50 Greatest Moments in Philadelphia Phillies Franchise History
Looking for some of the greatest moments in the history of baseball? Well, you are in luck. With 128 yeas of existence, the Philadelphia Phillies have been crafting some of the game's most memorable moments since their inception in 1883.
Though times have not always been good for the Phillies' franchise, when they have been, they've been unforgettable. From Brad Lidge dropping to his knees to celebrate the 2008 World Series win to Tug McGraw going skyward to celebrate his club's victory, the Phillies have tasted victory along with defeat.
It has been the struggle of this franchise that have made those moments memorable. With more than 10,000 losses, who can say that they've endured more hardship? The fans that have stuck with this team through the thick and thin have been rewarded in recent years, and with one of the highest payrolls and greatest ballparks in all of baseball, the days of the "small market" Phillies are long gone.
So as the team hopes to create new memories in the future, let us look to the past to see where this franchise has come from: The 50 greatest moments in franchise history.
Honorable Mention: The Quakers Are Born
It's hard to take a look at the greatest moments of an organization without taking a look at its roots.
The Philadelphia Quakers were founded in 1883 and housed some of the greatest names to ever play the game of baseball. With all things considered, however, the Quakers were a largely mediocre team with nothing to show for their efforts.
As the times changed and the Quakers became outdated, they quickly changed their names to the "Philadelphias," but that didn't last long. That was shortened to the Philadelphia Phillies, and the rest is history.
Honorable Mention: Payback on Dodgers for "Black Friday"
Before the Phillies knew what it was like to win in 1980, the Los Angeles Dodgers had taught them the bitter taste of defeat in the 1977 National League Championship Series. After leading in Game 3 of that series, the Dodgers would eventually come back to win the game, and eventually, the series—an event that would later be known simply as "Black Friday."
A few seasons later, in 1983, the Phillies would get their revenge. With a line-up littered with winners, the Phils stormed back to steal Game 3 of the 1983 NLCS thanks in large part to the heroics of Gary Matthews, reversing their fortunes from 1977.
Sweet, sweet revenge.
Photo credit: www.csnphilly.com
50. Jimmy Rollins Dusts off the Crystal Ball
By 2007, the Phillies knew what it was like to lose. Even after moving into their new ballpark a few seasons ago, the team had been unable to capture a postseason berth, but according to Jimmy Rollins, that was a bout to change. The New York Mets were a talented club favored to win the division, but Rollins believed that their time was up. A talented Phils' club was about to take the league by storm.
"The Mets had a chance to win the World Series last year," said Rollins. "I think we are the team to beat in the NL East, finally. But that's only on paper."
It was the quote that rang out across baseball. Rollins was calling out the Mets and putting the rest of the NL East on notice, making the Phillies an inspired team. Sure enough, the Mets would collapse at the end of the season, allowing the Phils to capture the division title.
49. Joe Blanton's World Series Home Run
When the Phillies acquired Joe Blanton at the trade deadline during the 2008 season, the goal was to have him eventually to contribute during the World Series if all went according to plan. Of course, everything did go according to plan for the Phillies, and Blanton was given the ball to start Game 4 against the Tampa Bay Rays.
His pitching was solid, but the most memorable moment came when Blanton stepped into the box to face Edwin Jackson, on in relief for the Rays. With a comfortable three-run lead, Charlie Manuel allowed his pitcher to hit, and Blanton closed his eyes and swung at a Jackson offering.
He opened his eyes in just enough time to watch his solo home run sail over the wall.
48. Chick Fraser's No-Hitter
A no-hitter is always a memorable moment because of its rarity, but Chick Fraser and the Phillies made no-hitting the Chicago Cubs look easy back in 1903, just a few seasons before the Cubbies would go on to capture their first World Series in a long, long time.
The Phillies scored 10 runs in support of Fraser's no-hit effort, as he became the first member of the Phillies to no-hit the opposition on the road. Needless to say, the Chicago faithful were probably not too happy about this memorable Phils' moment.
47. Garry Maddox's Go-Ahead, World Series Home Run
The 1983 World Series wasn't a memorable one for the Phillies as a whole. After getting their revenge on the Dodgers in the NLCS, the Phillies moved on to the World Series to square off with the Baltimore Orioles, but would win just one game en route to a five game exit at the hands of the O's.
In fact, had it not been for Garry Maddox, they may not have even won that one game. While conspiracy theorists would tell you that Howard Cosell's mid-inning interview was the culprit for Scott McGregor's mistake pitch, I'm sure Maddox would tell you he squared the ball up nicely, clubbing a solo home run to give the Phillies a lead in Game 1. Al Holland would convert the save, but it would be the lone win for the Phils.
