History of the Philadelphia Phillies
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The history of the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball's National League is a long and varied one. The Phillies are based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and are a member of the National League East division. Since 2004, the team's home has been Citizens Bank Park in the South Philadelphia section of the city. The franchise has won two World Series championships (against Kansas City in 1980 and Tampa Bay in 2008) and seven National League pennants. The franchise has also experienced long periods of struggle.
After replacing the Worcesters in 1883, the franchise made its first post-season appearance in 1915, losing to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. The Phillies franchise also has the second-longest streak of consecutive losing seasons in American professional sports, sixteen straight from 1933 to 1948; the record stood until 2009, when it was broken by the Pittsburgh Pirates. After another National League pennant in 1950, the Phillies did not return to the post-season until 1976, beginning a period of extended success for the franchise. Compared to the team's early days, the Phillies have recently been more successful than not, with two such periods: the first from 1975 to 1983, when they won five East Division championships as well as the first-half championship in the strike-shortened 1981 season, and the second starting in 2001, with a winning percentage of .534 in those eight seasons, finishing above .500 in all but one, and making the playoffs from 2007 through 2009.
In its 127-season history, the franchise has employed 51 managers and 10 general managers (GMs). Dallas Green and Charlie Manuel are the only Phillies managers to win a World Series: Green in 1980, and Manuel in 2008. Manuel is also the only Phillies manager to win two pennants. The longest-tenured general manager is Paul Owens, with 11 years of service to the team as the general manager, from 1972 to 1983. Owens also served as the team manager in 1972, and from 1983 to 1984. After this time, he served as a team executive until 2003, and was inducted into the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame in recognition of his services. The manager with the highest winning percentage over a full season or more was Arthur Irwin, whose .575 winning percentage is fourth on the all-time wins list for Phillies managers.
In 1883, sporting goods manufacturer Al Reach (a pioneering professional baseball player) and attorney John Rogers won an expansion National League franchise for Philadelphia, one of what are now known as the "Classic Eight" of the National League. They were awarded a spot in the league to replace the Worcester Brown Stockings, a franchise that had folded in 1882. The new team was nicknamed the "Quakers," and immediately compiled a .173 winning percentage, which is still the worst in franchise history. Although many sources (including the Phillies themselves) claim that Reach and Rogers bought the Brown Stockings and moved them to Philadelphia, all available evidence suggests this is not the case. Significantly, no players from Worcester ended up with the 1883 Quakers.
In 1884, Harry Wright (the future Hall of Famer) was recruited as manager in the hope of reversing the team's fortunes. Also in 1884, the team changed its name to the "Philadelphias", as it was common for baseball teams in that era to be named after their cities (for instance, the "Bostons" and "New Yorks"). However, as "Philadelphias" was somewhat hard to fit in newspaper headlines, writers began shortening the name to "Phillies." "Quakers" continued to be used interchangeably with "Phillies" until 1890, when the team officially became known as the "Phillies." This name is the longest continually used nickname in professional sports by a team in the same city.
In 1887, they began play at the stadium eventually known as Baker Bowl. Despite a general improvement from their dismal beginnings, they never seriously contended for the title. The standout players of franchise in the era were Billy Hamilton, Sam Thompson, and Ed Delahanty, who in 1896 set the major-league record (since tied by several others) with 4 home runs in a single game.
Early 20th century
With the birth of the more lucrative American League in 1901, the Phillies saw many of their better players defect to the upstart, including a number of players who ended up playing for their crosstown rivals, the Athletics, owned by former Phillies minority owner Benjamin Shibe.
While their former teammates thrived (the AL's first five batting champions were former Phillies), the remaining squad fared dismally, finishing 46 games out of first place in 1902—the first of three straight years finishing either seventh or eighth. To add tragedy to folly, a balcony collapsed during a game at the Baker Bowl in 1903, killing twelve and injuring hundreds. Rogers was forced to sell the Phillies to avoid being ruined by an avalanche of lawsuits.
