Real View Mirror
Jim Konstanty, who relieved in 74 games, was chosen to start the Phillies first World Series game, October 4, 1950. Manager Eddie Sawyer named Jim over 20-game winner Robin Roberts who pitched the 10-inning pennant clincher three days earlier, his fourth start in nine games. The Phillies second-best starter, 17-game winner Curt Simmons, was in the Army. New York Yankees beat Konstanty, 1-0. (National Baseball Hall of Fame photo).
Last Rear View Mirror Look
For the last time, time to look back at the 2015 season.
The Phillies had two presidents, two general managers and two managers. Pretty unusual until you look at the Boston Red Sox who did the same. These two franchises met in the 1915 World Series and 100 years later each was in last place. You may ask what kind of silly note is that. Honestly, I don’t have an explanation other than I thought of it.
How did the Phillies lose 99 games? Well, pitching, hitting, fielding, base-running, youth.
Most wins for a pitcher: 6, Hamels, Harang, Nola, Giles. That’s a new Phillies low; previous was 8 by Ray Benge in 1928. Last single-digit leader, 9, Curt Schilling, 1996. Most pitchers, season: 29, not including Francoeur. That’s a new high, one more than 2007. 18 rookies appeared in at least one game, 13 being pitchers. From Baseball-Reference.com: Most batting orders 161 (including pitchers), compared to 144 the year before. Researched last 30 seasons and 161 is the most.
The Envelope, Please
Time for some postseason awards. Drum roll, please:
Team MVP: Blanco who was an asset on the field, in the dugout and clubhouse.
Good-Guy: Francoeur. Always upbeat, always smiling and like Blanco, a huge asset.
Outstanding Rookie: Since he was there all season, Herrera. Amazing season considering he was in AA ball a year ago. Franco was also very impressive.
Best Trade: Papelbon. Nationals went from three games up when they acquired him to missing the postseason.
Biggest Surprise: Sandberg’s resignation.
Biggest Disappointment: 5-14 record against the Mets.
Best Percentage: 59.5% in replay challenges.
Most Thrilling Win: Hamels last game as a Phillie, a no-hitter.
Thank Goodness: Avoiding 100 losses.
Most Painful: Howard’s latest season-ending injury.
Hard To Believe: Phillies finished near the NL bottom in homers (130) but led in pinch-hit homers (10).
Best Move: Naming Mackanin the manager.
Most Consistent: Phillie Phanatic. He never had a bad game or a slump.
Consolation: Late-season sweep that started the Mets on their way to blowing the home field advantage.
Most Entertaining: The squirrel that ran across the backstop over to a guide wire and then jumped into the Phillies dugout nearly scaring Chase Utley to death.
Best Radio Comment: “Hinojosa throws 94 miles per hour. That’s why he wears #94 and I wore #47,” Larry Andersen.
The Fightin’ Phillies: 100 Years of Philadelphia Baseball from the Whiz Kids to the Misfits
is my new book. It will be available starting next May in book stores and on-line. Publisher again is Triumph Books (triumphbooks.com).
Larry Andersen wrote the foreword. Here’s a small peek: “After just turning 18 and graduating from high school, yes, I actually did, I was chosen by the Cleveland Indians in the seventh round of the 1971 draft. I was stunned that two other pitchers in the state of Washington were picked ahead of me, one in the fourth round and the other in the fifth. That all became a moot point when the Indians threw $10,000 my way to sign with them and spurn a football/baseball scholarship to attend the University of Oregon. It was an easy decision at the time, as Oregon didn’t offer a major in practical jokes.”