Tag Archives: Mitch Williams

Phillies improved but still missing a strong lefty arm in bullpen

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Paredes signed as a free agent and has pitched well this spring

The best Phillies teams of the last half-century, a period of time in which bullpen usage has become more and more critical in Major League Baseball, have featured strong left-handers helping the team get through the late innings and close out tight ball games.

Most famous of all was the late screwballer and Phillies Wall of Famer Tug McGraw. The popular Tugger blew a fastball past Willie Wilson of the Kansas City Royals to close out the 1980 World Series.
That 1980 team also got 40 appearances from Kevin Saucier and dealt for veteran southpaw Sparky Lyle, who was a tremendous help during the push to the NL East crown in September.

Three years later, the ‘Wheeze Kids’ reached the World Series with a trio of lefties in McGraw, Al Holland and May trade acquisition Willie Hernandez.
In 1993, a surprising Phillies club captured another National League pennant with lefty Mitch Williams as their closer. That club also featured left-hander David West coming out of the bullpen to appear in a staff-high 76 games.
The Phillies emerged in the early 21st century from years of losing, beginning a run of more than a decade as a postseason contender. Lefty Rheal Cormier was a key member of the bullpen during the entirety of the first-half of that decade. Veteran Dan Plesac joined him to close out the Veteran’s Stadium years in 2002-03.

Wall of Famer Tug McGraw pitched for the Phillies from 1975-84 and closed out the 1980 World Series.
For the 2004 season and the opening of Citizens Bank Park the Phillies acquired lefty closer Billy Wagner. For the next two seasons, fans became electrified at each 100 mph fastball that blazed from the diminutive fireballer’s left arm.
As the Phillies team of that mid-2000’s era tried to step up from near-miss contender to actual playoff team, a June 2007 trade brought in left-hander J.C. Romero via trade. He would spend much of the next five years helping the Phillies become a champion, earning a pair of wins in the 2008 World Series.
Scott Eyre was acquired in a 2008 August waiver trade and became a key situational left-hander out of Charlie Manuel‘s bullpen for two straight Phillies pennant-winning teams.
When the 2011 Phillies set a franchise record with a 102-win regular season the bullpen contributions of young left-hander Antonio Bastardo were crucial.
During this recently completed off-season the Phillies management and ownership checked off a number of boxes in helping push the club back to contending status. But those checks came mostly in the positional lineup as the team added outfielders Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen, shortstop Jean Segura and catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Those were fantastic additions to be sure. But many felt that the team could really use both a veteran starting left-handed pitcher and a strong bullpen left-hander to really fill out a true championship contender.

The proven bullpen lefty was out there in free agency if they wanted him. But on January 11, Zack Britton surprised many by choosing to return to the New York Yankees. He’ll have a chance to win championships with the Bronx Bombers and is being paid $13 million per season. Many felt that he would leave for a chance to close, which he will not get in New York, at least not in the short-term.
Now more than halfway through the 2019 Grapefruit League season the Phillies have a group of southpaws battling for a chance to come out of Gabe Kapler‘s bullpen when the regular season begins.
There are currently five lefty relievers still with the club. Adam Morgan is the lone holdover from last season. Trade acquisitions James Pazos and Jose Alvarez and non-roster invitees Edward Paredes and Jeremy Bleich also remain. Here is a look at a few of their key numbers entering Saint Patrick’s Day:
Morgan and Paredes were clearly the most effective of the group heading into the Sunday game in Clearwater against the Yankees. The 29-year-old Morgan has been with the organization since his selection in the third round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft. He remains under club control through arbitration over the next two years.
Paredes signed as a free agent with the Phillies back on January 11. The 32-year-old has pitched in 15 games across the last two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He pitched in 10 minor league seasons with the Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Cleveland Indians. Paredes has also pitched for 10 years during the off-season in his native Dominican Republic.

Edward Paredes is a 10-year minor league veteran who appeared in 15 games with the Dodgers in 2017-18. (Th3TruthPhotos/WikiCommons)
Paredes has an 11:2 K/BB over 6.1 innings, allowing four hits and no earned runs. Morgan brought an 8:1 K/BB ratio over 5.2 innings during which he allowed just one earned run and four hits into Sunday. That production had to give the club hope.
Unfortunately, Morgan looked bad on Sunday. He surrendered four runs, three of those earned, on three hits and a walk while also committing an error over 1.1 innings. Morgan hurt himself, throwing away a dribbler back to the mound with one out in the top of the 7th inning. Troy Tulowitzki followed with a long two-run homer onto the roof of the Tiki Bar in left at Spectrum Field on a hanging curve ball.
You can pretty much count on the Phillies bullpen having a half-dozen right-handers on Opening Day: Seranthony DominguezDavid RobertsonHector NerisPat NeshekJuan NicasioEdubray Ramos. Depending on whether the club wants to carry a seven or eight-man pen to open the season, that leaves room for one or two more relievers.
Things can certainly change based on injuries and late performances, as Morgan’s implosion today demonstrated perfectly. As things stand right now you have to like the chances of Paredes, a long-shot when camp opened in February, lining up for introductions at Citizens Bank Park on March 28.

