10 times Philly fans fell in love with Chooch

10 times Philly fans fell in love with Chooch

You loved Chooch. I loved Chooch. All of Philadelphia loved Chooch.

He was the most lovable Phillie on a team full of World Champions — the first team of World Champions that many in this city have ever known. So he'll always hold a special place in our hearts.

Carlos Ruiz is returning to Philadelphia tonight with the Seattle Mariners to play his beloved Phillies once again. And much like we did with the "26 times Chase Utley was The Man" when Chase returned, we put together a short list of 10 times we all fell in love with Chooch.

Here they are in no particular order.

1. Roy Halladay’s love of Chooch and that adorable pillow

Everybody loved Chooch in Philly but perhaps nobody more than his battery mates. Roy Halladay loved him so much he wanted to bring him home and he did at one point in the form of a pillow.

Doc also wrote a touching letter about Chooch when he got traded to the Dodgers, calling him the "little engine that could."

2. Dinker hit in Game 3 of 2008 World Series

This is one of my personal favorite Chooch memories. I was at my first World Series game sitting along the first base line and can still see Chooch’s little dinker that set off a wild eruption in the stands.

3. The play on Roy’s no-hitter against the Reds

Another Chooch moment I was lucky to be at. Ruiz actually had to make a pretty tough play on a dinker in front of the plate to secure the no-no. He made it look easy.

4. Ice Cream for Chooch 

There was even once a whole website dedicated to the idea that Chooch simply deserved some ice cream after a great play. I'm excited for the day when somebody does an oral history of the ice cream for Chooch meme. I believe it started with The Fightins' crew (RIP). 

5. "The Good One"

There are countless Chooch memories but none told better than the one by the guy who covered his entire career in Philadelphia, CSNPhilly's Jim Salisbury. When Chooch was traded to the Dodgers, Sully wrote a wonderful piece that used the clinching moment of the World Series to tell the story of Chooch giving Philadelphia his "good one." It's worth another read today.

6. Chooch steals the show in Gary Smith's Sports Illustrated cover story on the 4 Aces

Remember the 4 Aces? Oh how spoiled we were. Gary Smith wrote those fantastic cover stories for SI about the pitchers but it was Chooch who made us fall in love with him even more.

He lowers his backside like an emperor settling onto an invisible throne, imitating Howard's setup in the batter's box, then points the end of Howard's bat at an imaginary pitcher, sighting on his prey like Howie does. Only now Chooch begins tilting his head and squinting, trying to see around Howard's big black war club, then yelps, "Hey! Where ees the peetcher? I can't see him!" and the whole squad's howling.

Chooch! comes a request. Do Sammy! That's coach Juan Samuel's nickname. Chooch flashes those big white teeth, those imp eyes and that mierda-eating grin that make every impersonation double delicious, and nails Sammy's slowwww, cool-disco-dude signals from the third base box. The boys roar. Chooch winks. Chooch, do Charlie! He takes a few shambling steps and sends his head bobbing and rolling from shoulder to shoulder, just like Manuel when the Phillies' manager is pissed and heading to the mound to separate the ball from his pitcher's hand, then drops the cherry on top: Charlie's Southern drawl strained through Chooch's Panamanian accent. Chooch, do Shane when Kuroda threw at his head in the playoffs! ... Chooch, do Cliff!

Wait a minute. He's got a dandy Cliff Lee in his repertoire, teething on his necklace and spitting it out as he peers in for the sign ... but Cliff's on the mound tonight. Nope, sorry, no way Chooch will imitate someone he's about to become.

"WHEN I am catching," says Chooch, "it is not two people out there—a pitcher and a catcher. It is one person. It is my fault if something goes wrong. Whatever is happening to him is happening to me. One person. That means I am a different man with each pitcher."

7. Hugging Brad Lidge

There’s no better moment in Philly sports in the last few decades (if not ever) than Chooch embracing Brad Lidge as Harry Kalas tells us the Phillies are the World Champions of baseball. Never forget that one.

8. Scoring from first on Jimmy’s Goodfellas play

The Goodfellas meme certainly helped cement this moment which was mostly J-Rolls moment but let’s not forget Chooch trucking around the base paths to score the winning run.

9. The way Chooch said goodbye

Not only did he takeout a thoughtful billboard on 95 to thank the fans, he also left his teammates an adorable message on the clubhouse whiteboard. The way he signed it melts hearts.

10. Chooch’s impeccable style

Not only would he rock the Godfather suit on the team airplane but he’d also give his teammates cowboys hats just because.

