“Probably my fondest memory of my brother is the fact that he could do anything as an athlete,” Sam Reynolds said about his older brother Phillip Reynolds, who passed away Thursday, Nov. 27. “He was a great pitcher and he was a great hitter.”
The Reynolds family, friends and those who knew Phillip attended a memorial held Wednesday evening at the Waxahachie Civic Center to remember his life, sports career and mourn the loss of one of Waxahachie’s best.
Phillip was an all-star athlete not only in the community but at the collegiate level as well.
Sam, recalled another fond memory of when the two played baseball together as kids.
“One of the fondest things I remember was an ankle he broke, when we were young and in a Little League opponent league, and he played shortstop on his knees during one of the practices.”
Sam said that anything Phillip did in any sport, he excelled at, and had a lengthy resume of awards and honors to prove it.
While Phillip was at Waxahachie High School, he received the best All-Around Athlete Award in 1956, 1957 and 1958.
In football, Phillip was a three-year starter as quarterback on the team. He was All-District in 1957 and 1958, a three-year Letterman, as well as, won the 1958 MVP Award.
“I was in the hospital and I didn’t get to go,” Sam said. “But I think it was in Athens. It was about 40 degrees in the mist and rain and Athens beat us bad in that game. That year I think we went 1-9 that season. But the next day in the Athens’ paper it could have said ‘Hornets sting Indians’ or something of that nature, but the sportswriter put in there ‘Greatest one-man show I have ever seen in high school football’. That was my brother.”
Sam said that Phillip loved the community and the people of Waxahachie.
“There’s no question that he loved Waxahachie,” Sam said. “He was proud to represent Waxahachie whenever he played ball.”
Phillip’s youngest son, Jeff Reynolds agreed.
“Waxahachie was his hometown,” Jeff said. “He loved it and he loved Indians athletics.”
Phillip not only excelled in football but in basketball as well. Phillip was voted, alongside 14 others, with names like Shaquille O’Neal and Clyde Drexler, to be named to the University of Interscholastic League’s All-Century Texas High School Boys Basketball Team in 2010.
“It was a tremendous honor to him,” Sam said. “He was excited about it and proud of it. It was something that he cherished and really thought was great. He was never boastful or anything, so it was something that he didn’t say a lot about because he didn’t have to. That’s the way he played ball, whenever he competed he didn’t have much to say, he just beat you. That was his attitude.”
Sam recalls talking to his brother the night before Phillip and the WHS Indians went down to Austin to play in the 1958 State Championship game.
“Before they won the state championship in Austin, where they played South San Antonio in 1958, they (Waxahachie) were 33-0,” Sam recalled. “The night before the game I said ‘Hey these guys are pretty good, these guys from San Antonio haven’t lost a game’ and he (Phillip) said ‘Yeah, but they haven’t played us.’ And that’s how he felt, he expected to win.”
Sam recalled another memory from when him and his brother were younger and they would meet up to play a pick-up game of one-on-one basketball.
“We lived a block from the high school and I would meet him, when he was playing football, he would leave practice and I would meet him at the outdoor basketball court at the high school with a basketball. He would come out of football practice and we would play one-on-one until we got hungry or it got too late. But we would play under the street lights and then go home and eat and study before going back to school the next morning. I never beat him once, not one time. He wouldn’t allow it and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
Jeff said the same thing about his father.
“He never let us win,” Jeff said. “But instead he would show us how to win. That was the biggest deal was to show us how to win.”
Both Phillip and Sam went to Texas Christian University, Phillip played baseball and Sam played baseball.
“He made All-Southwest Conference, which back in those days was a great honor,” Sam recalled. “There was another time, there was a guy by the name of Ronnie Stevenson (who ended up playing professionally in the NBA for the Philadelphia Warriors) who played for TCU. Ronnie was a senior when my brother was a freshman. Ronnie told me one time ‘I never did like your brother’ and I said ‘Well Ronnie, why?’ and he said ‘Because I was somebody and I was a senior at TCU and after practice at TCU, he and I would play one-on-one and he would beat me every time and I didn’t like that.’”