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The 2000’s: A Look Back

We’re a couple hours away from the new year, which will put an end to the decade of the 2000’s (2000-2009).  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 “Team of the 2000’s” 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 he had some pop.

1B: Ryan Howard (2004-2009): 732 G, .279 AVG, 222 HR, .961 OPS

Jim Thome was great, but he was only a Phillie 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 power. He won the Home Run Derby in 2006 and became the fastest player to hit 100 home runs. Howard has repeatedly carried his team in September. 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, 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 a typical leadoff hitter’s on-base percentage, 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 over the past 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 2000’s, 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, jumping from four steals to 37, 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 was always questioned as to whether he’d “risk his body” defensively. However, he had a Gold Glove, and was a two-time All Star. Abreu won the Home Run 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 during the 2000’s.

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 Phillies’ starter of the decade. He spent some time in the bullpen, and was even demoted to the minors.  However, Myers was always determined and could be lights out. He struck out Wily Mo Pena to end the Phillies’ playoff drought in 2007. His curveball was his go-to strikeout pitch. Myers will be remembered for his hitting in the 2008 postseason when he drew a huge walk and had a few hits.  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 reaches the high 90’s on the radar gun, and his changeup is deadly.

UTIL: Jason Michaels (2001-2005): 383 G, .291 AVG, 21 HR, .822 OPS

I’m not going by the next best player here; I’m 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)

Manuel is one of the best managers in Phillies history. He led the team to three consecutive NL East crowns, two straight National League pennants and a World Series title.

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 drove in the only run of the game, and 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 , plowing into the wall and breaking several bones in face.

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 four game sweep of the New York Mets, walk-offs, shut outs, big trades, triple plays, as well as many other big moments.

What are your favorite Phillies’ memories of the 2000’s?  Happy New Year!

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