Throughout the month, Phillies Nation will be counting down the Top 25 Phillies Moments of 2009.
On April 19, a 4-6 Phillies team faced a 9-3 San Diego Padres club. Nobody was sure what to expect from Raul Ibanez, who signed a three-year, $31.5 million contract and replaced a fan favorite. Ibanez was off to a hot start; he was batting .375 with four homers and eight runs batted in through the first ten games. But, April 19th was the day that Phillies fans fell in love with him.
Starter Chan Ho Park allowed four runs in five innings. Two of those runs were at fault of Ibanez, who missed a diving catch that resulted in a two-run triple for Edgar Gonzalez. It’s safe to see he made up for it.
Trailing 4-0 after five, Chase Utley’s two run home run and Jimmy Rollins’ solo shot put the Phillies within one, but they were still trailing headed into the ninth. Luckily for the Phillies, they didn’t have to face an unavailable Heath Bell, who led the majors in saves at the time.
It was the perfect timing for Ibanez’s fifth home run of the year. With a man on, Ibanez swung at Edwin Moreno’s changeup: “Hit in the air. Deep to right field! Fair or foul? Phillies win it!”
It was only April, but it was a huge win for the Phillies and a huge day for Ibanez. It was just the beginning of loud “RAUUUL” chants heard throughout Citizens Bank Park all season long.
With a crowd screaming his first name and a shaving cream pie to the face, I’d say this was the day that Ibanez “officially” became a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.