Remembering the 1993 NL champion Phillies in their silver anniversary season

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Daulton was the acknowledged clubhouse leader of the 1993 NL champions

The Philadelphia Phillies are officially feting the 2008 World Series championship team this weekend.

On the 10th anniversary of the historic season which concluded with that team winning the second title in franchise history, it is wholly understandable and appropriate.
However, there is another beloved Phillies team celebrating a big anniversary this year.
In fact, as someone who has been following the team closely since Veteran’s Stadium opened in 1971, I’ve always maintained that the other anniversary team provided the most fun single Phillies season that I ever experienced.
Sure, the 1980 and 2008 Phillies teams both won the World Series. I attended Game Two of the 1980 Fall Classic as an 18-year-old. I was at the parade celebrations for both championship teams.
I was inside JFK Stadium in October of 1980 when Tug McGraw told New York to “take this world championship and stick it!” I was videotaping at 15th & JFK and captured a fan making a memorable climb up a light pole on Halloween in 2008.
But for all the drama, excitement, and ultimate thrill that those two clubs provided, there was never a more fun Phillies season from start to (almost) finish for me than the one provided by the 1993 team.
It almost seems lost in all the excitement over the 10th anniversary of the 2008 club, but this is now the silver anniversary for the 1993 National League champion Philadelphia Phillies team.
Yes, it has been 25 years now since that mullet-wearing, scruffy-bearded, ‘Macho Row’-led crew stormed through baseball. In a March 2012 piece, Mike Bertha at Philadelphia Magazine summed up that unforgettable season perfectly:

“It began with a bench-clearing brawl at spring training. Then, over the course of 103 total wins, 49 extra innings, 12 playoff games and some late nights (or, more accurately, early mornings), the 1993 Phillies seduced the city. Fans spent the summer flocking to the Vet to watch their appropriately nicknamed “Animal House,” both captivated and agog as the Phillies stampeded through the National League and then marched through Atlanta to earn a date with the defending-champion Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series.”

The Darren Daulton Foundation operates today in the name of, and as a memorial to, the namesake captain of that Phillies team. The foundation provides financial assistance to those who suffer from brain cancer and brain tumors. On June 8, they held a reunion celebration for the 1993 team.
Our own Kevin McCormick here at Phillies Nation reported on the event and those in attendance back in June:

“…the pennant-winning team showed up for the event, including: Tommy Greene, Jim Eisenreich, Larry Bowa, Milt Thompson, Ben Rivera, Mickey Morandini, David West, Tony Longmire, Curt Schilling, and even Danny Jackson who arrived after throwing out the first pitch at the Phillies-Brewers game across the street. Fans in attendance got to meet the players, take pictures, get autographs, and chat with the guys throughout the night.”

Morandini, who shared second base duties with Mariano Duncan, eventually became a minor league manager and then a big league coach with the Phillies. He remains on the payroll as a popular club ambassador.
Five of the men who were in uniform and playing important roles that summer are no longer with us, including Daulton. The catcher and leader of that ball club died a year ago this coming Monday following a four-year battle with brain cancer.

