Monday, October 21, 2013

Gary Matthews interview transcribed heard on "Phillies Talk" podcast last Fall

I've always wondered how a transcription of one of our shows from the Phillies Talk Podcast that I produce would look. This one is from an interview we did with Gary 'Sarge' Matthews just last Fall, when we talked with Gary about his new book and of course what was going on with the team.

The interview is a great source of info from Gary and it was a great time we had talking with him last off-season. Here it is as heard on our podcast with Sarge that you can listen to here, read on for the article of what we said here, a special thanks to for this!  Online transcription by

Rich: Glad you could listen to this edition of Phillies Talk podcast. On this show we had veteran Phillies broadcaster Gary Matthews talking about his new book Few and Chosen: Defining Phillies Greatness Across the Eras. We talked about some current Phillies players and some Phillies players from years ago. It was a great show. Gary was the best and we thank him very much for joining us on Thanksgiving week 2012. Here's the show.

Gary: Hi this is Gary Matthews. You're listening to Fightin' Phil’s, Phillies Podcast.

Announcer: Welcome to Phillies Talk. The independent podcast from Featuring news and views about Phillies baseball. Now here's Rich Baxter and Jim "Sports Dog" Mulrey talking Phillies baseball. Recorded live.

Rich: Hello and welcome aboard everyone to this week’s edition of Phillies Talk podcast. It's your weekly independent Phillies Talk podcast show. We're talking all about those Fightin' Philadelphia Phillies. With me of course, my good friend from across southern New Jersey here, Mr. James Jim Mulrey.

Jim: Hey Richie, how are you doing?

Rich: All right, Jim. How are you tonight?

Jim: Oh, I'm great. I'm looking forward to the show tonight.

Rich: Yeah it's gonna be an action packed show. Only a few more days until Thanksgiving holiday and one of my favorite holidays, Jimmy.

Jim: Yeah, mine too. But I'm a football guy, I like football so I like Thanksgiving. But yeah, it's one of my favorites too, Rich.

Rich: That's funny, I was out at the mall this afternoon and somebody was telling me, "Well, don't you know that the Eagles are on right now?" And I was like, "Well, yeah, that's why I'm out at the mall."

Jim: Yeah, it was pretty bad today.

Rich: So we're glad that we're Phillies fans here. We're waiting for the next season to start. We've got a few more months to go, Jimmy. The Fightin' Phillies are still looking for an outfielder and there's still some big name free agents out there. Any thoughts about who they might be getting this year?

Jim: No. None whatsoever, but why don't you ask our guest? Maybe he has some ideas.

Rich: I'm sure he does. And without further ado, Jimmy's chomping at the bit. So we have a special guest on tonight. I know I've had it in the blog and we've had it on a podcast a couple of weeks ago. We're going to be talking with a great baseball player. He had a sixteen year career in the major leagues and he's currently a Phillies broadcaster. The one and only Mr. Gary "Sarge" Matthews. Hello, Gary.

Gary: Hi guys, how are you?

Jim: Doing well, Gary.

Rich: Great. And thank you very much for ... Great to be with you and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Gary: Thank you very much.

Jim: Gary, I started reading your book and I've skimmed through it. And I didn't know you went to UCLA. Correct?

Gary: No, no. I didn't.

Jim: Oh. I thought ... Oh okay, I thought ... because I saw something about the UCLA thing and I thought that's where you went.

Gary: Yeah, that was obviously growing up in Los Angeles ...

Jim: Oh, okay.

Gary: ... UCLA or USC you really loved. If you can reach back just a little, Anthony Davis and Charles White went to the same high school. They both attended USC.

Jim: Oh, okay. I just wanted to say that you did some amazing research. It was unbelievable some of the names you brought back.

Gary: Well, that was very, very important for the Philadelphia history because, I mean, you go back over the years, they've had some great players. And the number one pitcher, obviously for me, was Robin Roberts. And I went not so much on stats. Status really did have a lot to do with it, but when you look at Robin Roberts ... And I really have the opportunity working with the Phillies to be able to talk to him, speak with him. And believe it or not, he is too the other guy that gave me a lot of inspiration from talking to him about different players. And when you did, he'd start to shake his head and boy he was getting ready to let you know what a player we were actually talking about. Whether or not it was Steve Carlton or Mike Schmidt or even today's player like a Roy Halladay, boy did Robin Roberts sure like him.

