by Mark McDermott/BaseballSacramento.com
Born: December 6, 1945
High School: McClatchy
Junior College: Sacramento City
Bats: Both—Throws: Right
Height: 5-10—Weight: 155
Debut: April 7, 1970
Last Game: October 6,
Teams: Philadelphia 1970-1981; Chicago Cubs 1982-1985; New York Mets
Major League Baseball
missed the boat on Larry Bowa. Unable to make his McClatchy High School baseball team, he went
undrafted even after attending Sacramento City College. It took Philadelphia scout Eddie Bockman’s
repeated prodding to convince the Phillies to take a chance on a player who was described as “a
hand grenade that’s had the pin pulled” and told he wasn’t good
The Phillies signed
the fiery shortstop for $2,000, an investment that would pay dividends beyond belief. With
unlimited determination and a quick temper, Bowa let his fast feet and soft hands do the talking
for him. His defensive positioning always had him in the right place at the right
Carrying a chip on
his shoulder the size of a giant redwood, Bowa often was at odds with teammates, managers,
coaches and members of the media. But, he never let those distractions and detractors affect his
play on the field.
When he retired in
1985, he held the National League record for games played at shortstop with 2,222. He also led
the league in fielding six times and for fewest errors in a season of 150 or more games with
nine. He holds the Major League record for highest fielding percentage for a career at .980 and
for a season of over 100 games at .991. He earned Gold Gloves in 1972 and 1978.
In addition to his
fielding accolades, he developed into a stingy hitter who rarely struck out or was thrown out on
the bases. A switch-hitter, he batted .280 or better four times and had nine seasons with 20 or
more stolen bases. His best season was 1975 when he hit .305.
first season in 1970 when he was third in the N.L. Rookie of Year voting, Bowa formed an
impenetrable left side of the Phillies’ infield along with third baseman Mike Schmidt. From
1976-1981, the Phillies reached the post-season five times, ending a drought dating back a quarter
of a century. He played a significant role in the playoffs in 1980, hitting .316 in the N.L.
Championship Series and then .375 in the World Series as the Phillies captured the first title in
Bowa made the N.L.
All-Star team five times.
Baseball runs in the
Bowa family. Paul Bowa, Larry's father, played minor league ball for the
Sacramento Solons. Frank Demaree, #9
on our list, was Paul's uncle by marriage. Nick Johnson, ranked 23rd overall, is Larry's nephew. Under contract to the
New York Yankees, Johnson is the family's fourth generation to play professional
Career Statistics -- Larry Bowa