Phillies Fall Classics VII: 1993 World Series Game Two

The 1993 Philadelphia Phillies were not supposed to be contenders, let alone win the NL East Division crown, let alone a National League pennant. 
At least not as far as experts, and anyone who knew anything at all about baseball was concerned as that season began.
Well, at least not as far as anyone except the team themselves, that is.
In my lifetime, I have followed the Phillies through 45 seasons now, since I was a 9-year old kid in 1971. I have enjoyed some great seasons. Ten NL East crowns. Five National League pennants. A pair of World Series championships.
Never in all of those 45 seasons did I follow a single season, from start to finish, that was more enjoyable, more downright fun, than that group of 1993 Phillies. 
Perhaps it was because it was all so unexpected. In 1992, the Phils had finished in last place in the NL East with a 70-92 record. 
That 1992 cellar finish was their sixth straight losing campaign, and made it eight of nine seasons in which the club had not fashioned a winning record.
The Phillies swept the Houston Astros on the road in a three game series to open the season, on their way to winning eight of their first nine games. Their only loss in that stretch left them a half-game out in the NL East race. They would never trail again that season.

By the end of April, the Phillies were 17-5, and had built up a 4.5 game lead in the division. 
By the end of May, they were 34-15, and the lead was up to seven games. At the MLB All-Star break, their record still stood at 57-32, and they led by five games.
Four Phillies were named to the NL All-Star team, including catcher and team captain Darren Daulton and 1st baseman John Kruk, each voted by MLB fans as starters. 
Pitcher Terry Mulholland was selected and became the game’s starting pitcher. Also named to the squad was tough 3rd baseman Dave Hollins.
It was around the break that the team went through its one real rough patch. A win on June 25th had pushed them a season-high 30 games over the .500 mark. 
But from then through July 17th, the club went into a tailspin, losing 14 of 20 games to watch their lead shrink to just three games.
Then, just when many thought the bubble had burst and the clock had struck midnight on their Cinderella first half, the Phillies simply refused to lose for the rest of the regular season. 
That is almost a literal statement. Just twice more would they lose as many as three in a row.
On Tuesday night, September 28th, the Phillies bats exploded for a 10-7 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium, clinching the franchise’ first NL East crown in a decade, and completing their “worst-to-first” turnaround.
Skipper Jim Fregosi would be named the National League Manager of the Year for leading that amazing group that became known as “Macho Row”, as a nod to their tremendous offensive outputs and in a takeoff of the old “Murderer’s Row” of the New York Yankees.
That offensive lineup included All-Stars Daulton, Kruk, and Hollins. It also included outstanding righty-lefty platoons in both left field, with RH Pete Incaviglia and LH Milt Thompson, and in right field with RH Wes Chamberlain and LH Jim Eisenreich.
It also included an exciting center fielder nicknamed “The Dude” or “Nails”, Lenny Dykstra
While he wasn’t an All-Star, he would become the team’s offensive catalyst, and finished 2nd in the National League MVP voting to the great Barry Bonds that season. 
Others of note with the ’93 Phillies included reliever Larry Anderson, who had played with the ’83 Phillies, and closer Mitch ‘Wild Thing’ Williams.
The Phillies met the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS that season. This was in the years when Atlanta was still playing in the NL West, where they were assigned in the wake of the 1969 expansion and would remain until a 1994 realignment which followed another round of expansion in that 1993 season.
The Braves had won their 3rd straight division title that season in what would become a streak of 14 consecutive division crowns. They had won an MLB-high 104 games. 
They were led by a trio of starting pitchers who would all become Baseball Hall of Famers: Greg MadduxTom Glavine, and John Smoltz.
But that 1993 Phillies team was the worst possible opponent for those great Braves pitchers. 
The ‘Macho Row’ group feared no one, and they could work a pitcher like no other team in Phillies’ franchise history. 
They again shocked the baseball world by dispatching Atlanta in six games to win the NL pennant and advance into the World Series.
Waiting in the Fall Classic was yet another dynamic ball club, the defending world champion Toronto Blue Jays. 
The Jays were featured a trio of future Hall of Famers in Paul MolitorRickey Henderson, and Roberto Alomar
They also had one of the game’s best all-around hitters in John Olerud, and one of the game’s top sluggers in Joe Carter.
On the mound, Toronto had a half-dozen solid starting pitching options, including near Hall of Famer Jack Morris, swing man lefty Al Leiter, ex-Phillie Dave Stewart, and shutdown closer Duane Ward.
The Blue Jays broke open a tight Game One by scoring three times in the bottom of the 7th to win by an 8-5 score at SkyDome in Toronto, taking a lead of 1-0 in the series. 
All this sets us up for the next installment in our Phillies Fall Classics feature: Game Two of the 1993 World Series.
Fregosi would send the 30-year old unflappable lefty NL All-Star starter Mulholland to the mound for the big Game Two start. 
Opposing him for manager Cito Gaston‘s Blue Jays was 15-year, 36-year old veteran righty Stewart, who had signed with the world champs after seven strong seasons with the Oakland Athletics, including a 1989 AL Cy Young Award.
The man known as ‘Smoke’ had broken into the big leagues all the way back in 1978 with a Los Angeles Dodgers team that would beat the Phillies in that year’s NLCS
Stewart had also briefly pitched in a dozen games for the Phillies during the 1985 and 1986 seasons.
But one thing that played into the Phillies hands with a pitcher like Stewart was that he was right handed. The Phillies lefty-heavy lineup could feast on righty fastballers, and Stewart fit the mold perfectly.
In the top of the 3rd inning with the game still scoreless, Stewart walked both Dykstra and 2nd baseman Mariano Duncan to start things off. It would prove a bad portent of things to come. 
Kruk singled to score Dykstra, and then Hollins singled to score Duncan, and the Phillies were up 2-0.
One batter later, another lefty would land an even bigger blow. Eisenreich, who famously battled the condition known as Tourette’s syndrome, was a tremendous contact hitter, and not known as a slugger. But on an 0-2 pitch, Eisenreich blasted a 3-run homer deep into the stands in right center.
Mulholland would hold on to that 5-0 lead for just one inning. In a foreshadowing of things to come at the series’ end, Carter ripped a line drive 2-run homer down the left field line to put the Jays on the scoreboard.
In the bottom of the 6th, Mulholland retired the first two batters. But then Alomar singled and came all the way around on a Tony Fernandez double, cutting the Phillies lead to 5-3 and finally knocking the Phils’ starter out of the game.
With two of the Phillies first three hitters due up in the top of the 7th as left-handed hitters, Gaston went to his bullpen and brought in 30-year old veteran lefty Tony Castillo
Dykstra made sure that move backfired, blasting a leadoff home run to deep right, making it a 6-3 Phillies lead.
Fregosi had turned to righty reliever Roger Mason to get out of the 6th inning jam, and Mason continued strong by setting the Jays down in order in the 7th. 
In the bottom of the 8th, Molitor led off with a double, and then Mason froze Carter on a 2-2 pitch for a huge out. Fregosi then decided it was time to bring in his closer, Mitch Williams.
Molitor immediately took advantage of the ‘Wild Thing’, swiping third base. He then scored when Olerud lofted a sacrifice fly to right, making it a 6-4 game. Now with two outs, Williams lived down to his nickname, walking Alomar, who then promptly stole 2nd base. But then with Tony Fernandez up as the tying run, the Jays pushed the thievery too far. Alomar took off for 3rd, but was picked off by Williams for the inning’s final out.
Still holding that same 6-4 lead into the bottom of the 9th, Williams walked Fernandez as the leadoff man. He was erased on a fielder’s choice grounder by Ed Sprague
But the Jays still were bringing them tying run to the plate, this time in the form of catcher Pat Borders.
With the always dangerous Henderson on-deck, Williams induced Borders to roll a 1-1 pitch on the ground to Phils’ rookie shortstop Kevin Stocker. Stocker flipped to Duncan, who turned and fired to Kruk, completing the game-ending doubleplay.
With that 6-4 victory, the Phillies had accomplished their goal of winning a game in Toronto. They would now return to Veteran’s Stadium where they would host the next three games. 
For now, the magic of this season was continuing. But it would take until Game Five before we would reach what will be the next in this featured series, our Phillies Fall Classic VIII.

