Carlos Ruiz leaves classy goodbye message in Phillies clubhouse

Before leaving for Los Angeles, Carlos
Before leaving for Los Angeles, Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz said goodbye to his now former Phillies teammates. (AP)

In a surprising swap of respected veteran catchers, the Philadelphia Phillies sent Carlos Ruiz to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for A.J. Ellis on Thursday.

We say surprising, because it was a trade that literally no one saw coming. Both players were held in such high esteem by their now former teammates and seemingly by their former organizations that a straight-up deal would have been laughed off even if rumored.

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There was no time for laughing though on Thursday. Not after the reality of the trade set in. There was only time for goodbyes, which were reportedly quick but emotional on both sides.

Here’s a pretty strong example courtesy of Jim Salisbury of Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia. He shared a photo of the special goodbye note the man affectionately known as “Chooch” left on the whiteboard in the Phillies clubhouse.

The note reads:

I will miss all of you guys. Good luck the rest of the season. Love you all, Chooch.

He then ends with gracias, which of course means thank you in Spanish.

Ruiz had been a beloved member of the Phillies organization since signing as an amateur free agent in 1998. He was a big part of their string of five straight postseason appearances from 2007-2011, which included a World Series championship in 2008, and held a special bond with teammates past and present. Among them is former Phillies ace Roy Halladay, who shared the following quote in tribute to Ruiz on Thursday.

Chooch was the little engine that could for a team loaded with big names, but no player was more valuable to the team as a whole than Carlos! He was so humble and grateful, you couldn’t help but just want to do anything for him including win! He flawlessly handled one of the greatest pitching staffs ever assembled and was just as important offensively, as well. It was nothing short of miraculous that he could handle so many different personalities and approaches on a day-to-day basis the way that he did. He was the best catcher I’ve ever thrown to and, in my opinion, the best catcher in baseball in the years I was with him.

It’s going to be sad to see him without a Phillies uniform on and not seeing him sitting in his chair in the clubhouse with a smile. And just the way the fans treated Chase last week, Chooch is also deserving of that hero’s welcome. They are my two favorite players of all-time as well as favorite teammates. I was fortunate to have both of them in the clubhouse. I want to wish good luck to Carlos. Maybe one day when we’re old and gray we can come back to Philly!!

Ellis, on the other hand, had been with the Dodgers since being selected in the 18th round of the 2003 draft. Since debuting in 2008, he’s built a strong relationship with every pitcher he’s worked with. That’s especially true of Clayton Kershaw, who reportedly shed tears with Ellis after learning the news.

Needless to say, there’s a lot of history and a lot of emotion involved in a trade that may have only a minimal impact on the standings. But it also highlights the business side of a game that’s fueled by winning.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!