Welcome home, Chooch. We hope your trip is a good one.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: I can't believe I forgot this: 

Forget Cherry Hill's Bobby Ryan, Johnny Gaudreau wants to play for Flyers someday

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USA Today Images

Forget Cherry Hill's Bobby Ryan, Johnny Gaudreau wants to play for Flyers someday

Forget about Cherry Hill's Bobby Ryan. (Forget about Millville too — sorry, Mike Trout.)

Another South Jersey star athlete has his eyes on playing for a Philadelphia franchise someday.

Yes, we're talking about Carneys Point, New Jersey's very own, Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames.

On a radio hit Friday with 94WIP's "Morning Show," Gaudreau expressed his interest in one day putting on the orange and black.

“It would be sweet to play [in Philadelphia] someday,” Gaudreau said. “You never know in sports, but it’s a lot of support back here in South Jersey and the Philly area.

“I’ve got a ton of family here, all my friends. All my friends come back here, all my good friends and kids that I’ve played with my whole life are from South Jersey.”

The problem is, "Johnny Hockey" has five years left on his six-year, $40.5 million contract extension he signed with Calgary signed before last season. 

In the final year of his contract, 2021-22, Gaudreau has a modified no-trade clause … and yep, the Flyers are reportedly on that list too.

Gaudreau, who turns 24 on Aug. 13, scored 18 goals and 61 points in 72 games last season with the Flames. The 5-foot-9, 157-pound Gaudreau has 73 goals and 204 points in 232 career games in Calgary.

The former Hobey Baker Award winner will be turning 29 when he's able to reach unrestricted free agency.

Could he be what Jeff Carter was to the Kings in 2012 to the Flyers in 2022?

Only time will tell.

H/t to Sportsnet.

Why Philadelphia must reject LeBron James

Why Philadelphia must reject LeBron James

Why do the Sixers always have to ruin everything?

First they get our hopes up with a draft and free agency period that actually involved picking good players who aren’t injured or committed to playing overseas. It was just what we’ve wanted for years: A complete rejection of the foul legacy of Sam Hinkie.

But then Markelle Fultz got hurt in Summer League, with an “ankle sprain” that I’m sure will heal properly and not cause any setbacks that might cause Fultz to sit out some or all of training camp, the pre-season, or his entire rookie year. I trust the Sixers’ medical staff. After all, they helped get us to where we are today.

Then the Sixers had the gall to charge fans to sign up for the season ticket waiting list -- if you ask me, after the last four years, season tickets should be free. Just about the Sixers have exciting players and might be better, they think they can charge more for tickets? That’s ridiculous!

Then something even worse happened: LeBron James, it appears, is FRIENDS with Ben Simmons. And based on that... we’re hearing LeBron might sign with the Sixers as a free agent next year.

NO. Absolutely not. Even though I’m usually more on his dad’s side when it comes to the Sixers, I agree with Spike Eskin: I’d rather lose a championship without LeBron than win one with him.

The reasons are simple. LeBron isn’t one of us. He’s not a Philly Guy. He’s not loyal. He’s from Ohio. He doesn’t get our lunchpail mentality. Remember The Decision? All the choking? And besides, when you win a championship with a big free agent, it doesn’t really count. If he wins with us, he'll just move on to the next team. 

And don’t you dare compare his chasing a ring with Pete Rose signing with the Phillies in 1979. That was totally different.

And most importantly, there's this:

Luckily, football season is about to start, and at least there’s some good news on that front. Ezekiel Elliott has been getting arrested at an Okafor-like clip. Chris Christie lied about tanning at a closed public beach, showing once again that Cowboys fans can’t be trusted with power. And free agent D’Angelo Williams announced that, because of how terrible their fans are, he would never sign with the Cowboys. Everything about them just screams 3-13.

The Eagles? Eh.

Other Philly sports takes:

I was with Iverson through the practice rants, his feuds with teammates and coaches, his sad alcoholism and throwing his naked wife out of the house. But skipping BIG3, here in Philly? He’s gone too far.

Ben Simmons, though, is the anti-Allen Iverson: He regularly produces highlight-reel excitement in practices, but never plays in games.

This Phillies team badly needs toughness, discipline and splittle-inflected rage. Yes, it needs Larry Bowa.

I’m all for the Phils trading for Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich. Then, all they have to do is trade all their remaining outfielders for Mike Trout.

Joel Embiid needs to stop putting his long-term health at risk with dangerous, risky stunts like standing in the crowd at the Home Run Derby.

A little presumptuous of Carson Wentz, founding a charitable foundation after just one year in the league. You have to EARN that.

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