The Philadelphia Phillies have had a lot of motivation to win over the last three seasons.
2010 isn’t much different.
Tragically Phillies Hall-of-Famer Robin Roberts passed away early Thursday morning of natural causes.
Roberts was the cornerstone of the Whiz Kids of the ’50’s winning 20 games six times.
He established himself as the best pitcher in the National League during his era with 234 wins as a Phil, starting five All-Star games and appearing in one World Series, a lost to the New York Yankees in 1950.
Eriely Roberts death continues a deadly tradition for the Phillies.
In 2007 with the passing of former player and coach John Vukovich, the Phillies clinch their first National League East Championship since 1993.
In 2008 Philadelphia had a resurgence in the playoffs knocking off the Dodgers and the Rays to win the organizations first World Series in 28 years after skipper Charlie Manuels mother, June, passed away in early October.
After a Hall-of-Fame broadcasting career and shortly after making his defining call, “The Philadelphia Phillies are the world champions of baseball,” the voice of the Phillies Harry Kalas passed away in the Washington Nationals broadcast booth. Needless to say with his baby blue jacket in the dugout the 2009 Phils repeated as NL Champions.
So who is the team playing for in 2010?
Roberts of course.
But do the Phillies really need death as a motivation?
Isn’t the heartbreak of a city good enough?
Whatever the reason for our own little dynasty, the Phillies have their own motivation to win.
Not just by the city or Major League Baseball, because the team expects themselves to win.
And they are.
It’s no coincidence that the franchise locked up Ryan Howard with the biggest pay day since Barry Bonds paid of the drug companies.
Howard’s all natural and so is this team and if you want to debate so are the hot dogs at dollar dog night as well.
With the perfect blend of homegrown talent in Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz and Cole Hamels along with imported All-Stars like Roy Halladay, Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez, the Phillies have assembled a team that can win.
For a long time.
As a matter of fact all their homegrown talent but Ruiz have been All-Stars. It’s only a matter of time before “Chooch” joins them.
The Phillies also developed a rich track recorded of finding the hidden gems that can elevate a team to the next level. Rule 5 Draft signees Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino looked to have no future left in baseball until the Phils gave them a career.
Jamie Moyer, Chan Ho Park, Pedro Martinez and most recently Jose Contreres have all had their careers successfully rejuvenated by the Phillies.
All the while General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. has still found time to stack the minor league system as well. Most notably with Dominic Brown, who could very well take over right field if Jayson Werth leaves for free agency.
Perhaps it’s the memory of fallen Phillie heroes, personal conquests, money or a reason to slick back the mane, grow out the beard or not wash the ol’ jock strap, whatever the motivation is to win the Phillies have it.
Philadelphia is in the midst of the greatest era in Phillies history and it doesn’t look like it will die any time soon.