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."In the end, they were called National League champions, one of the most popular teams in club history.
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."
In the end, they were called National League champions, one of the most popular teams in club history. For the first time, the Phillies reached three million in attendance. Philadelphia embraces underdogs and blue-collar workers. The 1993 bunch was both, except the blue collars were really dirty.
• Phillies alumni
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. 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," manager Jim Fregosi 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 the enemy pitchers work and work.
They had five starters, none homegrown, who won 12 or more games. 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 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 as Major League Baseball changed the rules for when a game could be started. The second game of that July 2 doubleheader began at 1:26 a.m.
Fregosi's bunch 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, Aug. 1 and Sept. 1. But, guess who showed up in September? Yep, that Ghost of 1964. Leading by 9 1/2 games on Sept. 5, the Phillies lost eight of their next 13 games, reducing the pad to four games. Six wins in their next eight games ended it in Pittsburgh on Sept. 28.
Harry's call of the last out:
"Ground ball, it's a fair ball! Kruk to Pall ... the Phillies are the '93 National League Eastern Division champions! This wonderful band of throwback players have won the National League East, mobbing one another on the field."
Seldom-used reliever Donn Pall got the last out. Pretty decent trivia question.
During the clubhouse celebration, correct that, trainer's-room celebration, Harry led the team in singing his song, "High Hopes."
The Misfits were a mismatch for the Atlanta Braves, so said experts. That didn't matter, as the Phillies advanced to the World Series by beating the Braves, 4-2, in the National League Championship Series.
Veterans Stadium was loud during the playoffs and World Series in 1980. It seemed louder in 1993, especially when Mitch struck out Bill Pecota to clinch the pennant in Game 6.
In Spring Training, the Toronto Blue Jays trained in nearby Dunedin. Seemed like the two teams played each other 1,000 times in Pinellas County. This time they were playing in front of the world.
An entertaining World Series ended in pain for Philadelphia. If you haven't heard, Joe Carter hit a series-ending homer in the bottom of the ninth in Game 6 off Mitch.
Now, 25 years later, that team is being saluted on Retro Weekend, June 8-10.
Larry Shenk is editor/author of the Alumni section.