The Phillies won their first pennant in 1915 thanks to the pitching of Grover Cleveland Alexander and the batting prowess of Gavvy Cravath, who set the major-league single-season record for home runs with 24. However, by 1917 Alexander had been traded away when owner William Baker refused to increase his salary. Baker was known for running the Phillies very cheaply; for instance, during much of his tenure there was only one scout in the entire organization.
The effect of the Alexander trade was immediate. In 1918, only three years after winning the pennant, the Phillies finished sixth, thirteen games under .500. It was the start of one of the longest streaks of futility in baseball history. From 1918 to 1948, the Phillies had only one winning record (78–76 in 1932), only finished higher than sixth twice, and were never a serious factor past June. During this stretch, they finished last a total of 17 times and next to last seven times. This saddled the franchise with a reputation for failure that dogged it for many years. For instance, a 1962 cartoon in a baseball magazine depicted a ballplayer arriving at a French Foreign Legion outpost, explaining, "I was released by the Phillies!"
The team's primary stars during the 1920s and 1930s were outfielders Cy Williams, Lefty O'Doul, and Chuck Klein, who captured the vaunted Triple Crown in 1933. Unfortunately, Philadelphia's cozy Baker Bowl proved to be a fertile hitting ground for Phillies opponents as well, and in 1930, the team surrendered 1199 runs, a major-league record still standing today.
Baker died in 1930. He left half his estate to his wife and the other half to longtime team secretary Mae Mallen. Five years earlier, Mallen had married leather goods and shoe dealer Gerald Nugent. With the support of Baker's widow, Nugent became team president. Baker's widow died in 1932, leaving Nugent in complete control. Unlike Baker, Nugent badly wanted to build a winning team. However, he didn't have the financial means to do so. He was forced to trade what little talent the team had to make ends meet, and often had to use some creative financial methods to even field a team at all.
One problem was Baker Bowl. Once considered one of the finest parks in baseball, it was not well maintained from the 1910s onward. For instance, until 1925 the Phillies used a flock of sheep to trim the grass. Fans were often showered with rust whenever one of Klein's home runs hit girders. The entire right field grandstand collapsed in 1926, forcing the Phillies to move to the A's Shibe Park for 1927. For several years, the Phillies tried to move to Shibe Park on a permanent basis as tenants of the A's.
However, Baker Bowl's owner, Charles W. Murphy, refused to let the Phillies out of their lease at first. He finally relented in 1938, and only then because the city threatened to condemn the dilapidated park. Despite the move, attendance rarely topped 3,000 a game.
The nadir came in 1942, when the Phillies needed an advance from the league just to go to spring training. Nugent, unable to find a buyer, was forced to sell the franchise back to the league early in February 1943. A week later, the league sold the Phillies to a wealthy lumber broker named William B. Cox. Nugent had named the team the "Phils" prior to the 1942 season and one of Cox's first moves was to rename the team the "Phillies". A popular legend has it that Bill Veeck had agreed in principle to buy the Phillies from Nugent. As the story goes, Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis and National League President Ford Frick quashed the deal and engineered the sale to Cox when they found out that Veeck planned to stock the Phillies with Negro League stars. However, this story is likely false based on press accounts of the time; notably, Philadelphia's black press mentioned nothing about any prospective Veeck purchase.
For the first time in decades, the Phillies had an owner who was not only committed to building a winner, but was not afraid to spend the money it took to do so. He immediately poured some of his wealth into the team payroll. He also devoted significant resources to player development, including the farm system, for the first time in the history of the franchise. His efforts had an immediate impact. By July, they had won only four fewer games than they had in the previous season, and ultimately managed to get out of the National League cellar for the first time in five years in 1943. Although they were still a long way from contention, the Phillies' long-suffering fans appreciated what Cox was trying to do; attendance rose for the first time in nearly 30 years.