Also now gone off to play on that “Field of Dreams” in the sky is their raspy-voiced manager Jim Fregosi, along with three members of his coaching staff: John VukovichJohnny Podres, and Mel Roberts.
Phillies fans still get plenty of first baseman John Kruk (TV) and reliever Larry Andersen (radio) as members of the current Phillies regular broadcasting crew. Andersen and Daulton hold the distinction of being the only players to appear with the Phillies during both the 1983 and 1993 pennant-winning seasons.
Greene was a member of the 1993 starting rotation, joining Schilling, Jackson, Rivera, and Terry Mulholland. He and shortstop Kevin Stocker can be found chipping in work as a broadcaster and analyst respectively at times.
Some of the more popular members of that hard-charging ball club have become embroiled in controversy over the years. Beginning with nine seasons in Phillies pinstripes, Schilling built a strong Hall of Fame résumé as he continued his career helping the Diamondbacks and Red Sox to World Series victories.
The MVP of the 1993 NLCS victory over Atlanta, Schilling’s shutout in Game Five of the World Series that year is one of the greatest post-season pitching performances in Phillies history. Some now find him controversial as an outspoken conservative political and social commentator.
Mitch Williams was a respected analyst with MLB Network before he was fired in 2014 after an altercation at a youth tournament. Williams filed a lawsuit and was ultimately awarded a $1.5 million judgement in June of last year.
Lenny Dykstra finished as runner-up to Barry Bonds in voting for the 1993 National League Most Valuable Player. ‘The Dude’ or ‘Nails’ as he was alternately known blasted dramatic home runs in both the NLCS and World Series that year.
Over the ensuing decades, the now 55-year-old Dykstra has fallen the farthest and hardest. In May of this year came his latest incident, arrested in New Jersey after allegedly pointing a weapon at an Uber driver and threatening to blow the driver’s head off. Cocaine, marijuana, and ecstasy were found on him by responding police.
Some members of that 1993 team are already immortalized by the organization. Bowa, previously honored in 1991 for his role as a player, would be joined by Vukovich (2007), Daulton (2010), Kruk (2011), and Schilling (2013) on the Phillies Wall of Fame.
It was a completely unexpected, fun summer filled with wild, walk-off wins, some in the wee hours of the morning. Numerous seemingly unlikely heroes stepping up to deliver pivotal hits or make clutch plays at crucial moments. A wild band of misfit characters playing the parts and winning the hearts of Phillies fans for decades to come.
They fell just two games short of the ultimate prize. But even that was nothing to hang their heads about. The Toronto Blue Jays finally ended their magic with Joe Carter‘s walk-off home run in Game Six.
That Toronto club, already defending World Series champions, put a trio of Hall of Famers on the field in Rickey HendersonPaul Molitor, and Roberto Alomar, as well as a handful more all-stars. The 1993 Phillies were within a big blown lead in Game Four and Carter’s heroics of pulling off their most stunning victory of all.
As you justly honor and remember the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies this weekend on the occasion of their 10th anniversary, take some time out to also recall that 1993 Phillies team. A silver anniversary is just as worthy of celebration, especially this one.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as “World Series winners not the only beloved Phillies team celebrating an anniversary

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.

Mitch Williams Interview

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Williams (center) during his stint as an analyst with the MLB Network

Mitch Williams is one of the most colorful, controversial, and popular athletes in Philadelphia sports history. “The Wild Thing” who heroically shut down the Braves to clinch the 1993 National League Pennant, then became a publicly vilified goat on yielding Joe Carter‘s World Series-winning homerun just 10 days later.

Williams rose from the ashes of that emotional ’93 devastation to eventually be forgiven and embraced again by Phillies fans, and ultimately beloved by them. He did it by never shirking responsibility, and by always displaying openness and candor in handling the situation.
I was fortunate enough to be able to interview the former Phillies closer this week. In our conversation, Mitch showed that he is as feisty, frank, and competitive as ever.
We covered a wide range of topics, from his current internet talk show “Unleashed with Mitch Williams“, to last year’s incident that resulted in his being fired by the MLB Network, to his opinion on the current Phillies bullpen of Jonathan PapelbonKen GilesJake Diekman, and Justin De Fratus.
Along the way there were detours to Curt Schilling‘s Hall of Fame worthiness, his relationship with Lenny Dykstra, and even a more recent run-in with former Phils pitching coach Rich Dubee involving both Diekman and Phillies pitching great Roy Halladay.


MV: How did the Wildfire radio gig come about?
W: Twitter. They tweeted me about it and we started it.
MV: Nice, power of social media. What are your biggest payoffs with it? What do you enjoy most, get out of it?
W: Right now it’s the only way to keep my voice being heard until my lawsuits are settled. No one in network TV will hire me after MLB Network fired me over lies told about me on a rumor blog! I can’t talk about the cases because they are in the hands of the court. But go to Law360.com article on Mitch Williams. Just Google that. It will tell you the facts.
: link in that quote from Mitch will take you to the article he referenced
MV: Any idea of a time frame on that resolution – at least in your hopes?
W: It could last 2 years. Don’t know.
MV: Sure. Legal situations can sure drag out.
MV: Are you still at all, or plan on, coaching kids ball again? Where are your kids, as far as their interest/participation in baseball?
 W: My youngest is a monster at 10 years old. He is heavy into baseball, and I am looking at doing some clinics. Will have more info on those soon.
NOTE: Mitch’s daughter, Nikola Williams, is a HS basketball player in South Jersey. She is currently one of 10 girls, including former Philadelphia Eagles star Jon Runyan’s daughter Alyssa, nominated in a poll being run by NJ.com under the question: “Who do you want taking the final shot in Burlington County?
MV: Started tossing Nikola a bunch of votes – good luck!
W: Thanks Matt!
MV: Glad to hear you’re staying involved teaching the game.
MV: Can you answer a couple on the old days? Curt Schilling, a Hall of Famer? Dykstra, still feuding?
W: First, Schilling is not a Hall of Fame pitcher. The HOF is for a body of work over a career. 216 wins in 22 years. Jack Morris had 254 in 18 years, all 18 in AL facing 9 hitters a night. Schilling spent 12 of his years facing 8 hitters a night in NL. Morris had 175 complete games. CS had 81.
NOTE: Schilling actually had 83 complete games 
W: If Morris ain’t a HOFer, Schilling definitely isn’t. Everyone thinks Schilling is an HOFer because of his postseason stats. That isn’t what the Hall is for. If they build a wing on the HOF for postseason performance, CS is a first ballot HOFer. I actually think they should build a wing on the HOF for that.

