The '92 Phillies: The Beginning of a Dream, Part 1

Winning teams don't just appear. They are developed and molded, many times, from the ruins of teams that fell way short of their goal. While fans have fond memories of the 1993 National League Championship team, that team had much humbler beginnings. Take a look back at the '92 Phillies in Part One of our special edition; The Beginning of a Dream.

It is hard to forget that unbearable moment in Phillies history when in Game Six of the 1993 World Series against the Toronto Blue Jays, Joe Carter hit a three run homerun off of a pitch(low ball, on the inside) thrown by closer Mitch Williams. It was the end of enormous hope for Phillies fans and as Terry Mulholand said, "It felt like a red hot dagger through the heart".

That club, known as "Macho Row", was famous for their wild antics and infamous for their less than athletic appearance. Their status as such a beloved team however was due mostly to the way they played. Darren Daulton, John Kruk, Mitch Williams, Lenny Dykstra and Dave Hollins were just some of the well known players who approached every game as if their life depended on it. They played down and dirty and fought hard for every win. Philadelphia loved them for it. It was why the outcome of the World Series felt so personal. We loved those guys and knew they deserved to win. While the painful ending is etched in our minds, we cannot forget what led them to that hard won series. The fact that they were there at all was, truly, nothing short of a miracle.

1991 was a difficult year for the Phillies, as the team suffered a major setback when in June of that season the Phillies superstar hitter (.325) Lenny Dykstra was seriously injured in a car accident. Dykstra had been driving home from John Kruk's bachelor party with Darren Daulton as a passenger when he hit two trees head on. Though Daulton emerged unharmed Dykstra would suffer a broken collar bone, three broken ribs, and a broken cheek bone, sidelining him until July. The Phillies would eventually finish third in the National League East and miss their shot again at a playoffs berth. But the pieces were slowly being put into place and key trades were being made.

As the year ended Mitch Williams was finally locked into a contract, Von Hayes was traded to the California Angels for outfielder Ruben Amaro, Jr. and Mariano Duncan was signed to a three year contract. The manager at the time, Jim Fregosi, was especially pleased about getting Mitch Williams signed saying that the Phillies needed a horse in their bullpen and, "in my mind that's Mitch Williams". They had improved their left handed pitching and added more speed with Duncan and Amaro. As the winter meetings ended, team president Bill Giles said he was exceptionally pleased and Fregosi was feeling just as positive. "I'm happy with what we've done. Now we'll just have to see."

When spring training finally arrived a healthy and healed Lenny Dykstra reported to Clearwater a month earlier than he was required to. Dykstra was eager and ready. The Phillies also had new uniforms, signaling a new era. But spring training would prove to be a huge let down for the energetic team. They would finish with a 9-19 record. Though no one was betting on this team just yet, their spring training record did nothing to sway their determination. And apparently it did not cause interest in the team to be effected. When opening day at the Vet finally arrived, 60.431 would be in attendance - the largest in franchise history. Hopes were clearly incredibly high.

The Phillies were facing the Chicago Cubs and starting pitcher Greg Maddux. In the bottom of the first inning leadoff hitter Lenny Dykstra would catch an inside pitch on his left wrist. Though he would get on base and then score on John Kruk's two out single the reality of the hit Dykstra took on his wrist would soon become unavoidable. An x-ray on his left hand would show that he had a fracture. Commenting on the situation, John kruk would say he didn't know if they were in trouble but if so, "We're really going to have to suck it up". That is exactly what the Phillies would have to do.

The sting of Dykstra's absence would be followed up with another blow. Veteran Dale Murphy would be put on the disabled list due to bothersome shoulder pain. At the end of May, Murphy learned he would need arthroscopic surgery. To make matters even worse rookie pitcher Kyle Abbott was 0-7. But May did end with the Phillies number 3, 4, and 5 hitters John Kruk, Dave Hollins and Darren Daulton finishing with 100-plus RBI total between them.

The Phillies were managing without Lenny Dykstra, Dale Murphy was hoping for a return and the club was now joined by hard hitting right handed pitcher Ben Rivera from Atlanta. There were some exciting moments just ahead and Phillies fans would see "Macho Row" heat up. Of course the difficult times were also definitely not over and the team would have to do their very best to stay afloat.

Philly Baseball Insider Top Stories