Philadelphia Phillies: 15 Most Unforgettable Postseason Games
For the most part, this list consists of unforgettably joyous Phillies postseason games. A few exceptions had to be thrown in...only because they are just so damn unforgettable.
Obviously the Phillies have played the majority of their postseason games in the last five seasons, but the magical season of 1980 and some others creep in as well.
Here we go.
#15: 1983 World Series Game 1 vs Baltimore Orioles
Garry Maddox crushed a solo HR to break a 1-1 tie.
The 1983 Phillies could quite possibly be a lot like the 2012 bunch: aging veterans that had one more run in them before it all collapsed. John Denny was incredible during the season, going 19-6 to win the NL Cy Young award. He got the nod to start Game 1 at Baltimore and allowed a first inning solo home run to O's right fielder Jim Dwyer.
Orioles lefty Scott McGregor was cruising heading into the sixth inning, when Phillies second basemen Joe Morgan crushed a solo home run deep to right tying the game up at 1-1.
Denny was sensational after the Dwyer home run, only allowing three more hits in 7.2 innings. Long time Phillies center fielder Garry Maddox took McGregor deep in the 8th to make the score 2-1 and Phils closer Al Holland closed the door on a 2-1 Phillies victory in Game 1.
The everlasting image of Holland shouting to his teammates "that's one, that's one" after the final out gave the appearance that the "Wheeze Kids" were a team of destiny. Unfortunately, Holland's "that's one" turned into the only victory they would have in the 1983 World Series loss to the Orioles.
#14: 2008 NLDS Game 2 vs Milwaukee Brewers
Victorino's grand slam off CC Sabathia
The Phillies were swept in the 2007 playoffs versus the Colorado Rockies, and were paired against the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLDS in the 2008 playoffs. The Brewers acquired left CC Sabathia at the trade deadline and he was virtually unstoppable during the Brew Crew's pennant drive.
The Phillies knew they would face Sabathia in Game 2, so in all probability, a best case scenario might be a split leading to the games in Milwaukee. The Phils did win Game 1, leading to the CC showdown in Game 2.
Brett Myers started on the hill for the Phillies and allowed a run in the first. Some thought "that's enough for CC," but Myers gritty at bat in the second inning to force a walk rattled Sabathia, which led to Shane Victorino's grand slam putting Phillies up 5-1.
Those were the only runs the Phillies would score, as Myers breezed after the first and Brad Lidge nailed it down.
#13: 1993 NLCS Game 1 vs Atlanta Braves
The 1993 NL East-winning Phillies came out of nowhere and were then huge underdogs to knock off the two-time defending pennant champion Atlanta Braves to get to the World Series. Curt Schilling set the tone by striking out the first five hitters he faced, and the Phils led 3-2 heading to the ninth.
Defensive replacement Kim Batiste made a crucial ninth inning error to allow the Braves to tie it up. However, the goat quickly became the hero, grounding a run-scoring double down the left field line to knock in John Kruk for a Game 1 tone-setting victory.
#12: 2008 World Series Game 3 vs Tampa Bay Rays
Carlos Ruiz's infield chopper was the game winning hit.
The pivotal game of the 2008 World Series got a very late start as it was delayed 91 minutes due to rain. The Phils and Rays split the first two games in Tampa. On the hill for the Phillies was 45 year old Jamie Moyer, making his first World Series start in his career.
The Phils scored a run in the first and the Rays answered with one of their own in the second.
Catcher Carlos Ruiz hit a solo HR in the bottom of the 2nd to give the Phils a 2-1 lead. That held up until the bottom of the 6th, when Chase Utley and Ryan Howard went back to back off Rays starter Matt Garza to give the Phils a 4-1 lead.
The Rays came right back with a couple of RBI ground outs in the seventh, and BJ Upton stole a run in the eighth to tie the game at 4-4.
J.C. Romero pitched a perfect ninth, setting up the wild finish for the home town Phils.
Utility man Eric Bruntlett led off by getting hit by a pitch. Shane Victorino was then asked to bunt and Rays pitcher Grant Balfour unleashed a wild pitched that caromed straight back to catcher Dioner Navarro. Bruntlett took off for second and Navarro air-mailed his throw into center field, allowing Bruntlett to scramble to third with none out.
Victorino and pinch hitter Greg Dobbs were both intentionally walked, setting the stage for Ruiz. Ruiz chopped a ball down the third base line and Evan Longoria was unable to flip it to the plate in time to get Bruntlett—jubilation followed as the Phillies mobbed Bruntlett and Ruiz.
#11: 1980 World Series Game 5 vs Kansas City Royals
The Phillies had taken Games 1 and 2 of the 1980 World Series in Philadelphia, while the Royals stormed back to take Games 3 and 4 in Kansas City. Game 5 was obviously pivotal.