46. Johnny Lush's No-Hitter
Any time you can toss a no-hitter against one of the game's most historic franchises, you're going to dig your way into the memories of fans across the game. Johnny Lush was able to do that when he and the Phillies teamed up to no-hit the Brooklyn Dodgers 6-0.
Lush became the first left handed starter in the history of the Phillies to toss a no-hitter.
45. Ryan Howard Sets Single-Season Home Run Record
When the Phillies moved future Hall of Fame first baseman Jim Thome to the Chicago White Sox to make room for Ryan Howard as their starting first baseman, they hoped that he would be able to crack the record books, and it sure didn't take him long to do just that.
After passing Mike Schmidt for most home runs in a single season, Howard quickly set his sights on setting the new high-mark, and he did just that on September 22, 2006, when he launched his league leading 58th home run into the stands against the Florida Marlins, a feat that would later help him capture the National League's MVP Award.
44. Terry Mulholland's No-Hitter
Terry Mulholland had a solid baseball career, especially with the Phillies, but he was never really known as a dominant starting pitcher. For that reason alone, it was especially exciting to see him bring his best stuff to the mound as the Phillies squared off with the San Francisco Giants—the club that had drafted Mulholland in the first round and traded him.
Mulholland teamed up with the Phillies to no-hit the Giants by a score of 6-0, becoming the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in Veterans Stadium.
43. In Case of Emergency...
A lot of times, when clubs make August waiver-trades, they're filling a specific need. The Phillies did just that in 2008, bringing Matt Stairs aboard to provide some left handed power off of the bench. Stairs' entire tenure with the Phillies could be summed up in one at-bat in the NLCS against Jonathan Broxton and the Dodgers.
A tie-game when he stepped into the box, the Phillies had a two-run lead when he stepped out. Stairs, a notorious fastball hitter, got a Broxton fastball right in the happy zone and sent it into orbit. The "Moon Shot" may have been the nail in the Dodgers' coffin.
42. Red Donahue's No-Hitter
Has their ever been a Major League franchise with a greater name than the Boston Beaneaters?
Former Phillies' starter Red Donahue certainly didn't care. He brought his A-game to the mound in June of 1898, as the Phillies gave him a 5-0 advantage and he never looked back, never allowing a single hit. It was the first no-hitter at the Baker Bowl, a significant accomplishment given its bandbox reputation.
41. Lenny Dykstra's Go-Ahead, Extra Innings, NLCS Home Run
With the 1993 NLCS split at two games a piece, the odds were stacked against the Phillies heading into Game 5. The Atlanta Braves were favorites to win the series, and although the wins were even, the advantage was not. The Braves would host the pitchers duel that ensued in Game 5, as Curt Schilling squared off with Steve Avery.
The Phillies led 3-0 heading into the ninth inning, but after a walk, an error, and a bad outing from Mitch Williams, the Braves were right back in this thing, tying the game back up at three. Lenny Dykstra, on the other hand, would have none of that.
He led off the 10th inning with a solo home run to give the Phillies the lead, and after a Larry Anderson save, the win. With the series now shifting back to Philly, it was over in Game 6.
40. Ryan Howard Takes Tim Hudson Deep Three Times
It's safe to say that Ryan Howard has owned Tim Hudson over the course of their careers, and that is without an ounce of exaggeration. The Phillies' slugging first baseman is the owner of a career 1.140 OPS versus the Atlanta Braves' ace, including six home runs—half of which came in one game.
On September 3, 2006, as the Phillies and Braves were squaring off at Citizens Bank Park, Howard took Hudson deep three times in a single game, increasing his season total of 49 entering play to 52 by the time it had concluded.
39. Chase Utley's Fake Throw Nails Jason Bartlett at Home
It's no secret now. Chase Utley has built a name for himself with the Phillies as the hard-nosed, gritty type of baseball player that the city of Philadelphia loves, and that character was on full display during the 2008 World Series.
After resuming play during the suspended Game 5, the Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays were trading the lead. First, the Phillies pushed ahead the leading run, but the Rays came right back to tie it. With Jason Bartlett on second, they were threatening to take the lead, but Utley would have none of it.
Akinori Iwamura slapped the ball back up the middle and Utley had to range far to his right to make the play. He'd have to throw across his entire body, against his momentum to get the speedy Iwamura at first. It just wasn't happening.
Instead, Utley faked the throw to first, threw a perfect one-hopper to Carlos Ruiz at the plate, who in turn, applied the tag to Bartlett, preserving the Phillies' lead.