However, Cox was a very hands-on owner. When his manager, Bucky Harris, objected to Cox's interference, Cox fired him. Out of revenge, Harris dropped a bombshell to the Philadelphia press in his hotel room: he had evidence that Cox was placing bets on his own team. Cox initially claimed that the bets were made by his business associates. However, he eventually admitted to placing several small bets, not knowing it was against the rules. This made no difference to Landis, who banned Cox from baseball for life. Author Rich Westcott was quoted by Sports Illustrated as saying Cox knew "next to nothing about baseball. Otherwise, why would he have bet on the Phillies?" Soon afterward, Cox sold controlling interest in the Phillies to DuPont heir Robert R.M. Carpenter, who turned control over to his son, Bob, Jr.
Carpenter's first act was to try to change the team's name (and vicariously, its image as a chronic loser) to the "Blue Jays" after a city-wide vote on a new nickname. "Blue Jays" was the winner, in part because, said Carpenter, "he had always admired the Blue Jay and its scrappy qualities." However, "Phillies" continued to appear on the team's jerseys, with a blue jay appearing on the sleeves. Students at Johns Hopkins University, whose teams are also known as the Blue Jays, vehemently protested Carpenter's decision, claiming that the change dishonored their school due to the Phillies' losing history. The nickname was quietly dropped in 1949.
The Whiz Kids
Carpenter became majority owner after his father's death in 1949. Like Cox, he wasn't afraid to spend the money it took to build a contender. He immediately started signing young players and invested even more money in the farm system. By the 1950s, the Phillies had gone from basement to pennant contender thanks to the "Whiz Kids," led by a lineup of young players developed by the Phillies' farm system that included future Hall of Famers Richie Ashburn and Robin Roberts. This coincided with the final collapse of the A's. Philadelphia had been an "A's town" for most of the first half of the 20th century. Even though the A's had fielded teams as bad or worse than the Phillies for most of the time since the 1930s, the A's continued to trounce the Phillies at the gate. However, a series of poor baseball and business decisions on the A's part allowed the Phillies to win the hearts of Philadelphia's long-suffering fans.
Although the Phillies led the National League standings for most of the 1950 season, a late-season tailspin (triggered by the loss of starting pitcher Curt Simmons to National Guard service) caused the team to lose the next eight of ten games. On the last day of the season, the Phillies hung onto a one-game lead when Dick Sisler's dramatic tenth-inning, three-run home run against the Dodgers clinched the Phils' first pennant in 35 years. In the World Series, exhausted from their late-season plunge and recipients of poor luck, the Phillies were swept by the New York Yankees in four straight games. Nonetheless, this appearance cemented the Phillies' status as the city's favorite team. In 1954, the Athletics moved to Kansas City, and sold Shibe Park (renamed Connie Mack Stadium in 1953) to the Phillies.
"Phold" of 1964
The Phillies remained competitive for most of the first half of the 1950s, only to sink back to mediocrity for most of the second half of the decade. However, during 1962 and 1963, the Phillies began to climb back to respectability, and throughout the 1964 season, they seemed destined to make it to the World Series, with excellent performances from players such as rookie third baseman Dick Allen, starters Jim Bunning (obtained from the Detroit Tigers at the start of the season to shore up the pitching staff) and Chris Short, and star right fielder Johnny Callison. TV Guide went to press with a World Series preview that featured a photo of Connie Mack Stadium. However, from a 6½-game lead on the Cincinnati Reds with 12 games remaining in the season, Philadelphia collapsed in a 10-game losing streak (the first seven played at home). The crucial series came when the now second-place Phillies traveled to St. Louis to play the Cardinals after their losing home stand. They dropped the first game of the series to Bob Gibson by a 5–1 score, their eighth loss in a row, dropping them to third place. The Cardinals would sweep the three-game set and assume first place for good. The Phillies still had a chance to force an unprecedented three-way tie for first after the Cardinals dropped the first two games of their last season series to the New York Mets. However, the Cardinals won their last game of the season, leaving the Phillies tied with the Reds for second place--just one game out of first. The "Phold," as it is known, is one of the most notable collapses in sports history.
By 1970, Connie Mack Stadium was aging, and in the last day of the 1970 season at the stadium's last game the Phillies avoided last place by beating the Expos 2-1.