Mike Schmidt crushed a two-run home run off Royals starter Larry Gura in the fourth. That held up until the fifth inning when the Royals got to Phillies starter Marty Bystrom for a run.
In the sixth, Royals outfielder Amos Otis led off with a home run to tie the game, while U L Washington hit a sacrifice fly to give the Royals a 3-2 lead which held up until the ninth.
Royals closer Dan Quisenberry entered the game and Schmidt led off with a single. Pinch hitter Del Unser then doubled down into the right field corner allowing Schmidt to tie the game. With two outs and Under on third, Phillies second basemen Manny Trillo's infield single scored Unser to put the Phils up 4-3.
Things got interesting in the ninth as closer Tug McGraw walked the bases loaded. With two outs, Jose Cardenal struck out and jubilation followed. The Phils went up three games to two, and were approximately 48 hours away from their first World Series title.
#10: 2009 NLCS Game 4 vs Los Angeles Dodgers
The Phillies took Game 1, but the Dodgers evened the series the next day at one apiece. Cliff Lee and company whitewashed the Dodgers in Game 3 (11-0), leading to this game that the Dodgers were so close to evening up at two.
Ryan Howard gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead with a two-run homer in the first off former Phillie Randy Wolf. That held up until the fourth inning, when the Dodgers scored two runs on three hits off Phillies starter Joe Blanton.
In the fifth, Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp hit a solo home run, and in the sixth they added an unearned run to take a 4-2 lead.
The Phillies were able to close the gap with a run in the sixth and it stayed that way until the ninth.
Jonathan Broxton was on the hill. Broxton, still fresh with green men in his head from the Matt Stairs game from the previous season, got Raul Ibanez to ground out to start the inning. Stairs pinched hit again and it was obvious Broxton wanted no part of him this time, walking Stairs on four pitches.
Carlos Ruiz was then drilled by a pitch, sending pinch runner Eric Bruntlett to second. Pinch hitter Greg Dobbs then hit a soft liner right to third basemen Casey Blake, setting the stage for Jimmy Rollins.
Rollins nailed a 1-1 fastball up the right center field alley that enabled Ruiz to score all the way from first, sending the Phillies to an improbable 5-4 win.
#9: 1993 World Series Game 4 vs Toronto Blue Jays
A rain-delayed dreary...then wild and jubilant..... and then devastating night.
Down two games to one with Curt Schilling waiting in the wings, a win by the Phillies could just about put them on the brink of the franchise's second World Championship.
Here we go:
Blue Jays score three in the first. (3-0 Blue Jays)
Phillies score four in the first. (4-3 Phillies)
Phillies score two in the second. (6-3 Phillies)
Blue Jays score four in the third. (7-6 Blue Jays)
Phillies score one in the fourth. (tied at 7-7)
Phillies score fifth in the fifth. (12-7 Phillies)
Blue Jays score two in the sixth. (12-9 Phillies)
Phillies score one in the sixth. (13-9 Phillies)
Phillies score one in the seventh. (14-9 Phillies)
Then quite possibly the ugliest inning in Philadelphia Phillies history.
It started innocently enough with Larry Andersen inducing a ground out. Then a single, walk and double made the score 14-10, and Andersen was replaced by closer Mitch Williams.
Tony Fernandez hit an RBI single and Williams then walked Pat Borders to load the bases with the Phils ahead 14-11. Ed Sprague struck out looking, but then Rickey Henderson hit a two-run single, followed by Devon White's two-run triple on a 1-2 pitch.
Just like that, the Phillies were down 15-14, and promptly went 0-for-6 in the eighth and ninth and the series was basically over.
#8: 2009 NLDS Game 4 vs Colorado Rockies
The Phillies were up two games to one and on the brink of having to fly back to Philadelphia for a decisive Game 5.
Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth hit home runs in the first and sixth innings, but the Rockies added one in the sixth and exploded for three in the eighth to take a 4-2 lead.
Rockies closer Huston Street was brought in to close the door.
Pinch hitter Greg Dobbs led off and struck out. Jimmy Rollins singled to right and was forced at second on a Shane Victorino grounder. Chase Utley walked on a 3-2 pitch and up stepped Ryan Howard.
Howard slugged a 2-1 pitch down the right field line into the corner, allowing Utley to score from first to tie the game. Jayson Werth followed with a line drive single to center to score Howard and give the Phillies a 5-4 lead.
It wasn't over yet though. Scott Eyre was on the hill to begin the ninth. Carlos Gonzalez singled with one out and Todd Helton singled with two outs. Manager Charlie Manuel brought in closer Brad Lidge, who had a miserable season, but was able to strikeout Troy Tulowitzki to win the game, and the series.
#7: 1993 World Series Game 6 vs Toronto Blue Jays
If this was a "Toronto Blue Jays" list, this would be No. 1. Unfortunately it didn't end well for one of the more lovable teams in Phillies history.
