One of the coolest things about postseason baseball, apart from the Philadelphia Phillies mashing their opponents into submission, is the chance to experience some wonderful ceremonial first pitches.
The Phillies continue their run to the World Series today in Game 6 of the NLCS with the Arizona Diamondbacks. But before the action gets underway, a former Phillies player, coach and manager will take the field to throw out the first pitch.
Phillies lifer Larry Bowa, 77, will do the honors, per Destiny Lugardo of Phillies Nation, in front of a Citizens Bank Park crowd surely ready to explode.
Larry Bowa's long and storied relationship with the Phillies
A former World Series champion with the 1980 Phillies, Bowa has been with the Phillies organization throughout his career. He began as a shortstop, coming up with the Phillies in 1970 and spent 12 seasons in Philadelphia. The five-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glover quickly became known for his slick fielding and sure hands on the infield.
Bowa was a force for the Fightins through the mid- to late-70s, culminating with probably his best season in 1978 when he hit .294 with 27 stolen bases and finished third in NL MVP voting. If the current-day Phillies are looking for luck for their game tonight, Bowa might be the guy to bring it. He played an integral role in the 1980 World Series win. He hit .316 in the NLCS and .375 in the World Series.
After being traded to the Chicago Cubs for the 1982 season, he finished his career with parts of four seasons in Chicago before finishing with 14 games for the New York Mets and retiring in 1985.
Bowa returned to Philadelphia in 1988 as the third base coach until 1996 and was part of the 1993 team that made it to the World Series. After stints with the Angels and Mariners, Bowa returned to Philly again, this time as the manager. Known for his fiery personality, he led the team to an 86-76 record and was named the NL Manager of the Year. He lasted four seasons in the top job, finishing with a 337–308 record.
His final chapter with the Phillies occurred more recently, in 2014, when he returned again, this time as bench coach. He spent three years in the role before moving into the front office.
Bowa was enshrined to the Philadelphia Phillies Wall of Fame in 1991.