Former Phils Skipper Ozark Dies

Danny Ozark, one of the most winning managers in Phillies history died Thursday morning at his Florida home. He was 85.

Ozark managed the Phils during one of their most successful periods during the 1970's. He guided the Phightins to a 594-510 record from 1973 to 1979 -- his places third on the team's all-time wins list.

He is still the only manager to win three-straight division crowns with the Phils. (A mark Charlie Manuel could match this year).

His Phils twice won a team-record 101games.

The Associated Press and The Sporting News named Ozark Manager of the Year in 1976 when he led the team their first NL-East crown.

Ozark played Minor League baseball for parts of 18 seasons but never reached the majors as a player.

His shot at the big show happened on November 1, 1972 when the Phillies hired him to lead a then last placed team. By 1976 he had clawed the Phillies out of the basement and to the top of the NL East.

Despite all of his success Ozark never led the Phillies to the World Series. He was fired 133 games into the 1979 season with the underachieving Phils two games under .500.

Former players remembered Ozark well.

“I was saddened by the news... he was a good friend, my first major league manager, played a major role in early years my career, and was instrumental in building us into prominence in the mid-1970's. He brought a wealth of baseball experience from his years with the Dodgers to Philadelphia and we were fortunate to have him as our leader throughout that time. My wife and I extend our deepest sympathy to Ginny and the Ozark family,” said Phillies Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.

“Danny was the guy that took us from last to first. He was the perfect manager for the Phillies in the 70's. He had the patience of Job and helped all of us grow up as men and players. He was a wonderful man. He will be missed but his legacy will live on,” said former catcher Bob Boone.

His last managing job was with the San Francisco Giants in 1984.

His wife of 60 years, Ginny; their two children, Dwain and Darlene; three granddaughters; and four great-grandchildren survive Ozark.

Contact Us