The Phillies brought out Robin Roberts, the Hall-of-Fame pitcher and one of the all-time great guys in the history of the game, so he could talk about his one and only World Series appearance on Monday afternoon. The significance, of course, was that Roberts and the Phillies were swept by Joe DiMaggio’s Yankees in the series that took place 59 years ago.
Some folks around these parts haven’t forgotten about the 1950 World Series mostly because it used to be that the Phillies didn’t play for the championship all that much. After all, before 1950 the Phillies had been to the World Series just once—in 1915—and never again until 1980.
With that kind of track record, it’s obvious to see why the Phillies in the World Series is such a big deal to the old-timers. It’s easier to see why it’s a big deal when they are faced up against the Yankees. They beat them in four straight in 1950, for gosh sakes!
But the world changes, time marches on and all that kind of stuff. The A’s don’t play in Philadelphia or Kansas City anymore. Yankee Stadium has been replaced by a newer Yankee Stadium and Connie Mack Stadium (or Shibe Park depending on your preference or demographic) was like two stadiums ago.
Check this out: my five-year old was born into a world where the Red Sox have won it twice, the White Sox once and where the Phillies are going to the World Series in back-to-back years. It’s crazy. Crazier still, the Yankees haven’t won it since 2000. Think of it… he has never been alive long enough to see the Yankees win the World Series.
Yet 1950 is a big enough deal that they have to push Robin Roberts in front of the microphone so he could talk about Bubba Church, Curt Simmons and, of course, Jim Konstanty.
“The Konstanty thing was a miracle,” Roberts said about the league’s top reliever making his starting debut in Game 1 of the 1950 World Series. “(Manager) Eddie Sawyer gave him the ball and he went out there like he was doing it his whole life. … That really was a miracle. If he would have won that would have been something they talked about forever, but because he lost people kind of forgot about it.”
Yeah, it’s funny how that works.
Then ol’ Robin had to talk about pitch counts and things like that.
“If you ever saw Stanky play…”
Sorry, let’s just cut him off there. If you ever saw Stanky play? Robin, good sir, we never saw you play. No one from the regular group of scribes and definitely not the players knew anything about Roberts or the 1950 Whiz Kids. In fact, on the Phillies coaching staff only two guys were old enough to have vague memories of Roberts’ Phillies. Charlie Manuel was six and Davey Lopes was five when the Phillies last played the Yankees.
They are much older now.
No, the 1950 World Series is about as meaningful as those three games the Phillies and Yankees played back in May. I watched ESPN trot out stats from the series played in May when the Phillies won two of three even though Brad Lidge got two blown saves.
“We’ve played about 200 games since then,” Jayson Werth said, exaggerating slightly. “It doesn’t matter.”
Live in the now, that’s what Robin Roberts does. He says he has the MLB Extra Innings package so he can watch all the games and follows the Phillies just like any die hard baseball fan.
So yeah, Roberts wants the Phillies to get “revenge” for the 1950 World Series. You know, not that he thinks of it that way.
“I really enjoy watching the games,” Roberts said. “It would be awful nice to see them win it again, not just because it’s the Yankees but because they are bordering on something really extraordinary.”
Since we’re on the subject of Philadelphia vs. New York in the World Series, how come no one is talking about those A’s and Giants matchups? In three different World Series, Connie Mack’s Philadelphia A’s beat John McGraw’s New York Giants in two out of three.
The Giants took the 1905 World Series in five games, but Philadelphia bounced back in 1911 in six games and then again in 1913 in five games.
So there’s that, too.