The 20th century ended with a familiar result for the Philadelphia Phillies. Sure, 1999 had been another season with some outstanding performances. However, it was another year with a losing record (77-85 under manager Terry Francona to be exact) as the Phillies posted their 64th losing season since 1900.
On Sept. 22, 1999, the Phillies staged one of their highest scoring frames in the 20th century. Philadelphia defeated the host Milwaukee Brewers, 12-3, at County Stadium. The Phillies tallied 11 runs in the top of the eighth, the most by the club in that inning in any game.
Milwaukee held a 3-1 advantage entering the top of the eighth. Ron Gant led off with a line drive to short right field down the line for his 26th double. Bobby Abreu then grounded a baseball through shortstop and second base to knock-in gant (now 3-2 in favor of Milwaukee). Kyle Peterson, now an analyst for ESPN, replaced Brewers starting pitcher Steve Woodard with zero outs and a runner on first in the top of the eighth.
Peterson first faced Phillies catcher Mike Lieberthal and plunked him as Abreu advanced to second. Next, Rico Brogna sent a line drive to short right field for a single as Abreu scored the tying run (3-3), Lieberthal moved to third, and Brogna advanced to second on the throw. Then, Peterson hit Kevin Jordan to load the bases with zero outs.
Following Peterson’s second plunking, Marlon Anderson sent a liner to short right field for a single as Lieberthal and Brogna safely cross home plate to give the Phillies a 5-3 lead. Desi Relaford bunted a groundout- catcher to second- for the first out as Jordan moved to third and Anderson advanced to second. After the sacrifice bunt, David Weathers came out of the Milwaukee bullpen to replace Peterson.
Alex Arias came to pinch hit for Philadelphia reliever Amaury Telemaco and lifted a double down the short right field line to plate Jordan and Anderson for a 7-3 Phillies advantage. Doug Glanville followed Arias with a pop fly double to right field and Arias stopped at third. Gant grounded a single to right field as Arias and Glanville came around to score for a 9-3 Phillies lead.
Abreu added his second single of the inning- this time a liner to short left field- and Gant advanced to second. Lieberthal then doubled deep down the right field line to drive-in Gant and advance Abreu to third with one out (10-3 Philadelphia). Milwaukee manager Jim Lefebvre had seen enough of Weathers and called on Rafael Roque to step on the mound.
Brogna welcomed Roque by sending a liner to deep second base to bring-in Abreu and Lieberthal to extend Philadelphia’s lead to nine (12-3). Next, Jordan lined-out to centerfield for the frame’s second out. The inning finally ended when Anderson grounded-out (second to first). Philadelphia posted 11 runs, 10 hits, and left one man on base during the top of the eighth.
The Phillies stumbled through the latter part of the season. Philadelphia dropped 37 of its last 53 contests (10-26 in its final 36 games). A five and one-half games deficit at one point in the National League East plummeted to finish 26 games behind and settle for third place.
*Information about the 1999 Phillies can be found in “The Phillies Encyclopedia (Third Edition)” by Rich Westcott and Frank Bilovsky.