Tuesday, June 30, 2020

1985 Game 72 - 1985 Topps #302 Tim Corcoran

Phillies 3Expos 2
Game 72 - Sunday Afternoon, June 30th in Montreal
Record - 32-40, 5th Place, 11 games behind the Cardinals

One Sentence Summary:  The unlikely duo of Tim Corcoran and Derrel Thomas had back-to-back pinch-hit singles in the ninth, sending the Phillies to a 3-2 win over the Expos.

What It Means:  Top fireman Jeff Reardon started the ninth for the Expos holding a slim 1-0 lead and was pulled for Randy St. Claire after allowing three singles, including Corcoran's game-tying hit.  Following the game, the Phillies headed home for seven games against the Cubs and Reds.

What Happened:  Jerry Koosman had another solid start, giving up two runs on a Mitch Webster solo home run in the first and a Tim Wallach sacrifice fly in the seventh.  He allowed only five hits.  Kent Tekulve pitched the final two scoreless innings for the Phillies and was the beneficiary of the win.

In the ninth, Glenn Wilson and Garry Maddox singled and Greg Gross was intentionally walked to load the bases for Steve Jeltz.  Corcoran pinch-hit for Jeltz, singling home the tying run.  Apparently after that Maddox tried to come home on a ball that got away from catcher Steve Nicosia, but was tagged out by St. Claire.  Gross moved to third on the play and came home with the eventual winning run on Thomas' hit.

Featured Card:  I'm fresh out of Thomas cards, mostly used in games in which he had a crucial error, so here's one of the other pinch-hitting hero, Corcoran.

1985 Virtual Phillies Wall / 1985 Season Summary Index

Monday, June 29, 2020

Phillies Announce Initial Player Pool

2020 Chachi Almost #2
2020 Chachi Almost #3
2020 Topps Total #155
2019 Grandstand Reading
Fightin Phils Update #4
Where were we?

On March 13th, I posted the final spring training game summary post from the game played on Thursday afternoon, March 12th.  The Phillies won, 8-4 against the Rays in Port Charlotte.  Following that game, baseball went on indefinite hiatus as the world grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic.  A few weeks later, on March 26th, I posted on what would have been Opening Day with the mundane news that the Phillies had optioned six players to Lehigh Valley and the active roster (including non-roster invitees) stood at 52.

While live baseball was paused, I started going through my 1985 Phillies Scrapbook, posting game summary posts 35 years after the fact.  My plan is to keep doing those posts from 1985 through July 16th and that year's All-Star Game.  I'll then (hopefully) return to live baseball posts as the Phillies are set to open their 2020 season on either July 23rd or July 24th.  I've read reports that up to three exhibition games will be played prior to the start of the regular season.

Which brings us to today.  On Sunday, the Phillies released their initial Player Pool with 53 players, out of a potential 60, that will be eligible for play during the shortened 60-game season.  For the first time since March 26th, here's the updated math for the Camp Head Count, and it's a bit convoluted how we got here.

Camp Head Count:  This is best explained in steps, and keep in mind we were at 52 back on March 26th.
  • Minus 2 - Non-roster invitees Drew Storen (rhp) and Matt Szczur (of) were released.
  • Minus 1 - The injured Seranthony Dominguez (rhp) was placed on the 60-day injured list with a right elbow strain.  He's headed for Tommy John surgery and will miss significant time.
  • Minus 7 - Seven players who had been non-roster invitees were not included on the initial Player Pool list, including Christian Bethancourt (c), JD Hammer (rhp), Henri Lartigue (c), Nick Maton (inf), Mickey Moniak (of), Anthony Swarzak (rhp) and Luke Williams (inf).
  • Plus 10 - Ten players who had been optioned or re-assigned earlier in the year were brought back and added to the Player Pool list - Garrett Cleavinger (lhp), Edgar Garcia (rhp), Kyle Garlick (of), Deivy Grullon (c), Cole Irvin (lhp), Damon Jones (lhp), Mauricio Llovera (rhp), Reggie McClain (rhp), JoJo Romero (lhp) and Nick Williams (of).
  • Plus 1 - Pitching prospect Connor Seabold, not included as a non-roster invitee back in February/March was added to the list.
If you're keeping score at home, that's 52 - 2 - 1 - 7 + 10 + 1 = 53.

Notable omissions include Austin Davis (lhp) and Odubel Herrera (of).  The Phillies currently have 39 players on their 40-man roster, with four players left off this initial Player Pool list - Davis, Adonis Medina (rhp), Cristopher Sanchez (lhp) and Arquimedes Gamboa (inf).  Two veterans from the original non-roster invitee list who could eventually be added to the Player Pool are Bethancourt and Swarzak.

