A couple of weeks ago, MLB.com ran separate pieces discussing who each team’s “Cult Hero” was. MLB.com’s Phillies writer Todd Zolecki put forth Chris Coste as the team’s all-time cult hero.
Zolecki’s choice is completely warranted. It’s not every day that you see a 33-year-old rookie catcher in baseball. Coste would go on to hit .328 his rookie year, hit a walk-off against the Mets in ’08, and start game 1 of the 2008 World Series.
From Matt Stairs to Wilson Valdez, there were many options Zolecki could have selected from, but what about 2019. Who was the Phillies cult hero from the 2019 season?
The answer is a man who brought winning back to the clubhouse when all seemed lost. He channeled a good luck charm that had worked for him in the past. Through a search through the Orient, the answer came and the Phillies clubhouse was reborn.
Yes, the unrecognized legend I’m alluding to is none other than “Bamboo” Brad Miller. I know you don’t think I’m serious, but when Brad Miller brought in bamboo for the first time nobody thought he was serious either.
“This will bring us some wins. I can feel it.”
Brad Miller felt it and it happened. The Phillies were on a 7-game losing streak with the Mets coming into town for a 4-game set before the bamboo appeared. The Mets would be utterly embarrassed and swept out of town.
It wasn’t just the wins, it was how the games were won. In the first game, the Phillies put up 13 runs on the Mets. In the second, the Phillies put up a 5-run sixth inning to come back from a 5-2 deficit. Brad Miller accounted for the Phillies’ 5th run that inning with a pinch-hit home run.
In the 3rd game, the Phillies came back from 4-0 to walk it off in the 10th on a Jay Bruce double. In the 4th, Hector Neris blew the save, but the Phillies destroyed Edwin Diaz. They scored 5 in the bottom of the ninth to walk it off on a Jean Segura homer.
The bamboo was strong with this team as they swept out the Mets in a 4-game series for the first time in 12 years.
It wasn’t just the bamboo, however. Brad Miller had a good offensive year fueled by one of the hottest 9-game stretches in Phillies history.
Brad Miller’s line for the Phillies was .263/.331/.610. Twelve of his 31 hits for the Phillies were home runs, most of which came in September.
From September 21st to September 29th, Brad Miller owned the hottest bat in baseball. He posted a 1.571 OPS with a 1.138 slugging %. He had 3 multi-homer games. No Phillie had ever hit 3 in such a short period of time. Even in 2006 as Ryan Howard was hitting 58 home runs, he didn’t have 3 multi-homer games even with a calendar month. Seven out of 12 of Miller’s hits were home runs.
One of his multi-home run games came against Max Scherzer. Yes, really.
Brad Miller became a fan favorite. The day after the bamboo worked, 3 Twitter accounts were created commemorating Brad’s Bamboo. It also inspired a fan to make this.
Hopefully, the Phillies will bring back Mr. Bamboo for a second year with the Phillies so his legend can grow further.
Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports