Beerleaguer’s search for former Phillie Lou Collier continues with modest progress. His whereabouts have been narrowed to the largest continent in the world.
My search for Lou started this spring when I noticed the career journeyman was missing from the Phils’ list of spring invitees. In fact, he was not invited to any camp this spring.
I e-mailed Inquirer beat writer Todd Zolecki with my concern, but he didn’t know where he was. Randy Miller of Phillyburbs.com didn’t know, either. I sensed a strange attitude from both reporters. Neither of them cared.
Last week, I enlisted the help of my stepfather, Martin, an avid box score browser of the foreign and independent leagues. He contacted his source close to the Phillies, an old high school buddy named Emmitt Miller. Every fan has a team insider that can score tickets and relay gossip, and they always have names like Emmitt Miller.
Miller placed a call to the Phillies, offering up a tip that the Phils granted Collier free agency in December and is now playing in Asia, either in Taiwan or Korea, but not Japan. Like everyone else on the planet, the Phils had also lost track of Lou, a pretty good hitter that’s still just 31-years-old.
It's pretty amazing how a guy that's made a million bucks in baseball can just vanish into the far reaches of the globe.
It’s also amazing for a guy that’s probably better than Matt Kata. Last year in Scranton, Collier hit .326 with 14 homers and a .517 slugging percentage. In their 2005 annual, Baseball Prospectus called him "a defacto 27th or 28th man," and questioned, based on his late-career offensive surge, why he "hasn’t been a 23rd or 24th man instead."
Since every Korean or Taiwanese baseball site is published in native script, I can’t find him, but I’m getting close.
Anyone that can pinpoint Lou’s whereabouts will get a one-year paid subscription to Beerleaguer.com.