Play ball?

2020 Virtual Phillies Wall / 2020 Chachi Checklist

1985 Game 71 - 1985 O-Pee-Chee #235 Garry Maddox

Phillies 6Expos 2
Game 71 - Saturday Afternoon, June 29th in Montreal
Record - 31-40, 5th Place, 11 games behind the Cardinals

One Sentence Summary:  Garry Maddox paced the Phillies offense with a three-hit, three-RBI performance in this 6-2 win against the Expos.

What It Means:  The loss knocked the Expos out of first place for good in the East, and sent the Cardinals back to the top of the division.  The Expos wouldn't lead the division again in 1985, ultimately finishing 16 1/2 games back and in third place behind the Mets and the division-winning Cardinals.

What Happened:  Maddox had a two-run double in the first off Expos' starter Mickey Mahler and it could have been a three-run double had Ozzie Virgil not been thrown out at home by right fielder Terry Francona.  Maddox added a sacrifice fly in the seventh to pad the Phillies lead at 6-1.  Kevin Gross went the distance for the Phillies, earning the win and allowing a pair of runs on four hits while striking out five.  It was his first complete game of the season, and the first of two in a row.

Featured Card:  Von Hayes must have been missing some time with a minor injury, as Maddox was in the midst of 10 games in a row in which he started in center.  The Secretary of Defense saw his playing time continue to increase into early July as Hayes got some starts in left in place of the Greg Gross/John Russell tandem.

1985 Virtual Phillies Wall / 1985 Season Summary Index

Sunday, June 28, 2020

1985 Game 70 - 1985 O-Pee-Chee #67 Mike Schmidt

Expos 5Phillies 3
Game 70 - Friday Night, June 28th in Montreal
Record - 30-40, 5th Place, 11 1/2 games behind the Expos

One Sentence Summary:  The first place Expos chipped away at the Phillies on their way to a 5-3 win.

What It Means:  This game took a little over two hours to play inside Olympic Stadium in front of a little over 15,000 paying customers.  We visited Olympic Stadium during the final year of the Expos in 2004, and I remember the lighting inside the stadium was fairly dim.  Everything sounded strange too.  There weren't many fans in attendance, and you could hear muffled shouts from the dugouts or from the opposite side of the field.  It would be nice to see Montreal get a second chance at a franchise, and hopefully they'd get a nice outdoor ballpark or at least something with a retractable roof.

What Happened:  Charles Hudson was in trouble or had runners on base in every inning of his seven-inning outing.  He departed with the Expos leading 4-2, having allowed 10 hits, a pair of walks and a wild pitch for good measure.  Larry Andersen surrendered a solo home run to Mike Fitzgerald, the catcher's second of the game, to put the game out of reach.

For the Phillies, Juan Samuel had three hits including a double.  Mike Schmidt had a double and a home run, his 9th of the season.  Schmidt's average continued to steadily climb upward and he was now hitting .232.

Featured Card:  This is the infamous trip when Schmidt decided to let loose on the Philadelphia fans, calling the collective group "beyond help" in a scathing interview he gave to the Montreal Gazette.  Schmidt's quotes would be printed in a story that ran the day after this, on June 29th, so I'm assuming he vented to the reporter either before or after this Friday night loss.  Here's the crux of the comments:

Upon returning to Philadelphia following the Expos' series, Schmidt took the field in sunglasses and a long-haired wig borrowed from reliever Larry Andersen.  The Phillies fans, recognizing that the disguise was Schmidt's way of indirectly apologizing, gave him a standing ovation when he took the field with his new look.

1985 Virtual Phillies Wall / 1985 Season Summary Index

Saturday, June 27, 2020

1985 Game 69 - 1986 Topps #158 Derrel Thomas

Cardinals 4Phillies 3
Game 69 - Thursday Afternoon, June 27th in Philadelphia
Record - 30-39, 5th Place, 10 1/2 games behind the Expos

One Sentence Summary:  Shane Rawley pitched well in his return to the starting rotation, but the offense fell short in this 4-3 loss to the Cardinals.

What It Means:  The loss ended the Phillies' modest five-game win streak, and they'd travel to Montreal following this matinee for a quick road trip and a weekend series against the Expos.

What Happened:  This was Rawley's first start since his June 8th outing when he lasted only two innings.  He took over the disabled Steve Carlton's spot in the rotation, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits over six innings.  The unearned run scored by the Cardinals proved to be costly, and resulted from another error committed by shortstop Derrel Thomas.  Between Thomas and Steve Jeltz, manager John Felske was having a tough time finding shortstop for his line-up.

