Bill Conlin | In time, we'll celebrate 10,000 Phillies victories

Posted: July 10, 2007

WHEN I'M KING of the World . . .

There will be a great celebration when the Phillies reach 10,000 wins . . . A number of fans have asked why the media hasn't balanced the ballclub's imminent planting of the banner atop Mount Losemore with some of the club's accomplishments. They are reading my mind. The plan is to roll out a Triumphant Trilogy devoted to the All-Time Best Phillies Players; Hall of Famers, Heroes and Highlights; Great Trades and Fortuitous Acquisitions. All that stands between that thunderous standing ovation and the printed page is a small matter of 1,192 victories. Assuming a generous average of 85 wins a season, I expect to be cranking out the series toward the end of April - in the year 2021.

Hopefully, retirement homes will provide laptops and memory coaches by then. By 2021, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley will be nearing the end of their Hall of Fame reign as the No. 1 offensive middle infield of all time. There will be rumors that the Phillies partnership - mostly heirs of the original Teflonics - will ask for the city and state to help fund a somewhat larger and more pitcher-friendly ballpark than Google Field, dubbed "The PlayStation" by Atlanta Braves GM John Smoltz.

Dave Montgomery and his marketing minions can give away Bobblehead dolls, backpacks and floppy hats until they are dollar-green in the face, but they will never do more to win hearts, minds and new fans than his players did Sunday during that wild minihurricane in Coors Field. The 2007 Phillies did more to enhance their national image by coming to the aid of an overmatched Rockies ground crew than all the carefully planned promotions laid end to end. While all but one of the Rockies retired to their rain-delay card games, the Phils not only helped tame that bucking bronco tarpaulin but displayed a boyish enjoyment in doing so. What came out of their impromptu volunteer work was a clear sense that this is a fun bunch of players who really enjoy each other. Too bad a better effort has not been made to surround the excellent nucleus with a better overall talent matrix.

When I'm King of the World . . .

Henry Ford's observation that "History is bunk" will be revised to read "Revisionist history is bunk" . . . In his talking history of the Phillies' march to 10,000 losses, Sports Illustrated writer Franz Lidz accurately quoted Danny Ozark's classic, "Even Napoleon had his Watergate." Trouble is, Lidz had Ozark saying it after his Labor Day firing in 1979. No, Franz, I reported the quote during the summer of 1976 . . .

Revised Revision II: The 1964 pennant race and the Phillies' epic collapse are included in a new book titled, "It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over" (The Baseball Prospectus Pennant Race Book). In a postscript to the 1964 chapter that focuses on Dick Allen's troubled career, somebody named Allen Barra refers to " . . . the long, rancorous history of Allen's relationships with an all-white Philadelphia Press - most visibly represented by Bill Conlin and Larry Merchant of the Philadelphia Daily News . . . " Barra correctly defines Allen's 1965 fight with first baseman Frank Thomas as the seminal event that turned the public against the gifted slugger. However, Mr. Barra, in 1964 I was writing Penn State football and Big 5 basketball for the Evening Bulletin in addition to frequent turns on the copy desk. I never set foot in Connie Mack Stadium that season. In 1965, while the events around the Frank Thomas Incident unfolded, I was the Daily News boxing writer, covering Leotis Martin, Joey Giardello, Georgie Benton and Emile Griffith. I subbed for altar-bound Stan Hochman on one Phillies West Coast trip later that season. My 21 years on the Phillies beat didn't begin until the 1966 season. Larry Merchant had gone to the New York Post by then. The revisionists have decided since then that it was wrong for me to have reported the many, many incidents Allen precipitated between 1966 and his 1969 trade to the Cardinals.

Sorry, I lost my head . . . Fortunately, I didn't lose my integrity.

When I'm King of the World . . .

Switzerland will have a surfing team . . . And why not? The landlocked Alpine nation of zero oceans and few tennis courts already has another America's Cup and the mounting Grand Slam event trophies won by Roger "The Great" Federer.

Hannibal invaded Rome via the Alps using war elephants, so maybe the Swiss can find a way to transport the victorious 12-meter yacht Alinghi from the Atlantic off Valencia, Spain, to Lake Geneva, where it would make a great excursion boat. Federer's fifth straight Wimbledon title victory over superb Rafael Nadal in five sets was a top three match in the history of the fortnight. Who cares if Roger passed up skiing for stroking? . . . Tell me I was dreaming Saturday morning when Weird Sports Channel, Versus, presented the Tour de France Prologue starting in London's Piccadilly Circus. What's next, Manayunk?

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Send e-mail to bill1chair@aol.com. For recent columns, go to http://go.philly.com/conlin.

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