1994 Philadelphia Phillies
1994 Philadelphia Phillies / Franchise: Philadelphia Phillies / BR Team Page
Managed by Jim Fregosi
History, Comments, Contributions
The infamous strike of 1994 ruined a lot of things. One thing it did not ruin was a chance for the Philadelphia Phillies to successfully defend their 1993 National League title. The team had long since done that themselves by the time play was halted on August 12. Injuries, ineffectiveness, and overall ineptitude were contributing factors to the team's 54-61 final record.
Realignment and the new Wild Card format had significantly changed the look of the National League East in 1994. Gone from the division were the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, and St. Louis Cardinals. Entering were the Atlanta Braves, the same team the Phillies had vanquished in the 1993 NLCS. The Phils, Braves, and Montreal Expos were expected to engage in a three-team dogfight for the East crown, with the runner-up a top Wild Card candidate.
The Phillies entered the 1994 season with most of the same players that participated in the 1993 Postseason. There were a couple notable exceptions, though. Six weeks after the World Series, closer Mitch Williams was traded to the Houston Astros for Doug Jones and Jeff Juden. Jones was cast in the closer's role immediately upon his acquisition. Starting pitcher Terry Mulholland was dealt to the New York Yankees a week before Spring Training for prospects Kevin Jordan, Ryan Karp, and Bobby Munoz. Munoz and Juden were expected to compete for the vacancy in the rotation. The only other newcomers of note were relievers Heathcliff Slocumb (acquired from the Cleveland Indians for Ruben Amaro, Jr.) and Norm Charlton, who was signed as a free agent despite the fact that he would not be able to pitch in 1994 after undergoing offseason elbow surgery. Early in the spring, it was revealed that John Kruk had been diagnosed with testicular cancer and would miss the start of the season. That seemed to put a damper on the campaign before it even began. Although the players were mostly unchanged, the team seemed completely different as the season got underway.
Just like the year before, the Phillies began the season with a sweep on the road, taking three games from the Colorado Rockies. It turned out to be the team's high water mark. The Cincinnati Reds swept the Phils in the next series, and the early return of Kruk (and his three hits) couldn't prevent a loss to Colorado in the home opener. The team would never be more than one game above .500 at any remaining point in the abbreviated campaign. Consecutive 1-6 road trips (with a 3-2 homestand sandwiched in between) dropped the Phillies to 12-21 on May 11. Though the team would get back to .500 by the end of June, they were never in any serious contention. Injuries to several key players eventually took their toll, and the Phils went 14-22 after July 1. At the time of the strike, the Phillies sat in fourth place in the NL East, 20.5 games behind the division-leading Expos, 14.5 behind the Wild Card-leading Braves, and two games behind the third place New York Mets. The Florida Marlins brought up the rear, three games behind the Phils.
The offense was led by Darren Daulton, who was hitting an even .300 with 15 home runs and 56 RBI when a foul tip by Florida's Jeff Conine broke his collarbone and ended his season on June 28. Kruk hit .302 in his final season as a Phillie, but it was obvious that nagging injuries and a poor physique were catching up to him. Mickey Morandini, one of the few Phillies to have a subpar 1993 season, rebounded by hitting .292 while playing his usual solid second base. Kevin Stocker struggled a bit in the field after missing a month with a wrist injury, but hit a respectable .273. Lenny Dykstra hit .273 while missing 30 games with various injuries. Milt Thompson also hit .273 before being traded to the Houston Astros in late July. Jim Eisenreich hit .300 and was the only Phillie to play in at least 100 games. Mariano Duncan made the All-Star team and saw time at all four infield positions. Dave Hollins hit just .222 while missing most of the season with wrist problems. Pete Incaviglia belted 13 homers but saw his average drop to .230, 44 points lower than the previous year. Ricky Jordan performed well whenever Kruk needed a breather, hitting .282 with eight homers. Wes Chamberlain hit .275 before being traded to the Boston Red Sox in May for Billy Hatcher and Paul Quantrill. Randy Ready returned to the Phillies for a second tour of duty after being released by Montreal in June, and hit .381 in 17 games.
The injury-ravaged pitching staff was led by Danny Jackson (14-6, 3.26 ERA, induced 20 double plays in 179.1 innings) and Jones (27 saves, 2.17 ERA, only six walks in 54 innings), both of whom were All-Stars. Munoz went 7-5 after being inserted in the rotation and boasted a 2.67 ERA. Slocumb went 5-1 with a 2.65 ERA, while rookie Toby Borland went 1-0 with a 2.36 ERA out of the bullpen. Fernando Valenzuela, signed out of the Mexican League in June, had a 3.00 ERA in seven starts, but just a 1-2 record to show for it. On the flip side, 1993 hero Curt Schilling lost his first seven decisions before finishing 2-8 and beginning a two-year bout with arm problems. Arm woes limited another '93 standout, Tommy Greene, to seven starts. Ben Rivera also was able to start just seven games, and never made it back to the Major Leagues after the 1994 season. The myriad of injuries forced David West into the rotation. He finished the season at 4-10, though his ERA was a respectable 3.55. At age 41, Larry Andersen finally started to lose some bite on his slider, and he would call it a career the following spring. Juden struggled in a brief stint with the big club, going 1-4 with a 6.18 ERA. Quantrill was 2-2 with a 6.00 ERA in 18 appearances, while Shawn Boskie, acquired from the Chicago Cubs in April, could manage just a 4-6 record and a 5.23 ERA.
One place where the Phillies were not hurting was at the gate. Thanks to their thrilling run in 1993, ticket sales for 1994 were through the roof. Had the season reached its scheduled conclusion, the team likely would've broken the franchise attendance record that had been set the previous year. That fact was little consolation to the paying customers who were deprived of the regular season's final six weeks as well as the entire postseason. The 1994 season left the Philadelphia Phillies-and Major League Baseball as a whole-with an uncertain future.
On May 3, rookie reliever Andy Carter, a Philadelphia native, had the dubious distinction of being ejected from his Major League debut. In the seventh inning of an 8-3 home loss to the San Diego Padres, Carter hit two of the first three batters he faced (Brad Ausmus and Luis Lopez), and was ejected by home plate umpire Jim Quick.
Jim Fregosi managed the National League to an 8-7 win in the All-Star Game at Three Rivers Stadium. It was the fifth time in five tries that a Phillies manager had guided the NL to victory in the Midsummer Classic.
Awards and Honors