There are probably many Phillies fans who were around during that time who remember the name Greg Legg simply for the sing-song nature of his name. Others who know the organization a little better may know him for being a longtime coach and manager in the minor league system.
You would be forgiven for not remember the 1986 Phillies position player entry in this ‘Phillies 50’ series for his actual contributions on the field as a player with the team. Legg appeared in just 11 games that year, another three in 1987, and that was it for his career in Major League Baseball.
A native of San Jose, California, Legg was the 22nd round selection of the Phillies in the 1982 MLB Amateur Draft out of Southeastern Oklahoma State University. He performed well in the minor leagues as a singles-hitting utility infielder, and received an April 1986 promotion when the Phillies found themselves briefly short-handed.
On April 18, 1986 at Shea Stadium in New York, manager John Felske inserted the 26-year-old for his big-league debut as a defensive replacement for Luis Aguayo, who had himself been pinch-hit for by Joe Lefebvre, for the bottom of the 7th inning.
Legg got to play for five batters behind future Hall of Famer Steve Carlton. With the Phillies trailing 3-2 the left-hander retired the first two Mets batters in the frame. But then a pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases, and Felske lifted Carlton for veteran reliever Kent Tekulve. The next batter, George Foster, delivered a clutch two-run single, and the Mets went on to a 5-2 victory.
Two days later on April 20, 1986 while the club was still at Shea Stadium, Legg would get his first shot at the plate. During an 8-0 Mets shutout victory, Felske brought him in to play second base in the bottom of the 5th inning. He then led off the top of the 6th, flying out to center field off Mets’ lefty starter Sid Fernandez.
His first big-league hit would come exactly one week later in his very next appearance. During a 13-5 loss to the host Pittsburgh Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium on April 27, 1986, Legg was sent up as a pinch-hitter for reliever Dave Stewart. Facing former Phillies 1980 World Series hero Bob Walk, Legg drilled a clean single.
After that, Legg was sent back down to the minors. He would be called up again when rosters expanded in September and over eight more appearances would receive three starts. In the first of those on September 16, 1986 at Veterans Stadium against the Pirates, Legg enjoyed a three-hit game in which he produced his first big-league RBI in leading the Phillies to a 9-5 victory.
Legg played the entire game at second base that night. In the final two games of the season he would start both, playing full games at shortstop and second base respectively. For the year, Legg finished with a .450/.450/.500 slash line with nine hits including a double and an RBI over 20 plate appearances.
His three games the following season all came during a brief week-long mid-June promotion. Though it would be his final taste of big-league life as a player, Legg would stay with the Phillies organization for seven more seasons, serving as a utility infielder at the Triple-A level through 1994 after which he retired at age 34.
Once his playing career was over, Legg continued showing his loyalty to the organization. He has served continually since 1994 as a coach and manager at various levels of the Phillies minor league system through the 2010 campaign. In 2019, Legg was the bench and third base coach with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
Last April, Tom Housenick at The Morning Call spoke to Legg on his playing career and how it prepared him for the coaching ranks.
“I thought I had some decent years,” Legg said. “Looking back, when you’re always wiser, I got to rub elbows with Mickey Morandini, Kevin Stocker and Kim Batiste. They all went to the big leagues. In a small way, I started coaching earlier than I knew at the time.”
The minor league baseball season has been cancelled. But it is expected that Legg will once again return to coach or manage somewhere in the Phillies system once baseball returns to some semblance of normalcy, hopefully for the 2021 campaign.