Imagining a year in which the Phillies never lose a single game, this idealistic resource identifies the most memorable victory in the team's history on every single day of the baseball calendar season, from late March to late October. Ranging from games with incredible historical significance and individual achievement to those with high drama and high stakes, the book envisions the impossible: a blemish-free Phillies season. Evocative photos, original quotes, thorough research, and engaging prose and analysis add another dimension.
About the Author
Paul Kurtz has been a mainstay at KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia since 1985 and has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Edward R. Murrow National Award for reporting. He coaches youth baseball and basketball. He lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
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A Phillies Perfect Season
By Paul Kurtz
Triumph BooksCopyright © 2011 Paul Kurtz
All rights reserved.
April 5, 1993
Phillies 3, Astros 1
The World Series March Begins with Victory
A crowd of more than 45,000 on opening night packed the Astrodome, but Terry Mulholland gave them little to cheer about. The veteran lefty pitched a masterpiece, holding the Astros to four hits and one unearned run as the Phils embarked on their magical, improbable journey to the 1993 World Series. It was their first opening day win since 1984.
Mulholland was unflappable despite a raucous enemy crowd that included Texas Gov. Ann Richards and former President George H. W. Bush.
"I had a good spring and I told myself that I'm not going to let anything distract me from my goal, and that's to get myself and my team to the World Series," said Mulholland.
Houston scored its lone run in the first inning on an error by shortstop Juan Bell. But the Phillies bounced back and took the lead for good in the fourth. John Kruk walked with one out, Dave Hollins singled and Darren Daulton doubled, knocking in Kruk. Jim Eisenreich, a key off-season acquisition, singled to left, scoring Daulton.
The Phillies scored their final run in the ninth. Kruk led off with a double and scored on a single by pinch-hitter Pete Incaviglia, who played for the Astros the year before. On the day he was signed by the Phillies, Inky predicted that he would beat his former team on Opening Day.
Mulholland ran into his only jam in the eighth inning. With two outs, pinch-hitter Chris James slammed a double and Craig Biggio reached on Bell's second error of the night.
With the Astros' faithful now in full-throated roaring mode, the stoic lefty simply went back to work.
"It could be storming out there and I'm in Tahiti," said Mulholland, who retired Steve Finley on a grounder to second to end the threat.
"When he is focused like that out there," said Daulton, "he just doesn't let anything deter him. That was one of the best games I've ever seen him pitch."
Manager Jim Fregosi had closer Mitch Williams warming up in the eighth and ninth innings but stuck with his starter.
"He is a horse," said Fregosi. "He was just outstanding. He had control of all his pitches."
It was a great start to a season in which the Phillies would win 97 games and the National League pennant, a remarkable turnaround for a team that finished last in National League East the year before.
At a Glance
WP: Mulholland (1 — 0)
Key stat: Mulholland 4 hitter; Kruk 1-for-2, 2 runs
April 6, 1974
Phillies 5, Mets 4
Opening Day a New Beginning for Schmidt
Opening Day at Veterans Stadium featured a matchup between two future Hall of Fame pitchers along with a future Hall of Fame third baseman who kick-started his breakout season with a walk-off home run.
More than 40,000 fans showed up on a damp afternoon to watch Steve Carlton and Tom Seaver work their magic. They also were curious to get a look at a new lineup that featured youngsters such as Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski, and veterans like Dave Cash. The veteran second baseman came over from Pittsburgh in an off-season trade for pitcher Ken Brett.
Carlton, the 1972 Cy Young Award winner, was coming off a disappointing season in which he lost 20 games. And in this season opener he struggled with his control and location. Lefty lasted just five innings, giving up three runs on seven hits. Seaver, meanwhile, appeared to be in complete control as he held the Phils to three hits and one run through five innings.
But all that changed in the sixth inning. Larry Bowa led off with a base hit and scored after Del Unser singled and left fielder Cleon Jones bobbled the ball. Luzinski then knocked in Unser by ripping a double to right-center field.
The Mets came back and took the lead in the top of the seventh.
