You would think that in running a series on players who made the least impact for the various Phillies 1971-2019 teams we would come across more than a few catchers.
The idea of some backstop getting a brief call-up to fill-in on an emergency basis due to an injury to a catcher at the big-league level and then not being heard from again is certainly not too far-fetched. That is exactly the case with the 1988 Phillies position player entry in this ‘Phillies 50’ series.
Al Pardo was the second round pick of the Baltimore Orioles in the 1980 MLB Amateur Draft out of a Tampa, Florida high school. During the course of the 80’s he rose through the O’s minor system. In July 1985 he was promoted and spent the final three months of that season in Major League Baseball serving as backup to veteran starter Rick Dempsey.
Pardo got into 34 games that year and then another 16 with the Orioles over June and July of the 1986 season. Granted free agency, Pardo then bounced around the National League East over the next couple of years from the Braves to the Mets to the Phillies, who purchased him from New York at the 1988 trade deadline.
When rosters expanded in September, Pardo got the call to Philadelphia and would appear in just two games with the 1988 Phillies. Both of those would come against the Chicago Cubs, one at The Vet, another at Wrigley Field.
During the first game of a September 5, 1988 doubleheader at Wrigley, Pardo was entered by manager Lee Elia in as a defensive replacement for starting catcher John Russell. It was the bottom of the 6th inning and the Phillies were getting romped 10-3 in a game they would ultimately lose by 14-3. He would get one at-bat, striking out swinging against Cubs reliever Drew Hall.
His only other appearance with the team also came during a blowout loss to the Cubbies. On September 13, 1988 he took over the catching chores from starter Lance Parrish with the club trailing by what would be the final 9-2 score. He would make the final out of the game, once again striking out swinging, this time against Mike Bielecki.
Two appearances as a defensive replacement in blowout losses. Two times at-bat, both swinging strikeouts. Doesn’t get much less impactful than that.
Pardo would get to appear in one game the following season. On September 9, 1989 at Montreal the Phillies would get walked off by the host Expos by a 6-5 score. Pardo caught the bottom of the 8th in place of starter Darren Daulton, then grounded out for the final out in the top of the 9th inning while the game was still tied.
And that would be it for his big-league career. Thank goodness he had those 50 games with the Orioles mid-decade, because Pardo’s three appearances with the Phillies at the end of the decade were most definitely forgettable.