Philadelphia Phillies – Awards: Sacrifice Flies.

Since it was made an official offensive statistic in 1954, a Phil had led the National League in hitting sacrifice flies seven times. It would be accomplished by six different Phils.

The first Phil to win the honor was Don Demeter, who did it in 1962, as he hit eleven sac flies. The next Phil to lead the NL in sac flies would be Clay Dalrymple, who, in 1964, the year of the infamous late season collapse, hit eight sac flies. The third Phil to be the league's leader in sac flies would be Willie Montanez, who would hit thirteen of them in 1971. The fourth Phil would be Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, who, in 1979, would finish the season in a three-way tie with Cesar Cedeno of the Houston Astros and Dave Parker of the Pittsburgh Pirates, as all three would hit nine sac files. Schmidt would then lead the league by himself in 1980, the year that the Phils would win their first World Series Championship, as he hit thirteen sac flies. The fifth Phil to lead the league would be Garry Maddox, as he lead the league in the strike-shorten season of 1981 with eight sac flies. The sixth, and so far, last Phil, to lead the NL in sac flies was Rico Brogna, who, in 1998, would end the season in a three-way tie with Derek Bell of the Astros and Jeff Kent of the San Francisco Giants, who all ended the season with ten sac flies.

Of the six Phils who had led the league in sac flies, only one would be a Hall of Famer (Mike Schmidt). All seven times that a Phil would lead the NL in sac flies would take place in the 20th Century. Of the seven, two would be in a three-way tie (Schmidt in 1979 and Rico Brogna in 1998). The Phil to win with the most sac flies hit would be Willie Montanez with thirteen in 1971 and Mike Schmidt, also with thirteen, in 1980, while Clay Dalrymple, in 1964 and Garry Maddox, in 1981, would hit the least with eight. 

Who would be the next Phil to lead the National League in sacrifice flies? I really have no idea at this point.

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

They were the best of times, they were the worst of times. A Tale of Two Ball Clubs. The Philadelphia Phillies are the best team in baseball between the first and eighth innings, they are the worst in the ninth inning. While fans should be celebrating their team being on the verge of returning to the postseason for the third consecutive year, they are in fear of a collapse or quick elimination in the playoffs.

Let me offer some solace. I read posts that Jenn and I wrote during the last week of the season in 2008. Doom and gloom! Enjoy a couple of these and consider as bad as things looked then, we had a parade down Broad Street as the World Champions of baseball!

The posts below were written between September 20 to 25, 2008.

Phillies Loss Sets Them Up To Lose Ground in the NL East

Missed Opportunities

Time To Press The Panic Button?

Winning is never easy no matter how good your team is. Yes the Phillies have real issues in their bullpen but somewhere inside we need to find our phaith and believe that we can be the first National League team to repeat since The Big Red Machine!

World Series Trophy Tour 015

Relax Fans It is NOT 1964!

1964. The year the Philadelphia Phillies could not possibly lose…but did. The 1964 Phillies began their season with low expectations.
The city was as surprised as the baseball world when the team took over 1964 World Series Tickets first place in July and gained a sizeable
lead. Little known players like Johnny Callison, Richie Allen,
Ruben Amaro, and Cookie Rojas became local heroes overnight.
Manager Gene Mauch built a solid reputation at the young age of 38.
By mid-September, the pennant was theirs and Philadelphia was abuzz in anticipation of the rarest of events, a World Series appearance.

Then it all began to unravel. On September 21, the Phillies
held a comfortable 6.5-game margin in the standings and faced
the second-place Reds. In the sixth inning of a tie game,
Cincinnati rookie Hiraldo “Chico” Ruiz inexplicably
broke for home from third base with his team’s best
hitter at bat. Philadelphia pitcher Art Mahaffey was spooked
by the preposterous move, and threw the ball wildly. Ruiz
had stolen home, scoring what proved to be the game’s
only run.

The next day Ray Kelly of the Evening Bulletin wrote,
“It’s one of those things that simply isn’t
done. Nobody tries to steal home with a slugging great like
Frank Robinson at the plate. Not in the sixth inning of a
scoreless game.” He added, “Maybe that’s
why Chico Ruiz got away with it.”

Chico Ruiz Steal Locals didn’t think much of it at the time, but after
Cincinnati won the next two games Philly fans began to boo
the home team. A sense of doom turned to panic as the Braves
came to town and swept four in a row. In seven days, the Phillies
had lost seven times and fallen to second place. The city
was in shock. The team went to St. Louis and lost three more,
completing the most infamous ten-game losing streak in baseball
history and cementing the wreckage of a once magical season.
The Phillies’ fall was the steepest ever for a first
place team so close to the finish line… at least until the 2007 New York Mets.

Friends, this is not 1964. The 2009 Phillies are an experienced team that knows how to win and has the resolve to do so. There bats are slumping and their closer needs to be replaced, but this team has the heart, determination, and resolve to win the division for a third straight year. Try to relax…At least until the playoffs when there could be another ninth inning Lidge – Albert Puhols showdown!

References: http://www.americanpopularculture.com/archive/sports/chico_ruiz.htm

10 Blown Saves? Lidge Needs to Go!

"He is my closer" is no longer an acceptable response when asked about Brad Lidge being the Philadelphia Phillies closer. I do not remember a closer blowing 10 saves and I have lived through some of the worst! Trevor Hoffman was available. Brett Myers is available. Other options were on the table. There is no excuse. There is no time to waste.

The Phillies need to try Myers in the closers role to see if he can handle closing after his injury. They can not wait for Lidge to try to get his act together.

If Manuel continues to use Lidge, it will be as bad as Grady Little pitching Pedro Martinez in the eighth inning against the Yankees in 2003. There is no excuse. Period. LIDGE NEEDS TO GO!

It’s September Baseball and The Phillies Have A 7.5 Game Lead!

Why am I smiling? Just look at the standings. Barring and epic collapse like we saw in 1964 or by the 2007 Mets, it looks to be a much more relaxed September for the Philadelphia Phillies and their fans.

TEAM W L % GB
Philadelphia 75 53 .586 -
Atlanta 69 62 .527 7.5
Florida 68 63 .519 8.5
NY Mets 59 72 .450 17.5
Washington 46 86 .348

31.0

In my lifetime, every Phillies pennant race has come down to the last week, if not the last day of the season. 1980 ended with a final series in Montreal. While in 1983 and 1993 we had a little breathing room, 2007 took until the last day with the Phillies having to win and the Mets having to lose. 2008 took until the second to last day of the year. And don't we deserve this? Even before my time, it took the 1950 Phillies until the tenth inning of the last game of the season before Dick Sisler put the finishing touches on the National League Pennant. 

Could this be the year that we coast into the division title? Before we get too comfortable, let us all remember 1964 and what happened to the Mets in 2007. But with that being said, this team has resolve and experience winning in September. If they can continue winning series, National League East could be resolved by game 152. Dare to dream that Charlie Manuel could set up his pitchers for the post season. He could give key players some rest. We could go into the playoffs rested, confident, and ready to repeat!

Dare to dream it Phillies fans! It can all happen THIS MONTH!

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