Phillies Fall Classics VI: 1983 World Series Game One

The 1983 season was one of great change for a Philadelphia Phillies organization that had achieved tremendous success over the previous decade. 
The Phillies had won the 1980 World Series, four NL East division crowns, and earned a postseason berth in a 1981 campaign split by a work stoppage.
As longtime 1980 World Series-winning stars Mike Schmidt (33), Garry Maddox (32), Steve Carlton (38), Ron Reed (40), and Tug McGraw (38) aged, the team looked to both get younger and continue to contend against tough competition.
Among those already gone was slugger Greg Luzinski, sold to the Chicago White Sox in March of 1981. 
Long time shortstop Larry Bowa was traded to the Chicago Cubs in January of 1982 along with an infield prospect named Ryne Sandberg in exchange for shortstop Ivan DeJesus. 
A month later, Bake McBride was dealt away to the Cleveland Indians for reliever Sid Monge.
In December of 1982, popular 2nd baseman Manny Trillo was part of a five-player package sent to the Cleveland Indians for young outfielder Von Hayes
That same month, the club dealt a pair of good arms in Mike Krukow and Mark Davis as part of a package to the San Francisco Giants for veteran 2nd baseman Joe Morgan and reliever Al Holland.
Morgan was 39-years old, and was now reunited with his old Cincinnati buddy Pete Rose, now 42-years old and in his final season of a five-year contract with the Phillies. 
The ‘Big Red Machine’ Reunion would be completed when the Phillies signed Tony Perez as a free agent at the end of January 1983.
With the exception of the 24-year old Hayes, every Phillies positional starter was at least 30 years of age, as were three members of the season-opening starting pitching rotation, and the majority of the bullpen. 
The club was so long in the tooth that they were given the nickname the “Wheeze Kids”, a nod to the 1950 NL champs who had been so young that they had become the “Whiz Kids” in team lore.

