Former MVP perfect for Phillies-Athletics opener first pitch

Pitcher Bobby Shantz, of the Philadelphia Athletics (Photo by: Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
Pitcher Bobby Shantz, of the Philadelphia Athletics (Photo by: Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images) /
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Bobby Shantz would be perfect for the first pitch at the Phillies-Athletics opener.

From 1901 to 1954, the Philadelphia Phillies were not the only professional baseball team in the City of Brotherly Love — so were the then-called Philadelphia Athletics. The A’s then moved to Kansas City in 1955, before relocating to their current home in Oakland in 1968.

For just the 19th time, both franchises will face each other come Opening Day of the 2022 season — Friday, April 8, at Citizens Bank Park. And Reddit user Mugglecostanza has the perfect person in mind to throw the first pitch of the season — eight-time Gold Glove Award winner, three-time All-Star and 1952 American League MVP, pitcher Bobby Shantz.

The Pottstown, Pennsylvania, native turned 96 years young last September. Shantz makes regular public appearances in the area as a frequent Philadelphia Sports Card & Memorabilia Show autograph guest.

While he may not be able to throw the full distance from the Citizens Bank Park mound, the Phillie Phanatic could surely lend the baseball legend a helping hand to make a first pitch special.

Shantz earned the 1952 MVP honors as a member of the Philadelphia Athletics; that season, he impressively went 24-7 with a 2.48 ERA, 1.048 WHIP and 152-63 strikeouts-to-walks ratio spanning 33 starts and 279 2/3 innings. Twenty-seven of his outings were complete-game efforts.

Shantz started his 16-year career by playing five seasons for the Philadelphia A’s, before the franchise relocated to Kansas City in 1955.

Fittingly, in 1964, the left-handed pitcher’s career ended in Philadelphia — this time a member of the Phillies, as the franchise purchased him from the Chicago Cubs in mid-August. Through his final 14 appearances in relief, Shantz went 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA and 0.906 WHIP.

More. Phillies announce revised 2022 Spring Training schedule. light

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