Four years before his MLB debut, Phil Gosselin sat in the nosebleeds section of Citizens Bank Park and pictured his future.
The Malvern Prep graduate was still a sophomore at the University of Virginia with lofty goals. But as he watched his favorite team, the Philadelphia Phillies, play in the 2009 World Series against the New York Yankees, Gosselin made it his mission to play in that stadium one day.
“I never thought I’d be able to play for the Phillies,” Gosselin told Phillies Nation. “But through hard work and luck, I got there. I’m definitely very thankful for the couple of years I spent there.”
Gosselin, 33, played in 83 games for the Phillies between the 2019 and 2020 seasons. During that time, he slashed .255/.312/.363 in 157 at-bats. He spent a lot of 2019 in Triple-A, but still had more at-bats as a pinch hitter than any other player on the team.
In 2020, Gosselin faced two major challenges: staying on the Phillies’ roster while also keeping up with his grades. Unsure if the 2020 season would happen because of COVID-19, Gosselin re-enrolled in online classes at UVA during that season. This led to due date conflicts and many interesting emails to his professors.
“My professors didn’t understand what I was saying when I said ‘I had a game,’” Gosselin said. “They thought it was just an intramural sport or something. I just wanted to be another student, so I wouldn’t really tell everybody.”
But Gosselin is glad he did it. Thanks to his classes, he wasn’t distracted by bad games because he was too busy worrying about finishing his next essay.
“I wanted to finish my degree,” Gosselin said. “I was only doing baseball and school. When I wasn’t on the field, I was concentrating on writing papers and taking tests.”
He earned the nickname “Barrels” in 2020 Summer Camp, making the team’s roster after consistently putting the ball in play as a non-roster invitee. Following the Phillies 2020 season opening loss to the Miami Marlins, Gosselin got a chance to start the second game of the season as the DH. He rewarded manager Joe Girardi by turning in his first career two-home run game in a 7-1 victory:
As he worked on his degree, Gosselin had a career year for the Phillies in 2020, posting a .726 OPS in 39 games.
Gosselin graduated in May of 2021 after taking two classes in the spring. His newfound free time allows him to focus on the next stage of his career. He played for the Los Angeles Angels in 2021 –– where he hit .261 and drove in 47 runs –– but was non-tendered by them on Nov. 30. Determined to make another MLB roster, Gosselin lives with his girlfriend in Nashville and trains every day at Vanderbilt University.
“I’m confident that I’ll get something and it’ll be a good opportunity,” Gosselin said.
Gosselin is no stranger to free agency. He’s played for seven different teams throughout his 9-year MLB career. Even with the current MLB lockout, Gosselin isn’t worried about finding another team.
“Being a free agent is standard for me,” Gosselin said. “I haven’t signed until late in the offseason every year anyway. So [even with the lockout], it’s not really that different.”
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