Looking back at the Phillies' 2007 celebration

Looking back at the Phillies' 2007 celebration

It was 10 years ago that Jimmy Rollins proclaimed before the season, "We're the team to beat." There was head scratching everywhere, except the New York Mets' camp. As defending National League East champions, the Mets just scoffed at Rollins.

After all, the Phillies were in the NL Wild Card races from 2003-06, but they never got to the finish line, leaving their last postseason appearance to the 1993 wild and crazy bunch.

The Mets took the NL East lead on May 16 and held it until Sept. 28, the third-last day of the season. The Phils, meanwhile, were in third place as late as Aug. 15, when they took over second and stayed there until there were just three games left in the season.

A 12-0 clobbering by Colorado on Sept. 12 at Citizens Bank Park left Philadelphia seven games behind the Mets and 2 1/2 games behind San Diego in the Wild Card race -- a rather gloomy picture with just 17 games remaining on the regular-season schedule.

The Phillies rebounded the next day, 12-3, over the Rockies and headed for a three-game series against the Mets in New York.

By sweeping three games, 3-2, 5-3 and 10-6, the Phillies pulled to within 3 1/2 games of the Mets, who now had lost eight straight to Philadelphia. Pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs won the first game with a sacrifice fly and put the Phils ahead in the third game with a pinch-hit grand slam. Rollins' triple won the middle game. In that third game, the Mets committed six errors and walked 11 Phillies.

That series was the beginning of a 10-game road trip for the Phillies. They won two of three in St. Louis and three of four in Washington. The Mets, meanwhile, lost two of three in Washington before winning three of four in Miami.

With a week left in the regular season, the Mets led the Phillies by 2 1/2 games. They had seven home games, while the Phils were going to finish at home with six.

The Mets lost a three-game series to the Nationals and a rescheduled game against the Cardinals while the Phillies won two of three from the Braves. The two teams were tied with three games left against the Marlins for the Mets and three games vs. the Nationals for the Phils.

Splitting their first two games, the Mets and Phillies went into the last day of the season tied for first place. Hollywood couldn't have written a more dramatic script.

The Mets-Marlins game began at 1 p.m. ET, while the Phillies' first pitch was a half-hour later. A sold-out Citizens Bank Park crowd of 44,865 fans was armed with rally towels. The out-of-town scoreboard in right field was the pregame focus of every fan and every Phils player. A roar went up when the Marlins scored a run. The roar got louder and louder as the score changed to 4-0, 5-0 and finally 7-0 after one inning. The Mets got one run back in their at-bat, but that was it.

Rollins got the Phillies going early when he singled, stole second and third and scored on Chase Utley's sacrifice fly. The Phils added two more in the third on a two-out RBI single by Ryan Howard, who ended the scoring with a solo home run in the seventh.

Meanwhile, 44-year-old Jamie Moyer held the Nationals to one unearned run in 5 1/3 innings. Tom Gordon and J.C. Romero followed with 2 2/3 combined scoreless innings before turning the game over to the closer, Brett Myers, who fanned two of three to set off fireworks and a celebration. The Phillies were the team to beat.

Newsy notes

• The historic achievement launched a streak of five straight division titles that would include two pennants and the Phils' second World Series championship in 2008.

• The Phillies finished 12-6 against the Mets, winning the last eight games.

• 48 wins were come from behind, most in the Majors.

• 892 runs scored led the league with Rollins (139), Aaron Rowand (105) and Utley (104) leading the way.

• For the first time in Phil history, they had five players with 20 or more home runs -- Howard (47), Pat Burrell (30), Rollins (30), Rowand (27) and Utley (22).

• Dobbs led all big leaguers with 18 pinch-hit RBIs. As a team, the Phillies also led in that category (57).

• Philadelphia used a club-record 28 pitchers. Seven made their Major League debuts. Ten rookies combined to go 18-11.

• Eight pitchers recorded a save, also a club record. Myers' 21 led the staff.

• For the third time in franchise history, the Phils topped 3 million in attendance, at 3,108,325.

• Postseason play ended quickly, with the Phillies losing three to the Colorado Rockies. It was a learning experienced, just the same as the 1976 Phils in their first postseason, losing to the Reds, 3-0.

• Rollins won a Gold Glove Award, a Silver Slugger Award and the NL Most Valuable Player Award.

Larry Shenk is in charge of alumni relations and team historian for the Phillies. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.