Paul Owens (baseball)
|First baseman / general manager / manager|
Born: February 7, 1924|
Salamanca, New York
Died: December 26, 2003 (aged 79)|
Woodbury, New Jersey
|Minor league baseball: 1951 for the Olean Oilers|
|Last professional appearance|
|1959 for the Bakersfield Bears|
|MLB statistics |
As general manager
Owens' entire Major League career was spent with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was the general manager and principal architect of the 1980 Phillies, the third Philadelphia club to win a National League pennant and the first Phillies team to win a World Series—breaking a 97-year streak of futility dating to the team's founding in
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Nicknamed "The Pope," Owens was born in Salamanca, New York, and attended St. Bonaventure University. Owens' professional playing career began in 1951 at the relatively advanced age of 27. It was spent entirely at the minor league level, and largely centered in his native upstate New York. A first baseman who batted and threw right-handed, he twice (1951, 1957) batted .407 with the Olean Oilers of the Class D PONY League (now the NY-Penn League) and set a league record by hitting safely in 38 consecutive games in 1951. During his relatively brief playing career, Owens compiled a lifetime average of .374.
Managerial and front office career
In 1955, Owens was named Olean's playing manager; the following year, the Oilers became a Phillies' affiliate and Owens moved into their organization. In 1958–59, he managed Class C Bakersfield of the California League. He then became a scout, and, in
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He then returned to the front office and proceeded to turn the Phils into pennant contenders within three seasons. His farm system, one of the most productive in the game at the time, bore fruit—yielding players such as Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski, Bob Boone, Larry Bowa and Dick Ruthven. In addition, Owens aggressively swung trades to add missing pieces such as relief pitcher Tug McGraw and outfielders Garry Maddox and Bake McBride. The Phils won the NL East in
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Two NL pennants and the Phils' first world championship (1979–84)
Owens thought he added the final piece in
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On July 18,
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Owens returned to managing in
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Owens was relieved of both his GM and managing jobs during the off-season, but remained with the Phillies as a senior advisor and special scout until his death, in 2003, at age 79 in Woodbury, New Jersey. For the 2004 season, the Phillies wore a patch on their right shoulder featuring a banner reading "Pope" in honor of Owens, and a shamrock in honor of former relief pitcher Tug McGraw, who had also died that winter. His career managing record was 161–158 (.505).
- Starting in 1986, the Phillies established the annual Paul Owens Award. This award is given each season to both the top top pitcher and the top position player within the Phillies' minor-league system. In 1988, Owens was elected to the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame (the first non-Phillies player elected and enshrined). A plaque bearing his likeness is displayed in Ashburn Alley at Citizens Bank Park.
- Johnson, Lloyd, ed., The Minor League Register. Durham, N.C.: Baseball America, 1994.
- "Paul Owens, 79; Shaped Champion Phillies", The New York Times, December 28, 2003.
- Baseball-Reference.com - career managing record
|Philadelphia Phillies General Manager
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