Brad Lidge #54 (L) and Carlos Ruiz #51 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrate the final out of their 4-3 win to win the World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays during the continuation of game five of the 2008 MLB World Series on October 29, 2008 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Most of my baseball-watching life has been spent watching the Phillies play at Citizens Bank Park. I was 10 years old when they played their first game there. So, while I have memories of games at Veteran’s Stadium, the vast majority of my Phillies memories take place at Citizen’s Bank Park. 

It is now in its 20th season hosting Phillies games. Citizens Bank Park opened in the year 2004. And it has probably been host to some of the best years of Phillies baseball. It has hosted 3 World Series, whereas it took Veteran’s Stadium 30+ years to host 3 World Series. The Phillies have made the playoffs 7 times while playing there. They made it 7 times at The Vet despite 11 extra seasons there. And it hosted perhaps the greatest era in Phillies history, the 2007-2011 Phillies. The only competition for that era of Phillies baseball is the Mike Schmidt/Steve Carlton teams in the late 70s and Early 80s.

Not only that, it’s just an objectively great place to watch a Baseball game. To start, there is not a bad seat in the house. Whether you are sitting in the 3rd deck,  behind the foul pole, or have a Standing Room only ticket. Pretty much everywhere has a good view.

And there has been many an iconic moment there too. That tends to happen when it takes part in 3 World Series. Also when it is home to great hitters like Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Bryce Harper, there are going to be some great moments. The same goes for having pitchers like Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Cliff Lee. But what are the best moments in Citizens Bank Park history? I tried to count down my favorite moments at our home ballpark over these last 20 seasons.

Here are my 12 best moments in the history of Citizens Bank Park:

  • 12) Bryce Harper's Walk Off Grand Slam

    There won’t be many regular-season moments on this list. Naturally, anything that happens in the playoffs is going to be more memorable than 1 of 162 regular season games. But this hit isn’t one we are going to forget anytime soon.  

    It was the bottom of the 9th. The Cubs lead the Phillies 5-3, and there was just one out, with the bases load. A double probably would have been enough to end it. But Bryce Harper had a different result in mind. He didn’t want to leave any doubt that the game was over. He crushed the 2-2 pitch into the second deck in right field. As Harper himself put it “That was sick.”

    Between Bryce’s reaction and the “Oh My God” from Kruk, it was an instant classic moment. In the context of the season, it didn’t mean much, because the Phillies would miss the playoffs later that year. But it was a hint of the type of things Harper could do in big moments.  

  • 11) Cliff Lees 3rd Straight Complete Game Shutout

    For a little bit there, Cliff Lee was the man in Philly. He unfortunately is not much of a part of the city, or even Phillies lore anymore. Part of that is due to him never actually being here. But when he pitched here, there were few pitchers more beloved. Between what he did in 2009 to help the Phillies get back to the World Series, his nonchalant attitude on the mound, and his pure dominance, he could do no wrong in the eyes of most Phillies fans. Especially after he chose us over the Yankees. 

    That was never on display more than in June of 2011. Cliff Lee gave up just 1 run that whole month. At one point, he had thrown 34 straight scoreless innings, before the Blue Jays finally got to him in early July. But it was the start before that one that stood out. The Boston Red Sox were in town for an interleague game, back when Interleague games were still a thing of note.  

    The Red Sox didn’t have a chance vs Cliff. It was his 3rd straight complete-game shutout. One where he gave up just 2 hits and allowed just 2 walks. After 9 innings, the count on his streak was up to 32.  

  • 10) Ryan Howard Hits his 58th Homerun

    In 2006, Ryan Howard gave us the best season of any Phillies hitter ever. Not just 58 home runs, but a batting average of .313 and an OBP of .425. Enough to win him the NL MVP that year. He broke the Phillies’ single-season HR record, previously held by Mike Schmidt (48), by 10.  

    And when he hit number 58, he did so in front of a wild Philadelphia crowd. The Phillies did not make the playoffs that year. They finished with 85 wins, 3 games behind the Dodgers for the Wild Card spot. But the building was still packed every night, just to watch the show Ryan Howard was putting on for us. 

    It came on a Friday night vs the Marlins. There was nothing particularly special about the game, or even the HR. It helped them win a meaningless game. But it stands out because of Ryan Howard’s accomplishment. To remember just how great he was for those several seasons.  Unfortunately, his career was hampered and shortened by injuries. But for those 6 or so seasons when he was at the top of his game, there was not a more dangerous hitter at the plate than Ryan Howard. And he made sure a lot of Phillies games left games with souvenirs. 

