Dykstra's break wrecked team

Posted: October 22, 2008


1992: Seasons can change in a single game. Sometimes on a single pitch. For these Phillies, that game came very early. The '92 season began at Veterans Stadium with tremendous optimism. The team debuted new uniforms - with a new, but old, "P" and road greys instead of powder blues. The lineup that would win a pennant a year later was a potent one, finishing fourth in runs scored and third in home runs. Leadoff hitter Lenny Dykstra got a huge ovation as he strutted into the batter's box to face the Braves' Greg Maddux. Maddux's second pitch hit him. The centerfielder's hand was broken. He missed missed more than a month, the Phillies never got rolling and finished in last place.

2008: The Phillies normally don't do anything easily. That's why this 2008 season was so unusual. It was, by this franchise's standards, remarkably even-keel. They never had a lengthy losing streak and, for the most part, managed to avoid the kind of devastating defeats that so often can sink a season. There were some spirited victories - the Saturday afternoon comeback against the Braves in July; the extra-inning win in San Francisco in May; the getaway-day win at St. Louis in August. But it was probably a series that had the most positive impact on the Phils' ultimate success. Their four-game sweep of visiting Milwaukee, Aug. 11-14, sparked the 13-of-16 season-ending streak that won the NL East for them.

Frank Fitzpatrick was the Phillies beat writer for The Inquirer in 1992.

Remembering 1992

Average price of gallon of gas: $1.15.8.

Phillies' record - 70-92, sixth place.

Attendance - 1,927,448 at Veterans Stadium.

First-round pick - Chad McConnell, OF.

Remember this? Johnny Carson leaves The Tonight Show after 30 years as its host. (His initial replacement is Joan Embery of the San Diego Zoo but ratings dive when she books lemurs at least three times a week.)

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