Every Phillies Season Ever - Part 3
The Rhys Hoskins news is brutal, but at least he didn't get shot.
The 2023 Phillies party bus hit a few speed bumps lately. The team shut down Andrew Painter due to a UCL sprain, Ranger Suarez won’t be ready to start the season, and Rhys Hoskins is out for the year following an ACL tear. All of this is exacerbated, of course, by Bryce Harper’s extended absence. Meanwhile, the Phils and Aaron Nola decided to halt negotiations about a contract extension until after the season.
But the upcoming season is still full of promise. Fans legitimately expect the Phillies to compete to win it all, and that’s rare in the history of this franchise. Like, very rare. If you don’t believe me, here’s some proof:
1931: 66-88, 6th place. Team has the worst pitching in the league.
Chuck Klein slashes .337/.398/.584 and leads the league with 31 home runs. He finishes second in voting for NL MVP in the award’s first modern incarnation. St. Louis infielder Frankie Frisch takes the award despite posting a .764 OPS to Klein’s .982.
Trivia—Which of these 1931 Phillies player names are fake: Spud Davis, Pinky Whitney, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Jumbo Elliott, Lil Stoner
1932: 78-76, 4th place. This is the Phillies’ *only* winning season between 1917 and 1949, and it is barely a winning season. Chuck Klein wins NL MVP, slashing .348/.404/.646 and leading the league in both home runs (38) and stolen bases (20).
1933: 60-92, 7th place. Philadelphia boasts two Triple Crown winners. Klein hits .368 with 28 home runs and 120 RBI with the Phillies, while Jimmie Foxx hits .356 with 48 home runs and 163 RBI with the Athletics over in the AL.
1934: 56-93, 7th place. Before the season, the Phillies go full-Phillies and trade Chuck Klein to the Cubs. They get a few players back, but it’s primarily a financial move: the Phils were desperate for cash and the Cubs sent them $65,000.
1935: 64-89, 7th place. On May 24, the Phillies and Reds play the first MLB night game in Cincinnati. You will be shocked to learn the Phils lose that game.
Trivia answer—Peter Gabriel is the only fake name. Spud Davis, Pinky Whitney, Phil Collins, Jumbo Elliott, and Lil Stoner are real members of the 1931 Phillies.
1936: 54-100, last place. Also last in attendance. But Chuck Klein comes back to the Phils. He isn’t quite the same—he’s in his thirties now—but he’s still a great player. Bats .306 with 25 home runs. On July 10, Klein hits 4 home runs in one game.
1937: 61-92, 7th place. This is the Phillies last full season in the Baker Bowl. Maybe moving into Shibe Park with the Athletics will help?
1938: 45-105, last place. Moving into Shibe Park with the Athletics did not help at all.
1939: 45-106, last place. Doc Prothro, a dentist before he became a ballplayer, was named the team’s new manager. Doc would stay with the Phillies through the 1941 season, and his .301 career winning percentage as a manager is still the worst of all time.
1940: 50-103, last place. The team’s best player is pitcher Kirby Higbe. Higbe goes 14-19 with a 3.72 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and a league-leading 137 strikeouts. Predictably, the Phillies trade him to Brooklyn after the season. He wins 22 games with the Dodgers and goes to the World Series.
1941: 43-111, last place. A very balanced Phillies team: they ranked last in runs scored and last in runs allowed.
111 losses is the franchise record.
1942: 42-109, last place. Do you feel fortunate to have our 2023 squad yet?
After this season, the National League finally steps in and forces Phillies owner Gerry Nugent, the financial disaster who kept auctioning the team’s best players, to sell the team to a successful businessman named William Cox.
1943: 64-90, 7th place. Actually quite a turnaround from the previous few years. Unfortunately, new owner William Cox is caught betting on Phillies games and is banned from baseball. Robert Ruliph Morgan Carpenter buys the club for $400,000 and appoints his son, Bob Carpenter, as president.
Bob Carpenter hires the team’s first-ever general manager, Herb Pennock, and they prioritize building a farm system.
1944: 61-92, last place. New ownership had a plan in place but it would be years before it paid off.
The Phillies make a halfhearted attempt to change their name to the Blue Jays this season, adding a new logo. They put blue jay patches on their jerseys, but leave “Phillies” across the chest. The confusing experiment was mostly abandoned by 1946.
1945: 46-108, last place. Vince DiMaggio plays for this team, starting the Phillies tradition of always getting the wrong brother.
1946: 69-85, 5th place. The 5th place finish is the Phils’ best in 14 years. Rookie outfielder Del Ennis slashes .313/.364/.485 and makes the All-Star Game. Catcher Andy Seminick is on the team. 19 year old Granny Hamner appears in 2 games. Richie Ashburn is under contract. A scout is tracking Robin Roberts.
1947: 62-92, 7th place. The Phillies take a step back in ‘47. But 18 year old Curt Simmons makes his MLB debut in the last game of the season. Throws a complete game, allows one run, and strikes out nine in a Phils win.
