Say It ‘Aint So, Joe

4 Aug

But alas it is.  Joe Blanton became the latest victim of the Phillies payroll purge yesterday as he was traded to the LA Dodgers where he will join fellow ex-Phil Shane Victorino.  Who needs a Trade Deadline?  Certainly not Ruben Amaro, Jr. who continues undaunted in his trade-happy ways.  I wonder who’s next?  Hey, I heard the Phillie Phanatic brought his suitcase to the ballpark last night.

But back to Big Joe.  Now I know it’s easy to overlook Joe Blanton.  There has been no outcry about his departure.  Perhaps it’s because after the trades of Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, fans are resigned to the inevitable.  Maybe it’s because Big Joe has spent the last three years in the shadows of the big four, now three, aces.  Perhaps the reaction matches Blanton’s laid back style.  But whatever the reason Joe deserves better.

He came to the Phillies in a Trade Deadline deal in 2008 courtesy of former GM Pat Gillick.  His arrival, like his departure, came without fanfare.  Most fans were hoping for a bigger name.  “Joe who?”  was the most often heard refrain.

But Blanton was a critical part of the Phillies 2008 rotation, going 4-0 down the stretch, helping the Phils win the NL East, positioning them for their historic playoff run.  And he wasn’t finished.  Joe was 2-0 in the 2008 postseason including his most important win as a Phillie in Game 4 of the World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays.

But the lasting memory most of us will always have of Big Joe is not for his pitching but for his big hit also in that memorable Game 4.  In the fifth inning Blanton blasted his first ever (and so far only) major league home run as the Phillies went on to win 10-2 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.

Overall, Blanton appeared in 105 regular season games for the Phillies earning a 34-25 record.  This season he has 8 wins, second only to Cole Hamels among Phils starters.  He leads the National League in strikeouts to walks ratio.  And many may be surprised to learn that Blanton has been the most successful second half pitcher in the majors during the last four years with a 17-5 record.  Not bad for a guy who most fans had never heard of when he arrived.

So today we must say goodbye to yet one more piece of that magical 2008 World Series team.  In fact, of that 25 man roster, only 6 are now left:  Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels, and Kyle Kendrick.

So here’s a big thank-you to Big Joe who will always have a big place in this fans heart.

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2 Responses to “Say It ‘Aint So, Joe”

  1. Marlyn August 4, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Hello joe! Happier here in lala land.

    • girlsbestphriend August 5, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

      I hope you enjoy all of our old friends! It helps that they’re going to a team with great fans like you!

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