The Phillies tried mounting a comeback late in the game with solo home runs from Ozzie Virgil in the fifth and Von Hayes in the seventh.  In the eighth, with Greg Gross on second and Mike Schmidt on first, Glenn Wilson doubled to center scoring Gross.  Third base coach Dave Bristol waved Schmidt home as the potential tying run, but Schmidt was gunned down on relay throws from center fielder Willie McGee to shortstop Ozzie Smith to catcher Tom Nieto.  Smith had hit a solo home run off Rawley in the seventh for the deciding fourth run.

Featured Card:  This game represented Thomas' fourth start in a row at short.  After this game, Thomas was batting .185 with three costly errors while Jeltz was also batting .185 with eight errors.  What was a manager to do?

1985 Virtual Phillies Wall / 1985 Season Summary Index

Friday, June 26, 2020

1985 Game 68 - 1985 Topps #143 Ossie Virgil / Ozzie Virgil

Phillies 6Cardinals 4
Game 68 - Wednesday Night, June 26th in Philadelphia
Record - 30-38, 5th Place, 9 1/2 games behind the Expos

One Sentence Summary:  Garry Maddox, Mike Schmidt and Ozzie Virgil all homered in this 6-4 win over the Cardinals.

What It Means:  The Phillies apparently figured out Cardinals' starter Danny Cox since they had last faced him in St. Louis the week before.  Cox shut out the Phillies in that June 20th game, but here he allowed five runs on seven hits in six innings of work.  All but one of his runs allowed came from home runs.  The Phillies had an impressive five-game winning streak going here, but it wouldn't last.

What Happened:  Juan Samuel hit a lead-off triple in the bottom of the first and scored the first run of the game on a Greg Gross sacrifice fly.  Maddox hit a solo home run in the second, followed by Schmidt's solo home run in the fourth.  Virgil's home run came in the sixth with Glenn Wilson aboard.  Virgil also gave the Phillies an insurance run with an RBI-single in the eighth, again scoring Wilson.

John Denny benefitted from the power surge and got the win to even his record at 5-5.  Don Carman and Kent Tekulve succeeded in their respective roles as set-up man and closer, pitching three scoreless innings.

Featured Card:  With Father's Day celebrated recently, I thought this would be an appropriate card for Virgil's three-RBI game.  Virgil's father, Ossie, played in parts of nine seasons between 1956 and 1969 for the Giants, Tigers, Athletics, Orioles and Pirates.  I'll be featuring his 1965 Topps card over on my 1965 Topps blog in a few days.

1985 Virtual Phillies Wall / 1985 Season Summary Index

Zooming with the Phillies, Preparing for Spring Training II

Four months ago, if you had said any of these things to me I would have thought you'd lost your mind:

  • Spring Training would be stopped on March 13th due to the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic and would be set to resume on July 1st at Citizens Bank Park and the IronPigs' ballpark in Allentown.
  • Opening Day would be July 23rd with 30-man rosters to start the season, a National League designated hitter, no fans in the stands, an abbreviated 60-game schedule over 66 days and play limited to each team's geographic divisions.
  • I'd partake in a virtual Zoom meeting with Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy, Jimmy Rollins and Charlie Manuel for season ticket holders, suite ticket purchasers and group leaders.
I would have had no idea what Zoom even was.  But here we are.  I enjoyed the special session held on Thursday night, even though I've heard most of Rollins' and Manuel's stories multiple times by now.  It was good to hear two Phillies legends talk baseball as we gear up for what will most likely be one of the strangest baseball seasons ever.  The biggest revelation for me was that Rollins considered John Mayberry, Jr. to be his funniest teammate.  Who knew?

Ben was kind enough to watch some of the session with me in The Phillies Room World HQ, while my wife and Doug were at his social distancing-enforced baseball practice.

Strange times, strange world.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

1985 Game 67 - 1985 Cigna Phillies #7 Jerry Koosman

Phillies 3Cardinals 1
Game 67 - Tuesday Night, June 25th in Philadelphia
Record - 29-38, 5th Place, 10 1/2 games behind the Expos

One Sentence Summary:  Jerry Koosman assumed ace of the staff status with this three-hit complete game performance against the Cardinals as the Phillies won, 3-1.

What It Means:  Koosman had a few solid performances left in the tank over the next few months of the 1985 season, but this was his last great game.  The game took a little over two hours to complete.