38. Tommy Greene's No-Hitter
The odds were certainly stacked against Tommy Greene throwing a no-hitter in May of 1991. First and foremost, the Phillies were on the road. Not only were they on the road, but they were in Canada, squaring off against the Montreal Expos. Terry Mulholland had just thrown a no-hitter for the Phillies less than a year ago, but now, it was Greene's time.
The Phillies scored just two runs in support of their right hander, but that didn't matter. Greene didn't allow a single hit as the Phillies beat the Expos 2-0 and Greene became the first Phillies' starter to throw a no-hitter outside of the United States.
37. Eric Bruntlett Scored Winning Run in World Series
Eric Bruntlett played second fiddle for most of his career as a member of the Phillies. He was acquired as a part of the deal that brought perfect closer Brad Lidge to the club. He wasn't an everyday player, and because he was neither a good hitter nor a great defender, he was used primarily as a pinch runner. The only thing he had going for him was that he was a little more athletic than Pat Burrell.
Despite the fact that he hit a home run in Game 2 and scored the eventual series clinching run in Game 5, Bruntlett will always be remembered for the play pictured to the left—a clumsy slide that would allow the Phillies to walk-off against the Rays in Game 3.
36. Kim Batiste Gets Redemption; Walks-off in NLCS
After the 1993 band of misfits that called themselves the Phillies made the postseason, there was almost a feeling that they were destined for the World Series. That feeling changed quickly in Game 1 of the NLCS against the Braves, however, when Kim Batiste booted a ball that would allow the Braves to tie the game.
After Mitch Williams kept the score at three-a-piece, Batiste was given the opportunity for redemption in the bottom of the tenth inning, when with runners on, he lined a double down the third base line, just out of the reach of Braves' third baseman Terry Pendleton, as John Kruk rumbled his way around third to score the game winning run.
That's how you kick off a postseason series.
35. Kevin Milwood's No-Hitter
When the Phillies and Braves swapped Johnny Estrada and Kevin Milwood prior to the 2003 season, the Phillies hoped they were getting an "ace" to slot in at the top of their rotation, and while that never happened, Milwood did make a bit of history in his tenure with the Phils.
In April of 2003, he gave Phillies' fans hope for things to come, when he tossed a no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants—a game in which the Phillies would score just one run in support. An impressive feat indeed, it is a shame that his entire tenure was not as impressive.
34. Phillies Fleece the Indians for Cliff Lee
After they were unable to meet the demands of the Toronto Blue Jays for their ace at the trade deadline, Phillies' general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. turned his attention elsewhere and acquired a lesser known ace from the Cleveland Indians. Despite sending four prospects, including former top pitching prospect Carlos Carrasco, to the Indians, Amaro managed to spend very little to acquire his new ace, Cliff Lee.
Lee was an instant hit in Philadelphia after nearly no-hitting the Giants and smashing a double off of the outfield wall at the plate. He led the Phillies to the World Series, giving the club every opportunity to win by posting a record of 4-0 in the postseason.
Under contract for the 2010 season, the Phillies had their ace and it took next to nothing to acquire him—or so the fans believed.
33. Curt Schilling—Ace in the Making
In the early 1990s, the Phillies were struggling to find an identity, especially in the starting rotation. Upon learning that the Houston Astros were stashing Curt Schilling in their bullpen, the Phillies called up the 'Stros and suggested a trade—the little-used Schilling for another little-used reliever, Jason Grimsley. The Astros accepted, and the rest is history.
Schilling joined the Phillies' rotation for the 1992 season and had a breakout year. The following season, he was the number one guy for the Phils, who made a surprising run at the World Series—an effort that may not have been possible without his exploits. He would go on to become one of the greatest Phillies' pitchers of all time.
Grimsley never appeared in a game for the Astros.
32. Charlie Ferguson Throws the First Phillies No-No
With the numbers that Charlie Ferguson would put in his career, it was only a matter of time before the man threw a no-hitter. One of the greatest Phillies to ever play the game, Ferguson did just that. In August of 1885, the Phillies scored just one in support of Ferguson, but it was all that he would need.
After all, the Providence Grays couldn't manage a single hit against Ferguson, who tossed the first no-hitter in the history of the Phillies' organization. It was also the first no-hitter at home, which at the time, was Recreation Park.
31. Mike Schmidt Sets the Phillies All-Time Hits Record
A third baseman as talented as Mike Schmidt is going to break a lot of team records when he stays with a club for 18 seasons, and that is exactly the case for the Phillies and the greatest player to ever wear their uniform. Arguably the greatest third baseman of all time, Schmidt could do it all, and though he was known for his power, he could collect his fair share of hits as well.
