John Kruk: Terry Mulholland pitched a complete game on Opening Day, and I remember it wasn’t like, “Can we compete?” It was, “We can kick people’s asses.”
Larry Andersen: We wanted to beat everyone by 10 runs every game.
Tommy Greene: We were in Houston on April 6th. It was my birthday. I was at the ballpark early, and I’m down in the dugout, watching the Astros take batting practice. Fregosi stuck his head out of the tunnel and called me back. As I’m walking back, I’m worrying that I might be getting traded. I get to the clubhouse and everyone’s there—[team president] Bill Giles, the G.M., the whole team. There’s a chair in the middle of the room. Fregosi told me to sit down, and a clubhouse guy opened the door. In walked a … “nurse.” She did her thing—it was classy—and put on a little show. A fitting beginning to the season.
Tom Burgoyne, the “backup” Phanatic: That season started out with the Phanatic parachuting in. We used a stunt Phanatic—one of the Navy Leap Frog guys actually wore the costume.
A.J. Daulerio, former editor-in-chief of Deadspin: I was at La Salle then. I remember a team that pretty much came out of nowhere. The Pirates were dominating, and it seemed like a foregone conclusion.
John Kruk: I hear guys now, these analysts and experts, say they picked us to do well. That’s bullshit.
Curt Schilling: Mickey Morandini hit that home run off of Doug Jones, and we came back and won the third game of the Astros series. I think we honestly felt like we weren’t going to lose another game.
After the team’s wildly successful spring training and sweep of the Astros, on April 9th the Inquirer ran a headline: THE PHILLIES ARE WINNING, AND THEIR FANS ARE IN A FRENZY.
Larry Andersen: There are teams that go out and think they’re going to win. We went out knowing we were going to win. It was my favorite team that I ever played with.
Frank Coppenbarger, equipment manager: They didn’t necessarily like a lot of other people, but they sure liked each other. They’d talk about baseball until all hours of the night. When they were on the road, they wore out more than one visiting-clubhouse manager. They definitely stayed late and found their own way home.
John Kruk: If they had put beds in, we never would have left.
Mickey Morandini: We’d ice our bodies and have a few cocktails.
Mike Missanelli, 97.5 the Fanatic host, then a WIP host: They weren’t an act-up-off-the-field kind of team. They were a bunch of simple guys who just worshiped baseball.
Larry Andersen: We were on a bus ride home after [Darren] Daulton signed his big contract when Kruky said, “With all the money you just got, you should just build a big mansion and party all night and play baseball every day.” The words hadn’t even left his tongue yet when [Pete] Incaviglia said, “If you build it, we will come.”
Howard Eskin, WIP radio host: Back then, they could drink in the clubhouse. If they didn’t want to talk to the media, they could hang out in the video room and drink.
Tommy Greene: That was our space.