BY SHAY RODDY
What a season 2009 was for the Phillies. It was filled with unforgettable memories from Opening Day to Game 6 of the World Series. In part three of our four part series we recount the top 20 moments of 2009.
20. Mets lose seven run lead and fall to Phillies in 13
19. Werth steals the plate!
18. Howard and Ibanez grand slams lead Phillies
17. Werth hits 13th inning walkoff
16. Lee shuts ‘em down in first Phillies start
15. Happ tosses a gem
14. Phillies score 22 against Reds
13. Harry Kalas makes his final call
12. Pedro out-duels Lincecum
11. Ring Ceremony
10. Harry Kalas remembered on-field at Citizens Bank Park (April 20)
The morning after the first home game since Harry Kalas’ death in Washington was selected as the day that Philadelphia could come and say a final goodbye to a monument. A monument who was put on a pedestal by the folks in this town, yet continued to step off that pedestal to be with the fans.
Harry was remembered in an on-field memorial service, making him the third figure to ever be memorialized in a ballpark on game-day. The others? Jack Buck and Babe Ruth.
Harry was not as widely known as the other two, but his accomplishments put him right in the same tier as two of baseball’s most recognized figures. He transcended the game and made years of bad baseball a enjoyable thing to watch.
Fans camped out overnight for a chance to walk by Harry’s casket and the Phillies and David Montgomery opened the doors in the very early morning hours so that the fans could all have a chance to say goodbye. It was by far one of the most attended funerals in sports history, with well over 11,000 fans, family and friends in attendance.
Harry left Citizens Bank Park for the final time to the tune he requested- “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”. I think I speak for everyone when I say that the song will never have the same meaning again.
For the Phillies fan, Harry was the ultimate conduit to the team, but for the Philadelphian, Harry was the ultimate friend. His public service was without doubt on of the greatest moments in Phillies history.
9. Bruntlett’s triple play (August 23)
Who better to turn an unassisted triple-play than everyone’s favorite unproductive Phillie, Eric Bruntlett? Under what better circumstances could he have done it than right after putting two runners on, with two ninth inning errors errors? Who better to do it against than the Mets? It was all just perfect and ridiculous, just like the play itself.
With runners on first and second in the ninth inning and a run already in, batter Jeff Francoeur hit a Brad Lidge fastball on a line, up the middle that appeared headed toward center field for a single. But both runners were stealing on the 2-2 pitch, so Bruntlett was in perfect position to field the liner, as he moved over to cover second base.
The rest is history.
In fact, it even took Bruntlett a minute to realize that he had just ended the game with a remarkable triple play.
It’s rare you see a triple play in baseball and it’s even stranger that you see a guy who got a rare start for All-Star Chase Utley at second base, who was on the edge of furthering his bid for most hated player on the team make a split-second play that will live on forever in Phillies lore.
8. Cliff Lee spectacular in NLDS Game 1 (October 7)
Phils fans had high expectations as mid-season acquisition Cliff Lee got set to make his Postseason debut in front of the sold-out CBP crowd. He didn’t disappoint.
If anyone was wondering how Cliff would fair with the added pressures of the postseason, they got their answer. For Lee, it was all baseball. The ace sent 16 Rockies in a row to the plate at one point and finished them off for the complete game shutout.
7. 3-Peat (September 30)
The Phillies entered the day with the NL East pretty much wrapped up. All they had to do was win one more game, or see the Marlins lose one. As it turned out, the Marlins lost just seconds before the Phils won, so either way, the East was theirs for the third consecutive season.
Winning three NL East pennants in a row seemed like a tall order just three seasons ago. The team has made an incredible turnaround and an accomplishment like this only reinforces the fact that these are the golden years of one of America’s oldest franchises. So fans, sit back, relax and have a beer, because you are witnessing what few get to see.
In a city of losers, a winner has finally emerged, making the years of suffering well worth it.
6. “Get me to the plate, boys”(October 12)
“That hit by Howard was the biggest and most impressive hit I’ve seen in my career. The only thing that might have made it better was if it would have went out of the yard. He came down to the end of the bench and said, ‘Get me to the plate, boys.’ He wasn’t lying. He got up there and drilled those runs in. That was huge. That was the game right there,” star pitcher Cliff Lee recounted.
I mean, what is there to say, really? Those words– “get me to the plate, boys”– speak for themselves. They are the words World Champions utter.
Ryan Howard is a World Champion, and that’s just what he said as the ninth inning began in Game 4 of the NLDS. The Phillies, who led the entire game before having the lead taken from them in the eighth inning on a Jason Giambi blooper, were down to their final out when Howard strode to the plate in the ninth with Shane Victorino and Chase Utley on base.
And he backed up what he said to his teammates.
Howard drove a two-run double to the warning track in rightfield, giving the Phillies the lead. Brad Lidge held the Rockies scoreless in their half of the ninth, and the Phillies won for the second time that day (the previous day’s game ended well after midnight), advancing them to the NLCS.
In one of the most incredible moments in team history, Ryan Howard delivered on his promise.
What could be better than these moments? Find out what makes the top 5, this week.
Was Bruntlett’s rare triple play undervalued? Was Howard’s clutch hit too high on the list? We want to hear your opinion, because it counts. Drop us a line in the comment box below and let the debate begin!