Quite frankly, one of the more improbable and crushing defeats in Phillies history. I was just seven years old at the time and to this day, I think about it.
The 1977 Phillies team was arguably the best team in Philadelphia Phillies history. They could do everything. They won 101 games and could absolutely mash offensively; they had capable starting pitching and a solid bullpen.
There was disappointment in 1976 when the Phillies won 101 games and were swept by the Big Red Machine. This year, the Phillies were going to take the next step. In Game 1, they scored two runs in the ninth inning to win 7-5 and Don Sutton shut them down to take Game 2. Both of those games were in Los Angeles.
The series shifted to Philadelphia for the pivotable Game 3. The Dodgers scored first with two runs in the second off Phillies starter Larry Christenson, and then bedlem ensued in the home half of the inning.
Burt Hooton allowed the Philadelphia fans to get into his head as he walked four consecutive hitters to allow the Phillies to take a 3-2 lead.
The Dodgers scored a run in the fourth to tie it at 3-3, and it stayed that way until the bottom of the eighth inning. Richie Hebner led off with a double and scored on a Garry Maddox single. Maddox went all the way to third on a throwing error.
Bob Boone then hit a routine grounder to third and Dodgers third baseman Ron Cey threw it away, enabling Maddox to score to give the Phillies a 5-3 lead and it looked as if they would take a 2-1 series lead with Steve Carlton set to pitch Game 4.
Phillies closer Gene Garber entered in the seventh inning and allowed six consecutive ground outs. To start the ninth, Garber got Dusty Baker and Rick Monday to ground out as well, as his sinker was just devastating.
On an 0-1 count, Dodger pinch hitter Vic Davalillo reached on a bunt single. Next up was another pinch hitter, Manny Mota. On an 0-2 pitch, Mota lofted a deep fly to left that Phils left fielder Greg Luzinski could not come up with, making the score 5-4. Mota raced all the way to third when Ted Sizemore misplayed the relay throw.
Davey Lopes then swung at the first pitch and hit a sharp grounder off Mike Schmidt's knee that ricocheted right to Phils SS Larry Bowa. Bowa barehanded the ball and fired it to first to get Lopes by half a step.
Phils win right?!?!?!
No, first base umpire Gerry Froemming blew the call; he called Lopes safe and Mota scored the tying run. Garber then made a pickoff throwing error, allowing Lopes to make it to second; Lopes would then score the go-ahead run on a Bill Russell single.
The Phillies went quietly in the ninth and the Friday afternoon game was quickly labeled "Black Friday" in Phillies history lore.