Every Phillies Season Ever - Part 4
Still waiting on a championship.
If you missed parts 1-3, you can catch up on the 1883-1950 Phillies seasons here.
We’re now 68 seasons deep in our journey through Phillies history, and we still haven’t witnessed a championship. Surely it will happen soon. Let’s dive in:
1951: 73-81, 5th place. Robin Roberts goes 21-15 with a 3.03 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. Richie Ashburn hits .344, second only to Stan Musial. But the team regresses, and the Whiz Kids never win another pennant.
1952: 87-67, 4th place. Robin Roberts' most dominant season in a string of seven straight All-Star appearances. 28-7, 30 CG, 2.59 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, league-leading K/BB ratio. Roberts trails only Mike Schmidt in Phillies career WAR (71).
Philadelphia hosts the 1952 All-Star Game at Shibe Park. Jackie Robinson hits a first-inning home run as the NL beat the AL 3-2 in a five inning game. (To this day, it’s the only All-Star Game to be shortened because of rain.)
1953: 83-71, 3rd place. Shibe Park is renamed Connie Mack Stadium before the season. On the field, four Phils (Richie Ashburn, Granny Hamner, Robin Roberts and Curt Simmons) make the NL All-Star team.
1954: 75-79, 4th place. Phils 2B/SS Granny Hamner, shown here with his junk falling out, makes his third straight All-Star team, slashing .299/.351/.466. The Athletics leave Philadelphia for Kansas City after the season.
1955: 77-77, 4th place. Richie Ashburn has a great year for the mediocre '55 Phils, leading the league in batting average (.338) and on-base percentage (.449).
1956: 71-83, 5th place. Catcher Stan Lopata leads the Phils with 32 HR, a .535 slugging percentage, and an .888 OPS.
Lopata's parents were from Poland. He grew up in Michigan, fought in WWII as a teenager, and was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. Plays for the Phils from 1948 through 1958.
1957: 77-77, 5th place. On August 17, Richie Ashburn breaks a fan's nose with a foul ball. As medics carry off the injured fan, Alice Roth, in a stretcher, Ashburn fouls the *next pitch* right at her. The second ball breaks a bone in her knee.
Ashburn visits Roth in the hospital, and they become friends. Roth’s son eventually becomes the Phillies’ batboy.
1958: 69-85, last place. Richie Ashburn's theory as to why the Phillies never lived up to expectations in the '50s: "We were the last [NL team] to get any Black ballplayers. The Giants, the Dodgers, the Braves . . . We were still pretty good, but they were just getting better."
The first Black man to play for the Phillies was John Kennedy. Listed as a shortstop but utilized mostly as a pinch runner, Kennedy appeared in five games in 1957. He batted just twice.
1959: 64-90, last place. Sad season for the Phillies formerly known as the Whiz Kids. Hamner and Puddin' Head Jones get traded. Ashburn has a rough year. Even Roberts looks to be slowing down.
Sparky Anderson plays second base for this team. It’s his only year in MLB as a player before 26 years as a manager.
1960: 59-85, last place. The Phils are rebuilding. Some new faces: Johnny Callison, Chris Short, Tony Gonzalez, Tony Taylor, Bobby Wine, Clay Dalrymple, Ruben Amaro, Art Mahaffey, and Dallas Green.
1961: 47-107, last place. Phils lose 23 in a row in the summer of 1961, still a record to this day. And manager Gene Mauch would soon coach the Phils through something even worse. #foreshadowing
1962: 81-80, 7th place. Amazing turnaround from '61. Johnny Callison leads the way, slashing .300/.363/.491 with 23 HR.
Also in 1962, a child named Jamie Moyer is born in Sellersville, PA.
1963: 87-75, 4th place. A young Phillies team continues to improve. Top 3 players by WAR are Johnny Callison (8.1), Tony Taylor (4.7) and Tony Gonzalez (4.5). Richie Allen (not yet known as Dick Allen) debuts in September and plays in 10 games. The Phils trade for Jim Bunning after the season.
1964: 92-70, 2nd place.
Listen.… It’s called Every Phillies Season Ever. We have to do all of the seasons.
This team gets off to an 8-2 start and it’s soon clear that 1964 is the best Phillies season since 1950. Callison hits 31 home runs and Allen is named Rookie of the Year after slashing .318/.382/.557 with 29 home runs. On the mound, Jim Bunning goes 19-8 with a 2.63 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP, while Chris Short goes 17-9 with a 2.20 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. The two combine for 400 strikeouts.
On June 21—Father’s Day—Bunning throws a perfect game. It’s the first perfect game in the National League since 1880. The Phils build a 7.5 game lead in the NL by August 20, and after a win on September 20, their lead is 6.5 games with 12 left to play.
The Fightins lose 1-0 to the Reds in Philly on September 21 after Cincinnati’s Chico Ruiz steals home plate. They lose the next two games to the Reds as well, and their lead dwindles to 3.5 games.
The Milwaukee Braves come to town next. Bunning and the Phillies lose the first game of a four-game series after a few defensive miscues. Chris Short pitches the next game on two days’ rest, and the Phillies lose again. After dropping the third game of the series, manager Gene Mauch sends Bunning back out to start on two days’ rest, and he lasts only three innings in a 14-8 loss. The Phils’ losing streak reaches seven games, and they fall out of first place for the first time since mid-July.
But the horror show isn’t over yet. The St. Louis Cardinals sweep the Phillies in a a three-game series and push the losing streak to ten games.
The Phils win their final two games of the season, but it’s too little too late. They finish in second, one game behind the Cards (who would go on to defeat the Yankees in the ‘64 World Series).
1965: 85-76, 6th place. Allen follows up his '64 Rookie of the Year season with an All-Star '65 season (.302/.375/.494, 20 HR).
Also dominant: Jim Bunning (19-9, 2.60 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 268 K); and Chris Short (18-11, 2.82 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 237 K).
1966: 1966: 87-75, 4th place. Lots of good numbers on this team, but Jim Bunning and Dick Allen absolutely go off.
Bunning: 19-14, 16 CG, 5 SHO, 2.41 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 252 K
Allen: .317/.396/.632, 40 HR, 110 RBI, 112 R, 10 SB
1967: 82-80, 5th place. Cookie Rojas pitches one scoreless inning on June 30, the 9th defensive position of his Phillies career.
1968: 76-86, 7th place. The Phillies trade Jim Bunning prior to the season and fire Gene Mauch midway through. They bat .233 as a team.
On February 27, deep in the Canadian wilderness, a mighty grizzly bear gives birth to baby Matt Stairs.
1969: 63-99, 5th place. MLB expands to 24 teams and each league splits into two 6-team divisions.
The United States puts a man on the moon on July 20, 1969. Phillies lose both ends of a doubleheader that day. They also lose most other days.
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Tweets of the Week, This Week in 2008, Phillie You Forgot About, Prize Winners, and The Section of the Newsletter Where I Make You Look at My Dogs will all return in the regular Monday morning edition of 2008philz.