Tuesday, January 29, 2008
From 1997 to 2006 Lieberthal was the Phillies primary catcher and, to a certain extent, its blue-collar soul. From ’97 to ’06 he started 1,035 games for the Phillies, catching 8,993 innings, squatting in the dirt. In his career with the Phillies Lieberthal hit .275 on his way to smacking 150 home runs and 609 RBIs in a Phillies uniform. An All-Star in ’99 & ’00, Lieberthal’s best season was probably 1999, when he caught a whopping 143 games (winning a gold glove along the way), hitting 31 home runs, 96 RBI and had a .300 batting average (.363 OBP) and an adjusted OPS of 123. Lieberthal had 100 Runs Created that season, a career high.
Sadly, the life of a catcher is typically brief and Lieberthal’s ended with the Phillies after he played in just 67 games for the Phillies in 2006. Largely being evicted in favor of the younger Carlos Ruiz and free agent Rod Barajas, Lieberthal went to the West Coast to join the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2007. The move to L.A. was a homecoming for the Glendale, California, native.
Lieberthal barely played in 2007, catching thirty-one games behind the astonishingly durable Russell Martin.
Good luck, Mike. We'll never forget your years of digging fastballs out of the dirt of Veterans Stadium.
I'd like to see him get employed by the Phillies organization at some point in the future.
Rich Baxter / Philly
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