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. 22.
THE DATE: Oct. 6, 1993
THE GAME: Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves, Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
THE STAKES: Game 1, National League Championship Series
THE GREAT: Why are we even bothering writing this?
Everyone remembers this game and the extremely visceral images it provided that are stuck in the heads of every Phillies fan over 30.
We remember the sound, that lovely, thunderous sound, the Vet made when starting pitcher Curt Schilling struck out the side in the first, then the first two batters of the second.
We can still see Schilling – turning the ball over to a running-on-fumes Mitch Williams after a brilliant eight-inning, 10-strikeout performance that helped stake the Phillies to a 4-3 lead in the ninth – slouched over in the dugout with a towel over his head because he just couldn’t bear the thought of watching Williams muck up his gem. Which he did in one of the most Mitch Williams-y games Mitch Williams ever pitched for the Phillies.
He walked lead-off hitter Bill Pecota on four pitches to start the ninth, and none of those pitches were very close. We remember the throw, the wild, off-target throw, third baseman Kim “Inserted for Defensive Purposes” Batiste tossed trying to turn an easy double play. But Williams would get out of it with just one run scored, sending the game to extra innings.
“Wild Thing” worked around more 10th-inning trouble, striking out Tony Tarasco to leave men on second and third.
We all know the bottom of the 10th. After a John Kruk double, a seemingly shell-shocked Batiste – who subbed in the late innings all year for Dave Hollins at third, so let’s not bother going down the “He shouldn’t have been in there” road once again – scorched a grounder down the left field line, scoring Kruk, giving the Phillies perhaps the most important win of the series and forever securing his spot in Philadelphia sports history as perhaps the its greatest instant redemption story.