For that reason alone, if anyone was deserving of breaking Richie Ashburn's record of all-time hits with the Phillies, it was Schmidt, and in collecting hit number 2,218, he did just that. It was a moment of reflection: The greatest Phillie there ever was, and quite possibly, ever will be.
30. Ed Delahanty Mashes Four Homes Runs in a Single Game
Some talents just come naturally to people, and Ed Delahanty's talent just happened to be mashing the cover off of the baseball. One of the greatest hitters to ever play for the Phillies, Delahanty had a habit of throwing up numbers that would make your eyes spin; lead the league in more categories than I have fingers.
In June of 1896, he did something particularly entertaining. In a game against the Chicago Colts, Delahanty launched four home runs over the outfield wall, one of just 15 players to ever accomplish the feat.
The problem was that not even four Delahanty home runs could help the Phillies, who would fall to the Colts, 9-8.
29. The 2007 Division Clincher
2007 was shaping up to be just another season for the Phillies. After losing the franchise's 10,000th game in June, the Phillies were still in the middle of the pack in the division as the season entered the stretch run. With the Mets sitting comfortably above the rest of the clubs in the NL East, it looked as though the Phillies would watch the postseason from home once again.
Not so fast.
The Mets couldn't hold on to their big division lead and the Phillies got hot in the month of September. Fast forward to the final game of the season, and the Phils had an opportunity to make the postseason. Fans watched the scoreboard and erupted as the Washington Nationals defeated the Mets, opening the door for the Phillies should they be able to defeat the Florida Marlins.
They did. With Brett Myers' final pitch of the regular season, the Phillies secured a postseason berth, making good on Jimmy Rollins' prediction in Spring Training. They were the team to beat.
28. Phillies Land Jim Bunning for Cheap
Jim Bunning was coming off of a solid season for the Detroit Tigers in 1963—but not good enough for their standards. They shopped him over the winter and struck a deal with the Phillies, who sent a couple of players to Detroit in exchange for Bunning and catcher Gus Triandos. Needless to say, it was a deal that would change the direction of the franchise.
Bunning was excellent as the ace of the Phillies, and with lefty Chris Short behind him in the rotation, they formed one of the most formidable one-two punches in the game. As manager Gene Mauch would learn, they were, however, human. Regardless of that, would the Phillies even have the opportunity to "phold" in '64 had they not acquired Bunning? That is debatable.
27. Schilling's Gem Keeps Hope Alive
After a heartbreaking loss in Game 4, the Phillies were just one game away from elimination during the 1993 World Series, when manager Jim Fregosi sent his ace to the mound, at home, to start Game 5. Curt Schilling had already started the first game of the series and was handed the loss, so now, he was give a chance at redemption.
Schilling took the mound and has his good stuff working right away. He was cruising through one of the best offenses in baseball, and though the Phillies would manage just two runs in support of his efforts, it would be all he needed.
Schilling tossed a complete game shut out with six strikeouts with his team's back against the wall, and although it would help build his Phillies' legend, ultimately, it was not enough to secure a championship.
26. Chuck Klein Leads Offensive Charge with Four Home Runs
One home run for every bat!
When you talk about a player that had a rare offensive talent, Chuck Klein has to come to mind. The man was strong as a bull and could put the ball in play like the most skilled of "contact hitters," and his career statistics show that he could do, well, everything.
Just one of the accolades of a lengthy list, Klein became the second member of the Phillies' organization to club four home runs in a single game, leading the offensive attack against the Pittsburgh Pirates and helping to propel the Phils to victory.
Considering the fact that only 15 players in baseball history have accomplished this feat, it is surprising that the Phillies' organization is represented not once, not twice...
25. Schmidt Clubs Four Home Runs
...but three times.
Mike Schmidt is known as the best hitter the Phillies have ever had for a reason. Just ask the Chicago Cubs and what they thought of him on April 16, 1976. After all, the Cubs' offense would score 16 runs in support of their cause, but couldn't find a way to keep the Phillies out of the runs column—or the ball out of the stands.
Schmidt led the offensive attack, clubbing four home runs as the Phils pushed 18 runs across the plate, just one of several high scoring affairs between these two clubs. If anyone had the power to hit four home runs in a game, Schmidt on a good day at Wrigley Field is a safe bet.
24. Steve Carlton Sets the Phils' All-Time Wins Record
When they put your statue outside of the new ballpark, you know you've done something right in your career.
