Okay, first here’s the question again: Name the last National League team among the classic eight (teams that were members of the NL since 1900) to win its first NL pennant and name the last of the classic eight to represent the National League in the World Series, also for the first time?
And the answer is: The St. Louis Cardinals. They won their first NL pennant in 1926, thus becoming the last of the classic eight to win a pennant, and thus, at the same time, becoming the last of the classic eight to represent the NL in the World Series.
Only one person made an attempt to answer the question, Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts, even if she got the question wrong, by being off by just one team.
Anyway, the other seven NL teams of the classic eight went like this: The Cubs (then the White Stockings) won the very first NL pennant in 1876, and made their first World Series appearance in 1906. The Braves (then the Boston Red Caps) won their first pennant in 1877 and made their first World Series appearance in 1914. The Giants first championship was in 1888 and their first Series appearance was in 1905 (technically it was in 1904, but manager John J. McGraw refused to play against the Boston Americans (now the Red Sox) of the American League, so no Series that year). The Dodgers (then the Bridgegrooms) won their first pennant in 1890 (a year after winning the American Association pennant) and made their first Series appearance in 1916. The Pirates won their first pennant in 1901 and was involved in the first modern World Series of 1903. The Phillies won their first pennant in 1915, and went on to represent the NL in the World Series that same year. The Reds would become the next to last of the classic eight to win the pennant, and thus reach the World Series, in 1919.
One of the rarest of hitting accomplishments is batting .400 during the regular season. Not done since 1941, when Hall of Famer Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox hit .406 that season, batting .400 has been done only twenty-eight times since 1876. All but six of the men to reach .400 are now members of the Hall of Fame. The first player to do it would be Ross Barnes of the Chicago White Stockings (now the Chicago Cubs), who would bat .429 in the first National League season of 1876, winning the batting title for that year. Hall of Famer Hugh Duffy of the Boston Beaneaters (now the Atlanta Braves) would have the highest .400 average, as he would hit .440 in 1894. Fellow Hall of Famer Ty Cobb of the Detroit Tigers would have the lowest .400 batting average, hitting .401 in 1922. Cobb is tied with fellow Hall of Famers Ed Delahanty and Rogers Hornsby for the most times a player would have hit over .400 in his career, with all three men doing it three times a piece.
In the history of the Phillies, four Phils have officially hit .400 or better six times, three times by the above mentioned Delahanty, and once each by fellow Hall of Famers Billy Hamilton and Sam Thompson and Tuck Turner. Delahanty would hit .400 for the first time in 1894, as he would hit .407 that season. Hamilton would also reach .400 for the only time in his carrer that same year as he would bat .404, along with fellow outfielders Thompson (.407) and Turner (.416), being the only outfield in baseball history that would bat over .400 during the same season. None of them would win the batting title that year, as they would all be outhit by Duffy’s .440. Delahanty would hit .400 again in 1895, hitting .404 in 1895. Delahanty would become the last Phil batter to hit over .400, as he would hit .410 in 1899, winning his first batting title in the process. Although Delahanty is listed as the Phil with the highest batting average in the team’s history (his .410 in 1895), Turner’s .416 is recognized by major league baseball as a .400 batting average, although he only played part-time in 1894.
Among the 28 .400 hitters, Phillies are ranked at number 9 (Turner, 1894), 11-T (Delahanty, 1899), 16-T (Thompson, 1894), 18 (Delahanty, 1894), 20 (Hamilton, 1894) and 21 (Delahanty, 1895).
Will another Phil ever reach .400? I seriously doubt it, as such a person would have to avoid running into a major slump during the entire season.
In 1887, in the fourth year of Harry Wright’s tenure as the Phillies/Quakers’ managers, the team would finish in second place for the first time in the team’s long existance.
The 1887 season would see some more changes within the National League. First, the Kansas City Cowboys, after finishing in seventh place in 1886, would not be offered another chance by the league. Their place would be taken up by the American Association Pittsburgh Alleghenys (now the Pirates) who had finished the 1886 AA season in second place. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Maroons would transfer their assets to Indianapolis, becoming the Indianapolis Hoosiers, leaving St. Louis once again without an entry in the NL (the city’s previous representative, the St. Louis Brown Stockings, were dropped after being in the league for the 1876-1877 seasons.). The rest of the Phillies’ opponents for 1887 would be the Beaneaters, the Giants, the Nationals, the Wolverines and the White Stockings. The Phillies would play their games in their new home, the Philadelphia Base Ball Grounds, later known as Baker Bowl, which was located between North Broad Street, West Huntingdon Street, North 15th Street and West Lehigh Street in North Philadelphia.
