The '92 Phillies: The Beginning of a Dream

It was now August and the Phillies were facing reality: they would not be contenders for the National League East. So instead , the Phillies would try to find some enjoyment in playing the role of the spoilers. There wasn't much to get the boys excited, so playing against a contender, like the Braves, was something they tried to look forward to. "They get a little more up for those," Phillies manager Jim Fregosi said.

For all intents and purposes the Phillies did have reasons to be proud. With seven starts each remaining, pitchers Terry Mulholland and Curt Schilling both figured to exceed the 200-inning mark. Schilling's accomplishment was truly remarkable - 170 1/3 innings pitched - considering he had never thrown more than 75 innings in a big league season before. Mulholland and Schilling along with catcher Darren Daulton's quest for the National League RBI crown, which would make him just the fourth catcher in history to win the RBI title, provided some "points of light" for Phillies fans.

In mid-September, Daulton would get his 100th RBI. He was the first Phillie to bring in 100 runs in a season since Mike Schmidt in 1987. He would extend it past the hundred mark a week later in a game against the Expos. In that same game Tommy Greene, in his second start of the season since coming off of the DL, held the Expos to two runs in six innings. The Phillies would win later that night and they would all celebrate Daulton's accomplishment in the clubhouse by drinking Dom Perignon- out of paper cups.

At the end of September, Phillies fans would be treated to a little more excitement courtesy of one of the Phillies tough guys. In the tenth inning of a game at the Vet against the Cubs, Bob Scanlan would throw two pitches that would hit one of the Phillies; the first time it was Daulton, the second time it was Dave Hollins, who had been nicknamed "Mikey" by his teammates because of his frequently flaring temper, and Hollins was not amused. He got up after taking the hit and proceeded to sprint to the mound attacking the Cubs reliever. The benches of course would clear and the Phils went on to win the game.

The Phillies also got word that Daulton, Mariano Duncan and Mitch Williams would all be back in 1993 and Lenny Dykstra was hopeful about his health in the following season as well. These guys were not giving up despite the dismal finish. John Kruk, however, was finished before the season - a season he likened to root canal - was even over. After aggravating a shoulder injury he learned he would need arthroscopic surgery and would not play again until 1993. Though the Phillies would continue to play hard and fight their way into a tie for fifth in the National League East. On the final day of the season though, a loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium would sink the Phillies back to last place.

As Kruk and Mulholland headed home for surgery and the rest of the team scattered for the winter, Phillies management started to work on improving the club for 1993.

In mid-November it was confirmed that the Phillies protected only five pitchers: Kyle Abbott, Tommy Greene, Terry Mulholland, Ben Rivera and Curt Schilling. Right-hander Andy Ashby was omitted while first baseman Ricky Jordan, shortstops Kim Batiste and Juan Bell, third baseman Dave Hollins, first baseman John Kruk and second baseman Mickey Morandini all would return. Some of them had fallen short of expectations, some of them were in the prime of their careers and some of the Phillies picks would really get people talking.

On November 17th, the Phillies completed a deal with the Florida Marlins for Danny Jackson who would be awarded an instant spot in the starting rotation. The team was in need of a left-hander and Jackson was chosen. Jackson was 23-8 in 1988, but his recent record was shaky. The Phillies looked at his number of starts that past year - 34 with 201 1/3 innings pitched - and put their faith in the future Philadelphia favorite.

The most entertaining news of the winter was another addition to the Phillies bullpen; Larry Anderson.

The former Phillie right-hander had been released seven years before by the Phillies because they thought he was too old. The previous year he had been with the San Diego Padres, and landed on the disabled list three times. One of those times he was hurt just getting out of a hot tub. Though this was a pick that had Phillies fans scratching their heads Jim Fergosi was confident in the decision. "He adds depth and experience to our bullpen. He fits one of our needs, a setup guy for Mitch Williams." Anderson had been effective when healthy with a 2.22 ERA and was especially good against right-handers, who batted just .184 against him.

The winter signings were a disappointment to many, however, and the Phillies organization still didn't seem to be spending the money to acquire any genuine stars. There was little optimism about their upcoming season after the trades were complete. Nobody could imagine that a team that had suffered so many injuries and seemed without any definite stars would do any better than they did in 1992. Nobody could have imagined they would go as far as they did the following year and become as gloriously memorable as they are today.

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