With the Philadelphia Phillies struggling to find their offensive groove, we thought it would be a nice change of pace to talk about a Phillies game in 1989 when they scored double digit runs to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates. And while we would love to focus on the Phillies offensive prowess in that game, the bigger story that came from that night, however, was from one of the Pirates' radio analysts.
21 years ago on June 8th, the Pittsburgh Pirates squared off against the Philadelphia Phillies and came into the matchup fresh off a six game losing streak. Fueled by a Barry Bonds 3 Run Home-run, the Pirates drove in 10 runs in the top of the 1st inning. However, it was in the bottom of the 1st inning when the game took an interesting turn.
The Pirates’ color analyst at the time was Jim Rooker, former World Series Champion of the Pirates in 1979. Before the Phillies came up to bat in the bottom of the 1st inning, Rooker proclaimed, “If we lose this game, I’m walking home.” His play by play booth partner, John Sanders, responded, “You’ll have to.” Through 7 innings, the Pirates would knock in only 1 more run, and allow 10, narrowing their lead to 1 run going into the 8th inning. After holding the Pirates to 0 runs in the top of the 8th, the Phillies scored 5 runs in the bottom half of the inning and would go on to win the game 15-11.
After the game, Rooker did not walk home, and travelled back with the team. However, after some fans called Rooker out for his comments, Rooker agreed to go back to Philadelphia and walk the 315 miles between Philly and Pittsburgh for charity. Benefitting The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the Bob Prince Charities, Rooker started his walk after the season on Thursday, October 5th,1989 and named his famous trek for charity the “Rooker’s Unintentional Walk.”