Jim: Yeah. I have a question, speaking about Roy Halladay, I know you're employed by the Phillies. Do you think there's something wrong with this shoulder or something? Or do you think he just had a bad year? Because Rich and I discussed this during the season, it doesn't seem like he had the velocity that he usually has. Do you think there might be something wrong with his shoulder?

Gary: I don’t think he's done the best that he had been pitching. He's such a warrior. He's the type of guy that really never makes excuses. So you never can tell, although the velocity at times were down. But I'd like to think that he was just making bad pitches. Keep in mind, Roy's one of those pitchers, not like a lot of the guys in the past, that would actually knock you down. Roy doesn't do that. And it reminds you a lot of Tom Segar who always said that he didn't have to do that to the batters. He felt he had good enough stuff to get them out with the way that he was pitching as opposed to knocking the guy down or hitting him. Roy's basically the same way and I think the hitters really feel comfortable when Roy is out there pitching because he does have such a point of control. They have a tendency to feel comfortable enough at the plate.

Rich: The books is called Few and Chosen Phillies: Defining Phillies Greatness Across the Eras. We're talking with Gary "Sarge" Matthews and Gary did a lot of great research on this book. How did you fit that into your schedule on the road with the Phillies as a broadcaster? Have you always been a student of the Phillies?

Gary: I assume you know the Phillies have a lot of history. But to really be quite honest, you know when I'm doing the middle innings, it gives you plenty of time early on. And especially after my innings to be able to ask sports writers about different players that have played. It's a way of keeping yourself busy but keeping yourself entrench in what the Phillies were doing. Obviously, the book because a little popular when you're winning and there are positions are definitely up for debate. I think the toughest thing was the second baseman's that I had to pick from obviously picks up the number one guy. But I've got to tell you, the rest of the guys from Manny Trillo here Cookie Rodriguez, all those guys had same similar stats. So then you've got to go on. So here's an employee against that guy and reputation and in Manny Trillo's case, obviously, playing with him is one of the best second baseman's for sure that I've had the opportunity to play with on the same team [inaudible 00:0831].

Rich: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Tony Taylor was pretty good too. Wasn't he?

Gary: Tony was on that list too. Another fan favorite for the Philadelphia Phillies. But again, they're rich in history. They've been here a long time. You'd think that they should have actually maybe even won a little bit more. Again the guys you're looking at right now, let’s face it, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howards, and Chase Utley; it doesn't get any better than that. And I'm really happy, which was late for me, Carlos Ruiz. I'm glad he was on there because he's become not just one of the fan favorites, but he was on for one of those years that debatable would have probably been one of the best years offensively for a catcher in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Rich: That's for sure. And before we did the show tonight, I know I was talking to Jimmy a little bit about the book and he had a question that he wanted to ask you. I told him "well you have to read the book to find that answer because it is in there." And one of the questions was how did you get your nickname "Sarge?"

Gary: Oh god. That is in the book. That represents one of my favorite players. Pete Rose nicknamed me the Sarge and at the time when he said it, I remember it distinctly. Sitting there and he said when a future hall of famer gives you a nickname, it sticks. Well, he ends up getting one part right. He's still obviously not in the hall of fame, but from Chicago, here, even San Francisco, especially on the east coast though, most of the people call me Sarge all the time. And really a lot of those people don’t even know my name is Gary Matthews. They've been calling me Sarge for so long.

Rich: Yeah, that's an awesome story. I really didn't know that before I got the book. And we talked a little about Pete Rose. Do you ever think Pete will see his way into the hall of fame? Or do you think that's just a subject that will remain the same as at least right now?

Gary: Personally for me, the way that Pete played and obviously the hits ... yeah, I would think that he would deserve to play more for me than the guys that have been on steroids. Although now, just keep in mind, as you know, when you walk through the club house, there's a side before you even put on your uniform that states if you gamble on baseball, you are permanently disqualified. So that's rule. That's the disclaimer that you see. And I would think that you ... to put him in, you might have to change the rules to say if you did it one time other than that you would be disqualified. But it's surely there. And every ballpark that you go to, you'll see that sign.

