To many longtime Phillies fans, I’m young—pathetically young, in fact. A late 80s baby, I don’t remember the heartache of the Phillies’ 1964 collapse, the joy of their first world series win in 1980, or even the quirky 1993 pennant winners. But I do have my baseball memories, so here goes my top five worst Phillies memories in my young life (I’ll present my five best memories in a later post).
#5: 2006: Phils trade Bobby Abreu for nothing
Bobby Abreu, acquired in a trade for washed-up shortstop Kevin Stocker, was one of the truly underappreciated players in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies, a consistent .300 hitter that fans criticized for occasional bad defensive plays. In July 2006, the Phillies traded him to the New York Yankees (of all teams, and adding in stating pitcher Cory Lidle to boot) in exchange for virtually nothing and for no apparent reason except cutting payroll. To make matters worse, the Phillies would miss the playoffs by just two games that season—if only…
#4: 1996: Lenny Dykstra gets hurt and doesn’t return
Too young to have eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, I loved Lenny Dykstra as a young child. A terrible human being by all accounts, Dykstra was enormously fun to watch run with full-out abandon for every ball in center field. I even have a baseball signed by Dykstra. In retrospect, his career being cut short abruptly by back injuries was probably a blessing in disguise, because I didn’t waste the rest of my childhood routing for a man who created a ponzi scheme and was one of baseball’s proudest steroid users. But the childhood disappointment of Dykstra’s retirement still stings.
#3: 2010: Ryan Howard’s strikeout ends hopes of pennant three-peat
After making the World Series two years in a row, it seemed like a sure think that the 97-win Phillies would beat the uninspiring 92-win Giants (who somehow went on to win the world series). But after an excruciatingly low-scoring series, Ryan Howard struck out looking with two on and two out in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 6 to seal the Phils’ fate. It was tough to take, and turned out to be foreshowing of 2011’s postseason for the Phillies.
Worst moments #2 and #1 will be revealed tomorrow!