That's just the case for Steve Carlton, who spent 15 seasons terrorizing the National League as a member of the Phillies. Known simply as "Lefty" because of his handedness, Carlton captured four Cy Young Awards as a member of the Phils, leading his club to two World Series and bringing one back to Philadelphia.
15 seasons as a dominant starter is going to get you some wins in that win column, that's for sure, and it was a special moment watching Carlton grab that 235th win, effectively sealing his place among all-time Phillies' greats by setting the new record.
Like Mike Schmidt setting the all-time hits record, it was a moment of remembrance. Will we ever see another Phillies' pitcher as dominant as Lefty?
23. "Charlie Hustle" Comes to Philly
Phillies' fans knew all about Pete Rose before he signed with the team prior to the 1979 season. They had watched him take on the National League as a member of the Cincinnati Reds' "Big Red Machine" for years; watched his skill and hustle first hand. He was the type of player that, when on their side, Phillies' fans loved.
Well, that would eventually come to fruition when the Phillies temporarily made Rose the highest paid free agent of all-time, hoping that he would bring with him a winning culture to Philadelphia, and he did.
The Phillies teams of the late 1970s were certainly talented, but ownership questioned whether or not they could win. Rose changed that mindset in a hurry, making himself arguably the most effective free agent signing in Phillies' history, leading the charge for a World Series title in 1980, and a return trip in 1983.
22 Harry Kalas Joins Phillies' Broadcast Team
When the Phillies hired Harry Kalas in 1971, it wasn't exactly a memorable moment. At the time, he was just some guy coming over from the Houston Astros with big shoes to fill, replacing popular broadcaster Bill Campbell. At the opening ceremony for Veterans Stadium in '71, a legend was born, however, and that legend would continue to grown until his death in 2009.
In retrospect, Kalas joining the Phillies' broadcast booth was one of the greatest moments in the history of this organization. From his memorable commentary to his unforgettable call of the 2008 World Series and every moment in between, he became an inseparable part of the Phillies, and will never be forgotten.
21. Rick Wise's Two Home Run No-Hitter
Any time that a pitcher throws a no-hitter, it's safe to say that he brought his best stuff to the mound. That's just the case for former Phillies' starter Rick Wise, who no-hit the Cincinnati Reds in 1971.
The thing is, as impressive as that was, it may not have been his most impressive feat of the game. While no-hitting the opposition, Wise also motivated the offense, blasting two home runs in support of his own cause, leading the Phillies to a 4-0 win.
Get him in the lineup more often!
20. Phillies Capture 1983 National League Pennant
With most of the pieces of the 1980 World Series team still in place, it was no secret that the Phillies were still a talented team in 1983. In fact, they had arguably made themselves a better team, acquiring future Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan, among others, positioning themselves for another run at a championship.
The problem was simple: They were old. In fact, they were so old that the team's average age was in the mid 30s, poising themselves for a clever nickname and play on Phillies' history—the Wheeze Kids.
That didn't stop them from becoming one of the best teams in the National League, however. Led by the pitching of ace Steve Carlton and offense of third baseman Mike Schmidt, the Phillies won 90 games during the regular season, avenging Phillies of years past by defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS before dropping the World Series to the Baltimore Orioles.
19. Jimmy Rollins' Walk-off NLCS Double
The Phillies and Dodgers had a bit of history in the NLCS dating further back than most of the players on each squad's respective 2009 rosters could remember. However, these two teams knew each other well. Just a season ago in 2008, the Phillies had dispatched of the Dodgers on their way to the World Series, and they were looking for some revenge.
Heading into Game 4, the Phillies once again held the series lead, two games to one. Entering the ninth inning, the Dodgers called on their closer, Jonathan Broxton, to close out the ball game and Manny Ramirez, who had been replaced defensively, hit the showers thinking Game 4 was over.
But it wasn't.
With Jimmy Rollins at the plate, Broxton served up another blown save. The Phillies' shortstop lined a ball into the gap, allowing both Eric Bruntlett and Carlos Ruiz to score, as the Phils walked off to a commanding three to one series lead.
18. Phillies Are 2009 NL Champions—Make Return to World Series
By 2009, the Phillies had effectively positioned themselves as the cream of the crop in the National League. After winning the World Series in 2008, they won their division yet again the following season, defeating the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers en route to their second straight National League pennant.
Led by the exploits of new ace Cliff Lee and a power-packed offense featuring the likes of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jayson Werth, the Phillies were ready to take on the Yankees in the World Series, but fate would not have them repeat as champions.
