Perhaps the Philadelphia Phillies would get over the hump in 2005. Who wouldn’t want to join the Phillies bandwagon with a can-do attitude?
Charlie Manuel became manager of the Phillies, replacing Larry Bowa (Bowa served as Phillies skipper from 2001 until 2005). Manuel played professional ball in Major League Baseball and posted few 40-plus home run seasons in Japan. Not too many fans were fond of Manuel’s hiring at first but he would bring a delightful clubhouse culture with five division titles, two league pennants, and one World Series (200 title in nine seasons (2005-2013) uin the City of Brotherly Love.
In June, the Phillies hosted 13 consecutive games at one point and won 12 of those contests. However, it didn’t help the Phillies dropped all six games against the Houston Astros, the National League Wild Card winner.
Manuel led the Phillies to their third consecutive season above .500 but it wasn’t enough to avoid a 12th straight year without a postseason appearance. The Phillies finished 88-74, good for second place in the NL East (two games behind the Atlanta Braves) and one game behind the Astros for the league’s Wild Card berth; Houston ended up winning the NL pennant before being swept in four games by the Chicago White Sox in the World Series.
The so-close feeling had been made possible thanks to an offense which batted .270 (1,492-for-5542) with 807 runs, 282 doubles, 35 triples, 167 home runs, 760 runs batted in, 639 walks, 1,083 strikeouts, and 116 stolen bases in 143 opportunities.
Ryan Howard enjoyed a breakout season at first base. Howard batted .288 with 22 home runs and 63 RBIs. Known as the Big Piece, Howard had been voted NL Rookie of the Year after taking over at first base for an injured Jim Thome. Thome appeared in 59 games, batting .207 (40-for-193) with 26 runs, seven triples, seven sayonaras, and 30 RBIs.
Left-fielder Pat Burrell also came alive at the dish, depositing 32 long-balls and 117 RBIs with 78 runs, 27 doubles, and 99 walks.
Kenny Lofton decided to give Philadelphia a try as the starting center-fielder. Known for reaching base, Lofton hit .335 in 110 games with 67 runs, 15 doubles, five triples, two homers, 36 RBIs, and 22 steals. Endy Chavez also played centerfield as he compiled 23 hits in 107 at-bats, 17 runs, three doubles, three triples, and 10 RBIs in 10 games.
Holding down second base had been an enjoyable task for Chase Utley, hitting .291 in 147 games with 93 runs, 39 doubles, six triples, 28 gopher balls, 105 RBIs, and 16 steals. Tomas Perez participated in 94 games at second base and hit .233 with 17 runs, seven doubles, and 22 RBIs. Placido Polanco took the field in 43 games, hitting .316 (50-for-158) with 28 runs, seven doubles, three jacks, 20 RBIs, nine strikeouts, and 12 walks.
David Bell didn’t fair so well as he expected while being the team’s third baseman. Bell contributed a .248 clip (138-for-557) in 150 games with 53 runs, 31 doubles, a triples, 10 fence-clearers, 61 RBIs, 47 walks, and 69 strikeouts.
Shortstop Jimmy (J-Roll) Rollins swiped 41 bases, stretched 11 triples, touched them all 12 times, swatted 38 doubles, drove in 54 runs, and safely crossed home 115 times while displaying a .290 mark.
Right-fielder Bobby Abreu never missed a game (played in all 162) with 106 singles, 37 doubles, one triple, 24 round-trippers, 104 runs, 102 RBIs and 31 steals (nine failed base thefts). The Venezuelan hit 44 fence-clearers in round one to win the 2005 Home Run Derby at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI.
Jason Michaels patrolled right field in 105 games, batting .304 (88 for 289) with 54 runs, 16 doubles, two triples, four sayonaras, 31 RBIs, and 44 walks. Former Rule-5 acquisition Shane Victorino trotted to right field in 21 games with five singles and two long-balls in 21 at-bats, five runs, and eight RBIs.
Mike Lieberthal and Todd Pratt split time behind the plate. Lieberthal, the first-string catcher, hit .263 in 118 games with 25 doubles, 12 homers, 48 runs, and 47 RBIs. Pratt went 44-for-175 in 60 games with 17 runs, four doubles, seven four-baggers, 23 RBIs, and 50 strikeouts.
Nineteen men toted the rubber as pitchers in Phillies uniforms, posting a 4.21 Earned Run Average in 1,435 innings with 40 saves, six shutouts, four complete games, 1,379 hits, 726 runs (672 earned), 487 bases on balls, and 1,159 strikeouts.
John Lieber joined the rotation in 2005 to continue a journeyman career, leading the team in wins (17), losses (13), starts (35), innings (218.1), hits (223), and gopher balls (33). Brett Myers was probably the Phillies’ go-to number one pitcher, going 13-8 in 34 starts with 193 hits, 94 runs (89 earned), 31 homers, 68 walks, and 208 strikeouts even though his ERA had been 3.72.
Cory Lidle (13-11, 4.53 ERA) started 31 games with 210 hits, 105 runs (93 earned), 40 passes, and 121 punch-outs in 184.2 frames. Vicente Padilla got Phillies fans worried at times with a 9-12 mark and 4.72 ERA in 27 starts, including 74 walks and 103 walks in 147 innings. Randy Wolf was 6-4 in 13 starts (80 innings) with a 4.39 ERA, 40 runs (39 earned), 26 walks, and 61 strikeouts. Robinson Tejeda (4-3, 3.57 ERA) started 13 games and cane in relief for another 13 with 72 strikeouts in 85 and two-thirds innings.
Closer Billy Wagner (4-3) stayed healthy enough to earn 38 saves (41 opportunities) in 75 games (77.2 innings) with a 1.51 ERA, 45 hits, 17 runs (13 earned), 20 walks, six homers, and 87 strikeouts. Ryan Madson (6-5, 4.14 ERA) came out of the bullpen 78 times in 87 innings with 79 strikeouts.
Aaron Fultz (4-0, 2.24 ERA) allowed 21 runs, 47 hits, and 23 walks while fanning 54 in 62 games (72.1 innings). Before finding himself in prison in the future, Ugeth Urbina (4-3, 4.13 ERA) relieved 56 games (52.1 innings) with 66 strikeouts and 25 free passes. Rheal Cormier appeared in 57 games with a 4-2 mark and 5.89 ERA. Geoff Geary 2-1, 3.72 ERA) surrendered 29 runs (24 earned), 54 hits, and 21 walks, while fanning 42 in 40 games (58 innings).
The Phillies displayed the league’s fourth-ranked defense (.985 fielding percentage) with 90 errors and 146 double plays. Perez and Polanco didn’t commit any errors. Howard displayed a .993 fielding percentage in 84 games at first base with five errors, 40 assists, and 53 double plays. Rollins recorded 411 assists, 207 putouts, 80 double plays, and 12 errors (630 chances).
Abreu, Rollins, and Wagner appeared in the 2005 All-Star Game. Citizens Bank Park attracted 2,665,301 spectators during the season. Outfielder Chris Roberson and Tejeda were voted the top minor leaguers in Philadelphia’s farm system as the 2005 Paul Owens Award winners.
Whenever you listened on the radio or watched television broadcasts, you would’ve heard the voices of Harry Kalas, Chris Wheeler, Scott Graham, Larry Andersen, and Tom McCarthy.