'We've really grown up here': How Hoskins family made Philly a home

March 12th, 2023

CLEARWATER, Fla. --  smashed a home run so hard in October that it shook more than a decade’s worth of postseason cobwebs from Citizens Bank Park.

He immortalized the moment with an epic bat spike.

More than 4,000 miles away in a small town in Italy, a few hours past midnight, Hoskins’ wife, Jayme, screamed inside her hotel room. She was in Europe for her sister’s wedding. Jayme had a feeling her husband had done something special in Game 3 of the NLDS against Atlanta even before the homer streamed on her device, because moments earlier she'd gotten an “Oh my God, Rhys!” text in the Phillies’ wives chat.

Whether you were in a ballpark with 45,000 fans, at home with family and friends in the Delaware Valley or in Italy, it was an all-time goosebumps moment in Phillies history.

“Like, I wanna cry thinking about it,” Jayme said recently.

Photo: Phillies/Miles Kennedy

The next night, the wedding party huddled around a phone in the town’s plaza to watch the Phillies’ series-clinching victory in Game 4. Jayme flew back with family to catch Game 1 of the NLCS in San Diego. Soon thereafter, she got caught up in Red October, just like everybody else. Before Game 5 of the NLCS, she went to the concourse at Citizens Bank Park and bought a few beers for Phillies fans.

Well, more like 50.

“It was really just all about the vibe,” Jayme said. “Always about the vibes.”

The Phillies won Game 5 to clinch their first NL pennant since 2009, with a two-run home run in the third inning from Rhys and a two-run, game-winning home run from in the eighth. Bedlam at the Bank, Scott Franzke called it.

“It was good vibes, and good for the baseball gods,” Rhys said. “Whatever it takes to change something up or keep something going.”

So Jayme bought 50 more beers before Game 3 of the World Series against Houston.

The Phillies won again, so she bought more beers before Games 4 and 5 of the World Series. The club lost those games and ultimately the World Series, but the beer-buying bonanza became one of those fun moments along the way that made the Phillies’ unexpected postseason run so enjoyable and memorable.

“It got kind of carried away,” Jayme said, laughing. “But it was fun. I think what I’ll always remember is how loud it was the whole time. When Rhys got called up in 2017, if I met someone in line or whatever, people would be talking, they would say, ‘Just wait, Red October. Just wait.’ And we’ve heard that for so many years. I was like, ‘OK, I’ll wait.’ And we waited. And it was so loud. And there were so many people.

“I’ll remember my shoulder being sore [from cheering and waving a rally towel]. I was just screaming the whole time. Obviously, the players have a whole different level to it, but we’re right there watching it all and feeling it all. It’s crazy. It was truly a wild experience that I still get emotional thinking about.”

The Hoskins family hopes to keep the good times rolling in Philadelphia for at least another year, although they know nothing is guaranteed beyond this one.

Rhys will be a free agent after the season. The Phillies and Hoskins’ agent, Scott Boras, have not discussed a contract extension, which is noteworthy, because the Phillies this spring already signed relievers and to extensions. They hope to extend before Opening Day, too.

The club and Hoskins might talk at some point. They might not.

The unknowns make this season unlike any other for the Hoskins family. Philadelphia has been their home for years. The Phillies selected Rhys in the fifth round of the 2014 MLB Draft. He debuted with the team in August 2017. Since then, he has been one of baseball’s most productive hitters.

Among 527 qualified hitters since his debut, Hoskins ranks in the 90th percentile in on-base percentage (.353), in the 91st percentile in slugging percentage (.492) and in the 93rd percentile in OPS (.846). He is 12th in home runs (148) and 16th in RBIs (405).

Production like that doesn’t fall from trees.

But baseball is a business, and sometimes things change for change’s sake. Pat Burrell literally led the Phillies’ 2008 World Series championship parade down Broad Street. Forty-two days later, the Phillies signed Raul Ibañez to take his place.

“It’s weird not knowing,” Jayme said. “But it’s exciting.”

“It’s exciting because of what we have in front of us,” Rhys said.

“This year is gonna be fun,” Jayme said.


“Because the team is stacked,” she said. “I get to watch run the bases every day.”

They bought a home in the city a few years ago, and for several years they spent their offseasons there, too. Players these days rarely live in the city where they play, unless it is Miami, Phoenix, Los Angeles or San Diego.

“I was committed,” Rhys said. “I was committed to the organization. I wanted to learn what this city was about. It gave me a chance to really hunker down and do what I needed to do. Obviously, using the stadium and the facilities and everything you need. But Jayme’s also made friends with a really good group of people away from baseball. So we decided, let’s take advantage of our time in Philly. I think we have some pretty good lifelong friends because of it.”

So, yeah, they would love to stay.

“It would be great,” Rhys said. “Obviously a lot of things go into the ‘pro’ bucket.”

“It would be a dream,” Jayme said.

“We’ve really grown up here,” Rhys said.

“We were just kids when we started,” Jayme said. “And we’re like, a little older now, a little more mature.”

They plan to make their time count in Philadelphia, however long it lasts. That means being in the city, and doing things for the city.

Rhys and Jayme will host their second “Go Yard with Rhys Hoskins & MDA” event on June 22 at Yards Brewing in Philadelphia. The couple have been involved with the Muscular Dystrophy Association since they volunteered in high school as summer camp counselors in Northern California, where they grew up. They have been MDA ambassadors in Philly since 2017, participating in local walks, galas and other events.

Photo: Phillies/Miles Kennedy

“That’s always been a part of us,” Rhys said.

“It was easy when he got called up to get connected with the Philadelphia [MDA] chapter here,” Jayme said. “Early on, we tried to help at their events any way we could. Last year, we wanted to put our own stamp on something. That’s kind of what ‘Go Yard’ became, which is something that we love to do, which is play games and hang out.”

“It’s ‘summer camp lite,’” Rhys said. “It gives us a chance to get together with a bunch of families that have children who are affected by it. And adults, too. It’s a great thing. We’ve made really good, deep connections with a lot of these people.”

Jayme started to spread the word more than a week ago, when she scattered save-the-dates and gift cards in envelopes at BayCare Ballpark before a Grapefruit League game against the Tigers.

“People follow me to see if there’s free beer,” Jayme said, smiling. “Let’s use this to promote the event.”

Speaking of that … are more beers coming?

“I mean, we’ll see come October,” she said.

“We’ve got to get there, right?” said Rhys.