Philadelphia Phillies: 5 Most Intense Moments in the Phillies-Dodgers Rivalry

Phil Keidel@@PhilKeidelContributor IIMay 7, 2013

Philadelphia Phillies: 5 Most Intense Moments in the Phillies-Dodgers Rivalry

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    The Phillies are in San Francisco as this article posts, and as you may have heard the Giants are the defending world champions.

    Little did anyone know at the time, but it was the Giants' first of their two World Series runs of the last four seasons that started the Phillies' downward spiral to relative irrelevance.

    Cody Ross hitting two home runs off Roy Halladay, and all that followed, was the canary in the coal mine.

    While it is easy to envy and dislike the Giants, you would be hard-pressed to call the Giants a rival of the Phillies. The teams play in different divisions three time zones apart.

    Of course, that is true for the Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers, too. But the Phillies and Dodgers have been rivals for a long time.

    And in a week where Roy Halladay was placed on the disabled list, a week where Phillies fans are once again coming to grips with the likelihood that this recent golden era of Phillies baseball is over, it serves to revisit some happier memories.

5. 1977 National League Championship Series Game 3

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    You know it is a memorable moment when the fanbase (those of a certain age, anyway) still refer to it as "Black Friday."

    Phillies fans have never needed much to feel aggrieved. The ninth inning of Game 3 of the 1977 National League Championship Series certainly left Phillies fans sour and hard done by.

    Things began encouragingly enough. Dodgers starter Burt Hooton and his knuckle curveball could not find home plate with a compass (this is pre-GPS, you understand). Phillies fans hooted (sorry) and hollered until Hooton was chased from the game after getting only five outs.

    The Phillies had a 5-3 lead entering the top of the ninth. Then all hell broke loose.

    Greg Luzinski dropped a fly ball. Larry Bowa's spectacular catch and throw to gun down Davey Lopes went for naught when Lopes was incorrectly called safe by umpire Bruce Froemming. Lopes scored on Bill Russell's RBI single, and the game (and soon the season) was lost.

4. 1978 National League Championship Series Game 4

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    Long before John Fogerty rhapsodized about "Centerfield", Garry Maddox was playing center field like very few if any had ever played it before.

    It was often said, only partly in jest, that two-thirds of the Earth was covered by water, and the other third was covered by Garry Maddox.

    A nickname like the "Secretary of Defense" is not something you come by lightly.

    So it was beyond shocking to see Garry Maddox drop a fly ball in the bottom of the 10th inning in a game that the Phillies went on to lose—handing the Dodgers the National League pennant for the second year in a row.

    This is getting depressing from a Phillies' perspective...but it does get better. Much better.

3. 1983 National League Championship Series

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    Maybe it is unkind to put it this way, but Gary Matthews was an ordinary player as a Philadelphia Phillie.

    He played only three of his 16 major league seasons as a Phillie. His best year in Philadelphia was 1982, when he hit 19 home runs, stole 21 bases and drove in 83 runs. Very nice numbers, for sure, but he did not even make the All-Star team that year.

    Matthews' 1983 season was comparatively a huge letdown. He missed 30 games. He hit .258 with 10 home runs. And as it turned out, he was on his way to Chicago.

    But "Sarge" sure left on a high note.

    Matthews hit home runs in three consecutive games, including the clincher, in the 1983 National League Championship Series win over the Dodgers, winning the series Most Valuable Player award in the process. 

    That performance is no small reason for Matthews' continued presence in the broadcast booth for the Phillies today.

2. 2009 National League Championship Series Game 4

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    Full disclosure: Your humble correspondent was in the building for this moment. To borrow from Seinfeld, it was real and it was spectacular.

    On a chilly late October night that felt like it might never end, the Phillies finally got even with the Dodgers for those prior last at-bat heartbreaks that the Angelenos had inflicted over the years.

    Jimmy Rollins' two-out, two-run double gave the Phillies a 3-1 series lead. For all intents and purposes, though, that clutch hit from Rollins ended the series and sent the Phillies to their second consecutive World Series.

1. 2008 National League Championship Series Game 4

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    You were expecting someone other than Matt Stairs?

    It gets lost in the re-tellling sometimes, but Shane Victorino was the first Phillie to hit a crucial two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning at Chavez Ravine that night.

    But Victorino's home run only tied the game. It was Matt Stairs' pinch-hit two-run bomb that gave the Phillies the lead that they would not relinquish.

    When your clout inspires even the noted Philadelphia nemesis (from the broadcasting side anyway) Joe Buck to intone memorably, "Stairs rips one into the night, deep into right, way out of here," well, that stays with you for a long time.

    That hit, maybe more than any other, propelled the Phillies into the 2008 World Series and into the history books.