While they did not have youth in common with that 1950 ball club, the 1983 Phillies had the most important thing in common with that team of 35 years earlier, they were winners. They overcame an 0-3 start to win 16 of the next 22 games, and take first place into mid-May. 
Playing in the franchise’ Centennial season, the early winning stretch included a victory on May 1st, the exact 100th anniversary of the franchise’ first game. 
In early June, lefty Steve Carlton passed Nolan Ryan to become the all-time MLB strikeout king.
The club began to struggle, and from May 11th through June 29th, they fell into a horrid 16-26 stretch that dropped the team into 3rd place. 
They battled back into a tie for the division lead, but following a 4th loss in 5 games on July 13th, manager Pat Corrales was fired.
It was a fairly unusual move, since the Phillies were in first place. However, just three games over the .500 mark, GM Paul Owens and ownership believed that a change was needed. Owens himself decided to don a uniform and take over as the field general.
The Phillies would lose his first two games and five of their first seven games with Owens as the skipper to fall below the .500 mark and down into 4th place. 
However, during a season in which no team wanted to take charge in the NL East race, the floundering Phils were still just two games out.
It appeared that all it would take to win the division would be for any of the teams to go on a hot streak. The Phillies would on two, sandwiched around another cold stretch. 
An 11-4 stretch in the first half of August pushed the Phils back into first place. The team then proceeded to lose 13 of 17 to drop back to 3rd place. Yet still, they were only a half-game off the pace.
That was when the veteran Phillies finally decided to take charge, take the NL East by the scruff of the neck, and win the darned thing. 
From September 6th through the end of the regular season, the club would finish on a torrid 21-5 roll. 
Still tied for the division lead as late as September 17th, the Phils won 14 of their last 16 to finish with a six game cushion.
At Wrigley Field on Wednesday, September 27th, the Phillies clinched the National League East crown with a big 13-6 win. 
The losing pitcher that day for the Chicago Cubs was Dick Ruthven, one of the 1980 World Series heroes who had begun this ’83 season still in the Phillies rotation, but who was dealt to the Cubbies in late May for reliever Willie Hernandez.
In the NLCS, the Phillies would face a familiar foe in the Los Angeles Dodgers. In wiping away the ghosts of the ’77 and ’78 losses, this Phillies team would win the series 3 games to 1, blitzing LA by identical 7-2 scores in the 3rd and 4th games.
That sent the Phils into the World Series to face the American League champion Baltimore Orioles. The O’s had pulled away in the AL East during the month of September, winning 98 games and taking the division by six. 
In the ALCS, Baltimore lost the opener to the Chicago White Sox, but stormed back to win the next three straight, two by shutout.
That was the setup for Game One of the 1980 World Series, which would take place at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. 
The Orioles manager Joe Altobelli was in his first season succeeding future Hall of Famer Earl Weaver, and selected 29-year old righty Scott McGregor for the start in the opener. McGregor had gone 18-7 and thrown 260 strong innings during a season in which he would finish 6th in AL Cy Young voting.
For the Phillies, Owens would send out 30-year old righty John Denny, who had come to the Phils from Cleveland in September of 1982 in exchange for three prospects, none of whom would ever really pan out. 
Denny had by far the best of his 13 career MLB seasons with the Phillies in 1983, going 19-6 with a 2.37 ERA over 242.2 innings for which he would win the National League Cy Young Award.
Denny was outstanding for the Phillies in that Game One. He would throw 109 pitches, 73 for strikes, over 7.2 innings in which he would allow just four hits and one run. 
That lone Orioles run scored on the 7th pitch that he threw, when the 2nd batter in the Orioles’ order, right fielder Jim Dwyer, ripped a solo home run deep into the right field stands.
That 1-0 Orioles lead held into the top of the 6th, when the Phillies finally got to McGregor with a long ball of their own. With two outs and on a 1-2-pitch, Morgan blasted his own solo shot to deep right, tying the score at 1-1.
The game continued as a match between McGregor and Denny into the 8th, and there in the top of the 8th came the game’s decisive blow. 
Maddox, a 12-year veteran and notorious first-pitch swinger who was not known as a big home run threat, took a first-pitch fastball and rifled it out to deep left field for another solo homer, pushing the Phillies on top 2-1.
When Denny allowed a two-out double to Al Bumbry, Owens finally turned to his bullpen, and called in Holland, who retired Dan Ford on a fly ball to left to end that threat.
In the bottom of the 9th, Holland would have to face the Orioles’ 3-4-5 hitters with the Phillies clinging to that 2-1 lead. 
First up was a 2nd year shortstop by the name of Cal Ripken Jr. The 1982 AL Rookie of the Year, Ripken had quickly become one of the best players in baseball.
In that 1983 campaign, Ripken had hit for a .318/.371/.517 slash line with 27 homers and 102 RBI. He led the Al in runs (121), doubles (47) and hits (211), and would be named the American League Most Valuable Player. 
On an 0-2 pitch, Holland got Ripken to pop into foul territory behind 3rd base, and DeJesus camped under it for the first out.
Next up was the Orioles cleanup hitter and, like Ripken, a future Baseball Hall of Famer. 
1st baseman Eddie Murray was a 27-year old, 7-year veteran who hit for a .306/.393/.538 slash line with 33 homers, 111 RBI, and 115 runs scored in 1983. On a 2-2 pitch, Holland struck him out swinging. Two major threats to the one-run lead down.
The Orioles last hope would be pinch-hitter Gary Roenicke. With Holland a left-hander and lefty John Lowenstein due up, Altobelli made the move to the dangerous Roenicke, who had banged 19 homers in just 366 plate appearances as a platoon outfielder. 
On a 3-2 pitch, Roenicke drove a ball deep to left field. But Gary Matthews went back to the wall and camped under it, cradling the final out of a Phillies win.
The Phillies had a 1-0 lead in the 1983 World Series, with 3 of the next 4 games scheduled to be played in front of their home fans at Veteran’s Stadium. 
Unfortunately, this one wouldn’t go their way. The ‘Wheeze Kids’ would finally run out of gas, with the Orioles sweeping the next four straight.
In all, the Phils would score just nine total runs over the five games of the 1983 World Series. A pair of future Hall of Famers, Carlton for the Phils, Jim Palmer for the Orioles, would get the decisions in Game Three at The Vet. 
McGregor would bounce back to shutout the Phillies in the decisive Game Five in Philly just five days after this opener.
The series MVP was Baltimore catcher Rick Dempsey, who hit .385 with a homer and four doubles, and who played flawless defense and was a zen master to the O’s pitching staff. 
It would be 14 years before the Orioles would return to the postseason, while the Phillies would not return for a decade. When this Phillies Fall Classics series continues, it will be with that magical 1993 team as the surprising stars.

