On Thursday, August 12, the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees will play a baseball game in a cornfield in Iowa, the same one in the iconic baseball movie, ‘Field of Dreams.’
If you haven’t seen the classic film, Kevin Costner plays husband and father Ray Kinsella who finds himself living as an unwitting farmer in rural Iowa, wondering if he’s turning into his own father, with whom he had a fraught relationship that he was unable to mend before the elder Kinsella passed away. He hears a voice in his cornfield telling him to build a baseball diamond, and when he complies, the ghosts of baseball legends long gone appear from the fields and get to play the game they love again. Throughout the film, the voice gives Kinsella various obscure tasks, which all pan out in heartwarming and healing ways for everyone involved.
The movie is beloved by many (not all, but many), I think because it makes us believe in magic again. But it’s also bittersweet, because the things that occur in it are impossible in the real world, no matter how much we wish for them. People age, people die, and they do not come back to play baseball. Second chances like the ones depicted in the film are the kinds it’s almost impossible to get in real life.
In keeping with the theme of the day, let’s imagine a Philadelphia Phillies Field of Dreams starting nine, the ultimate players from franchise history who we’d want to see emerging from the cornfields, young, healthy, and in the prime of their Phillies careers again.
Phillies starting pitcher: Roy Halladay
It’s only fitting that the late, great Roy Halladay gets the start in this fantasy game. The beloved pitcher never got to win a World Series, and tragically passed away in a plane crash in 2017. He was only 40 years old.
Halladay spent the final four years of his 16-year career with the Phillies, and won his second career Cy Young in his first season with the club in 2010. He helped them continue their streak of division titles that had begun in 2007, and pitched in five postseason games between 2010-2011, but the Phillies never made it past the NLCS.
In terms of Phillies’ all-time pitching greats, Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts, Jim Bunning, and Cole Hamels would also be phenomenal. Roberts is the Phillies’ all-time leader in Pitcher WAR, innings pitched, and complete games (baseball is so different now), no Phillies pitcher started more games or struck out more batters than Carlton, and they never should’ve traded Hamels.
However, Halladay fits the film’s themes of unfinished business and easing pain. The idea of seeing him again, young and vibrant, doing what he loved, that’s what this movie is all about. Plus, his nickname was Doc, just like the lovely character in the movie.
Besides, you can put Roberts in the bullpen; he appeared in over 50 games in relief and had 24 career saves.