Curt Schilling enshrined, but Darren Daulton star of night
Curt Schilling took the podium and peeked behind him at Mike Schmidt and Steven Carlton. He said he was honored to stand alongside not just two of the greatest players in Phillies history, but also two of the all-time greats in baseball.
While Schilling was enshrined with Schmidt and Carlton into the Phillies Wall of Fame yesterday, the night really belonged to his former battery mate.
Former Phillies catcher Darren Daulton, who is battling brain cancer, was introduced over the public address system with the rest of the team’s Wall of Famers before Schilling’s induction. When Daulton walked out of the dugout and onto the field, a thunderous ovation greeted him.
No one in the ballpark was sitting down.
“The word I keep thinking of is, ‘presence,’” Schilling said in a post-ceremony press conference. “He always had a presence, and he still has that. He comes in the room, he still has that presence. And I don’t think that will ever leave him. And it will probably serve him well as he goes through this fight.”
Daulton had brain surgery to remove two cancerous tumors on July 1. Nine days after the surgery, grim news followed: Daulton was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, the same form of cancer that took the lives of fellow former Phillies Tug McGraw and John Vukovich.
But, before yesterday’s ceremonies began, an incredibly upbeat Daulton arrived in the press conference room at Citizens Bank Park an hour before first pitch.
He shared hugs with Chris Wheeler and Gary "Sarge" Matthews. He pumped his fist when he saw another friend in a room crowded to capacity.
And then he sat down and spoke for almost 3 minutes. When he was finished, everyone applauded.
"Thanks to all of you guys and everything that we’ve experienced in the last month,” Daulton told the assembled press corps and Phillies family in the room. “It was a little surprising when it happened. I remember being on 97.5 The Fanatic for the show this season, there were a couple of appearances where I couldn’t figure out what was going on, I was having trouble explaining a little bit of baseball after doing it for 20 years of my life, experiencing this, it was a little difficult.
“Right now, I have a little bit of a problem during the day, every now and then, where I can’t understand… I have a problem with talking. But this eventually is – I’ll get better.
“But being a part of Philadelphia for all of these seasons, and going to Alumni Weekend it just really, really… you really get to hang your hat for the weekend. It’s Philadelphia. For many years, I feel like it’s my home. It feels like it’s my family. I really enjoy this. And this weekend we’re going to have a blast. It’s fun to be a part of.
“What I’m experiencing right now, it’s going to start next Friday [chemotherapy]. But I’m a player. Right now I think I’m done, with the surgery and everything. I really think I am. But for some reason I’m supposed to go through the chemotherapy. I can’t talk about it, but I feel like it’s over. Again, thank you everybody here in Philadelphia. The fans – it’s just been phenomenal. … Thank you all very much."
Daulton returned to the field again before the fourth inning to join fellow former catcher and Wall of Famers Bob Boone and Mike Lieberthal in changing the bases for the grounds crew. Daulton received more applause and then handshakes from members of the Braves coaching staff, as he exited the field through the tunnel next to the visiting dugout.
Pettibone on DL
Jonathan Pettibone was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain.
Pettibone, 23, last pitched on Sunday, giving up three runs in five innings of a 12-4 loss in Detroit. Pettibone is 5-4 with a 4.04 ERA in 18 starts this season.
“It’s nothing serious,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “We’re giving him some time.”
The ever-changing Phillies pitching staff also got another new member yesterday.
The Phillies purchased the contract of Triple A Lehigh Valley righthander Zach Miner. To make room for Miner, the Phils designated fellow righthander J.C. Ramirez for assignment.
Miner, 31, was 5-6 with a 3.90 ERA in 27 games (12 starts) at Lehigh Valley. Miner has appeared in 157 major league games in his career, all with the Detroit Tigers.
But yesterday was his first time back in a major league clubhouse since 2009.
“I’m definitely excited, grateful for the opportunity,” Miner said. “When you’re coming up and you’re young, you can take things for granted. You get hurt, you realize how hard it is to stay in the big leagues and how hard it is to get back. You have a better perspective on things.”
Miner is expected to pitch out of the bullpen. John Lannan will start opposite righthander Brandon Beachy against the Braves today while Cliff Lee returns to the rotation tomorrow night.
Lannan, who started Tuesday night, will pitch on short rest for the first time in his career.
Curt Schilling pitched in the 1993 World Series with the Phillies but went on to enjoy more fame in leading the Arizona Diamondbacks (one) and Boston Red Sox (two) to three World Series championships.
Schilling, who was 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA in seven World Series games and 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 19 postseason games, was asked what made him successful on the game’s biggest stage.
“I always looked at those games as an opportunity to make everyone remember you for the rest of your life,” Schilling said. “I felt there was that crowd, and everyone else. And everyone else was scared. I was never, ever afraid of it. … If you talked to the guys I suited up with [and asked] one game, life or death, who do you want to have the ball? I wanted the guys I played with to say me.”
Schilling, who went 101-78 in nine seasons in Philadelphia, is the 35th member of the Phillies Wall of Fame.