November 3 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Bill Conlin:
“SO ALL YOU members of the Davey Lopes Fan Club – and I am one – are outraged that the Phillies refused to give their baserunning guru the raise he felt was merited.
And let’s not call it a raise, per se. Token of appreciation, or status bump, says it better.
This was more about entitlement, the place Davey holds in the game, than about dollar signs.
If Lopes Fan Club members are planning to throw a fund-raiser for poor Davey – don’t bother.
I have no idea what his salary has been as the only baserunning coach in the game with the authority to oversee every aspect of the running game – including when to go. The salaries of big-league coaches vary wildly. I’ll get to that in a bit.
Lopes and the rest of the coaching staff earned $606,811 as their full shares for the 2008-09 World Series. They got a nice division series payday in 2007 and will get a generous loser’s slice of this year’s NLCS swag.
Early last March, I sat next to the practice infield adjacent to Bright House Field for 45 minutes watching Lopes working with Domonic Brown on a variety of baserunning fine points.
Getting a proper secondary lead . . . The correct way to dive back to first on a pickoff attempt . . . Getting a jump off a walkup lead – Davey was a master at strolling casually off first with a small lead, then exploding toward second on the pitcher’s first move . . . Correct first-step technique.
After the session with Brown, I asked how the uber-prospect had done. Lopes did not look thrilled. “He needs work, a lot of work . . . ”
The work Lopes did with Jayson Werth turned a perceived platoon outfielder with raw baserunning and outfielding skills into a five-tool-level star who is going to hit the mother lode as an elite free agent. Yep, the class of 2010 was listed minutes after Giants closer Brian Wilson drove a stake into the hearts of the pitching-whipped Rangers.
Lopes also earned nearly $3 million during his long playing career, substantial money for that era. He has made a manager’s salary with the Brewers and been gainfully employed in professional baseball for 42 years. At age 67, he will be able to collect the maximum $140,000 a year players association pension. Tack on about $30,000 more in Social Security and you’ve got a better retirement package than a former U.S. president. Thank you very much, Marvin Miller and Donald Fehr.”
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