The highs have been high, indeed.
Hayes was the National League Player of the Month in April, when he batted .382 with seven home runs, one more than he hit all last season.
Last month, Hayes signed a three-year contract worth $6.4 million, which made him the second highest paid player in Phillies history, behind only Mike Schmidt.
And now the 30-year-old Hayes has been named to his first National League All-Star team, part of an outfield that includes outfielders Kevin Mitchell (Giants), Tony Gwynn (Padres), Andre Dawson (Cubs) and Eric Davis (Reds).
"This is something I've always dreamed about," Hayes said when National League manager Tom Lasorda made him the Phillies' lone representative in the midsummer classic. "I'm thrilled."
So much for the highlights.
What about the rest of Hayes's 1989 season?
On Memorial Day, Hayes watched Schmidt - his best friend on the team - announce his retirement from baseball. "A jolt," Hayes called it.
A few weeks later, Hayes was rumored on his way to the New York Mets in a trade for centerfielder Len Dykstra and rookie pitcher David West. Hayes admits the buzzing distracted him. His production began to slip.
He recently went through an 0-for-25 slump. His batting average slipped
from .305 to .270 in three weeks.
Also, Hayes started at four different positions, including third base, where the 6-5, 180-pounder looked about as comfortable as a flamenco dancer in a mine field.
Highs and lows, hot and cold . . .
That's the kind of season it has been for Hayes, a season of extremes, a season of firsts (his All-Star selection) and lasts (the Phils' position in the National League East).
Most of all, it has been a season of transition, with the Stockton, Calif., native replacing Schmidt as the cornerstone of the franchise.
Tomorrow, the two eras will pass in the night as Schmidt, the leading National League vote-getter at third base, takes his final bow in Anaheim while Hayes carries the Phillies' colors into the All-Star lineup.
One man will walk off into the sunset while the other takes his place at center stage. It is so symbolic and, for Hayes, so challenging.
He says he can handle it.
Time will tell.
"I've dealt with pressure before," Hayes said. "When I came to the Phillies (via a hotly debated 1982 trade from Cleveland), I was under the microscope. I thought it was unfair at first, then I realized it's just part of the game. You learn to live with it.
"As far as replacing Schmitty . . . no one can do that. You're talking about the greatest third baseman in the history of the game. I'm not going to
put up his kind of numbers, and I don't think Lee (Thomas, general manager) expects me to. But I can be productive and I can be a leader.
"I just have to do it my way."
Thomas believes Hayes's way will be good enough. The GM signed Hayes to that big contract and traded away the rest of the Phils' veteran nucleus: Juan Samuel, Steve Bedrosian and Chris James. Hayes was the lone piece on which Thomas chose to rebuild.
"I'm tired of hearing people say, 'How can you rebuild around a guy who's 30 years old? How can you pay him that kind of money?' " Thomas said. "If we didn't do it, 20 other teams would have lined up to sign him as a free agent. Then where would we be?
"Von can be a productive hitter for another four or five years. I agree, he hasn't been what you'd call an impact player yet, but he has a chance to be. He has that kind of ability, and he's working harder this year than he ever did before.
"Von realizes he is the guy on this team now. So far, I think he has accepted the challenge."
Von Hayes always seems to be caught between where he is and where the rest of the world thinks he ought to be.
When he broke into the big leagues with Cleveland in 1981, people likened him to a young Ted Williams. Conclusion: Hayes should hit .400 and win the Triple Crown.
When Hayes was traded here, Pete Rose nicknamed him "Five-for-One"
because that's how many players the Phils packaged to acquire him. Conclusion: Hayes had to be as good as five players just to break even.
The standards were set early and they were set high. Hayes had no choice but to live with them.
The result was a perception that despite a .281 average in seven seasons with the Phillies, Hayes was underachieving.
Critics pointed to Hayes's best season - a .305 average with 19 homers, 98 runs batted in and 107 runs scored in 1986 - and noted it was the season he played for a new contract.
In other words, Von only cranked it up when he felt like it.
