Randy Wolf signed a minor league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays today and I’m very happy for him. Not because he’s going to do much to help the Blue Jays this season or he’s prepared to reach a new milestone. My elation is because Wolf is one of the most genuine players I have ever met.
As an admitted fan of the Philadelphia Phillies, I encountered Wolf lots of the years from the days he was with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons until his final days with the Phillies.
Wolf, along with Doug Glanville and Mike Lieberthal, was one of the guys the Phillies had who always signed autographs. This isn’t even an exaggeration. Dozens of times I saw Wolf arrive at Veterans Stadium and willingly sign autographs for fans before the game.
Something else I always loved about Wolf, besides adding to my autograph collection, was his ability to relate to the fans. I remember one autograph collector telling Wolf he had him on his fantasy baseball team. Jokingly, Wolf apologized to the fan.
It’s hard to believe Wolf last pitched for the Phillies 9 years ago in 2006. He was one of many Phillies from a poor era of Philadelphia baseball who left right before things turned around.
Although he’s best known for his days with the Phillies, Wolf also had some good years with the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers later on. A sign of his consistency, his career ERA with Philadelphia is 4.21. This also happens to be his career ERA with all teams so the way I see it, he never really lost his touch after departing the City of Brotherly Love.
Wolf signing with the Blue Jays is a move to make up for the loss of Marcus Stroman. It also means the free agency market for starting pitchers is completely dry. I’m doubtful much will come of it, but for all of the positive memories I have of Wolf pitching for a losing baseball team in red pinstripes and how much respect he always showed for the fans,