The Phillies opened the new Veterans Stadium in 1971, with hopes of a new beginning. In their first season there, pitcher Rick Wise hurled a no-hitter. That same season, Harry Kalas joined the Phillies broadcasting team. In 1972, the Phillies were the worst team in baseball, but newly acquired Steve Carlton won nearly half their games (27 of 59 team wins). In that same year, Bob Carpenter retired and passed the team ownership to his son Ruly.
By 1974, the Phillies began their quest for a championship that would be theirs 6 years later. That year second baseman Dave Cash coined the phrase "Yes We Can" for the Phils. Indeed, for a while, it looked as if they could. They led the division for 51 days; however, in August and September, the Phillies went 25–32 and it was "No They Couldn't".
The Phillies achieved some success in the mid-1970s. With such players as Carlton, third baseman Mike Schmidt, shortstop Larry Bowa, and outfielder Greg Luzinski, the Phillies won three straight division titles (1976-78). However, they fell short in the NLCS, against the Reds in 1976 and the Dodgers in 1977 and 1978. In 1979, the Phillies acquired Pete Rose, the spark that would put them over the top.
1980: First World Series championship
The Phils won the NL East in 1980, but to win the league championship, they would have to defeat the Astros. In a memorable NLCS, with 4 of the 5 games needing extra innings, they fell behind 2–1 but battled back to squeeze past the Houston Astros on a tenth-inning game-winning hit by center fielder Garry Maddox, and the city celebrated its first pennant in 30 years. The entire series saw only one home run hit, a game-winning two-run home run by Phillies slugger Greg Luzinski in the Phillies' opening 3–1 win in Game 1 at Philadelphia.
Facing Kansas City in the 1980 World Series, the Phillies won their first world championship in 6 games, thanks to the timely hitting of Mike Schmidt and Pete Rose. Schmidt, who was the NL MVP for the 1980 season, also won the World Series MVP finals award on the strength of his 8 for 21 hitting (.381 average), including game-winning hits in Game 2 and the clinching Game 6. Thus, the Phillies became the last of the 16 teams that made up the major leagues from 1901 to 1960 to win a World Series. By comparison, the other 15 teams had each appeared in at least three World Series and won it at least once.
During the early 1980s, when baseball was becoming more drug-conscious, several Philadelphia players admitted to having used amphetamines from time to time. A memorable Philadelphia Daily News headline dubbed the team "The Pillies".
The team made the playoffs in the strike-shortened 1981 season losing to Montreal in the special pre-LCS playoff series. After the 1981 season Ruly Carpenter, dissatisfied with changes in baseball's labor environment, sold the team to a group of investors led by team executives Bill Giles and David Montgomery for $32.5 million—a handsome return on his grandfather's $400,000 investment 38 years earlier.
The 1983 season was the Phillies' centennial year. On September 28, they defeated the Chicago Cubs, 13–6, at Wrigley Field. This victory gave the Phillies the National League East Division championship. It was also the 7,000th win in team history.
The Phillies struggled for most of the rest of the 1980s and early 1990s. Aside from a distant second-place finish in 1986 (21 games behind the Mets), they were not a serious factor in a pennant race for the rest of the decade. One factor in the Phillies' decline was the acquisition of Ivan DeJesus from the Cubs in return for Bowa and a young prospect named Ryne Sandberg. It was one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history; Sandberg would go on to a Hall of Fame career.
The 1992 season would end with the Phillies at the bottom of the barrel, at last place in the National League East. However, their fortunes were about to change.
1993: Fifth National League championship
The 1993 Phillies were led by stars such as Darren Daulton, John Kruk, Lenny Dykstra, and Curt Schilling. The team was often described as "shaggy," "unkempt," and "dirty." This team was known as a bunch of throw back, whatever it takes kind of players. The previous year, noting the presence of the clean-cut Dale Murphy, Kruk himself described the team as "24 morons and one Mormon" or a bunch of idiots and Murph. Their character endeared them to fans, and attendance reached a record high the following season. As a play on the legendary 1927 New York Yankees' Murderers' Row, the team's dirty, mullet-wearing look was dubbed "Macho Row." To the surprise of their city and the nation, the Phillies powered their way to a 97–65 record and an East division title, all thanks to a big April in which the Fightin's went 17–5.
