(Born on February 7, 1924) -- Baseball fans of Philadelphia will always be grateful to the Southern Tier of Western New York. One of that area’s native sons played a huge role in some of the greatest moments in Phillies history.
Paul Owens was born in Salamanca, and he went to St. Bonaventure. Oddly, Owens played his first year of professional ball in 1951 at the age of 27 - in Olean, no less. He came back to that city in 1955 as a player-manager.
Owens eventually became a scout for the Phillies, and worked his way up to the job of general manager in 1972. There he started to put together a run that was unmatched in the team’s history. The Phils won their division in three straight years, from 1976 to 1978, but couldn’t quite get over the top.
Then in 1980, Philadelphia finally reached the promised land of World Series champion. The Phillies defeated Kansas City under manager Dallas Green, with relief pitcher Tug McGraw playing a key role. In 1983, Owens took over as manager and helped the Phils reach another series, but they lost to Baltimore.
Owens lost both the general manager’s and manager’s jobs after the 1984 season. He stayed a scout and consultant with the team until his death in 2003.
--- Budd Bailey