Philadelphia Phillies

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A Major League Baseball team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA.

Founded: 1883
Formerly known as: Some newspapers tried to call then the Quakers in the 1910s, but the name never really stuck.
Home ballpark: Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia
Uniform colors:
Logo design: a stylized "P".
League pennants won: 1915, 1950, 1980, 1983, 1993
World Series championships won: 1980

Franchise history

Founded in 1883, the National League's Philadelphia Phillies are the longest standing, one-name, one-location team in all professional American sports. Also, amongst franchises having played enough all time games to have eliminated most statistical anomalies, they are the worst team in the the history of all American professional sports (in terms of winning percentage.) This does, in fact, include the Chicago Cubs.

Imaginitively named for a verbal shorthand of their city of residence ("Philly"), the Phillies were before coming to Philadelphia the Worcester Brown Stockings. The name has absolutely nothing to do with horses. Their initial owners were John Rodgers and Al Reach, the first ever professional baseball player according to many definitions.

The Phillies Franchise historically had four strong winning periods.

  • the 1890s, when they featured one of the strongest outfields of all time in Hall of Famers Billy Hamilton, Sam Thompson and Ed Delahanty. The 1894 team set an all-time mark for team batting average, but finished (4th or 5th) due to weak pitching. The team stil contended throughout the decade.
  • the 1910s, winning the National League pennant in 1915 and contending for another three. These team featured Hall of Fame pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander and hitting stars Gavy Cravath and Sherry Magee.
  • the "Whiz Kids" of the 1950s, pennant winners in 1950 and contenders throughout. Hall of Famers Richie Ashburn (center fielder) and Robin Roberts (pitcher) played here.

Since Mike Schmidt retired in 1987 ( a curse, maybe? ), the Phillies have had 14 losing seasons, a streak broken only once by a World Series berth in 1993. Beloved by the city of Philadelphia, this team with names such as Darren Daulton, John Kruk, Lenny Dykstra, and Curt Schilling surprised the city and the nation with their achievments. Losing to the Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series, giving Canadians two consecutive World Series titles, was nonetheless disappointing. The team was often described as "shaggy," "unkempt" and "dirty." The previous year, noting the presence of the clean-cut Dale Murphy, Kruk himself described the team as "24 morons and one Mormon." Some possibly justified detractors noted: "awfully white, aren't they? You'd think a major league baseball team ought to have more blacks and latinos." Their character, with the exception of the lack of diversity, endeared them to Philadelphia, and attendance records were set the following season. But with that season's (1994) player strike, most of the Phillies' fan base was greatly offended, and since then the Phillies have consistently placed near the bottom of the league in both record and attendance.

As this article is being written, the Phillies find themselves in serious playoff contention for the first time since 1995, tied with the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East. They are a very young, inexperienced team, for the most part, with the wildly popular first year manager Larry Bowa given much of the credit for the teams success, that is, by its fans. Most of the team is at odds with Larry Bowa and his style of management, one strategy of which is to discuss players' poor performance, where applicable, to the media. This was, along with others of Larry Bowa, a tatic employed when Dallas Green managed Bowa and the 1980 Phillies to a championship.

Players of note

Baseball Hall of Famers:
Not to be forgotten:
Retired numbers: #42 (Jackie Robinson)

Players of note: Current

Scott Rolen - Was once highly touted as the Phillies future. Playing at third base, considered hallowed ground by many in Mike Schmidt's stadium. He's been at odds with Larry Bowa and team management of late, in what some of the media has delicately termed a "personality conflict." A two time Gold Glove winner, Scott Rolen is accepted as the best defensive third baseman in baseball, and some have called him the greatest of all-time. Yes, even better than Mike Schmidt. He has only recently become productive this season, and his homerun totals are not nearly as high as had been hoped.