The Phillies' major contributors on offense were OF Lenny Dykstra, 1B John Kruk, SS Kevin Stocker (a rookie who led the team in batting average, hitting .324), and OF Jim Eisenreich, all of whom hit over .300 for the season. Their pitching staff was led by 16-game winners Curt Schilling and Tommy Greene. Each member of the rotation posted at least 10 wins, while the bullpen was led by elder statesman Larry Andersen and closer Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams, who notched 43 saves and a 3.34 ERA.
The Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves (the two-time defending National League champions) in the 1993 National League Championship Series, four games to two, to earn the fifth pennant in franchise history. They faced the defending world champion Toronto Blue Jays in the 1993 World Series. Philadelphia lost the Series in six games, with Toronto's Joe Carter hitting a walk-off three-run home run off of Mitch Williams in Game 6, to win a second consecutive championship for the Blue Jays. Following that loss, Williams was the subject of death threats and other hostile reaction from some irate Phillies' fans; he left for the Astros.
With the 1994 players' strike, most of the Phillies' fan base was greatly offended, and afterward, the team had little success either on the field or at the gate for a decade. Both were negatively affected by the realignment of the Atlanta Braves into the National League East in 1994, as the Braves won the division every year until 2006, often by wide margins. Despite the relative lack of success, many current baseball stars rose to prominence during this era in Phillies history, including Scott Rolen, Bobby Abreu, Randy Wolf, Plácido Polanco, and perhaps most notably Schilling. In addition, the nucleus of the current Phillies club (Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Brett Myers, and Cole Hamels) was developed during this era.
Former Phillie Larry Bowa was hired as manager for the 2001 season, and led the Phillies to an 86–76 record, their first winning season since the 1993 World Series year. They spent most of the first half of the season in first place, and traded first place with the Braves for most of the second half. In the end, they finished two games out of first, the Braves' tightest division race in years. Bowa was named National League Manager of the Year. The Phillies continued to contend for the next few years under Bowa, with the only blemish being an 80–81 season in 2002.
The following year, in their last season at Veterans Stadium, the Phillies were expected to contend for the World Series after adding such players as Jim Thome, Kevin Millwood, and David Bell to go along with the emerging nucleus of Rollins, Burrell, Wolf, and Vicente Padilla. However, Burrell and Bell slumped miserably at the plate, and the Phillies' inconsistent bullpen led to the team finishing 86–76 and in third place behind the Braves and eventual World Series-winning Florida Marlins.
The opening of the new Citizens Bank Park brought fans new hope, and the team was expected to win the NL East. However, they finished a distant second, and Bowa was fired with two games to go in the season.
Charlie Manuel took over as manager for 2005, and kept the Phillies in contention throughout the season; they were only eliminated from wild card contention on the next-to-last day. However, it was not enough to save the job of general manager Ed Wade; he was fired after his eighth season. Soon after, the Phillies hired Pat Gillick, who, ironically, was the general manager of the 1992 and 1993 Toronto Blue Jays' Championship teams. Despite another late-season disappointment, 2005 saw the Phillies core shift away from veterans such as Thome, Polanco, Abreu, and Wolf to younger home-grown stars such as Rollins, Utley, Brett Myers and Ryan Howard.
Continuing what he had begun in the off-season, Gillick engaged in a flurry of trades in an effort to transform the character of the team and to obtain financial flexibility for what he termed "retooling." On July 26, 2006, the Phillies traded backup catcher Sal Fasano to the New York Yankees for minor league infielder Hector Made. Two days later, the Phillies traded third baseman David Bell, who was due to become a free agent during the off-season, to the Milwaukee Brewers for minor league pitcher Wilfredo Laureano. Gillick did not stop there, making a deadline deal that sent outfielder Bobby Abreu and pitcher Cory Lidle to the Yankees in exchange for Matt Smith, C.J. Henry, Carlos Monastrios, and Jesus Sanchez.
