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Decade Memories

January 15, 2020

Hello 2020. A new year and a new decade. Memories are plentiful from the decade that just ended. Recollections feature both moments of joy and sadness. There were plenty of each. We experienced the highs and lows to start the decade, winning the division for fourth and fifth straight years

Hello 2020. A new year and a new decade. Memories are plentiful from the decade that just ended. Recollections feature both moments of joy and sadness. There were plenty of each.

We experienced the highs and lows to start the decade, winning the division for fourth and fifth straight years but falling short of another World Series (2010-2011).

If there was an official end to the run of glory, it was the 1-0 loss to St. Louis in Game 5 (2011). More painful was seeing Ryan Howard on the ground, writhing in pain from a torn left Achilles tendon after making the final out. The first of many Kleenex moments.

Phillies Alumni section

The five-year postseason feast then turned into the least.

Three times we witnessed history with Jimmy Rollins: becoming the Phillies all-time leader in hits, passing Mike Schmidt (2014); surpassing Larry Bowa for the most games by a Phillies shortstop (2012); taking over the club’s all-time lead in doubles (2013).

There were numerous milestones: Jamie Moyer, oldest pitcher (47 years, 170 days) to toss a shutout (2010) . . . Cliff Lee, three straight shutouts (2011), matching a Phillies record shared by Grover Cleveland Alexander and Robin Roberts . . . Infielder Wilson Valdez, first position player in team history to be the winning pitcher as he hurled the 19th inning in a CBP victory (2011) . . . Placido Polanco, 2,000th hit (2012) . . . Jim Thome, electrifyingly ending his Phillies career with a walk-off home run (2012), his 13th to tie Babe Ruth and Jimmie Fox . . . Rhys Hoskins, sixth player in franchise history and first rookie to homer in five straight games (2017).

One by one, our heroes exited: Moyer (2010), Jayson Werth (2010), Brad Lidge (2011), Ryan Madson (2011), Shane Victorino (2012), Rollins (2014), Cole Hamels (2015), Chase Utley (2015), Carlos Ruiz (2016), Howard (2016). They remain our heroes.

We marveled at Roy Halladay’s perfect game, no-hitter in first postseason appearance, 21-wins and Cy Young Award in his first Phillies season (2010) . . . Seven years later we were shocked learning of his death when the airplane he was piloting crashed into the Gulf of Mexico . . . We admired how his wife, Brandy, handled the emotional posthumous inductions into the Toyota Phillies Wall of Fame (2018) and baseball’s Hall of Fame (2019).

In addition to Halladay’s no-hitters, there were two others, each involving Hamels. He started a combined no-hitter (2014) and then turned in a complete game no-hitter in his final Phillies start (2015). Ruiz caught all four, a National League record. Never before have the Phillies had a combined no-hitter. Or, four in one decade.

Charlie Manuel’s nine-year run came to an end (2013), the winningest manager in franchise history. Three others finished the decade.

As a major league coach, Larry Bowa took off the Phillies uniform for the last time (2017). As a player, coach, manager and coach he wore that uniform for 29 years, another franchise high.

Victorino, Rollins, Utley and Ruiz were traded to the Dodgers in four separate deals and returned at some point in their careers wearing enemy uniforms. They looked out of place.

We will always remember Utley’s emotional return to Citizens Bank Park wearing a Dodgers blue #26: two home runs, five RBI; two long-standing ovations and two curtain calls (2016).

Howard battled through five more injury-plagued seasons before bidding farewell (2016). His entire career was with the Phillies (13 seasons). Only Schmidt had more (18).

Werth began the decade as the right fielder, signed a big free agent contract with the Nationals (2010) where he became a teammate of Bryce Harper. Harper ended the decade as the right-fielder after signing MLB’s richest free agent contract (2019).

A statue of Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas was unveiled at CBP (2011), joining legends Robin Roberts, Richie Ashburn, Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt.

Phillies pride surfaced when Pat Gillick was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame (2011) and the Toyota Wall of Fame (2018).

We wept with the losses of legends Robin Roberts (2010), Stan Lopata (2013), Jim Fregosi (2014), Dallas Green (2017), Ruben Amaro Sr. (2017), Jim Bunning (2017), Darren Daulton (2017), Halladay (2017), David Montgomery (2019) and Frank Lucchesi (2019).

Citizens Bank Park became the oldest ballpark in the National League East when Atlanta opened SunTrust Park {just renamed Truist Park} (2017).

Phillie Phanatic aged but didn’t show it. Fur is still green, not gray. Then again, maybe he dyes his fur. The best kept secret of the decade?