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Johnny Podres passes away

January 14, 2008

Outside of the Lord, my wife and my father there was no person who impacted my life more than Johnny Podres. A true mans man if there ever was one. As I enter the final year of my major league career and baseball life I can only hope that when it’s all over the body of work will be something Johnny would be proud of.

Johnny made me realize that being a man wasn’t about the macho cool stuff we think men are supposed to be, but rather compassion, care, commitment, loyalty, integrity and drive. He asked everything of me and always got everything I had. He made me realize the only limits in my life were self imposed, that pushing yourself mentally and physically were what separated players when they crossed the white line.

We spoke often about ‘big games’ and he instilled this belief in me, even before I had a chance to pitch in a truly big game, that when the time came I’d answer the bell. The post season success I’ve been blessed to enjoy I’ve always known to be a direct result of who and what he was. I’ve never in my life run across anyone that didn’t have something kind and good to say about him, and after knowing him the past 17 years I know why.

I’ve certainly said and done things over the years that he’s made note of, and lectured me about, but at the end of the day making Johnny feel good about me was a life long goal, and still is.

The thoughts and prayers of the entire Schilling family go out to the Podres family. John’s wife Joanie is a princess of a woman, and a true friend, our thoughts and prayers are with her.

MLB, the Dodgers and players everywhere lost a very good and kind man today.

35 Comments leave one →
  1. jehb02 permalink
    January 14, 2008 11:44 am

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the Friends and Family of Johnny Podres. The entire baseball community has lost a good friend.

  2. January 14, 2008 12:17 pm

    Eternal rest, grant unto him, O Lord.

    Podres was the best pitching coach the Phillies ever had, and every time I saw film of him pitching (I’m 30, so I never saw him), it was just amazing. I pray his leadership was imprinted on every pupil he had.

  3. soxwin28 permalink
    January 14, 2008 1:10 pm

    My condolences….

  4. brianholton permalink
    January 14, 2008 1:23 pm

    Hello Curt, First, I want to congratulate you on an outstanding career. I moved to the New England area a couple of years ago and have slowly become a Sox fan. I also had the pleasure of knowing Johnny and he was a very positive influence on me and my career in baseball and in life.. I want to wish you well in this last season of your playing career. Enjoy every minute of it, cause it goes by way to fast…ex-teamate Brian Holton

  5. rlgdguy permalink
    January 14, 2008 1:38 pm

    So sorry for the loss of your friend Curt. May he rest in peace.

  6. mjs1997 permalink
    January 14, 2008 1:38 pm

    What a profound effect he had on you as well as baseball. Johnny will be fondly remembered. He was a class act, a great Pitcher, Outstanding Coach and super person. He will be missed.

  7. doublexvt permalink
    January 14, 2008 2:35 pm

    Curt and all-

    I too share your loss- I am one of the co-authors of a biography of Johnny Podres which was first published in 2005, and again in a new edition in 2007 (Curt, you may recall me giving you a copy at a Jimmy Fund event in Boston last January). As a result, I got to spend some great time with Johnny in the past three years due to the book.

    The last time I saw him was at a book fair in mid-October 2007. His health was definitely declining but his spirit was as strong that day as ever. This was the morning after ALCS Game 2, and he told me that if you could beat Carmona in the rematch, that the Sox would win the series. As usual, he was right.

    I can also add, Curt, that from my talks with him, it seemed that Johnny was as proud of your success as he was of anything he accomplished in his own career.

    He definitely brought magic to many peoples’ lives and I feel so, so lucky today that I had a brief chance to know him.

  8. thelastdimaggio permalink
    January 14, 2008 7:24 pm

    I grew up a couple towns south of where Johnny’s from and he was absolutely hero worshipped — and for good reason. To get a guy from the Adirondacks to the big leagues was a feat alone, given the very short season we always have to work with. To then get to the pinnacle of the game and winning a game 7 against the Yankees of those years, was extra special.

    He was said to have one of the best change-ups in the game.

    I was just looking at some of your numbers, especially where it counts, world championships — you each were in 4 World Series, winning 3 and losing 1. He had 77 complete games, you have 83 (I’m sure he was one of those old style guys who always wanted to finish what he started). He beat you in the hitting department — looks like he had a couple HR’s and 50 RBI’s. You have 0 (there’s always next year) and 29 in about the same at-bats.

