Philadelphia Phillies Retro Scorecard Game Recap: July 29, 2000

Stephen Dunn /Allsport
Stephen Dunn /Allsport /

When I was a kid, I kept score at a bunch of Philadelphia Phillies games, figuring that I could look back on them years later as a way to remember all the great players that I saw. Turns out, it was just so I could write articles like this.

Welcome back for another installment of this feature, wherein I dust off an old scorecard from a Philadelphia Phillies game that I attended on the anniversary of the game. For this one, we’re looking back at a July 29, 2000 game between the Phils and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The 2000 Phillies were, to put it mildly, not good. By this point of the season, they were 18 games back, and they’d ultimately finish the campaign at 65-97. The awful Terry Francona era would come to an end, and I was utterly convinced that he would never get another managerial job.

But on this particular Saturday night 19 years ago, fans aren’t too concerned about how bad the team was. Instead, 35,189 strong have turned out to salute Harry Kalas, who is being honored for his 30th season as the club’s broadcaster.

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After a great pregame tribute for the future Hall of Famer, it’s time for some baseball, with Cliff Politte taking the mound for the home club. He starts the game by inducing ground ball outs from the Dodgers’ Todd Hollandsworth and Mark Grudzielanek, who I’m positive have just set the MLB record for most combined letters in the last names of the first two hitters of the game.

After walking Gary Sheffield, Politte retires Shawn Green to end the inning, and it’s time for the Phils to do their thing. They collect three hits in the bottom of the first inning to plate a run against Dodgers starter Kevin Brown, who I had last seen in person the previous year in a game at the AstroDome when he threw a 121-pitch complete game. Yes, those things used to happen.

The Phillies carry the 1-0 lead into the fourth inning, and Cliff Politte actually has a no-hitter going. Could he accomplish such an improbable feat? “No”, says Todd Hundley, who collects a two-out single to ruin all the fun. But Politte gets the next hitter, and he also keeps the Dodgers off the board in the following inning to preserve the lead.

Then, with one out in the bottom of the fifth, Politte shows that he can do it all, ripping a double to right field. After Doug Glanville walks, Mickey Morandini smacks a double of his own to bring home Politte. Glanville comes home on an RBI groundout by Bobby Abreu, and the Phillies have staked Cliff “Lee” Politte to an insurmountable 3-0 lead.

But you’re still wondering about Glanville and Morandini because you could have sworn that they were traded for each other. That was indeed the case, but Mickey came back to town in 2000, which you probably forgot about.

Politte throws up another zero in the top of the sixth, and Glanville ties the major league record for putouts in an inning when three Dodgers fly out to him in center field.

The Dodgers play with fire in the bottom of the sixth when they intentionally walk Desi Relaford to bring Politte to the plate with runners on first and second, but he grounds out to end the inning. I really could have sworn that this was the only free pass of Desi’s MLB career, but it turns out he had 22 of them, all of which I assume was because the pitcher was on-deck.

That’s it for Brown, as the Dodgers pinch-hit for him in the top of the seventh. Some guy named Chris Donnels collects a hit in his stead. Donnels had just come back to the majors less than two weeks before, his first MLB action since 1995 after spending four years in Japan. But Politte strikes the next man out to end the inning. It would be his final pitch of the night.

Emerging from the Phillies’ bullpen to pitch the top of the 8th inning is 22-year old Vicente Padilla, who is appearing in just his second game with the team after coming over in the Curt Schilling trade earlier that week. I would call him fresh-faced but, even at 22, he looks 50.

He proceeds to nearly ruin the night by loading the bases, but he escapes the jam by getting Adrian Beltre, who once made news by eating a chicken sandwich, to ground out to end the threat. The Phillies do nothing in their half of the inning, and it’s onto the ninth with them still holding a 3-0 lead.

Jeff Brantley time.

To lead off the frame, he walks Dave Hansen, who basically made a 15-year career out of being a pinch hitter. And, no, he’s not the guy from Slap Shot.

But Brantley is not to be denied, as he retires Devon White and then gets the two long-named Dodgers to end the game and preserve a 3-0 win for the unflappable Cliff Politte. It turns out to be Hollandsworth’s last at-bat as a Dodger, as they deal him two days later to Colorado.

On this night, Politte threw 114 pitches over seven shutout innings in what turned out to be the start of his life. He was used as a reliever for the majority of his MLB career, but it’s genuinely baffling that he didn’t get more of a shot as a starter.

This game was his 13th career start, and he’d go on to make just three more for the Phillies that season, all of which were quality starts. Politte would eventually spend another six years in the majors without ever getting another chance to start a game. But he did get a 2005 World Series ring from his time with the Chicago White Sox, so don’t cry too much for him.

Next. Phillies may regret not pushing harder to land Marcus Stroman. dark

Maybe the current Phillies management should make a call to see if he’s available for the rest of this season.