Carlos Ruiz is back in Philadelphia for a two-game set with the Seattle Mariners, his first visit back to Citizens Bank Park since being traded last August to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Chooch didn’t face the Phillies in his short stint with the Dodgers, then got traded this offseason to Seattle, where he’s struggling mightily at the plate, hitting just .115 with a slugging percentage of .154 in 13 games this season.
And yet, Chooch, at 38, isn’t in the league for his bat. Here’s around for his experience and expertise in handling a pitching staff. He’s around because of 2008.
In a feature for the Mariners’ website, Ruiz said one of the first things he did when he was traded to Seattle was check their schedule to see if they played the Phillies. “I can’t wait. I’m excited,” Ruiz said. “But at the same time, I’m very happy to be here and be part of this team.”
“I have a lot of memories from there,” Ruiz said. “I remember my first day when I got called up. I remember winning the World Series. That’s the whole goal. Catching on all those teams, I had a great time, and I can’t wait to go back and see all my old friends and teammates. It’ll be special.”
Chooch might actually play, too. The Mariners just sent starting catcher Mike Zunino down to Triple-A because the 24-year old is lost at the plate, leaving just Chooch and Tuffy Gosewisch as options behind the plate.
As bad as Ruiz has been this year, he’s better than Tuffy Gosewisch. And so, the Phillies faithful will undoubtedly get an opportunity to give Chooch the kind of welcome back cheer he richly deserves as one of the most beloved Phillies in the last…well…50 years. Last season, when we ran our Ultimate Phillies bracket, Chooch made the Final Four, with Phillies die-hard FanSince09 making the case for why Ruiz should be considered the ultimate Phillie in team history.
The 2008 World Series championship team is beloved in Philly, and the stars on that team will be remembered here forever. It’s a bit ironic that from 2007 through 2011, when the Phillies won five division titles and made it to the World Series twice, the year they won the championship they probably had the worst roster of the run. There was no Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay or even Roy Oswalt. No Raul Ibanez or even Placido Polanco. But there was a group of guys who will never be forgotten, and here’s how they’ve fared when they’ve faced the Phillies since.
Jimmy Rollins, SS: Rollins played nearly his entire career with the Phillies before a year with the Dodgers in 2015 and a short stint with the White Sox last season. Rollins got his Citzens Bank Park curtain call with the Dodgers in 2015.
J-Roll played seven games against the Phillies, registering eight hits and one home run in 28 at bats, with a .286 average and .891 OPS.
Shane Victorino, CF: Victorino had himself a decent post-Phillies career, winning a Gold Glove in 2013 with Boston after being traded in 2012 from the Phillies to the Dodgers. Victorino lasted most of three seasons with the Red Sox before being traded in 2015 to the Angels, his last season in the Majors. Victorino played just two games against the Phillies after leaving, with two hits in 10 at bats.
Chase Utley, 2B: In Philly, Chase Utley is still the man.
Utley came back with the Dodgers last season after 13 years in Philadelphia. He was dealt during the 2015 season and has stayed with the Dodgers since, playing against the Phillies nine times, eight starts, with eight hits in 33 at bats, including three home runs, five RBI and an .851 OPS.
Ryan Howard, 1B: Howard spent his entire MLB career with the Phillies before getting released in the off-season. He was just cut by the Braves after a cup of coffee with their Triple-A club, so his return to Philadelphia seems unlikely at this point.
Pat Burrell, LF: Burrell was one of the few Phillies not offered a contract after the 2008 “hey we just won a title who wants money” era of spending that still, to this day, hampers the franchise. Burrell left for Tampa Bay for a season and a half, then finished his career with the San Francisco Giants for a year and a half, winning a World Series with the Giants in 2010. Burrell faced the Phils six times, getting just five hits in 22 at bats, but making them count, as three of those hits were home runs.
Jayson Werth, RF: Unquestionably the most (read: only?) hated ex-Phillie from the 2008 team, Werth left for the money in Washington after the 2010 season, and while he’s had some success over the last six-plus seasons with the Nationals, they haven’t won much in the playoffs. Werth, though, has been a thorn in the Phillies’ side since leaving, not just with his comments, but with his play. He has 99 hits in 361 at bats against the Phillies with Washington (.274 batting average), with 19 homers, 69 RBI and 55 runs scored in 96 games.
He’s faced the Phils eight times already this season, 33 plate appearances, and has 13 hits, three walks, three homers, eight RBI and seven runs scored. His OPS against the Phillies this year is 1.252.
