When Raul Ibanez made postseason history by becoming the first player to tie a game in the ninth inning with a homer and then win it with a walkoff home run in extra frames Wednesday night against the Orioles, it was probably a bittersweet feeling for most Phillies fans.
Ibanez, who is one of the classiest players in baseball, was a fan favorite during his three seasons in Philadelphia. The soft-spoken Ibanez, who took over for Pat Burrell in left field in 2009, made no secret of his desire to sign a new contract with the Phillies after his deal expired in 2011. But Ibanez didn’t receive an offer from the Phillies, so he signed a one-year, $1 million dollar deal with the Yankees.
Ibanez blasted 19 homers and drove in 62 RBIs in 130 regular-season games for the Bombers. And then there is Ibanez’s postseason heroics.
“Ibanez is a true class act, who can still hit,” a NL scout said. “He’s been very big for the Yankees.”
Ibanez’s homers were huge in the ALDS for the Yankees, but he almost did the same thing for the Phillies in Game 5 of the NLDS last year. He just missed hitting a three-run homer off of Chris Carpenter.
“I was just a millimeter off,” Ibanez said after the Phillies lost to the Cardinals, 1-0, in the decisive contest.
And then there is the 2012 season.
“Ibanez could have made a difference for the Phillies this season,” the NL scout said. “They needed more offense than they generated.”
The Phillies need some punch for next season and Ibanez will be a free agent. The odds are that Ibanez will be wearing pinstripes in 2012, but don’t bet on them being red.