March 30, 1981:
Entering the 1981 season as reigning World Series champions, the Phillies were hesitant to mess with a successful formula, with one notable exception: Greg “The Bull” Luzinski. With the franchise since the 1968 draft, Luzinski had become a fan favorite, displaying considerable power from the right side. By 1980, however, The Bull was struggling offensively and in danger of losing his spot in left field to rookie Lonnie Smith. Rumors of his exit continued throughout the off-season, and intensified once the Phillies traded for outfielder Gary Matthews. A week later, Luzinski’s thirteen year career with the franchise came to an end, sold to the Chicago White Sox for $200,000.
Calling himself “a very emotional person”, Luzinski fought back tears at the press conference announcing the deal and believed he would need time alone to come to terms with the trade. Phillies GM Paul Owens had grown close to his outfielder and described the difficulty of trading someone he had known for thirteen years while promising, “he’ll always be a part of the Phillies family”.
After four successful seasons as the White Sox’s designated hitter, Owens’ words proved prophetic. Shortly after his retirement, Luzinski would re-introduce himself to the Phillies fanbase, frequently appearing in commercials and making appearances at the team’s baseball camps. Luzinski can now be found holding court at his “Bull’s BBQ” food stand, located by the left field gate in Citizens Bank Park.
Photo: George Reynolds