02 March 2006


By Jim Salisbury
Inquirer Columnist

TAMPA, Fla. - When Larry Bowa became the New York Yankees third-base coach, they told him he could have any number he wanted.

As long as it was in the 50s. And as long as it wasn't 51 because that belonged to Bernie Williams.

(Excuse me Jim, but 55 and 56, Sturtze and Matsui were not available either....please contiue..)

Bowa looked at the list of linebackers' numbers and decided on 53. It wasn't the familiar 10 he wore when he played for and managed the Phillies. And it wasn't the 2 he wore when he was the Phils' third-base coach.

But there something about 53 that appealed to him.

"I knew it was Bobby Abreu's number, so I took it," Bowa said.

Even though he has been removed from the organization for more than a year, and now wears the most famous uniform in sports, Bowa remains a Phillie deep down inside. You can hear it in his voice and see it on his back, with his little homage to his former rightfielder.

"I'll always be a Phillie," said Bowa, sunburned and looking for an aspirin after coaching third base for 54 outs in an intrasquad game Tuesday. "I came up with the Phillies. I won a World Series with them. The most success I had in my career came with them."

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