Nucleus of 2008 run begins forming


2004: General manager Ed Wade had the same players who would become the nucleus of this year's World Series run - Pat Burrell, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Brett Myers and Ryan Madson. But the Phillies were going through another tumultuous year that would see them fall short of the playoffs once again, a result that cost Larry Bowa his job as manager just before the end of the season. Reports at the time indicated Wade wanted to fire Bowa at midseason but was overruled by team president David Montgomery.

   Fans complained that Wade should have been fired instead of Bowa, and they would get their wish after the end of the 2005 season when Wade was let go after eight seasons.

2008: The Phillies have experienced back-to-back years in the postseason under the guidance of general manager Pat Gillick, who has spent those two seasons trying to fill in the gaps on the team rather than make wholesale changes. Probably his biggest trade - and arguably his best - during that time came last Nov. 7 when he picked up reliever Brad Lidge from the Houston Astros as part of a five-player trade. Some of his best pickups have been third baseman Greg Dobbs (waivers), outfielder Jayson Werth (free agent), and third baseman Pedro Feliz (free agent).

Todd Zolecki was the Phillies beat writer for The Inquirer in 2004.

Remembering 2004

Average price of a gallon of gas: $1.90.

Phillies' record: 86-76, second place.

Phillies' attendance: 3,250,092.

Phillies' first-round pick: Greg Golson, OF.

Remember this? A whale being transported for a necropsy in Taiwan explodes. (Police arrest the first six passers-by who suggest they've got a "whale" of a mess on their hands.)