Twenty-five years have passed, but the details have not faded for Mickey Morandini, the starting second baseman for the 1993 National League-champion Phillies team that will be honored during Retro Weekend at Citizens Bank Park from Friday to Sunday.Morandini remembers how most national publications predicted that the 1993 Phillies would
Twenty-five years have passed, but the details have not faded for Mickey Morandini, the starting second baseman for the 1993 National League-champion Phillies team that will be honored during Retro Weekend at Citizens Bank Park from Friday to Sunday.
Morandini remembers how most national publications predicted that the 1993 Phillies would finish last in the NL East, how a strong April and May invigorated the fan base, and how a West Coast trip that included Milt Thompson robbing a grand slam and Morandini diving to start a late-game double play showed that the early success was no fluke.
"I know there are two World Championship teams in Phillies history, but I still think that '93 team is more beloved than any other baseball team that's been here," Morandini said in a phone interview with MLB.com on Tuesday. "It's just the way we grinded things out and represented the city in the way we played the game. I think fans just really took to that -- just hard-nosed, good, clean baseball."
Fans have an opportunity to relive that beloved version of the Phillies during the upcoming Retro Weekend, with a weekend-long celebration planned for all three games against the Brewers. Those who make the trip to the ballpark can expect promotions and tributes that recall the beloved 1993 pennant run, from photo opportunities with members of the team to retro-themed Phanavision features.
On Friday, a 7:05 p.m. ET game opens the weekend with 1990s Retro Night. Fans are encouraged to wear '90s gear and take a stroll through Ashburn Alley, where the band SideArm will play a live set of throwback tunes.
Before the 1:05 p.m. game on Saturday, fans should look for photo opportunities with members of the 1993 team around Citizens Bank Park.
Saturday's festivities will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of another 1993 baseball memory: "The Sandlot." Fans who purchase tickets through a special offer will receive a Phillies Ham Porter bobblehead. A portion of those proceeds benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia. Plus, actors from the original movie will be on hand to join the celebration.
All of this leads up to Sunday, when the 1:35 p.m. series finale doubles as both Chevrolet Father's Appreciation Day -- which includes a John Kruk 1990s batting-practice pullover, available for free to men ages 15 and over -- as well as a tribute to the 25th anniversary of the '93 team. Fans are encouraged to be in their seat by 1 p.m. for a pregame salute to the '93 NL-champion Phillies.
Then, of course, a baseball game will be played. Morandini said he and his teammates will enjoy reminiscing while anticipating what the Phillies can do in the future.
"We're all really looking forward to getting together and celebrating that '93 team," Morandini said, "and watching a team that we think can make the playoffs this year and have some good things ahead of them in their future."
Joe Bloss is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.