Philadelphia Phillies: A Milestone Night for Ryan Madson

J SContributor IIISeptember 4, 2011

Madson had more than one reason to celebrate following Friday's victory over the Marlins.
Madson had more than one reason to celebrate following Friday's victory over the Marlins.Len Redkoles/Getty Images

As Ryan Madson slammed the door shut on the Florida Marlins Friday night, the Philadelphia sports world was abuzz with a new landmark reached by the Phillies: a franchise high of 42 games over .500.

However, that was not the only milestone achieved on that night.  In fact, while bringing the Phils to their all-time high watermark, Madson was busy accomplishing a milestone of his own.

Madson was making his 461st relief appearance as a Phillies.  He surpassed the late franchise icon Tug McGraw.  Now that he is the relief leader, the only pitchers left to have appeared in more games in a Phillies uniform are Hall of Famers Steve Carlton and Robin Roberts.  Impressive company.

During his tenure in Philly, the Tugger endeared himself to fans by wearing his heart on his sleeve, inventing green St. Patrick's Day jerseys, creating catchy slogans, clinching the Phillies' first ever championship and for his brash attitude towards New York in the following celebration.

In short, Tug McGraw was a character, but one who could back it all up on the field of play.

In many ways, Madson has been the antithesis of McGraw.  Where the Tugger openly showed his emotion, Mad Dog has often maintained an icy demeanor on the mound.  Where McGraw was celebrated as the franchise's best closer, Madson was denigrated for not having a closer's mentality.

Yet in the year he overtakes McGraw, Madson has fittingly shaken that reputation and emerged as the closer that many fans always believed he could be.

All that is left now is for him to finish the season, and possibly his Phillies career, with a highlight befitting the memory of Tug McGraw—at the center of a late October celebration on the field of Citizens Bank Park.