Philadelphia Phillies: 10 Greatest Playoff Moments in Team History
Red October is finally upon us, and expectations for the Philadelphia Phillies have never been higher. Sure Philadelphia enjoyed their Phightin's as they compiled the most wins in team history with 102, but all of that was preparation for right now.
The hunt is on.
The weather has chilled substantially and fall baseball has arrived. On Halladay, on Lee, on Hamels and Oswalt; on Howard, Utley, Chooch and Shane.
This current roster of Philadelphia Phillies has given us some of the greatest moments in playoff history. Feel good moments and dominating performances are all fair game here.
Here is a ranking of the top 10 greatest playoff moments in Phillies history.
Honorable Mention: Grover Cleveland Shuts Down the Sox
The mighty 1915 Boston Red Sox went 101-50 behind five pitchers (including Babe Ruth) who won at least 14 games. The Red Sox were heavy favorites due to their pitching staff, but they didn't have Grover Cleveland Alexander.
Alexander was an incredible 31-game winner for the Phillies, and shut the Red Sox down, throwing a complete game and striking out seven while allowing only one run. The Phillies were able to score two runs in the eighth inning and upset the mighty Sox.
Too bad that was the only win in the Series that they would get.
10. 1950 Team Wins National League Pennant on Dick Sisler HR
The 1950 Philadelphia Phillies went 91-63 and won the National League pennant for the first time in team history. Philadelphia was a great baseball town even back in the early-1900s, as they ranked first in league in attendance with 1,217,035 fans.
The team was swept in the World Series by the New York Yankees, but this team of "Whiz Kids" was led by Hall-of-Famers Richie Ashburn and Robin Roberts.
Their 10th-greatest moment in team history goes to Dick Sisler, who hit a last-day, pennant-clinching home run to lead the Phillies into the World Series.
9. Cliff Lee Is "Daddy" of the New York Yankees
Cliff Lee set the tone in Game One of the 2009 World Series that the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies would not be intimidated by the New York Yankees and their 26 World Series titles. Instead, Lee walked into Yankee Stadium and forever endeared himself to the City of Brotherly Love.
Robinson Cano smoked a ground ball back up the middle for what looked like a sure base hit. That may have been the case if anyone but Lee were on the mound.
Lee proceeded to make a no-look, behind-the-back catch and casually underhanded the ball to Ryan Howard for the out. The play was incredible and came in the biggest of moments.
No wonder Brian Cashman courted him so heavily last winter.
8. "Look Ma" One-Hander
If you walk into one of the many establishments in Philadelphia (or New York, too, I'm sure) and you mention, "the catch by Cliff Lee" everyone will know what you are talking about. Lee followed up his no-look behind-the-back catch with a nonchalant catch on a pop-up.
Watch the video, Lee doesn't make a call, barely even looks it into his glove and tells every person in New York that he is the man and can't be touched.
And he's on our side once again.
7. Fat Joe Watched the Ball Go
Joe Blanton's home run in Game 4 of the World Series was unexpected and awesome. What he said about the homer after the game was classic.
“I just close my eyes and swing hard in case I make contact,” said Blanton. “That’s really the only thing I can say.” Blanton is on the postseason roster in a shocker over David Herndon, could Charlie Manuel be thinking about his "heavy" hitter, No. 56, off the bench in the late innings?
In all seriousness, Blanton's home run was huge and had all of Philadelphia finally believing that the 25-year, titleless curse was over.
6. First Time on Top in 1915
The Philadelphia Phillies have won seven NL East pennants and their first came in 1915. The Phillies were notoriously a pretty bad team until 1915 when Grover Cleveland Alexander's arm and the power hitting of Gavvy Cravath thrust them into the World Series.
There's no better time than your first time. Take that how you will.
5. 1983 NLCS with "Sarge" and "Lefty"
The 1983 NLCS featured the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Phillies were looking to close out the series on the road in Game 4 with their best pitcher on the mound in Steve "Lefty" Carlton.
Gary Matthews hit a three-run home run in the first inning and all of Philadelphia let out a huge sigh of relief as they knew that was all that Carlton would need. The best part about winning this game, aside from the trip to the World Series, was that the Dodgers had kept the Phillies from the World Series in 1977 and 1978, and had won it all just two years earlier.
Sweet, sweet redemption.
4. Paul Bunyan Lives in Philadelphia and World Series Champs
The 2008 Philadelphia Phillies broke a 25-year drought by the four major sports teams largely behind the pitching of Cole Hamels and Brad Lidge and a potent offense that could hit 1-8. They also received one of the biggest home run in team history in Game 4 of the NLCS by Matt Stairs, who is now a folk hero.
The Phillies had all of the momentum in the series after they won Games 1 and 2 at home, but they proceeded to lose Game 3 and were getting beat up late in Game 4. The Dodgers were up 5-3 in the eighth inning and were ready to return to Philly all tied up.
The Phillies got a single by Ryan Howard and than a game-tying home run by Shane Victorino. With two outs in the inning, Carlos Ruiz singled and Joe Torre brought in Joe Blanton look-alike Jonathan Broxton to face Stairs.
Broxton was lights-out all season, but all of Philadelphia knew that Stairs could sure hit a fastball no matter how hard it is thrown. Broxton threw a 98-mph cookie right down the middle and Stairs crushed it into the second deck.
Stairs will forever be a legend for that home run that gave the Phillies the win and a commanding lead in the Series. And their first World Series championship in what seemed like forever.
3. Brad Lidge Finishes off His Perfect Season Perfectly
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
He was 41-41 on save opportunities in the regular season, and 7-7 in the postseason, equating to the second World Series championship in Philadelphia Phillies team history. Lidge's seven postseason saves tied the record for most saves by a NL closer.
Lidge struck out Eric Hinske with a runner on second to end the game and send all of Philadelphia into hysteria.
"This one's for Philadelphia," said Charlie Manuel.
Heaven on Earth.
2. Roy Halladay No-Hitter
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Few questioned that Roy Halladay was one of the top pitchers in the game when the Philadelphia Phillies acquired him from the Toronto Blue Jays. Some did question, however, if Halladay would be able to handle the pressure of postseason baseball.
Halladay answered that question with a resounding yes when he pitched only the second no-hitter in postseason history. The magical performance was finished off by a spectacular play by catcher Carlos Ruiz, who had to field a swinging bunt from his knees and throw the runner out.
1. 1980 World Series Champs
Tug McGraw closing out the 1980 World Series for the first World Series championship in team history is the greatest moment ever. Philadelphia were finally the world champs and the years of pain, suffering and almosts were all forgiven in that one moment.
McGraw's reaction was priceless and still gives chills to Phillies Nation whenever it's replayed.