Tommy Greene, then in his early 20s, made brief appearances with the Atlanta Braves in 1989 and '90, but he was basically part of Atlanta's pitching stockpile.
"If I started and did well, I'd get another start," Greene said. "If I didn't, I'd be back in the bullpen or back in the minors. I never would have had the chance to do what I've done with Philadelphia."
Greene, now 26 and known as Jethro among the Phillies because of his rural North Carolina roots, starts Game 2 of the National League playoffs against the Braves tonight. He was 16-4 this season and 1-0 against Atlanta, but he harbors no bitterness toward his former team.
"I'm grateful for the chance the Braves gave me by trading me here," he said.
In rebuilding the Phillies, General Manager Lee Thomas got Greene as part of the trade bringing Dale Murphy to Philadelphia for Jeff Parrett, Jim Vatcher and Victor Rosario.
Greene won 13 games in 1991, spent most of '92 on the disabled list with a sore shoulder and was sound throughout '93. Greene credits the Phillies for giving him the chance to redeem himself when he failed--"it's really the only way to gain confidence"--and for assisting in the development of a slider to enhance his curveball.
"I don't think the Braves believe in the slider as much, and I was having trouble with my curve then," he said, adding that Philadelphia pitching coach Johnny Podres has been instrumental in his success.
"He's been a friend, teacher and someone to look up to," Greene said.
Former Dodger second baseman Davey Lopes, who was on the Baltimore Orioles' coaching staff this year and is managing in the Arizona Fall League, is one of the leading candidates to succeed fired Houston Astro manager Art Howe, sources indicate.
Also mentioned are Astro coach Matt Galante and Phillie coach Larry Bowa, the former San Diego Padre manager. "I definitely want to get back into managing, but it's not a life-and-death thing because I enjoy what I'm doing," Bowa said.
Bowa said the Astros should contend in the NL's new Central Division next year, but only if they are more aggressive.
"They have a lot of talent but are a little laid back," he said. "They don't need a manager who is going to kick butts, but a guy who can bring out the aggressiveness."