Former Phillies Shortstop, Coach Ruben Amaro, Sr. Dies
The Phillies lost a long-time member of the organization on Friday. Ruben Amaro, Sr., who played six seasons for the Phillies and spent many years coaching and scouting for the Phillies, passed away at 81. Amaro was the father of former Phillies player and general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr., and part of a family very involved in professional baseball.
Amaro first came to the Phillies in 1960 as the organization's primary shortstop and stayed with the club until 1966, when he joined the New York Yankees. Amaro played in one season with the California Angels before re-joining the Phillies organization. Amaro won a Gold Glove award with the infamous 1964 Phillies.
Amaro served first as head scout in the Carribbean, assisting Phillies farm director Dallas Green. Amaro then joined Green's coaching staff in the Major Leagues serving as the team's first base coach. Amaro won a World Series ring with the Phillies in 1980.
Amaro was very well-known as manager and general manager for Águilas del Zulia in the Venezuelan Winter League. It was Amaro who hired former Phillies utility infielder Pete Mackanin to serve as his manager. That connection helped get Mackanin on Amaro Jr.'s radar, leading to his hiring as bench coach in 2009.
Amaro left the organization after the 1982 season, but returned in 1999 as minor-league field and defensive coordinator. Amaro's last managing job with the Phillies was managing the Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2002 and 2003. Amaro was a candidate for the manager's job when Green was fired in 1981 and when Terry Francona was fired in 2000.
Rory Costello of SABR (the Society for American Baseball Research) put together an extensive biography of Amaro. In the piece he quoted Amaro as having real love for the Phillies:
“I never wanted to leave the Phillies – never,” Amaro continued. “The times I left, they were the biggest boo-boos of my life. Not so much the first time, though, because I joined Dallas Green with the Cubs and he built something, which I don’t think he gets enough credit for.”
Club rules prohibited Amaro from working for his son when Amaro Jr. became th e Phillies general manager.
In recent times, Amaro worked for the Baseball Assistance Team, which helps former minor league, Major League, and Negro League players with financial and medical assistance.