Despite that, capturing the second straight pennant was quite a moment. For those who remembered where the Phillies were in the standings less than a decade ago, it was a sweet feeling knowing their team would be on top—and competitive—for years to come.
17. Chase Utley's 2009 World Series Heroics
At least one member of the Phillies came to play during the 2009 World Series, and his name is Chase Utley.
After defeating the Dodgers yet again in the NLCS, the Phillies faced their toughest opponent yet in the Yankees. On paper, the Phillies were well equipped to do battle with the Bronx Bombers. With one of the league's most powerful offenses, a former World Series MVP, and a new ace all in tow, the Phils looked to capture their second straight title.
Utley was willing to pick the Phillies up on his back and carry them to a championship if he had to. He put on one of the most impressive World Series displays of offense of all time, blasting five home runs in the series to tie Reggie Jackson's mark.
However, his heroics simply weren't enough to down the Yanks, as certain members of the club struggled and the team couldn't get the job done.
16. The Doc Is in
After months of trying to acquire him from the Blue Jays, the Phillies finally caved in and moved their top pitching prospect as part of a deal to acquire Roy Halladay in December of 2009, and the results couldn't have been any better (except, of course, a World Series title.)
The Phillies sent three of their best prospects to the Great North for Halladay, and while he was ready to begin his domination of the National League, his acquisition came at a high price. Feeling the need to restock the farm system, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. parted ways with Cliff Lee.
Though that temporarily dampened the move, those who were familiar with Halladay's work with the Blue Jays knew that the Phillies were in for a treat, and Doc didn't disappoint, capturing a Cy Young Award in his first season in red pinstripes.
It's not often a team acquires the best pitcher in baseball, but the Phillies have a strange knack for doing just that.
15. Phillies Rally Against Nolan Ryan in 1980 NLCS
After several years of coming close to the World Series, only to watch from their couches, the Phillies were ready to take that next step in 1980. After bringing Pete Rose aboard a couple of winters ago, there was a new fire in their hearts; a will to win.
With that being said, however, the Astros were certainly not going to roll over for the Phils. With the series split at two games apiece in a best of five, it all came down to one final game. Two teams that had never won the World Series waiting on its doorstep, and the pitching match-up seemed to be in the Astros' favor. They would send Nolan Ryan to the bump, at home, to square off with rookie Marty Bystrom.
After seven innings of a back-and-forth affair, the Astros were right where they wanted to be heading into the eighth inning. They held a five to two lead in support of Ryan, who was simply masterful when given that type of run support. But the Phillies just wouldn't die.
The Phillies loaded the bases against Ryan, and the comeback began. Rose walked and taunted Ryan as he made his way down the first baseline, scoring a run, and a Keith Moreland ground-out pulled the Phillies within one. Del Unser tied the game with a base knock, and as he usually did, Manny Trillo came through in the clutch to give the Phillies the lead with a double.
The game was far from over, but the comeback against Ryan sure supported that "team of destiny" theory, and the Phils won against the Astros in extra frames.
14. The Return of Cliff Lee
It's not often a team can send an entire city into a state of frenzy by signing a free agent, but that's exactly what the Phillies did when they swooped in as the famous "mystery team" and agreed to terms with Cliff Lee—the man they had traded to the Seattle Mariners nearly a year ago to the date.
With Lee back in the fold, the fans celebrated his arrival and what he meant to the team. Not only did the man who nonchalantly caught pop-ups in the World Series and played the game the way this city loves return to the Phillies, but he turned down the Yankees to do so.
He joined a star-studded rotation, with Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt already soaking up three of the five spots. With Lee's addition, they were dubbed the "Phour Aces;" the "Phantastic Phour," or whatever you may have called them.
Truthfully, what the fans cared about first and foremost was this—Lee was back.
13. Phillies Win the National League Pennant in 1993
The 1993 National League pennant was a memorable one for the Phillies because they weren't supposed to win it. Looking at the competition, it was the Braves who had the best shot at the pennant. They looked like a baseball team, had great pitching, and with timely hitting were a force to be reckoned with.
Compared to the Phillies, they were an easy choice. Guys like Darren Daulton and John Kruk rocked the mullets and beer bellies, Mitch Williams clearly had more then a few loose screws as the club's closer, and from top to bottom, they just couldn't compare to the Braves.
But they did.
In fact, it was the Braves who opposed the Phillies in the 1993 NLCS, and they couldn't beat that rag-tag group of mullet rocking, beer belly sporting Phils. With Curt Schilling at the forefront of the rotation and an explosive offense led by the exploits of Lenny Dykstra, the Phillies sent the Braves packing before squaring off with the powerhouse Blue Jays in the World Series.
