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After 1,000th win, Bryce Harper’s speech made Joe Girardi tear up


Wednesday evening may have been just Joe Girardi’s 12th win as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, but it was the 1,000th overall victory for a manager who may someday have a plaque in Cooperstown.

Joe Girardi is one of the most accomplished managers of his era. (John Adams/Icon Sportswire)

After Brandon Workman held on for dear life in the bottom of the ninth inning of a win over the Washington Nationals, J.T. Realmuto handed Girardi the game ball. The Phillies also had a mini celebration for the 55-year-old manager in the clubhouse at Nationals Park.

“The players did a really nice thing for me – they got me a wonderful bottle of champagne with 1,000 wins [written] on it,” Girardi said after Wednesday evening’s victory. “I’m very thankful, and Bryce [Harper] made a great speech and it brought a tear to my eye because I just feel that I’ve really been blessed.”

Harper, no stranger to celebrating at Nationals Park, joked after the game that his speech centered around an apology for striking out in the bottom of the first inning by bunting the ball foul with two strikes. The 27-year-old right fielder then got pretty serious in speaking about his admiration for Girardi.

“Everybody knows the type of person Joe is,” Harper said. “He’s been in the game for a long time with the Marlins, Yankees and us…and he’s a great manager…he’s a great person…he’s a great family man as well. 1,000 wins, that’s an incredible milestone and an incredible feat.

“I think he turned it around as well and said he wouldn’t be here without the players, because he wouldn’t have any wins or losses without us as well. He’s always giving back to us…always giving back to his community and things like that, and for him to be able to come back to baseball and get win No. 1,000 with the Philadelphia Phillies is a pretty incredible feat. I’m just excited and happy for him as a person and as a manager.”

The consistently unflappable Aaron Nola pitched seven strong innings for the Phillies Wednesday, striking out eight batters and limiting the Nationals to two runs. All the while, Nola says he was unaware that his new manager was aiming for the 1,000th victory of his career.

“Yeah, man, I didn’t know it was his 1,000th win – that’s a lot of wins,” Nola told reporters after the game. “His [Harper] heartfelt speech was awesome. Everybody knows Joe…his resume…he’s been in the game for a long time…it’s a milestone…it’s a pretty good accomplishment. We’re happy for him, I’m glad I’ve gotten to play under him…he’s a great manager and a great person. I’m looking forward to staying with him for a while.”

Girardi, now in his 12th season as a major league manager, said after the game that he’s learned wins at this level are never easy. That has been proven true in two climactic victories in the last three days. It will likely be proven true again tomorrow, as the Phillies face off with three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer. For at least a few hours, though, Girardi will enjoy one of the biggest accomplishments in a managerial career that’s already earned the respect of everyone in the game.

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