We knew going into this Phillies season that while the team is offering more young players, more organic foodstuffs in the locker room, and more general hope than the last few years, there would be less of radio broadcaster Larry Andersen.
Andersen isn’t leaving entirely to spend more time with a kiddie pool and a margarita machine; he’ll still be on the air with Scott Franzke during home games. But L.A.’s days of joining the team on road trips are over.
For those missing the off-mic belching, on-mic shouting, and general cantankerousness of Larry Andersen in the Phillies broadcast booth next season, the team has brought in a rotating trio of Kevin’s to fill the silence.
Here they are presented in alphabetical order:
This Bay Area staple was not only inducted into the Hall of Fame of his alma mater, San Jose State, for his baseball skill, but began a broadcasting career on KNBR in San Francisco after his retirement, and comes to his Phillies gig equipped with the experience and loudness necessary to keep listeners engaged.
Frandsen’s playing career began in 2006, and continued over awkward humps of playing time at the major league level: In 2007, he hit .269 in 109 games with the Giants; in 2008, he went 0-for-1. That journey took him through Philadelphia in 2012 and 2013, when we was logging ABs as a part of the Phillies’ bumbling post-playoff era. Frandsen played a bench role, coming through in the clutch more than once for a series of losing seasons we can all too freshly recall.
Despite spending the majority of his career with the Giants from 2006-15, Frandsen somehow managed to miss each of San Francisco’s World Series championships of the era. Nevertheless, he maintained his personality through it all, playing a supporting role in one of the most memorable Domonic Brown clips on record, and even once tweeting at this very web site to complain about a letter grade he had received on a different one. For that reason, he is the most lively of the three Kevin’s, and should provide the most entertainment of the three throughout the endless baseball calendar.
Another Bay Area native, the San Francisco-born Jordan has the distinction of playing his entire MLB career with the Phillies, from 1995-2001. The remainder of his major league playing career occurred with the Brisbane Bandits of the Australian Baseball League from 1993-97 (he hit .285 for the 1999 Phillies, striking out only 34 times in 347 AB), a team for which he served as the manager from 2011 until 2014. It wasn’t just baseball-playing Jordan was doing on the other side of the planet, however; in his spare time, he did a little wife-meeting, and obtained official Australian citizenship to marry her. This factoid created quite the stir on the Official List of Australian Major League Baseball Players, as Jordan was now technically Australian, though not Australian-born.
Jordan has said the most memorable game of his career* was his big league debut with the Phillies on August 8, 1995. Always a baseball junkie, Jordan says even as a minor leaguer he would “rush home to watch Baseball Tonight,” a television show that aired on ESPN for 27 years until the network rushed in April 2017 to gut its ranks of talent and likability.
In any case, Jordan’s enthusiasm for the sport was comparable only to his terror upon arriving in Philadelphia the day of his big league promotion, with his then girlfriend, Nina, locked safely in his Honda Accord:
“The only thing I heard about Philly was that it was a dangerous city. I told Nina, who’s now my wife, to wait in the car. I didn’t think she’d be safe if she got out. Even though it was a hot, muggy August Philly day, she stayed in the car with the windows up and the motor running.”
—Game of My Life Philadelphia Phillies: Memorable Stories Of Phillies Baseball, by Bob Gordon
That day, Jordan would hit a sinking liner in his first major league AB which the outfielder to trapped, only for Joe West to call him out. It was a baptism into some of the sport’s most enduring traditions: disappointment, and being screwed over by Joe West.
The Phillies’ comeback fell short that day in a 12-10 loss, but at least Jordan’s wife was brought into the clubhouse by Phillies personnel after 45 minutes in the car.
Stocker is often recalled (by me) as the fresh young, innocent face among the mustachioed baseball terrorists of the 1993 Phillies. He was brought up mid-season and hit .324 in 70 games, bringing range and stability to a position of need in the team’s middle infield. He finished sixth in NL ROY voting that year, pretty far behind another mustache with some terror behind it named Mike Piazza.
Stocker has said he still considers the Phillies “my team” despite a career that saw him land on the Rays and Angels. He was dropped directly onto Macho Row in the Phillies locker room, where he thrived as a player willing to give everything, as such placement required--Larry Bowa called him “a young Larry Bowa.”**
He played for the Phillies until 1998, playing a key part in the almost-comeback of Jordan’s MLB premiere. That year, the Devil Rays plucked a young player the Phillies had their eye on from the Astros’ roster in the expansion draft. In a deal orchestrated by the Phillies’ front office, that young player, Bobby Abreu, was swapped to the Phillies from the Rays for Stocker. His own resume has over a decade of broadcasting on it, as he has worked for CBS Sports Network and the PAC-12 Network as an analyst.
The booth won’t be the same without Larry Andersen (to whom this site’s editor and I once issued a long-winded apology for a shouted greeting across several stadium seating sections) but it’s understandable that he’d want to start skipping long road trips. All of this is to serve not just as a welcome to the new blood, but a partial farewell to the man who, in 1993 (when one of his replacements was debuting in the majors), claims he defeated John Goodman in a belching contest in Los Angeles**.
Cheers to you, Larry.
*Game of My Life Philadelphia Phillies: Memorable Stories Of Phillies Baseball, by By Bob Gordon
**More than Beards, Bellies and Biceps: The Story of the 1993 Phillies, by Bob Gordon, Tom Burgoyne