  • 9) World &%$#ing Champions

    The only thing on this list that was not an in-game moment. Instead, it was the celebration after they already won the World Series. Chase Utley is one of the most beloved athletes in Philly history. That said, he was not always Mr. Personality. Chase was a man of actions most times, not words.  

    But there was one moment where we got to see the real Utley come out. And the real Utley has a bit of a potty mouth. When it was his turn to speak on the field At Citizens Bank Park after the parade, he did so from the heart. And what his heart wanted to say was simply “World &%$#ing Champions.” 

    Some people got all bent out of shape because he cursed and there were children present. But I am pretty sure all those kids have heard worse just sitting in the stands at any Phillies game. Also if winning a World Series doesn’t give you permission to curse, what does? Chase Utley’s speech is synonymous with the World Series win now for me. And honestly, it just made me like Utley more because we finally got to see some personality to go with everything he did in the game.

    Chase Utley #26 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates on the field after their 4-3 win against the Tampa Bay Rays during the continuation of game five of the 2008 MLB World Series on October 29, 2008 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

  • 8) The Rhys Hoskins Bat Spike

    Philly loves an underdog story. And going into this game Rhys Hoskins certainly was an underdog. After struggling at the plate to that point in the playoffs, to go with several costly errors that made them lose game 2 vs the Braves, he was not a popular man in Philly. In fact, he was booed quite often in the game before this moment happened.

    But one swing, and a massive bat spike, was all he needed to win the crowd back over. Rhys stepped to the plate with two men on, and the Braves rookie phenom Spencer Strider on the mound. And he crushed the ball. Sent a bullet to the Left Field seats that put the Phillies up 3-1. Suddenly, he was a hero again.

    He went on to hit 5 more HRs in the postseason. But none were as memorable as this one. He could leave in free agency after this season. But every Phillies fan will remember this moment.

  • 7) Shane Victorino's Grand Slam off CC Sabathia

    CC Sabathia was brilliant in 2008 for the Brewers. They acquired him mid-season, and he went on to go 11-2 with an ERA of 1.65 with them. Going into those playoffs, he was perhaps the best pitcher in baseball. Until he ran into the Phillies.  

    The Brewers led 1-0 in the bottom of the 2nd. But then Jayson Werth doubled. Pedro Feliz doubled after that to drive in Werth. Following by Sabathia walking Brett Myers and Jimmy Rollins, to bring up Shane Victorino with the bases loaded. And in what is now the moment that defines The Flying Hawiian’s career with the Phillies. He busted the game wide open with a single swing. A Grand Slam to left field to give the Phillies a 5-1 lead.  

    They didn’t score again in the game, but they didn’t need to. They went on to win the series in 4 games. Then of course went on to win the World Series. And like the Rhys Hoskins bat spike was a moment that propelled last year’s team to the World Series, this is the moment that felt like the magic of the 2008 playoffs started.  

  • 6) Phillies Clinch the NL East Pennant in 2007

    The start of an era. 2007 was the first of 5 straight NL East Pennants. Yea, it did not go their way in the playoffs that year. But it put them on the map. And nobody except Jimmy Rollins saw it coming. Jimmy promised us the Phillies would win the NL East. It took him and the Phillies until game 162 to live up to that promise.  

    For a while, it looked like they would come nowhere near it. With 17 games left, they trailed the Mets by 7 games. But the Mets will always Met. They started losing, and the Phillies started losing. By 162, the Phillies could clinch it if the Mets lost, and they won.  

    The crowd was roaring before the starter that day, Jamie Moyer, took the mound. The outfield scoreboard showed the Marlins were pouring on runs vs the Mets. First, it said 4-0, then 7-0. Every update put up on that outfield scoreboard was met with cheers from the Phillies faithful as Moyer was still warming up on the mound. The Marlins would go on to win 7-1. Meaning all the Phillies needed to do was win, and they would take the NL East. 

    So when Brett Myers got the last out that day to win the game, the place went wild. We didn’t know then it was the start of one of the greatest eras in Phillies’ history. But even without that knowledge, it was a good reason to party.   

  • 5) Michael Lorenzen's No-Hitter

    This could be recency bias, but this was just a special night in general. In his first home start, Lorenzen came out and tossed a no-hitter. But not just that, it was the same game Nick Castellanos hit 2 hrs to get to HR, and Weston Wilson hit an HR in his first career at bat. That trio of historic moments, in front of a raucous crowd, with all 3 having family members watching from the stands, made it one of the best regular season moments in Phillies history.

