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Dancy reaches the Majors

November 17, 2004 - Eastern League (EL) - Reading Fightin Phils News Release

The Phillies have completed their major league coaching staff, filling the vacant positions of pitching coach, hitting coach and third base coach.

Former R-Phils Manager Bill Dancy has been named the Phillies new third base coach. For Dancy, Reading's all-time winningest manager and a Reading Baseball Hall of Famer, it will be his first time in the Major Leagues.

“Bill is as dedicated a baseball man as there is,” Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel said. “He has served in a variety of capacities for us over the years and his resume at the minor league level speaks for itself.”

Other than the two years he managed in the Braves’ minor league system (1996-97), Dancy has spent his entire baseball career with the Phillies since being drafted by the organization in 1973. The 53-year-old has been a minor league player (1973-78), minor league manager (1979-1995, 1998-99) and minor league coordinator (2000-04). He has been the Field Coordinator since 2001. In 19 years as a minor league manager, Dancy compiled a record of 1,518-1,414 (.518), won Manager of the Year honors in 1983 and led three teams to championships: Peninsula in 1980, Clearwater in 1983 and Reading in 1995.

With Reading, Dancy owns a franchise record 350 wins as the manager. He was the manager in 1983 when the club won an R-Phils record 96 games. Dancy was inducted in the Reading Baseball Hall of Fame in August of 1995, one month before he led Reading to the Eastern League title. Dancy was inducted into the Reading Baseball Hall of Fame a second time in 2003 when the 1983 club was enshrined as a team.

Manuel has also selected Rich Dubee as the new pitching coach, Marc Bombard as the new first base coach . Milt Thompson moves from first base to hitting coach. Gary Varsho (bench), Ramon Henderson (bullpen) and Mick Billmeyer (catching instructor) will remain in their same positions.

In addition to Dancy, Varsho (1999-2000), Thompson (1998-1999) and Henderson (1997) have all coached or managed the Reading Phillies.

“I have had the opportunity over the last two years to spend a lot of time with these guys,” said Manuel, who served as a scout and instructor in the Phillies’ player development system from 2003 through the 2004 season. “I’ve traveled with them, coached with them and learned a lot of baseball from them. I have been totally impressed with their knowledge and how they go about their business.”

Dubee, 47, has been a pitching coach in the Philles’ minor league system the past three years with single-A Clearwater (2002) and triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (2003-04). He had spent the previous eight years with Florida as a minor league pitching coach and coordinator (1994-97) and the major league pitching coach for four seasons (1998-2001). During his time with the Marlins, Dubee oversaw the early development of pitchers Josh Beckett, A.J. Burnett, Matt Clement, Livan Hernandez and Brad Penny.

“From the start of this process, I wanted a pitching coach with major league experience and Rich has that,” said Manuel. “He knows about our team and impressed me very much in the interview.”

Bombard, who turned 55 on Monday, leaves the minor league ranks as the winningest active minor league manager with a career managerial record of 1,556-1,530 (.535). He joined the Phillies in 1997 as manager of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and in his eight years with the club, led the Red Barons to the postseason five times. This will mark Bombard’s second major league coaching position, having served as Cincinnati’s third base coach in 1996. He is currently managing in the Venezuelan Winter League.

“Bomby has had great success as a manager in our system,” said Manuel. “He is highly respected in the baseball community and has an uncanny ability to communicate and get the best out of his players.”

Thompson will begin his second year as a major league coach, his first as hitting coach. In 2004, he served as the club’s first base coach and baserunning instructor. During spring training, Thompson worked with shortstop Jimmy Rollins on his hitting that resulted in Rollins’ getting a career-high 190 hits, the fifth-best total for a Phillie since 1979. Rollins’ bunt hits went from three in 2003 to 10 in 2004. Thompson also worked with the Phillies pitchers on bunting. In 2004, the club had 64 sacrifices, up from 46 the previous season.

“Milt did a fantastic job with Rollins,” said Manuel. “He worked with a lot of our current players when they were in the minor leagues and I feel he is exactly what we need at the major league level. I love his energy and his makeup along with his ability to communicate with players.”

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Eastern League Stories from November 17, 2004

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