Brooklyn’s Jackie Robinson breaks the MLB color barrier on April 15.
1948: 66-88, 6th place. 21 year old Richie Ashburn slashes .333/.410/.400 and leads the league with 32 stolen bases. Del Ennis hits 30 home runs.
1949: 81-73, 3rd place. Best finish since 1917. Getting close now.
On June 14, an obsessed fan named Ruth Ann Steinhagen shoots Phillies first baseman Eddie Waitkus. He nearly dies. Waitkus, nicknamed “The Natural,” is a World War II hero and a popular star from his early seasons with the Cubs. Waitkus would return to play for the Phillies in 1950, but will suffer mental and physical health complications from the shooting later in life. He’ll die at the age of 53.
1950: 91-63, 1st place. Nicknamed the “Whiz Kids,” the young 1950 Phillies give the franchise its second World Series appearance.
23 year old Robin Roberts wins 20 games and posts a 3.02 ERA. 21 year old Curt Simmons wins 17 games with a 3.40 ERA, and 24 year old Bob Miller puts up a 3.57 ERA in 21 starts. Relief pitcher Jim Konstanty appears in 74 games, closes out 62 of them (22 saves), posts a 2.66 ERA and is named the NL MVP.
25 year old leftfielder Del Ennis bats .311, hits 31 home runs, and leads the league with 126 RBI. 23 year old Richie Ashburn bats .303 while manning centerfield. Dick Sisler rounds out the outfield with an .815 OPS.
In the infield, our friend Eddie Waitkus plays 154 games at first base and is named the Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year. Mike Goliat (13 HR) plays second base, 24 year old Willie “Puddin’ Head” Jones (25 HR, .793 OPS) is the third baseman, and 23 year old Granny Hamner plays shortstop. Catcher Andy Seminick slashes .288/.400/.524 with 24 home runs.
The Yankees sweep these Phillies in the World Series. But with all this young talent, the Whiz Kids will certainly be back there soon.
We’ll pick up next time with 1951. Subscribe for free here to make sure you get the email:
Tweets of the week.
Here are this week’s top Phillies tweets:
Following Rhys Hoskins’ injury, Destiny Lugardo led an effort to support Rhys’ fundraising for the Muscular Dystrophy Association:Phillies fans have raised over $7,000 for Muscular Dystrophy Association Philadelphia, Rhys Hoskins’charitable cause, since Thursday. one.bidpal.net/goyardwithrhys…Let’s turn those emotions into some good. Donate $17 to MDA. https://t.co/CZbpkd3Pwv https://t.co/A3GKbJuA4zDestiny Lugardo @destiny_lugardo
Best fans in the world.
Life of a Philly Fan makes an excellent point following Trea Turner’s insane WBC performance:
This story from Alex Coffey really sums up the type of person Rhys Hoskins is:This afternoon, Darick Hall saw Rhys Hoskins at his locker. He gave him a hug. "I’m sorry,” Hall said. “This is really rough.” “Actually, I’m happy for you,” Hoskins replied. Hall was moved, but he wasn't surprised. This is who Hoskins has always been:inquirer.comDarick Hall hopes to ‘move the needle forward’ as the Phillies’ primary first basemanHall will be stepping in for his friend and mentor, Rhys Hoskins, who is expected to miss the season after suffering a torn ACL.
Hearing a lot of Luke Voit talk after the Rhys injury. On the surface it makes sense to platoon the right-handed hitting Voit with the left-handed hitting Hall. But Voit has reverse splits:Luke Voit vs LHP 2022: .174/.298/.271, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 171 PA Vs RHP 2022: .247/.312/.455, 20 HR, 54 RBI, 397 PA I think I’m all set. Wouldn’t make any sense, unless you want to stash him in AAA as insurance for Hall. https://t.co/vuzHnamcMfAs a procedural matter, Luke Voit did opt out of his Minor League deal with the Brewers, per Craig Counsell. That does not necessarily close the door on him being part of the Brewers' Opening Day roster. But Voit can look around at his options.Adam McCalvy @AdamMcCalvy
Not sure what the answer is. Maybe Hall can hit lefties, despite his lack of a track record. Or the team can get creative: some suggest moving Bohm to 1st base vs. lefties and opening up 3rd base for Sosa. The Phillies can’t really replace Rhys right now, but they’ll need to find a way to get solid production at 1st.
Alex Carr offers hope after the disheartening Aaron Nola news:
This week in 2008.
The Phillies finalize their roster this week. Brad Lidge and a few other pitchers are on the disabled list. Here’s your Opening Day squad:
Phillie you forgot about.
Wendell Magee, 4 seasons with the Phils (1996-1999). .228/.281/.338, 6 HR, 39 RBI, 1 SB, 4 CS in 108 games (374 plate appearances).
Congratulations to twitter handle budd33, winner of the autographed Pat Burrell baseball card. Shoot me a DM with a mailing address and I’ll ship it right out.
This is the section of the newsletter where I make you look at my dogs.
Thanks for reading and go Phils!
1950 national league champions!!!!
I just chuckled uncontrollably