In Part Two of the Phillies History, the "P" and their Uniforms we talked about the Whiz Kids, the Phillie Phanatic, and the Phillies first ever World Series Championship in 1980!! It is incredible to look through the history of our Phillies and see such a rich tradition of hall of famers, legendary players, and championship caliber teams.
Since that 1980 Championship that rich history has continued to grow. The 1993 Phightin' Phils to the current Phillies, we have seen a period of Phillies baseball like no other. 30 years from now we will look back on the Charlie Manuel led Phillies and realize just how incredible of a time it truly was for Philadelphia sports.
From 1883 until 1992 the Phillies experimented with colors from blue to green, different lettering styles for the "P" and even team nicknames. It wasn't until 1992 that the Phillies settled on their current uniforms. Although all 3 of their current uniforms slightly resemble a style they have used in the past.
The Phillies dropped the blue road uniform in 1989 in favor of the more traditional grey. They also brought back the written "Phillies" name on the front of the jersey in 1992.
The current jerseys feature blue stars dotting the "i's" in "Phillies" across the chest, but still include the red pinstripes in home jerseys. The Phillies are the only team in baseball that sport the player number on the sleeve instead of the team logo. Red pinstripes have resulted in some of the greatest baseball in Phillies history.
Whatever it takes dude
1993 brought a new breed of Phillies baseball along with the most wins, 97, since 101 in 1977. The "whatever it takes dude" attitude of John Kruk, Lenny Dykstra, and Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams showed the world that bunch of misfits playing together as a team can accomplish great things. Even a rough looking crew like this one. The beard wearing, tobbacco chewing, dirty uniform wearing, mullet waving baseball players epitomized the city of Philadelphia and captured the city's heart.
The 1993 season began with a bench clearning brawl in Spring Training, yes Spring Training. After late nights and early mornings, the Phillies stampeded through the National League with phans flocking to the Vet to see the South Philly version of "Animal House." Facing the highly favored Atlanta Braves in the NLCS the Phillies stunned the 104 win Braves in 6 games, capturing their 5th pennant! Mitch "Mitchie Poo" Williams pitched a perfect ninth to preserve the 6-3 series clinching win! The storybook season came to an end against the defending chamption Toronto Blue Jays in the 1993 World Series. I can still remember the feeling I had as an 11-year old boy watching Joe Carter hit that infamous walk-off home run in Game 6 off of Mitchie Poo. I was crushed, and so was that ball.
A new era of phillies baseball
After a winning percentage of almost .600 in 1993 and a National League Pennant, the Phillies wouldn't see a winning mark again until 2001 when they won 86 games. From 2003 on that record would not dip under .500 again. In 2001 the Phils finished only 2 games back of the Braves in the NL East. Jimmy Rollins, a home grown talent, stole the Philly limelight with a league leading 46 stolen bases and 12 triples. The Phillies led the league as a team in stolen bases with 153. In J-Roll's rookie debut he would be the only Phillie represented in the All-Star game and finished 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting.
J-Roll's speed, athleticism, defense, and leadership would become the face of the Phillies for the next 12 years. On his way to becoming the longest tenured athlete in Philadelphia. Rollins brought Phillies baseball back into relevancy.
In 2004 the Phillies would say goodbye to the Vet which they had called home since 1971. Citizens Bank Park opened ushering in a new look and feel for the Phillies. Along with new digs came a new skipper in 2005. The lovable, southern charm, baseball talking Charlie Manuel. Uncle Cholly! A move that at the time didn't sit well with the Philly faithful, but in the long run turned out beautifully!
Citizens Bank Park is a beautiful 43, 651 seat baseball park located in the South Philadelphia Sports Complex in South Philly. A natural grass and dirt field. The Phillies played their first regular season game at "The Bank" on April 12, 2004.
Pat Gillick took over for Ed Wade in November of 2005 as Phillies GM and traded away overpaid players like Bobby Abreu to make room for the young core of stars to develop. Farm raised stars like Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Cole Hamels. 2007 would be the start of 5 straight division titles for the NL East dominating Phillies.
In January of 2007 J-Roll declared the Phillies "The team to beat," in the NL East over the division champs in 2006 the New York Muts. The Phillies won 89 games in 2007 to clinch the division, in large part to the play of Jimmy Rollins. Rollins backed up his big talk with a bigger bat. In 2007 Rollins had 212 hits with 20 triples and 30 home runs. Along with 94 rbi's and 41 stolen bases. It was enough for J-Roll to earn the National League MVP award and the Phillies first post-season appearance since 1993. Despite a 3 game sweep at the hands of the Rockies in the NLDS it was the start of something special.
On November 29, 2007, the team announced that in honor of the franchise's 125th anniversary of playing in Philadelphia, the Phillies would wear an alternate home uniform based on their 1948 uniforms for all day home games during the season. This would begin a memorable ride in 2008!
As the Phillies core of homegrown talent started to develop and grow in the first half of 2000, it was evident that something big was forming. 2008 proved to be the season that it all came together! After a 2007 season that saw a division title and a post-season appearance it was clear that the Phillies were ready to take that next step.
2008 was a remarkable season. The Phillies dominated the National League East late in the season as they worked their way to another division title. On the last day of the regular season the Phillies clinched the division on an Top Ten highlight double play by Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley to win the game. It was on to the post-season for the 2nd straight season!
The Phillies dominated Milwaukee in the NLDS and man handled their way past the dodgers in the NLCS to their first World Series appearance since 1993. WIth only the Tampa Bay Rays standing in their way from a World Series Championship the Phillies made history!! With the late great Harry Kalas making the call in a 2 part of Game 5, Brad Lidge struck out Eric Hinske to seal the deal! The Phillies were 2008 World Champions of Baseball!!!
For a more detailed read of the 2008 season, check out this blog!
It is easy to get caught up in the greatness of your team. After the 2008 World Series and 2009 National League Championship it was easy to think that the Phillies would and could easily win another championship. As we know in sports it is never quite that easy.
2009 will forever be known to me and my brother as Game 4. Down 4-3 to the Los Angeles Dodgers, runners on 1st and 3rd, with 2 outs Jimmy Rollins stepped to the plate to face Jonathan Broxton. It was easily the greatest sporting event I have ever witnessed live! Down to their last out he Bank was the quitest I have ever heard it. You could literally hear a pin drop in the concourse. The Dodgers were so close to tying the Series at 2-2.
As Jimmy drilled a line drive to the right-center field gap Bruntlett easily scored from first with Chooch chuggin around the bases. I couldn't see the ball from where I was but knew it was in the gap and exploded as Chooch crossed home plate!! The Phillies did it to Broxton again! I can hear the infamous call from Scott Franzke in my head, a call that still gives me chills.
The Phillies landscape has changed a lot since 2008. After painful back to back seasons of playoff-less baseball the Phillies gear up for another spring training in Clearwater, Florida! The history books for this season are yet to be written, but I can guarantee that 2014 will bring its share of excitement to South Philly!