All the 2002 Philadelphia Phillies received a surplus of grief in the clubhouse. How could a team which finished two games behind the division champion the previous season wane with a similar or adjusted lineup?
Larry Bowa couldn’t duplicate the success he brought in 2001 during his second season as Phillies manager. Philadelphia started the season 8-18 but compiled a 25-12 stretch between July 23 and Sept. 1 to get to 69-66. However, the Phillies dropped nine of their next 10 games. The Phillies finished as the third place finisher in the National League East at 80-81, 21.5 games out of first.
Starting pitcher Omar Daal had been dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Nov. 9, 2001 for pitchers Jesus Cordero and Eric Junge. Pitcher Chris Brock was traded to Baltimore on Dec. 13, 2002 for pitcher John Wasdin. Outfielder Reggie Taylor was shipped to Cincinnati on March 28 for pitcher Hector Mercado. The Phillies signed free agents Dave Hollins (infielder), Terry Adams (pitcher), John Mabry (first baseman), and Ricky Ledee (outfielder).
Mabry packed his bags to Oakland on May 22 for outfielder Jeremy Giambi. On May 26, pitcher Cliff Politte became a Toronto Blue Jay as the Phillies received reliever and future MLB Network analyst Dan Plesac.
The big deal took place on July 29. Philadelphia sent cash, pitcher Doug Nickle, and regular third baseman Scott Rolen to the St. Louis Cardinals for infielder Placido Polanco and pitchers Mike Timlin and Bud Smith. Smith never put on a Phillies uniform.
In terms of offense, the Phillies complied a .259 batting average (1,428-for-5,523) with 710 runs, 325 doubles, 41 triples, 165 home runs, 676 runs batted in, and 104 stolen bases. Bowa’s lineup often consisted of shortstop Jimmy Rollins, second baseman Marlon Anderson, left-fielder Pat Burrell, Rolen at third base for 100 games, first baseman Travis Lee, right-fielder Bobby Abreu, center-fielder Doug Glanville, and catcher Mike Lieberthal.
A former number-one amateur draft pick, Burrell racked up big numbers in a breakout season with the bat. Burrell, the regular left-fielder, batted .282 (165-for-586) in 157 games with 96 runs, 39 doubles, Two triples, 37 fence-clearers, and 116 RBIs.
Abreu posted his fourth .300 mark at the dish in five seasons with the Phillies. The Venezuelan outfielder hit .308 (176-for-572) with 102 runs, a league-most 50 doubles, six triples, 20 long-balls, 81 RBIs, and 31 steals He even carried a 17-game hitting streak at one point.
Lieberthal batted .279 (133-for-476) in 130 games with 46 games, 29 doubles, two triples, 15 homers, and 52 RBIs. You can’t forget Lieberthal hit three homers in a road game on Aug. 10.
Lee hit .265 (142-for-536) with 55 runs, 26 doubles, two triples, 13 sayonaras, and 70 RBIs. Rollins scored 82 runs, swatted 33 runs, stretched 10 triples, touched them all 11 times, knocked-in 60 runs, and swiped 31 bags while hitting .245 (156-for-637) in 154 games; J-Roll stole three bases at Florida on Sept. 29.
Glanville collected 105 hits in 422 at-bats (.249 average) with 49 runs, 15 doubles, three triples, six jacks, 29 RBIs, and 19 steals. In the outfield, Glanville became the seventh player in Phillies history to play a whole season without committing an error.
Before leaving the City of Brotherly Love, Rolen participated in 100 games for the Phillies in 2002 by hitting .259 (97-for-375) with 52 runs, 21 doubles, four triples, 17 goodbye balls, and 66 RBIs. While playing for the Phillies (1996-2002), Rolen collected 880 hits in 3,125 at-bats (844 games). Rolen led all NL third basemen with 335 assists.
