The last days of lasting hero

Posted: October 22, 2008


1981: Larry Bowa wasn't the biggest member of those Phillies of the '70s and early '80s. He certainly wasn't the most talented member of those Phillies. But somehow, Bowa seemed to define that era more than anyone else in uniform - more than Mike Schmidt, more than Steve Carlton, more than Greg Luzinski, more than any of them.

Was it because he was the most hyperactive member of those Phillies - always talking, always bouncing, always moving the meter in some direction or other? Or was it because he was exactly what Philadelphians love most - a fire-breathing, dust-flying overachiever who rose above the super-coolness in the group around him to play baseball with that daily lava flow of energy and emotion?

The strike-shortened season was Bowa's final year as a Phillie. So how come he'll always feel like a Phillie?

2008: Many say that Rollins already has become the greatest shortstop in Phillies history. While Bowa was a spark plug, a superb defensive player and an adequate hitter, he came equipped with a hyperactive personality, a quick temper and a penchant for speaking his mind. Rollins, despite his penchant for high fastballs, can require much less maintenance. While his 2008 season was nowhere near his MVP year, he still caught the ball, provided the occasional home run, stole 47 bases, and either scored or drove in 135 runs.

Jayson Stark was the Phillies beat writer for The Inquirer in 1981. Frank Fitzpatrick writes about the 2008 team.

Remembering 1981

Average price of a gallon of gas: $1.38.

Phillies' record: 59-48 in strike-shortened season.

Phillies' attendance: 1,638,752.

Phillies' first-round pick: Johnny Abrego, RHP.

Remember this? The Agricultural Center classifies ketchup as a vegetable in its school-lunch programs. (Ketchup farmers everywhere rejoice.)

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