Pham bypasses chance at 5th hit for teammate's WS debut

October 30th, 2023

PHOENIX -- and have adjacent lockers in the D-backs' clubhouse at Chase Field. The duo has spent nearly the same amount of time in the Majors, but they had never played together until they were both acquired by Arizona at the Trade Deadline.

“We always talked about playing in the World Series,” Pham said. “Me and [Peterson] have close to nine years of service. So it took us close to nine years to get to the World Series. This opportunity doesn't come so often.”

The two veterans quickly became close and are now playing in their first World Series -- but in different capacities. Pham has been an integral part of the D-backs' lineup throughout their run, while Peterson had only one at-bat this postseason before the World Series.

Pham knocked four hits in the D-backs' 9-1 win over the Rangers in Game 2 of the World Series on Saturday night, becoming the first player since the Giants' Pablo Sandoval in 2012 to go 4-for-4 in a Fall Classic game. He was one hit away from being the first player in AL/NL history to go 5-for-5 in the World Series.

Instead, Pham wanted to ensure that Peterson got his first World Series at-bat, a moment he will remember for the rest of his life.

“I feel like it's a respect thing,” Peterson said. “He's that kind of guy. He is a great teammate, a great player, and we have mutual respect for each other. Every day we see each other one step into the clubhouse, we know we're going to battle and we're going to get our work in. He did an awesome thing that a friend would do. So I really can't say enough about it.

“I wasn't expecting it. But at the same time, not surprised. He's that kind of guy.”

Pham told D-backs manager Torey Lovullo, “I need you to get my boy an AB.” Before agreeing to it, Lovullo laid out some contingencies.

"I said, 'If it's 7-1, that's the only score I'll allow it to happen; 7-2, lefty-righty, I'm going to reconsider it and I'll circle back to you.' We all know what happened," Lovullo said.

"But this was a moment where it was a teammate loving a teammate to give him an opportunity. He took what mattered most to him personally -- No. 1 on the list -- and said, 'It's more about the team and my teammate at this moment.'

"That spoke volumes about what that clubhouse feels every single day."

When the D-backs were shopping leading up to the Trade Deadline, they knew Pham would strengthen the lineup. But it was a conversation with Mets assistant hitting coach Eric Hinske that really made Arizona feel confident that Pham was the missing link for a postseason run

It was one of the first things that D-backs general manager Mike Hazen told Pham when he arrived in Phoenix.

“I'm looking around in the locker room like, ‘Really?’’’ Pham said. “And he was right. I wish I had their vision, because I could probably make a whole lot more money gambling. But I mean, this has been pretty amazing.”

Pham’s stint with the D-backs didn't get off to a good start. He went 1-for-14 through his first four games as Arizona lost nine straight to begin August.  

Pham then went on a 15-game hitting streak, which included a walk-off double on Aug. 21, fittingly against the Rangers.

In the postseason, Pham has had several big moments for the D-backs. In Game 1 of the National League Division Series in Los Angeles, he set the tone by going 4-for-5 with a home run. In Game 6 of the NL Championship Series, after being pulled out of the lineup in Game 5, he silenced the raucous Philadelphia crowd with a solo home run in the second inning. And of course, he had his latest four-hit performance on Saturday.

Pham has come a long way from when he made his MLB debut in 2014 with the Cardinals. He thought his career role would be as a fourth outfielder or just a backup. 

“I've kind of proved that wrong,” Pham said. “So I'm getting closer to the 10-year mark, and that’s something as a big leaguer today you could be really proud of, because the percentage of guys that reach that mark is so low.”