Jim: I was looking through the book and from the outfielders. Sly Williams, I remember reading about him. I have a couple of Phillies books. He was quite a player. Like you said, nobody knew anything about him. It seemed like he was a heck of a ball player.

Gary: When you look at the left fielders. And I went through this. Again, that was another hard choice. And I'm really happy that I didn't get added to the mix. When you look at some of the stats on some of those guys. I don't care what year you played, you really had to put them in there.

Jim: Forty-one home runs.

Gary: Yeah. And some of the guys too now, keep in mind, I put in there not only because I felt that they were good players, but also though having heart. Pat Borrow, I thought just the way that he carries himself, especially when things were going bad. I think that’s how you judge players. I included him on there, along too with Greg Luzinski. There were a lot of sports writers that said that I should've included myself and the fact is, in Philadelphia, I've gone through enough heat so-to-speak. And not wanting to be that [inaudible 00:13:34] whether or not I should’ve been there or not. There's some other left fielders, Loni Smith for one, possibly could have made it. But you know, when you just start to look at a lot of different players and crossing guys out. Not knowing really where to put Richie Allen. From first base, third base, and even the outfield. Obviously as good a hitter as he was, he deserves to be on there. And I'm obviously glad I had him on there. But this wasn't something just sitting down, jotting down names, and researching. This is debating, going back with Dallas Green and some of the other players that have played. There were guys that thought that Gary [inaudible 00:13:23] should've been in front of Jimmy Rollins.

Jim: Yeah.

Gary: Because of his longevity and the way that he was steady.

Jim: Right.

Gary: One of my ex-teammates. That was some good debating back and forth.
Jim: I'll tell you who I think should be in the hall of fame is Gary Maddox. I think that guy was incredible with a glove. And I kind of think, I always like him. They call him the Secretary of Defense. He's always one of my favorite Phillies. I think he should be in there.

Gary: Well, you know what? That's a real good point that you raise, because there's certain players as in Ozzie Smith, that got there because of their defense. And for Gary Maddox, let’s say it doesn't get any better than what he did for the Philadelphia Phillies and winning eight gold gloves in a row. And incidentally when he was traded, I was in the room there. Charlie Fox was the manager there at the time. One of the reasons there ... I think Charlie was still there. You can
check that. But I know for a fact, one of the reasons they were trading him is because they didn't think he was a very good fielder and then leaving there and end up winning eight gold gloves in a row. I think it speaks for itself. One of the best defensive players that our game has ever seen in center field.

Rich: Absolutely and another great fielder you brought up in your book, Gary, was Pat Burrell.

Gary: Yeah.

Rich: Who enjoyed a nine year long career with the Phillies. And somehow, as you mention in the book, he hit more homeruns than Chuck Klein, Greg Luzinski, Dick Allen, and Bobby Abreu. But he never quite caught on with the Phillies fans. And I'm not quite sure why myself.

Gary: Well, a lot has to do with your whole persona where they think you should even be better. Keep in mind, Mike Schmidt didn't really become endured with the fans, although they loved the guy. But they put a lot of pressure on him. There were times when they didn't feel he was the player there to beat at third base. Philadelphia can be a tough, tough place to play, especially in beginning. And it’s also a place I feel, will make a player play better. As long as your able to know that bad things are going to be written about you at times there in the paper. But I've also felt that when the Philadelphia fans, a blue collar type of city and fans, if you give them the effort and they'll let you know their appreciation on how you're coming out there. I mean, I got booed early on with the Phillies. But it takes time for fans to kind of grasp a particular style of a player, especially coming in when I was traded for Greg Luzinski, but they loved Greg Luzinski. Again, he was a great player for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Jim: Gary, I want to ask you somewhat of a loaded question. Was Carlton the best pitcher you ever faced?

Gary: No.

Jim: Okay.

Gary: And that wouldn't be a loaded question. Anytime I felt I was facing a left-handed pitcher, I felt a lot better.

Jim: Yeah.