  • 4) Jimmy Walks it Off vs the Dodgers in 2009

    Jimmy Rollins is a Phillies legend. But perhaps no moment from his long career here stands out more than what he did in Game 4 of the 2009 NLCS.  

    The Phillies entered the 9th inning down 4-3. Joe Blanton had given up 4 runs, 3 of which were earned, in 6 innings. The Phillies’ offense was struggling to get going though apart from a Ryan Howard HR. But in the 9th Jonathan Broxton was coming to the mound for the Dodgers. And the Phillies and Broxton already had a history from last season’s NLCS. Things that would have been right here on this list if it wasn’t for them mostly taking place in LA. 

    First Matt Stairs pinch-hit for Pedro Feliz, and drew a walk. He got pinch-run for by Eric Bruntlett. Broxton hit Carlos Ruiz to put runners on first and second base. Next, he got Gregg Dobbs to line out. Meaning Jimmy Rollins was up with 2 outs. If he made an out, it would have made it a 2-2 series, and Phillies would have been guaranteed to have to go back to LA.  

    Jimmy was not going to allow that. He roped a double to RF, that brought both Bruntlett and Ruiz home, to win the game. It gave the Phillies a 3-1 lead, and they would go on to win game 5 to make it to the World Series for the 2nd straight year.   

  • 3) Roy Halladay's Playoff No Hitter

    Not many players have given us so many memorable moments despite not being here very long. Roy Halladay spent just 4 seasons in Philly. Only two of those went well. But man he made those two years count. They didn’t win with him, but not by lack of him trying. 

    The first season here was particularly memorable. He won the Cy Young and threw the 20th perfect game in MLB History. That game did not take place in Philly though. So Halladay made sure the Phillies faithful got a show too. In his first playoff game ever, he tossed a no-hitter against the Reds. 

    It was just the 2nd playoff no-hitter ever, with the other being Don Larsen’s Perfect Game. He also became the only pitcher to throw both a Perfect Game and a No-Hitter in the same season. Doc allowed just 1 baserunner. He walked Jay Bruce in the 5th inning. Otherwise, he retired every other Reds hitter in order. The game ended on a Brandon Phillips bunt attempt that Carlos Ruiz had to make a nifty play on to get the out. And that he did. 

    The Phillies lost in the next round to the Giants. But despite it not leading to anything, it is hard for many moments to beat something only two pitchers have ever done.  

  • 2) The Swing of Bryce Harper's Life

    You knew this was going to make the list. Could it being this high be recency bias? Maybe. But 8 months later I still sometimes pull it up just to rewatch this moment.  At this point, I alone have had to watched it at least 1000 times.  

    Before this at-bat, it felt like the wind was taken out of our sails. The game was not delayed despite a torrential downpour. And that bad weather led to Seranthony Dominguez getting wild. Despite being dominant in the playoffs before this game, he came in and blew the lead. It seemed like the series may be heading back to San Diego. They would still have only needed 1 win, so it was not a feeling of doom. But it was a momentary kick to the head. 

    Not on Bryce Harper’s watch though. After JT Realmuto got on base, Harper came up behind him. And as Joe Davis put it, had the swing of his life. He gave the Phillies the lead, and in the next half inning, Ranger Suarez got the save to send the Phillies back to the World Series.  

    It is easily the best moment of Bryce Harper’s career. And up there amongst the best hits in Phillies history.  

  • 1) Phillies Win the World Series

    Obviously, nothing beats winning the World Series on your own field.  The sound of Harry Kalas saying  “Swing and a miss, struck him out. The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 World Champions of Baseball,” is ingrained in our heads forever. As is the image of Brad Lidge and Carlos Ruiz hugging on the mound before being tackled by their teammates.  

    The whole run was full of magical moments. Matt Stairs hitting one into the night. Shane Victorino’s Grand Slam. Ryan Howard hitting two home runs in one game. But Brad Lidge striking out Eric Hinske beats them all. 

    It was the first time any Philly team had won anything since 1983 when the Sixers beat the Lakers. And there was tons of heartbreak between those times. I wasn’t even alive, or old enough to appreciate some of it, but every sports fan in Philly felt the weight of it. The Eagles had regular heartbreak during the Andy Reid era. The Lakers beating AI and the Sixers in 2001. The Legion of Doom being swept in the 1997 Stanley Cup. Joe Carter ruining the 1993 Phillies season. But the Phillies finally gave us a reason to have a parade. 

    The Phillies have come close since then. The run back there in 2009. The 102-win team in 2011. Last year’s team. But we are still waiting to get back to what the 2008 team gave us.  

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