2010 is quickly approaching, putting an end to the decade of the 2000s. In 2000, the Phillies finished with a record of 65-97. My, how things have changed. The Phillies were oh so close to the postseason in 2005 and 2006, but finally got over the hump in 2007. They won the National League East in 2007, 2008, and 2009. They won the National League pennant in 2008 and 2009. In 2008, they hosted Philadelphia’s first championship parade since 1983 after beating the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series.
Also during the 2000’s, the Phillies moved from Veterans Stadium to their current home, Citizens Bank Park. The 2000’s didn’t start off so hot for the Phillies, but the end of the decade made for the best time to be Phillies fan.
Here is the Phillies All 2000s Roster:
C: Mike Lieberthal (2000-2006): 719 G, .279 AVG, 83 HR, .789 OPS
Lieberthal was injured a lot during his time in Philadelphia, but that doesn't remove the fact that he was the best Phillies catcher of the decade. Lieby was a fine defensive catcher and had some pop. I wouldn't be shocked if he's voted into the Phillies Wall of Fame in years to come.
1B: Ryan Howard (2004-2009): 732 G, .279 AVG, 222 HR, .961 OPS
Jim Thome was great, but he was only here for a few seasons. When Thome got hurt, this man filled in. Howard responded by winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 2005. A year later, he shattered Mike Schmidt's single season home run record (Schmidt: 48, Howard: 58), and won the National League Most Valuable Player Award. Howard is known to strike out, but he is also known for his home run power. He became the fastest player to hit 100 home runs. Howard has taken September's to a new level by carrying the team. In 2009, he became the NLCS MVP.
2B: Chase Utley (2003-2009): 891 G, .295 AVG, 161 HR, .902 OPS
Harry Kalas said it best: "Chase Utley, you are the man!" The second baseman was blocked by Placido Polanco for the first few years of his career, but once he got the chance to play everyday, he amazed everybody. Utley has started in four consecutive All Star Games. He has turned himself into today's best second baseman in baseball.
SS: Jimmy Rollins (2000-2009): 1406 G, .274 AVG, 146 HR, .768 OPS
Bold predictions, three time All Star, two gold gloves, 2007 MVP, best shortstop in Phillies history. What else is there to say about Mr. Rolllins? He might not have the on-base percentage of the typical leadoff hitter, but he's the Phillies spark plug.
3B: Scott Rolen (2000-2002): 434 G, .283 AVG, 82 HR, .884 OPS
*Stats include 55 games with St. Louis Cardinals in 2002.*
Third base was a weak spot for the Phillies this decade. David Bell, Wes Helms, and Pedro Feliz never lived up to their expectations. The Phillies had a franchise player in their hands, but they couldn't make him happy. Losing led to the departure of Rolen, who didn't leave on a pleasant note. Despite being here for only a couple years, Rolen put up impressive offensive numbers and played a solid third base.
LF: Pat Burrell (2000-2008): 1306 G, .257 AVG, 251 HR, .852 OPS
Philadelphia had a love-hate relationship with "Pat the Bat." Burrell had high expectations, especially after an incredible 2002. Then, he slumped. And he was booed. But, Burrell also had his high points. And he was cheered. During the 2000s, Burrell will remembered for his New York Met crushing.
CF: Shane Victorino (2005-2009): 607 G, .289 AVG, 44 HR, .787 OPS
The Flying Hawaiian made his first All Star team in 2009. He won two gold gloves. He improved his base running dramatically, going from four steals to 37 within a year, thanks to the help of Davy Lopes. Victorino has had his share of injuries, but like Utley, always gives 110%.
RF: Bobby Abreu (2000-2006): 1108 G, .300 AVG, 165 HR, .922 OPS
*Stats include 58 games with New York Yankees in 2006.*
Abreu's defense was always questionable as to whether he'd "risk his body." However, he had a Gold Glove, and was a two-time All Star. Abreu won the HR Derby in 2005, setting a record for most home runs in the first round. Abreu hit for average, reaching at least .300 in four of the six years he was with the Phillies in the 2000s.
SP: Brett Myers (2002-2009): 73-63, 4.40 ERA, 986 SO
Myers had his share of off the field issues, but he was arguably the best starter of the decade. He spent some time in the bullpen, and was even demoted to the minor leagues, but when Myers was on, he was terrific. He struck out Wily Mo Pena to end the Phillies playoff drought in 2007. His curveball could be nasty, and made him a strike out pitcher. Myers threw eight complete games in his tenure as a Phillie.
RP: Ryan Madson (2003-2009): 37-26, 3.83 ERA, 15 SV, 421 SO
Madson, like Myers, was converted from starter to reliever, but was most effective in the bullpen. Madson reached the high 90s on the radar gun, and his changeup was deadly.
UTIL: Jason Michaels (2001-2005): 383 G, .291 AVG, 21 HR, .822 OPS
We're not going by the next best player for the utility man. We're going by an actual utility player. J-Mike, a proud member of the "Bench Dawgs," provided a reliable right handed bat off the bench.
Manager: Charlie Manuel (810-447)
One of the best managers in Phillies history. Led team to NL East crowns in 2007, 2008, 2009; National League Pennants in 2008, 2009; World Series title in 2008.
Team: 2008 Phillies
As Charlie said "who's the World Champions?!"
Pitching Performance: Kevin Millwood's no-hitter in 2003.
Millwood no-hit the reigning NL Champs, the San Francisco Giants, led by Barry Bonds. Rickey Ledee made the final out in center field.
Home Run: Matt Stairs vs. Jonathan Broxton in 2008 National League Championship Series.
It still hasn't landed yet.
Defensive Play: Aaron Rowand's Catch in 2006
With the bases loaded, Xavier Nady sent a deep fly ball to center field. Rowand kept going back, and made a game-saving catch, plowing into the wall. He broke several bones in face, risking himself for his team.
Other Things To Remember:
There are things from the 2000's that you might want to forget, such as Johnny Damon's "heads up" base running, Utley's foul ball home run off the foul pole, and Craig Biggio's home run off Billy Wagner. Thankfully, there are plenty of memorable moments:
Jim Thome's 400th career home run, Jimmy Rollins' NLCS walk-off, Shane Victorino's NLDS grand slam off CC Sabathia, the passing of Harry Kalas, how the Phillies helped America heal after September 11, the 2007 four game sweep against the New York Mets, walk-offs, big trades, triple plays, as well as many other big moments.
What was your favorite moment?