Phillies Fall Classics V: 1980 World Series Game Six

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Phillies celebrate winning 1980 World Series

A dramatic, hard-fought, come-from-behind win on a Sunday in the hostile environs of Royals Stadium had left the 1980 Philadelphia Phillies just one win away from the first championship in franchise history.

The series would now return to South Philly for the final two games, the Phils hoping it would be just one, in front of the roaring, partisan fans at Veteran’s Stadium.
Philadelphia at that time had not won a major sports championship in 5 ½ years, since the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers had skated off with their second consecutive Stanley Cup in May of 1975. However, Philly was also in the midst of a pro sports renaissance.
Those Flyers had remained a strong contender throughout the 70’s, still led by future Hall of Famer Bobby Clarke. The Flyers had reached the Stanley Cup finals earlier in 1980, losing in six games.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers, featuring a true living legend in Julius Erving, had also become a perennial contender in recent years. Led by ‘Dr. J’, the Sixers had also come close, losing the NBA Finals earlier that year.
For their part, the long-suffering fans of the city’s pro football team, the Philadelphia Eagles, were enjoying their own emergence as a contender under fiery coach Dick Vermeil. The Birds would eventually fly all the way to the franchise’ first-ever Super Bowl appearance in January.
So on the chilly night of October 21st, 1980 the sports fans of Philadelphia could be forgiven if, for once in the town’s history, they felt on top of the sporting world.
What we were on that night, in actuality, was near the top. Our hockey and basketball teams had come close enough to see the summit, but were unable to reach that ultimate goal of standing on top of the mountain. The Phillies would now take their shot.
For Game Six, manager Dallas Green would get to send the greatest pitcher in the history of the franchise to the mound. 
“Lefty” Steve Carlton was 35-years old, and was wrapping up a season that would see him take home his 3rd career Cy Young Award. He had battled through 8 tough innings in which he threw an unreal 159 pitches to gain a win in Game Two.
Kansas City skipper Jim Frey would counter with his Game Three starter, Rich Gale. The 26-year old righty had gone 13-9 in the regular season , but had not appeared in the ALCS sweep of the New York Yankees. 
He lasted just 4.1 innings at Royals Stadium in his earlier appearance, a game that saw KC eventually rally for their first win of this series.
Carlton strode to the mound in the top of the 1st inning, and immediately let the Royals hitters know what they were in for, striking out both U.L. Washington and Willie Wilson to start it off. He then got star third baseman George Brett to ground weakly to 2nd base.
In the 2nd, a nifty 6-4-3 doubleplay from shortstop Larry Bowa to 2nd baseman Manny Trillo to 1st baseman Pete Rose got Carlton out of a bit of a jam, after he had walked a pair with one out. In the 3rd, Carlton struck out two more, and was cruising.
Gale was able to match Lefty with zeroes over the first two frames. When the Phillies came to bat in the bottom of the 3rd with the game still scoreless, the Vet faithful were still excited and anticipatory, but growing somewhat tense.
Carlton’s battery mate, catcher Bob Boone, led off by drawing a four-pitch walk. Rookie Lonnie Smith then grounded to the right side of the infield. 
Royals 2ndbaseman Frank White fielded the ball, pivoted, and threw to get Boone as the lead runner. But his throw pulled Washington off the bag, and the Phillies had the first two runners aboard.
That brought grizzled veteran Rose to the plate, and the man known as ‘Charlie Hustle’ surprised the Royals with a perfectly placed bunt towards 3rd base. Brett fielded it, but had no play, and the Phillies suddenly had the bases loaded without hitting a ball out of the infield.
Now up to the plate strode the Phillies MVP and future Baseball Hall of Famer, 3rdbaseman Mike Schmidt. With the bases loaded, Gale had no choice but to pitch to the dangerous Schmidt and hope for the best.
Coming through in the most clutch moment of his long career, Michael Jack sliced a single to right center, scoring both Boone and Smith. 
The big 2-run single not only put the Phillies on top by 2-0, but also chased Gura from the game.
Reliever Renie Martin came on and was able to wriggle out of further damage, but his team was now trailing by two runs with Carlton looking strong enough to make that hold up.
In the top of the 4th, Washington led off with a single, bringing Brett to the plate for a showdown of future Baseball Hall of Famers. Carlton won, inducing the Royals’ star to ground to Bowa, who started a 6-3 doubleplay. 
Over the 5th and 6th, all the Royals bats could muster was a two-out single by catcher John Wathan after Lefty had struck out the first two batters of that 5th inning.
Martin had kept the Phillies bats at bay, retiring six straight into the bottom of the 5thwith the Phils still coasting on that 2-0 lead. But Smith doubled to lead it off, went to 3rd on a fly ball, and then Schmidt walked on a full-count pitch
That was all for Martin, and Frey opted to bring in lefty swingman Paul Splittorff to face the lefty swinging Bake McBride
Splittorff would get ‘Shake-N-Bake’ to ground out slowly to short, but ‘Skates’ Smith skated on home with another Phillies run, pushing the lead to 3-0 as the home fans roared.
