Wheeze Kids had some young help

1983: It was hardly a normal season. How many teams call a news conference to announce that they had not fired their manager as the Phillies did after an awful West Coast trip that had endangered the job status of Pat Corrales? For that matter, how many teams fire their manager with the team in first place as the Phillies did when they eventually replaced Corrales with Paul Owens?

The veteran Pope fit right in on a club known as the Wheeze Kids for the advanced age of so many players. However, the Phillies would not have reached the playoffs without a couple of denizens from their farm system - first baseman Len Matuszak, who came up big in the Phils' September pennant run, and pitcher Charles Hudson, who was their most solid September starter, along with lovable John Denny, and won a key NLCS game against the Dodgers.

The World Series, meanwhile, started nicely with a first-game win behind home runs by Joe Morgan and Garry Maddox. However, the Phillies were eventually beaten in five games by Baltimore, the key moment coming in Game 5 when Eddie Murray hit his own name on the Veterans Stadium right-center-field scoreboard with his second home run in the Orioles' clinching victory.

2008: The Phillies fall somewhere in between the youthful Whiz Kids and aging Wheeze Kids. In the infield, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley are 29, Ryan Howard 28, and Pedro Feliz 33. Jayson Werth is 29, Shane Victorino 28, and Pat Burrell 32. Among their starting rotation, only 46-year-old Jamie Moyer is older than 28.

Peter Pascarelli was the Phillies beat writer for The Inquirer in 1983. Joe Juliano writes about the 2008 team.

Remembering 1983

Average price of a gallon of gas: $1.29.

Phillies' record: 90-72, National Lague champion.

Phillies' attendance: 2,128,339.

Phillies' first-round pick: Ricky Jordan, 1B.

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