    I was lucky enough to meet him on a number of occasions and I concur that he was a very good and kind man.

    To doublexvt — I loved the book.

    RIP

  9. jonstaples permalink
    January 14, 2008 7:48 pm

    So sad to hear about Johnny Podres. If anyone gets the chance they should read Praying for Gil Hodges by Thomas Oliphant, it’s about Podres and the 1955 Dodgers. That team was truly America’s team. We lost a great one yesterday.

  10. jrstephenson1971 permalink
    January 14, 2008 10:11 pm

    I was born too late to ever have watched the Brooklyn Dodgers or to see Johny Podres play, but I have long admired his career and I am saddened by his loss.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

  11. verloc permalink
    January 14, 2008 11:13 pm

    Well said, Curt.

    God bless.

  12. matt51 permalink
    January 15, 2008 1:15 am

    I give you my condolences despite being a Yankee fan :).

  13. sdl1 permalink
    January 15, 2008 2:23 am

    I met Podres a few years ago at The Carpenter Complex, watching the Phillies minor leaguers. Great guy, was joking around with some of the fans.

    If you ever go into coaching, I hope that you take what you learned from Johnny and pass it on to the next generation

  14. dougis67 permalink
    January 15, 2008 9:23 am

    A couple years ago, I fell head-over-heels in love with the Brooklyn Dodgers because of an HBO sports documentary. I’ve been reading as much as I can get on the topic. And now, because J-Pods has passed, future writers will be deprived of his wisdom. Being a smoker hurt the man’s health, causing him to retire as the Phillies pitching coach. The Phillies are my true love. And the awful habit of smoking deprived us of MORE nurtured talent (like Mr. Schilling), just as it has deprived us of the 1955 World Series MVP. I used to smoke, but after I quit I became a huge anti-smoking supporter. This sad event only makes me MORE against smoking.

    So, thank you Johnny Podres, thank you for everything you gave us. I just wish we had more time together.

  15. bosox4eva permalink
    January 15, 2008 10:59 am

    My Condolences. Curt, your gift to him, is the Man you are and his gift to you is his Legacy. In this day and age there are not to many class act ballplayers, for our young kids to emulate.We at Red Sox Nation, are lucky. We have quite a few.Wake, Tek, Lowell,Timlin. Class Acts. Gentleman. Thanks Curt, for all you do off the field, as well as on. To the Podres Family, Thank You, for lending us a great man, that was able to teach so many people, and truly made this world a better place, because of who he touched.

  16. January 15, 2008 1:54 pm

    He had a reputation for being one of the game’s greatest pitching coaches.

    Apparently he was that, and then some. It sounds like you were very fortunate to have known him. My condolences.

  17. January 15, 2008 4:18 pm

    What a well-written tribute. I’m sure your words mean a lot to the family at this time.

  18. jp1163 permalink
    January 15, 2008 4:24 pm

    That was a very nice tribute to Mr. Podres.

    it sounds to me like he coached the mental part of the game and life as much as he coached how to grip the ball, motion, etc… Maybe that was the key to his success.

  19. jbbrennx permalink
    January 15, 2008 8:13 pm

    My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  20. vrsce permalink
    January 16, 2008 5:30 pm

    A very hearfelt, stirring eulogy . I am sure the Johnny Podres is proud of you. (even if you do hate the Yankees)

  21. thelastdimaggio permalink
    January 16, 2008 7:21 pm

    What was wrong with the post I submitted?

  22. January 16, 2008 8:05 pm

    I pray for those who knew him, that they would find comfort in Jesus

    (check out my blog)

  23. bracegolfman permalink
    January 16, 2008 11:11 pm

    Johnny was a great man, a great person that always gave back to all. He was my uncle, we will deeply miss him…
    The family and the baseball community has lost a legend…

    He will be missed, but always loved, and never forgotten…

  24. bracegolfman permalink
    January 16, 2008 11:13 pm

    I will never forget the day I held his Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year trophy…

  25. January 17, 2008 9:18 pm

    I’m sorry Curt 😦 A co-worker told me your comments on his passing… 😦 I’m lifting his family in prayer this week

  26. warbler44 permalink
    January 17, 2008 10:48 pm

    Was johnny an liar like you and say he knew nothing about the Phillies juicing in 93? He probally would have been man enough to tell the truth to the U.S. Congress.

