Meet Phils Pitcher Bob Miller (the FIRST)

Rookie of the…Me?

The 1950 Phillies “Whiz Kids” team lives on in the minds and hearts of fans and collectors, thanks to proud alums like pitcher Bob Miller, who furnished a kind reply to my questions.

First, I wanted to ask if he ever imagined himself going to the World Series in his first full year.

“Dear Tom,

From the first day of spring training, we thought we could win the pennant.”

I asked how he felt about the results of the 1950 National League Rookie of the Year balloting. The 11-game winner finished second in votes to Boston Brave Sam Jethroe. This answer floored me.

“I was never informed that I finished second in the voting. I found out about two years later.”

Today, agents would have incentive clauses getting bonuses for a player who finished so high in the vote totals.

Lastly, I thought I’d point out that I knew WHICH pitcher Bob Miller I was addressing. I asked Robert John Miller for examples of getting mixed up with the other two “pitcher Bob Miller” late arrivals.

“Yes, I met both Bob Millers. They became good friends.

Thanks for the nice letter.

Bob Miller
1950 Whiz Kids”

Ralph "Putsy" Caballero, Proud "Whiz Kid"


Ralph “Putsy” Caballero became the National League’s youngest third baseman ever when he debuted with the 1944 Phillies at age 16. Through 1952, he provided Philadelphia with utility infielder skills and one winning personality. Teammates marveled at his card-playing ability. In retirement, Caballero joked he may have won more money at cards than he made in baseball.

Caballero’s major league challenges pale to what he faced in 2005. The Louisiana resident lost his home and memorabilia from his Philadelphia days to Hurricane Katrina. He salvaged a Phillies uniform and autographed team picture from his 1950 “Whiz Kids” teammates. The World Series ring seems to have remained on his finger since 1950.

The baseball memories may have been the secret to his success. He wrote:

“Richie Ashburn was my teammate.

My home run (in 1951, the only one in 322 career games) was a thrill. Off George Spencer, the Giants ace relief pitcher.

(Our) batboys were 12 years old then. Not much older than me.

P.S. – I named my first son after Richie Ashburn”

Ralph “Putsy” Caballero, Proud “Whiz Kid”


Ralph “Putsy” Caballero became the National League’s youngest third baseman ever when he debuted with the 1944 Phillies at age 16. Through 1952, he provided Philadelphia with utility infielder skills and one winning personality. Teammates marveled at his card-playing ability. In retirement, Caballero joked he may have won more money at cards than he made in baseball.

Caballero’s major league challenges pale to what he faced in 2005. The Louisiana resident lost his home and memorabilia from his Philadelphia days to Hurricane Katrina. He salvaged a Phillies uniform and autographed team picture from his 1950 “Whiz Kids” teammates. The World Series ring seems to have remained on his finger since 1950.

The baseball memories may have been the secret to his success. He wrote:

“Richie Ashburn was my teammate.

My home run (in 1951, the only one in 322 career games) was a thrill. Off George Spencer, the Giants ace relief pitcher.

(Our) batboys were 12 years old then. Not much older than me.

P.S. – I named my first son after Richie Ashburn”

%d bloggers like this: