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Best of the Decade – Phillies

Posted by Kieran Kelly On December - 31 - 2009

utley.jpg(Even though the decade doesn’t end until next year, I’ll still join the party and contribute)

Simply put, this has to be the best decade in Phillies’ history. On top of winning their 2nd World Series, the Phillies won 3 NL East titles and won the National League Pennant twice. The team had a record of 850-769 from 2000-2009 with only one losing season mixed in. (They went 80-81 in 2002, but didn’t make up a game, so I’m not counting that one) After finally getting over the hump in 2007, the Phillies have been dominating the National League. With no one having an Atlanta Braves-type NL East dominating run, I’d think it’s fair to say that the Phillies were the team of the decade in the East.

Let’s start off this Decade Recap by naming the Phillies’ All-Decade Starting lineup, brought to you by our own David Foley.

C -- Mike Lieberthal (2000-20006) 719 G, .279/.345, 83 HR, 359 RBI

1B - Ryan Howard (2004-Present) 732 G, .279/.360, 222 HR, 640 RBI

2B -- Chase Utley (2003-Present) 891 G, .295/.379, 161 HR, 585 RBI

3B -- Scott Rolen (2000-2002) 379 G, .284/.370, 68 HR, 262 RBI

SS - Jimmy Rollins (2000-2009) 1406 G, .274/.329, 146 HR, 621 RBI, 326 SB

LF -- Pat Burrell (2000-2008) 1195 G, .257/.368, 233 HR, 748 RBI

CF -- Shane Victorino (2005-2009) 607 G, .289, 44 HR, 220 RBI, 102 SB

RF - Bobby Abreu (2000-2006) 1050 G, .298/.412, 158 HR, 647 RBI

Bench -

OF -- Jayson Werth (2007-Present) 385 G, .276, 68 HR, 215 RBI

OF -- Aaron Rowand (2006-2007) 270 G, .290/.353, 39 HR, 136 RBI

OF - Doug Glanville (2000-2002, 2004) 532 G, .259/.291, 30 HR, 150 RBI

C - Carlos Ruiz (2006-Present) 366 G, .246,.337, 22 HR, 138 RBI

1B - Jim Thome (2003-2005) 361 G, .260/.386, 96 HR, 266 RBI

SS -- Eric Bruntlett (Kidding!)

2B - Placido Polanco (2002-2005, Present) 344 G, .297, 38 HR, 160 RBI

Starting Rotation -

Brett Myers (2002-2009) 1183.2 IP, 73-63, 4.40 ERA, 986K, 21/24 SVO

Cole Hamels (2006-Present) 736 IP, 48-34, 3.67 ERA, 686 K

Randy Wolf (2000-2006) 1053.1 IP, 63-51, 4.06 ERA, 855 K

Vicente Padilla (2000-2005) 741.1 IP, 49-49, 3.98 ERA, 496 K

Jamie Moyer (2006-Present) 609 IP, 47-31, 4.49 ERA, 376 K

Bullpen -

Brad Lidge (2008-Present) 128 IP, 153 K, 72/83 SVO

Jose Mesa (2001-2003, 2007) 242 IP, 188 K, 112/129 SVO

Billy Wagner (2004-2005) 126 IP, 146 K, 59/66 SVO

Rheal Cormier (2001-2006) 358.1 IP, 28-21, 246 K

Geoff Geary (2003-2007) 267.1 IP, 13-4, 173 K

Ryan Madson (2003-Present) 516.1 IP, 95 HLD, 15 SV, 421 K

Now, I’m sure there is going to be some disagreement, but here are what I consider to be the top five players and top five moments for the Philadelphia Phillies from 2000-2009.

Top 5 Players

Chase Utely- After being named to Sports Illustrated’s All-Decade team, how could the man responsible for coining the most iconic Phillies phrase, World Fucking Champions, not be the top Phillie of the decade?

Jimmy Rollins J-Roll has been the face of the franchise for the past few years. His personality defines this team. Ever since he declared the Phillies “The Team to Beat,” they’ve backed up their leader with their play on the field. While not the prototypical leadoff hitter, Rollins has put up the offensive numbers and was named NL MVP in 2007. This has been J-Roll’s team for the past five years and will continue to be until Rollins eventually retires as a Phillie.

Ryan Howard Ever since winning the NL ROY in 2005 after playing half a season, RyHo has been one of, if not the, best power hitters in the game. Following his ROY with a league MVP award in 2006 just reaffirmed his rapid ascent to the league’s elite. Tailor made to hit in Citizens Bank Park, he was the quickest player in major league history to 200 home runs, ending 2009 with 222 home runs. While he missed some time due to Jim Thome blocking him, Howard isn’t wasting any time catching up on that missed time.

