- The Vulture
- April 6, 1937
- 6' 3"
- 200 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 7-19-1960 with DET
Phil Regan attended Wayland Union High School from 1951 to 1955 where he earned varsity letters in football, basketball, and baseball.
Regan had a substantial 13-year career in the majors, with success both as a starter and as a reliever. As largely a starter with the 1960-1962 Detroit Tigers, he went 36-25. Regan won a career-high 15 games in 1963 but was optioned to Syracuse (International League) after poor showings in 1964 and 1965. While there, he purportedly added a "greaseball," which was said to "slide" 15-16 inches.
Regan was a starter with Detroit until he was traded at the 1965 winter meetings to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
His best season came with the Dodgers in 1966 when he went 14-1 with a 1.62 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 116 innings pitched as a reliever. That year, Regan's knack for earning wins in late-inning relief situations caused Sandy Koufax to nickname him "The Vulture". He was an All-Star that year and a key reason why the Dodgers won the pennant.
Regan and Jim Hickman were shipped to the Cubs in April of 1968, and Regan again was named Fireman of the Year, leading the league with 12 relief wins and 25 saves. On July 7 that season he gained victories in both ends of a doubleheader.
In 1969 he pitched for the famous 1969 Cubs who are traditionally said to have "choked", although Regan had 17 saves with a record of 12-6.
Professional coaching career
In 1973, Regan began his coaching career as the head coach at Grand Valley State University, serving in this capacity until 1982. The following year, he began coaching for Major League Baseball, first serving as a minor league pitching instructor and advance scout for the Seattle Mariners in 1983, and then as the Mariners' pitching coach from 1984 to 1986. In 1987, he began a six year stint with the Los Angeles Dodgers as their major league special assignment and advance scout. In the strike-shortened 1994 season, Regan again served as pitching coach, this time for the Cleveland Indians. The following season, he served as manager of the Baltimore Orioles, finishing with a record of 71-73. The remainder of his professional coaching career is summarized below:
- 1996 - Managed Los Angeles Dodgers Triple-A affiliate Albuquerque (finished with a record of 67-76).
- 1997 - Served as Chicago Cubs pitching coach (1997–1998).
- 1999 - Served as Cleveland Indians pitching coach.
- 2000 - Served as Team USA pitching coach at Summer Olympics in Sydney.
- 2002 - Served as West Michigan Whitecaps manager (2002–2003).
- 1989-2009 Has managed different teams in the Venezuelan Winter League for the past 18 seasons, including Leones del Caracas, Navegantes del Magallanes, Cardenales de Lara, Tiburones de La Guaira.
- Managed Leones del Escogido to Dominican Championship in 1987-88 and 1988-89 (including winning the Caribbean World Series in 1988).
- 2009 - St. Lucie Mets pitching coach.
During a June 3, 2011 telescast, Al Hrabosky claimed that Regan - despite his religiosity - threw the "slippery elm."
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