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Larry Bowa – Manager of the Year

Ed Wade had seen enough of Terry Francona and his interminable losing streaks, and so had everyone else. Larry Bowa took over and, with his pants-on-fire, Dallas Green schooled, managing style, almost pulled off one of those worst to first near-miracles.

Bowa was out to beat Atlanta, and sparked by  a three-game Vet sweep of the Braves in April that triggered a six-game winning streak, headed into June with an eight-game lead over the perennial champs who were showing signs of vulnerability with the aging of Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz, now in their mid 30s. But they still had Bobby Cox, and they still had big game mentality when it was needed.

It was needed when the calendar turned to October, and the pesky Phillies were still hanging around. The Phils showed up at Turner Field in Atlanta on October 2 for a three-game series that could be decisive; they trailed Atlanta by two games, if they swept the series they could leave town with a one-game lead and three games left to play in Cincinnati. Larry Bowa would use, Randy Wolf, Robert Person, and Brandon Duckworth; Bobby Cox had Maddux and Glavine ready for games one and two, and if that didn’t clinch it, John Burkett (12-12) would be used in game three.

Randy Wolf, just 25 years old, was in his third year as a Phillie, and this October game would be the biggest of his life. The sturdy lefthander had become a fan-favorite in Philadelphia, inspiring a group of young men, calling themselves “the Wolf Pack”, to show up at the Vet, wearing wolf masks when he pitched. Facing the near-legendary Maddux this day, he was never better; 8 innings, 3 hits, 0 earned runs, one run scored, the result of a Scott Rolen error, which Rolen redeemed with his 25th homerun, a ninth inning blast off reliever John Smoltz. The Phillies won it 3-1, the other two runs coming on Bobby Abreu’s 31st homerun off Maddux in the fouth inning. Jose Mesa pitched a scoreless ninth for his 40th save.

The win was a high-water mark for the Phillies, it pulled them to a one-game deficit with two left in the series, but they could do no more. Robert Person was no match for Glavine in Game Two, and Brandon Duckworth had no chance in Game Three. The Braves won the division by two games over the Phillies who finished the season with a three-game sweep in Cincinnati.

Bowa was named Manager-of-the-Year. Scott Rolen won another Gold Glove. 

On June 5th , in the amateur free agent draft, Ed Wade picked right hand pitcher Gavin Floyd in the first round; in the fifth round he picked Ryan Howard.

By max blue
 

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Tagged:
Atlanta Braves, Bobby Abreu, Bobby Cox, Brandon Duckworth, Dallas Green, Ed Wade, Gavin Floyd, Jose Mesa, Larry Bowa, Philadelphia Phillies, Randy Wolf, Robert Person, Ryan Howard, Scott Rolen, Terry Francona

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