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Former Athletics infielder, outfielder Tony Phillips dies
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PHOENIX (AP) — Tony Phillips, an infielder and outfielder who made the final defensive play in the Oakland Athletics’ sweep of the Giants during the earthquake-interrupted 1989 World Series, has died. He was 56.
Oakland did not provide a cause of death Friday in announcing Phillips’ passing, which the club said occurred Wednesday in Arizona and was unexpected.
“I am in total shock. Played golf with Tony Phillips last week he was driving the ball over 300 yards seemed so healthy and full of life,” former A’s slugger Jose Canseco posted on Twitter. “RIP Tony Phillips. My thoughts and prayers with your family at this tough time. Going to miss you.”
Phillips played nine of his 18 major league seasons with the A’s, and he also spent five years with Detroit, two each with the Angels and White Sox and one year for both the Mets and Toronto. He returned to Oakland for his final season in 1999 and was a career .266 hitter with 160 home runs and 819 RBIs in 2,161 games.
“The Oakland A’s lost another member of our family this week with the unexpected passing of Tony Phillips,” team President Michael Crowley said. “We all have fond memories of Tony making the final play in the A’s 1989 World Series. He was a remarkable player. Our thoughts are with his family.”
News of Phillips’ death rocked baseball early in spring training, from Arizona to Florida.
“The Detroit Tigers were saddened to learn of the passing of Tony Phillips,” the club said in a statement. “Tony was an exciting player to watch and became a fan favorite during his years in Detroit. The Tigers organization extends our deepest sympathies to Tony’s family.”
White Sox manager Robin Ventura, who played with Phillips in Chicago in 1996 and 1997, remembered him as a fun and hard-working teammate.
“He brought a lot of spirit to your team,” Ventura said. “He was a great player, a very dedicated guy and just played hard every day. He was the loudest guy in the room, but a fun guy to play with.”