Raul Ibanez is a one hell of a guy. He's the only person we know who gives out gifts on his birthday.
Last night, in the third inning, Ibanez jacked his 18th home run of the season, also the 200th of his career, but more importantly, the now 37-year-old leftfielder made Kathleen Tomosky of Philadelphia the latest $1,000 winner in the Daily News Home Run Payoff contest.
Incessant calls from the Daily News were finally answered last night by an elated Tomosky, who explained why she was unable to pick up on our repeated attempts.
"My son kept calling me to tell me and I was so excited I couldn't figure out how to switch over the phone so I probably kept cutting you off," Tomosky joked. "You know I buy two papers everyday and fill out the coupon, and people always say that buying the paper is waste of money, but look who has the last laugh now."
Tomosky plans to "treat her family to a steak dinner," but we think she owes someone a giant birthday card.
Oh, by the way, Ibanez hit homer No. 19 in the seventh inning.
Each winning a Phillies Gift Pack last night were:
Anna Sosalski, Philadelphia
Jerry Di Trolio, Philadelphia
Matthews Gallagher, Philadelphia
Donna Bacon, Philadelphia
Matthews Brown, Philadelphia
Each winning a gift pack during the sixth inning of Monday's game were:
Kathy Arrigo, Philadelphia
Henry Johnson, Chester
Robert Fischer, Philadelphia
The Daily News pays $1,000 for a home run hit in the Payoff inning and $10,000 for a grand slam. This season, the Daily News has paid out $11,000 on seven Payoff home runs. Contestants whose batter fails to hit a home run receive a gift pack, which includes a variety of Phillies-related items.
You can hear the Home Run Payoff inning during each Phillies broadcast on WPHT (1210-AM). Today's coupon is on Page 63. *