Gary: Steve Carlton is the best left-handed pitcher I've ever had the fortune playing behind, in the way that he protected. But guys that would really put a little fear in you, easily Bob Gibson.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Gary: Nolan Ryan, Gene Richards. Not necessarily in that particular order. That would give you a lot, a lot of havoc . And there was [inaudible 00:18:37] believe it or not, in facing [inaudible 00:19:40]. The knuckle baller who, again, hall of famer that had that ball dancing there at the plate. You really needed not only to have some rest, but some luck when you're going up against them. That's just how great he was.
Jim: Yeah.

Gary: If you were going up and facing him.

Jim: He was ...

Gary: [inaudible 00:19:02] you could put in that category too.

Jim: What about left-hander, Gary? Was there a left hander that you hated to bat against?

Gary: No, because of the fact that the right handers were always knocking you down. Left-handers the ball kept coming right in to you, was a lot easier to be able to see, to be able to pick up. And again, you just felt a lot more comfortable because that foot wasn't coming near your hip area, like some of those other guys. So you really had to stick in there if you were really going to do well against those guys.

Rich: One of the awards that you've won, Gary in 1983, a lot of people may not know you were the National League Championship Series MVP. And you actually really helped the Phillies get in the world series that year. That to me is one of the forgotten Phillies teams, the '83 season. You and Pete Rose both put in 162 game, full season for the Phillies.

Gary: Yeah.

Rich: Can you talk a little bit about that team?

Gary: Well first of all, once you win it, which was in 1980. And we played very well, I thought, in '81 all the ways being able to contend. In '83, it was one of those years where nothing seemed to actually go right. If you can remember, Pat Corrales was out manager. He was fired at the all-star break and we were in first place!

Jim: Yeah, I remember that.

Gary: Yeah, that was a time too, remember when Paul Owens took over. And during the course of the world series, Pete Rose was there.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Gary: [Inaudible 00:20:48]. It was bittersweet to say the least, but for me being in the world series was a dream come true. I mean, obviously. And the way the first game ... Gary Maddox giving that game winning hit, the very first game in Baltimore and then losing four straight doesn't really sit very well with a lot of people. And I think that’s one of the reason why that team isn't revered liked a lot of the teams that have one. But when you look at that team, we had certainly a bunch of hall of famers.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Gary: On that team. And I for one, that was great being able to be on that team there. We had Tony Perez, [inaudible 00:21:36], obviously Steve Carlton. And stars like John Denny, who was [inaudible 00:21:44] that year, was just a great pitcher. Mike, and one of my best friends, Gary Maddox, it was a great team to play on.

Jim: I remember that world series. I was just going to ask you about John Denny. It's like he had that great year and then, he had some good years after that but not like that year though. He was what 19 when he was unhittable for a while.

Gary: And John, trust me, was one of those types of pitchers that say buckle up when you get ready to face him. He was going to be there for a good 7, 8, 9 innings. And you know, those are the kind of pitchers, not only do you really like facing, but you like on your team because you know they're giving you maximum effort. The same way that you are.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Rich: Absolutely. The book is called Few and Chosen. A wonderful book here. I don't know which book I enjoy more. Your first one that you did after the Phillies won it in 2008, Sarge, or this one. They're both great books. And we appreciate you joining us here on Phillies Talk podcast. Especially, right before Thanksgiving.

Jim: Yeah, it was a thrill Gary. It was a great thrill. It really was. And it's something I'll always remember. Thanks.

Gary: Well, thank you very much. Yeah, the first book I end up doing Phillies Confidential, almost a diary of the season that they end up winning the whole thing. I mean, talk about perfect timing. And I've been getting involved with this book again. You know, you still have the fans. Incidentally, Dallas Green is going
to be coming out with one. I can hardly wait to read that. I mean, he's got some interesting prospects on winning and he's been with several teams. And Dallas is the type of guy that hey, you let him do it his way, he'll bring a winner to your city. And he proved that not only there in Philly, but also I think in Chicago. Their downfall was once Dallas out of there, because you can see the way the team was going. But he was a great baseball man and still is. One of my really good friends. What a pleasure to have played under him as he was the manager when I was there.

Jim: Gary, did you like Chicago? The Cub fans, are they good fans?

