The Phillies have had better teams than the one that lost to the Blue Jays in the World Series in 1993, but few that have captured the imagination of the city the way that band of free spirits did.
And Daulton was the unquestioned leader of that pack.
"It's really remarkable when I come back how many fans are still connected to the '93 club," he said. "It's kind of neat. I've been doing some traveling this summer up here and some of the towns I go to, kids that were 7 or 8 years old back then and 25 or 26 now. They say, 'I don't want to make you feel old, but my mother had a crush on you back in '93.'
"And I say, 'Well, you made me feel old,' " he said with a laugh.
Second baseman Chase Utley, on the disabled list after surgery to repair a right thumb sprain, said yesterday he no longer needs the splint he's been wearing and will be re-examined in a week.
"I can use the hand like I normally would use it," he said. "I'm extremely anxious to get back. I've been going a little nuts on the bench. But we've been playing well and that makes a big difference."
Utley added that he thinks it's "realistic" that he could be back before the end of the month and that he has a date in mind, but smilingly declined to divulge it.
"I can't hit and throw. That's the only thing I can't do. Or try to step on it," he said.
Raul Ibanez extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games with a first-inning single last night . . . Newly acquired first baseman Mike Sweeney batted cleanup in his first Phillies start . . . Manager Charlie Manuel on the apparent loss of velocity exhibited by closer Brad Lidge: "You never know about [radar] guns. Sometimes they can be slower, they can be faster. I can tell more by the way the ball is coming out of his hand and whether he's beating the hitter" . . . Beginning last night, the Phillies play 16 of 19 at home. Manuel hopes that will help offset the fact that his lineup is still missing first baseman Ryan Howard, centerfielder Shane Victorino and Chase Utley. "We've been kind of hot [35-18 going into last night] here at home. We're playing pretty good at home, things have been going our way," he said . . . Manuel said he expects at least 90 wins will be needed to take the division for a fourth straight year . . . The Phillies end the season with three games in Atlanta that will be a weekend in which retiring Braves manager Bobby Cox will be celebrated. Manuel's eyes twinkled when asked if he had a going-away gift for Cox. "Like I told [former Dodgers manager] Tommy Lasorda last year [before the NLCS]; I told him they were standing in the way," he said.