NLCS 2010: Philadelphia Phillies' 10 Biggest Hits in Postseason History

James AmblerCorrespondent IOctober 14, 2010

NLCS 2010: Philadelphia Phillies' 10 Biggest Hits in Postseason History

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    We've already seen some awesome pitching from the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2010 MLB playoffs. But will the Phils be able to display some equally clutch hitting as the postseason continues? Let's hope.

    In the mean time, let's look back at the 10 biggest hits in Phillies' postseason history.

    Keep in mind that the following rankings are not just based on the timeliness of the hit itself, but also on the relative magnitude of the game in which the performance came (basically, World Series hits count for extra).

    Enjoy this trip through Phillies' history!

Honorable Mention: Mike Schmidt’s Home Run in “1980 NLDS, Game 2"

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    Not an official playoff game. In order to win the NL East, the Phillies had to take two of three from the Expos in Montreal on the final weekend of the season.

    The Phillies won the opener, 2-1, behind Mike Schmidt’s homer. In Game 2, Schmidt came up huge again, cracking a two-run dinger in the top of the 11th to give the Phillies a 6-4 victory and the NL East championship.

    Schmidt had homered in each of his final four games of the season to finish with a then-Phillies single-season record 48, en route to his first of three NL MVP awards.

Honorable Mention: Dick Sisler’s Home Run in 1950 NL Clincher

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    Most likely the biggest non-playoff hit in Phillies' history.

    The 1950 “Whiz Kids” led the high-powered Brooklyn Dodgers by one game entering the season finale at Ebbetts Field.

    If the Phillies won that day, they’d advance to the World Series for the first time in 35 years. If the Dodgers won, the two teams would have to play a one-game playoff to determine the NL winner the following afternoon.

    After CF Richie Ashburn saved the day by throwing the Dodgers’ Cal Abrams out at home plate in the bottom of the ninth, Phillies LF Dick Sisler (left) won the game with a three-run, 10th-inning homer to lead the Phillies to a 4-1 win.

    Sisler’s pennant-clinching home run was the Philadelphia equivalent of The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.

No. 10: Shane Victorino’s Grand Slam in 2008 NLDS, Game 2

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    The only reason it’s not ranked higher is because the Phillies were probably going to win this series anyway.

    In the bottom of the second inning with one man on and two outs, Brett Myers drew a walk against C.C. Sabathia in one of the most memorable at-bats in franchise history.

    A walk to Jimmy Rollins loaded the sacks for Victorino, who cleared the bases with a grand slam to left field that gave the Phillies a 5-2 lead.

    Shane had slayed Milwaukee’s dragon and given everyone the feeling that October 2008 would be one special month in Philly.

No. 9: Mike Schmidt’s Home Run in 1983 NLCS, Game 1

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    SAN DIEGO - 1987:  Mike Schmidt #20 of the Philadelphia Phillies swings at a pitch during a 1987 season game against the Padres at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The Dodgers owned Philly. They had beaten the Phils in the NLCS in both ’77 and ’78 and won a remarkable 11-of-12 against them during the 1983 regular season.

    But none of that mattered in the ’83 NLCS, and Mike Schmidt proved it in the very first inning of Game 1 at Los Angeles.

    Michael Jack’s solo homer in the first stood up the rest of the way as Steve Carlton beat the Dodgers 1-0.

    Eventual NLCS MVP Gary Matthews’ connected on a big three-run homer in the first inning of Game 4 as the Phillies clinched, but it was Schmidt’s long ball that set the tone for the whole series.

No. 8: Kim Batiste’s Single in 1993 NLCS, Game 1

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    “America’s Team” versus “America’s Most Wanted.”

    Kim Batiste, who had entered the game as a defensive replacement in the top of the ninth, committed a throwing error that allowed the Braves to tie the score off Mitch Williams.

    But Kim got his chance at redemption and made the most of it.

    With one out in the bottom of the 10th, Batiste hit a four-hop grounder just fair down the left field line that scored the winning run and gave the Phillies a 4-3 victory at Veterans Stadium.

    Somewhere, the baseball gods were smiling.

No. 7: Ryan Howard’s Double in 2009 NLDS, Game 4

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    If there were ever a game that defined this incredible era of Phillies baseball, it was this game played on a freezing cold evening in Denver.