Polanco came to Philadelphia with open arms, batting .296 (61-for-206) in 53 games with 28 runs, 13 doubles, one triple, four homers, and 22 RBIs. Mabry was six-for-21 in 21 ganes with one run and three RBIs. Giambi hit home runs in his first two at-bats and deposited 12 long-balls in 82 games.
Twenty players stepped on the mound for the Phillies, posting a 4.17 Earned Run Average in 1,450 innings with three shutouts, 47 saves, five complete games, 1,381 hits, 570 bases on balls, and 1,070 walks. The starting rotation included Vicente Padilla, Randy Wolf, Brandon Duckworth (8-9, 30 games, 29 starts, 163 innings, 167 strikeouts, 5.41 ERA), Adams (7-9, 27 relief appearances, 19 starts, 137 innings, 96 strikeouts, 4.35 ERA), Robert Person, Joe Roa (4-4, 14 games, 11 starts, 71 innings, 4.04 ERA), David Coggin (2-5, 31 relief, seven starts, 77 innings, 4.68 ERA), and rookie Brett Myers (4-5, 12 starts, one CG, 72 innings, 4.25 ERA).
Person had been given the heave-ho from the Phillies after 2002 due to injuries and an ineffective 4-5, 16-start (88 innings) season with 79 innings, 51 walks, 61 strikeouts, and a 5.44 ERA. His best performance came at the plate on June 2 in an 18-3 victory against Montreal with seven RBIs and two homers (including a grand slam).
Padilla switched from the bullpen to the rotation by going 14-11 in 32 starts (206 innings) with one shutout, one complete game, 198 hits, 53 walks, 128 strikeouts, and a 3.28 ERA in 206 innings.
Wolf (11-9, 31 starts, 3.20 ERA) shutout two opponents, completed three games, walked 63, and fanned 172 in 211 innings. The Wolfpack got to enjoy Wolf’s season-best 27-inning scoreless streak.
Jose Mesa held the closer’s role for the second consecutive season. Mesa (4-6, 2.97 ERA) nailed down 45 saves in 74 games (76 innings) with 65 hit, 39 walks, and 64 strikeouts.
Plesac fanned 27 in 23 innings (41 games) with a 2-1 record, one save, and 4.70 ERA. Rheal Cormier (5-6, 5.25 ERA) walked 32 and struckout 49 in 60 innings (54 innings). Carlos Silva (5-0, one save, 3.21 ERA) enjoyed success in 68 games out if the bullpen before later bouncing back between the bullpen and starting rotation; Silva walked 22 and punched-out 41 in 84 frames.
Jose Santiago (1-3, 42 games, 6.70 ERA) issued 15 passes and struckout 30 in 47 innings. Ricky Bottalico (0-3, 4.61 ERA) allowed 33 hits, issued 13 walks, and fanned 24 in 30 games (27 innings). Mercado (2-2, 4.62 ERA) came in relief for 28 of 31 games with 32 hits, 25 walks, and 40 strikeouts in 39 innings. Timlin appeared in 30 games with the Phillies, going 3-3 with a 3.79 ERA in 36 innings.
The Phillies showcased the league’s best defense (.986 fielding percentage) after committing 88 errors and turned 156 double plays. They didn’t turn a triple play, but Anderson swung into a two-six-three triple play at Montreal on Sept. 3. On June 2 against Montreal the Phillies scored 10 runs in the bottom of the first.
Turnstiles at Veterans Stadium welcomed 1,618,230 spectators. Padilla, Rolen, and Rollins earned spots in the 2092 All-Star Game. The top minor leaguers in Philadelphia’s farm system to receive the Paul Owens Award were Chase Utley (then a third baseman before switching to second base) and Ryan Madson (pitcher).
You could’ve listened to games on WPEN radio. Flagship television stations Comcast SportsNet and WPSG-UPN also broadcasted games. On the call were Harry Kalas, Chris Wheeler, Larry Andersen, and Scott Graham.
*Information about the 2002 Phillies can be found in “The Phillies Encyclopedia (Third Edition)” by Rich Westcott and Frank Bilovsky.