We’re down to the final four, and today we feature the final (special) case for the last of the remaining players in our Ultimate Phillies bracket. Richie Ashburn is the lone outfielder left. Steve Carlton easily defeated the other the starting pitchers. Chase Utley beat Jimmy Rollins and upset Mike Schmidt to get this far. And joining them…is Chooch.
(Click here for all the match-ups and a look at the full bracket.)
Tuesday, we made the case for Whitey with help of one of his all-time biggest fans.
Wednesday, we had Kevin Negandhi, a ESPN SportsCenter anchor, Temple grad and die-hard Phillies fan, make the case for Lefty.
Thursday, Karen Travers from ABC News took time from covering the race for president to make the case for Chase.
Today…well, today is going to be fun. Carlos Ruiz beat Bob Boone, Darren Daulton and Tug McGraw to win the catchers and relievers region. The vote speaks for itself, but speaking for Chooch is full-time Philly-internet celebrity and part-time amateur sleuth, FanSince09.
(Ed. note: Some spelling or grammar issues may exist and we had to include them; FanSince09’s got a pretty good contract.)
The Case For Chooch: FanSince09
Cot for Choice By Steve “FanSince09” Starkins
I’m a lucky man. I chose to begin to follow the Phillies at the height of their success, the minute where a blue collar team from a blue collar town became one of Baseball’s best. I was lucky to see incredible highs and also lucky enough to root for someone else during the incredible lows. But during most of my time as a fan, I was lucky enough to watch some of the greatest players ever to play for Philadelphia.
When you think of the most memorable Philies of the last 10 years, there’s only one name you can think of. No, not that one. No, not that one either. NO, the other one. Yes, the backbone of these teams, CHOOOOOOOCH.
The term “True Phillie” is thrown around a lot these days, but Chooch is the very embodiment of of a True Phillie. This was a man who came up big in the biggest moments, who abused Adderall because he cared so much about winning, who caught for aces like J.A Happ and Cliff Lee but even made Hammels look OK before he quit on the team after selfishly throwing a no-hitter.
Chooch is often overlooked by the media because he played an unglamorus role and hit in a lineup with such names as Chase Utley and Future Hall Of Famer Raul Ibanez. But real fans know why Chooch isn’t just one of the four greatest Phillies, he’s the greatest Phillie. One might even say he’s the Brian Dawkins of the Phillies.
Chooch wasn’t supposed to be Chooch. He was a fringe Major League player who used hustle, hustle and grit to secure a key spot on some of the best Phillies teams of all time; an 8-hole hitter who became the team’s most reliable offensive threat and caught three real no hitters and one fake one.
But what draws this city to Chooch isn’t just his on-field accomplishments, it’s his unwavering love for his team. My favorite Chooch moment isn’t anything he did in the 2009 world series; it’s when, upon hearing that the Phillies had re-signed Cliff Lee, that he ran cheering through the streets of Panama. There’s always been a childlike excitement and love of the game from Chooch, and it’s infectious among Phillies fans as well as his teammates.
I’ve always likened Carlos Ruiz to one of my favorite SNL alumni of all time, Phil Hartman. In a cast full of future superstars like Spade, Farley and Sandler, Hartman was known as “the glue.” He was the best consistend performer on the show, not only showcasing great character work in sketches like Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, but playing the straightman when his castmates needed a showcase. That’s Carlos Ruiz. Not the flashiest, not the highest paid, not the one with the endorsement deal, but the guy who held it all together. Without Carlos Ruiz, the Phillies weren’t the Phillies.
But like all good things, Chooch’s run as a Phillie is slowly coming to an end. But true to Chooch’s nature, he continues to produce when he gets a chance. He handles his new role with class, respect and enthusiasm, and his effect on the fun, exciting 2016 Phillies is evident.
As much as the media is pushing the “Some guy from 100 years ago should be here instead” narrative, Chooch deserves this. There nobody that represents the greatest era of Phillies basebal better. Wherever Chooch ends up, this fanbase owes him a debt of gratitude.
In other words: Let’s Go, Let’s Go Let’s Cot for Choice!