12. Mike Schmidt Blasts 500th Home Run
A player hitting 500 home runs in his career is a special achievement. A player hitting 500 home runs in his career while wearing just one uniform? That is a special moment. That's just the case for Mike Schmidt, who was drafted and developed by the Phillies. He didn't exactly take off running when the Phillies called him to the show, but boy, did he catch fire quickly.
Schmidt spent 18 seasons as a member of the Phils, and who other than Harry Kalas could have called his 500th home run? To this day, no man has come close to matching that mark, and if Ryan Howard can't do it, who will?
11. The Whiz Kids Capture the 1950 NL Pennant
After years of losing, the Phillies went with a youth movement in 1950 and it worked to near perfection. They assembled a roster that's average age was just 26 years old, and even that numbered was skewed by the presence of just a few veterans, including 29-year-old Andy Seminick, who would be nicknamed "Grandpa Whiz."
The Whiz Kids were a fiery bunch, led on the offensive side of the ball by young studs in the likes of Richie Ashburn, Del Ennis, and Dick Sisler. On the mound, they had one of the greatest pitching duos of all time, Robin Roberts and Curt Simmons, and at the back end of the bullpen housed an MVP: Jim Konstanty.
Even at such a young age, the Phillies were built to win, and nearly did. After securing the National League pennant, they were set to square off with the Yankees in the World Series, but were swept.
10. Phillies Acquire Steve Carlton
When the Phillies acquired Steve Carlton prior to the 1972 season, it became a memorable moment on a few different fronts. First and foremost, the Phillies were moving their ace to acquire him. Rick Wise had spent a few great seasons with the Phils, including the one that featured that memorable two home run no-hitter against the Reds, and while Carlton's upside was tremendously higher, there was some risk involved.
With neither the Cardinals or Phillies able to agree to contracts with their respective pitchers, they decided to swap them, and the Phillies landed Carlton, who would become the greatest pitcher this franchise has ever seen.
Lefty took home four Cy Young Awards as a member of the Phils, led the club to two World Series (one win), and was named to the All Star team seven times. It's not often you look back and forget the day you acquired one of the greatest starting pitchers of all-time.
9. Roy Halladay Throws Perfect Game
When the Phillies acquired Roy Halladay from the Blue Jays, they knew they were getting arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball. There was a high expectation that he'd pitch better in the National League East than he did in the American League East, and whoever though that can pat themselves on the back, because they were right.
In May of 2010, Halladay pitched the greatest game of his career, simply because he couldn't be any better. He was perfect. On a hot summer's day in Florida, Halladay pitched nine perfect innings to beat the Marlins, as the Phillies celebrated around their ace.
Not even the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Finals could create a more memorable moment that this, but was it even the most memorable Phillies' perfect game of all time?
8. Jim Bunning Tosses Perfect Game on Fathers' Day
Many years before Roy Halladay was perfect on the road, Jim Bunning had already accomplished that feat. The Phillies were squaring off against the Mets for a Fathers' Day double-header, and had their ace, Bunning, on the mound to get the festivities started.
Like Halladay in the future, Bunning couldn't be any more perfect on that day. He pitched nine perfect frames against the Mets to give the Phillies their first perfect game in the history of the franchise. The fact that the game was on Fathers' Day makes it that much more of a great memory.
7. Dick Sisler's Pennant-Clinching Home Run
As memorable as the 1950 pennant was for the Phillies, it almost never happened. Dick Sisler was a good player over the course of his career, but he will always be remembered for hitting one of the most clutch home runs in the history of baseball.
The 1950 season had come down to its final day, and the Whiz Kids were still not bound for the World Series. In fact, they had another game left to play against the Brooklyn Dodgers, and it was do-or-die. The Phillies started their ace, Robin Roberts, and he kept the game close throughout, setting the stage for late-inning heroics.
With the season on the line (the Phillies and Dodgers would have had to play a three game playoff series should the Phils have lost this game), Sisler mashed an opposite field, three-run home run to down the Dodgers, and the Phillies were headed to the World Series!
6. The Phillies Are 2008 National League Champions
Phillies had waited for a long time for a return trip to the World Series after Joe Carter left that bitter taste in their mouths in 1993, and after defeating the Milwaukee Brewers and the Dodgers, that's exactly where they were going.
A powerhouse offensive team led by the likes of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins, the Phillies could do a lot of damage with some timely pitching, and they were getting that. Young lefty Cole Hamels would go undefeated in the postseason en route to becoming the NLCS and World Series MVP, and pitchers like Brad Lidge, Jamie Moyer, and Brett Myers would play huge roles in the Phils capturing the National League pennant.
