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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Phil Linz
Phil Linz - New York Yankees.jpg
Linz, circa 1964–65
Born: (1939-06-04)June 4, 1939
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Died: December 9, 2020(2020-12-09) (aged 81)
Leesburg, Virginia, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 13, 1962, for the New York Yankees
Last MLB appearance
September 29, 1968, for the New York Mets
MLB statistics
Batting average.235
Home runs11
Runs batted in96
Career highlights and awards

Philip Francis Linz (June 4, 1939 – December 9, 2020) was an American professional baseball player. Linz played in Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees (1962–65), Philadelphia Phillies (1966–67), and New York Mets (1967–68). He batted and threw right-handed, and was listed at 6 feet (72 in) and 180 pounds (82 kg), during his playing days.

The utility player was more likely remembered for the infamous (Yankees) "Harmonica Incident" than anything he accomplished in his seven-year major league career.[1]

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/5
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  • Where Are They Now: Phil Linz
  • Major League Baseball Magazine #318: Ohio University, Mike Berger, Phil Linz
  • Remembering Phil Linz
  • Baseball Legends dedicate Field Of Dreams & Break Out Marathon 1990


New York Yankees

After five years in the New York Yankees' farm system, in which he batted .304 with fifteen home runs mostly at shortstop, Linz made the big league club out of Spring training 1962. Used exclusively as a pinch hitter or pinch runner up to that point, he made his first appearance on the field on May 23 at third base after Clete Boyer was hit by a pitch, and taken out of the game. In his second at bat, with the Yankees trailing 7–2, Linz hit a two-run home run. He also singled in two runs and scored a run in the Yankees' nine run eighth inning that saw them take the lead, and win the game.[2]

This performance earned Linz the start the next day, and he remained at third until Boyer returned on May 27. For the season, Linz batted .287 with one home run and fourteen runs batted in. He did not appear in the Yankees' World Series victory over the San Francisco Giants.

He became more of a utility player in 1963, making twelve appearances in the outfield. This increased versatility earned Linz a semi-regular position in the Yankees' line-up for 1964, when he made a career high 417 plate appearances. He also appeared in all seven games of the 1964 World Series, filling in for an injured Tony Kubek at short (David Halberstam, describing the series in his book October 1964, attributes the Yankee loss in part to the ineffectiveness of the Linz-Bobby Richardson combination in the middle of the Yankee infield.). He homered off Barney Schultz in game two,[3] and Bob Gibson in the ninth inning of game seven, as the Yankees attempted a late comeback.[4]

Harmonica incident

Following the 1963 season, Yankees General Manager Roy Hamey retired. Manager Ralph Houk moved into the GM position, while Yankees legend Yogi Berra assumed managerial responsibilities.

As recounted in Jim Bouton's book, Ball Four, following a Yankee road loss to the Chicago White Sox on August 20, 1964, Linz was playing a plaintive version of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on his harmonica in the back of the team bus. Berra found the sad cowboy style mixed with a children's nursery rhyme a bit mocking of the team, and told Linz to pipe down. Linz didn't hear and kept playing. Berra became infuriated and called back from the front of the bus, "If you don't knock that off, I'm going to come back there and kick your ass." Linz couldn't hear the words over the music, so he asked Mickey Mantle, "What he say?" Mantle responded, "He said to play it louder." Berra walked to the back of the bus to confront Linz. By different accounts, Linz threw the harmonica to Berra or at him, or Berra knocked it out of his hand. Regardless, it became airborne, striking first baseman Joe Pepitone in the knee strongly enough to cut him.[5]

This altercation convinced the Yankees' front office that Berra had lost control of the team, and could not command respect from his players. As a result, the decision was made to fire Berra at the end of the season regardless of the fact that the Yankees eventually won the American League pennant.[6]

Phillies and Mets

Linz played one season for new Yankees manager Johnny Keane. Following the 1965 season, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for fellow utility player Ruben Amaro. He played very sparingly in Philadelphia, appearing in only 63 games over a season and a half. On July 11, 1967, he was traded to the New York Mets for second baseman Chuck Hiller. Linz's finest game as a Met came on May 25, 1968. Entering the game 0 for 25 for the season,[7] Linz went three for four with two runs scored in a 9–1 drubbing of the Atlanta Braves.[8]

Career stats

Seasons Games PA AB Runs Hits 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB HBP SO Avg. OBP Slg. Fld%
7 519 1518 1372 185 322 64 4 11 96 13 112 7 195 .235 .295 .311 .958


Linz died December 9, 2020, at a nursing home in Virginia. He was 81.[9][10]


  1. ^ "Swoboda, Linz on Yogi". January 22, 2013.
  2. ^ "New York Yankees 13, Kansas City Athletics 7". May 23, 1962.
  3. ^ "1964 World Series, Game 2". October 8, 1964.
  4. ^ "1964 World Series, Game 7". October 15, 1964.
  5. ^ "Linz, Berra Feud on Bus". The Milwaukee Sentinel. August 12, 1964. Retrieved April 14, 2011.
  6. ^ "Harmonica Playing Of Linz Not in Tune With Berra's Bluks". The New York Times. August 21, 1964. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  7. ^ "Koosman Tames Braves". Times Daily. May 26, 1968.
  8. ^ "New York Mets 9, Atlanta Braves 1". May 25, 1968.
  9. ^ Yankees’ ‘Harmonica Incident’ protagonist Phil Linz dead at 81
  10. ^ Phil Linz, Unlikely Baseball Celebrity, Is Dead at 81

Further reading

  • Gillette, Gary; Gammons, Peter; Palmer, Peter. The ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia. New York: Sterling Publishing, 2005. Format: Paperback, 1824pp. Language: English. ISBN 1-4027-4771-3

External links

This page was last edited on 18 January 2023, at 06:45
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