Sep 29, 2003

An Evening At The Vet

Saturday, April 20, 1996
St. Louis Cardinals @ Philadelphia Phillies
Veterans Stadium - Philadelphia, PA

Pitching: Alan Benes vs. Sid Fernandez
Results: Cardinals defeated Phillies, 1-0

I've only ever been to one game at Veterans Stadium, but it was memorable.  My friend, Cyrus, invited me to come with his family to a game when I was 15.  Even better - we had luxury box tickets (his father worked for a company that had them for the season).

The game was a pitchers duel between the Phillies 1996 Opening Day starter Sid Fernandez and Cardinals rookie Alan Benes.  Sid struck out 11 and had a no-hitter going through 7 innings, but he gave up three singles in the top of the 8th inning to Pat Borders, Willie McGee and Brian Jordan.  Jordan's RBI single put the Cardinals up 1-0.  Unfortunately for Hawaii 5-0, Benes shut down the Phillies offense, giving up only two singles in eight innings: a 5th inning single to Mark Whiten and an 8th inning single to Mickey MorandiniDennis Eckersley shut the door in the 9th for his fifth save of the season.

The 1996 Phillies still had quite a few members of the '93 NL Championship team.  Four of them appeared in this game: Morandini, Kevin StockerJim Eisenreich, and Lenny Dykstra in what would be the final season of his career.  The bench that night included Pete Incaviglia, who returned to the team after a year in Japan, and Darren Daulton in his last full season as a member of the Phillies.  Additionally, pitcher Terry Mullholland rejoined the team that winter, but the Phillies traded him to the Mariners at the deadline.  We also still had David West and Curt Schilling in the rotation.

Daulton was a left fielder in '96 to make room for one of our big free agent acquisitions, catcher Benito Santiago.  The other big signing for the start of the '96 season was third baseman Todd Zeile.  Gregg Jefferies was also a member of the '96 Phillies, but he didn't appear in this game.

The Cardinals lineup included the man who broke up the no-hitter, catcher Pat Borders.  He was on the '93 Toronto Blue Jays team that defeated the Phillies in the World Series.  Their lineup also included Ron Gant in left field.  The Cardinals traded Gant to the Phillies before the 1999 season in a multi-player deal that sent closer Ricky Bottalico to St. Louis.