From the standpoint of variety, it would be hard for the Phillies to top the decade of the 1990s. It was a decade that seemingly had a little bit of everything.
Another trip to the World Series. An All-Star Game at the Vet. Hall of Fame inductions, no-hitters, an unassisted triple play, a cycle, a Rookie of the Year, a strikeout record, and a change at the top all helped to make the final decade of the 20th century one of the liveliest in club history.
The highlight of the decade was surely the Phillies' fifth National League pennant in 1993. Led by a colorful group of hard-charging players headed by Lenny Dykstra (photo above), Darren Daulton (photo at left) and John Kruk, the Phils fielded an exciting team that captured the fancy of fans throughout the country.
After a blazing 45-17 start, the Phillies coasted to the Eastern Division title, holding first place all but one day. During the season, the Phils played a memorable doubleheader with the San Diego Padres that because of three rain delays ended at 4:40 a.m. Dykstra led the National League in runs (143) and hits (194), and for the first time the team drew more than three million fans.
The underdog Phillies downed the Atlanta Braves, four games to two in a pulsating League Championship Series, coming from behind to win the last three games. Curt Schilling (photo at right) was named Most Valuable Player in the series as the Phillies became only the third team in the 20th century to leap from last place the previous season to first.
In the World Series against the Toronto Blue Jays, manager Jim Fregosi's (photo at left) team fell behind early, and after losing a devastating 15-14 decision, trailed three games to one. Schilling pitched a gritty 2-0 win in the fifth game, but Joe Carter's three-run homer off Mitch Williams in the bottom of the ninth inning of game six gave the Blue Jays an 8-6 win and the Series victory.
The 1993 season would be the only year in the '90s in which the Phillies had a winning record. But while the team faltered, there were plenty of individual highlights.
The Phils had no-hitters by Terry Mulholland (photo at right) in 1990 and Tommy Greene in 1991. Mulholland's was the first Phillies no-hitter at home in the 20th century.
Dykstra and Daulton were involved in a serious auto accident in 1991, but Darren came back in 1992 to lead the National League in RBI with 109, just the fourth catcher in Major League history to do that. That same year, second baseman Mickey Morandini gave the Phils their first unassisted triple play and only the ninth ever achieved in the big leagues. Kruk hit .323 and Dave Hollins collected 27 homers and 93 RBI, while rookie Jeff Grotwold hit three pinch-hit home runs in three days.
Later, the Phillies grabbed a chunk of All-Star Game history. Phils relievers Doug Jones in 1994 and Heathcliff Slocumb in 1995 were the winning pitchers for the National League. In 1996, the game was held at the Vet with the Nationals again winning, 6-0.
The 1994 season also launched a parade of Phillies into the Hall of Fame. Steve Carlton was inducted that year, Mike Schmidt and Richie Ashburn the next, and Jim Bunning in 1996.
In 1995, Gregg Jefferies became the first Phillies player to hit for the cycle since 1963. One year later, the hugely popular Jim Eisenreich (photo at left) hit .361, the highest average for a Phils regular since 1954.
Scott Rolen (photo at right) made his big league debut late in the 1996 season, and went on to win Rookie of the Year honors the following year. The 1997 season was also noteworthy because the club hired Terry Francona as manager, Bill Giles stepped down as team president, passing the reigns to Dave Montgomery, and Schilling set a National League record for a righthander with 319 strikeouts. On a tragic note, Ashburn died suddenly in a New York hotel only hours after broadcasting a Phillies game.
Although they continued to struggle in the late '90s, the Phillies still made news. In 1998, Ed Wade was named general manager. Fanning an even 300, Schilling became just the fifth pitcher in major league history to strike out 300 in back-to-back seasons. Rolen had a big season, hitting .290 with 31 homers, 110 RBI and 120 runs while winning a Gold Glove. Rico Brogna drove in 104 runs, the highest total for a Phillies first baseman in 66 years. And the club signed number one draft pick Pat Burrell to a record $8 million contract.