Photograph © Steven L.J. Russo
The Phillies brought some good pitching with them… David Fanning (9-3, 1.71), Randall Hill (7-3, 2.93), Anthony Meerpohl (6-1, 2.16) and an amazing run at Jack Maloof’s .402 batting title as Kevin Bryant fell just a little bit short batting .397 with 11 HRs, and that is the way the Auburn Phillies’ 1st season would go… they would fall just a little short finishing in 4th place with a 39-30 record. That would all change in 1973 as future Phillies 11 year MLB veteran Randy Lerch was 9-2, 2.91, Dan Botano was 8-3, 2.08 and Larry Jeffcoat was nearly perfect at 7-0, 2.56. Michael Ripley was also good at 5-5 2.65. There was no power in the lineup but future Blue Jays’ Rick Bosetti batted .333 and German Geigel (.322) and Lawrence Hicks (.322) provided some good hitting. Coupled with the great pitching, 1-4 in the rotation... the Auburn Phillies took over 1st place and with it came Auburn’s 6th Championship in 12 years… an absolutely amazing run. It would however, be the end of an era. The Auburn Phillies would find themselves in 2nd place in 1974 and a rapid slide would soon follow. The 1974 team would produce the 1st future MLB All-Star since Jerry Koosman as Lonnie Smith took the outfield for Auburn. Ronald Jackson would provide some power hitting with 11 HRs and a .270 avg and Gary Begnaud would bat .327. The pitching however was simply mediocre and the team fell to 34-32 (.515). The slide came in 1975, as the Auburn Phills went to 31-37 (.456)… the first time that they were under .500 since 1969 and only the 2nd time since 1961. Future Phills/Cubs Dickie Noles (2-2, 3.60) made 9 starts and Neal Cooper was 8-5 with a 2.72 ERA. There was nothing exciting in the hitting dept. aside for James Smoak who hit .435 in 69 At Bats, before being promoted and never coming that close again to a decent average.