Tug McGraw, who was one year away from becoming a Phillie, replaced Seaver and breezed through the eighth inning, retiring Luzinksi and Willie Montanez on strikes.
In the ninth, pinch-hitter Tony Taylor led off with a single and moved to second on Boone's bunt. Schmidt, coming off a horrendous rookie season in which he hit .191, had no thoughts of small ball. After taking a first pitch screwball from McGraw for ball one, he looked for a fastball, got it and nailed it. The home crowd rose to its feet as Schmidt triumphantly circled the bases.
He knew the ball was gone as soon as he it.
"It made me feel awful good," said Schmidt, who went on to lead the National League with 36 home runs in 1974.
At a Glance
WP: Scarce (1 — 0)
HR: Schmidt (1)
Key stat: Schmidt walk-off HR, 2 RBIs; Unser 2-for-4, RBI
April 7, 1998
Phillies 9, Marlins 8 (10 innings)
Hometown Hero Glanville Delivers
Doug Glanville became a hometown hero in this home opener by knocking in the winning run with a 10th-inning single. Glanville's heroics capped a thrilling comeback for the Phillies, who had trailed 8 — 4 after five innings.
Glanville, a North Jersey native and University of Pennsylvania graduate, was picked up from the Cubs in a trade for Mickey Morandini. He was considered an important part of the team's effort to rebuild following a 94-loss season.
Early on, the Phillies still had the look of last year's losers as they fell behind 2 — 0 when starting pitcher Garrett Stephenson gave up singles to the first four Marlins he faced.
The Phils answered with a run in the third and three in the fourth to take the lead. But Stephenson couldn't hold it. The right-hander gave up a pair of walks, two singles and a grand slam to Derrek Lee. The Phillies were suddenly looking at an 8 — 4 deficit and a very ugly home crowd.
Frustrated fans started showering the outfield with souvenir team schedule magnets. Players ducked and the game was halted to allow the grounds crew to get out to the field and clean up the mess.
Bobby Abreu started the Phillies' comeback in the sixth with a leadoff single and moved to second on a base hit by Alex Arias. After pinch-hitter Ruben Amaro, Jr. walked, Glanville hit into a force play, allowing Abreu to score.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Phils crept to within two on a solo home run by Mark Lewis, then staged a game-tying rally in the eighth. Third baseman Scott Rolen got things rolling with a one-out homer. The Phils then loaded the bases for Arias, who drew a run-scoring walk from Marlins reliever Jay Powell. The crowd that had been so hostile 30 minutes earlier was now cheering wildly.
Glanville stepped to the plate in the 10th with two outs and the bases loaded and delivered a line drive into left field, setting off a jubilant celebration that gave the Phillies reason to believe early in the season.
Ricky Botallico, Darrin Winston and Jerry Spradlin didn't give up a hit after the fifth inning. Botallico got the victory, throwing two scoreless innings.
At a Glance
WP: Botallico (1 — 1)
HR: Lewis (1), Rolen (1)
Key stat: Abreu 4-for-4; Lewis 2-for-4, 2 RBIs; Rolen 3-for-5, RBI
April 8, 2009
Phillies 12, Braves 11
First Some Ring Bling, Then a Victory
The Phillies received their World Series rings in an emotional on-field ceremony that preceded a nerve-wracking comeback victory over the Atlanta Braves.
A sold-out crowd watched as the rings were transported into Citizens Bank Park by a van led by a police motorcycle escort.
"A World Series championship ring is a most prized possession," said team president David Montgomery. "We wanted to present our players and others in the Phillies organization with a meaningful tribute."
The rings were made of 14-karat white gold and contained 103 diamonds, symbolizing the 92 regular season and 11 postseason games the Phillies had won in 2008. The players "oohed" and"aahhed" as they gawked at their bling. "It exceeds any expectation I could have had," said pitcher Jamie Moyer.
