Von Hayes Comes Home

Former Phillie to manage Camden Riversharks

Von Hayes, the infamous five-for-one Phillie who never quite lived up to the hype, will get a shot at baseball redemption in the Philly area.

Hayes was announced as the new manager of the independent Atlantic League’s Camden Riversharks Monday.

The move was a bit of a surprise considering that Hayes suddenly resigned his post as manager of the rival Lancaster Barnstormers during last season.

But, for Hayes maybe this move can bring some salvation in the area where he was once hailed but quickly became the punch line of jokes and became the poster boy of late-80’s Phillies ineptitude.

“I’m coming home,” said Hayes. “It’s great to be back in the South Jersey and Philadelphia area, and I’m extremely excited about managing the Riversharks this upcoming season. I’m sure we’re going to have a great year, and there is no mystery about it -- our goal is to win the championship,” he added.

Despite troubled times in Philly there are still 20-and 30–somethings who wear No. 9 on their softball jerseys as an ode to Hayes.

“Purple” Hayes (thanks Chris Berman) came to the Phillies from the Cleveland Indians in Dec. 1982. The Phillies thought they were getting a five-tool player who could complement superstar third baseman Mike Schmidt. Instead they got an average outfielder who would make only one All-Star game in nine seasons in Phillies baby blue.

Hayes hit .272 with 124 home runs, 232 doubles and 202 steals while driving in 568 for the Phillies from 1983 to 1991. His best season was 1986 when he led the National League with 107 runs scored (it helped batting ahead of NL MVP Schmidt) and 46 doubles.

To be fair it didn’t help his cause in Philly that the Phightins traded future batting-champ Julio Franco to the Indians for Hayes.

But, the Hayes story did have a happy ending. The Phillies traded Hayes to the Angels for future General Manager Ruben Amaro in Dec. 1991. Amaro, this season, made up for that uneven Phillies-Indians trade by prying postseason-ace Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco away from Cleveland in a trade that seems to be falling in the Phils’ favor.

Besides the Barnstormers, Hayes has also managed minor league teams in South Bend, Ind.; Modesto, Calif.; and Midland, Texas.

He will officially be introduced as the Sharks manager at a press conference Thursday night.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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