Ranking the Most Impactful Home Runs in Phillies History

Ranking the Most Impactful Home Runs in Phillies History

Updated: 4 months, 24 days, 7 hours, 17 minutes, 4 seconds ago

In 140 seasons, the Philadelphia Phillies have only made the playoffs 15 times. For the most part, their history is bleak.

But since 1883, there have been bright spots. Most of those moments have come in the Phillies more recent history, but perhaps the biggest home run that any Phillie has ever hit came only several days ago.

Bryce Harper's 8th inning, NLCS winning home run was undoubtedly the biggest home run in Citizens Bank Park history, but among the entire chronicle of Philadelphia Phillies baseball, where does it rank?

We'll attempt to rank the top 10 home runs in Phillies history:

10. Shane Victorino's Grand Slam of C.C. Sabathia

If you want to talk about momentum killers, look no further than the third biggest home run in Victorino's career. Sabathia had been the most dominant pitcher in baseball in the second half of 2008, posting a 1.58 ERA on 91.0 innings from August through the end of the season.

Often pitching on three days rest, Victorino shattered Sabathia, dropping as many runs on him in one hit, as he had suffered all season in a single start for the Milwaukee Brewers.

9. Gary Matthews Off the Press Box

"Sarge" Matthews is better remembered today with the Phillies as an announcer rather than a player, and the Phillies' 1983 run is often overshadowed by their 1980 triumph and the '93 pennant run. But the defining moment of that season for the Phillies was Matthews' NLCS Game 5, first inning tank shot off Jerry Reuss to open up the scoring, and eventually clinch the Phillies the pennant. 

Don't let yourself forget the swagger with which "Sarge" hit that ball too, staring back at Los Angeles Dodgers' catcher Steve Yeager as he trotted down the first base line.

8. Mike Schmidt Buried It

Schmidt is owner of the greatest regular season hit in Phillies history, there's no doubt about that. According to cWPA — which accounts for how much a player's contributions count towards winning the World Series — Schmidt added 5.5% chance to the Phillies odds of winning the championship that day.

Had the Phillies lost that game, the season would have gone to a winner-take-all game 162 for the NL East title. After Bob Boone tied the game with two outs in the ninth on a single, Schmidt 'buried' a ball deep into the left field seats in the 11th to give the Phillies a lead. They secured their fourth NL East title in five years half an inning later.

7. George Vukovich: Pinch-Hitter Extraordinary

Somehow, after 114 postseason games in their franchise history, the Phillies have hit only one walk-off home run, and it came from the unlikeliest of heroes. 

Vukovich had 27 plate appearances in the regular season that year, 91 in his whole career to that point, but he made one count in NLDS Game 1, pinch-hitting for Tug McGraw in the bottom of the 10th.

6. Matt Stairs Rips One Into the Night

Matt Stairs?! Only number six on the list?!

Before you close out of the page, let me make this argument. It was Game 4 of the Championship Series, not the World Series. The Phillies led 2-1 in the series and the game was already tied. This homer is far more memorable because of Joe Buck's call and how far the ball was hit.

It's one of the most important home runs in Phillies history, no doubt, but perhaps not as impactful as we'd all like it to be.

5. Victorino Ties it Up In L.A.

Victorino's home run leading up to Stairs' didn't have as memorable a call, it barely cleared the wall. and the "Flyin' Hawaiian" already had his big postseason moment in the NLDS.

But at that time it felt like the Phillies Game 4 hopes were dead. There was no rally going and the Dodgers had come from behind and taken the lead just two innings prior. Victorino erased all that with one swing of the bat and put the Phillies in the driver's seat.

4. Bake McBride Turns the Tide

This homer is sometimes overshadowed by Schmidt's in Montreal as the biggest hit of the 1980 season. Yet without it, the Phillies may never have shown any life in that World Series. Starting pitcher Bob Walk put the Phillies in 4-0 hole after three innings in Game 1.

"I'm not saying we were flat, but we'd just come off an unbelievable series in Houston and we were just down a little bit, we were mentally and physically tired," Bowa explained about the Phillies' emotions after the top of the third ended.

Then the shortstop got a rally going, lining a hit and stealing a base with one out. Bob Boone and Lonnie Smith drove in runs to make it 4-2 Kansas City Royals before McBride strode to the plate with two on and two out.

3. Lenny Dykstra Takes 1993 NLCS Game 5

Much like the 2022 Phillies, people expected little for the '93 iteration of the ballclub. But powering through adversity with an attitude only possible in the early 90s, the Phillies took the National League by storm.

It was Game 5 of the NLCS in Atlanta, and the Phillies were looking down the barrel of a potential elimination game going back to Philadelphia for game's six and seven. Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams blew a 3-0 ninth inning lead, but Dykstra brought the Phillies back in the 10th with a solo home run that gave the Phillies the lead and the game.

2. Bryce Harper's Bedlam at the Bank

The newest addition to the list is also perhaps the most exciting and one of only two that occurred at Citizens Bank Park. Who knows what would have happened had Harper not come from behind to give the Phillies the lead. The ballclub would have had to fly across the country to San Diego for games six and seven to secure their World Series birth.

Instead, we got 'Bedlam at the Bank'.

1. Dick Sisler Wins the Pennant

You probably don't remember this one. I sure don't. But for every Phillies fan over the age of 80, this is probably the most important home run they've ever witnessed.

The 'Whiz Kid' Phillies were up 5.0 games in the National League with six to play after Sept. 26, 1950. Back then, if you won the NL, you went straight to the World Series. So when the Phillies dropped five in a row to face the Brooklyn Dodgers in the final game of the season, it was essentially NLCS Game 6. Had the Phillies lost, the National League would have been decided by a winner-take-all game 155 — MLB only played 154 games in the regular season then.

After Richie Ashburn threw out the winning run at the plate on a bottom of the ninth Duke Snider single, Phillies' All-Star left fielder Dick Sisler hit a three-run 10th inning home run to secure the pennant for the Phillies, sending them to the World Series after Robin Roberts closed out the bottom of the tenth.

It was their first pennant in 35 years, and their last for another 30.

More From SI's Inside The Phillies:

Make sure to follow Inside the Phillies on Substack and Twitter!