Philadelphia Phillies: Ranking the Top 10 NLCS Moments in Phillies History
The Philadelphia Phillies have been synonymous with the NLCS as of late, more particularly though, the World Series. Throughout their recent run in their current "dynasty," they have supplied fans with many unforgettable moments. Those along with others in their grim past culminate to make up this list.
Currently, the Phillies are a consistent team that is ever-improving, but this was not always the case. Over the past 127 years, the Phillies are the losingest franchise in all of sports. Their fans take in this dubious distinction with a strange sense of pride. I personally recall being at Citizens Bank Park in 2007 to see their 10,000th loss. In particular, I recall a loud "BOOOOOOOOO" in unison at the end, this was symbolic of just how bad this team was. Yet, ironically, 2007 was the turning point, and now it's recalled as the "beginning" of this "dynasty."
Now, let's recount those great NLCS moments throughout the Phillies' history, most of which have come from the history that has been made over the past few seasons. These moments have given Philly fans chills during "chilly" October nights in the City of Brotherly Love and will most surely give many of us chills all over again.
10. 1980: Manny Trillo's Two-Run Triple
Manny Trillo, the MVP of the 1980 NLCS, made many key plays throughout this battle with the Houston Astros. In what is now remembered as one of the most exciting series in baseball history, Trillo stood out above all the rest.
In the "championship moments" of the series, down to their final outs, trailing on the road against Nolan Ryan, Trillo did the unthinkable. He led the comeback against one of the game's greatest pitchers and catapulted the Phillies into the World Series.
With two men on and two out, Trillo broke the tie with his triple down the Astrodome line. Though the Phillies would blow the lead only to regain it for good in the 10th inning, Trillo's hit was one of the biggest in Phillies' playoff history.
9. 1993: Batiste to The Rescue
Kim Batiste's roller-coaster Game 1 against the Atlanta Braves is one for the ages. The depiction of "hero-to-goat" has never been more vivid.
In the 9th inning, Batiste's error cost the Phillies the lead and sent the game into extra innings at the Vet. Eventually though, one inning later, Batiste would gain full redemption and end the game on a double that scored John Kruk.
8. 1977: Hootin' at Burt
Never has a player been as intimidated by fans as Burt Hooton was at the old Veterans Stadium in 1977. "Black Friday," as its commonly referred to in Philadelphia, was a day that will live in infamy for various reasons.
Early on, the Philadelphia faithful got the best of Los Angeles Dodgers' starter Burt Hooton, chasing him out of the game. Then, suddenly, their happiness diminished at the hands of a blown call from Umpire Bruce Froemming.
For those first few innings at the Vet though, Burt Hooton was absolutely tormented by the most rabid fans in America. So much to the point where Hooton simply could no longer take it and would be pulled from the game.
8. 1983: "Sarge" Launches The Phillies to Another World Series Appearance
Long before Gary Matthews was a Phillies broadcaster, he was a player for many different teams. His career eventually led him to Philadelphia, right after their 1980 World Championship season. The California native came up big in October of 1983 against the Dodgers.
By 1983, the Dodgers and Phillies had known each other so well. But now it was time for "Sarge" to insert himself into the rivalry. His blast early on in the decisive Game 4 set the tone and eventually sent the Dodgers home. This was the final knockout blow that Philadelphia needed to end their feud with the hated Dodgers for now.
The "Wheeze Kids" were able to go onto the World Series thanks to Sarge's homer and finally slay the dragon that was the Los Angeles Dodgers.
7. 2008: Mixed Pheelings
On October 10th 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies played Game 2 of their NLCS match-up with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Though, the eventual result would see the Phillies take a 2-0 lead to L.A., the journey was dramatic indeed.
Just before the game, Manager Charlie Manuel learned that his mother had passed away. Shortly thereafter, Shane Victorino's grandmother would pass as well. The baseball game on this day was secondary as we truly learned the family atmosphere of the Phillies, a story which took center stage.
As for the game, Pitcher Brett Myers went 3-3 and threw behind Manny Ramirez's head in the very 1st inning. Victorino's leaping snag at the wall put the Dodgers away on that day and pushed them closer to the brink.
6. 1980: Trillo's Bullet to The Plate
The 1980 Phillies provided many unforgettable memories throughout their historic run. But Manny Trillo was able to make the 1980 NLCS his own personal highlight reel.
Not only did Trillo's Triple, (as mentioned previously in #10) seal the series, but also showed off his cannon arm in that same Game 5.
Trillo teamed up with OF Bake McBride to gun down Luis Pujols at the plate. This was decisive and definitive at the same time and helped Trillo earn NLCS MVP honors. His arm, among the best infield arms of all-time, was on display that night in Houston.
5. 1993: Mitch Williams Strikes Out Bill Pecota
The above image is one of the most popular in Phillies' post-season history. It basically says it all for the nickname of "Wild Thing" and the Phillies' "wild" 1993 season.
The erratic Phillie Closer Mitch Williams was able to strike out Bill Pecota to send the Phillies to the World Series for the first time in ten years. This ended a very dry period of Philadelphia baseball and this magical run was something special and unexpected for fans.
Williams' jump, in a nutshell, captured the emotions of an entire championship-starved city, sending them into a frenzy and more so into the World Series.
3. 2009: "OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH JIMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!"
The Philadelphia Phillies have absolutely copyrighted the name Jonathan Broxton over the past few seasons. Los Angeles's burly, flame-throwing right-hander has been caught a number of times by the Phillies throughout his career.
Jimmy Rollins' walk-off hit against Broxton in last year's NLCS just added to the L.A. closer's nightmares. Philadelphia has rode two straight World Series appearances on the wave of Broxton's mistake and their capitalizing on them.
This at-bat in particular will always be remembered for the above video made from a fitting scene of Goodfellas.
2. 1980: Pete Rose Bowls Over Bruce Bochy
Pete Rose will forever be renowned for his hustle play, hence his distinct moniker, "Charlie Hustle." At age 39, Rose was exactly what the Phillies needed to get over their hump and break through their ceiling into the World Series. He used to say, "get me to the playoffs boys and I'll take over from there." This was never more true than in Game 4 of the NLCS against Houston.
When Rose leveled Houston catcher (ironically now San Francisco Giants' manager) Bruce Bochy, he set the tone for a stellar series. This is one of the most recognized images in the minds of Philly fans and one that they will always cherish.
In their minds, this was a "Hall of Fame" play from one of the best hitters of all-time. Just sayin' (Notice Rose-HOF link.)
1. 2008: Matt Stairs' Moonshot: A BroxTale Part I
Matt Stairs. The man will never EVER have to buy a beer in Philadelphia again. What more can be said? His bomb off of a Broxton fireball still hasn't landed yet.
Stairs came off of the bench and just swung at the best pitch he saw. The man who never met a fastball that he didn't like went from being an unknown to a hero in a matter of seconds. Many didn't even know that he was on the Phillies' playoff roster before this at-bat nor knew why he would be in the first place.
His HR will go down as one of the most important in Phillies' history and catapulted them to a World Series Title.