Fat, Drunk and Endearing: A Look Back at the ’93 Phillies Season
On September 28th, the Phillies defeated the Pirates 10-7, clinching the National League East for the first time since 1983.
Randy Miller: It wasn’t official until Harry Kalas came down. They were in the trainer’s room at Three Rivers Stadium, and that was the crowning moment of that season—when Harry went in there and sang “High Hopes” and all the guys sang along with him.
Frank Coppenbarger: We weren’t accustomed to having a celebration. It had been 10 years since the Phillies won anything. The night we won the division, there was enough champagne and beer on the floor of the clubhouse that you could have floated a canoe.
Dave Hollins: A lot of guys felt they’d rather play the Braves than the Giants. The Giants were the other team in the playoff race, and we had more trouble with them.
The Braves edged out San Francisco to make the playoffs. On October 8th, as the Phils headed South with the series tied 1-1, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution ran the headline: HIDE THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN ATLANTA: AMERICA’S OTHER TEAM IS COMING TO TOWN. The Phillies lost Game 3, but won Games 4, 5 and 6 to advance to face the defending-champion Blue Jays in the World Series.
A.J. Daulerio: I remember watching the playoff game where Schilling came out and fanned six batters. One of the greatest sports nights of my life.
Ed Rendell: I went on the field to conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra for the National Anthem before one of the games. It’s the only time I can remember appearing at a sporting event and being cheered.
A.J. Daulerio: I went to the airport after one of the games to welcome the team home. I just remember this array of homemade signs. One said, “Kruk off,” and another said “A Schilling Performance.”
The Phillies fell behind in the World Series 2-1 before the infamous final three games. A five-run lead dissolved as the Phils lost Game 4, 15-14. Then Schilling took over Game 5 to extend the Series.
Tom Burgoyne: The weather stunk for Game 4. It was raining. It set an ominous tone. There was literally a dark cloud hanging over the game, and the bullpen was shot. You can’t blame Fregosi, because they didn’t have any bullets left down there.
Jim Fregosi: Their pitchers got big hits in Game 4 because the Blue Jays were just strolling it in. They thought they had lost the game. That was the game that really hurt us.
Tommy Greene: After the 15-14 loss, Schilling came out and threw a gem in Game 5.
Dave Hollins: We came out a little flat. I don’t know what would have happened if Schilling wasn’t pitching. For that guy to come out and shut out that team … his shit was electric that night.
Curt Schilling: I remember going out there for the start of the top of the ninth and I could literally feel the stadium moving because 60,000 people were on their feet screaming.
Jim Fregosi: He threw 147 pitches and was going to stay out there for as long as it took to finish the game. And he was okay with that. He was a big-game pitcher.
Jayson Stark:The day before Game 6, the team had an optional workout in the SkyDome. They all showed up, and when the workout was over, they all just hung around. They all just wanted to hang around to soak it all in.
Dave Hollins told reporters that Mitch Williams had received death threats after he gave up five runs in the Game 4 loss; Williams had stayed up that night with a gun nearby for protection. In the final frame of Game 6, the Wild Thing found himself on the mound with a one-run lead as the Phillies faced elimination. Joe Carter launched a fastball over the left-field fence for a three-run walk-off home run. Game over. Series over.
A.J. Daulerio: I was bussing tables at some God-awful restaurant. I remember feeling as though someone had just been assassinated.
Howard Eskin: That’s the one thing Lenny remembers about that. He’s called Mitch Williams a barrel-finder. Lenny’s still pissed about that. But you can’t just blame Mitch. You have to blame Fregosi, too. And I’ll blame things on Fregosi any chance I get.
Jim Fregosi: Most of my bullpen had never been in the playoffs and had never pitched that long or that late in the season. Guys were just flat-out exhausted.
John Kruk: After Game 6, we all did the media stuff and then we were all just sitting there and it was really quiet.
Howard Eskin: Mitch didn’t tell the PR people he wasn’t talking to the media. In baseball, you can blow the media off. But Mitch stood up like a man.
“There are no excuses,” Williams told the Daily News after the game. “There’s nobody on the face of the Earth who feels worse than I do about what happened in this game.”
Jayson Stark: He lives here, and people love him because he took all of the heat. He stood there and blamed himself. For 19 years since, he’s had the ability to laugh at himself. You can be a Bill Buckner and be mad at the world and hide, or you can be Mitch and stand up, be a man, take the hit.
Mike Missanelli: The candle was lit for one season. I don’t think the Philly fan base thought that team would ever win again.
Jayson Stark: Two or three days later, they were in the clubhouse, and they realized that at some point they’d have to go home. They were half packing, half joking around and drinking beer, when someone strolled through the clubhouse with a rough cut of the [season] video and asked if the guys wanted to see it. They said, “Hell yeah!” and grabbed some beers.
Larry Andersen: We’ve got an uncut version, with bad language and guys flipping each other off. It’s like the deleted scenes of DVDs.
Jayson Stark: The whole phenomenon about that team runs counter to the traditional M.O. of Philadelphia. As difficult as it was that they lost, and as difficult as it was that they lost the way they did, people came away from that season with the same love affair that had brought them to the park all year.
Frank coppenbarger: The old Oakland Raiders were known for being a rough-and-rumble-type group. This team was that for their era.
A.J. Daulerio: The ’93 Phillies were the embodiment of what everyone loved about Buddy Ryan’s Eagles teams. There were a lot more women into that team than seems reasonable.
Jayson Stark: It was one of those seasons that, as a fan, is just a gift. It comes out of nowhere, no one expects it, and the ride is such a gift that it’s possible to ignore the ending.
John Kruk: The good-looking catcher, the fat first baseman, the spitting center fielder, the 102-year-old setup guy, and the hairy left fielder. Philadelphians looked at us and said, “Hey, that’s us. That’s our Sunday beer-league team out there.” And by the end of the season, we were.