October 22, 2008 |
1989: In the immediate short term, this was another awful team that managed only a 67-95 record. However, with Lee Thomas in charge, change, for better or worse, began to take place. In an especially tearful press conference in an auxiliary clubhouse at San Diego's Jack Murphy Stadium, Mike Schmidt, whose performance had been declining for three years, announced his retirement in late May. His departure severed the last link to the great years that began in the mid '70s. And Thomas went on to start changing the roster.
October 22, 2008 |
1994: Despite their reputation as fun-loving beer-guzzlers, the 1994 Phillies were an irksome lot. And without pennant-contention to ameliorate their grumpiness as it had the previous season, they could be downright unpleasant. Those Phillies didn't like the new blue hats management wanted them to wear in home day games. Several daytime losses early that season didn't help. The discontent over the blue caps became so intense that, during an April appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno , Lenny Dykstra shredded one as a symbol of the team's discontent.
October 10, 2008
HE WAS READY for his closeup, Mr. DeMille. Cole Hamels stepped onto the biggest soundstage of his career in Game 1 of the NLCS last night, a Hollywood-worthy leading man going against Hollywood's Team. OK, he didn't come out smoking the way he did in his powerful Game 1 Division Series victory over the Brewers. But he hung tough as John Wayne waiting for the cavalry to arrive. He left with a 3-2 lead after seven innings that kept getting better and 105 pitches that set the table for another bravura bullpen performance, another save for Brad Lidge.
October 9, 2008 |
-- ABOUT THIS PHOTO This shot was taken at the Vet as the '93 season got under way. That team won eight of its first nine, 51 of its first 72 and finished 97-65. FRONT ROW (from left) 1. CRAIG MARQUIS, batboy 2. ANTHONY FENUTA, batboy - SECOND ROW (from left) 1. PETE CERA, assistant clubhouse manager, deceased 2. EDDIE FERENZ, traveling secretary, Collingswood, N.J., retired 3. MIKE RYAN, bullpen coach, 66, Wolfeboro, N.H., retired 4. LARRY BOWA, third base coach, 62, Radnor, third base coach for the Dodgers 5. JOHN VUKOVICH, dugout assistant, deceased 6. JIM FREGOSI, manager, 66, Tarpon Springs, Fla., special assistant to the GM/major league scout for the Braves 7. DENIS MENKE, hitting instructor, 68, Palm Harbor, Fla., retired 8. MEL ROBERTS, first base coach, deceased 9. JOHNNY PODRES, pitching coach, deceased 10. MARK ANDERSEN, assistant trainer, 49, West Chester, Phillies assistant athletic trainer 11. JEFF COOPER, trainer, 56, Wilmington, consulting part time for Phillies - THIRD ROW (from left)
June 10, 2008
A GUY IN his early 20s approached me recently with hope in his eyes. "This team is for real, huh?" he said of the Phillies. "Just like that '93 team, huh?" Well . . . He had it half right. This team is for real. In a way, that 1993 team never was. This team is younger, faster, more complete, with a home-grown core that has matured before your eyes and owns a bright future beyond this season. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick, Carlos Ruiz, Ryan Madson - this team was planned for in a way that the 1993 team was not. The Phillies of 1993 had precious little home-grown talent.
March 29, 2008 |
The door from the steam room opens, and Darren Daulton, leader of The Daulton Gang and of Macho Row, emerges, swathed in towels and fog, walking with the slow, deliberate gait of a sea captain feeling his way across a storm-tossed deck. Daulton's knees make the sound of someone cracking walnuts. He sits heavily and says: "Takes a while to get all the parts back where they belong. " And so it does. Such is the life of a catcher, the toughest position in all of sports. And so it is on this midsummer night in 1993, with the game long over, with everyone else long gone, that only Daulton remains, trying to undo the damage that accumulates from all those knee-crippling frog squats in the dirt, on a steamy 90-degree night, encased in armor, scrambling to block pitches in the dirt, shaking off the foul tips that rip into you like shrapnel.
November 27, 2007
MR. MONTGOMERY, tear down this wall. Behind the symbolic wall separating a limited partnership that owns the Phillies and fans yearning for a second World Series championship are some sound business practices. Bill Giles rounded up the original partners who bought the ballclub for $31 million from the Carpenter family in 1981. Bob Carpenter's father paid $400,000 in 1943 for the bankrupt Phillies and handed the Shibe Park keys to his 27-year-old son. Giles stated on numerous occasions that the Phillies neither made nor lost a lot of money.
October 15, 2007 |
CLEVELAND - Deciding to end his baseball career, that was the easy part. By the time Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's 1997 season ended, Eric Wedge was 3 years removed from his last big league at-bat. He had played only sparingly as back-up catcher for the Phillies' top farm team, hitting .256 in 47 games. He had endured eight surgeries. Deciding what to do next, well, that was a little trickier. Even though he was just 29 years old, he had two chances to begin his managerial career in the minors.
October 2, 2007
MICKEY MORANDINI was in a car heading for the noontime pep rally. In Chicago. For the Cubs. "What do you think?" he asked. "Should I wear my Phillies gear?" Around the country, amid the lives they now lead outside of baseball, members of the 1993 Phillies - the last pennant-winner this town has known - have been entranced by the current improbable run, just like the rest of us. Jim Eisenreich in Kansas City. Lenny Dykstra in Southern California. Tommy Greene in Richmond, Va. Morandini from his Indiana home in the suburbs of Chicago.
June 29, 2007
A CNN reporter interviewed me the other day about the Phillies, and their impending 10,000th loss. The rest of the country is surprised that the Phillies will be the first to reach this mark, he said. So why weren't we? I told him he had it backward. Why, given our reputation for booing, for throwing things - for being impatient, snarly fans - well, why should anyone be surprised? Do you think we were all born this way, I asked. Sorry about that "we. " I tried to disqualify myself from the interview, saying I had not been here long enough to comment on the frustration that has been passed through generations like a birthmark.