In the bottom of the 6th, with Splittorff still on the mound, the Phillies bats struck again. 
Garry Maddox led off with a single, but then Trillo hit into a twin-killing, and it appeared that the Royals were out of trouble. But Bowa drove a double to deep left, and Boone singled to bring him home, giving the Phils a 4-0 lead.
Carlton allowed a leadoff single to Brett in the top of the 7th, but kept KC off the scoreboard again, and the game moved into the 8th inning with the Phillies holding a 4-0 lead, their ace on the mound.
Now just six outs from a world title, the excitement level among Phils fans was growing with each pitch. But as with most things involving this battle-hardened team over the last month, these final two innings would not pass quickly or easily.
Wathan led off the top of the 8th by drawing a walk, and former Phillie Jose Cardenal slapped a base hit to left field. 
Having thrown 110 pitches on the night just six days after making 159, Green felt that Lefty had given enough. Carlton was done after 7 official innings, having allowed just 4 hits, striking out 7 and walking 3 batters.
If there was any thought that anyone was coming in to this game now other than Tug McGraw, then whomever had such a thought simply had not been paying attention to Phillies baseball over this last month.
The Tugger confidently strode to the mound, though he was admittedly wearing out, the zip on his fastball almost completely gone. 
However, his assortment of ‘cutters’, the cut fastballs that were his signature pitch, were usually allowing him to remain successful. 
As a young man, McGraw had been part of the ‘Miracle Mets’ championship team in 1969. Now he would try to finish this one off as a veteran closer.
He began by getting White to pop out in foul territory on just his 2nd pitch, but then walked Wilson, and now the Royals had the bases loaded with one out.  
Washington sent a sacrifice fly to center, putting the Royals on the board. But now there were two outs, and the Phillies still led 4-1.
With runners at first and second, up strode Brett as the tying run. One of the top hitters in the history of the game grounded a single to reload the bases. 
Still, under the circumstances, it was a mild setback. McGraw then got the always dangerous Hal McRae to ground softly to Trillo, and the threat had passed with minimal damage.
The Phils got nothing off Royals’ closer Dan Quisenberry in the home 8th, and so Game Six of the 1980 World Series moved into the top of the 9th inning.
Things began calmly enough, with McGraw striking out Amos Otis on a 2-2 pitch to lead things off. 
But Willie Aikens walked, and he was replaced by speedy pinch-runner Onix Concepcion. When Wathan and Cardenal each followed with singles, the Royals suddenly had the bases loaded.
McGraw had to bear down. The tying run was now at 1st base, the go-ahead run would come to the plate, possibly twice. 
First up with a shot was Kansas City’s steady 2nd baseman White, to be followed by the similarly tough and speedy center fielder Wilson.
On the first pitch, White popped a ball into foul territory near the Phillies dugout. Boone tossed off his mask and went in pursuit, reaching up as the ball came down, and appearing set to make it two outs. 
But the ball somehow popped out of Boone’s glove. Just before it fell to the ground, giving White new life, Rose, who had raced over as well, snatched it out of the air for that precious 2nd out of the inning.
Now there were two outs, but the bags were still loaded. The threat to the Phillies 3-run lead was still very real, especially with Brett now just two batters away. 
McGraw battled ahead of Wilson to a 1-2 count. The crowd of 65,838 was on its feet, roaring with every pitch.
The Tugger breathed deep, set, and delivered a fastball right down the middle. Wilson swung mightily, but it was passed him. Strike three. The Philadelphia Phillies were the world champions of baseball!
McGraw thrust his arms into the air. Boone, his knees completely shot, was unable to rush the mound, but simply raised his as well and walked towards his closer.
In a predetermined move, McGraw instead turned towards 3rd base, and was met by the charging Schmidt, who leapt into his arms. 
Schmidt, who would be named the World Series MVP, had driven to the park with McGraw that day, and had told the closer to look for him if just such a situation should arise.
For the first time in the 98-season history of the franchise, the Phillies and their fans were enjoying a World Series championship. 
As fireworks filled the chilly skies above The Vet, the crowd remained to cheer their heroes, and the party would go on long into the night on the streets of Philadelphia.
For the crew that had come up through the organization together, fighting through the lean years of the early mid-1970’s and the tough losses in the ’76-’78 NLCS it had to be especially gratifying. 
Schmidt, Bowa, Boone, Greg Luzinski and Dick Ruthven. And of course, for owner Ruly Carpenter, GM Paul Owens, and for Green.
That Phillies nucleus would never take the field again together. By the time the team returned to the World Series just three years later, there would be new ownership, new management, half the infield and two-thirds of the outfield would be gone, and the pitching staff would have many changes. 
We’ll talk about that team when our series resumes with Phillies Fall Classics VI: Game One of the 1983 World Series.

