Lieberthal honored to be Wall of Fame inductee

Lieberthal honored to be Wall of Fame inductee

Lieberthal honored to be Wall of Fame inductee
Mike Lieberthal was a Westlake High School (CA) catcher who received a call from the Phillies on June 4, 1990, saying they had selected him in the first round of the annual summer draft, the third overall selection. He signed with the Phillies the same day.

Twenty-two years later on the exact same date, he received another call from the Phillies informing him he had been elected to the team's Wall of Fame, the third catcher among the 34 inductees.

He will be inducted into the Toyota Wall of Fame at Citizens Bank Park during pre-game ceremonies on Friday, August 10, when the St. Louis Cardinals are in town. He will be joined by past Wall of Fame winners who will also take part in the ceremony.

"What a tremendous honor it is to be added to the Wall of Fame along with some of the greatest players in Phillies history," said 40-year-old Lieberthal. "I look forward to sharing the dedication with the greatest fans in baseball."

Fred Mazuca and Dave Sirak were the Phillies scouts who followed Lieberthal and signed him. The day of the signing, they filed the following report: "Player was most hoping to be drafted by the Phillies. Outstanding catch and throw guy with makeup to match. If the player can hit .250 with normal growth and development, he could be a future All-Star."

Well, in 13 seasons with the Phillies, he wound up hitting .275 and was an All-Star, twice (1999 and 2000).

Bigger than that, "Lieby" finished as the Phillies all-time leader among catchers in games caught (1,139), home runs (149) and hits (1,128). He and Jack Clements (1884-97) are the only catchers in Phillies history to surpass 1,000 hits. He compiled those impressive numbers despite seven stints on the disabled list.

In addition, he holds the club record with 10 consecutive Opening Day starts as a catcher.

Defensively, he was the Rawlings Gold Glove winner in 1999 when he set a club record for highest fielding percentage (.997).

He became the sixth catcher in Major League Baseball history to hit .300 with 30 homers in a season (1999, .300, 31 HR). He's also the first Paul Owens Award winner (1992) to be inducted into the Wall of Fame.

The other catchers enshrined in the Wall of Fame are Bob Boone (2005) and Darren Daulton (2010).

Alumni Weekend Events

Lieberthal will also participate in the 3rd Annual Phillies Alumni Luncheon for seniors 55 and over, to be held on Thursday, August 9 in the Diamond Club, proceeds benefitting Phillies Charities. Other guests include Tim McCarver, Bill Giles, Kent Tekulve and Bobby Wine. Tickets are available at 215-463-1000. For more information, go to Phillies Alumni Luncheon.

Boone and Daulton will return for the August 10 Wall of Fame ceremonies along with Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt, Larry Bowa, Dick Allen, Greg Luzinski, Garry Maddox, Tony Taylor, Dallas Green, Juan Samuel and John Kruk.

Other events for the weekend include Toyota Alumni Night on Saturday with over 40 former players being introduced on the field. During the Sunday afternoon game, Phillies Alumni will make surprise appearances at various locations throughout Citizens Bank Park.

Wall of Fame Process

During a four-week period of spring training, fans can vote on phillies.com. The initial ballot contains the names of 15 Alumni. The final five consensus selections are then presented to a Special Wall of Fame Selection Committee that chooses the winner. The committee is comprised of baseball writers, baseball historians, broadcasters and club executives.

The other finalists this year included RHP Jim Konstanty, RHP Curt Schilling, RHP Rick Wise and C Jimmy Wilson.

Larry Shenk is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.