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Greg Luzinski, Phillies slugger AUGUST 29, 1977

May 27, 2002
May 27, 2002

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May 27, 2002

Si Adventure

Greg Luzinski, Phillies slugger AUGUST 29, 1977

At 6'1" and anywhere from 225 to 250 pounds, the Bull--a.k.a.
Greg Luzinski--was major league baseball's Brahman in the days
before the bench press and creatine. During his 15-year career,
the soft-spoken slugger won renown for his eye-popping home runs
and, later, his buckle-popping girth. "I never lifted a weight,"
says Luzinski, now 51 and living in Bonita Springs, Fla. "Still
haven't."

This is an article from the May 27, 2002 issue

Call it indolence or confidence, Luzinski's steadfast disregard
for physical fitness has served him well. These days he weighs
270, and though he had his right knee replaced five years ago,
he has a nine handicap and has adapted his signature compact
swing for use on the golf course. "I just can't hit it as hard,
but that's only because I have to stand still," says Luzinski,
who, since retiring in 1985, has spent most of his time golfing
and coaching baseball, from high school to the pros.

Luzinski, who grew up in Prospect Heights, Ill., signed with the
Philadelphia Phillies in 1968, at 17, and as the cleanup man of
South Broad Street he helped lead the Phils in their most
successful decade. The four-time All-Star's meteoric homers,
concrete fielding glove and warm generosity are all part of
Philly lore. There was the 500-footer in 1972 that dinged off
the replica of the Liberty Bell that used to hang above
centerfield at Veterans Stadium. There was the fly ball he
dropped in the ninth inning of Game 3 of the 1977 National
League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers that
cost the Phils the game. (They went on to lose the NLCS in four
games.) And there was the Bull Ring--126 seats in the leftfield
stands that Luzinski bought for $20,000 each season, then gave
out to underprivileged children. In 1980, after finally winning
his World Series ring, Luzinski was sold to the White Sox, with
whom he finished his career with a career total of 307 homers
and 1,128 RBIs.

After leaving the majors, Luzinski traded his bat for a whistle
and began coaching baseball and football at Holy Cross High in
Delran, N.J. His son, Ryan, starred on both teams and was a
first-round draft pick by the Dodgers in 1992. (He went on to
play eight seasons as a catcher in the minors and now works for
a sign manufacturer in Concord, N.C.) In '93 Greg joined his
former manager Tony La Russa in Oakland as hitting coach for the
A's before moving on to the same job with Kansas City in 1995.
After the '97 season Luzinski and his wife of 28 years, Jean,
moved to Bonita Springs. Investments made in his playing days
provide Luzinski with a comfortable income, but the lure of
coaching remains strong. Earlier this year Luzinski nearly
landed a deal to manage the independent Allentown Ambassadors
(the job went to another home run hitter, Darrell Evans), and
he's pursuing leads in the majors. "They call this paradise," he
said last week from Florida, "but I'd sure rather be hitting
baseballs." --Brian Woodward

COLOR PHOTO: MANNY MILLAN (COVER) The four-time All-Star's meteoric homers, concrete glove and warm generosity are part of Phillies lore.COLOR PHOTO: HEINZ KLUETMEIER [See caption above]