In Vukovich’s ten seasons in the majors, he hit above .200 only twice, but had the fortune of playing for the 1975 champion Cincinnati Reds and the 1980 champion Philadelphia Phillies. The wide-ranging third baseman stayed in the majors by becoming a utility man who played all four infield positions.
After finishing his career as a player, Vukovich signed on with the Chicago Cubs in 1982, and worked on the North Side until 1987 as a first base, third base, and dugout coach. On June 13, 1986, Vukovich served as interim manager for one day, right after Jim Frey was fired and right before Gene Michael was hired. The temporary skipper managed his Cub team to a doubleheader split.
Hired by the Phillies after the 1987 season, Vukovich served as first base coach, dugout assistant, spring training coordinator, and finally third base coach for four Philadelphia managers. When manager Lee Elia was fired on September 23, 1988, Vukovich took the helm of the club for the remainder of the season, winning five and losing four.
Though Vukovich was seriously considered for the job of Phillies manager at the end of 2000, the club went with Larry Bowa, whom he had known since they were children in California. The longtime Phillie stayed on with the club as third base coach, but was hampered by headaches throughout spring training. The cause of the headaches was soon determined — a brain tumor — and he underwent surgery to remove it in May 2001.