Fightin's lost lots of games, but Schilling made it fun

Posted: October 22, 2008

1997: The Phillies didn't win much, but they were sure fun to watch every fifth day. Pitching for a last-place team, Curt Schilling continued his rise to elite status. He took the mound with two goals: Pitch as many innings as manager Terry Francona would let him and strike out everything in sight. He finished with 2531/3 innings and led the majors with 319 strikeouts while going 17-11 with a 2.97 ERA.

2008: The Phillies won often and Cole Hamels blossomed as the staff ace. A lefthander with a dazzling change-up and an underrated fastball, Hamels made it through the season without a trip to the disabled list and racked up 2271/3 innings, second-most in the NL, while striking out 196. Like Schilling in 1993, Hamels was MVP of the NLCS.

Jim Salisbury was the Phillies beat writer for The Inquirer in 1997.

Remembering 1997

Average price of a gallon of gas: $1.25.

Phillies' record: 68-94, fifth place.

Phillies' attendance: 1,490,638.

Phillies' first-round pick: J.D. Drew (never signed).

Remember this? The first Harry Potter novel is released. (Author J.K. Rowling credits its success to the Zachary Taylor craze.)

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