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PN Interview: Terry Mulholland

This weekend, Phillies Nation was granted VIP Access to Sports Vault’s All Access program at the Philadelphia Sports Card Show and Convention. There, we were able to speak to a number of the guests which included many Phillies, past and present. For the next week, please check out our exclusive interviews and give our friends at Sports Vault a click for the best sports memorabilia and upcoming autograph signings!

Note: This interview with Mulholland was conducted under the context of it being used for the final product of our upcoming Phillies Nation 100 project. To read Mulholland’s PN Top 100 entry, please click here.

Ian Riccaboni, PN: When you were traded to the Phillies, they weren’t quite a contender yet. What were the expectations of the team at that point?

Terry Mulholland: Well, that was in July of ’89 and it was Charlie Hayes, Dennis Cook, and myself in exchange for Steve Bedrosian and I believe Rick Parker, who later on, I believe was a player to be named later. Obviously, at that time, the Phillies were struggling a little bit. Ya know, Bedrosian was one of the finest relievers in the game and the Giants were in the pennant race that year so a deal was made. Young guys from the Giants came over to the Phillies and I think it turned out really well for all three of us involved in the trade because we were given the opportunity to take the ball and run on a regular basis for the next few years. Charlie got to play third base, Dennis went on to have a very nice career; I had the opportunity to make my contributions to the Phillies organization for a few years, too.

IR, PN: Was there a year where you sensed things were changing or turning around for the Phillies? (The Phillies) acquired you, John Kruk from the Padres, Lenny Dykstra from the Mets…

TM: Yeah, Lee Thomas did a great job assembling a group of guys. We weren’t big named ball players leading the league in anything but we came together as a very good team in terms of playing baseball the way you are supposed to play it. It was a hardnosed group of guys and I take my hat off to Lee Thomas and, later, Jim Fregosi, for putting up with us and getting us to win ballgames.

IR, PN: How important was Jim Fergosi? There was a lot of different personalities of folks like Dykstra who seemed fiery to the public and Dutch who seemed laid back.

TM: Jim was a player’s manager. He wasn’t going to treat you like a kid. We were all men in his eyes and our biggest responsbility was to go out between the foul lines and give him everything he asked for from us and it turn, he let us do whatever we wanted outside those lines.

IR, PN: Who would you say was your favorite battery mate? I know you were caught by Dutch, Todd Pratt

TM: And Steve Lake earlier on. They were all great and they all handled the game how they saw I could best utilize what I had that day. I didn’t always have the best stuff every time out but Dutch and Steve and Todd were always really good about communicating and we were always honest. Nobody was blowing smoke up anyone’s ass. If you didn’t have it that day, they would tell you. But then the days when you had the good stuff, it was a lot of fun.

IR, PN: What was it like in ’93 to finally break through and get to the NLCS against the Braves and then the World Series against the Blue Jays?

TM: It was something that whole group of guys worked awfully hard for. It wasn’t just the guys who showed up in ’89, ’90, or ’91. It was also the young players that stepped in and made large contributions. Kim Batiste is a guy who comes to mind. Batty, it seems like, that year came up with clutch hits and clutch plays in the field. You can look across the whole roster and find someone who contributed in a big game at any point in the season. To me, it was really rewarding seeing us as a group of guys to see hard work paying off and to see some success out of it. We came up short in Toronto but we had a great time getting there.

IR, PN: You still hold the club record for pickoffs in a season and in a career. What was your secret?

TM: Well, my secret was when I was a little boy my parents always told me it was wrong to steal so I took that literally. So, as a lefthander, I was able to come up with a rather quick step-off pick move to first. I was also rather diligent in recognizing when guys were taking their leads, ya know, and looking for little nuances to see if they were going, like if they were turning their toe out toward second base or if they were getting a little further out, where their weight was shifted. Having a good snap throw to first, I was really able to screw with them a lot. I had guys diving back to first more than they were taking off to second.

IR, PN: I guess Otis Nixon was a guy who was on base a lot. You probably didn’t see Rickey (Henderson) too much in your Phillies days?

TM: No, I didn’t see Rickey with the Phillies. I used to see him a lot in Spring Training when I was with the Giants in my younger days. I saw him a little later on, too, with some American League clubs. Otis was a challenge, Vince Coleman was a challenge, he was very fast, Tim Raines was another. That’s one of the things I cherish about my career: there were speed demons on the bags and they didn’t succeed very much against me. I kind of liken it to not giving up home runs in the steroid era.

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