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Rise and Phight: 2/14/2022

Love is in the air, but not between the owners and players

Today is Valentine’s Day and while you might think the Phillies would be celebrating all the players named “Valentine” in their long history, there actually haven’t been.

Nor have there been any players named “Love”.

But there has been one stalwart of the team’s history that can in some way be linked to today, it’s franchise hero Lynn Lovenguth (see what I did there?). Is it a stretch? Certainly, but who could ever forget the 14 games Lovenguth appeared in in 1955. Eighteen innings of completely anonymous ball that year cemented his place in the team’s lore.

Lovenguth was brought to the team’s camp that year looking to crack the pitching staff after so many years in the minors. He made a name for himself at the beginning of camp, trying to impress his coaches by throwing too hard in batting practice during the early stages. “It’s this weather...it makes those fellows feel so good and their arms so loose that they think they can fire with mid-season speed. We have to watch ‘em,” coach Benny Bengough had to explain. Team president Robert Carpenter was especially excited by Lovenguth, thinking he might be “exceptionally good” in the bullpen and just what a winning team would need. He would make the team out of spring training, but then the trail just kind of runs dry. There are some mentions of his pitching mostly mop up duty in a few games, but eventually he had to be sent back to their Syracuse minor league club since the team had too many right handed pitchers and not enough southpaws, electing to sign Bob Kuzava from Baltimore. Once Syracuse’s season was over, Lovenguth was brought back to the team, but again pitched in relative anonymity, finishing the season with 18 innings of 4.50 ERA pitching, striking out 14, walking ten, allowing 17 hits and nine runs on the season.

The next season, Lovenguth would ply his trade yet again with the Phillies in spring training, but when the team looked like they were going north with being interested in his services, Lovenguth was sold to Toronto in the International League, where he would eventually find his way to pitching one more season in the majors with St. Louis before never appearing there again.

It’s the closest player the team has to “love” or “valentine” in team history, so let’s celebrate him today.

On to the links.

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