2007: 10,000 losses and an incredible regular-season finish
The special assistant to the general manager and long-time Phils coach, John Vukovich, died of brain cancer on March 8, 2007, and was honored on August 10, 2007 by the Phillies organization, which installed a plaque bearing Vukovich's name and accomplishments on the "Wall of Fame" in the Ashburn Alley outfield concourse at Citizens Bank Park. For the 2007 season, the Phillies wore a black circular patch on their right uniform sleeves bearing the letters "VUK" in white.
The Phillies began the 2007 season with a 5–3 home loss on April 2 to the Atlanta Braves after 10 innings. After the first fifteen games, the Phillies limped to a 4–11 record, but then found a five game winning streak to put them back into contention in the National League East. After 40 games, the Phillies finally reached the .500 mark at 20–20.
Heading into the All-Star break, the Phillies split their win/loss record at 44–44, hampered by the loss of starting pitchers Freddy Garcia and Jon Lieber due to injuries that sidelined them for the remainder of the season. They found a bright spot in young pitcher Kyle Kendrick, who rose from the Phillies' AA team in Reading, Pennsylvania to the Phils starting rotation in 2007.
Three Phillies were named to the 2007 All Star Game in San Francisco, California. Chase Utley was the starting second baseman for the National League squad and center fielder Aaron Rowand was named as a backup (his first All Star appearance). Starting pitcher Cole Hamels also appeared in his first All Star Game.
On July 15, 2007, the Phillies lost their 10,000th game, 10-2 to the St. Louis Cardinals on a nationally televised ESPN game. The Phillies became the first North American professional sports franchise to lose 10,000 games.
On September 21, Jimmy Rollins became the first player in major league history to collect 200 hits, 15 triples, 25 home runs, and 25 stolen bases in the same season. Rollins also became the 4th player to have at least 20 home runs, 20 triples, 20 doubles, and 20 stolen bases in a season on September 30, securing the feat on the last day of the season with a sixth inning RBI triple.
On September 12, the Phillies were seven games behind the New York Mets in the National League East, and it appeared as if their division hopes were dashed. However, the Mets suffered an epic collapse on the likes of the "Phold of 1964," going 4–11 over the next fifteen games while the Phillies parried with a strong 12–3 record. The Phillies had defeated the Mets in eight consecutive encounters (between July 1, 2007 and September 16, 2007) and ultimately overtook the Mets by one game on September 28. The Phillies fell back into a first-place tie the following day with a Mets win and a Phillies loss, with only one game remaining in the regular season to decide the champion of the National League Eastern Division.
The Mets would lose their final game of the season. Only minutes later, the Phillies defeated the Washington Nationals, clinching the division for the Phillies for the first time in 14 years. The Phillies won the final game behind 44-year old Jamie Moyer, who in 1980 skipped a day of high school to attend that year's Phillies championship parade down Philadelphia's Broad Street.
After their historic comeback, they were swept in three games by the Colorado Rockies after losing 2–1 in Game 3 on October 6, 2007. It was the first time since 1976 that the Phils were swept in a postseason series.
On November 20, 2007, Jimmy Rollins was named National League MVP, edging out Colorado Rockies left fielder Matt Holliday by 17 votes, making it one of the closest contests since the voting format was adopted in 1938. Along with Ryan Howard's 2006 win, they became the first baseball club with back-to-back MVP winners since the San Francisco Giants's Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds in 2000 and 2001, respectively.
2007–08 offseason: Philly favorites
Even though their sweep from the playoffs was a disappointment, the Phillies started on their quest for October baseball in 2008 by trading OF Michael Bourn, RHP Geoff Geary, and 3B Michael Costanzo (since traded to the Baltimore Orioles) to the Houston Astros for RHP Brad Lidge and IF Eric Bruntlett. They also re-signed LHP J.C. Romero to a three-year deal, in addition to bringing back manager Charlie Manuel and the rest of the coaching staff.
