Year Released: 2009
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 127 minutes
Click to Expand Credits:
In a box in my garage, I have a newspaper from 1979. It’s a special sports section that looks ahead to the Philadelphia Phillies’ season that year, after three straight division titles that ended in National League Championship Series losses. I’m not sure why I saved it, but it began my love for a baseball team that I’ve followed through the highs and lows of the past three decades. Plenty more newspapers have accumulated in that box over the years.
Narrated by the late Harry Kalas, “Phillies Memories” opens with the team’s birth in 1883; during the early 1900s, it was overshadowed by the dominating success of another Philadelphia club, the Athletics. After the A’s left town, however, baseball in that city centered around the Phils, who have made six trips to the World Series (1915, 1950, 1980, 1983, 1993, and 2008), winning two of them (1980 and 2008). They’ve appeared in the playoffs five other times.
Of course, this film lingers on the high points of the past 126 years, with tons of archival footage and plenty of interview commentary from Phillies past and present, along with quotes from sportswriters, team executives, and even a few opposing players. The last half hour details “The Phantastic Forty,” a rundown of the best 40 players in team history, broken out by position.
The bonus features include: “Legendary Last Outs” (the final outs of all the playoff series they’ve won), Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard rapping “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” the last outs of the team’s five no-hitters (one of which was a perfect game), and a bit in which prankster relief pitcher Larry Andersen goes too far spraying on fake hair. All four run about 31 minutes total.
Unfortunately, there have been more lows than highs during my three decades following the Phillies, but that’s why I believe you stick with a team no matter what. If you feel the same way, then this new documentary is a must-have. Even if you are not a Phillies fan but love baseball, you can appreciate this film for its historical value.
Posted on May 24, 2009 in Reviews by Brad Cook
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