Hoskins headed to WS for 1st time in career

Longest-tenured Philly position player reflects on Phils' 2022 postseason run so far

October 28th, 2022

PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan Howard. Jimmy Rollins. Chase Utley. Jayson Werth. Matt Stairs. 

From the moment first baseman became a Phillie, he heard the names and he saw the photos. Those legends had left quite the legacy as members of the 2008 World Series-winning ballclub.

Hoskins is a step closer to joining franchise folklore after Philadelphia’s National League Championship Series-clinching 4-3 victory over San Diego on Sunday in Game 5 at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies captured the NL pennant with a 4-1 series win to reach their first Fall Classic in 13 years.

“It's everything,” said Hoskins, whose four NLCS homers were the most by a Phillie in team history. “This organization is the one that believed in me and gave me an opportunity to impact the city of Philadelphia in any way. There's been a lot of people that have had a lot of hands in this going back since I got drafted, but definitely since I got here in 2017. A lot of people that aren't here that put in work, laid the groundwork for the people that are here to succeed, to dream and to win.”

Selected in the fifth round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of Sacramento State, Hoskins is the longest-tenured Philadelphia position player. He received a callup in ‘17 amid a 96-loss season. He experienced late collapses and falling short of postseason berths in three 80-plus-win seasons.

The 29-year-old Hoskins hoped it would get to this point, but it hasn’t been the smoothest of rides -- even in this postseason. He opened the playoffs 1-for-19 with seven strikeouts, which led to the passionate Phillies faithful expressing their displeasure each time he stepped to the plate.

Hoskins turned those jeers into cheers, knocking a three-run homer off Braves right-hander Spencer Strider in Game 3 of the NL Division Series as part of a six-run third inning. His epic bat flip -- raised arms with bat overhead, then forceful spike -- will live on in local history.

One of those fans always in Hoskins' corner, “Top Gun: Maverick” actor Miles Teller, first met the Phillie at the 2017 All-Star Game festivities in Miami, where Hoskins competed in the Futures Game and Teller in the Celebrity Softball Game. They have kept in touch over the years.

Teller, who is from Downingtown, Pa., remembers sitting with his dad near the left-field foul pole for Shane Victorino’s grand slam in NLDS Game 2 in 2008. His seats for Hoskins’ theatrics this postseason have been closer to the field.

“It’s great,” Teller said. “He had some massive home runs. All of his homers were substantial. It's an interesting cast for this team, and they're all coming up big right now.”

In San Diego, Hoskins went deep in Wednesday’s Game 2 loss. When the Phillies returned home this weekend, though, Hoskins once again heard some boos during pregame introductions. The jeers resurfaced when the leadoff runner reached on Hoskins' second error of the postseason in the fifth inning of Game 3 on Friday.

But from that point on, Hoskins played clean defense and went 3-for-9 with a trio of two-run homers. That matches the most over a two-game span in postseason play for a Phillie.

“Rhys has gotten big hits for us during this whole playoffs,” president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. “He's hitting the ball out of the ballpark. I think Rhys Hoskins epitomizes in many ways what we are as a club, because at times he's had a couple of moments where he's made a miscue in the field, but he bounces back. He's resilient. He's tough. And if anybody appreciates what's going on here, he's one of those guys, because he's been here the whole time in his career, so he's seen what's necessary to make this happen.”

Hoskins embraces his family after the Phillies won the NLCS on Sunday.

In Saturday’s Game 4, Hoskins became only the sixth player in franchise history with a multihomer game in the postseason. His first two-run shot trimmed the deficit to 4-2 in the first inning. His second tied the game at 6-6 in the fifth en route to a victory.

And in Sunday’s clincher, Hoskins gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead with a homer off Yu Darvish in the third. The usually even-keel Hoskins hasn’t shied away from showing emotion following each clutch knock.

“Sometimes those moments bring out who you are and what you want to be, and that's a lot of emotion for a guy that's been here for a long time, losing seasons and with a fan base that of course can be tough on you but also can love you at the same time,” said NLCS MVP Bryce Harper, who hit the game-winning homer in the eighth inning.

“It's so much fun to be able to play in a city like this, and it makes you want to be great -- and they pull greatness out of you, because those are the moments that everybody lives for. Just incredible for him, and I'm so excited for him to be able to be in this moment. He's going to enjoy this tonight, but also, he knows we're not done yet.”