Phillies: Denis Menke, 1993 NL Champion hitting coach, dies
By Matt Rappa
Denis Menke, the Phillies’ hitting coach during the 1993 NL championship season, has passed away.
Following 1950 “Whiz Kid” Bob Miller and the legendary Dick Allen, the Philadelphia Phillies have recently lost a third member of their family.
According to the team’s Tuesday afternoon announcement, 1993 National League champion hitting coach Denis Menke passed away earlier this month at the age of 80. “The Phillies are saddened to learn of the recent passing of Denis Menke,” they said in a statement. “The Phillies organization sends its condolences to his family and friends.”
Menke served as Phillies hitting coach for seven seasons, from 1989 to 1996. Under his guidance, the 1993 Phillies led the National League in hits (1,555), runs (877), doubles (297), RBI (811), walks (665), extra-base hits (504), total bases (2,422), on-base percentage (.351), and OPS (.777).
Prior to his coaching stint with the Phillies, Menke managed in the minor leagues of the Milwaukee Brewers and Toronto Blue Jays, before joining the latter team’s big-league staff as first base coach for the 1980 and 1981 seasons. From 1983 to 1988, the Iowa native served as either the first or third-base coach of the Houston Astros. Menke finished his professional baseball career with the Cincinnati Reds, serving as bench coach from 1997-2000.
A two-time All-Star, Menke played 13 seasons in the majors as an infielder from 1962-74 — six with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves (1962-67), five with the Astros (1968-71, 1974), and two with the Reds (1972-73). During his consecutive All-Star nods in 1969-70, Menke combined to slash .287/.381/.414 with 51 doubles, 11 triples, 23 home runs, and 182 RBI.
In November 1971, Menke was traded to the Reds, along with eventual Hall of Famer Joe Morgan and others, in a multi-player swap. Morgan would go on to play the next eight seasons with the Reds, and eventually also don red pinstripes (albeit as a player) during the 1983 season. The revered Morgan passed away on October 11 of this year at the age of 77.
Rest in peace, Denis and Joe.