He is the greatest third baseman in Major League Baseball history, FOX 29's Howard Eskin says. In a different era of offense, his numbers jump out at you.
Eskin recently sat down with Hall-of-Famer Mike Schmidt to talk about his Phillies career, regrets and to tell a few new stories.
Some of the interview aired over the weekend during FOX 29 Sports Sunday, and Eskin is continuing to play parts of their conversation this week, as we mark 25 years since Schmidt's retirement.
It's amazing what you see looking back on Schmidt's career and his numbers, Eskin said. Looking back, we all look sometimes at things that could have been. We know he had a great career. But regrets? There were a few. One was not managing.
"The perfect scenario, the perfect storm, if you will, happened," Schmidt said. "I managed in the minor leagues, got a year's worth of it, communicating inside the organization about player development – basically, doing what I was told. I was no different than any other manager at the lower level. I did my job, went to work every day, worked hard, did my best. And then, at the end of the year when Larry (Bowa) was fired, I thought that I might get an interview with the Phillies for the major league job, and (former General Manager) Ed Wade asked for me not to pursue it because they were going to hire somebody with major league experience. And of course, Ruben Amaro (Jr.) was assistant GM then, and he had a close relationship with Charlie Manuel. And they made what, looking back now, was the right decision, they hired Charlie Manuel. But I never did get to interview."
Asked by Eskin if he regrets not getting a manager job in the big leagues, Schmidt said, "Oh, I'll always wonder how well I would have done. I'll always wonder if I would have been the right guy or – probably would have had to have been a Phillies job somewhere along the line. I'll always wonder what it would have been like to manage the Phillies."
Schmidt continued, "You know the old story I always get about managing the Phillies is why would I want to manage the Philadelphia Phillies because I'm well-respected in the town, it's very comfortable for me to come to the town now, go into the stadium, be around people. I'm on a real high with the city of Philadelphia and Phillies baseball fans, why would I want to go and manage the team and end up getting fired? Because all managers eventually get fired. All managers are second-guessed. You know, all managers have their detractors in the fans – you're sort of 50 percent liked and 50 percent don't like you. Why would I want to take away what I have in this town right now by becoming manager of the Phillies? That was sort of like the advice that Charlie Manuel gave me. 'You've gotta be crazy. They don't want to hire you because they don't want to have to fire you.'"
In the video clip above, you'll also hear "Michael Jack" discuss four additional topics: his 500th home run, retiring, current Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, and No. 20's relationship with the fans.