Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, January 07, 2013 12:00 PM Comments: 10
Ah, 1989: the U.S. inaugurated a new president, Thomas and Friends begins to air on PBS, and the top played song was “Look Away” by Chicago. Around the world, Hirohito passed away, Poland had free elections, the Berlin Wall fell, and the world made Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” the top played song across the globe. It was a pretty big year around the world: holes were being blown through the Iron Curtain as the Cold War wound down. It all makes what the Phillies were going through look pretty small.
The 1989 Phillies entered the season with few expectations and little talent. Mike Schmidt was entering his age 39 season, coming off his worst season since his rookie year. Two seasons removed from his 3.9 fWAR 1987 and three from his 5.0 fWAR 1986, the expectations and mood surrounding Von Hayes had officially turned sour. And the team inexplicably traded away their 29-year old center fielder who looked like he was putting the pieces together to be a strong everyday player (Milt Thompson) for a back-up catcher whose claim to fame is a trading card where he is featured with his pet cockatoo (Steve Lake) and a utility outfielder who was out of the Major Leagues before the end of the 1990 season (Curt Ford).
In hindsight, there are a surprising amount of parallels between the world and the Phillies in 1989, with it being understood that the Phillies positive changes were about 1/1,000,000,000th as positive on the scale of global contribution. Although the song “Wind of Change” by German rockers the Scorpions would not be released until 1991, there was a lot of pretty positive change about to take place both across the world and in the Phillies locker room.