I bet as the guards were knocking every tooth out of his head in prison, the World Series loss didn’t seem all that big a deal.” ~ Mitch on Lenny

 W: As for feud with Lenny, I never cared enough about him to feud with him. He spent 20 years ripping me for the World Series. I know I lost it for our team. Never claimed I didn’t lose it. I didn’t need a convicted criminal to remind me every time someone stuck a camera in his face. I bet as the guards were knocking every tooth out of his head in prison, the World Series loss didn’t seem all that big a deal. So I’ve had no feud with him.
W: Ain’t gonna shake his hand and give him a hug, which he tried to do when I saw him. I am not a guy that hugs someone that has said really nasty stuff about me that my kids had to hear. I ain’t phony. I don’t have to like someone to acknowledge their ability. If I had a big game to win, I would want Schilling to start it. And Lenny was the smartest baseball player I ever played with. He knew the game inside out. But he was literally the dumbest human I’ve ever met off the field. I told both of them the same thing when they were ripping me.

I am not perfect. But I have never been sent to prison, and I don’t owe the state of Rhode Island $75 million dollars” ~ Mitch on Lenny and Curt

W: When our baseball careers are over, we will just have to be men. And neither of them would make a pimple on a man’s ass! I am not perfect. But I have never been sent to prison, and I don’t owe the state of Rhode Island $75 million dollars. I am involved in 2 law suits that I can’t talk about, that I was forced to file. But when those are over, people will all hear the actual truth about all that BS! And the people that have always stood by me will find out they were right to do so.
W: I wouldn’t let the people of Philly down by doing what I was accused of, the people of Philly are great. That is why I can’t wait for this to all be over so they know that I didn’t betray them and let them down! I care too much about representing the Phillies fans in a positive way. Because they always stood by me. I never took that lightly. 
MV: Any comments on the current Phils pen? Paps, Giles, Diekman, De Fratus?
W: The Phils got a very good and young bullpen. If the team can stay close for 6 innings, they could do better than expected in ’15 because of the bullpen!
MV: The Papelbon stuff, crotch-grab and all – overblown? Bad move? Any insights on him at all? Diekman a hard throwing lefty like you – similar?

Dubee wouldn’t listen to someone that saw something he couldn’t begin to understand. So he got fired, and Roy’s career ended 5 years before it should have” ~ Mitch on Dubee and Doc

W: Pap was out of line! As for Diekman, I asked Charlie Manuel 3 years ago if he minded me calling Jake to work with him. That I could spend 30 minutes with him and he would be able to repeat his mechanics, and he would be throwing as hard as Aroldis Chapman. Charlie wanted me to work with him. So I called Jake and offered to pay for his flight to come here to New Jersey, and I could show him a couple of things that would simplify his mechanics and he would throw even harder.
NOTE: Rich Dubee was the Phillies pitching coach at the time Mitch offered to help with Diekman
W: But Rich Dubee got offended and wouldn’t let Jake come. I saw Dubee that spring and he yelled at me in the clubhouse in front of the team, that he knew what he was doing, and I should never talk to his pitchers again. So I looked at him and just said “Okay Rich.” Then I went into Charlie’s office and told Charlie to tell Dubee if he ever yelled at me in front of anyone again, I would knock him out in front of those same people.
W: Then I did a breakdown on Roy Halladay on MLB Network, on why he was struggling. It was so simple to see on film, and he would be throwin’ 100. But Dubee and his sub .500 record in AA ball chose his ego over Halladay’s health. He went from winning the Cy Young in ’10 and 2nd in ’11 to his career being over in ’13 because Dubee wouldn’t listen to someone that saw something he couldn’t begin to understand. So he got fired, and Roy’s career ended 5 years before it should have.

MV: Appreciate everything, Mitch. Thank you for the interview.

Philography: Darren Daulton

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Perhaps the greatest “Captain” in Phillies history, Darren ‘Dutch’ Daulton

The Philography series continues with the final weekly installment before moving to a bi-monthly (every two weeks) schedule during the off-season. This week we take a look at the career of 1993 ‘Macho Row’ team Captain, fan favorite Darren ‘Dutch’ Daulton.

