I grew up in era of Phils baseball when nobody cared about baseball. The cool thing to do was go to the game just to run around the 700 level. Mike Schmidt was retired. Remembered Von Hayes just a tad. Well, that is actually a good thing. You had Steve Jeltz and Tommie Herr turning double plays.
Now that was fun. Bruce Ruffin and Pat Combs. Remember when Combs was a late callup and went 4-0 with 2.09 era. We all thought he was the second coming of “LEFTY”. I thought he was. What? I was ten years old. Good old Dickie Thon and my favorite Randy Ready. Man, I loved Rany Ready. Still don’t know why. Then I had a little glimpse with the “Lightning in a Bottle” the 1993 team.
With Dutch, Dykstra, Hollins, Schilling and Terry Mo. That team was so much fun to watch. I wonder what Dykstra’s up to now? I am glad that Dutch does not see ghosts anymore. They fell apart way too quick. Than began the era of Greg Jefferies and Desi Relaford. And how can I forget Ricky Otero. Man, I almost missed him.
It got a little better with the arrival of Scott Rolen. I know he is public enemy number one around here but he was a helluva player here. With Rolen then came along Abreu, Leiby and some little guy name Jimmy Rollins. Wait! How in the Hell did I forget about Danny Tartabull. The big acquisition played a total of three games for the Phils before fouling a ball off his foot and was done for the year. Awesome.
Things were starting to turn around with Bowa back in town. Even though he looked like he wanted to kill someone every night out there. I enjoyed it. Then our favorite other son Pat the Bat arrived on the scene. You can say whipping boy for some.
Then there was rumor that the Phils were going to get a new stadium. Then the “Bank” was getting built. There was still not that much buzz. This still was the same old small market mined Phils. With Rolen gone, Schilling gone. Phils had decent young core with Rollins, Abreu and Pat but not alot buzz. Enter Thome. I remembering thinking why in the world would Thome come here? Not happening. He came here to visit shaking everyone’s hand he meet even getting out of his car to talk to the construction workers. Then just like that he is a Phillie.
The city was buzzing like crazy. He was the one who brought that feeling that the Phils could win. He was the one who started to put butts back the seats at the Vet. He set expectations. He brought relevance back to the team that had none for years. Really since the early 80’s.
Did he bring a championship? No. Though he did something pretty close to it. He change the culture of this franchise that was going nowhere. He had us believing that players do want to come here. That maybe we do actually have a chance. For me that’s is all I ever wanted from a team that I loved. I wanted to just to be loved back. That’s all. Thome did that for me. Nice to have you back Jimmy! Now, let’s get that ring back!