Phillies share favorite Christmas memories

Phillies share favorite Christmas memories

Phillies share favorite Christmas memories
PHILADELPHIA -- Jimmy Rollins is back in red pinstripes, so the Phillies can relax a little bit over the next week.

The Phils figured Rollins to be their last major move before Spring Training opens Feb. 19. That means they can kick back over the holidays and not have to worry about who their shortstop is going to be or how they were going to replace his offense.

MLB.com recently asked a few Phillies folks about their favorite holiday memories. Here is what they said:

Manager Charlie Manuel: "When I was a kid and I got my first baseball glove. My first glove I traded baseball cards for, but my best glove was a Wilson A2000. My dad got it for me for Christmas. I thought that was tremendous. I was surprised. I didn't know I was going to get it. I was about 7 years old when I got that glove. I think I gave it to my brother. But my mother really enjoyed Christmas. That was her time of year. She'd make fried oysters, green beans, ham, turkey, chicken, beef. She loved to cook."

Left-hander Dontrelle Willis: "When I was 11, my mom saved up to get my first TPX Louisville Slugger bat. I think I still hold the record in Alameda (Calif.) Little League for the most home runs with that bat. I slept with that bat. That's a true story.

"I actually messed it up, because we started hitting rocks at Encinal High School. We actually hit rocks with it. Everybody on the team used the bat. It was the coolest thing in the world. It was the only thing I got, other than socks and stuff like that.

"I saw the bat before Christmas. I wanted to open it for five days. It's hard to wrap a bat and not think it's a bat. I'm like, 'Mom, let me see the bat.' But that was by far my coolest gift. It's the beauty of baseball. It shows what it means to me in my household. I used that bat all the time. We even played 'strikeout' with that bat. My grandmother still might have it in her garage. We wore it out. I think I hit 20 home runs in 21 games with that bat in Little League. And every time you hit a home run, they gave you free nachos, so I was dying. It was either free nachos or a free chili cheese dog. That's at Rittler Park in Alameda. That's my favorite gift. A red, black and silver TPX Louisville Slugger bat."

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.: "Almost every year, we either went to Venezuela or Mexico, because my dad was usually down there playing, managing or GMing one of the teams. I just loved being down there. The parties were great. If you went down there for Christmas and New Year's, you partied for like 10 straight days. There was always dancing. There was always lots of food.

"I remember one of my uncles was the chief of police in Veracruz, Mexico. I remember hanging out, and when the new year was rung in, he would take his shotgun and shoot it in the air -- bang, bang, bang. My brother and I used to think it was so cool."

Assistant general manager Benny Looper: "Spending time with family. It's my favorite time of the year, because you have a chance to be with family. Plus, what Christmas stands for. When I think of Christmas, I think of family and the true meaning of Christmas."

Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock: "Cliff Lee last year was a great Christmas present."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.