Starting tonight the Philadelphia Phillies will begin a weekend-long tribute to the lovable bunch of wild and whacky throwbacks and castoffs that surprised the baseball world and would one day serve as the inspiration for one Phillies-centric blog. This weekend the Phillies will honor the 1993 National League champion Phillies, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the team many Phillies fans around my age fell in love with. The alumni festivities kicked off last night with the official retirement tribute to former closer Brad Lidge (man, it's been five years since his final pitch to clinch the 2008 World Series), but tonight the real fun begins with honoring Curt Schilling as the newest member of the Phillies Wall of Fame.
— Phillies (@Phillies) August 2, 2013
On Sunday the Phillies will welcome back the rest of the team and Philadelphia will have a chance to pay them all tribute. The star of the day will be former catcher Darren Daulton, who told Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic on Thursday he will be on hand and is feeling good. There should not be a dry eye in the stadium when Daulton walks out this weekend. It is Phillies tradition for all living wall of fame members to return to the ballpark for the annual ceremony to induct the newest member. I am curious if Daulton will be at the stadium tonight for the ceremony to induct Schilling, who he caught for during 1993, or if Daulton will politely stay absent to keep the focus on Schilling on this night.
I have said this before but it is worth repeating. The 1993 Phillies are the team I credit with getting me interested in sports in general. This particular team was the one who finally gave me a reason to check the newspaper on a daily basis, reading about the sport, players, playoff chase and taking a deeper look at the stats and more. The next year Penn State went undefeated and thus my sports interests were locked in for a lifetime for me. It was the success of those two teams that had me latching on to sports in general and since I have spent years following those two and the other local teams while also getting a broader sense for the entire sports world. I imagine everybody has one team they credit for first getting them interested in sports. For me, it was the 1993 Phillies. It is probably a safe bet to say I am not alone on this, and I would love to hear form you if you have a similar story to tell (leave a comment below).
I have many fond memories of that 1993 team and could go on and on about them, but I'll be very brief with some of my memories and allow you to expand on your memories in the comment section below.
John Kruk vs. Randy Johnson: Perhaps one of the most famous All-Star Game at-bat of the past 25 years. It was at this point I realized the all-star game means nothing and is all just for fun.
Who needs sleep? The Phillies and Padres played well in to the night and ended a rain-soaked double header just as Philadelphia was getting ready to wake up.
Phillies rout Rockies: The Phillies gave the expansion Rockies a rough beating, hitting five home runs in an 18-1 rout.
Dying to know what was happening at summer camp: I went to camp one time as a kid, and I had no desire to be there. In the days before constant Internet access, I was out of the loop with what was happening with the Phillies. As soon as I was picked up from camp after one of the worst weeks of my life, I had my parents fill me in on every game I missed.
Attending NLCS Game 6: To this day, attending Game Six of the 1993 NLCS remains one of my top sports memories of all time.
Being stunned in that other Game Six: I watched the final innings of the World Series in bed and was left stunned watching Joe Carter's home run go flying over the left field wall. I was stunned so much I actually recall thinking "Wait, the Phillies get a chance to score again, right?" It was a devastating blow to a wild ride that I will never forget. At the time I cried, I admit. I was sad, and still wonder what could have been, but I look back on that entire team with nothing but happy memories today.