The Phillies signed OF Geoff Jenkins to a two-year deal, to be the left-handed part of a platoon with right-handed OF Jayson Werth. They also signed OF So Taguchi to a one-year deal, as a pinch hitter/backup outfielder. With these new outfielders coming into town, the Phillies sold OF Chris Roberson to the Baltimore Orioles. Most recently, the Phillies acquired free-agent 3B Pedro Feliz, formerly of the San Francisco Giants, inking him to a two-year contract worth $8.5 million. These additions relegated IF/OF Greg Dobbs to a utility role, where he excelled in the previous season as the team's primary left-handed pinch hitter. On February 21, 2008 an arbitrator ruled in Ryan Howard's favor, giving him a $10 million salary for the 2008 season.
Major League Baseball's website also named the Phillies as the favorites for the National League East championship for 2008. Meanwhile, in the wake of the 2007 season and Carlos Beltran's calling out of the 2008 Phillies' team, the Mets–Phillies rivalry now stood as one of the most intense in baseball.
2008: A second World Series championship
Though the Phillies were named in some sources as the favorites to repeat as division champions, they did not get off to the blazing April start that many had hoped for. Still, they managed their first winning opening month since 2003, and only their fourth since their last World Series appearance. With a batting average of .360 and his MLB-leading 11 home runs, Chase Utley paced the team's offense, followed closely by a resurgent Pat Burrell and his 25 runs batted in. Though team speed was hampered by the loss of Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins to the disabled list, the latter for the first time in his career, the Phillies still pushed forward to a 15–13 record. The pitching rotation was led by ace Cole Hamels, who led the team in wins (3), ERA (2.70), and innings pitched (43⅓). Reliever J. C. Romero and new closer Brad Lidge both went the entire month without sacrificing a single run, over 12⅓ and 11 innings respectively.
Though several fill-in players, including Brad Harman and T.J. Bohn, substituted nicely during Victorino's and Rollins' absence, perhaps none was more valuable to the team during the month of May than Jayson Werth. Expected to be primarily a platoon player coming into the season, Werth showed flashes of the form that once made him such a highly-regarded prospect with the Dodgers. While Utley's bat cooled, Werth had a game with three home runs and stole four bases in the month. Unfortunately, as Rollins and Victorino returned, Werth was lost to the disabled list. Ryan Howard broke out of his early-season slump, hitting .245 in May, nearly an 80 point increase from his average in April, and slugging ten home runs. Hometown pitcher Jamie Moyer also became the sixth pitcher in Major League Baseball history to defeat all 30 teams in the league on the 26th of May, in a 20–5 Phillies win over Colorado.
June was a tale of two halves for the Phillies, as they ended May and started June with a strong run of offense and excellent pitching. From May 26 to June 13, the Phillies posted a 14–4 record, starting their run with a 15–6 win over the Astros and ending with a 20–2 win over the Cardinals. However, the offense took a downturn as the Phillies pitchers began to sacrifice more runs in the latter part of the month. The Phillies went 3–11 over the remainder of June, with the pitchers allowing an average of 4.79 runs per game, to the offense's 3.36 runs scored per game. This was punctuated by a season-high 6-game losing streak. The poor records coincided with the Phillies' stretch of interleague play for 2008, as they were swept by the Angels, and lost their series with the Red Sox, A's, and Rangers, in addition to dropping two NL series against the Cardinals and Marlins. While Hamels and Kyle Kendrick each managed to post a 3–1 record in the rotation, the other starters (Moyer, Adam Eaton, and Brett Myers) were not so lucky. Myers' poor performance received arguably the most scrutiny, based on management's decision to move him back to the rotation from the bullpen after the 2007 season. Myers would eventually accept a demotion to AAA Lehigh Valley to work on his confidence and mechanics.
July began with the announcement that Chase Utley and Brad Lidge would represent the team at the 2008 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, with Utley garnering the most votes of all National League players. The Phillies went 8–4 in July before the All-Star break, compiling a four-game win streak, a four-game losing streak, and winning four of their last five. In a move to bolster their starting rotation in preparation for the pennant race, the Phillies traded three minor league players, including second baseman Adrian Cardenas, pitcher Josh Outman, and outfielder Matthew Spencer to the Athletics for starting pitcher Joe Blanton on July 17.
