2008 Phandom 25

The 2008 Phandom 25: Werth x3

Last year I wrote a series of posts chronicling 2007’s 20 greatest moments in Phillies Phandom. Each game had a special “wow” factor, whether it was an insane comeback, an awesome feat or a trademark moment. And each game was a Phillies win, of course.

For this year, clearly, you know the top moment. But ranking the rest was very difficult. Do I rank the NLCS second just because? Is the NL East clinching victory as important as other postseason moments? I used some heavy discretion, but I believe I came up with a pretty solid list.

Each moment has an attached video link, if you’d like to go back and reminisce.

Like the 100 Greatest Phillies countdown, I’ll be posting one per day. I swear, you won’t get any more countdowns this offseason.


14. Werth’s big bombs
Date: May 16, 2008

Jayson Werth was acquired in December 2006 — a minor move by all means. He was a player with a history of multiple injuries, having untapped potential somewhere in his athletic frame. The Phillies saw that potential — just as the Dodgers did when they took him — and hoped he could contribute in 2007.

He did. As the fourth outfielder, Werth was perfect. He hit eight homers and carried a respectable .298 average. But when Aaron Rowand departed for San Francisco, and Geoff Jenkins struggled early in 2008, the weight on Werth’s shoulders grew heavier. He had to take on the role of everyday starter — May 16, 2008 showed he could do that in spades.

It was a rain evening in Philadelphia, and the Phils were set to play odd rival Toronto. Werth went to work quickly, with his first at bat, in the second inning. The first home run, off David Purcey, was a strong-man’s blast. It fell into right field, clearing the fence off an outside fastball that Werth dug to hit. The three-run shot put the Phillies ahead 3-0.

One inning later, the Phils started pounding Purcey out of the game. Jimmy Rollins laid down a supreme bunt to start the inning. While Shane Victorino lost a rundown after a walk, Chase Utley responded with a single. Ryan Howard singled to score Rollins. Pat Burrell walked to load the bases, bringing Werth to the plate. And he delivered.

It was a no-doubt blast, landing a few rows back and bringing the fans to an uproar. Werth came out for a curtain call after the grand slam, putting a nice period on his seven-RBI evening.

But it wasn’t finished.

Werth faced Jesse Litsch with nobody on in the fifth. He saw an inside changeup and jumped on it, sending the ball deep into left field. This was a traditional power hitter’s homer, the kind that Werth hit with ease in 2008. The solo shot gave Werth eight RBI, tying the franchise record. What a show.

And he got a chance to make history, joining Mike Schmidt, Chuck Klein and Ed Delahanty in franchise lore. Brian Tallet had the occupation of facing Werth in the seventh, and he pitched it like it was game seven of the World Series. Firing off sure balls and off-plate strikes, he had Werth guessing and the fans booing crazily. Finally, Werth connected with a sore pitch, and popped it lightly to first base in foul ground. Despite the fans’ best effort of jeering the ball away, it was caught, and Werth was retired. He wouldn’t get another chance.

Still, an amazing feat, and one that illustrated Werth’s breakout 2008 season. He finished with 24 home runs, 67 runs batted in and a .273 average, filling the void that appeared when Rowand left.



  1. Brooks

    January 10, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    I had my concerns about Jayson Werth last year, my friends still give me a hard time about it. I figured he just plain ran out of gas, too much of a load to handle – now, I (like most others I would assume) look for a breakthrough year from Jayson, hitting closer to .300 as well as knocking in more runs and displaying more power.
    What a fit for the Phils, he is firmly entrenched in our hearts with his work on the field and off.

  2. Chapps

    January 11, 2009 at 12:01 am

    This led to me going out and adding him to all 6 of my fantasy teams, and I wasn’t disappointed. He had a great year and I hope he gets better.

  3. andrew

    January 11, 2009 at 12:06 am

    A gamer.
    The phils had a roster of gamers last year and thats why they won it all.
    I would take him over the Thome or Abreau or Beltrans of the world any day. Talent doesnt win titles its a combination of talent and guts and heart.
    Also saw his mom interviewed during a game last year. 🙂

  4. Joe O'Phillie

    January 11, 2009 at 12:36 am

    He will have a chance for an all-star season in the 5 hole this year. I think he has the talent for it. I would not be surprised to see Werth end up with more RBIs than Burrell and comparable homers and slugging.

  5. Bruce

    January 11, 2009 at 1:51 am

    Well now…. since Joe O’OPhillie mentioned Burrell, I can see Pat The Bat having his finest year yet with Tampa Bay. With his probable role as DH, he will have more at bats in a hitter friendly park. Consequently, achieving his personal best in HRs, RBIs, BBs and OBP. He will also have intangible assets for a young team with his experience and leadership.

  6. Brett

    January 11, 2009 at 2:14 am

    Werth is my favorite Phillie. Between the facial hair, the ridiculously long at bats, and the spontaneous stolen bases, he’s a true ballplayer and a true Phillie. I’d sign this guy for another couple years if given half a chance.

  7. KidCarnivore

    January 11, 2009 at 3:14 am

    As a minor aside, a comical part of this game was when Harry said something along the lines of “…and in the batter’s box is Scotty Rolen who may not hear the boos now that he’s in the AL…oh, I guess I was wrong”.

  8. KidCarnivore

    January 11, 2009 at 3:17 am

    Oh, and Jayson staring down Howard Eskin doesn’t hurt his folk-god status in Philly, either.

  9. Manny

    January 11, 2009 at 4:24 am

    Bruce, don’t forget that Pat will be facing some of the best pitchers out there in the AL East.

  10. scot

    January 11, 2009 at 9:59 am

    what is the werth/eskin story, kid carnivore?

  11. Brooks

    January 11, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    I feel that tampa will realize their mistake about 1/2 way through the season. These month-long slumps that last for nearly 4 months out of the 6 month season are not easy to take.
    Sure, I hope for the best for Pat but if Pat shows his normal pattern of hot, very cold for very long periods of time – will he be given a by like we did here in Philly? Or will Tampa expect something more significant from Pat?

  12. TwoTonsOfIrony

    January 11, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    I think Burrell may be out of gas, and maybe Ruben knew that. 08 being his contract year I think he prepared for it and we saw the results in first few months, but then the slump, I believe, was him running out of gas in his 33 going on 44 body.

  13. KidCarnivore

    January 11, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    After Manuel and Eskin got into their little scuffle in ’07, Eskin went on the radio to mock Manuel and then mention that the whole time, Werth was staring him down. He also referred to Werth as “a marginal major-leaguer”.

    Personally, I believe Eskin is a marginal human being.

  14. Phillies Phan SC

    January 11, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Eskin – The Burger King?

  15. Don M

    January 12, 2009 at 12:54 am

    Eskin the guy who has Andy Reid’s most private parts in his mouth… and sits on the Eagles sidelines during games instead of in the press box like a normal media member??

    Werth is pretty bad-ass, now that he’s a full-time starter, Phillies fans will fall in love with the way he plays.. and I hope they sign him for a few years!

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