That opinion resurfaced this spring when, with free agency on the horizon, Hayes got off to the best start of his career. When he signed the big contract June 15, the talk shows were flooded with callers predicting Hayes would slip back into his old comfort zone.
So far, the statistics seem to support that.
Hayes hasn't hit much since he signed the new contract. In fact, he hasn't hit a home run in his last 109 at-bats.
But Hayes bristles when anyone suggests that he might be coasting.
"I'm just fatigued, that's all," Hayes said last week. "I lost about 8 pounds. It's been a heckuva strain, the last few months.
"We had a lot of late nights (because of rain delays). I've been out there almost every day against all kinds of pitching. I've been in the spotlight more. It takes a toll.
"I know how this (slump) started. The new contract required me to take a physical exam. We flew back from Pittsburgh at 4:30 (a.m.) and I had to be in the doctor's office at 8. This was June 16th.
"That night we played the Mets and the game went until 2. I could hardly stand up when it was over. I was still exhausted the next day. I took back-to- back oh-fers and it got worse from there.
"You get in a hole like that and it's tough to get out."
The Phillies didn't help matters by shifting Hayes around. Already this season, he has started 9 games at third base, 17 at first base, 5 in centerfield and 50 in rightfield.
"At first, I didn't think it was a problem," Thomas said, "but after a while, I could see it was hurting Von's game. That's when we recalled Charlie (Hayes) to play third. We let Von settle in right. We'd like to leave it that way."
Of course, if C. Hayes continues to struggle at the plate, V. Hayes might have to move back to the hot corner. No one wants that - least of all V. Hayes - but he will do whatever manager Nick Leyva asks him to do.
That's part of being a team leader, and Hayes is growing into that role. He knows it comes with being the oldest and richest player in the clubhouse. He knows if he doesn't go along with the program, chances are the rest of the troops won't go along, either.
So Hayes goes along.
Example: In spring training, batting coach Denis Menke persuaded Hayes to scrap his spread-legged stance and forget about slapping the ball to the opposite field.
The message, which was privately seconded by Mike Schmidt, was for Hayes to think deep, as in long ball.
Menke closed Hayes's stance and moved his hands away from his body. That allowed Hayes to turn his hips on the inside pitch and hit it for distance. Last year, inside heat tied Hayes in knots.
"We needed more pop from Von, simple as that," Menke said. "We didn't have much power in our lineup and we knew Von could supply it if he made certain adjustments.
"Even if it meant losing a few points off his average, we felt it was worth it if he hit more long balls. I give Von a lot of credit. He made the changes and spent a lot of hours in the batting cage getting it right."
Right is right.
Hayes normally is a slow starter. Before this season, his career batting
average in April was .263. This year, he hit over .400 in the first three weeks and led the league in homers and RBI.
Even more surprising was the way Hayes ripped lefthanded pitching. He hit almost .500 against lefties in April and still is hitting a solid .270 against them. Hayes was clueless (13-for-101) against southpaws last season.
"He's a tough out now," said Cincinnati reliever John Franco, one of the nastier lefthanders on the planet. "He can put a good swing on the ball, no matter where it is."
All because he was willing to change.
Menke admits he was surprised.
"When I took this job, people told me Von would blow my mind," said Menke, who became the Phils' hitting instructor this spring after spending six years in Houston.
"He had a reputation for being hardheaded and temperamental, but I haven't seen any of that. He's been a pleasure to work with."
This is the same Von Hayes who last year grappled with manager Lee Elia in the dugout.
This is a guy who ranked among the league leaders in helmets tossed, bats shattered, water coolers dented, etc. In Cleveland, they reportedly hung a punching bag in the dugout strictly for Hayes's use.
Now, suddenly, Von is the model soldier.
"It's a matter of growing up and accepting responsibility," Hayes said. ''I realize Lee (Thomas) and Nick are looking to me to set a tone around here. I want that to be a positive thing. I can't help anybody, including myself, if I fly off the handle every time I make an out.
