Philadelphia Phillies: Emblems for the fightin’ 10,000th win

May 4, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Former Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins (center) is honored during his retirement ceremony prior to the game against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
May 4, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Former Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins (center) is honored during his retirement ceremony prior to the game against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /
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When your team wins its 10,000th game 15 years after its 10,000th loss, there’s really no hurry to observe that milestone, is there, Philadelphia Phillies fans? So, this piece is a bit late in observing the Fightin’s somewhat exciting victory total.

However, it is a fine moment — particularly in the middle of a winning season — to reflect on the nature of the Philadelphia Phillies, one of baseball’s oldest teams. On August 16, they took one more plodding step toward erasing a deficit of 1,163 more losses than wins in its team’s history.

10,000 wins! Should the Philadelphia Phillies be celebrating? It may depend on winning more.

Most of those losses occurred in the first and middle parts of the last century, and the Phillies have certainly been better since Opening Day 2001. They have risen to a .511 won-lost record in this century, a fairly decent improvement on their .473 all-time record.

Most of this improvement resulted from the five division championships by teams (2007-11) anchored by Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Chase Utley, and ultimately bolstered by pitchers Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. These teams also won a World Series and an NL crown (2008-09). Thus, younger Phillies fans, like my daughter, likely think of the Philadelphia Phillies as winners.

In the last decade, however, the team has reminded those people of the Phillies’ historical reality.

So, what does that 10,000th win give a sportswriter? Really, the challenge is to select players or emblems of the Phillies overall reality.

Inquirer.com writer David Murphy, for example, chose players who suggest, somewhat vaguely, frustration. His choices weren’t team greats like Robin Roberts, Mike Schmidt, or Howard, but instead players who somehow disappointed fans, or at best, prompted a reaction that amounts to “Meh.”

One of Murphy’s fine examples is Von Hayes, forever in Philly the guy “we” gave up five players for and then sort of flopped. Hayes was with the Phils from 1983-91, but one of the guys traded for him, Julio Franco, played until he was 77 (if memory serves) and was still hitting home runs at that age.

Murphy notes, though, that Hayes was rather a decent player who was involved in 7 percent of the team’s total wins and, by one advanced metric, was 18 percent better than the NL average hitter. The Phillies, however, were 58 games below .500 for his tenure, and they lost the World Series when he was a rookie.

Not noted in the writer’s piece, but true, is the fact that in Hayes’ postseason at-bats that rookie year, he was 0-for-5.

For myself, however, the 10,000-win Philadelphia Phillies are best represented by the game played the day the team opened Citizens Bank Park in 2004, April 12 of that year.

A friend and I were in attendance that day, when the team gave out souvenir balls in cardboard presentation packages, which became an immediate problem. A cold drizzle necessitated protecting the packaging, but strewn trash suggested many said, “The hell with it,” and stuffed the ball into a windbreaker pocket.

Randy Wolf, another of Murphy’s Phillies emblems, started that day against the Reds, but no one paid close attention even early on because it began to rain harder right about the time Wolf tossed the first pitch in the brand-new ballpark.

However, we were in a new ballpark for the first time it was open, so people generally endured the rain.

Bob Abreu, a long-time Philadelphia Phillies outfielder, hit the first home run in the new place, but Abreu is a guy saddled with the reputation of being afraid of hitting the wall when chasing fly balls. His homer was a lazy line drive to left-center field through the rain. The exit velo wasn’t much, but the term didn’t exist at the time, so …

It continued to rain, and my friend and I left when we were totally soaked. We retreated to his house and watched the end of a 4-1 loss with a couple of beers. I walked home in the rain, slipped on the basement stairs because my shoes were wet, and smashed my glasses into my eyebrow.

This necessitated a homemade butterfly bandage because I definitely wasn’t showing up in an ER with beer on my breath.

This is the story that emblemizes my 10,000-win Philadelphia Phillies.

Next. Bryce Harper signs on for Team USA. dark

On Aug. 17, 2022, Philadelphia lost its 11,164th game — to the Reds.