What Happened:  Koosman allowed three hits and the lone Cardinals' run was unearned due to a pair of Rick Schu errors on the same Ozzie Smith ground ball in the second.  Schu booted the ball and then threw it away.  The Phillies scored all three of their runs in the third courtesy of a bases clearing double from Glenn Wilson.  The hit gave Wilson 50 RBIs for the season.

Featured Card:  As mentioned above, this was the last great game of Koosman's 19-year career.  He had 10 more starts ahead of him before his left knee landed him on the disabled list and ended his big league career.

1985 Virtual Phillies Wall / 1985 Season Summary Index

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

1985 Game 66 - 1985 Topps Glossy All-Stars #31 Juan Samuel

Phillies 3Pirates 2
Game 66 - Sunday Afternoon, June 23rd in Philadelphia
Record - 28-38, 5th Place, 11 games behind the Cardinals

One Sentence Summary:  The Pirates imploded in the ninth and the Phillies rode a hit by pitch, balk and a costly throwing error to a 3-2 win.

What It Means:  The Phillies were unstoppable . . . at least against the last place Pirates.  This was their third walk-off win in a row and they'd open a three-game series against the first place Cardinals on Tuesday night.

What Happened:  With the score tied at two in the ninth and Pirates reliever Jim Winn on the mound, Juan Samuel was hit to start the inning and then balked to second.  Rick Schu laid down a bunt to advance Samuel to third, but third baseman Jim Morrison's wild throw allowed Samuel to come all the way home with the winning run.  Mike Schmidt (7) and Derrel Thomas (1) had hit solo home runs earlier in the game off Pirates starting pitcher Jose DeLeon.

Kevin Gross pitched well, allowing just a run in his seven innings.  Kent Tekulve was charged with a blown save by allowing the Pirates to tie the score in the eighth.  He inherited a pair of runners from Shane Rawley and Jason Thompson scored the tying run on a Thomas error.

Featured Card:  Samuel had a hand in all three of these walk-off wins against the Pirates, so he gets the hat trick for the series.

1985 Virtual Phillies Wall / 1985 Season Summary Index

Monday, June 22, 2020

1985 Game 65 - 1985 Donruss #183 Juan Samuel

Phillies 5Pirates 2
Game 65 - Saturday Night, June 22nd in Philadelphia
Record - 27-38, 5th Place, 11 games behind the Cardinals

One Sentence Summary:  For the second night in a row, a dramatic game-ending hit from Juan Samuel sent the Phillies to a walk-off win.

What It Means:  I'd love to find audio of Harry Kalas' call of this game.

What Happened:  Future Phillie Larry McWilliams provided a solid start for the Pirates, keeping the Phillies to two runs on six hits in his seven-inning outing.  Charles Hudson matched him as the Phillies starter, also allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits over his seven innings of work.  Trailing 2-1, Samuel walked to start the eighth, Rick Schu singled moving Samuel to third and then Schu was erased on a double play ball hit by Mike Schmidt.  Samuel stayed put at third, and came home a few batters later when Bo Diaz singled.

In the ninth, with Luis Aguayo on second and Tim Corcoran on first, Samuel homered off John Candelaria to give the Phillies a 5-2 victory.

Featured Card:  I'll happily feature my second Samuel card in a row for this post, again from the wonderful, black-bordered 1985 Donruss set.

1985 Virtual Phillies Wall / 1985 Season Summary Index

Sunday, June 21, 2020

1985 Game 64 - 1985 Donruss #23 Juan Samuel

Phillies 4Pirates 3 (16 Innings)
Game 64 - Friday Night, June 21st in Philadelphia
Record - 26-38, 5th Place, 11 games behind the Cardinals and Mets

One Sentence Summary:  After the Phillies came back to tie the game in the ninth, Juan Samuel doubled home Derrel Thomas in the 16th for the late night, walk-off win.

What It Means:  As much as Major League Baseball has attempted to completely bungle starting the 2020 season, it seems as if there may actually be baseball this year, albeit with a shortened schedule.  Once live games resume, I'm going to mothball this look back at the Phillies' 1985 season through the boxscores clipped from my original scrapbook.  So depending on whether or not the two sides (owners, player's union) can actually come to an agreement, I'm either on the home stretch with 1985 . . . or heading towards the second half of this 35-year-old season.

What Happened:  The Pirates held a 3-1 lead heading to the ninth inning, and Pirates reliever Al Holland was brought in to secure the save.  Instead, he allowed four straight baserunners and was relieved by Cecilio Guante.  The Phillies tied the game off Guante, on a John Wockenfuss ground-out, but he worked out of a bases loaded jam by striking out John Russell and Samuel to end the inning.

