Sunday, September 23, 2012

Greatest Overachievers: 1993 Phillies

I make no attempt to conceal that I am a lifelong fan of the Fightin Phils.
I grew up during the glory years watching some really solid teams from 1976 through 1983 (including two trips to the World Series and a world championship).  Those were great teams...then stars of my youth got old and retired and we had some not so great teams (from the mid 1980's through the early 1990's).

We hit bottom in 1992 -  the Phillies lost 92 games and finished in dead last in the NL East.  There was not a great deal of optimism that the Phils would do much better in 1993.  But 1993 was a magical season - a worst to first Cinderella story - a season that included 97 wins, a playoff victory over the 104 win and heavily favored Braves, and a trip to the World Series.

What made this possible?  Certainly luck had something to do with it.  But more important was a sense of team - an unselfish style of play that allowed the Phils to platoon 3 positions (second base, right field and left field) with fantastic success.  I was recently reminded of the incredible statistics these platoons generated by Mitch "the Wild Thing" Williams on MLB Tonight as he fondly remembered the 1993 team and compared it to this year's A's team.

Let's take a look at the platoons -

2nd Base - Mickey Morandini/Mariano Duncan
Although Duncan played several positions for the Phil's in 1993, he is primarily known as a secondbaseman. Between Duncan and Morandini they accounted for 106 RBI and scored 125 runs.

RF - Jim Eisenreich/Wes Chamberlain
A true platoon in right field, Chambelain hit .282 and Eisenreich batted .318 and between them they knocked in 99 runs.

LF - Milt "the Stilt" Thompson /Pete Incaviglia
Another true platoon (Inky only played against lefties), this platoon managed 28 homers and 133 RBI and scored 102 times.

Although perhaps not as well remembered as Dykstra, Daulton, Kruk, Schilling and the Wild Thing, these 6 platooners were truly the key to the Phillies 1993 magical season.

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