'Phillies Memories' DVD brings history to life
Video covers all 126 years including the 2008 World Series
The moment the late, great Harry Kalas, "The Voice" of the Phillies, begins his narration, a flood of emotion and nostalgia take over. In his final voiceover for this beloved Philadelphia team, Kalas invites the viewer to join him in a roller coaster ride through centuries of Phillies baseball.
Welcome to Phillies Memories, the new must-have DVD from the Shout Factory that was just released and is available at the Phillies.com Shop for only $19.99.
Beginning in 1883, old photographs, newspaper articles and commentary by historians recount the early days of the team all the way through the final days of Baker Bowl in 1938. Even the most knowledgeable fan will learn something new, whether it is the addition of 10 feet, 6 inches in length to the pitching mound in 1892, or an amazing rookie record of 28 wins set by pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander in 1911.
Most impressive is that this story gives a solid history lesson without skipping over the scandals or the years when the team was at its worst. The post-war era, as an example, discusses important events in the team's history, covering everything from owner William Cox disgracing his team with illegal betting to the rise of "His Whiteness," Richie Ashburn, whose hustle and competitive spirit were greatly admired. And do not forget the collapse of the 1964 team, one of the most noted in baseball history.
The Golden Age of the '70s brought new life to the team with a new stadium and great players, like Steve Carlton, who notched 27 wins in 1972. Even the outrageous promotions like Cannon Man and live elephants on the field used to bring in the fans are included. Video recounts and interviews with Phillies past and present keep the story moving and engage the viewer with their evocative and emotional recollections. Larry Bowa, Mike Schmidt and others discuss even the most controversial topics, like Black Friday in 1977, when the Phillies went home with their third straight championship series loss.
But the 1980 World Series win wiped away all the bad memories of the past. A team that was that was managed by the fiery Dallas Green and had to survive four straight extra-inning games to win the Phillies' first world championship offers memories that can be appreciated by any baseball fan.
The Phillies did not return to the World Series again until 1993. This time, a group of even more unusual players like John Kruk, Mitch Williams and Lenny "Nails" Dykstra led the pack. One of the few non-Phillies interviewed for this story, future Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine, refers to the '93 team lovingly as the "dirt bags of baseball." A season of ups and downs that ultimately ended in defeat will never be forgotten.
The beginning of the 2000s marked a rebirth for the team, which began signing young talent like Pat Burrell and Jimmy Rollins. An entertaining mix of player interviews continues to keep the story interesting, with just the right amount of attention paid to each. The players, managers and staff walk you through the signing of Jim Thome, Chase Utley's 105-RBI rookie season and the MVP awards earned by Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins. And finally, the elation of a second world championship arrives in Philadelphia, healing the wounds of 28 years gone by. Clips of the 1980 championship intermingle with clips of the 2008 championship and evoke such sentiment that it leaves the viewer wanting more.
Rounding out this tale is the "Phantastic 40," a position-by-position roundup of the greatest Phillies ever to play the game. From Dick Allen to Bobby Abreu and beyond, this dream team has got it covered. After that, dive into the "Bonus Features" for a rundown of Phillies legendary final outs, a rap by Rollins and Howard, the last outs of Phillies no-hitters, and finally, Mitch Williams redecorating Larry Andersen's bald spot with a can of spray-on hair.
"Phillies Memories" gives a complete historical recount of this Philadelphia team in about 145 minutes. Conversations and film clips provide moments of joy, sorrow, nostalgia and humor -- which gracefully wander through baseball history and provide a great appreciation for a team that has come to define a city.
Jennifer Zambri-Dickerson is a contributor to MLB.com and author of the MLBlog Phillies Phollowers. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.