The score stayed tied until the 16th when Wockenfuss led off with a walk, went to second on a Thomas single and was forced out at third when reliever Larry Andersen grounded to short.  Samuel's double ended the game and sent the Phils to victory.

John Denny started the game for the Phillies, and went seven strong innings allowing three unearned runs.  Rick Schu had booted a ground ball to start the seventh, setting up the three-run inning for the Pirates.  Kent Tekulve and Dave Rucker pitched three scoreless innings a piece, with Kevin Gross pinch-hitting for Tekulve in the 12th.

Featured Card:  This would have been a good day for me, as it was the day my Dad and I attended the annual Ocean City baseball card show held on the boardwalk inside the Music Pier.  I dutifully recorded the date of purchase of our 1985 Donruss set on the outside of the box, shown below.

Transaction:  Steve Carlton landed on the 21-day disabled list with a strained left rotator cuff, and it was Lefty's first visit to the dibbled list in his career.  Reliever Rocky Childress was recalled from Portland but apparently didn't arrive in time for this game.  Shane Rawley would be slotted back into the starting rotation to take Carlton's turn.

1985 Virtual Phillies Wall / 1985 Season Summary Index

Saturday, June 20, 2020

1985 Game 63 - 1985 Donruss #425 Tom Herr

Cardinals 5Phillies 0
Game 63 - Thursday Night, June 20th in St. Louis
Record - 25-38, 5th Place, 11 1/2 games behind the Expos

One Sentence Summary:  Danny Cox pitched a complete game shutout and Kevin Gross lasted only three innings in this 5-0 loss in St. Louis.

What It Means:  After dropping two out of three to the surging Cardinals, the Phillies headed home to open a six-game homestand against the Pirates and these Cardinals again.

What Happened:  Future Phillie Cox improved his record to 9-2 with his nine-hit, seven strikeout performance.  The Phillies offense had a few chances to score, but went 2 for 8 with runners in scoring position.  Gross was pinch-hit for in the fourth inning by John Russell as the Phillies had runners at the corners with two outs.  Russell struck out to end the inning.

Featured Card:  This Cardinals line-up included four players who would one day suit up for the Phillies - Tom Herr at second, Andy Van Slyke in right field, Tom Nieto behind the plate and Cox pitching.  This was to be Herr's best season of his 13-year career as he'd make the All-Star game, and drive in a career high 110 runs.  He helped the Cardinals reach the World Series and finished fifth in the N.L. MVP voting.

Herr was the Phillies' regular second baseman in 1989 and 1990, appearing in 270 games and hitting .277 for the club.

1985 Virtual Phillies Wall / 1985 Season Summary Index

Friday, June 19, 2020

1985 Game 62 - 1986 Donruss #23 Jerry Koosman

Phillies 1Cardinals 0
Game 62 - Wednesday Night, June 19th in St. Louis
Record - 25-37, 5th Place, 11 1/2 games behind the Expos

One Sentence Summary:  The pitching duo of Jerry Koosman and Don Carman out dueled Cardinals starter Joaquin Andujar in this 1-0 Phillies victory.

What It Means:  The Phillies were looking pretty good against a Cardinals team that would go on to win the division.  They were 7-3 in their last 10 games and the club was about to go on a mini-tear in the upcoming week.

What Happened:  Koosman cruised through six innings, giving up five hits and a pair of walks.  He loaded the bases in the fourth but struck out Ozzie Smith and got Tom Nieto to pop out to first to end the threat.  Carman pitched three hitless innings and was credited with his second save of the season.  Andujar went the distance, giving up all six Phillies hits while striking out six.  The lone run of the game came in the second when Greg Gross singled home Glenn Wilson.

Featured Card:  I was genuinely upset when I pulled this card from a pack of 1986 Donruss, as I was convinced either Wilson or Ozzie Virgil would be that year's Phillies' Diamond Kings representative.  Koosman had essentially retired before packs of 1986 Donruss even hit the Wawa shelves, as the Phillies released him on December 6, 1985.

1985 Virtual Phillies Wall / 1985 Season Summary Index

Thursday, June 18, 2020

1985 Game 61 - 1985 Tastykake Phillies #32 Steve Carlton

Cardinals 6Phillies 2
Game 61 - Tuesday Night, June 18th in St. Louis
Record - 24-37, 5th Place, 11 1/2 games behind the Expos

One Sentence Summary:  Steve Carlton was lost with an injury and John Tudor held the Phillies offense in check in this 6-2 loss to the Cardinals.

