In 1962, the expansion New York Mets finished an almost unfathomable 40-120 and became the unfortunate standard bearer for bad baseball. Just how bad were the ’62 Mets? Despite finishing 16 games under .500, the 2014 Phillies record was three games nearer to the 102 win 2011 Phillies season than it was the ’62 Mets. Yet over a full baseball season, moments of joy, no matter how fleeting, are inescapable. The ’62 Mets still won forty games and among those wins were nine (!) walk-off victories which inevitably thrilled the home crowd. In the first game of a doubleheader on June 22, 1962, a pitcher named Al Jackson hurled a one-hit shutout to lead those hapless Mets to a 2-0 victory over the Houston Colts (an outfielder for the Mets you might’ve heard of before, Richie Ashburn, homered that day.) On Opening Day Gus Bell recorded the first hit in franchise history and Gil Hodges hit the first home run. Why am I recapping highlights of the ’62 Mets season? Because one of the great joys in baseball is this: when baseball is awful, it’s still absolutely wonderful.
As we prepare to close out 2014, it is most certainly worth a moment of reflection on the good, great, and immortal baseball moments Phillies fans were privy to over the past year. In organizing the list below, I allowed myself to remember the 2014 Phillies moments ranging from the absurd to the dramatic to the dominant that made me feel good things and rank them without any pretense of objectivity. This list is purely based on my emotional preferences and the only rule is one that evolved organically as I formed the list — just one highlight per person/group — but even that one rule is broken once.
On with the show. The ten Phillies highlights that brought me the most joy in 2014: