by Jeff on March 10 at 5:13PM
The Phillies lost more than a coach on Thursday, they lost more than a former player, more than a friend.  The Phillies lost a member of their family when John Vukovich passed away from an inoperable brain tumor on March 8th.

Vuk had two stints as a player for the Phils ('70-'71 & '76-'81), he played for the Reds team that won the World Series in 1975 and was a member of the only Phillies World Series team in 1980.  John Vukovich spent nearly half of his life in a Phillies uniform as a player and coach, and though he was with a few other baseball organizations, Vuk was always a Phillie.

Though John Vukovich probably won't go down in history for his impressive statistics on the field, he will always be remembered as someone who lived and breathed baseball.  He had immense knowledge of the game as was integral in developing a lot of the teams' current players.  Vuk had the longest tenure of any coach in Phillies history, spanning a period of nearly two decades and there isn't a guy who sets foot in the Phils clubhouse this year that won't miss him.

The Phillies have had a lot of problems over the course of their almost decade and a half long playoff drought, from lack of pitching at the front, to lack of pitching in the pen, to just plain stinking it up all over the field, but the last couple years they have been close enough to smell the post season.

I think that on paper they look good, in the very recent past they've had some missing pieces and what looked like a real lack of direction and desire when the game was on the line.  They've filled up their biggest hole with the acquisition of Freddy Garcia in the off season, if they can clean up their bullpen issues, this team has the talent to win the east.  Maybe the loss of one of their own can give them a purpose to go along with their talent and they can get over this wretched hump and into the post season. 

They couldn't pull it together and do it for Ritchie, I hope they can get some focus and do it for Vuk.

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