What It Means:  I was living inside my Phillies bubble at the time, so while the Phillies and Pirates were grounded in the N.L. East basement, I didn't realize there were four other teams within a game and a half of first place in the division.  Following this game, the Expos held a half game lead over the Cubs and Cardinals with the Mets now a game and a half behind.  Spoiler alert - the Cardinals would win the division and topple the Dodgers in the NLCS.

What Happened:  Other than a few late runs, the Phillies couldn't get anything going against Tudor.  Whitey Herzog's Cardinals had 10 singles and manufactured their six runs with walks, stolen bases and station to station baseball.  A four-run sixth inning with Carlton and Larry Andersen on the mound resulted from a pair of singles, two errors from the Phillies, a sacrifice bunt, a stolen base and Vince Coleman successfully tagging up to second on a fly ball to left.

Featured Card:  Carlton had missed a start back on April 28th with a stiff shoulder, and following this game the injury was too far along to ignore.  A few days after this, he'd land on the disabled list for the first time in his career, ultimately missing 72 days and 13 starts.  Carlton's record stood at 1-7 with a very respectable 2.43 ERA.

1985 Virtual Phillies Wall / 1985 Season Summary Index

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

1985 Game 60 - 1985 Fleer Update #U-100 Rick Schu

Phillies 3Pirates 2
Game 60 - Sunday Afternoon, June 16th in Pittsburgh
Record - 24-36, 5th Place, 12 games behind the Expos

One Sentence Summary:  Rick Schu's double in the sixth started a three-run rally that would eventually lead to this 3-2 win over the Pirates.

What It Means:  There's the "Phils Edge Bucs" box score headline I wanted a few games ago!  After taking two out of three from the last place Pirates, the Phillies traveled to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals beginning on Tuesday night.

What Happened:  With the game scoreless, Charles Hudson singled to opened the sixth and Juan Samuel moved him to third with a single of his own.  Schu doubled off Pirates starter Rick Reuschel to score Hudson, Von Hayes hit a sacrifice fly to score Samuel and Mike Schmidt singled to score Schu and give the team a 3-0 lead.  Hudson's only blemish was a two-run home run allowed to future Phillie Bill Almon in the seventh, chasing him from the game.  Hudson went 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits on the way to his third win of the season.

Kent Tekulve pitched a perfect ninth to earn his first save against his former team.  Al Holland faced his former team as well, pitching two scoreless innings of relief for the Pirates and striking out five Phillies batters.  Holland struck out the side in the ninth with Glenn Wilson, John Russell and Steve Jeltz all whiffing.

Featured Card:  The Schu experiment continued to go relatively well as the new third baseman's average was up to .277 following this game and he had played steady defense.

1985 Virtual Phillies Wall / 1985 Season Summary Index

Monday, June 15, 2020

1985 Game 59 - 1984 Topps Stickers #19 John Denny

Phillies 13Pirates 3
Game 59 - Saturday Night, June 15th in Pittsburgh
Record - 23-36, 5th Place, 12 1/2 games behind the Cubs

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies offense came to life with 15 hits and John Denny pitched a complete game while striking out 13 in this 13-3 win over the Pirates.

What It Means:  The Pirates were pretty bad at this point, and this loss set their record at 19-38, looking up at the Phillies while in the basement of the N.L. East.  Unfortunately, the Pirates would return to prominence and the postseason way before the Phillies would.

What Happened:  I was surprised to see the Phillies didn't hit any home runs in this game.  With the exception of left fielder John Russell (0 for 4), the entire starting line-up had a hand in scoring the team's runs.  Glenn Wilson led the way, falling a home run short of the cycle.  He tripled to lead off the fourth and scored on a wild pitch, and he had a two-run single in the fifth along with a two-run double in the eighth.  Juan Samuel and Mike Schmidt also knocked in a pair of runs, as Schmidt continued an uphill climb out of his early season slump.  His average was now up to .219 following his two-hit day.

Denny scattered 10 Pirates hits in his outing and walked only two to his 13 strikeouts.

Featured Card:  Denny gets the nod over Wilson, but mainly since I've featured way more Wilson cards than Denny cards so far.  Denny would continue to pitch well throughout the rest of the season, but this was arguably his best start of the year.  We didn't know it at the time, but the 1983 N.L. Cy Young Award winner was in his last year with the Phillies and he'd be dealt to the Reds following the season.

