PHILADELPHIA – Brandon Phillips hears plenty of boos in some ballparks he goes to with the Braves, after spending 11 years with Cincinnati and doing plenty of damage against the Reds’ rivals.
But when he got his 2,000th Wednesday in the first inning of the opening game in a doubleheader at Philadelphia, amid polite applause from a small Phillies crowd, there was one excited fan who immediately caught his attention with a sign offering congratulations to “Dat Dude” (his nickname) along with the message, “So proud.”
“My mom surprised me,” said Phillips, 36, who had no idea until he saw her that Lue Phillips had flown up from Atlanta to see him get his hit.
He laughed and said, “I’m going to get on my mom after that. But it feels good just to look up there and see my mom in the stands, man. I mean, that’s a beautiful woman right there, and I just thank her all the time. And for her to come and support me, there’s nothing better than that. ... I saw the little sign she had; that was cute. Just to see my mom over there with the sign, that was priceless.”
Phillips had two hits in Monday’s series opener and said his mom flew up Tuesday without telling him. The Braves and Phillies were rained out Tuesday, and she still kept the secret that she was in town, waiting until after he got his hit to break out the sign and draw his attention.
“Yeah, my momma’s slick, man,” he said. “She’s a good woman. She supports the whole family, my brothers and sisters. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my mom, I wouldn’t be the man I am today.”
After doing a postgame TV interview on the field, Phillips went over to give his mother a big hug near the visitor’s dugout at Citizens Bank Park.
Phillips became the 12th active player with 2,000 hits with his RBI single that drove in the first run of a 9-1 win. He’s just the fifth player in MLB history whose primary position was second base to total at least 2,000 hits, 200 homers and 200 stolen bases, joining Joe Morgan, Craig Biggio, Ryne Sandberg and Roberto Alomar.
“For the (medical and training) guys in Cincinnati who kept me on the field, and the guys here with the Braves who kept me on the field, I’ve got to thank them, too,” Phillips said. “For everybody who kept me on the field so I could reach this milestone. It’s really an honor just to be in that group, especially the second basemen, the other guys who did the 200 home runs, 200 stolen bases, 2,000 hits -- just hearing the guys who’ve done that who played second base, all those guys are in the Hall of Fame. I’m not saying I’m a Hall of Famer, but it’s just nice to be in a group like that.”
Coincidentally, Phillips is the second Brave this season to get his 2,000th hit, joining Nick Markakis.
Braves manager Brian Snitker said, “It’s just really cool. I’m really happy for him. It just says a lot about his career. It’s just amazing to me, how long you’ve got to play this game, and it’s such a grind, to get 2,000 hits.”
“In a season that hasn’t been as good as we would’ve liked as a team so far, it’s nice to have guys see some of their goals come to fruition,” said Braves pitcher R.A. Dickey, who pitched eight innings in the 9-1 win. “Both of those guys (Phillips and Markakis) are pros and have been pro’s pros from the very beginning. It’s nice to share in that with them. I’m glad I got to pitch the game when he got his 2,000th hit.”
Asked what it meant to get 2,000 hits, Phillips said, “It means I’ve been playing for a minute. I’ve still got a thousand more hits to go. I just try to go out there and play the game the best way I know how. It feels good to finally reach that milestone. It just really shows that I played through injuries, I’ve been playing for a long time and I’ve been doing my job, just trying to be a team player and try to go out there and win instead of just worrying about stats.”
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