Their minds seemed to be more on their rings than the game when they went out to face the Braves in the third and final contest of the season-opening series. Phils starter Joe Blanton was torched for nine hits and seven runs in the first four innings. The Braves scored a pair in the first on a two-run homer by catcher Brian McCann, then erupted for five runs in the top of the third, two more in the fifth and one in the seventh to take a commanding 10 — 3 lead.
The Phillies' offense finally awoke in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Chase Utley blooped a single off reliever Eric O'Flaherty and went to second after Ryan Howard was hit by a pitch. Peter Moyland was brought in to replace O'Flaherty and walked Jason Werth to load the bases.
Newly acquired left fielder Raul Ibanez then laced an RBI single to left, setting off a scoring frenzy that ended with eight runs crossing the plate on four hits and five walks.
The Phils added a crucial insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when Ibanez walked, advanced to third on a Pedro Feliz double, and scored on a sacrifice fly to center off the bat of Eric Bruntlett.
It turned out to be the winning run because closer Brad Lidge gave up a one-out, ninth-inning homer to Matt Diaz. Lidge retired the next two batters to preserve the 12 — 11 win.
At a Glance
WP: Condrey (1 — 0)
HR: Ibanez (1)
Key stat: Ibanez 2-for-3, 3 RBIs, 3 runs; Utley 2-for-4, 2 RBIs
April 9, 1962
Phillies 12, Reds 4
Beware — These Are Not the Phillies of Old
The Phillies served notice to the National League that this was not the same dreadful team that lost 107 games the year before.
Led by their young manager, Gene Mauch, they ambushed the defending National League champion Cinncinnati Reds, scoring seven times in the first three innings to cruise to a season-opening win at Crosley Field.
Clay Dalrymple got the Phillies on the board in the second inning with a solo home run. They batted around in the third inning, stringing together seven singles for six runs off Reds starter Joey Jay, a 21-game winner in '61.
In the fourth, right fielder Don Demeter hit a two-run homer over the center-field wall, and the Phils added three more runs after that.
It was a relentless offensive attack for the Phils, who bludgeoned five Reds pitchers, collecting 15 hits and drawing 10 walks.
Tony Gonzalez led the assault, going 3-for-5 with two singles and a double. Demeter, Dalrymple, Johnny Callison, Ruben Amaro and rookie Ted Savage each had two hits.
All that offense made life easy for starting pitcher Art Mahaffey, who went the distance despite running into trouble early in the game. Mahaffey gave up one run in the third inning and three more in the fourth. He settled down after that, surrendering just two hits over the final five innings.
The Phillies were on their way to becoming one of the most improved teams in baseball, going from a record of 47 — 107 in 1961 to 81 — 80 in '62.
At a Glance
WP: Mahaffey (1 — 0)
HR: Dalrymple (1), Demeter (1)
Key stat: Gonzalez 3-for-5, 3 runs; Demeter 3 RBIs; Dalrymple 2-for-4, 2 RBIs
April 10, 1971
Phillies 4, Expos 1
First Game at The Vet a Success Thanks to Bunning, Money
More than 55,000 people turned out on a raw, windy day to see the Phillies beat the Montreal Expos in the inaugural game at Veterans Stadium.
The Vet was a spectacular new venue, standing in stark contrast to the Phillies' previous home — the ancient, decrepit Connie Mack Stadium.
Built on a 72-acre site in South Philadelphia at a cost of about $52 million, the multi-purpose stadium was the largest in the National League. It featured an Astroturf playing surface, multi-colored plastic seats and a high-tech, computerized scoreboard in addition to amenities such as luxury boxes and a picnic area.
The ceremonial first pitch was dropped out of a helicopter to catcher Mike Ryan, who bobbled the ball but managed to hang on.
Jim Bunning, 39 years old and in the final season of a Hall of Fame career, was given the honor of pitching the opener. And the aging right-hander was able to reach back for some of his old magic.
Bunning held the Expos to six hits, walked three and struck out four. He surrendered the first run at the new stadium in the sixth inning after giving up back-to-back doubles to Ron Hunt and Rusty Staub.