1985 Virtual Phillies Wall / 1985 Season Summary Index

Sunday, June 14, 2020

1985 Game 58 - 1985 Fleer Update #U-117 Kent Tekulve

Pirates 3Phillies 2
Game 58 - Friday Night, June 14th in Pittsburgh
Record - 22-36, 5th Place, 13 1/2 games behind the Cubs

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies bullpen allowed this game to get away as the Pirates eked out a win, 3-2.

What It Means:  I never questioned the box score headlines 35 years ago, but "Pirates Deck Phils" doesn't seem to describe the outcome of this game at all.  I would have gone with "Pirates Edge Phils" if the Atlantic City Press sports page editor had asked 11-year-old me back then.

What Happened:  The seventh was the key inning in this game.  With the Pirates holding a 1-0 lead, pinch-hitter Tim Corcoran hit a two-run triple off Pirates reliever and future Phillie Jose DeLeon to score Greg Gross and Steve Jeltz.  Don Carman entered the game in the bottom of the seventh and promptly allowed a solo home run to former Phillie Sixto Lezcano to tie the game at two.  Carman loaded the bases after that, yielded to Larry Andersen and Andersen allowed an RBI-single to Bill Madlock to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead.

Kevin Gross started for the Phillies and allowed a run, a Johnny Ray solo homer in the fifth, over his six innings of work.

Featured Card:  There were only 10,211 people in attendance at Three Rivers Stadium, but I'm hoping Kent Tekulve got a nice ovation when he entered the game for the Phillies in the eighth.  The long-time Pirates closer pitched a perfect inning in his return to Pittsburgh, retiring Tony Pena, Lezcano and Doug Frobel on three consecutive groundouts.

1985 Virtual Phillies Wall / 1985 Season Summary Index

Saturday, June 13, 2020

1985 Game 57 - 1984 Fleer Update #U-128 Glenn Wilson

Phillies 5Mets 4
Game 57 - Thursday Night, June 13th in Philadelphia
Record - 22-35, 5th Place, 13 1/2 games behind the Cubs

One Sentence Summary:  Glenn Wilson's two-run home run off reliever Jesse Orosco in the eighth gave the Phillies a 5-4 lead and the eventual win.

What It Means:  This loss dropped the Mets into third place in the N.L. East behind the Expos and Cubs.  After taking three out of four from the Mets, the Phillies headed out on the road for six games in Pittsburgh and St. Louis.

What Happened:  The Mets took a 4-2 lead in the sixth after Phillies starter Jerry Koosman was chased from the game and replaced with Larry Andersen.  Andersen loaded the bases and the Mets scored three in quick succession following a two-run single by John Christensen and a steal of home by Danny Heep.  Koosman lasted 5 1/3 innings, and was charged with two runs on three hits.

Wilson's clutch home run made Shane Rawley the beneficiary of the win.  Rawley made his first bullpen appearance of the season for the Phillies, pitching two scoreless innings and striking out three.

Featured Card:  As I'm revisiting these games from 35 years ago, Wilson continues to remind me why he was one of my favorite players back then.  He seemed to have a lot of clutch moments and this is the fifth time in these 1985 game summary posts he's earned the featured card spot.

Transaction:  Opening day left fielder Jeff Stone was optioned to Triple-A Portland and converted outfielder John Russell returned to the Phillies after a brief demotion.  Russell appeared in 16 games at Portland, hitting .306 with four home runs while trying to learn to play a corner outfield position.  For the next few months, until Stone's return in mid-August, the left fielder's job would be shared by Russell, Greg Gross and Von Hayes.  Garry Maddox would get the starts in center whenever Hayes shifted over to left.

1985 Virtual Phillies Wall / 1985 Season Summary Index

Friday, June 12, 2020

1985 Game 56 - 1985 Fleer #266 Jeff Stone

Mets 7Phillies 3 (11 Innings)
Game 56 - Wednesday Night, June 12th in Philadelphia
Record - 21-35, 5th Place, 14 1/2 games behind the Cubs

One Sentence Summary:  Ron Darling got things back under control for the Mets as he held the Phillies to only three hits in this 7-3 loss.

What It Means:  The Phillies came back down to Earth with a lazy offensive performance in this game, and I'm sure quite a few fans wished they had saved a few of their 27 hits from the prior game for this one.

What Happened:  Darling went seven strong innings, allowing an inside the park home run to Glenn Wilson in the fourth.  Jesse Orosco and Rick Aguilera pitched the final four scoreless innings for the Mets.  The Phillies held a 3-1 lead heading to the eighth, thanks to another strong outing from Steve Carlton.  Seriously, Carlton had to be taking it personally that his offense couldn't score for him.  Carlton pitched six innings, allowing a run on six hits.  Kent Tekulve blew the save when he allowed the Mets to tie the game on a two-run home run from Danny Heep in the eighth.  Don Carman pitched three scoreless innings and the score remained tied at three heading into the 11th.

