15 Most Famous World Series Moments in Philadelphia Phillies History
There aren't many moments in sports more rewarding than winning the World Series.
Just think about it for a moment. We're talking about 30 teams, each of whom play the longest regular season in sports—162 games. The regular season spans six months, but in all reality, baseball never ends.
It is a year-long cycle of hard work and dedication, so when that one moment finally comes—when a team wins the World Series—it is just a jubilant experience.
The Philadelphia Phillies have been fortunate enough to get seven shots at the World Series and win two titles. I say "fortunate" because there are still teams without that elusive trophy.
But the point is a little more simple than that: When teams get to the World Series, they'll do anything it takes to win. That's why some of baseball's greatest moments are made in the Fall Classic, and the Phillies are no exception to the rule.
Here are the Phillies' 15 greatest World Series moments.
15. The Rookie Gets the Call
The Phillies were forced with an interesting dilemma to open the 1980 World Series. They had to burn their best bullet—Steve Carlton—to finish off the Houston Astros in the NLCS and now, needed a Game 1 starter.
That man would eventually be Bob Walk who won 11 games for the Phillies during his rookie campaign.
When Walk took the mound for Game 1, he would become the first rookie since Joe Black of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1952 to start the first game of a World Series.
Walk didn't pitch all that well, surrendering four runs, but was rewarded with the win.
14. Stottlemyre Falls Down, Gets Shelled
Was this a turning point in the 1993 World Series?
As it turns out, the Toronto Blue Jays would end the '93 season in grand fashion, but their World Series aspirations almost took a tumble when their starting pitcher, well, took a tumble.
It was Game 4 and Todd Stottlemyer got the start for the Jays, who led the Phillies two games to one. It was a rainy day in the city of Philadelphia and the waterlogged field would make for one of the sloppiest games in World Series history.
It also caused a strange moment. Stottlemyer had reached base and was trying to go from first to third when he slipped and fell. He banged his head and was shaken up pretty badly, but stayed in the game.
In the next half inning, the Phillies shelled him. He gave up a couple of hits, including a two-run home run to Phillies outfielder Lenny Dykstra.
But as they say, all is well that ends well. The Blue Jays would pull this one out.
13. Ruiz's Swinging Bunt, Bruntlett's Slide
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Eric Bruntlett never played a huge role for the Phillies. He came over in the Brad Lidge trade from the Houston Astros and was a bench player. Charlie Manuel often used him as a defensive replacement in left field for Pat Burrell.
The point is that his role was small, but he came up big in the World Series.
In Game 3, he had one of the brightest moments of his career. Bruntlett was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning in a tie game and took second on a wild pitch and then to third on a throwing error.
The Tampa Bay Rays had to get creative now. They walked the bases loaded and pulled in an outfield for a five-man defensive infield.
Almost as if he did it on purpose, Carlos Ruiz responded by hitting a swinging bunt dribbler up the third base line. Evan Longoria's throw was wild and Bruntlett slid home safely, netting the Phillies the win and series lead.
12. Damon's Mad Dash
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For as good a team as they were in 2009, the Phillies just never seemed like a team that was ready to repeat as champions. They had a number of struggles throughout the season that their explosive offense just couldn't cover.
In Game 4, it was defense and strategy.
Johhny Damon had worked his way on to first base and Brad Lidge was on the mound. Mark Teixeira stepped to bat for the New York Yankees and Damon saw an opportunity to run on the deliberate Lidge.
But when Damon got to second base, he saw that he could keep going. The Phillies were playing a big defensive shift on the slugging Yankees first baseman and the third baseman, the slow-footed Pedro Feliz, was playing in the shortstop position.
Damon took off for third and slid in safely. The play was immediately compared to Enos Slaughter's famous "mad dash" from the 1946 World Series.
11. McBride's Three-Run Jack
There shouldn't be much doubt that the Phillies and their fans were hungry for a World Series title in 1980. Twice before they had been to the World Series (1915 and 1950) and twice before had they failed.
Now, they brought one of the game's most potent rosters to the Fall Classic with a shot to win it all and Veterans Stadium was rocking.
The Phillies got the ball rolling early in Game 1 against the Kansas City Royals when outfielder Bake McBride hit a three-run bomb that would prove to be the decisive blow in what would become a five run third inning.
10. McGraw Leaves 'Em Loaded
For obvious reasons, Tug McGraw would be known for a memorable strikeout in the 1980 World Series, and we'll get to that one in a moment. You could make the argument that this one was more important.
Game 5 of the 1980 Fall Classic was a close contest and probably the series' most pivotal game. Both clubs had recorded a pair of wins and only one could move a step closer to the title.
The Kansas City Royals led the Phillies 3-to-2 heading into the top half of the ninth inning and called on dominant closer Dan Quisenberry to finish off the deal, but he couldn't. The Phillies scored a pair of runs to take the lead.
Now, the Phillies called on their own closer to finish off the game—Tug McGraw. Like Quisenberry, he struggled. The Royals loaded the bases with two outs and had a chance to win.
But with Jose Cardenal at the plate, McGraw recorded one of his biggest strikeouts of the season and retired the Royals, giving the Phillies a game advantage in the World Series.
9. Konstanty Gets the Call in Game 1
At the outset of the season in 1950, if you had predicted that Jim Konstanty would be pitching Game 1 of the World Series for the Phillies, the next thing you would want to do is go play a lottery ticket. It just wasn't supposed to happen that way.
When the season started, Robin Roberts and Curt Simmons were atop the Phillies rotation and Konstanty was the club's "ace reliever"—or closer.
The problem was that the Phillies won the National League pennant by the skin of their teeth on the last day of the season—a game that Roberts started and pitched 10 innings in—and Simmons was unavailable due to military service.
