The date was October 2nd, 2008. Pitcher Brett Myers had worked himself out of a first inning, bases loaded jam, giving up only one run. It was an important run for the Milwaukee Brewers as ace pitcher C.C. Sabathia was about to take the mound. Sabathia, a late season pick up for the Brewers, had put the team on his shoulders and dragged them into the playoffs. Sure, a one run lead for the mighty Milwaukee giant should have been enough and the Brewers should have had the NLDS series tied. Unfortunately for Sabathia and the rest of the Brewers, October 2nd, 2008 was the night that The Flyin Hawaiian, Mr. Shane Victorino, decided to have his coming out party. Victorino was about to become a household name, not only in Philadelphia but across the entire country.
When we as fans vote for all-stars, some of us legitimately pick the best player at their respective position. Others (like myself) fill out two cards, one all Phillies and one all legitimate all-stars. Still others fill out one card containing only Phillies. For those of us who spend the time filling out the legitimate card, what are the parameters of our final decision? What time period are we voting for, the first half of the current season or should we take into consideration the second half of the previous year and postseason? To neglect the previous year and the postseason is to short change a players total body of work since the previous All-Star Game.
Victorino’s pivotal first career grand slam wasn’t his only big stroke of the 2008 postseason. We all remember where we were when Victorino hit the game tying two-run home run against the L.A. Dodgers which set the stage for Matt Stairs’ glory. It also helped us to take a 3-1 series lead in a series that we would eventually win. If not for Victorino, the Dodgers may have tied the series at two and who knows if we are having our Halloween party on Broad Street or not. As nostalgic as I could become over Victorino’s playoff glory, his overall numbers in the playoffs last season were not overwhelming, but put him in a clutch situation and he delivered. Every time.
So why should we vote for Shane Victorino? Consider his numbers as opposed to other outfielders; he is tied for first in hits and runs scored, sixth in batting average among outfielders with a minimum of 250 at-bats, and tied for tenth in on base percentage. Add to that a solid gold glove year and Victorino helps to anchor what is one of the best “up the middle” in all of baseball.
Let’s be real clear. Shane Victorino does not deserve to start on this years All-Star team. He is having an all-star caliber year and deserves to make the roster as the final player chosen. His numbers are borderline but his intangibles put him over the edge. Shane Victorino is the engine that drives this 2009 Phillies squad. If you take into consideration his second half stats from last season and the post season, there is no doubt that Victorino is a bonafide all-star. Out of the five players in the running for the final spot, all are worthy of making this year’s team. They have all had a solid year. It’s unfortunate that there is only one spot left, but that one spot should go to Victorino, not just for his first half this year, but for his complete body of work since last seasons All-Star Game. Since then, he has been one of the best outfielders in baseball.