That's when the wheels fell off for reliever Dave Rucker.  Rucker's first five Mets batters went like this - Keith Hernandez triple, Gary Carter single scoring Hernandez, George Foster single, Heep sacrifice fly scoring Carter, John Christensen two-run home run scoring Foster.  Aguilera struck out Wilson and Von Hayes to end the game and give the Mets the win.

Featured Card:  Jeff Stone went 1 for 3 and his average stood at .250 at this point in the season.  The team's opening day left fielder, and a player expected to have a superstar year, he had driven in only two runs since a five-RBI performance on April 20th.  Even worse, he hadn't been on base enough to utilize his speed and he had stolen a paltry six bases since the beginning of May.  This was to be Stone's final start for a while as the team was a day away from sending him back down to Portland to work on his aggressiveness at the plate.

1985 Virtual Phillies Wall / 1985 Season Summary Index

Thursday, June 11, 2020

1985 Game 55 - A Night to Remember

Phillies 26Mets 7
Game 55 - Tuesday Night, June 11th in Philadelphia
Record - 21-34, 5th Place, 14 1/2 games behind the Cubs

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies destroyed the Mets, 26-7, in one of the most memorable Phillies games from my childhood.

What It Means:  This is it.  This game represents the highlight of the season and the most positive moment from the entire Phillies' 1985 output.  They would string together some wins throughout the rest of the year, but nothing would top the euphoria of this absolute bashing of the Mets.

I clearly remember watching this game on PRISM, the Philadelphia-area cable TV channel, and I was thrilled to find the game on YouTube, embedded below.  Andy Musser and Chris Wheeler called the game for the Phillies.

With the 2020 season now possibly beginning in mid-July, I gave some thought to stopping these daily posts from the 1985 season at this point and leaving on a high note, but I decided to keep going a little further.  If nothing else, this exercise has provided a daily diversion from these strange times and I think I'll keep it up until and if live baseball resumes.

What Happened:  Von Hayes hit two first inning home runs, becoming the first player in Major League history to accomplish that feat.  The Phillies were up 9-0 after the first inning and 16-0 after the second.  The offense set a franchise record for most doubles in a game with 10, with Bo Diaz (3), Glenn Wilson (2), Mike Schmidt, Juan Samuel, Rick Schu, reliever Dave Rucker (!) and Steve Jeltz all contributing to that tally.  Interestingly enough, the 1986 Phillies would break this record with 11 doubles in a game on June 23, 1986.  Schu and Garry Maddox also tripled.

To date, the only two players in Phillies franchise history to hit two home runs in one inning are Hayes and Andy Seminick, who did it on June 2, 1949.  The runs scored and total hits (27) are still franchise records in a single game for the Phillies.

Future Phillie Tom Gorman and Calvin Schiraldi were the two Mets pitchers hit the hardest, allowing a combined 16 runs on 14 hits over 1 2/3 innings.  Joe Sambito was the sacrificial lamb from the depleted Mets bullpen, soaking up three innings and giving up 10 more runs, eight of which were earned.  Phillies starting pitcher Charles Hudson was the beneficiary of the win, despite not pitching well himself.  Hudson gave up seven runs (six earned) on 13 hits in his short five-inning outing.  Rucker, along with his double, provided three scoreless innings of relief.

Featured Cards:  There are two cards in my collection commemorating this game.  Donruss celebrated Hayes' first inning heroics with a card in its 1985 Donruss Highlights set, released late in 1985.  The Phillies issued one of my favorite team-issued cards in its 1986 Tastykake set featuring a painting from artist Dick Perez.  The back of the Tastykake card contains the full box score and a summary of all the MLB, National League and Phillies records set or tied.

1985 Virtual Phillies Wall / 1985 Season Summary Index

Phils Select High School Pitcher Abel as Top Draft Pick

With the amateur player draft shortened this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Phillies yesterday selected right-handed high school pitcher Mick Abel as their top draft pick, and the 15th pick overall in the draft.  He was apparently the most coveted non-college pitcher available and he's the first high school pitcher selected by the Phillies since they took Jesse Biddle in the 2010 draft.

After learning he'd been drafted by the Phillies, Abel received a FaceTime call from current Phillies star, and his future teammate, Bryce Harper.

As I've done every year since 2014, I wanted to create a card to commemorate Abel's selection and listed below are links to the prior six Phillies top draft picks.