Darren Daulton was born on January 3rd, 1962 and raised in the same town of Arkansas City, Kansas. He attended his hometown Arkansas City High School, was a star athlete, and became the Philadelphia Phillies 25th round selection in the 1980 Draft as an 18-year old.
Over the next few years, Daulton rose through the Phillies system a level at a time, first to Rookie league Helena, then Low-A Spartanburg, and then to High-A Peninsula. At each stop, his playing time and his productivity increased.
By 1983 at age 21, Daulton had reached the AA level Reading Phillies, where he raised his game another level. He had career highs in nearly every category, and showed
real power at the catching position with 19 homers and 83 rbi. He even stole 28 bases, showing his athleticism.
Daulton Reading
Based on his performance and advancement, Daulton received his first cup of coffee in the Big Leagues as the Phillies were clinching the N.L. East Division crown.
In his first game, on September 25th of 1983, Daulton came on in the 10th inning as the catcher and finished out a victory over the Cardinals in Saint Louis. It was the club’s 9th straight win, a streak that had moved them from a tie for 1st place out to a 4 game lead with just 6 to play.
A week later, in the final game of the regular season, and having participated already in the Division-clinching celebration, Daulton got his first starting opportunity. On October 1st, 1983 he went 1-3 with a walk and a run scored in a 5-3 win over the 2nd place Pirates.
Daulton batted 6th that day in a lineup that only included one full-time regular in 1st baseman Pete Rose. Also in the lineup that day were future lineup mainstays Juan Samuel and Von Hayes. In the bottom of the 8th against Pirates reliever Cecilio Guante, Daulton singled to left. He would score three batters later on a Jeff Stone triple.
As the Phillies made a run to the World Series for the 2nd time in 4 years that fall, Daulton would not take part. Postseason and Fall Classic play was something he would have to wait another decade for, but he had made it to the Majors at last.
In 1984, Daulton didn’t get another opportunity with the Phillies. With a healthy All-Star caliber catcher in Ozzie Virgil Jr, a capable backup in Bo Diaz, and another hot young prospect catcher in Mike LaValliere, Daulton was forced to spend the entire season at AAA Portland. He hit .298, but his overall production decreased.
He started the 1985 season back in Portland, but would get the call-up to Philly just a few weeks into the season. His first of many knee injuries knocked him out from mid-May until early August, but he did come back to have his first big game.
The date was August 17th, 1985 and the Phils were taking on the Cubs at Wrigley Field on one of those typical Windy City days. Daulton crushed a pair of homers, scored 4 runs and drove in 3, going 4-5 in a 10-4 Phillies victory.
Daulton would spend the 1987 and 1988 seasons as the backup catcher to big free agent signee Lance Parrish, who had been a 6x All-Star, 4x Silver Slugger, and 3x Gold Glover with Detroit in the first half of the 80’s. 
With franchise icon Mike Schmidt aging, the club hoped Parrish would be the piece to push him and young stars Juan Samuel and Von Hayes over the top again, signing him to a $1 million contract when that still meant something. It never worked out.
In ’87 the club climbed within as close as 6 1/2 out in mid-August, but was never higher than 3rd place. In ’88, they quickly sank to the bottom, finishing in last place. It would all lead to Parrish being traded after that 1988 season, and Schmidt retiring early in ’89.
It was the 1989 season, at age 27 and with pieces of 5 Big League seasons on his resume, that Darren Daulton got his first chance to start as the Phillies regular catcher. He played in 131 games that year, hitting just .201 for another last place team. But he was finally healthy and getting a real opportunity to play.
The Phils further turned the page once Schmidt left, trading away Samuel for young centerfielder Lenny Dykstra and dealing Chris James for a sweet-swinging outfielder named John Kruk. In 1990, a new decade dawned with Daulton entering his prime, and with a new set of teammates.
The 1990 Phillies moved up to 4th place, with Daulton playing a career-high 143 games, hitting .268 with 12 homers. His new mates, Dykstra and Kruk, hit .325 and .291 respectively, with Lenny stealing 33 bases and scoring 106 runs. The team also traded for former Braves star Dale Murphy in August.
For the Phillies, things seemed to be finally changing for the better. Just as importantly, Daulton was beginning to assert himself more in the locker room as team leader.
But 1991 would prove a challenge on many fronts. The trouble began in the early morning hours of May 6th. Daulton and Dykstra left a bachelor party for Kruk, with The Dude driving his 1991 Mercedes 500 SL. In clear, dry road conditions along a winding country road, the car skidded off at high speeds, slamming into two trees.
The two key Phillies were nearly killed. The car was wrecked. Dykstra suffered multiple fractures: broken ribs, a broken collarbone,  a broken cheekbone. Daulton suffered a fractured eye socket and scratched cornea.
