Phillips was the umpire in charge on July 12, 1979, when Bill Veeck promoted Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park, during which fans burned disco records in a huge bonfire on the field between games of a doubleheader. The field became such a mess that Phillips deemed it unplayable and forfeited the game to the Tigers. In 1982, in another highly publicized decision, Phillips ejected Gaylord Perry for throwing an illegal grease ball. Perry was suspended for ten days. A former Missouri Valley Conference basketball referee, Phillips became their supervisor of basketball officials after his umpiring career ended.