The Phillies arrive at the Fall Classic built around home-grown, high-round picks at the prime of their career, just like the 1980 world champions.
I remember a conversation I had in 2005 with Beerleaguer’s senior correspondent, in the final days of the Ed Wade era, talking about the White Sox and their 4-0 sweep over the Astros. “So this is how you build a World Series winner,” we wondered, discussing a team that was almost completely constructed using foreign parts you’d never expect to finish higher than 3rd in their division.
The Sox were following a model used in 1993 by our very own Phillies. It’s contrary to the way it’s supposed to be done. Teams are supposed to build from within. So in a sense, this year's Phillies, who, as it turned out, were largely in place or in the organization by the time Wade was chased out of town, reach the World Series the way Abner Doubleday would prefer.
There are clear parallels between the way the current pennant winners were built and team that brought home the bacon 28 years ago. Each boasts four, home-grown first-rounders: Lonnie Smith, Greg Luzinski, Larry Christenson and Dick Ruthven, then Pat Burrell, Chase Utley, Brett Myers and Cole Hamels. Mike Schmidt was a 2nd rounder, just like Jimmy Rollins. Bob Boone was a 6th rounder, while Ryan Howard was taken in the 5th. Larry Bowa originally signed with the Phils as amateur free agent, just like Carlos Ruiz. Manny Trillo was also an amatuer free agent, but made a couple career stops before arriving back with the Phils.
Even the outside help contains similarities. Garry Maddox was a high-round pick of the Giants. Shane Victorino was a high-round pick of the Dodgers. Right fielder Bake McBride was outside help. So was right fielder Jayson Werth. Pete Rose was an amateur free agent with the Reds. Greg Dobbs and Pedro Feliz were also amateur free agents with their former clubs. Lefties Steven Carlton and Jamie Moyer were already established when they arrived in Philadelphia, Jamie more so than lefty. Closer Tug McGraw came to Philly in a five-player swap. So did Brad Lidge.
The two clubs don’t even separate much in the bullpen. Ryan Madson, an 8th rounder, and J.A. Happ, a 3rd rounder, represent the home-grown parts. The 1980 team had three: Dickie Noles (4th), Kevin Saucier (2nd) and Warren Brusstar (4th).