With this years Phillies looking as great as they ever have before, I started wondering what was the greatest Phillies team of all time. Since the Phils haven't won anything yet this year we can't include them, but check back in November and maybe there will be an update to the story.
The Phillies are in their 128th season, only 5 other teams have been around longer. They have the most losses ever by a franchise and the ninth most wins. So out of 127 seasons you would imagine there are a lot of options to pick from. Well you would be wrong. In 127 seasons the Phillies have only gone to the World Series 7 times, and won 2. In fact from 1918-1948 they had 30 straight losing seasons. But that's all in the past.
So who are the contenders for the best Phillies team of all time? I would say there are four: 1950, 1980, 1993, and 2008. The 1950 and the 1993 Phillies both lost the World Series. The 1950 Phillies were swept out of the World Series, however it was by the Yankees, who had Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Whitey Ford, Johnny Mize, and Phil Rizzuto, and Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel. Of course in 1980 and 2008 they did win the World Series, the only two so far the Phillies have won.
Lets first look at the 1993 team. The Phillies went 97-65 that year finishing with the third best record in the majors behind the Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants. They went on to beat the Atlanta Braves in 6, and lose to the Toronto Blue Jays in 6 in the World Series. The '93 Phils had 3 All-star starters; John Kruk, Darren Daulton, and Terry Mulholland, and Dave Hollins as a reserve. Their offense was top three in the majors in runs per game, total runs, hits, doubles, triples, RBI's, walks, OBP, and OPS. Their pitching was top three in wins, win %, complete games, complete game shut-outs, and led all of the majors in strike outs, and strike outs per nine innings. The 1993 Phillies should have won the World Series that year, they were better than the Blue Jays on paper, but that's why they play the game, and they didn't win it all, so can they really be the best all time?
The 1950 Phillies also didn't win the World Series, but the Whiz Kids were great. They finished the season with a record of 91-63 and had two future HOF'ers; Robin Roberts and Richie Ashburn. During the regular season the Phillies offense finished top 5 in the majors in runs and triples. Their pitching finished first in the entire league in runs per game, ERA, bb's, and bb/9. They finished second in complete game shut-outs, innings pitched, and WHIP. Phillies manager Eddie Sawyer did not start Phillies ace Robin Roberts in game 1 of the World Series against the Yankees. Roberts had started in three of the Phillies last five games to win them the pennant and Sawyer didn't think he was ready to go in game one. Curt Simmons, the number two starter and a 17 game winner also did not play in the series because he was called away for military duty due to the outbreak of the Korean War. Without their top two starters the Phillies were doomed from the beginning and were swept in 4 games. But if the Phillies had their top two starters it could have been a completely different series.
The 1980 Phillies did win it all, for the first World Series title in franchise history. They finished 91-71 and defeated the Kansas City Royals in 6 games to win their first World Series. The 1980 Phils had two eventual HOF'ers, Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton, they also had Pete Rose, who has the numbers for the HOF. In 1980 Schmidt was the league MVP and Carlton won the Cy Young, Schmidt also was the World Series MVP. The Phils also had 8x gold-glove winner Garry Maddox and two time all-star and 1,100 strike out pitcher Tug McGraw. In 1980 the Phillies finished first in the National League in at bats, fewest strike outs, and total bases. And second in the National League in runs per game, hits, doubles, RBI's, average, OBP, OPS, and slugging percentage. Their pitching finished top three in the National League in wins, win percentage, ERA, innings pitched, strikeouts, and hits per nine. With their World Series the Phillies became the last of the original 16 teams to win a World Series.
In 2008 the Phillies were looking for their second World Series title. They finished with a record of 92-70, second best in the National League and defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in 5 games to bring home their second World Series championship. In 2008 Brad Lidge won the Comeback Player of the Year Award with a perfect 48 for 48 in save oppurtunities. Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino won gold gloves, Chase Utley won his third consecutive silver slugger award, while Charlie Manuel and Pat Gillick won Manager and Executive of the Year respectively. Ryan Howard led the NL in HR's and RBI's and won the the Josh Gibson award. In the 2008 season the Phillies offense finished top four in the National League in runs per game, runs, triples, HR's, RBI's, stolen bases, slugging percentage, OPS, and total bases. Their pitching finished top five in the National League in wins, win percentage, ERA, complete games, complete game shut-outs, saves, runs allowed, and WHIP.
So that's it, a run down of the players and the teams from, in my opinion, the best four seasons the Phillies have had. In my opinion it would have to be the 1980 team. With Schmidt, Rose, and Carlton, the 1980 Phillies had three of the best players in the history of baseball. Mike Schmidt was a 3 time MVP, 10 time gold glove, 12 time all-star, and considered by many one of the best, if not the best, defensive third basemen ever. He was is 15th all time with 548 HR's. He had over 2,200 hits, 1,000 RBI's, and 1,000 Runs in his career. Pete Rose wasn't too bad himself. Rose is the all time leader in hits, games played, and at bats. He won 1 MVP, 3 batting titles and was a 17 time all-star. He was a career .303 hitter with over 1,300 RBI's. Steve Carlton was one of the best left-handed pitchers of all time. He has the second most strikeouts of any lefty, the fourth most wins, and was the first pitcher ever to win four Cy Youngs. He has over 4,000 K's and 329 wins with a career ERA of 3.22. The 1980 Phillies also had some great role players, like Larry Bowa, Greg Luzinski, Lonnie Smith, as well as all-stars Gary Maddox and Tug McGraw.
So there you have it, the 1980 Phillies are the best Phillies team ever. Do you agree? Who would you say is the best Phillies team of all time. Vote below.