  27. sdl1 permalink
    January 19, 2008 3:23 pm

    Bracegolfman…

    My sincere condolences on the loss of your uncle. As I posted above, I met him a few years ago at the Phillies minor league camp. His humor was contagoius…us baseball junkies were all smiling at his jokes.

  28. metfan4life permalink
    January 19, 2008 10:54 pm

    Thanks for a great post about Johnny Podres, when I heard he passed thoughts went right to my dad. My Dad was a huge Brooklyn Dodger fan and a collector of Dodger Memorabilia. I remember getting an autographed copy of Mr. Podres picture, and my Dad was over the moon. It didn’t cost alot of money, but soon became priceless as Dad would light up the room when he spoke his days going to Ebbets Field and watching a game. My Dad played ball too, never in the Majors but was very good, he also pitched. Anyhow, while talking about this loss, I am reminded of the passing of my own Dad, but reminded of how grateful I am for his passing along the passion of baseball on. Now…………Lets get Gil Hodges in the Hall!!! God Bless

  29. joei71 permalink
    January 25, 2008 12:20 pm

    Wow… I had no idea Johnny Podres was such an influential person in your life. I got chills reading what you had to say.

    Of course I never met the man, and perhaps learned more about him from what I just read than anything else, but nonetheless I was very moved when I learned of his passing.

    For some reason Johnny Podres has always been a distinctive figure for me in the history of baseball. I think being a Red Sox fan, for many years Podres stood alone as a man who defeated a common rival, in a context for his team and fans that is very akin to what we’ve experienced here in Boston. The ultimate big game performer on the biggest of stages, doing what many before him failed to do. A breaker of curses, if you will. So yeah… I find it all the more amazing that your kinship with him goes a great deal further than that.

    Thanks for what you gave to baseball and to us, Johnny. Peace.

  30. January 26, 2008 12:52 am

    I never knew him, but from what I’m told, he was a great man. He was also one hell of a coach. Though he hasn’t coached in a while, several of his “proteges” had great careers- including our brilliant host here on 38pitches.com. It’s a shame the Phillies never did anything producitve outside of 93 under his tutelage. the staff over at http://www.phillies.tk miss him greatly.

  31. clutchwyo permalink
    February 7, 2008 7:25 pm

    I would say stay out of politics and pitch. But since you can’t pitch any more….. Awh I’d stay out of politics too….

  32. leo13 permalink
    February 13, 2008 1:52 pm

    Bye Johnny,

    Seems like yesterday, oh how the time flies, we are just dust in the wind, you touched so many…………so long for now

  33. drstrangeglove permalink
    February 14, 2008 12:21 am

    My father was a catcher on the legendary 1951 Hazard Bombers ( a long-defunct Dodger affiliate). Johnny was an up-and-coming Dodger pitching star on that team. Him and my father were friends and batterymates that year. My father has a few pics of them together in a scrapbook. During the Impossible Dream season of 1967, Johnny was a relief pitcher near the end of his career for the Tigers, who were neck and neck with the Sox down to the final days. I’m sorry to hear about his passing.

  34. tonyp231 permalink
    August 8, 2008 5:16 pm

    Curt,
    Johnny Podres was a wonderful man, great pitcher and a super coach. He was the first pitching coach I ever had as a professional baseball player, I was drafted by the San Diego Padres in 1971 and he was waiting for me in Tri-Cities Washington when I got there. We won the league championship with his help. He taught me more about pitching in the two seasons I played with the Padres than anyone ever had done for me. I opened the first indoor baseball school here in Rhode Island and taught what he taught me to all the players that came to my school. He was a dear friend to me and I continued to call him on the phone throughout the years and tried to see as often as I could. The last time I saw him was when he was the Triple A pitching coach for the Red Sox in Pawtucket but called him when he was witht the Phillies. I spoke to him just three months before he died and I will never forgive myself for not going to Glen Falls, NY to visit him. Your a fantastic pitcher and a wonderful man I hope to see you play again because I think you can still dominate any hitters. My deepest sympathy goes out to the Podres family. Thank you Curt reading your message helped me deal with our lose. I will miss Coach Podres

    Respectfully,

    Tony Ponticelli

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