POTSDAM — Jack D. Phillips, age 87, died late Sunday afternoon, August 30, 2009 in Chelsea, Michigan, where he had moved recently to be near family.
Born in Clarence, NY Sept. 6, 1921, to Emma Struwe Phillips and Howard Phillips, Jack graduated from Lancaster High School in 1939, Clarkson University in 1943 and served in the US Navy during WW-II. In Detroit, MI, on October 15, 1946, he married Helene McBride.
At the age of 25, Jack broke into the big leagues with the New York Yankees and was a member of their 1947 World Series Team. After leaving the Yankees in 1949, he continued his professional baseball career with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1949-52, and the Detroit Tigers from 1955-57, Jack took great pride in being one of only 23 major league players to date to hit an "Ultimate Grand Slam Home Run" while playing with the Pirates. He was also named the Pacific Coast League MVP in 1954.
After his major league career, he returned Clarkson University where he devoted himself to coaching baseball, basketball, cross country and golf and was also made professor emeritus. He retired in 1988 and was inducted in to the Clarkson University Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.
To literally hundreds of players he was a wise and inspirational mentor, a canny strategist in a thinking man's game, a winner who put sportsmanship and fair play ahead of scores. He touched the lives of many athletes from the youths who participated in the local Elks Clubs competitions he made available, to the players that he coached at the collegiate level. In honor of his dedication to the game of baseball and his many years at Clarkson University, Clarkson Snell baseball field was re-named the Jack Phillips Stadium.
Jack is survived by his loving wife, Helene and three daughters, Susan (Charles) Ball of Lehi, UT, Sharon (Douglas) Mohns of Hanover , MA., Patricia (Michael) Roberts of Chelsea, MI, and one daughter in law, Karen Phillips of East Aurora, NY. He is also survived by 13 grandchildren, Christopher and Katherine Ball, Jennifer and Rebecca Mohns, Michael and Patrick Roberts, Amy, Becky, Brian, Carol, Lindsey, Erik and Sara Phillips and 4 great grandchildren. Also a sister Shirley Striegel, East Aurora, NY.
He was predeceased by two sons, Michael Dennis in 1976, and John Michael in 2000.
Jack was a member of the Major League Baseball Association, the Potsdam Elks BPOE 2074, and a long time member of the Potsdam Golf and Country Club.
Condolences can be sent online @www.garnerfh.com.
Funeral service will be held at St. Mary's Church in Potsdam, NY with Rev. Garry Giroux celebrant on Saturday, September 5th at 11 a.m. A burial service will follow at St. Mary's Cemetery. A reception will immediately follow at Cheel Campus Center at Clarkson University in the Barben Room.
Visiting hours will be on Friday, September 4th, 2-4 pm and 6-8 p.m. at the Garner Funeral Home, Potsdam, NY.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Jack Phillips Stadium at Snell Field @ Clarkson University P.O. Box 5515 Potsdam, NY 13699 or Potsdam Elks BPOE 2074 youth sports programs @ P.O. Box 415 Potsdam, NY 13676. Condolences can be sent online @ www.garnerfh.com.