Gary: Oh, they're great fans. And the fact is though, the difference for me between Cub fans and the Philly fans is that, in the Philly fans they've got a taste of winning. They know what it's all about. The cub fans it's just as difficult because they haven’t won in any time when anyone can remember. And then you have teams like the Marlins that have gone on and won. And then you have Boston that have won. So you know, it's like still the Philly [inaudible 00:24:49] have a beer or two and leave and have some dinner.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Gary: You know, Philadelphia fans, they're going to talk about it. They're going to not only talk about it, they're going to come out to the ballpark and let you know what they think about you.

Jim: Do you like night games at Wrigley?

Gary: I love night games at Wrigley, yeah. I didn't play there as a player. But you know, it's a think of the times and it's a good atmosphere in that ballpark.

Jim: Those fans deserve a winner though. I love the Phillies but if they can't win it, I'd love to see the Cubs do it. Just in my life time. I'm in my 60's but I'd like to see the Cubs do it, because it would be good for baseball. It really would.

Gary: I think you're right. Every time though you talk to Cub fans, in the end the last statement is well let's wait until next year. I'm sure they're getting tired of that statement.

Rich: Gary, you wore the number 36. Jimmy is a big numbers guy. Sometimes he only remembers players by the number that they were on the team. Any significance for you with the number 36 jersey which you've worn on many of the teams that you've played for?

Gary: Well, it was very simply. I was with the San Francisco Giants just about all of the 20s were taken, so you almost couldn't get a number that was in the 20s. With Mays being 24, so I jumped right over there to 36 right away. And Hank Sour, one of my city coaches is the guy who said "hey, make that number proud" he would say. So I didn't remember at the time that that was Gaylord Perry's number. I probably wouldn't have. But when you're a youngster, you're glad to have any number ...

Jim: Yeah. You were 44 in Philly, right Gary?

Gary: Yeah. That's because ...

Jim: 36 was retired right.

Gary: [Crosstalk] wouldn't let me wear 36.

Jim: Right, right. And you've got [inaudible 00:26:59] has that number now.

Gary: Oh yeah.

Jim: Well, anyway. This has been a real pleasure. I'm telling you. What a thrill this was. You and Chris Wheeler, both of you made my day.

Gary: Thank you, I really appreciate it. Obviously, Wheels is a good friend of mine too. We have a lot of fun up there.

Jim: I'll bet you guys do.

Gary: [Crosstalk] [inaudible 00:27:28] in Philadelphia if you can take constructive criticism, it'll make you a better person or player. Whatever you're doing. And it certain has helped me. I'm very happy and glad to [00:27:43].

Jim: Hey, Gary before we go. You know who makes me laugh? Larry Anderson.

Gary: Oh my gosh, he makes anybody laugh.

Jim: Is he as funny as he seems?

Gary: All the time. He's not even trying to be ...

Jim: Really?

Gary: Funny. Yeah. He has an old style about him. He obviously, like Billy Ball there in Philadelphia. Me and Mrs. Jones. But those umpires, he's got a thing going on.

Jim: Oh, I know. Oh, he rips them on the radio. Yeah, I know.

Gary: I would actually go in the booth and I said "do you actually think they can hear you all the way up here?" And he'll just say it doesn't really matter. It makes him feel better.

Jim: Right, right.

Gary: You know that's his thing. But with him being a pitcher, he can tell what's a strike, what's not a strike.

Jim: Mm-hmm. He must be a ...

Gary: The fact is, if he was wrong they would call him in on that.

Jim: Right, right.

Gary: And talk about it on the umpires, but they never do because most of the time he's right.

Jim: Right, he seems like a nice guy but a real character though.

Gary: He ended up getting married recently there, November 9th. I've got to tell you what. He has the parties of parties.

Jim: Oh, I'll bet he did.

Gary: In Philadelphia for his wedding. I guarantee you, there might have been some there with more people but no one had a better time than the folks there at Larry Anderson's wedding. ...

Jim: Did you go?

Gary: ... they know how to through a party. Of course! Are you kidding me? I wanted to hear him say I do. It was awesome with him and Christy. It was just a beautiful wedding. That's one I'm sure none of us will ever forget. I don't know what he paid for that wedding, but it'll be till death do them part because he isn't giving Christy up ever. I can tell you that. Yeah.

