The World Champion Phillies and the Road to Victory
Baseball is a season of peaks and valleys.
The Phillies were full of both in 1980. As the season rolled on, they hit their lowest valley losing four straight to Pittsburgh in early August. They went on from there to win 36 and lose 19 to finish with their highest peak in their 98-year history- WORLD CHAMPIONS.
Dallas Green, in a blistering speech in Pittsburgh, said he wouldn’t let the Phillies quit. They didn’t. The team which fought foes, the manager, the media and even sometimes teammates began to put it all together.
Almost every game was difficult. They won a lot of come-from-behind efforts and were dubbed the “Comeback Kids” and the “Cardiac Kids.” The games down the stretch and then the playoffs and World Series were described as nail-biting, throat-clutching, gut-wrenching, nerve-wracking and heart-stopping. The wins left fans bone weary.
The 1980 Phillies won six in a row at the most critical time of the year- four vs. Chicago and two in Montreal- to win the East.
Nothing will ever top the exciting playoffs, a triumph over a gutty bunch called the Houston Astros.
Kansas City, which disposed of the mighty New York Yankees in the American League playoffs, was favored to win the World Series. As everyone knows by now, the Phillies dumped the experts.
The fans put on the most warm, sincere and unruly celebration ever. There was no violence as had been the case in many other cities.
Over a million happy fans were on hand to honor the champions the day after the Series ended. The 90-minute parade took the Champions from Market Street to Broad Street, south on Broad Street past Veterans Stadium into a jam-packed Kennedy Stadium.
It was a most colorful event. The sun shone brightly, the sky was a brilliant blue. The fans were all decked out in the Phillies’ red and white colors. They were everywhere- lined up elbow-to-elbow along the parade route, standing on top of buildings, hanging out of windows, sitting on top of traffic lights.
Red and white Phillies pennants were waved everywhere as the fans chanted “We’re No. 1” in saluting their heroes.
Baseball, the season of peaks and valleys, had put the city of Philadelphia on the highest peak... sitting atop the world.
Mgsr. Salvatore J. Adamo, who writes a column on religious subjects in the Philadelphia Daily News, said it best: “As the Phillies went, I went, together with millions of others. We all felt the pressure, the weariness, the frustration, and finally the exaltation. That is why baseball is the premier American sport. It captures the spirit of America minus the fury and cruelty that sometimes has marred our history as a nation. Unlike football and hockey, it is not a game of violence and viciousness. It summons strength and skill to outperform an opponent, not to lay him low. Consequently, baseball has a wider appeal- truly, it’s the great American pastime.