So the Phillies needed a starter in a pinch and that man wound up being Konstanty, who had started a grand total of zero games during the regular season.
To make the story even more compelling, Konstanty was fantastic in his start. Though he'd eventually be saddled with the loss, the right-handed pitcher tossed eight innings and allowed just four hits and an earned run.
8. Blanton's Home Run
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I'm not sure anyone knew what they were expecting out of Joe Blanton when they acquired him from the Oakland Athletics at the trade deadline in 2008, but I can guarantee you that this wasn't it.
Blanton had been a part of a very successful rotation in Oakland and the Phillies needed the help. He was called on to start Game 4 of the World Series for the Phillies and his most memorable moment wasn't on the mound, but at the plate.
With Edwin Jackson staring him down, Blanton closed his eyes and swung, hoping to get a fastball, and he did. He must have hit it right on the sweet spot because that ball sailed over the outfield wall for a home run.
7. Noles Throws Brett Some Chin Music
In his book, Clearing the Bases, former Phillies third baseman and all-time great Mike Schmidt would call this "the greatest brush-back in World Series history."
The short answer is because Willie Aikens was killing the Phillies. He would become the first player in the history of baseball to hit two home runs in a World Series game twice in the same series, and the Kansas City Royals weren't just taking a lead with those home runs. They were taking the momentum.
So in the grand scheme of things, you wouldn't expect a pair of relative unknowns in Phillies starter Dickie Noles and Aikens to make much of a ripple, and I guess that Noles knew that as well because he was aiming for a much bigger fish.
Instead of throwing at Aikens to gain some momentum for his club, Noles threw some chin music at one of the game's all-time great players, George Brett.
Even though the Phillies would lose Game 4, all of the sudden, they had some momentum. They would win the next two games and their first World Series title.
6. Chase Utley—Mr. October?
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The Phillies didn't get many chances to stick it to the New York Yankees in 2009 because they would eventually walk away as World Champions, but if there was one moment, it belonged to Chase Utley.
These two teams came into play with former Yankee Reggie Jackson's five home runs in a single World Series mark having stood for quite some time.
Utley was ready to change that. The Phillies, as a whole, may not have had a good series, but Utley did. He launched five homers in the 2009 Fall Classic to tie Jackson's mark and, for at least one fall, allowed himself to become Mr. October.
5. The Suspended Game
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This is probably only a memorable moment because it never should have happened. Anyone who could see colors and understand that the green, yellow and red mass moving over the city of Philadelphia before Game 5 of the 2008 World Series could tell it was going to be a wet one.
It should have never been started, but the game went on as planned. It didn't take long for the Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays to start sliding all over the place as a cold rain fell over the field.
Finally, when the Rays tied the game in the sixth inning, the umpires called for a rain delay, and it was a long one. Rain continued to pour the entire next day, forcing Bud Selig to suspend a World Series game for the first time.
When play resumed, the Phillies got a couple of additional memorable moments.
4. Utley's Heads-Up Throw
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This is just a crude estimation, but Chase Utley's heads-up defensive play in the second half of Game 5 was probably one of the smartest defensive plays in World Series history and may have saved the Phillies.
Jason Bartlett was on third base for the Tampa Bay Rays and they were threatening to score when Akinori Iwamura hit a ground ball up the middle that Utley ranged over to retrieve.
Thinking on his feet, Utley faked a throw to first base that caught Bartlett off guard. He ran home despite Utley still having the ball and the second baseman nailed him at the plate with a little help from Carlos Ruiz.
3. Carter's Dramatic Walkoff Homer
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When you take two passionate fan bases and pit them against each other on baseball's biggest stage, bad things can happen. In this instance, one swing turned a single player into one of the most vile sports villains in Philadelphia.
That man, of course, is Joe Carter.
The Toronto Blue Jays slugger was already having himself quite a series when he came to bat in the ninth inning to square off with Phillies closer Mitch Williams, who was obviously gassed from a long, stressful season.
But Phillies manager Jim Fregosi was determined to stick with the "Wild Thing," and we all know the result. Carter deposited a walkoff, World Series clinching home run into the stands and the Toronto faithful went absolutely bonkers.
2. Lidge Rings Up Hinske, Phillies Win
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Just as Tug McGraw seemed like he was supposed to be on the mound for the final out of the 1980 World Series, it felt as though Brad Lidge was supposed to be on the mound for the final out in 2008.
The closer had an impressive debut season for the Phillies. Without mincing words, he was perfect, converting every save opportunity that the Phillies handed him.
So when Charlie Manuel handed him the ball in the ninth inning of Game 5, you could understand the confidence of Phillies fans. When Lidge touched the ball, they won the game.
With two outs in the books, the Tampa Bay Rays' hopes rested in the bat of Eric Hinske, who stepped up to face Lidge.
In fitting style, Lidge threw him a nasty slider that Hinske couldn't help but flail at. And just like that, it was over. Lidge dropped to his knees to celebrate and the Phillies were World Champions again.
1. McGraw Strikes out Wilson, Phillies Win
This is probably the most iconic image in Phillies history and a moment that will last forever.
If there was any proper way to end the 1980 World Series for the Phillies, this was it. They were at home playing in front of a jam-packed Veterans Stadium ready to explode. Steve Carlton got the nod to start the game.
On the mound for the final two innings was closer Tug McGraw, and he had to fight. The Kansas City Royals loaded the bases against him twice, but each time McGraw fought his way out of the situation, culminating in a strikeout of Willie Wilson.
As McGraw jumped for joy, an entire city celebrated. For the first time in history, the Phillies were World Champions.