1989: In the immediate short term, this was another awful team that managed only a 67-95 record. However, with Lee Thomas in charge, change, for better or worse, began to take place.
In an especially tearful press conference in an auxiliary clubhouse at San Diego's Jack Murphy Stadium, Mike Schmidt, whose performance had been declining for three years, announced his retirement in late May. His departure severed the last link to the great years that began in the mid '70s.
And Thomas went on to start changing the roster. In June, he swung a major deal that sent Juan Samuel to the Mets in exchange for Roger McDowell, who became the Phillies' closer, and an outfielder by the name of Lenny Dykstra.
Dykstra did not make an immediate impact, batting only .222 for the Phillies in the remainder of the season. However, his arrival started changing the atmosphere of a stagnant clubhouse. And also emerging in the same summer was catcher Darren Daulton, who assumed the job as everyday catcher and put in place one of the major pieces in what would eventually be the World Series team of 1993.
2008: The Phillies didn't make a high-impact, midseason deal during their 2008 run but they made some key acquisitions. Joe Blanton, obtained July 17 from Oakland in exchange for three players, started and won the Phils' clincher in Milwaukee in the division series. Scott Eyre, picked up Aug. 7 from the Cubs, has given the Phillies another lefthander in the bullpen. Matt Stairs hadn't made much of an impact following his Aug. 30 acquisition from Toronto until Game 4 of the NLCS, when he smacked a two-run, pinch-hit home run.
Peter Pascarelli was the Phillies beat writer for The Inquirer in 1989. Joe Juliano writes about the 2008 team.
Remembering 1989Average price of a gallon of gas: $1.06.
Phillies' record: 67-95, sixth place (last).
Phillies' attendance: 1,861,985.
Phillies' first-round pick: Jeff Jackson, OF.
Remember this? Pan Am declares bankruptcy. (Initial hearing is delayed when federal judge's flight from Aruba is held up on a JFK runway for 47 hours.)