This top moment technically happened in 2010, but since it occurred during the offseason and was not part of our 2010 Top Moment series, we will include it in the 2011 edition.
I remember December 14 and 15 clearly. I was up late reviewing for finals, and because I am so “studious,” I somehow missed all the rumors of a mystery team landing Cliff Lee.
At 6:45 a.m the next morning, I woke up angrily to the sound of my phone ringing. Who could be calling at this hour, and is it really that important? Oh, it was important alright. My rage quickly turned into excitement when the person on the other line screamed: “THE PHILLIES GOT CLIFF LEE!”
At first I thought it was a crude joke, but I immediately checked the Internet and found the news to be true. It was hard to believe, but knowing that Cliff Lee was back in red pinstripes was an amazing feeling.
I think many Phillies fans can relate to my story in that they remember where they were when they heard the news that Lee was returning to Philadelphia.
As the news was unveiled, some comments on Phillies Nation included:
“I can’t believe it! I can get my Lee shirts back out of the closet! What a job by Ruben and thank you Cliff Lee for taking less money to come back to us! The Phour Horsemen! Woooo!!!!” -Mazinman
“I have to give Jr. props. I have put him down many times. You now have the greatest staff in baseball history. He tried for Werth but Washington overpaid by a lot. Lee wants to be here. We all were so depressed when he left. That man is a big time pitcher. We all fell in love with him. Do not worry about right field. Jr. will take care of it. This team is built for now. Now…The Yankees are finished. Their pitching is awful. We have Lee. Lee and Doc is so so so so so so so so sick. Throw in Hamels and Oswalt. I just wet myself. MERRY CHRISTMAS…” -Jeff
Many thought he would stay in Texas or accept a big offer from the Yankees, but Lee “left money on the table” and returned to the team he loved playing for. The final deal was five years, $120 million, with a vesting option for a sixth year, less than what the Yankees had offered. Lee showed that baseball contracts aren’t always about the money, but happiness too, as well as other factors.
Cliff Lee did not disappoint in 2011, as Pat Gallen broke down in his analysis of Lee. That “moment” of hearing the news that Lee returned to Philadelphia and that “feeling” of knowing the Phillies’ 1-2 punch was going to be Halladay-Lee was certainly a great memory.