On September 27, the Phillies clinched the National League East for the second year in a row, once again helped by a late September slump from the New York Mets. The Phillies redeemed their previous year's playoff performance by winning the NLDS three games to one against the Brewers, and they defeated the Dodgers in Los Angeles as well, 4–1. As the National League champions, the Phillies advanced to the 2008 World Series to play the Tampa Bay Rays. After a power outage by the offense in which they went 1 for 33 with runners in scoring position and the first-ever suspended postseason game in World Series history in game five, the Phillies rode their pitching rotation to a 4–1 victory in the Fall Classic; Hamels was named the series MVP for both the NLCS and the World Series.
- List of Philadelphia Phillies award winners and league leaders
- List of Philadelphia Phillies managers
- List of Philadelphia Phillies opening day starters
- List of Philadelphia Phillies seasons
- List of Philadelphia Phillies team records
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- ^ a b c d Purdy, Dennis (2006). The Team-by-Team Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball. New York City: Workman. ISBN 0761139435.
- ^ http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/phi/history/timeline01.jsp
- ^ a b http://www.sabr.org/cmsFiles/Files/Bill_Veeck_and_the_1943_sale_of_the_Phillies.pdf
- ^ "Phils Become Phillies Again". The St. Petersburg Evening Independent. 1943-03-09. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=-CUOAAAAIBAJ&sjid=gH0DAAAAIBAJ&pg=2079,1113607&dq=phillies. Retrieved 2009-09-10.
- ^ SI.com - MLB - Franz Lidz: The Beautiful Losers - Tuesday June 26, 2007 3:57PM
- ^ "Jays Are Blasted For Lifting Johns Hopkins' Nickname," UP report in Fresno Bee, March 9, 1944, p21
- ^ Mandel, Ken (2003-12-26). "Paul Owens dies at age 79". Major League Baseball. http://www.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20031226&content_id=623315&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb. Retrieved 2008-07-26.
- ^ The Official Site of Major League Baseball: News: Game Wrapup
- ^ The Official Site of The Philadelphia Phillies: News: Phillies solidify hot corner with Feliz
- ^ The Official Site of Major League Baseball: News: Phillies, Mets, Braves to go back at it
- ^ Jayson Werth hits three home runs in Phillies' 10-3 win over Blue Jays - Los Angeles Times
- ^ The Official Site of Major League Baseball: News: Major League Baseball News
- ^ Mandel, Ken (2008-06-29). "No decision from Phils on Myers' status". Philadelphia Phillies. http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080629&content_id=3031406&vkey=news_phi&fext=.jsp&c_id=phi. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
- ^ "2008 All-Star Game: Rosters by League". Major League Baseball. http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2008/roster_league.jsp. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
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- ^ "Phillies land workhorse Blanton". Philadelphia Phillies. http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080717&content_id=3145193&vkey=news_phi&fext=.jsp&c_id=phi. Retrieved 2008-07-18.
|Histories of teams in Major League Baseball|
|AL||East - Baltimore Orioles • Boston Red Sox • New York Yankees • Tampa Bay Rays • Toronto Blue Jays|
Central - Chicago White Sox • Cleveland Indians • Detroit Tigers • Kansas City Royals • Minnesota Twins
West - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim • Oakland Athletics • Seattle Mariners • Texas Rangers
|NL||East - Atlanta Braves • Florida Marlins • New York Mets • Philadelphia Phillies • Washington Nationals|
Central - Chicago Cubs • Cincinnati Reds • Houston Astros • Milwaukee Brewers • Pittsburgh Pirates • St. Louis Cardinals
West - Arizona Diamondbacks • Colorado Rockies • Los Angeles Dodgers • San Diego Padres • San Francisco Giants
Milwaukee Brewers (I) • Baltimore Orioles (I) • Boston Braves • St. Louis Browns • Philadelphia Athletics • New York Giants • Brooklyn Dodgers • Washington Senators (I) • Milwaukee Braves • Kansas City Athletics • Seattle Pilots • Washington Senators (II) • Montreal Expos