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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Phillip Wellman, Baseball Field - 2368

Phillip Wellman reflected on his long career in baseball in 2011 to his hometown San Antonio Express-News.

It was a career in which Wellman has now spent three decades as a player, coach or manager in the minors.

"This is what I know and I enjoy it," Wellman told The Express News. "When the good Lord calls me home I hope I am on a baseball field."

It has been on a baseball field that Wellman has almost exclusively made his living. It was also on a baseball field that, on one night in June 2007, as manager of the AA Mississippi Braves, Wellman made his name.

And that name, to many fans who don't know his real one, became "That Manager Who Threw the Rosin Bag as a Grenade."

Wellman's career began in 1984, signed by the Braves as an undrafted free agent, out of Sam Houston State.

With the Braves, Wellman started at single-A Anderson, hitting .222, over 68 games. He moved to single-A Sumter in 1985, improving his average to .269.

At Sumter, Wellman also hit 21 home runs, hitting two of them in a late April matchup. In July, he won league Player of the Month honors.

"My main concern is RBIs," Wellman told The Sumter Daily Item in May. "My job is to drive in runs and I get a thrill out of doing it. Of course, hitting a homer is a pretty good feeling, too."

Wellman finished up his playing career the next season, getting his last extended time with the Twins at single-A Kenosha.

By 1988, Wellman was a coach with the Braves at rookie Pulaski. He moved to single-A Burlington in 1990. His first managerial job came in 1992 with the Gulf Coast Legaue Orioles. After stops elsewhere, Wellman then returned to Burlington in 1997 as manager.

In 2000, Wellman got his only time at AAA, as hitting coach at AAA Louisville for the Reds. He returned to the Braves system in 2004 and arrived at AA Mississippi in 2006, becoming manager in 2007.

It was in that first managerial stint with Mississippi that Wellman made his other name. Upset at his pitcher being ejected, Wellman went on at three-minute tirade that included him covering home plate with dirt, marking out a new, large one, pulling up both second and third base, throwing one.

He then crawled toward the mound and lobbed the rosin bag/faux grenade toward home and walked off with bases in hand. All of it, of course, was caught on video.

For the tirade, Wellman was suspended three games. Back on the field, he continued managing Mississippi through 2010, winning the 2008 Southern League Championship.

He moved to the Cardinals and AA Springfield as hitting coach in 2011. For 2014, Wellman is returning to managing, accepting the top spot with the AA Arkansas Travelers of the Angels' organization.

In 2011, Wellman coached young Cardinals prospect Matt Adams, liking what he saw.

"He's extremely humble and that’s what allows him to stay on an even keel and keep a positive attitude," Wellman told Tag Magazine. "There's not much that gets him down and I think that's an element in any player's ability to improve is to admit what your weaknesses are."
1990 CMC-Pro Cards Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:1,473
Made the Majors: 742 - 50.4%
Never Made Majors: 731-49.6%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 323
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 192

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