If you have a few minutes, we highly recommend checking out Paul Hagen's article on Pat Burrell's return to Philadelphia to officially retire as a Phillie. The whole piece is great, but our two favorite parts focused on the emotion of his final game in the bigs and his greatest moment as a Phillie. You can read the excerpts below, but we encourage reading the piece in its full context.
What he had in his pocket for his final game:
Burrell was already pretty emotional when Giants third-base coach Tim Flannery walked up before the game and handed him something. It was the circular patch with "VUK" stitched in white letters against a black background that the Phils wore during the 2007 season in memory of beloved coach John Vukovich. "Put it in your pocket and play with Vuk today," Flannery told him. Said Burrell: "I think I started crying right there." Burrell slipped the patch into the back pocket of his uniform pants and lined a single to left his first time up.
On his greatest moment as a Phillie:
"That was the top," Burrell said. "[Club president David Montgomery] asked me to ride with the Clydesdales, and of course I said yes. But I didn't understand that I was going to be the first guy to turn onto Broad Street. And that was incredible -- to look up and see all the people hanging out of the buildings. I just couldn't imagine." It's funny, because Mike Schmidt and some of those guys from the 1980 [World Series championship] team always said the best part of it was the parade. And I was thinking, 'How could that be better than the actual moment of winning the whole thing?' But it is."
Tell me you didn't just get chills... This is why the players and the game become so important to us. Great job capturing and sharing, Mr. Hagen.
>>Burrell grateful for chance to retire with Phillies [MLB.com]