For Philadelphia Phillies, Macho Row is back

Déjà vu all over again (from left): Daulton, Williams & Hollins are back.
Déjà vu all over again (from left): Daulton, Williams & Hollins are back.
Posted: August 25, 2010

DARREN Daulton's induction into the Phillies' Hall of Fame a couple of Fridays ago brought back some wonderful memories of the 1993 pennant-winners and their long-haired, trash-talking Macho Row.

Daulton, Lenny Dykstra, John Kruk, Mitch Williams and Dave Hollins were the swaggering nucleus of the '93 Phillies. Cut from the same blue-collar mold as the fans, they were diehards who functioned in a black-and-white world of heroes and bums.

While those players weren't nearly as talented as either the 1980 or 2008 world champions, they were beloved because they were throwbacks who hung out with the fans after games and showed their humanity - warts and all.

That's why I'm glad some of them are back in town.

Daulton, who suffered through a string of losing seasons and knee operations before he became an All-Star catcher and the lead dog of the '93 team, hosts a nightly call-in radio show and serves as a postgame analyst for Comcast Sports.

WILLIAMS, BEST known as "Wild Thing" for his gutsy performances as a closer, is an analyst for the MLB Channel and can also be heard on local radio before games. Hollins, whose legendary intensity as a power-hitting third baseman earned him the nickname "Head," was hired last year by the Phils as a pro scout.

What they bring to their new roles is an accessibility to the fans that's difficult to find among major leaguers, past or present. On air, Daulton and Williams field questions from callers with an astute knowledge of the game mixed with good-natured humor. Off the air, they can be found at the ballpark, local malls and restaurants chatting it up with the fans.

Though Hollins is a bit more removed because of the constant traveling required of a pro scout, he's very much at home with fans who greet him at minor league ballparks and when he's back making appearances in the Delaware Valley.

But don't let their scruffy, anti-intellectual reputations fool you: All three of the Macho Row alums are bright, articulate ambassadors for the game. At the same time, they still "call 'em as they see 'em," whether the listener is the general manager or a radio show caller.

Just as refreshing, Daulton, Williams and Hollins have been able to survive personal setbacks.

Like many players, they struggled with an understandable sense of loss when their careers ended, trying to keep one foot in the past and one in the present. Daulton briefly served as a bullpen coach for Tampa Bay while going through a painful divorce.

Similarly, Williams bounced around the Independent League hoping to return to the majors as a pitching coach or manager. Hollins spent time in the minors as a hitting coach trying to balance a grueling schedule and irregular eating times with his diabetes.

With their new roles, Daulton, Williams and Hollins seem to have found a happy middle ground for themselves.

It's almost like coming home again.

William Kashatus is a historian and writer. E-mail him at

bill@historylive.net.

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