It didn't start out well for the visiting Phils as starter Terry Mulholland allowed three runs on three hits in the first inning. The Phils scored their first run in the fourth after Darren Daulton doubled with two outs and scored on a Jim Eisenreich single.
The Blue Jays answered with a run of their own in the fourth and another on a Paul Molitor home run in the fifth inning, to take a commanding 5-1 lead.
Phillies reliever Roger Mason held the Blue Jays there and it stayed that way until the seventh inning. After Kevin Stocker walked and Mickey Morandini singled, Lenny Dykstra crushed a three-run home run to right to close the lead to 5-4.
That chased Blue Jay starter Dave Stewart. Mariano Duncan singled off reliever Danny Cox and stole second after John Kruk struck out. Dave Hollins singled to center to knock in Duncan, tying the game. Daulton walked and Eisenreich hit an infield single to load the bases with one out.
The Blue Jays went to Al Leiter with Milt Thompson coming up, and manager Jim Fregosi went with pinch hitter Pete Incaviglia. Inky swung at the first pitch that he saw and hit a deep fly to center, enabling Hollins to score, and the Phils went up 6-5.
It stayed that way until the ninth inning and...no need to rehash what happened next. Joe Carter immortalized himself with a game/series-winning three-run home run off Mitch Williams.
That ended the magical 1993 season.
#6: 1993 NLCS Game 5 vs Atlanta Braves
The Phillies were huge underdogs versus the 1993 105-win Atlanta Braves squad. They won Games 1 and 4 by scores of 4-3 and 2-1. The Braves won Games 2 and 3 by scores of 14-3 and 9-4. Game 5 was a day game in Atlanta that featured Curt Schilling vs. Steve Avery.
John Kruk doubled in Mariano Duncan in the first, giving the Phillies a 1-0 lead. Wes Chamberlain hit a sacrifice fly to center in the fourth inning to make it 2-0, and Darren Daulton cranked a solo home run in the top of the ninth as a much needed insurance run, making it 3-0 heading to the bottom of the ninth.
Schilling took the mound in the ninth, having allowed just four hits and two walks while striking out nine. He promptly walked Jeff Blauser to open the inning and then Kim Batiste made his second crucial error in the series as a late inning defensive replacement on what should have been a double-play ball.
Manager Jim Fregosi pulled Schilling, who was at 131 pitches, and called for closer Mitch Williams. Fred McGriff then singled to center to score Blauser, and Ron Gant scored on a David Justice sacrifice fly to make the score 3-2.
With two outs, Terry Pendleton singled to center, setting the stage for Fernando Cabrera, who hit a pinch-hit single to center that scored McGriff, tying the game.
Mark Lemke just missed a game-winning hit as he lined a shot down the left field line that landed just inches foul. Williams was able to strikeout Lemke and then end the inning on a Bill Pecota fly out.
Braves closer and flame thrower Mark Wohlers entered the game. With one out, on a 3-2 pitch, Lenny Dykstra went deep to right center field to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead.
Larry Andersen came in and got the save with a 1-2-3 10th inning to give the Phillies a three games to two lead that propelled them to the NL Pennant.
#5: 1977 NLCS Game 3 vs Los Angeles Dodgers (Black Friday)
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.
#4: 2008 NLCS Game 4 vs Los Angeles Dodgers
The Boston Red Sox for years had fans mutter the name "Bucky F'ing Dent". I'm sure there are Dodger fans who say "Matt F'ing Stairs" after the majestic game-winning blast he hit in Game 4 of the 2008 NLCS that basically clinched the series for the Phillies.
The Dodgers held a 5-3 lead heading to the eighth inning, and a win in this game would even the series up at two. Ryan Howard led off the inning with a single to center and Pat Burrell followed by popping to second. Shane Victorino stepped up and ripped a low line drive that carried over the right field wall to tie the game up at 5-5.
After Pedro Feliz lined to left, Carlos Ruiz singled, and Dodger closer Jonathan Broxton was brought into the game. Matt Stairs was announced as the pinch hitter and he absolutely crushed a 3-1 fastball deep into the right field bleachers to give the Phillies a 7-5 lead.
The bottom of the eighth was no cakewalk. After J.C. Romero forced Andre Ethier to hit into a double play, Phils manager Charlie Manuel called on closer Brad Lidge.
Manny Ramirez doubled to center and the next batter, Russell Martin, struck out on a filthy slider, but reached first on a wild pitch. Ramirez made his way to third, but Lidge got out of it as James Loney flied out to left to end the inning.
Lidge was able to get the Dodgers to go 1-2-3 in the ninth and the series that looked to be going 2-2 was now 3-1. Phillies and Cole Hamels won the following night to enable the Phillies to make their first World Series appearance since 1993.
