Who was Greg Legg? You might remember him playing 14 games with the Philadelphia Phillies between the 1986 and 1987 seasons, as right-handed bat off the bench and backup infielder, mostly playing second but filling in at third and short once or twice. He played his first MLB game on April 18, 1986, just 3 days before his 26th birthday, and played his last fourteen months later, filling in for Steve Jeltz in later innings, going 0-for-1 in a 3-2 win over the Chicago Cubs. But this isn’t the end of his story – not even close.
Greg Legg began his career with the Phillies organization when he was drafted 13th in the 22nd round (#559 overall) in the 1982 June draft, after finishing his college career with Southeastern Oklahoma State University, where he played SS for three years, and was twice named a NAIA All-American. He was one of three players in that year’s 22nd round to see any playing time in the Majors. (An interesting side-note: the first player drafted in the 22nd round was Jim Boudreau, the son of Hall-of-Famer and Cleveland-great Lou Boudreau, as well as the brother-in-law of Denny McLain.)
Besides his two brief stints in the Bigs, he played infield for the farm system (including Portland and Reading) from 1982 until he started coaching with the Clearwater Phillies in 1994. In 1997, he began a 10-year sojourn as a manager for 8 different Phillies farm teams, going 615-654 and making the playoffs three times and the finals once. He has now been the batting coach for the Lakewood BlueClaws since 2008, barring 3 weeks last summer when he filled in as a bullpen coach for the WFC Phillies while Roly de Armus accompanied Team USA to the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Greg “Lifer” Legg is one of those stories about the guy who never made it as a big-time ballplayer but remains an active part of the game he loves so much. I’ll leave you with some more interesting facts about Mr. Legg:
- On January 27, 1996, Greg was named to Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
- Every year, Scranton boosters present the Greg Legg Tenth Man Award to a player who comes off the bench to consistently contribute to the success of their team. Geoff Geary won this award in 2003.
- He had 22 at-bats in 14 games (0 starts) with the Phillies, batting .409 with 1 2B, 1 RBI and 3 R. He has a lifetime fielding percentage of .960 in 25 chances. Check it out.
Next Week: Curt Ford… maybe.