    Right after Colorado struck for three runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a 4-2 lead, the Phillies came roaring back with three of their own in the top of the ninth to shock the Rockies and clinch the series.

    Ryan Howard walloped a two-run, two-out double deep to right field that tied the score, and eventually scored the winning run on Jayson Werth’s single.

    It was one of the greatest, most exciting wins this author has ever seen.

No. 6: Lenny Dykstra’s Home Run in 1993 NLCS, Game 5

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    A Mr. October moment: NLCS tied, 2-2. Game tied, 3-3, after Atlanta scored three in the bottom of the ninth.

    Lenny Dykstra, aka “Needles,” I mean “Nails,” smoked a dead-centerfield home run in the top of the 10th. The Phillies won the game, 4-3, and returned to Philadelphia just one win shy of a trip to the series.

    Lenny was a hero, yet only recently did we really find out how Dykstra mustered the, uh, strength, to hit such a home run.

No. 5: Matt Stairs’ Home Run in 2008 NLCS, Game 4

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    The Dodgers had a 5-3 lead in Game 4 and were only six outs away from tying the NLCS at 2-2.

    However, a pair of Philly two-run homers in the top of the eighth officially changed the entire landscape of the series.

    Shane Victorino’s game-tying dinger was followed three batters later by a moonshot from pitch-hitter Matt Stairs off Dodgers’ flamethrower Jonathan Broxton.

    In just his 20th at-bat with the club, Stairs had forever etched his name in Phillies’ lure.


    One October later, Broxton had a rematch with Stairs in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 2009 NLCS. The pinch-hitter Stairs had just four hits in his previous 40 at-bats during the season, but Broxton walked him on four pitches.

    Broxton’s psychological breakdown against Stairs set the table for…wait.

    More on that game is coming up.

No. 4: Garry Maddox’s Single in 1980 NLCS, Game 5

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    The Phillies-Astros 1980 NLCS is the greatest postseason series in baseball history that no one ever, ever talks about. The final four games of the series all went extra innings.

    Phillies 2B Manny Trillo’s three-run triple in the top of the eighth was a huge hit, but it wasn’t enough to win the game.

    It took Garry Maddox’s two-out, 10th-inning single to drive home the winning run and give the Phillies their first pennant in 30 years.   

    Trillo was awarded NLCS MVP, but at the time, Garry’s single was without question the biggest hit in the 97-year history of the Phillies’ franchise.

No. 3: Pedro Feliz’s Single in 2008 World Series, Game 5

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    Yes, the Phillies were already leading the series, 3-1, but any hit that results in a championship deserves to be this high.

    With Game 5 tied, 3-3, in the last of the seventh inning, Pat Burrell led off with a double in what proved to be his only hit of the World Series while coming in his final plate appearance as a Phillie.

    Two batters later, Pedro Feliz’s single up the middle off Chad Bradford, scoring pinch-runner Eric Bruntlett with the winning run.

    Game 5, which began on October 27 at 8:28 p.m., ended nearly 50 hours later with the Phillies as World Champs.

No. 2: Jimmy Rollins’ Double in 2009 NLCS, Game 4

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 19:  Jimmy Rollins #11 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits a game-winning walkoff 2-run double in the bottom of the ninth inning to win 5-4 against Jonathan Broxton #51 of the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Four of the NLCS during the 20
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    It’s the kind of situation that every little kid dreams about: stepping to the plate in bottom of the ninth, down a run, and facing the opponent's toughest pitcher with a trip to the World Series hanging in the balance.

    And every little kid dreams of doing exactly what J-Roll did.

    A home run? No. A double that splits the gaps and requires everyone to run like hell is so much more exciting.

    Jimmy’s hit was without question the single most exiting sports play this author has ever seen.

No. 1: Del Unser’s Double in 1980 World Series, Game 5

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    The Royals led Game 5, 3-2, in the top of the ninth and were just three outs away heading back to Philadelphia leading the World Series, three games to two.

    But the Phillies didn’t quit.

    Mike Schmidt led off the ninth with a single, bringing pinch-hitter Del Unser to the plate. The clutch double that followed down the right field line not only scored Schmidt with the tying run, but put the go-ahead run in scoring position.

    Sure enough, Unser scored the eventual winning run three batters later on Manny Trillo’s single.

    Closer Tug McGraw survived a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth to secure the 4-3 win, as the Phillies moved to within one victory of their first World Championship in their 97-year history.