#3: 1980 NLCS Game 5 vs Houston Astros
Without a doubt, one of the best championship series ever was the 1980 NLCS between the Phillies and Houston Astros. Four out of the five games went extra innings and Game 5 was the most remarkable.
The 'Stros scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to take a 5-2 lead and they had future hall of famer Nolan Ryan on the hill with just six outs to go.
To start the eighth, Ryan allowed three consecutive singles to Larry Bowa, Bob Boone and Greg Gross. Pete Rose then drew a bases-loaded walk on a 3-2 pitch to make the score 5-3.
That chased Ryan, and Keith Moreland pinched hit for Bake McBride, knocking in a run on a force out. With one out and runners at first and third, Astros' hurler Ken Forsch struck out Mike Schmidt. Pinch hitter Del Unser followed with an RBI single to tie the game.
Then, eventual series MVP Manny Trillo tripled to left and the Phillies went from being down 5-2 to holding a 7-5 lead. Phillies closer Tug McGraw was brought in and allowed two runs on four hits as the 'Stros tied the game up.
Both the Phillies and Astros went quietly in the ninth, setting up another extra inning game.
With one out, Unser doubled to right. Trillo then flied to center leaving it up to Garry Maddox, who doubled to center, and the Phillies went up 8-7.
Starter Dick Ruthven was brought in out of the pen and Houston went 1-2-3 as the final out was recorded on a fly out to Maddox who had the game-winning hit. The Phillies were going to the World Series for the first time since 1950.
#2: 2008 World Series Game 5 vs Tampa Bay Rays
Cole Hamels was on the run of his life. Hamels had won all four of his starts in the '08 postseason and was now on the hill for the possible clinching game that would give the Phillies their second World Series championship in their history.
Shane Victorino lined a first inning two-run single to left to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. The Rays got on the board in the fourth as Evan Longoria singled in Carlos Pena, who had doubled.
Then, the skies opened up and the rest of the game played on this night was in a torrential downpour. It was unreal that a game of this magnitude was being played in such unplayable conditions. Nothing was routine anymore, yet commissioner Bud Selig was behind the game continuing.
In the top half of the sixth, B.J. Upton singled on a ball that Phils shortstop Jimmy Rollins usually makes under normal conditions. Upton then stole second and scored on a line drive hit to left by Pena. Hamels was able to get Longoria to fly out and then the game was halted. It appears Selig didn't really know what to do, but with the game tied, he had some leverage.
The rain delay lasted the rest of that night and the entire next day, as they did not resume until two days later.
Pinch hitter Geoff Jenkins doubled to right-center when the game picked up again, and scored on a Jayson Werth bloop single to center. The Phils were then up 3-2 and only nine outs away from the Championship.
Rocco Baldelli got the Rays right back in it though, with a solo home run off Ryan Madson in the seventh. The Rays tried to score another run on an infield single to Chase Utley, but Utley alertly threw home to nail Jason Bartlett and preserve the tie.
Pat Burrell doubled high off the center field wall to open the bottom half of the seventh and Pedro Feliz singled in pinch runner Eric Bruntlett with one out.
In the ninth, Phils closer got Longoria to pop out to start the inning. Dioner Navarro hit a broken bat single to right to put the tying run on.
Pinch hitter Ben Zobrist ripped a hard liner right to Jayson Werth in right setting the stage for Rays pinch hitter Eric Hinske. Lidge struck Hinske out on a nasty slider, and the Phillies had won their second World Championship.
#1: 1980 World Series Game 6 vs Kansas City Royals
This game itself might not have been as improbable or nail biting as some of the others on this list, but to finally get over the hump and win a World Series, this IS the No. 1 unforgettable game in Phillies postseason history.
The Phillies scored two runs in the third inning when series MVP Mike Schmidt singled in Bob Boone and Lonnie Smith. Smith scored the third run in the 5th inning on a Bake McBride ground out, and Boone singled in Larry Bowa in the sixth to give the Phillies a 4-0 lead.
Starter Steve Carlton ran out of gas in the eighth inning, allowing a walk and a single and he gave way to closer Tug McGraw. After walking Willie Wilson, McGraw allowed U L Washington to hit a sacrifice fly to center, making the score 4-1. George Brett then singled to load the bases, but Hal McRae grounded to Manny Trillo at second to end the threat.
Things got more interesting in the ninth.
Amos Otis struck out to start the inning, but then Willie Aikens walked and John Wathan and Jose Cardenal hit consecutive singles to load the bases as the potential go-ahead run came to the plate. Frank White popped a foul ball near the Phillies dugout that popped out of Boone's glove, and into Pete Rose's for the second out of the inning.
With the bases loaded, two outs and a 1-2 count to Wilson, McGraw blew a letter high fast ball by him and one of the greatest celebrations in Phillies' history was underway.