It was a devastating blow for the pair, but also for the team. The Phils had recovered from a 4-11 start that had cost manager Nick Leyva his job to get within 3 games of the .500 mark under new manager Jim Fregosi. They were about to leave on a 9-game west coast road trip.
The team fought hard, going 5-4 on the trip and 7-4 overall to get back to the .500 mark. But as May ended and into early June, they went into a spin, losing 8 of 10 to fall out of the race.
Daulton tried to return in late May, but was quickly out of the lineup again for a couple of weeks. Dykstra returned after the All-Star break. But with the club out of the race, both players were shut down early.
The 1992 season was an emotional mixed bag for Daulton and the Phils. For the catcher, it was a career year. He was fully healthy, playing in a new career-high of 145 games. And he became an All-Star for the first time.
That year of ’92, the man who had become nicknamed ‘Dutch’ hit 27 homers, had 109 rbi, and hit .270 with a .385 on-base percentage. The performance earned him the NL Silver Slugger at catcher.
But the team had collapsed to last place again. The reasons weren’t hard to pinpoint. He had the great year, Kruk hit .323, new 3rd baseman Dave Hollins slammed 27 homers and had 93 rbi.
Dykstra fought injuries, and Fregosi spent the season trying to find the right mixture in his lineup. It just never jelled. Still, there were signs that positive things were beginning to happen. For one, a new starting pitcher, 25-year old Curt Schilling, had come in trade and was outstanding.
As 1993 began, no one outside the organization gave the Phillies much of a chance. Most picked them for another last place finish. But inside the team, hopes were high. The club had signed a pair of free agent outfielders, Pete Incaviglia and Milt Thompson. Everyone began the year healthy. But even they couldn’t have foreseen what was in store.
Macho Row
The Phillies came out of the chute hot, winning their first 3 games and 9 of the first 10. They established themselves in first place in the NL East with that hot streak, and they never would give up that lead, not for a single day.
The 1993 Phillies built an 11 1/2 game lead in early June, and would hold off the talented Montreal Expos to win by 5 games. They won 97 games that summer, many of them with thrilling comebacks or finishes. It was the most fun summer of baseball that I ever personally remember watching in my entire life.
The team had a unique personality that endeared them to the fan base. They played hard and dirty. The hitters worked opposing pitchers mercilessly. Many of the team sported shaggy or mullet-style haircuts. The pitching staff did their part as well, hurling league highs in complete games, innings pitched, and strikeouts.
Daulton led the way as the anointed team Captain in his section of the locker room that had become known as ‘Macho Row’, and on the field he led by example. That summer he hit 24 homers, had 105 rbi, scored a career-high 90 runs and had a career-best .392 on-base percentage in a career-most 147 games and 637 plate appearances.
For the performance, Daulton was rewarded with his 2nd straight NL All-Star appearance. He was joined in the game by 3 teammates: Kruk, Hollins, and pitcher Terry Mulholland. Dykstra was a season-long catalyst, coming up with huge hits at clutch moments, making great plays in center. He hit 19 homers, had 37 steals, scored 143 runs, hit .305 and came in 2nd in NL MVP voting to Barry Bonds.
The Phillies clinched the NL East with a win against their longtime in-state divisional rivals, the Pittsburgh Pirates, in a 10-7 slugfest win on September 28th. They were again given little chance in the NLCS against a 104-win Braves team, but disposed of Atlanta in 6 hard-fought games, moving the franchise into the World Series for the first time in a decade.
In that 1993 NLCS, Daulton began the series with four mostly quiet games, going 1-12 with 5 walks as the two teams split. With the series tied at 2-2, the pivotal 5th game moved into the top of the 9th with the Phils leading 2-0 behind a tremendous outing from Curt Schilling.
Daulton stepped in against Braves closer Greg McMichael to leadoff that 9th. The captain drove a 1-1 pitch over the wall in deep rightcenter to extend the Phillies lead out to 3-0.
The Phils would need that extra run, as in the bottom of the 9th Atlanta rallied for 3 runs to tie it. But in the 10th, Lenny Dykstra crushed a 1-out homer to put them back in front. This time veteran reliever Larry Andersen held the lead, and the Phillies led 3 games to 2 headed back to Veteran’s Stadium.
Now needed one win to move into the World Series, Daulton again came up big in Game 6. With the game scoreless in the bottom of the 3rd, Daulton stepped in with the bases loaded and two outs against future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux. Dutch lined a double, scoring two runs.
Those runs against the Braves ace were a huge confidence booster, and the Phils continued to pull away, taking a 6-3 lead into the bottom of the 9th. There, with two outs, Mitch Williams struck out Bill Pecota to seal the victory. As the ‘Wild Thing’ leaped in the air, Daulton rushed into his arms, and the entire team joined in an incredible celebration on the field at The Vet.
