope Junior can admire his handiwork, because his final moves as GM built the team we’re about to see flourish before our eyes.

Ruben Amaro Sr. himself summed up his devotion to the Phillies, and told us exactly how he’d like to be remembered.

I think that’s all that needs to be said.