The 2021 Phillies have not been bad. They have not been good. They have been somewhere in between. They’ve been mediocre and, as a result, so has their season thus far.
Through a little more than two months, the most memorable victory of the season was a win they probably didn’t deserve, Alec Bohm’s phantom slide into home against the Braves in Atlanta on Sunday Night Baseball way back on April 11. During the first 10 weeks of the season, there was no truly memorable moment to speak of.
Last night, Luke Williams finally gave the 2021 Phillies season its first signature moment.
Williams’ walk-off, two-run home run with two outs in the 9th inning of a game they were trailing 1-0 to the Braves was an electric, feel-good, lightning bolt of fun that energized a dead-man walking stadium and a team that had struggled to do anything of consequence all night.
How unlikely was Williams’ bomb?
Phillies to hit a walk-off HR while trailing with 2 outs, past 25 seasons:— John Fisher (@JohnnyPhisher) June 10, 2021
Darren Daulton, 1997
Mike Lieberthal, 1998
Travis Lee, 2001
Pat Burrell, 2008
Luke Williams, 2021
According to @EliasSports only five players in the last 20 years hit a walk-off homer in their first MLB start:— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) June 10, 2021
Carlos Perez (2015), Ben Francisco (2007), Miguel Cabrera (2003), Esix Snead (2002) and Josh Bard (2002).
No #Phillies player had ever done it.
Per Elias, Luke Williams is the fourth Phillies player to hit a walkoff HR for his first major-league home run:— Matt Breen (@matt_breen) June 10, 2021
John Peters, 7/16/1921 vs. Reds
Rick Joseph, 9/16/1967 vs. Dodgers
David Doster, 6/21/1996 vs. Rockies
Luke Williams hit no HR in the minor leagues this year, in 82 plate appearances.— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) June 10, 2021
He just hit a walkoff lead-flipping HR off Will Smith in his 2nd game in the big leagues.
Career walkoff HR with #Phillies trailing, 2 out in 9th— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) June 10, 2021
Mike Schmidt 1
Luke Williams 1
So yeah, pretty unlikely, although if you ask his teammates, they saw it coming. Zach Eflin, last night’s starting pitcher, told reporters after the game that they called Williams’ home run the pitch before it happened. His new nickname is Captain America. If you watch his postgame interview, you can see why.
Luke Williams getting choked up while talking about his family gives you all the feels ❤️ pic.twitter.com/IiyNevjr6C— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) June 10, 2021
Two seasons ago, Bryce Harper authored that season’s signature moment, a walk-off grand slam against the Chicago Cubs. Last year, there really was no moment like that, and during mediocre and frustrating seasons, sometimes that happens, especially when that season is only 60 games long.
It’s too soon to say whether Williams’ heroics will springboard the Phillies to more success. If recent seasons are any guide, it’s more likely last night’s magical moment was just that... a moment. But that’s why we watch baseball, for moments like this, even if they occur in a season in which nothing truly special will happen at the end of it.
Luke Williams’ walk-off home run was baseball, in all its facets, at its finest.
And just in case you wanted to re-live the 2021 Phillies’ signature moment one more time, via Scott Franzke...