Bobby Abreu While everyone in Philly knocked him for his lack of hustle, it’s hard to ignore his offensive production. During his six full seasons here, he averaged 25 HR, 97 RBI, 31 SB, and 110 walks while batting .300. Abreu was an offensive machine and will probably always be under appreciated here. During the early part of the decade, Abreu was the offense. He was extremely consistent, but he wasn’t’ around for the franchise’s turnaround. Trading Abreu was the catalyst that enabled the team’s younger core of Rollins, Utley, and Howard to take over the leadership and change the atmosphere around in Philadelphia. Trading Abreu was tough, but it led to the franchise’s revival.

Cole Hamels/Brad Lidge: I’ve combined these two, based on the recommendation of another Philly blogger, because without them, the 2008 World Fucking Champions probably wouldn’t have happened. Their impact over the course of the decade is arguable, but the World Series was a huge part of that decade, and without these two, we’d be in an entirely different discussion right now.

(Honorable Mention: Pat Burrell,  Shane Victorino, Mike Lieberthal, Brett Myers, Ryan Madson)

Top Five Moments: These aren’t necessarily the “greatest” moments of the last ten years, just the top five memorable moments, from my perspective.

1. Winning 2008 World Series. No words needed.

2. Winning 2007 NL East. After a few years of hanging around in the Wild Card hunt, the Phillies finally made a push and won their first NL East title since 1993. With Opening Day starter-turned reliever Brett Myers on the mound, the Phillies capitalized on a monumental collapse by the New York Mets to overtake them on the final day of the season. Even though the Phillies were swept in the playoffs by the Rockies, this was a sign that the Phillies had finally taken that first step towards winning a championship.

3. 2003 signing of Jim Thome. Philadlephia was always the place where free agents didn’t want to come and homegrown stars like Curt Schilling and Scott Rolen wanted out. This all changed when Jim Thome came to Philly. As CSN Philly’s John Finger put it:

Jim Thome’s arrival was bigger yet. Not only was Thome the biggest name on the free-agent market, but also he was a symbol that there were big changes coming.

Even though Thome was traded to make room for Ryan Howard, his arrival signaled a change in how Philadelphia was perceived. With a young core of talent and a new ballpark, this was a team on the upswing. It could only go up from there.

4. 2008 NLDS Brett Myers’ at-bat, Shane Victorino Grand Slam. When the Phillies made it back to the playoffs in 2008 few knew what to expect. Facing the Milwaukee Brewers and baseball’s hottest pitcher in C.C. Sabathia, it was going to be a challenge. Up 1-0 in the best of three NLDS, the Fightins’ were facing Sabathia at CBP. Pitching on 3 days rest for the 4th consecutive time, the Phillies finally broke him. With the game tied at 1, Brett Myers came to the plate. With chants of “C.C….C.C..” raining down from the largest crowd in CBP history, we all know what happened next…

…which led to this…

…which led to the Phillies ultimately winning the World Series.

5. Aaron Rowand runs into the wall. Philly has always been known as a blue-collar town, so when Aaron Rowand came over from Chicago in the Jim Thome trade, he seemed to fit right in. He elevated himself to legendary status in Philly with his catch on May 11, 2006. Due to MLB being a jerk about YouTube videos, you’ll have to make due with this picture.

Or, you can head here and watch the video from MLB.com. This is a catch that will be talked about forever.

(Honorable Mention: Kevin Millwood’s no-hitter, Winning 2008 & 2009 National League Pennant, first game at Citizens Bank Park, Last game at Veterans Stadium, Matt Stairs’ NLCS home run that still hasn’t landed in LA)

Heading into 2010, with Roy Halladay now on board, the Phillies seem to be in perfect position to continue their run in the National League.  The franchise is due for some turnover in the next few years, with some veteran players getting older, but with some solid prospects in the minors, the Phillies will likely extend their time as the best team in the city for a while.

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  • Brendan M

    You forgot the loss of Harry – an unfortunate moment we all wish didn't happen.

  • http://twitter.com/kierankelly Kieran Kelly

    I didn't forget it. Just didn't think it warranted inclusion on a “best of the decade” list.

    No doubt it was the worst thing that has happened to the Phillies organization in the past 10 years.

  • http://twitter.com/firebruntlett Fire Eric Bruntlett

    Jesus, you damn near gave me a heart attack with that Bruntlett thing! But seriously, that easily wins our award for Most Shocking Play of the Decade. I mean, the dude was 3-5 that game, very nearly 4-5, and had started the 9th with, what should have been 2 errors, and brought the Phils in danger of squandering an early 6-0 lead after half an inning. That was when Oliver Perez was still pitching! Ah, those were the days… Damn shame Beardo had to go and ruin it.
    You would agree, though, Kieran, that both the day they released him and the day the Nats signed him (to a minor-league deal!) were two of the greatest days of the decade from the team, right?

  • korman

    Top 5 moments are well deserved – the only possible inclusion, IMO, would be Jimmy Rollins game-winning RBI double in the bottom of the ninth during game 5 of the 2009 NLCS against Broxton.

  • http://twitter.com/kierankelly Kieran Kelly

    It was a tough call narrowing down to five. I would have had no problem putting any of those in there.

    There are just simply too many good moments for the Fightins' during the past 10 years.

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