In the World Series, the Phils were again given little chance against a star-studded Toronto Blue Jays team that was the defending world champions.
Daulton would hit .217 in a 5-23 effort. He did crack a homerun in Game 4 at The Vet, but the Phillies bullpen blew a big lead late in the game to suffer a heart-breaking 15-14 defeat that left them down 3-1 in the series.
Though the Phils continued to fight hard, they would ultimately fall short, losing in dramatic fashion when Joe Carter struck for his now-famous walkoff ,World Series-winning homerun off Williams in Game 6. 
For that ‘Macho Row’ group it would be the pinnacle, and at least for his long career in a Phillies uniform, it would be the same for Daulton. He would, however, finally reach the baseball summit. He would just have to leave Philadelphia for it to happen.
In 1994, the work stoppage that crippled all of baseball struck, and it’s just as well for the defending NL champs. The Phillies just didn’t recapture the ’93 magic that year. At the time of the stoppage, they were 54-61, buried in 4th place. Daulton was having another strong year, hitting .300 with 15 homers. But the pitching staff was riddled with injuries. It was truly a lost season.
When the game resumed for the 1995 season, the Phillies made a run. They took the division lead early, and led the NL East right up to the 4th of July, at one point holding a late-June lead of 4 1/2 games. But they were overtaken by the Braves, who were now in their division. Atlanta pulled away, and though the Phils finished tied for 2nd place, it was a distant 21 1/2 game back.
The 1996 Phillies simply lacked chemistry. Daulton had a lost season due to knee injuries. The team tried to extend its chance at contending with the addition of players like Gregg Jefferies, Todd Zeile, and Benito Santiago. But the pitching wasn’t good enough, and the club finished in last place.
1997 would prove to be the career swan song for Darren Daulton, and it would also prove highly emotional, with his leaving the only organization that he had ever known. But it would also see that gut-wrenching change become an opportunity, one he would make the absolute most of to reach the pinnacle of the sport.
On July 21st, 1997, Darren Daulton was traded by the Phillies to the Florida Marlins. After 18 years in the organization and parts of 14 seasons, he was finally moving on. The Phils were buried in last place, 32 1/2 games out of first. Meanwhile the upstart Marlins were in 2nd place, just 6 1/2 out.
The Fish would end that season at 92-70 in 2nd place. But in the new Wildcard era, they were in the postseason. Under manager Jim Leyland, that Florida team had been infused with high-priced veteran talent such as hitters Moises Alou and Bobby Bonilla, and pitchers Al Leiter, Alex Fernandez, and Kevin Brown.
These players joined Gary Sheffield, Edgar Renteria, Livan Hernandez and Robb Nen to make up a formidable club. This was the team that Daulton had joined, a far cry from what the Philly situation had deteriorated into. In Florida, Daulton served as a backup to 1st baseman Jeff Conine. In 52 games he produced 21 rbi and brought his veteran leadership to the team.
He wasn’t alone on that team, as his former ‘Macho Row’ Phillies NL champs teammate Jim Eisenreich was there, having signed with the Marlins as a free agent the previous off-season. Though the two were no longer starters, they were valuable left-handed options for Leyland, and an invaluable locker room presence.
In the NLCS it was the division champion Braves who were again the obstacle. With the series tied at 2-2, Hernandez pitched a 3-hit gem in a game that would become notorious for the wide strike zone given him by home plate umpire Eric Gregg, a Philly native.
The Marlins roped around future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine for a big 7-4 win in the decisive 6th game, moving into the World Series. Daulton appeared in 3 NLCS games, and was a key as the starting 1st baseman in Game 3, the final NLCS start and game of his career.
With the series tied 1-1 and the Marlins trailing in the game 2-1, Daulton drove a game-tying 6th inning double to right off John Smoltz. He would later score on a bases-clearing double by Charles Johnson that put the Fish up 5-2, which would hold as the final score and a 2-1 series lead.
In the World Series the Marlins would face a formidable and powerful Cleveland Indians club that included future Phillies slugger Jim Thome in his prime, as well as young stars like Manny Ramirez, Albert Belle, and Kenny Lofton. The two teams battled through the first 6 games tied at 3-3, moving to a 7th and deciding game.
Daulton appeared in all 7 games of that 1997 World Series, getting the start at 1st base in Games 3, 4 & 7 and at DH in Game 5. In Game 1, Daulton singled in the 4th inning with the game tied 1-1, and scored on a 3-run homer by Moises Alou in what would be a 7-4 Marlins win to open the series.
