Wow, one of the reasons I enjoy this thread is because it allows me to take a walk down Phillie memory land and two of them in particular, Ray Culp and Billy McMillon, gave me pause to reminisce about two of my favorite Phillie teams, one very good and one that was at mid season almost historically bad.
First to Culp, he a member of the ill-fated 1964 near missers. As many of you know I have always been a big defender of Gene Mauch and his managing of the '64 Phils and their pitching staff. But my defense has its limits and Culp is the reason. He was 14-11 in 1963 and was voted the NL Rookie Pitcher of the Year and in 1965 he had an even better year at 14-10.
But for some reason Mauch put Culp in his doghouse sometime in early August of 1964 and was a major reason that the team was starting pitcher short handed heading into the final weeks of September.
Culp started the season in the rotation, along with Bunning, Bennett and Mahaffey. Chris Short started the season in the bullpen. Culp was floundering along with a 1-5 record until mid June but from June 14-July 22 he won 7 games [in only 41 games played and entered late July with an 8-7 record. But for whatever reason he was removed from an early August start in New York with a 6-0 lead in the 2nd inning [Phils went on to win 8-1] and never started another game that year, instead making six mop up relief appearances.
To this day no one knows why Culp was removed from the rotation though catcher Clay Dalrymple theorized it was because Culp gained 10 pounds during that period and Mauch didn't like it. I do know Culp never forgave the Phillie manager because in 1989 when the team had their 25 year reunion, Culp was a healthy absentee and players indicated it was because "Culp hates Gene Mauch."
As for McMillion, he was part of a late 1997 season outfield group, along with Midre Cummings and Tony Barron, who helped the Phils finish their last 60 games with a 38-22 record. This came after an historically inept first 102 games [30-72] which had them being compared to the '62 Mets.
McMillon hit his first home run, a grand slam against the Giants, to help beleaguered Matt Beech win a rare game in early August and continued to hit all season, albeit in limited games played.
Still, he Cummings [who hit .303] and Barron [who hit over .290] all were young guys who could help the team in future years. Instead, none of them made the 1998 team and in a very strange set of circumstance never played another game with the Phils. I always found this strange, still do.
But to me, both Culp and McMillon played roles in two very fascinating and interesting teams in Phillie history,