Until March 27, we’ll be counting down the 50 greatest Phillies games of the last 50 years. This is 50 of 50.
And this is No. 15.
THE DATE: Oct. 13, 1993
THE GAME: Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves, Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
THE STAKES: Game 6, National League Championship Series (Phillies lead 3-2)
THE GREAT: Of all the things the Phillies had provided me in life, this night would prove to be something different.
Still learning the ropes as a freshman at Elizabethtown College in Lancaster County, the chance for my favorite team to clinch a trip to the World Series somehow turned into the perfect way to assess my new social situation. The people gathered with me in front of the TV in the Brisner dorm lounge, hanging on every pitch, whipping themselves into a frenzy with each run, hit or even ball … those would be my people. They would be the ones I’d want to hang out with. That game served as my own personal bellwether to judge who I should be friends with in college.
So while the Phillies were knocking around the best pitcher in baseball (Braves starter Greg Maddux), I was mentally hunting for friends. When Dave Hollins took Maddux deep, I was able to establish some credibility as someone who knew their Phillies stuff by relaying a story I had heard about Hollins hating Maddux’s guts. While Mickey Morandini was chasing Maddux from the game with a two-run, sixth-inning triple that gave the Phillies a 6-1 lead, I was talking to other Phillies fans I barely knew about our low points as fans. Because, you know, that’s what Phillies fans do when they’re about to make the World Series.
And when Mitch Williams was striking out Bill Pecota, throwing his glove into the air and embracing Dutch Daulton after the 6-3 win, I was hugging people I barely knew but would soon know as some of my good friends, bringing each other beers as the overwhelmed RAs in the dorm looked the other way.
For years, the Phillies had provided me with joy, hope, despair and everything in between.
On this night, the Phillies provided me with lifelong friends.