Ruben Amaro Sr., whose six decades in baseball included playing, coaching and scouting, died Friday at age 81. He is best known for his 30-plus years with the Philadelphia Phillies, but he spent time in the Midwest League as a minor-league manager for the Chicago Cubs in the late 1990s.
Amaro managed the Rockford Cubbies in 1997 and 1998, The ’98 team made it to the Midwest League Championship Series, but lost the set 3-1 to the West Michigan Whitecaps.
The two most notable players he managed in the Midwest League were pitchers on the ’98 team: Kyle Lohse (13-8, 3.22 ERA, 121 Ks and 45 BB in 28 G/26 GS/170.2 IP) and Jon Garland (4-7, 5.03 ERA, 70 Ks and 45 BB in 19 GS/107.1 IP). Both hurlers went on to have long careers in the major leagues, but neither ever pitched for the Cubs at the big-league level.
Amaro’s son, Ruben Amaro Jr., is best known as the Phillies’ general manager from 2009 to 2015. The younger Amaro also played in the major leagues, and spent part of the 1989 season in the Midwest League. He batted .360 with 3 HR, 27 RBI and 20 SB in 59 games with the Quad City Angels.