Kevin Millwood has retired, giving countless fans the opportunity to wish him good luck/ill will on an MLB.com message board that they assume he will be reading but certainly won’t.
For those who do not remember, Millwood pitched for the Phillies from 2003 to 2004, and will be best/solely remembered for his no-hitter, during an era of Phillies baseball when he would be congratulated after the game my a mob including Marlon Byrd, Vicente Padilla, and David Bell.
Thankfully, we’ve moved on to an era when the guy throwing the no-hitters is noted no-hitter specialist Roy Halladay.
But not too long ago, the Phillies rotation wasn’t a crew of perennial Cy Young contenders and Kyle Kendrick and John “barfing noise” Lannan.
Millwood, ironically, was once part of such a rotation, pitching behind Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz. He had a hell of a 1999 season, made the All-Star Game for the only time, and eventually left Atlanta for Philly in exchange for Johnny Estrada.
2003 was no special year for the Phillies. Millwood even led the league in steals allowed (41), but made up for it by hurling the second no-hitter in Veterans Stadium history. It was an odd sensation; a no-hitter, thrown by a guy no one would really expect a no-hitter from, for a team that was probably not going to do anything special. By 2005, Millwood was off the roster, continuing the 16-year, four-city tour that was his entire MLB career.
But I recall watching on TV as a teenager, realizing that for once, the Phillies were the high profile game. I was six in 1993, and that team was the reason I became so obsessed with baseball and the Phillies. But ten years after the fact, the Phillies being relevant in any way was so foreign that I wanted to hold onto that feeling forever.
By the time they were putting “MLB Post Season” on the Citizens Bank grass in 2007, it was a lucid dream. I had Millwood to thank for a day in late April, five years prior, when my enthusiasm for baseball had been replaced by the futile pursuit of girls and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, for reminding me what a glorious Phillies moment felt like.
Now, of course, we’re well aware of what that feels like, and we’ve become sort “junkies” for the team’s success. But there was a time when a Millwood no-hitter was an oasis from the bland bitterness of early 2000s Phillies baseball.
— John Stolnis (@FelskeFiles) February 4, 2013