Tony Phillips, former A’s infielder, dies of apparent heart attack

Tony Phillips, former A’s infielder, dies of apparent heart attack Infielder Tony Phillips, a member of the A’s 1989 title team, died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 56, according to former Oakland starter Dave Stewart. “Tony will forever be remembered by the fans because he made that last out, and it was a tough groundball he made a great play on,” said former A’s manager Tony La Russa, who is now Arizona’s chief baseball officer. The A’s 1989 championship club has lost three members in the past two years: pitcher Bob Welch, outfielder Dave Henderson and Phillips. Phillips spent his first eight years in the big leagues with Oakland and spent his final season with the A’s, in 1999; a broken leg, incurred while sliding into second base, ended his career at the age of 40. The 10th overall pick in the 1978 draft, by the Expos, Phillips finished his 18-year career with 2,023 hits and 1,300 runs. Drug and legal problems nearly ended Phillips’ career in 1997; Anaheim’s leadoff hitter and sparkplug, Phillips was arrested for cocaine possession, entered a guilty plea and went into drug counseling; in his absence, the Angels fell out of the pennant race, and Phillips’ arrest often is considered the turning point of the team’s fortunes that season.

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