There may be no more perfect candidate in the entirety of this ‘Phillies 50’ series than the position player entry from the 1975 ball club. He stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter in a single late-May game in what would prove to be the lone plate appearance and game in his big-league career.
Larry Fritz was chosen by the New York Mets in the MLB June 1969 Secondary Phase draft process. He would appear in five seasons in the Mets farm system before moving on to the Phillies where he would spend most of 1974 with Double-A Reading and 1975 at Triple-A Toledo.
On May 30, 1975 manager Danny Ozark gave Fritz his only opportunity in Major League Baseball. During a 5-0 loss to the Houston Astros at Veterans Stadium, Ozark inserted Fritz as a pinch-hitter for Larry Christenson with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning. Fritz flew out to Houston left fielder Greg Gross off Astros’ pitcher Doug Konieczny, wrapping up a complete game for the right-hander.
Still with the Phillies a week later, Fritz was sent back to Triple-A Toledo to play first base there when Mud Hens’ first baseman Andy Kosko suffered a broken wrist. The Phillies called up outfielder Mike Rogodzinski from Reading to replace Fritz, who was never heard from again in the big-leagues.
Fritz moved on to play a pair of seasons in the Mexican League in 1976 and 1977 before retiring from pro ball at age 28. In July 2010, Fritz died at age 61 after what was described as “a long battle with numerous lingering illnesses” leaving behind a wife and two children.
The picture accompanying this story shows Fritz in the uniform of the New York Mets. There are no known photos of him during this quick appearance with the Phillies.