-- Santiago, "Old Man and the Sea," Ernest Hemingway, 1952 Those are the words that immortalized Dick Sisler, written by Hemingway after seeing Sisler play in Cuba.
The Dodgers had runners on first and second with none out. Duke Snider singled up the middle to Ashburn, who was playing shallow. Had Abrams held at third, the Dodgers would have had the bases loaded with none out, and Jackie Robinson at the plate.After Abrams was thrown out, Roberts took advantage of the open base at first and intentionally walked Robinson. Roberts got the next two batters to send the 1-1 game to extra innings. The Phillies would only need one more turn. There were two on for Sisler. The inning began with back-to-back singles from Roberts and Waitkus. Ashburn tried to bunt them both over, but the Dodgers got the forceout at third. Dirt flew into Roberts' eye as he slid into third, but he stayed in the game. Sisler found himself behind in the count, 1-2. But Newcombe didn't have a "throw-away" pitch to offer Sisler. He was, for the most part, a straight flamethrower, and there was a good chance Sisler was sitting on fastball. The opposite-field shot gave the Phillies a 4-1 win and the pennant. The Phillies were swept by the Yankees in the 1950 World Series, signaling the remarkably short end to the Whiz Kids' success as a group. They finished five games back of the New York Giants the next season and never really threatened during the decade that followed. This surprised many. The Whiz Kids were so named because they were a group of young talented players that emerged from the Phillies farm system in the late 1940s and almost immediately jelled. They were young, with an average age of about 23, and fun to watch. The 29-year-old Sisler was considered one of the club's veterans. He debuted with the 1946 St. Louis Cardinals world championship team and joined the Phillies in 1948. His career ended in 1953 with little flair, unlike his Hall of Fame father, George. But his home run will forever be ingrained in Phillies lore. Mike Schmidt's home runs deserve some argument. The Hall of Famer's 11th-inning blast to beat the Expos in 1980 ensured the Phillies the division title. The team went on to win the franchise's only World Series title, but it is unlikely that Schmidt's home run propelled it there. Another that got a lot of attention was Schmidt's 500th home run, which longtime Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas cast his vote for as most memorable. "He played his whole career for one team," Kalas said. "You don't see that much anymore. " There were also rumblings for Jim Thome's 400th homer, and few who have forgotten Ryan Howard's upper-deck blast during his seven-RBI game. Certainly those should be candidates. But then you think of Sisler, and that great drive in the old park. There have been none that could top it.
Stephen Fastenau is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less