"The thing with Lee (Elia) was just a case of frustration boiling over. I made an out and flipped my helmet. It glanced off Lee's leg. He snapped at me and I snapped back. Next thing I knew, we were going after each other.
"It's too bad, because things never were the same between us after that. And I liked Lee, I really did."
Hayes shrugged. "Last year was just a bad year all around," he said.
It was doubly painful for Hayes, who underwent surgery to have three bone chips removed from his right elbow in July. He still had some soreness this spring, but he says that's gone now and he feels fine.
Hayes likes the Phillies' new look. Dykstra, Roger McDowell and John Kruk were solid additions, and with young arms such as Dennis Cook and Terry Mulholland aboard, the feeling is the Phillies, finally, are moving in the right direction.
But what a turnover . . .
Fifteen of the 24 players who suited up yesterday are in their first season with the Phils. Three others are in their second season. Steve Jeltz practically qualifies as an institution with his five years.
As the senior man, Hayes sees his role as a kind of stabilizer. He won't be a holler guy, because that's not his style. If he leads, it will be in subtle ways.
"You lead by performance," Hayes said. "That's what Mike (Schmidt) and Pete Rose did. I know they had a great influence on me. They were at the park every day three hours before the game, preparing. I watched them and thought, 'If they do it that way, it must be right.' Now I'm here early every day.
"It might seem like a small thing," Hayes said, "but if you do enough small things right, you'll win a lot of games."
No Von Hayes story is complete without a mention of what he calls, "the other stuff."
He means the bachelor angle. You know, the fancy car, the nice clothes, the women. Especially the women. Remember, this is a guy who once dated Suzette Charles, the former Miss America.
But Hayes's eyes glaze over when he is asked about his personal life. He does his best to change the subject. He thinks the bachelor thing is overrated. He says if people really knew what he was like, they would be disappointed.
"I'm single but I'm nowhere near the fast lane," Hayes said. "I watch TV and listen to music (he is partial to Billy Joel), all the normal stuff."
Hayes has a modest home in Newtown Square, Delaware County. He often attends weekday Mass at the nearby Catholic church.
He has a steady girlfriend: soap opera actress Paige Turco, who plays Melanie Cortlandt on "All My Children." They have known each other for more than a year and, yes, the subject of marriage has come up. They agree their careers make that impractical, at least for now.
"I'm on the road so much, and she is working five days a week in New York," Hayes said. "We don't get much time together."
"So how do you keep a relationship going?" someone asked.
"A lot of phone calls and a lot of flowers," Hayes said.
You might be wondering how a ballplayer and a soap opera actress got together in the first place. Credit an assist to Mets second baseman Tim Teufel.
Last season, the cast of "All My Children" came to Shea Stadium to be photographed. It just so happened the Phillies were in town that night and Hayes spotted Turco while he was taking his pregame laps.
Unlike a lot of ballplayers, Hayes doesn't watch the soaps, so he didn't recognize the actress. "But I knew she was someone I wanted to meet," he said.
Hayes pulled aside Teufel, who explained what was going on. Hayes grabbed a baseball, borrowed a pen and asked Turco for her autograph.
They chatted a while and, pretty soon, they were making plans to go out. Things took off from there.
One reason Hayes and Turco get along is they know absolutely nothing about each other's career. He doesn't care about daytime TV and she doesn't understand baseball. It's amazing how well that works out.
"The last thing I want to do when I leave the park is talk baseball," Hayes said, "and when Paige has a day off, she doesn't want to talk about the show. This way, when we're together, we don't have that problem. It's refreshing for both of us.
"She has come to the park a few times to see me play. It's funny, but every time she is here, I have a big game. I told her, 'If you had a season ticket, I'd be an All-Star.' "
No matter, Hayes made it to the All-Star Game, anyway. Maybe tomorrow night he will hit the game-winning homer in the bottom of the ninth and dedicate it to his actress girlfriend.
It would be a finish straight out of a soap opera. Come to think of it, what would be more appropriate?