Pedro Feliz, 3B: Feliz played for the Phils in 2009, then bounced between Houston and St. Louis in 2010. He played three times against the Phillies after leaving, getting four hits in 12 at bats. But Feliz did come back again, playing for a stint with the now-defunct Camden Riversharks. That was depressing.
Carlos Ruiz, C: Choooooooooooooooooooooch! (Sorry, just getting ready for later.)
Matt Stairs, PH: Stairs only had 185 more plate appearances in the Majors — 111 with the Padres and 74 with the Nats — after he left Philly. He faced the Phils eight times, getting three hits in 12 at bats. He’s back again, first as a broadcaster now as the team’s hitting coach.
Eric Bruntlett, Util: He never played in the Majors after leaving the Phillies in 2009.
Greg Dobbs, PH: Dobbs stayed in the division the rest of his career, first with the Marlins then the Nats, and played in 45 games against the Phillies after leaving, with 106 at bats and 27 hits (.255), slightly below his career average.
Geoff Jenkins, RF: Jenkins retired after the 2008 season, his only year in Philly.
Chris Coste, C: The 35-year old catcher was Chooch’s back up in 2008, then played half the 2009 season with Houston, facing the Phillies four times. He had one hit in seven at bats, his last season in the Majors.
Cole Hamels, SP: Hamels was traded to Texas in 2015 after 10 years with the Phillies. He has yet to face the Phils.
Jamie Moyer, SP: Moyer was out of the Majors in 2011 but pitched 10 times for the Rockies in 2012. He didn’t face the Phils, but did come back for a brief and ill-advised stint in the television booth.
Brett Myers, SP: Myers left Philly after the 2009 season, and played for Houston, Chicago White Sox and Cleveland through the 2013 season. He had a 2-1 record against the Phillies in four games, three starts, with a 2.01 ERA.
Joe Blanton, SP: Blanton has seemingly been in the Majors forever, facing the Phils six times (two starts) since leaving in 2012. In 20 innings pitched against the Phils, he’s given up just five runs.
J.A. Happ, SP: It’s hard to believe Happ has played more seasons for other teams than he did the Phillies, but it’s true, as he spent parts of three years in Houston, parts of five in Toronto, and parts of one in Seattle and Pittsburgh. He’s faced the Phillies four times, with a 4-0 record and a 1.11 ERA.
Brad Lidge, RP: Lidge somewhat famously went to the Nationals (to team with Werth) after leaving the Phillies, saying some nonsense about how the Nationals had the most talent he’d ever played with in his career. He pitched just 11 times for the Nats in 2012, none against the Phillies, then retired.
Chad Durbin, RP: A solid bullpen arm for the Phils in 2008, Durbin hung on with the team until 2010, then went to Cleveland and Atlanta before returning for 16 appearances with the Phillies in 2013. He faced the Phillies seven times in that two-year span, winning two games and giving up just one hit in seven innings pitched.
Kyle Kendrick, SP: Kendrick was almost the Phillies ace after the bottom fell out in 2012, lasting until 2014. He pitched one year for Colorado in 2015, then signed with the Red Sox this year. He hasn’t faced his former team.
Adam Eaton, SP: People in Philadelphia HATE Adam Eaton, but unlike Werth, they hated him in 2008. They probably hate him now. Sadly, in the 12 appearances he had in 2012 before getting run out of the Majors, he never faced the Phillies.
Ryan Madson, RP: Madson was out of the Majors from 2011-2014, returning to the bigs with Kansas City in 2015, then Oakland since 2016. He hasn’t faced the Phils.
J.C. Romero, RP: Romero was with the Phillies until 2011. He was signed and released by the Nationals, Yankees and Rockies, only pitching for Colorado in the Majors. He then pitched for St. Louis before being released and signed with three or four more teams (it’s hard to keep track), pitching five times for Baltimore. In all those stops he never faced the Phillies.
Tom Gordon, RP: Gordon didn’t retire after the 2008 season, but he might as well have. He pitched just three times for the Diamondbacks in 2009, ending his 21-year career.
Rudy Seanez, RP: Seanez became a free agent after the 2008 World Series. He signed with the Angels the following May but was released two months later.
Clay Condrey, RP: Condrey pitched for the Phillies up to 2009. He signed with the Twins in 2010, but never pitched in the Majors again.
Scott Eyre, RP: Eyre came to Philly via trade in 2008 and was a huge part of the bullpen during the World Series run. He opted to retire after the 2009 season. He sat next to me once in a restaurant in Haddonfield and was listening in on a conversation I was having about guests for my podcast. I thought the snooping was kind of rude until I realized who it was. A few fans nodded hello to him and he politely nodded back. He seemed nice.