Bobby Abreu - A Venezuelan right fielder acquired in what may be the greatest Phillies trade ever ( certainly better than Ryne Sanberg for Von Hayes ), the Phillies acquired Abreu for Kevin Stocker from the expansion Devil Rays. A true five tool talent, for reasons beyond me he is overshadowed by Scott Rolen. True, his defense isn't as impressive, only because he doesn't work as hard as he can at it, but offensively he is better than Rolen in virtually every way. He is faster, hits for better average, hits for more power, steals more bases, and maintains better pitch selection. Racist theories for Abreu's lack of notoriety can be easily discounted, because the rest of the league's executives, who regard such players as Pedro Martinez and Ivan Rodriguez so highly, show less interest in Abreu as well. I figure they know more about baseball than I do, so they probably have a good reason.

Jimmy Rollins - A rookie this season, Jimmy Rollins may well be the most popular Philly since Curt Schilling. Listed as 5'8", he's more likely about 5'6". He hails from Oakland, Ca., and has a work ethic and attitude that many consider uncannily similar to Larry Bowa, including Bowa himself. Rollins was the only Philly to attend the all-star game, and has so far managed to steal something in the range of 30 consecutive bases without being caught, shattering Bowa's team record of 20. Were it not for the presence of the Mets's Rey Ordonez in the National League, Rollins would be in strong contention for the Gold Glove at short stop. Were it not for the Cardinals' Albert Pujols, he would also be the league's rookie of the year. He's primarily a contact switch-hitter, though having recently been moved to the lead-off spot he's learning to raise his on-base percentage.

Pat Burrell - Yet another in a recent trend of remarkably talented young players in the Phillies' organization. Most of the credit for said trend can probably be given to Phillies' director of scouting and player development Mike Arbuckle. A rookie last year, Burrell has adapted remarkably well to being unexpectedly placed in left field ( he was originally a third baseman ), leading the league in outfield assists. He's not performed well this season, but most media and fans simply attribute this to a very common case of Sophomore Blues. Burrell is a power prospect, expected to develop into a hitter in the Sammy Sosa vein. Personally, I'd prefer the Mike Piazza vein, especially since Rolen still hasn't gotten to it. Sosa's good though.

Mike Lieberthal - Lieberthal seems to have been all but forgotten since his early, season-ending injury. That being the second season-ending injury in two years, questions have been raised as to his durability. Though he may not be the best defensive catcher in the league anymore, with the return of Charles Johnson to Florida, he's certainly at least the second best, and the third best in the majors behind Johnson and Ivan Rodriguez. He's a streaky hitter, expected to average between .280 and .310 each season, with something in the range of 25-30 homeruns. He has also been known to be an extraordinarily clutch hitter when hot.

Starting Pitching - Also very, very young. Robert Person and Omar Daal are the veteran anchors. Person's a power pitcher with great stuff, but his two weaknesses are high pitch counts and home runs. Daal was a 19 game loser in 2000, when he came over in the Curt Schilling deal. In 2001, though, he has established himself as the team ace. The rest of the rotation is made up of very yound blood. Randy Wolf is still only 25, but has been alarming inconsistent this season, swingly wildly between fantastic and terrible from month to month. If he can steady himself, he can be a grade A major league pitcher. The three rookies: David Coggin, Nelson Figueroa, and Brandon Duckworth, have so far done a very, very good job after their call-ups. This may change, though, once they begin to make second rounds in the majors. Duckworth is possibly the teams' best prospect, and recently replaced Wolf in the rotation due to a DL stint with a minor injury. Wolf will soon be ready to return, raising thorny questions for six good performers trying to fit into a five-man rotation.

Relief Pitching - For the past few years, this has been a terribly inconsistent part of the Phillies team, undergoing numerous complete makeovers. With the free-agent signings of Jose Mesa, Rheal Cormier, and Ricky Bottalico, and trades for Turk Wendell, Dennis Cook, and Jose Santiago for this the 2001 season, the Phillies on paper now have one of the best, most experienced bullpens in baseball. Recently, though, that has not seemed the case. Cormier, Bottalico, and Wendell have all been terribly inconsistent. This has only been for the past couple weeks, and most hope and expect that it's an anomaly.

If they make it to the playoffs, I'll update this.