Phillies legends honored to help usher in the next generation of international talent

The Phillies understand the importance of linking the past and present.
Philadelphia Phillies dedicated three fields at their Dominican Baseball Academy
Philadelphia Phillies dedicated three fields at their Dominican Baseball Academy / Hunter Martin/GettyImages

The Philadelphia Phillies have always been a franchise that goes above and beyond when it comes to honoring former players whose contributions on the field have left an enduring legacy. Stepping foot in Citizens Bank Park, certain tributes like the Phillies Wall of Fame and Ashburn Alley help remind fans of the legacies left behind by some of the team's greatest players.

On Thursday, the Phillies' latest honor was bestowed upon three former players and a long-time minor league coach at the team's Dominican Baseball Academy. The Phillies announced that three playing fields would be named after a trio of Latin-American Phillies greats. It's a fitting gesture that will seek to inspire the next future stars coming up in the organization, and a great reminder of the hard work it takes to make it from the back fields to the big leagues.

Phillies legends honored to help usher in the next generation of international talent

The Phillies renamed the three playing fields on Thursday to honor former greats Juan Samuel, Bobby Abreu, and Carlos Ruiz. All three former players had remarkable careers with the Phillies, and this tribute comes at a time when the team has a number of intriguing international players garnering attention and being highly ranked by the likes of MLB Pipeline.

Juan Samuel, who was born in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, played parts of seven seasons with the Phillies from 1983 to 1989. During that stretch, he compiled a .263 batting average with 921 hits, 100 home runs, 413 RBI and 249 stolen bases.

Samuel's power and speed combo was on full display during a 1987 season that saw him hit .272 with 28 home runs, 100 RBI and 35 stolen bases, in addition to being named an NL All-Star and Silver Slugger. Samuel, who is the Phillies' special assistant to player development and international scouting, remains an important member of the franchise to this day.

Bobby Abreu spent parts of nine seasons with the Phillies from 1998 to 2026, and was a two-time All-Star in 2004 and 2005. The Venezuelan native hit .303 with 195 home runs, 814 RBI, 1,417 hits and 254 stolen bases in 1,353 games during his Phillies career.

Abreu's best season in Philadelphia came in 2004, when he hit .301 with 30 home runs, 105 RBI and a career-high 40 steals, while making the NL All-Star team and taking home a Silver Slugger award. It's a nice honor for a player who had some of his best seasons in a Phillies uniform, and who is currently in consideration for induction to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Carlos Ruiz's inclusion adds a championship name to the three playing fields that were dedicated on Thursday. The 2008 World Series champion and native of Panama spent parts of 11 seasons with the Phillies from 2006 to 2016. In that time, "Chooch" was an integral leader on and off the field, and his excellent work as a game caller behind the plate resulted in Ruiz being tied with Jason Varitek as the only two players in MLB history to catch four career no-hitters.

His best season came in 2012 when he was named an NL All-Star after putting together a career year that saw him hit .325 with 16 home runs and 68 RBI, statistically the best numbers he produced in his 13 years as an MLB player.

Phillies ownership understands the impact Latin American players and coaches have had on the field for the team

In addition to Samuel, Abreu, and Ruiz having playing fields named after them at the complex, the Phillies also honored long-time minor league manager and coach Roly de Armas by dedicating the bullpen mounds with his name on Thursday.

The development of future MLB players always starts with dedicated mentors, and de Armas has been an important figure in the Phillies minor league system over the last 30 years. It's a nice honor for a man who has dedicated his life to helping young players live out their MLB dreams.

Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer John Middleton understands the impact these four Phillies players and coaches have had on the Phillies franchise over the years, and he was effusive in praise when he spoke about the importance of honoring their legacies at the Dominican Baseball Academy for years to come.

“It’s important for us to not only celebrate the on-field contributions of our Latin American players and staff, but also recognize their legacy in Phillies history,” said Middleton. “All four individuals being honored at these fields today have made a significant impact on our organization and have represented the club in exemplary fashion.”

It's a nice honor for all four men and the latest example of how the Phillies organization succeeds at sustaining a link between the past and the present.