30 Teams. 30 Posts: Philadelphia Phillies.
So here we go with another segment in my 30 Teams. 30 Posts project, this time I am covering the National League powerhouse known as the Philadelphia Phillies. Established in 1883, the Phillies are the longest lasting organization in all of American professional sports and without a doubt have some of the most dedicated fans around. I’m not the biggest fan of the team as I tend to shy away from entirely supporting large market teams. However the Phils have always had players in the past that I always liked a lot such as Richie Ashburn, Mike Schmidt, Lenny Dykstra, Dick Allen, and John Kruk so I give the team credit for having them guys. Even now with players such as Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and their absurd pitching staff, it’s hard to not to at least respect the current team. In addition, long time play by play announcer Harry Kalas was one of the all-time greats so I can’t diss the team all that much. The combo of Ashburn/Kalas in the broadcast booth was potentially the best of all time and reminds me of watching the Phillies as a kid.
My earliest memory of really following the Phillies was in 1993 when they won the NLCS and went on to battle the Blue Jays in the World Series. I remember my brother rooting for Toronto (he was a Jays fan for some reason) and me rooting for Philly because they were an NL team and had Dykstra & Kruk. I loved those 2 dudes because they ALWAYS had dirty uniforms and in my head that was the coolest thing ever. Well, we all know how that series ended as Joe Carter hit the series winning home run off of Mitch Williams and hearing the now infamous ”Touch ‘em all Joe, you’ll never hit a bigger home run in your life!” by the late Tom Cheek.
In retrospect I don’t feel too bad for Philly as they reached the Fall Classic again 15 years later but this time beat the Rays and became the World Series champions. Don’t know what more I can say about the Phillies but to the delight of my friends that are Phillies fans, it’s very possible we will be seeing them represent the National League in the World Series once again this season. So here here we go as always, here are 5 photos I want to share that I love:
An incredible photo of the ageless wonder that is Jamie Moyer during the 2008 NLDS against the Brewers. I make it no secret that I love Moyer and want to see him play Baseball again. The 48 year old is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and working for ESPN as a Baseball analyst.
If Moyer indeed makes it back to the big leagues, I am very curious to see what teams will give him a shot. It would be kinda weird to not see him a member of the Mariners or Phillies but then again he has played for 5 other clubs so it would not be all that odd in the big picture of his long and productive career. I have got to admit though, the inner fan-boy inside of me would like to see him sign on with the Padres where he can take advantage of the Pitcher friendly park that is Petco Park.
October 19th, 1993. Game 3 of the World Series against the Blue Jays was delayed for well over an hour due to rain. This photo captures Milt Thompson, John Kruk, Lenny Dykstra, and Dave Hollins taking the field after play was resumed. Something about this photo captivates me in the sense that you can almost feel the electricity provided by The Vet that night which was filled with Phillie fans. But then again it could have been be Kruk’s mullet flowing in the air providing all that electricity.
1917. Hall of Fame Pitcher Grover Alexander standing in the Phillies dugout. Alexander spent 8 of his 20 seasons with the Phillies and ruled for these reasons: He won the Pitching Triple Crown 3 times, won 373 games, and in 1999 was voted by the Sporting News as the 12th greatest Baseball Player. This all was accomplished while battling epilepsy, many times while having seizures during games.
1979. From left to right: Larry Bowa, Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose, and Manny Trillo. Can you say STUDS? Every player in this photo with the exception of Trillo was an All-Star in 1979. Trillo was no slouch either as he won a Gold Glove and hit pretty well for an infielder for that era in Baseball.
Lefty O’Doul taking a big swing as a member of the Phillies in 1930. O’Doul is easily one of my favorite players/managers/personalities in Baseball history. I can go on AND on why Lefty was awesome but you know how to use Google so you can look into it yourself. I am just going to say this about his 1930 season: he had a batting clip of .383/.453/.604, had 202 hits, hit 22 home runs, and 97 RBIs so needless to say, he tore it up for the Phillies. This was all after returning to the Major League in 1928 after being out big leagues for 5 seasons. During those 5 years he was converted to a position player in the Pacific Coast League as a member of the San Francisco Seals.
O’Doul ended up retiring with the 4th highest career batting average in Major League history. Not bad for a mediocre relief pitcher.