Rich: That's awesome. Well, the books called Few and Chosen: Defining Phillies Greatness Across the Eras. If you want a great holiday read, pick this book up. Gary would appreciate it. And I'll tell you, it's one of the better books on the Phillies that I've read.

Jim: It is. It's awesome. I mean, I thought I knew a lot about the Phillies, but man, I learned some stuff I'd never learned.

Gary: Yeah, we had some funny stories and so on in there. I really regret having not talked to Robin a little bit more. But you know, he was the type of guy that he would give you his all in talking. He didn't think he was too good to talk to anybody. And we talked about some of the black major league players. He said he wanted it all because he played against them. He knew how tough they were. And he was glad that they were integrated at the time, knowing that Philadelphia was the last major league team to have a black player on the team. But the fact of the matter is, the way that they played and some of the guys that have come over, none of the black players that played have any animosity at all. And they always just felt that they were one of the best. I'm glad I've had the chance to meet and know the few that are left there in Philadelphia. It's always a treat to be around the guys.

Jim: I enjoyed the book. I'm sure ... [crosstalk].

Gary: That's where I get my hats from, believe it or not.

Jim: Yeah, I know. I heard you've got quite a hat collection. I collect baseball caps, so I've got a bunch. I collect everything from football, baseball, racing, everything. I've got quite a few, but you've got me blown away.

Gary: Well, on my website and see what you see on there that you like. Maybe I'll send you one if I can get your hat size, okay?

Jim: I appreciate it! I appreciate that. Thank you very much. It's been a pleasure talking to you, Gary.

Gary: My pleasure. Thanks guys. Anytime.

Rich: Thanks. Take care, Gary. Have a great Thanksgiving.

Gary: Same to you.

Jim: All right guys. Thank you.

Gary: All right.

Rich: And that was the great Sarge Matthews, Phillies left fielder.

Jim: Yeah, that was ...

Rich: You know Jimmy, it doesn't seem that long ago that Sarge was our left fielder.

Jim: I know.

Rich: That must be me getting old.

Jim: Yeah, tell me my buddy. But I had to throw that at him that he wore 34. I knew that. Rich, that was something. You outdid yourself man. That was quite a thrill. Maybe you can get Carlton on here someday. Yeah right.

Rich: I'll tell you Jim, as I've talked about in several podcasts before, the Phillies folks that have been coming out over the past few years have been great ballers.

Jim: Yeah, they are all.

Rich: And I really urge people to, if you want to get the book, go out and get it. Go to or your local book shop. When they stop printing certain additions Jimmy, they don't print them anymore.

Jim: I know.

Rich: And they become out of print.

Jim: Right.

Rich: So.

Jim: This is a good book though. This is an excellent book. Anybody that's into Phillies history will like this.

Rich: Absolutely, and it's getting around the holidays time. We had a wonderful chat ...

Jim: Yeah.

Rich: ... with Gary Matthews tonight.

Jim: We're going to do this and okay. And let people know that we're going to do this not December the 9th. We'll go about of weeks [inaudible 00:33:27]. We'll give them a couple weeks off. We'll do it December 9th. We'll do our Christmas show and then we'll come back after the New Years and do it every other week until spring training. Then we'll go back to the regular schedule.

Rich: All right, Jim. We've got some more authors coming up. We'll be talking about some more baseball books. And I can't wait. Everybody that's listening to the show, I hope you have a great Holiday and a nice Thanksgiving. And we'll talk to you soon. Maybe the Phillies will pick somebody up really good, Jim.

Jim: Yeah, that'd be great but let everybody know that unless they make [inaudible 00:34:02] trade or pick up somebody. We'll go to December. But if they do, we'll hop on the air and give you the lowdown. Thanks, I wish everybody a happy holiday and happy Thanksgiving. We'll talk to you on December 9th.

Rich: And thanks for listening to the Phillies talk podcast. Stop by for more.

Jim: Goodnight, Rich.

Well there you have it, the whole transcription of the show we taped with Gary 'Sarge' Matthews last Fall, just before Thanksgiving. Again thanks for for the great job they did with the transcription, and feel free to contact them for any of your transcribing needs. 

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