'Misfits' win 1993 pennant

May 31st, 2023

Let’s see, the Phillies have had the Whiz Kids (1950), Comeback Kids (1980) and Wheeze Kids (1983). Along came a bunch that had more nicknames, mostly unflattering, “throwbacks”, “misfits”, “rejects”, “outlaws”, “wild”, “crazy”. A book about the 1993 team was properly entitled, “Beards, Biceps and Bellies.”

In the end, they were the called National League champions, one of the most popular teams in club history. For the first time ever, the Phillies reached 3 million in attendance, the highest in Veterans Stadium history. Philadelphia embraces underdogs and blue-collar workers. The ’93 bunch was both, except the blue collars were really dirty.

There were no future Hall of Fame players on the team. Had there been a Beer-drinking Hall of Fame, they would have dominated.

During the last-place season of 1992, a year in which clean-cut Dale Murphy was on the team, John Kruk described that team as “24 morons and one Mormon.” Hard to believe that a last-place team could have a nucleus that would produce a championship the next season. Last to first was a first in franchise history.

In Spring Training, a group of 25 different personalities became a team, a team that could play. Some guys didn’t like each other, but when they crossed the lines, they went to war as a unit. They had a fight with the Cardinals in Spring Training and started the season 3-0 in Houston. “I really think that start made everyone believe,” Jim Fregosi, the club's manager, once said.

Offensively, they led the league in at-bats (5,685), runs scored (877), hits (1,555), doubles (297), walks (665), on-base percentage (.351) and total bases (2,422). They just made enemy pitchers work and work.

General manager Lee Thomas had put the team together with trades and free agent signings. Of the starting eight position players, only catcher Darren Daulton, second baseman Mickey Morandini and shortstop Kevin Stocker were home-grown.

Five starting pitchers, none home grown, won 12 or more games. The last time the Phillies had five starters with double-digit wins was 1932.

The closer, Mitch (Wild Thing) Williams, walked 44 in 62 innings but recorded 43 saves. He also got a 10th-inning base hit at 4:40 in the morning to win a wild game. Another one of Harry Kalas’ great calls, “The game is over! On an RBI hit by Mitchy Pooh!” Nobody ever got another hit at that hour again as Major League Baseball changed the rules for when a game could be started.

Five days after the doubleheader marathon, Stocker was called up to replace Juan Bell at shortstop. Stocker’s debut was a classic, 7-6, win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in 20 innings. It matched the longest game in Vet history (Atlanta, May 4, 1973). Stocker was three years old for that one.

Fregosi’s club took over first place on Opening Day and never relinquished it. No other Phillies team had ever led on May 1, June 1, July 1, August 1 and September 1.

But guess who showed up in September. The Ghost of 1964. Leading by 9 1/2 games on 9/5, they lost eight of the next 13 games, reducing the pad to four games. Six wins in their next eight games clinched the division in Pittsburgh on Sept. 28. Seldom used reliever Donn Pall got the last out. Great trivia question.

During the clubhouse celebration, correct that, trainer’s room celebration, Kalas led the team in singing his song, “High Hopes.”

For the first time in 11 seasons, the Phillies had three starters for the NL in the All-Star Game, played in Camden Yards: Daulton, Kruk and Terry Mulholland.


The misfits were a mismatch for the Atlanta Braves, so said the experts.

It was a strange best-of-seven series. Kim Batiste, a defensive replacement in Game 1, had a game-tying error in the top of the ninth and a game-winning single in the 10th. Atlanta crushed four homers in a 14-3 romp to tie the series in the next game.

Arriving in Atlanta after that game, a columnist for the Atlanta Constitution wrote a story, suggesting women and children get off the street because the Phillies were in town.

Another easy win, 9-4, put the Braves up, 2-1, in the series. Danny Jackson and Williams combined for a gutty 2-1 win over John Smoltz. Stocker and Jackson each drove in a run.

Trailing 3-0, the Braves tied Game 5 with three runs in the bottom of the ninth. Lenny Dykstra sent the Misfits home with a game-winning home run in the top of the 10th.

Veterans Stadium was loud during the playoffs and World Series in 1980. It was louder in 1993, especially when Mitch struck out Bill Pecota to send the Misfits to the World Series against the defending World Series champion Toronto Blue Jays.

World Series

In Spring Training, the Toronto Blue Jays trained in nearby Dunedin, Fla. Seemed like the two clubs played each other 1,000 times in Pinellas County. This time playing in front of the world, the Phillies' fifth World Series and second straight for the Jays, who’s GM was Pat Gillick.

A split in the first two games in Toronto, brought the Series to the Vet. The Blue Jays took a 3-1 lead with 10-3 and 15-14 wins.

Curt Schilling came up with the first shutout in franchise postseason history to keep the Phillies alive as the series returned to the Skydome for the potential last two games. An entertaining World Series ended in pain when Joe Carter hit a series-ending homer in the bottom of the ninth in Game 6 off Mitch.

A magical and electrifying season of 97 wins was history. The bunch of Misfits couldn’t repeat in 1994. Phillies fans were flying high coming off a World Series, but for the second time, a strike pulled the rug from under them. Yes, 1981 had an encore. This time, the World Series was canceled.

1983 Recap

Record: 97-65

Attendance: 3,137,674

Team Leaders

Hitting: Eisenreich .318

Hits: Dykstra 194

Runs: Dykstra 143

Doubles: Dykstra 44

Triples: Morandini 9

Home runs: Daulton & Incaviglia 24

RBI: Daulton 105

Stolen bases: Dykstra 37

Walks: Dykstra 129

Games: West 76

Starts: Schilling 34

Wins: Schilling & Greene 16

Innings: Schilling 235.1

Saves: Williams 43

Strikeouts: Schilling 186

ERA: Mulholland 3.25

Opening Day Lineup

1. Dykstra, CF

2. Morandini, 2B

3. Kruk, 1B

4. Hollins, 3B7.

5. Daulton, C

6. Thompson, LF

7. Eisenreich, RF

8. Bell, SS

9. Mulholland, P