Obviously, this one was special. A championship title followed.
5. Phils Capture Their First Pennant
The first one is always special.
By 1915, the Phillies had battled through years of mediocrity and through the regular season, had positioned themselves for a chance to win the National League pennant. With the powerful Gavvy Cravath anchoring the offense and the unstoppable force that was Pete Alexander on the mound, they had a serious chance to do more than just win the pennant, which they did, but also capture the World Series trophy.
Ultimately, that never happened. The Phils squared off with the Boston Red Sox in the World Series in 1915, but there was not much offensive support to speak of. The Phillies won the first game of the series, started by Alexander, but dropped the next four, and their chance at a title for a long, long time.
4. Roy Halladay's Postseason No-Hitter
The Phillies acquired Roy Halladay for one reason—to win the World Series.
After appearing in the World Series in two straight seasons, that is a lofty expectation for a man who has never pitched in the postseason, but Halladay assured the Phillies that he was ready, and he would get the chance to show the world just how long he'd been waiting to pitch in the postseason when the Phillies hosted the Reds for Game 1 of the 2010 NLDS.
He had his best "stuff" from inning one. Outside of a measly walk, not a single member of the Reds' club was able to reach base against Halladay that day, as he tossed his second no-hitter of the season, this one in the postseason—just the second time in the history of baseball that a pitcher was able to accomplish the feat, with Halladay becoming the first to do so since Don Larsen's perfect game in the World Series.
3. Perseverance: Phillies Capture 1980 NL Pennant
After being denied their opportunity at a World Series title in each of the three seasons from 1976-78 and missing the postseason entirely in 1979, the Phillies were hungrier than ever for their shot at glory when the 1980 season began, and their play showed that.
Behind their ace and one of the greatest pitchers of all time, Steve Carlton, who would go on to win 24 games and a Cy Young Award during the regular season, their slugging third baseman and arguably the greatest third baseman of all time, Mike Schmidt, baseball's eventual hit-king, Pete Rose, and a number of other players who contributed to the cause, the Phillies won 91 games during the regular season.
They squared off against the Astros during the NLCS, and finally, were going back to the World Series after one of the most entertaining postseason series of all time. Now, only the Kansas City Royals stood between the Phillies and baseball immortality.
2. World [Redacted] Champions!
The Phillies' 2008 postseason to-do list consisted of the following three tasks: defeat the Brewers, defeat the Dodgers, and finally, defeat the Rays.
The first two goals had been checked off rather easily, as neither the Brewers or the Dodgers stood much of a chance against the Phillies. Behind an unstoppable Cole Hamels and one of the league's most potent offenses, the only team left standing against the Phils was the American League's Cinderella team.
The Phillies kicked the series off on the right foot by winning the first game, but ultimately, split the series with the Rays. Now, they headed back to Philadelphia, where the club could win the World Series at home, in front of fans that had waited nearly three decades to witness another World Series title.
They did just that.
With Eric Hinske in the batter's box and two outs in Game 5, Brad Lidge needed to throw one more slider to stay perfect for the 2008 season and bring the trophy back to the City of Brotherly Love, and he did it. As Harry Kalas would say, "The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008, World Champions of baseball!"
Nearly a century in the game and, in 1980, the Phillies' franchise still did not have a World Series title. They had come closer a couple of times, but were unable to bring the trophy home. The 1980 World Series just had a different kind of feel to it. The way the Phillies were able to rally against Nolan Ryan and down the Astros, in their own ballpark—that wasn't supposed to happen.
The Phillies weren't supposed to win the World Series. It just wasn't in the cards.
Now that they had gotten there, however, they were the authors of their own fate. Just a couple more starts from Steve Carlton and a few more saves from Tug McGraw. Just a little more spark from Pete Rose, and a little more power from Mike Schmidt. That's all that stood between the Phillies and baseball greatness.
The Royals stood no chance.
Even after they evened the series at two games apiece, there was no give-in from the Phillies. The hardship they had endured to get to this series was too much to let it slip by now, and in two more games, they were World Champions. Finally.
Mcgraw put it best by saying simply this, "Ya gotta believe!"
The greatest thing about a franchise's defining moments is the simple fact that each person can value them differently. As always, I'd like to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Let me know what you thought about the slideshow—what was right, what was wrong; what slide was too high, which one was too low.
What did I miss? By no means is this slideshow the be all, end all of Phillies moments, and I'm no walking book of Phillies facts!
As always, thanks for the read and please, leave some feedback in the comments section!