The Phils struck back against Expos starter Bill Stoneman in the bottom of the sixth, when third baseman Don Money led off with the first home run hit at the Vet.
"It was a fast ball, up around the letters," said Money, who drilled a 2 — 2 pitch over the left-field fence.
The Phils scored two more runs in the sixth and added another run in the seventh.
Manager Frank Lucchesi went to his bullpen in the eighth inning after the Expos put runners on first and second with one out. Joe Hoerner replaced Bunning and walked Ron Fairly to load the bases. But the side-winding lefty struck out Mack Jones and John Bateman to end the inning. Hoerner returned to retire the side in the ninth and earn his first save.
Lucchesi singled out a number of players in addition to Bunning and Money, including Larry Bowa. The scrappy young shortstop recorded the first hit in stadium history in the bottom of the first and followed that with the first stolen base. He later belted a triple and made two slick plays in the field.
Rookie rightfielder Roger Freed had two singles and drove in the game-winning run in the sixth. Left fielder John Briggs came up with the game's best defensive play when he caught a ball against the wall to put down a possible Montreal rally in the seventh.
"If he doesn't make that catch," said Lucchesi, "it could have changed the complexion of the game."
At a Glance
WP: Bunning (1 — 0)
S: Hoerner (1)
HR: Money (1)
Key stat: Bowa 2-for-4, run; Freed 2-for-3, RBI
April 12, 1965
Phillies 2, Astros 0
Phils Shut Down Astrodome's Opening Night Celebration
Houston's new domed stadium opened to rave reviews, but the Phillies, led by Dick Allen and Chris Short, made sure that more than 43,000 Astros fans sat on their hands most of the night.
The Astrodome was unlike any other stadium. Dubbed "The Eighth Wonder of the World," it was enclosed by a ceiling that had transparent plastic panes to let the sun shine in, and was the first air-conditioned stadium to offer baseball, football, basketball, concerts and just about any other sporting or entertainment event.
It featured cushioned seats and 52 swanky suites. Team owner Roy Hofheinz lived in a luxurious apartment inside the dome. The centerpiece of the stadium was an enormous computerized scoreboard that entertained fans throughout the game with cartoons, messages, and wild, digitally displayed explosions after an Astro hit a home run.
But the only homer in this game came off the bat of Allen, the 1964 National League Rookie of the Year.
Manager Gene Mauch decided to start Ruben Amaro at shortstop in place of Cookie Rojas, a move that paid dividends in the third inning when Amaro led off with a single. That brought Allen to the plate.
With a 1 — 1 count, the muscular third baseman had to duck out of the way of a chin-high fastball from Astros right-hander Bob Bruce. Allen dusted himself off and slammed the next pitch more than 400 feet over the center-field fence. It was the first regular season home run hit in the Dome. (Mickey Mantle had hit one a few days earlier when the doors were officially opened for an exhibition game between the Astros and New York Yankees).
"I don't know if he was throwing at me or not," said Allen, referring to the pitch that preceded his blast. "But I was mad. I was going to hang in there if he threw the next pitch through me."
Bruce denied throwing at Allen.
"I was pitching him in. He hit a breaking ball and he hit it good."
Allen's two-run homer proved to be more than enough support for the hard-throwing Short, who went all nine innings, surrendering just four hits while striking out 11 and walking three. After the game, Short said he enjoyed pitching in the spacious new ballpark.
"The dimensions are nice. Those batters don't get any cheap home runs," he said.
Short's shutout was the first by a Phillies pitcher in a season opener since Ken Heintzelman blanked the Boston Braves in 1948. He went on to post a record of 18 — 11 in 1965 with a 2.82 earned-run average and 237 strikeouts. Allen would hit 20 home runs, knock in 85 and hit .302.
At a Glance
WP: Short (1 — 0)
HR: Allen (1)
Key stat: Allen 2-for-4, 2 RBIs; Gonzalez 2-for-4
Excerpted from 162-0 by Paul Kurtz. Copyright © 2011 Paul Kurtz. Excerpted by permission of Triumph Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR,