Remembering Phillies Greatest Moment
Seeing the Cleveland Indians celebrate after winning the pennant in Toronto last evening brought back memories of the greatest Phillies moment which took place 36 years ago tomorrow:
World Series #6 at Veterans Stadium: 11:29 p.m., Tug McGraw fans Willie Wilson to
give the Phillies a 41 win and their first World Championship before screaming 65,839
fanatics including two-year-old Phillie Phanatic.
Why is it the greatest moment? After all the 2008 Phillies also won a World
Championship. Because 1980 was the first.
Then, on the following day, we were treated to an emotional parade down Broad
Street. Millions of fans lined the street completely filling the sidewalks and intersections.
They were leaning out of windows of high-rise buildings, sitting on top of porch roofs
and in trees and clinging to traffic light poles they had climbed. It was an endless sea of
red. The City of Philadelphia was a champion.
Those of us riding on the floats were overwhelmed. But, there was more once the
parade reached the Sports Complex. When we entered JFK Stadium we were greeted
by 100,000 more cheering fans while the PA system continuously blared, “We are the
champions.” Goosebump city.
Congratulations Terry Francona
Terry had only managed in the minor leagues when we hired him as manager following the 1996 season. The night before his press conference, GM Lee Thomas had Terry and a bunch of us front-office types to Lee’s Bucks County home for dinner.
At one point, it was suggested Terry and I review the press conference plans. We went into the kitchen and sat down at the table. I had thought of some questions he might face. After a couple of questions, I realized Terry didn’t need much coaching. He was going to be fine. “Just be yourself tomorrow,” I told him.
“That made me feel comfortable,” he recalled. “Next day, we walk into the room for the press conference. Seeing all those people and cameras hit me like a ton of bricks. The lights were so bright it was hard to see. I was nervous, big time. Whatever we talked about the night before was gone. “I remember I tried to say being a manager isn’t rocket science. Instead, it came out, it isn’t dentistry.”
Terry survived the press conference and his four years as the manager. His record with us wasn’t very good (285-363). It wasn’t him. We were just way short of talent. He later proved how good he could be as a manager by winning two pennants and two World Championships with the Boston Red Sox. Now, he’s won a pennant in Cleveland. The last time the Indians were in the World Series was 1997.
The Phillies had the fourth best draft this summer, according to Baseball America. #1 pick, high school outfielder Mickey Moniak is listed as the best defensive player in the draft and #1 as the closest to the majors by a high school player. He is ranked #2 as best pure hitter and best high school player. LHP Kyle Young is #2 as the best late-round pick. The 6-foot-10 lefty was selected in the 22nd round out of St. Dominic High School, Oyster Bay, NY.
1B Brock Stassi, the Eastern League MVP while playing in Reading in 2015 who spent last season with AAA Lehigh Valley, is hitting .333 in the Venezuela Winter League with 11 hits, 13 walks and 10 runs scored in 10 games . . . CF Carlos Tocci (Clearwater) is hitting .308 in 10 games in the same league and leading his club with 12 hits.
Reliever Larry Andersen is the first Phillies pitcher to appear in two World Series. He did it as a 30-year old on a team called the “Wheeze Kids” in 1983 and as 40-year old on a team labeled “Misfits” in 1993. Stats: 6 games, 0-0, 7.04 ERA, 7.2 innings, 6 runs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts. On the good news side: 0 balks and he didn’t get to bat.
In spring training of 1993, he demonstrated his vaudeville juggling act. Just a naturally-talented dude.
What’s Your Name?
Back in August, Jake Thompson became the 2,000th Phillies player since the franchise was established in 1883.
Two thousand different people, with all kinds of different stories and all kinds of different names. Kenny Ayers, Phillies communication department assistant, took a look at some of them starting way back at the very beginning. His clever and entertaining story appears in http://www.phillies.com/alumni.
An excerpt from Kenny’s story: “And who could forget the winner for the most Philadelphia name of all time, Pretzels Pezzulo.” He was a left-handed pitcher back in 1935-36. According to Wikipedia.org, Pezzullo earned the nicknamed “Pretzel” after his unusual pitching style.