Phillies Time Machine: 1993

After an injury plagued 1992 season that saw the Phillies finish last in the National League East at 70-92, fans were looking for a rebound. '92 probably would have been a better season, if not for all the injuries, so hopes were high for the 1993 team. As it turned out, the Phillies didn't disappoint and a team filled with characters brought the World Series to Philadelphia for what would be the last time in Veterans Stadium history.

The Phillies started hot in 1993 and didn't slow down very much. After sweeping the Astros in Houston, the Phils lost their home opener to the Cubs. From there, they won five straight and 15 out of their next 20 games, finishing the month in first place in the division. Actually, the Phillies would be out of first for just one day – after the loss in the home opener – the entire season.

There was no one reason why the Phillies of '93 were as good as they were. The offense was one of the best in the league, but the pitching staff had a hole or two. The bench was pretty good and utility players came through on a number of occasions.As teams go, the 1993 Phillies were truly a team that fit many cliches; A team of destiny. Chemistry wins. And many others. Of course, the '93 team was also not like many other teams in history, either. Not just anybody could have played for this team.

Manager Jim Fregosi pretty much set the tone for the club. He wasn't much of a disciplinarian, although he would get on players from time to time when it looked like they needed a kick in the pants. Fregosi's team marched to its own drummer and it wasn't unusual to find players sleeping in the clubhouse after a late night poker game. The trainer's room wasn't a place that many of these guys spent much time in other than to hang out and talk long after games had finished. Most members of the '93 Phillies were more likely to simply throw some tape around an injured knee or ankle and head out to the field than sit on the bench nursing their pains.

One of the greatest characters on the team was first baseman John Kruk. One of Krukker's best stories came out of the '93 season. After a Saturday night game, Kruk got involved in a wiffle ball game with the grounds crew. More than a few adult beverages were consumed and around five in the morning, Kruk headed for the clubhouse to get a little sleep. He figured he could enjoy a "night out" since Fregosi had told him he would have the day off on Sunday. Shortly after Kruk awoke, Fregosi told him that he had changed his mind and that his day off was cancelled. A hung over John Kruk took the field on just a few hours sleep, aching from an all-night wiffle ball game and went 3-for-4. Perhaps, no other story details the '93 Phillies better than Krukker's wiffle ball story. Kruk would also get notoriety in the All-Star Game when Randy Johnson sailed a fastball over Kruk's head, visibly shaking Krukker.

For leadership, the Phillies looked to Darren Daulton. "Dutch" was the one who would get on players who didn't hustle or didn't seem to do everything they could to help the team win. Daulton's teammates respected him and feared letting him down. When Daulton approached a player, they listened. More importantly, they responded. It didn't hurt that Daulton tied for the team lead in homeruns (24) with Pete Incaviglia and that Daulton drove in 105 runs in perhaps the best season of his career.

Lenny Dykstra sparked the offense with a .305 average and 19 homeruns. Dykstra also earned his nickname "nails" by his gritty play on defense and his reckless abandon on the base paths.

Young Kevin Stocker made his major league debut against the Dodgers on July 7th in one of the wildest games of the year. Mitch Williams came on in the ninth with the Phillies leading 5-3. Williams allowed a hit and three walks before being ejected by homeplate umpire Jim Quick. Eventually, Lenny Dykstra would drive in two runs on a bases loaded double in the top of the 20th inning and the Phillies would win 7-6. "I came in the clubhouse and wanted to kill Mitch, but they told me it was against the law," remembers John Kruk. Stocker played all 20 innings and went on to .324 in his rookie season for the Phillies.

On the mound, Curt Schilling went 16-7, 4.02 to tie for the staff lead in wins with Tommy Greene. Greene started the season by winning his first eight decisions and finished 16-4, 3.42 for the season. Danny Jackson, who will always be known for his celebratory muscle pose, won 12 games and finished with a 3.77 ERA, while steady lefty Terry Mulholland went 12-9, 3.25. Every pitcher in the Phillies starting rotation hit double digits in wins, the first time a Phillies staff accomplished that feat since 1932.

In the bullpen, Mitch Williams was the king; sort of. Nobody, even Mitch, knew where his pitches were going to wind up, but he saved 43 games. Mitch's season, which was one of the best ever for a Phillies reliever, was forgotten when he served up a three-run homerun to Joe Carter that beat the Phillies 8-6 and made the Toronto Blue Jays World Champions. Afraid of what may lie ahead for Williams in Philadelphia, the Phillies would trade him to Houston for Doug Jones and Jeff Juden after the season. Most of the relief help came from David West and Larry Andersen, who combined to go 9-6, 2.92 for the Phillies.

While the chemistry of the team worked, not everybody on the team were exactly best buddies. Curt Schilling and Mitch Williams admittedly couldn't stand each other, but simply kept their distance. Speaking of Schilling, there were many times that Daulton, Kruk, Dave Hollins or Pete Incaviglia delivered a bit of a message to the young pitcher about his ego. They were quick to remind Schilling and anybody else who started to get a little too uppity that the Phillies were a team and no one player was irreplaceable.

The Phillies did think that they would be replacing third baseman Dave Hollins. He broke a bone in his hand and doctors figured he would be lost for six weeks. Kim Batiste came off the bench and the Phillies never even stumbled without the hard-nosed Hollins. Of course, Batiste didn't have to fill in for nearly as long as the Phillies thought. The injury that was supposed to put Hollins out for six weeks cost him just two weeks and he returned to the lineup and just picked up where he left off. Unlike '92, the Hollins injury – and Kruk's wiffle ball pains – were the only real injuries that the Phillies suffered in 1993.

The Phillies would beat the Braves four games to two in the NLCS, clinching the series behind Tommy Greene and Mitch Williams in game six. Dave Hollins hit a two-run homerun and Mickey Morandini and Darren Daulton both also drove in two runs a piece for the Phils. The World Series would also finish in six games, with Carter's homerun being the difference.

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