Phillies Fall Classics IV: 1980 World Series Game Five

The Philadelphia Phillies had built an early 2-0 lead in the 1980 World Series over the Kansas City Royals with a pair of victories at Veteran’s Stadium.
The Fall Classic then shifted to Royals Stadium (now Kauffman Stadium) for three games over the weekend of October 17th through 19th.
In Game Three on Friday night, the two teams battled into the 10th inning tied at 3-3. 
There in the bottom of the 10th, the host Royals gained life when their offensive star of the series, big 1st baseman Willie Aikens, singled off Tug McGraw to score Willie Wilson with the walkoff run in a 4-3 victory.
Then in Saturday afternoon’s Game Four, Kansas City tied the series thanks to a pair of home runs from Aikens. Those twin blasts had pushed the home side out to an early 5-1 lead after just two innings. 
The Phils fought back with solo runs in both the 7th and 8th innings to make a game of it, but those rallies fell short.

However, a bit of momentum would swing the Phillies way in the 4th inning. With the Royals rolling and the Phils looking listless, KC superstar and future Hall of Famer George Brett stepped into the batter’s box against righty reliever Dickie Noles.
Feeling that the Kansas City hitters were simply too comfortable at the plate, Noles fired a fastball that honed in on Brett’s head like a guided missile. 
Brett’s entire body flew out from under him as he evaded the lethal-looking pitch, eliciting an outburst of indignation from Royals’s skipper Jim Frey, and warnings to both benches from the umpires.
But the pitch appeared to serve its purpose. Noles struck out Brett and then Aikens, both swinging. He then struck out two of the three batters he faced in the 5th as well. 
There was a noticeable swagger gone from the Royals approach after that “intent” pitch by Noles.
As presented at Wikipedia, Phillies’ future Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, in his book Clearing The Bases, called it “the greatest brushback in World Series history.
The stage was thus set for a pivotal 5th game, our dramatic Phillies Fall Classics IV. With the two sides knotted at two games apiece, the winner would take a 3-2 lead and move to within a single victory of their franchise’ first ever World Series championship.
Game Five was played on a Sunday afternoon in direct competition with the NFL, in the days when Major League Baseball was still concerned enough about issues like presenting the national pastime during a time period when young viewers could enjoy an entire game, rather than milking every last possible advertising dollar.
On the mound, the Royals would bring back veteran lefty Larry Gura, who had been fantastic in taking a Perfect Game into the 5th inning of Game Two
For the Phillies, it would be 22-year old rookie righty Marty Bystrom getting the start. Bystrom had been a September revelation for the starting rotation, going 5-0 during the month as a surprising key player in the Phillies drive to clinch the NL East.
The old vet and the young gunslinger traded zeroes on the scoreboard through the first three innings. 
Finally in the top of the 4th, the Phillies broke through with a pair of runs off Gura when Schmidt drove a 2-2 pitch over the wall in deep right center for his 2nd homer of the series and a 2-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Bystrom had worked around trouble in the 3rd and 4th. But down 2-0, the Royals finally broke through in their half of the 5th inning. 
Leadoff singles by U.L. Washington and Wilson, and a sacrifice bunt by Frank White, put a pair of runners in scoring position with one out and the heart of the Kansas City order coming to bat.
Brett grounded out to 2nd base, scoring Washington with a run to cut the Phillies lead in half at 2-1. 
Bystrom was able to wriggle out of further trouble again in the inning, but in the home 6th, KC would get to him again, taking the lead and driving the youngster from the game.
The 6th inning trouble began immediately for Bystrom, as Amos Otis led off the frame by crushing an 0-1 pitch deep over the left field wall to tie the game at 2-2. 
When the next two batters each singled, that was it for Bystrom. Phils’ skipper Dallas Green went to veteran Ron Reed, who was greeted by a sac fly from Washington to score Clint Hurdle with the go-ahead run.
With the Royals now up 3-2, Wilson slashed a ball into the right field corner that would go for a double. A slow-footed Darrell Porter chugged all the way around from 1st base in an attempt to score a run that would possibly begin to bury the Phillies.
But the Phils’ instead executed a perfect defensive relay from right fielder Bake McBride to 2nd baseman Manny Trillo and finally to catcher Bob Boone, nailing Porter as he slid in at home. Reed got out of the inning without further damage, but the Phillies now trailed.
In the top of the 7th, the Phils put two on with one out, and Gura was replaced by closer Dan Quisenberry, who would get out of the inning cleanly. 
Green then turned to his closer Tug McGraw in the bottom of the 7th, and the rest of the game would be a battle between the two talented, veteran closers.
The game moved into the 9th inning with the Royals still holding that 3-2 lead, with Quisenberry having not allowed a hit over his 1 1/3 innings to that point. He was just three outs away from putting Kansas City up 3 games to 2 in the series.
Schmidt led off that 9th inning, and despite the fact that he was perhaps baseball’s top home run threat, Brett smelled a bunt, and played in shallower than normal. Schmidt instead swing away, and sent a smash to Brett’s left. 
Had the Royals 3rd sacker been playing back as normal, he may have fielded it cleanly. But up shallow, he could only dive and watch the ball roll off his glove as Schmidt reached 1st base as the potential tying run.
Green then made a move to his bench that was becoming familiar to Phillies fans at this point, sending up Del Unser to pinch-hit for Lonnie Smith
As he had so often in that postseason, Unser delivered, firing a base hit down the right field line. Schmidt read the ball perfectly, possessed good speed, and never stopped as he went first-to-home, sliding in with the tying run well ahead of the Royals relay throw. 
Unser rolled into 2nd base with a double, and would then move up to 3rd when Keith Moreland followed with a sacrifice bunt.
Quisenberry got Garry Maddox to ground out to Brett, who was able to freeze Unser at 3rd base. So now the Phillies had the go-ahead run just 90 feet away, but there were two outs. 
Trillo, who had come up with a number of key hits in winning MVP honors in the NLCS, stepped in against the Royals closer, who was hoping to keep it tied and give his team a chance to win it in the bottom of the 9th.
Instead, it was Trillo who would again play the hero, smashing a ball right back at Quisenberry, who could not handle the hot-shot. As it rolled away from the mound, Trillo reached with an infield single, and Unser crossed the plate with the go-ahead run.
The Phillies would take that 4-3 lead into the bottom of the 9th, and Green left his indomitable closer McGraw in the game, despite his having already tossed 25 pitches over the previous two innings.
Tug walked two of the first three Royals batters, surrounding a strikeout. He induced the tough Hal McRae to ground into a force out at 2nd base for the second out of the inning, but White moved over to 3rd base, putting the tying run just 90 feet away for Kansas City.
McGraw then pitched around Otis, loading the bases with two outs, and bringing ex-Phillie Jose Cardenal to the plate. 
Cardenal had very nearly crushed a 3-run homer off McGraw back in the 7th inning. But here with the game on the line, the Tugger struck him out swinging on a 1-2 pitch to nail down the dramatic victory.
The road win pushed the Phillies on top by 3-2 in the series, and left them just one win away from taking the first World Series title in franchise history. The series would now shift back to The Vet, where the Phils would have two shots to get it done. 
The first of those would come with ace Steve Carlton taking the mound on a Tuesday night in South Philly in what will be our ‘Phillies Fall Classics V’ presentation.

