NORTHPORT, New York, November 20
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
Typically, when a student graduates from Northport High School they might host a party for friends and family, prepare for the road to college ahead of them, or maybe even look for a job.
For Robert “Bobby” Wine, Sr., graduating from Northport in 1957 brought about a contract; he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies at just 18 years old.
Upon his signing, Wine was relegated to the minor leagues where he spent four years building up his skill set. In 1960, Wine got the call: The Phillies wanted him on the pro squad and he moved on up to play his first four games at the professional level.
In 1962 for Wine, then 21 years old, the workload increased significantly as he appeared in 112 games, his first full season as a pro. Wine batted .244, drove in 25 runs and hit 4 homers.
Wine, a natural shortstop, would spend six more seasons with Philadelphia and had a career-year in 1963 when he won a Gold Glove Award, smacked 6 homers and drove in 44 runs.
But, after a back injury set him back in 1968, Wine moved on from Philadelphia to Montreal where he’d play with the Expos for the next four years. In 1970, he participated in a then-record 137 double plays and finished the season fifth in the league for most games played with 159.
Using the experience and knowledge he accrued during his MLB playing career, Wine made the transition into coach in 1972.
Back with the Phillies, he coached with the organization all the way through to the 1983 season and helped Philadelphia rebound from a drought to National League champions in 1980 and 1983, and World Series champions in 1980.
From there, he went to the Atlanta Braves where he served as an interim manager in 1985. With the Braves until 1990, he ended his coaching career with the New York Mets from 1993-96.
Now, Wine serves as a scout for the Braves and has been credited with some of the team’s success in recent years that’s been abreast with young talent.
The former Tiger lives with his wife, Fran, in Norristown, Penn. His son, Robbie, is a former MLB catcher and former Pennsylvania State University baseball coach. His grandson, Cory, was drafted by the Phillies during the 38th round of the 2009 MLB draft.
Already a member of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2007, Wine was inducted into the Northport-East Northport Athletic Hall of Fame as a part of its inaugural class on Sept. 20.
Originally published: Long Islander News: The Record
(Thursday, November 20, 2014; A30)