The Indians tied it up in Game 2, and then Game 3 proved a wild one. The Marlins outscored the Tribe 7-4 in the 9th inning alone en route to a 14-11 win in Cleveland. Daulton went 2-4 with 3 runs and an rbi, driving a leadoff homerun to deep rightcenter in the 4th that gave the Fish a 3-2 lead.
In the 6th, he led off with a walk, and later scored when his old Phils mate Eisenreich drove a 2-run homer that put Florida ahead 7-3. Finally, in the top of the 9th with the scored knotted at 7-7, Daulton singled to center, with Bonilla coming around to score the go-ahead run on an error by Lofton.
All of this action led to the teams entering Game 7 having battled furiously to a 3-3 tie. In that 7th and decisive game, Daulton started at 1st base. He went 0-3 as the two clubs again battled to the end, but the Fish entered the bottom of the 9th trailing 2-1 as the Indians sent in their closer, future Phillie Jose Mesa.
Alou led off the bottom of the 9th with a single, and moved into scoring position with a one-out single by Johnson. Craig Counsell then delivered a game-tying sac fly, knotting it at 2-2 and sending the game to extra-innings.
The teams continued the tense battle into the bottom of the 11th still at 2-2. Daulton was out of the game now, having been replaced by Leyland in using Conine as a pinch-hitter vs a lefty in the bottom of the 8th.
The Marlins loaded the bases on a ground single by Bonilla, an error, and a walk all around a pair of outs. With two outs and the bases loaded, young shortstop Renteria stepped to the plate. Just four years earlier, Daulton and Eisenreich had lost the World Series on a walkoff. They would now win one in that fashion. Renteria delivered a soft line-drive single to center, and the Fish were world champions.
Darren Daulton joined his old teammate Jim Eisnreich in the celebration on the field and in the postgame locker room. He received numerous public accolades from Leyland and his teammates as a tremendous late-season pickup and a vital leader on the team.
It was the only fitting way for Darren Daulton to go out. Having suffered through a variety of knee surgeries and other injuries, having suffered the emotional trauma of leaving the Phillies organization. And now having incredibly seen it all pay off with his playing a key role on a World Series champion, Darren Daulton decided to retire.
This would normally be where an article in the Philography series would leave off, since we’ve mostly cared about the playing or professional career of those involved. But Daulton has been such a beloved, iconic player for fans that it’s difficult to leave out his colorful, often crazy off-field personal life.
The handsome, charismatic ballplayer that everyone has seen on the outside has been through multiple marriages. He has been through arrests for DUI and domestic assault. He has lost and regained relationships with his children. He has battled addictions. His spiritual beliefs are a hodge-podge of ever-changing and wide-ranging generalities.
Through it all, Darren Daulton has survived. And now he is literally trying to survive. He was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, brain cancer, almost two years ago. Radiation and chemotherapy followed. Daulton lost the mane of hair on his head that was somewhat a signature of his extended youth.
Dutch has fought back, and returned to the public eye over the last year. Back in May at an appearance at a Lancaster Barnstormers minor league game, he stated that he was doing well. And then the conversation came around, as it almost always does, to that beloved 1993 Phillies team.
Daulton Wedding
We were party central, but we had the 25 players and the coaching staff that was perfect...If you were part of the ’93 team, they love you. It’s like you were part of their life, part of their family. That’s cool,” Daulton told Lancaster Online writer Burt Wilson, referring to Phillies fans affection for that team.
All isn’t apparently happy with those 1993 brothers. At a fall 2013 appearance at the Granite Run Mall,Daulton reportedly had to step in to keep ex-mates Dykstra and Williams from coming to blows, the latest episode in what has been a long-running feud between the pair running all the way back to that lost World Series.
But in Daulton’s personal life, despite the cancer battle, he finally seems to be finding happiness and peace. Just months after the cancer diagnosis, Dutch married his longtime girlfriend, former pro golfer Amanda Dick.
He makes appearances to benefit his charitable endeavor, the Darren Daulton Foundation. During the season, he can be heard on radio with “Talking Baseball with Dutch“, usually preceding Phillies games. He can be frequently found around Phillies-related events, and through Darren Daulton Enterprises he makes appearances at autograph and memorabilia shows, and has even become an advertising pitchman for Yuengling.
Darren Daulton was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2010, the first player from that 1993 team so honored. He has since been joined by teammates Kruk (2011) and Schilling (2013) in that ultimate team honor. On Phillies all-time lists he is 16th in Homers (134), 26th in RBI (567), 32nd in Doubles (189), 44th in Hits (858), and 39th in Runs (489).