Phillies 2015 Report Cards: Bullpen

Having previously given out the 2015 report cards to the Philadelphia Philliesinfieldersoutfielders, and catchers, it’s now the turn of the team’s relief pitchers to be evaluated. 
What most thought would be one of the few strengths this season turned out to be largely disappointing.
As the club headed to Clearwater to open spring training back in February, the bullpen was likely the least of manager Ryne Sandberg‘s concerns. 
He had a proven veteran Jonathan Papelbon as the closer, flamethrower Ken Giles as a setup man, and the lefty-righty tandem of Jake Diekman and Justin De Fratus to handle the 7th inning.
Papelbon and Giles performed at least as strong as expected, with the former serving as the closer for a final four months during which he set a new franchise career Saves record. 
Once Papelbon was dealt away to Washington at the trade deadline, Giles took over and never missed a beat.
However, with Giles taking over the closer role, there was really no one to take over that setup role. 
Both Diekman and De Fratus proved major disappointments. Perhaps based on the expectations coming into the season, they were the two biggest disappointments on a 99-loss team.
In all, eight different pitchers appeared in more than 30 games out of the bullpen for the Phillies this past season. Those are the pitchers to whom a grade has been assigned.

Jonathan Papelbon – ‘A‘: 
Yes, Papelbon was indeed a jerk in the end. But this isn’t a grade based on personality, it is one based on performance. 
As the closer for the Phillies for most of a fourth season, Papelbon was excellent. He pitched 39.2 innings over 37 games, fashioning a 1.59 ERA and a 0.983 WHIP while with the Phillies. 
He had a 40/8 K:BB ratio, and allowed just 31 hits. Papelbon was also the club’s lone representative on the National League All-Star team. 
His trade was a foregone conclusion, but that it was to the division-rival Washington Nationals came as a major surprise. 
The return was 22-year old Nick Pivetta, a big righthander who appears at best to be a mid-level prospect at this point. Papelbon will turn 35 years old next month, and was not nearly as effective after his trade to the Nats. 
He was strong while with the Phils, and he yielded a prospect arm in trade. Definitely earned this final Phillies grade.

Ken Giles – ‘A‘: 
Prior to the Papelbon trade, Giles was performing well in his role as the setup man. From the start of the season through his appearance on July 24th, Giles had a 1.85 ERA and a 54/20 K:BB ratio, allowing 39 hits in 43.2 innings across 45 games. 
After the Papelbon deal, Giles recorded his first career Save in his first opportunity on July 28th. From that point on, he was even stronger, stepping up his game as his responsibility increased. 
As the closer, Giles fashioned a 1.71 ERA and a .198 opponent batting average against. He allowed just 20 hits in 26.1 innings over 24 games, with a 33/5 K:BB ratio. 
He could be the team’s closer for years to come. He could also end up being a key trade piece, bringing back talent at a position of greater need during the Phillies’ rebuild.
Jake Diekman – ‘F‘: 
Expected to be the main shutdown lefty out of the bullpen based on his effective and sometimes dominating 2014 performance, Diekman was a major disappointment from Day One of the 2015 season. 
He allowed four earned runs over just 1/3 of an inning during the club’s Opening Day shellacking at the hands of the Boston Red Sox, and never recovered. 
In the end, Diekman had a 5.15 ERA and 1.745 WHIP with the Phillies. He allowed 40 hits in 36.2 innings, with a 49/24 K:BB ratio. 
Diekman still had his big fastball, still had his “stuff”, but his command was seriously lacking, and he simply appeared lost. 
At the trade deadline, the fireballing 28-year old lefty was tossed into a deal that sent starting pitcher Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers. 
With Texas, something seemed to click almost immediately, and he was a key member of the Rangers bullpen as the team won the AL West crown. This grade is only for his work with the Phillies.

