The last post gave the rundown on moments six through ten. Now, here are the top five moments in Philadelphia sports over the last two years.
5 – Flyers go to 2010 Stanley Cup Finals
It came down to one shot – on a shootout. The fate of the 2010 season was on the shoulders of 22-year-old winger Claude Giroux. If he scores, and the Flyers can stymie the Rangers last shot, the Flyers advance to the playoffs. After he lit the lamp, and Brian Boucher stood tall, the Flyers had completed what most believed to be the best they could do in 2010 – advance to the playoffs.
After a first-round upset of the Devils, the Flyers were playing with house money and against the Boston Bruins. After falling down three games to zero, the Flyers rallied to become the third NHL team to win a seven game series after dropping the first three. In an improbable match up, the seventh-seeded Flyers hosted the eighth-seeded Canadians and beat Montreal to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. Although they didn’t hoist the Cup and parade down Broad Street, the Flyers gave fans a magical ride from Giroux scoring in the shootout on the season’s final day to an Eastern Conference championship.
4 – Eagles Shake up Roster
For much of the last decade, the names McNabb, Westbrook and Dawkins have been synonymous with Philadelphia Eagles football. Yet, in Andy Reid fashion, each player has been let go over the past two years to usher in a youth movement at the Linc. First, Dawkins signed as a free agent in Denver. The heart and soul of the Eagles defense, Dawkins is certainly a future Hall of Famer.
Next, the Eagles signed ex-con Michael Vick to be the Eagles’ version of the Wildcat quarterback. Despite a lot of attention from PETA and Eagles fans alike, Vick’s first year in green was low key on the field. Then, after a disappointing end to the season, losing two straight games in Big D, the Eagles released Brian Westbrook and traded Donovan McNabb to Washington in an Easter Sunday blockbuster.
3 – Phillies Win 2009 NL Pennant
Only once in a while does a team come around that is truly great. The Phillies over the last few years have been great. After winning the World Series in 2008, the Phillies won the National League for the second straight year in 2009. They took two games from the eventual champion Yankees, but the ability to win the National League two straight years is a remarkable feat. On the backs of midseason acquisitions Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez, the Phillies dominated their opponents down the stretch to head back to the Fall Classic.
2 – Harry Kalas Dies
“We lost our voice.” Those memorable words from Phillies President David Montgomery summed up the feelings of a region on April 13, 2009. After collapsing in the booth prior to a Phillies – Nationals game in Washington DC, Harry Kalas died. He left behind a legacy never before known in Philadelphia. He was remembered as a kind, gentle, giving and selfless man that loved the Phillies. Kalas was also known as a party guy who knew how to have a good time. Behind the microphone, he brought Phillies baseball into our homes for decades with grace and excitement.
In his last home game in Philadelphia, he threw out the first pitch, received his 2008 World Series ring and watched a thrilling come-from-behind victory over the Atlanta Braves. In his final game, in Colorado, he got to deliver one more “Outta Here!” after Matt Stairs hit a game winning home run. He will forever be known as the Voice of the Phillies. He is and will always be deeply missed by Phillies fans.
1 – Phillies win 2008 World Series
“The 0-2 pitch… Swing and a miss! Struck him out! The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 World Champions of baseball! Brad Lidge does it again and stays perfect for the 2008 season – 48 for 48!” – Harry Kalas
It had been 28 years since the Phillies were baseball’s best and 25 years since any Philadelphia professional sports team had been crowned champions. On Oct. 29, 2008, two days after the game started, Brad Lidge struck out Eric Hinske on a devastating slider to clinch the Phillies second world championship. Lidge fell to his knees, was hugged by Carols Ruiz, got barreled over by Ryan Howard and jumped on by the rest of the Phillies. Harry Kalas called it euphoria. He was right.
Two days later, the Philadelphia sports fans got to have an experience that had eluded them for a quarter century – a parade down Broad Street. Led by Pat Burrell and capped off by Chase Utley’s infamous World ——- Champions proclamation, the best season in Phillies history ended appropriately at Citizens Bank Park after millions of people lined Broad Street to catch a glimpse of their heroes.