Well good for Philadelphia, they finally have a legit shot at winning a title for the first time in years (realistically the Eagles had no shot against the Pats in 2005). The Phillies advanced to the World Series last night with a 5-1 win over the Dodgers, giving them a 4-1 win in the series. It’s Philadelphia’s first pennant since 1993 and now the city without a title since the 1983 76ers has hope once again. The problem with the 2008 Phillies is that the country as a whole doesn’t really know much about them. All season we’ve had endless stories about the Chicago Cubs centry of suffering, the Boston Red Sox and their “Manny Drama”, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ improbable run, the collapse of the New York Yankees and the rollercoaster season of the New York Mets, but we haven’t heard much about the Fightin’ Phills.
So we’re here to introduce you to the Phillies with some fun facts about their entire roster. Enjoy.
Clay Condrey – Condrey attended baseball powerhouse McNeese State University, and made his Major League debut in 2002 for the San Diego Padres. He was also designated for assignment by the Phillies three times last season in the course of having five stints with the Big League club.
Chad Durbin – Contrary to popular belief, Durbin is not related to Illinois Senator Dick Durbin or Phillies minor league pitcher J.D. Durbin.
Scott Eyre – Eyre found that he had ADHD in 2001 and has been on medication for it ever since. He claims the diagnosis has turned his life around. The 36-year-old lefty also set a Cubs franchise record this year by tossing 33 consecutive scoreless appearances. A month and a half later he was designated for assignment before being traded to the Phillies.
Brad Lidge – Lidge once had his soul ripped out and pissed on by Albert Pujols. And I could watch this clip on a loop all day and never get tired of it. Not because I have any particular disdain for Lidge or any love for Pujols, but because, well, damn.
Ryan Madson – Madson graduated from Valley View High School in Riverside California with a 3.5 GPA in 1998. His Uncle, Steve Barr, was in the Red Sox and Rangers farm systems from 1969-1975.
J.C. Romero – In 2007 Romero signed a 1-year deal with the Red Sox but after appearing in 23 games and posting a 3.15 ERA he was released on June 9. He was picked up by the Phillies on June 23 and proceeded to appear in 51 games, posting a remarkable 1.24 ERA. The lefty specialist continued his solid play this year, appearing in 81 games with a 2.75 ERA.
Joe Blanton – Blanton attended the University of Kentucky and led the Southeastern Conference with 133 strikeouts in 2002 while posting a 4.59 ERA. Yes, that’s the best I could come up with for Joe Blanton. I bet he’s a riot at parties.
Cole Hamels – The youngest player on the team at 24, Hamels is married to a former reality show contestant, Heidi Strobel. Strobel, a former Survivor: The Amazon contestant, placed fifth on the show. She also agreed to get naked for peanut butter and Oreo cookies during one of the competitions and was featured in Playboy. By comparison, when Jamie Moyer was 24, Walter Cronkite was the world’s biggest reality TV star.
J.A. Happ – Happ is actually the first Major League player from Peru. OK, fine, it’s Peru, Illinois.
Jamie Moyer – The oldest active player in Major League Baseball at 45-years-old, Moyer was actually alive when President Kennedy was shot. He played with Red Sox manager Terry Francona on the ’86 Cubs. Also on that Cubs team was Dick Ruthven, who played for the 1980 Phils. So yes, Moyer has a direct connection to the Phillies’ last title.
Brett Myers – Myers was once arrested and charged with assault after punching his wife, Kim, on a downtown Boston street after an argument. He was also part of one of the greatest player-reporter confrontations in sports history.
Carlos Ruiz – Ruiz was born in David, Panama, and represented his native country in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006.
Eric Bruntlett – A 1996 graduate of West Harrison High School in West Lafayette, Indiana (home of that other Cow College) Bruntlett was a two-time All-Indiana selection in baseball and football. He graduated from Stanford University with a degree in economics.
Greg Dobbs – Dobbs graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2001 with a degree in Sociology.
Pedro Feliz – His name translated to English is “Pete Happy”.
Ryan Howard – Howard has a twin brother, and played trombone in high school. He’s also a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and on June 27, 2007 became the fastest player to 100 home runs in Major League History.
Jimmy Rollins – Rollins’ cousin is former Major Leaguer Tony Tarasco. Rollins also owns his own music label Bay Sluggas Inc. He has also recorded his own original hip-hop track entitled “Wish List” which was included on Major League Baseball’s charity CD, “Oh Say, Can You Sing?” Howard’s trombone is not heard on this track.
Chase Utley – Utley grew up in Long Beach, California and his Little League Manager was former MVP Jeff Burroughs. He also attended Long Beach Poly High School where he was teammates with Milton Bradley.
Pat Burrell – As a junior at Bellarmine College Preparator High School, Burrell (who starred in both football and baseball) competed against Tom Brady, who quarterbacked rival Junipero Serra High.
Geoff Jenkins – Jenkins was often mistaken for Brett Favre during his time with the Milwaukee Brewers. He even had people offer to pay for his meals. He’s never been mistaken for Donovan McNabb.
Matt Stairs – Stairs lives in Bangor, Maine and coaches hockey for John Bapst Memorial High School in the offseason. Along with Larry Walker, he’s one of only two Canadian players to top 200 career home runs.
So Taguchi – He’s still in Major League Baseball.
Shane Victorino – Victorino was twice selected in the Rule V Draft. Once by the Padres in 2002 – before being returned to the Dodgers – then again in 2004 by the Phillies, who retained him. (You already knew he was Hawaiian.)
Jayson Werth – Werth is the grandson of Ducky Schofield and nephew of Dick Schofield, both Major League infielders and stepson of of Dennis Werth, who played parts of four seasons with the Royals and Yankees from 1979-1982. His parents also misspelled his name at birth.