Justin De Fratus – ‘F‘: 
He was expected to be the righty compliment to Diekman for 6th and 7th inning work, and his performance over the previous two seasons had fans, and likely the organization, figuring that De Fratus would serve as a key member of the bullpen for some time. 
Instead, he had a major regression season this year. His numbers were ugly: a 5.51 ERA and 1.550 WHIP. allowing 92 hits in a pen-high 80 innings pitched, with a 68/32 K:BB ratio. 
He also allowed nine home runs, and had seven games in which he allowed at least three earned runs. De Fratus just turned 28 years old a week ago, and is arbitration eligible. 
It will be interesting to see if the club offers it to him, tries to negotiate some kind of deal, or simply cuts him loose.
Was this one bad season, or can he put it back together and get back to the valuable middle reliever that he looked like in the 2013 and 2014 seasons? 
If he does return, he’ll have to fight for a job this time around in spring training.
Luis Garcia – ‘C‘: 
He is inexpensive and will stay that way for a couple more seasons, was able to take the ball often, and stayed healthy. In short, Garcia was much of what De Fratus was not, a reliable middle reliever. 
He pitched in a staff-high 72 games, allowing 72 hits in 66.2 innings, so he wasn’t overpowering by any means. He had a 63/37 K:BB, with a 3.51 ERA and a 1.635 WHIP. 
Those are not numbers that will elicit fear in the opposition, and he will turn 29 years of age in January. 
Garcia was generally effective, but has not automatically earned anything at this point. Garcia will come to camp having to prove himself again if he wants to keep making first-class flights and staying in first-class accommodations in the big leagues.
Jeanmar Gomez – ‘C‘: 
While I never said so publicly, I had a feeling coming into the season that Gomez would prove to be an underrated, positive performer out of the Phillies bullpen. 
He didn’t pitch as well as I thought he might, but he had his moments. 
Gomez pitched in 65 games, which was 3rd on the team, and tossed 74.2 innings, which was the 2nd most of any member of the bullpen. He had a 3.01 ERA and a 1.326 WHIP, with a 50/17 K:BB ratio. 
He’ll turn 28 years old just before the team is due to report to Clearwater for spring training and, like De Fratus, is arbitration eligible. 
He is certainly not overpowering. But I like him. 
Another one who will have to keep earning a role each season going forward. We’ll see if he returns with the Phillies, but he will pitch somewhere in the big leagues next season.
Elvis Araujo – ‘B‘: 
Though it was somewhat of a small sample size situation, Araujo did a nice job in the 40 games he pitched in for the 2015 Phillies following his early May call-up from the minors. 
Araujo allowed 29 hits in 34.2 innings, including just one home run, with a 34/19 K:BB ratio. 
His season ended early thanks to a groin injury suffered out on the mound during his final appearance on August 27th, but he is expected to be recovered in time for spring training, and the injury should not affect him going forward. 
The 24-year old southpaw, who was the subject of an evaluation just yesterday by David Mosemann at TBOH, should be a leading contender for a Phillies bullpen role next season.
Hector Neris – ‘B‘: 
Called up briefly for two games in April, Neris returned to the Phillies in early July and stayed up for the balance of the 2015 campaign. 
The 26-year old earned that stay, allowing just 38 hits in 40.1 innings over 32 games, with a 41/10 K:BB ratio. It all added up to 3.79 ERA and 1.190 WHIP figures. 
Those numbers would have all been much better were it not for three awful performances during a series in late August at Citizens Bank Park against the tough New York Mets. In those three outings, Neris allowed 10 hits including 3 homers, and 8 earned runs in 4 innings. 
Neris made it into two more games against New York before the season was out, and gave up nothing, so whatever it was, it may have just been a bad stretch. 
Another surprise solid performer who will enter 2016 with a real shot at staying in the big leagues.
THE FIELD: Ten more players tossed at least one inning out of the Phillies bullpen in 2015, none more than the 23 innings over 18 games pitched by righty Dalier Hinojosa. None of those was deemed to have pitched enough to receive a fair grade. 
Among the group was Jerome Williams, who received 21 starts and made a dozen bullpen appearances. He will be graded in the coming report card for starting pitchers later in the week. 
Also among this group was outfielder Jeff Francoeur, who memorably tossed two innings in a 19-3 blowout loss to the Baltimore Orioles on June 16th at Camden Yards. I don’t think that Chase Utley was at all happy with Frenchy being allowed to take the mound for that 2nd inning.
Heading into the 2016 season, the Phillies bullpen is going to be an interesting mix with a wide open competition at almost every spot. 
I would expect the team to try to sign one or two inexpensive veteran options who might come available. 
And every pitcher above, with the exception of the traded Papelbon and Diekman, will be in the mix for roles. 
The only thing certain is that Giles will be the closer – assuming that he isn’t traded himself.