The Phillies would begin the season in late April, facing their eastern rival, the New York Giants, for three games, the first two to be played in New York, and the third in the Phillies’ new home, the Philadelphia Base Ball Ground. The Phils would lose both games played in New York, by close scores of 4-3 and 7-4, before winning the first game to be played in their new park, by the score of 15-9, giving them a record of 1-2 for the month of April. They would then start May at home, facing the Beaneaters for three games. They would lose the first two games, then win the away game by the score of 12-0, ending their short home stand with a 2-2 record. The Phillies would next go on the road for three games against the Nationals, and then three more in Boston. The Phils would start the road trip with a 5-5 tie with the Nationals, before winning the next two games against them, and then winning the first game in their three-games series with the Beaneaters. They would then split the next two games with Boston, winning the series, 2-1, and ending the road trip with a 4-1-1 record. The Phillies would then start a second three-games series with the Giants, this time playing the first two games in Philadelphia and then the final one in New York. The Phils would split the series at home, before winning the final game in New York by the lopsided score of 17-2 for a 2-1 record in the series. The Phillies would then come home for a long home stand with three of the western teams, playing first four games against Detroit, then four against Chicago and finally three against Indianapolis. They would be swept by the Wolverines, then lose their first game with their western rival, the White Stockings. After ending their five-games slide by defeating Chicago, they would split the next two games with them, for a 2-2 record in their series, before winning all three games against the Hoosiers, ending the home stand with a respectable record of 5-6. The Phillies would then end the month of June by playing the Alleghenys in Pittsburgh for the first time for three games, including a doubleheader on June 30. The Phillies would split the doubleheader with their cross-state rival, winning the first game by 2-1 and then losing the ‘nightcap’ by a score of 6-4. They would then win the final game of their short road trip, giving them a record of 2-1, a 14-11-1 record for the month of May and an overall record of 15-13-1.
The Phillies would begin June with a short home stand against their eastern rivals, with three games against the Beaneaters, and then three more with the Giants. The Phils would lose their series with the Beaneaters, going 1-2, before tying the first game against the Giants, 6-6. They would then split the last two games with the Giants to end the series with an 1-1-1 record, and to end the short home stand with an overall record of 2-3-1. They would then go on the road to face these two teams again for two more three-games series. The road trip would end up being an 1-5 fiasco, with their only victory coming in their first game in New York, 5-4, with their worst defeat being a 29-1 shalacking by the Giants in the last game of their three-games series. The Phils would then come home for a short three-games home stand against the Nationals, which the Phillies would win 2-1. The Phillies would then go west for an eleven-games road trip against the White Stockings (3), the Hoosiers (4) and the Wolverines (4), to end June and start July. The Phillies would lose the first two games of their series with Chicago, before tying the final game at 7-7. They would then go to Indianapolos, losing the first game, and then winning the next three with the Hoosiers, including a 24-0 thumping on June 28, before going on to Detroit, where they would split the final two games of the month of June, ending the month with a record of 9-13-2 and an overall record of 24-26-3.
They would begin the month of July by losing their final two games with the Wolverines, ending the series with a record of 1-3, and the road trip with a record of 4-6-1. They would then go home for a fifteen-games home stand, to face the Alleghenys for three games, including the second doubleheader between the two teams, this one to be played on July 4, followed by three games with Chicago, three with the Hoosiers, three with Detroit and then the final three games with the Alleghenys. The Phillies would split the doubleheader with Pittsburgh, winning the first game, 9-5, then losing the ‘nightcap’ by 8-5. They would then win the last game of the series, to give them a series win at 2-1. Then would then get swept by the White Stockings, before going on an eight-games winning streak, sweeping first the Hoosiers and then the Wolverines and then winning the first two games of their second home series against the Alleghenys, before losing the last games in the series, by 4-3, winning the home stand as they went 10-5. The Phils would then go on a long road trip for the rest of July and the beginning of August to face the Nationals (3), the Alleghenys (3), the Wolverines (3), the White Stockings (1), the Hoosiers (2) and the White Stockings (3) again for 15 games. The Phillies would begin their long trip by losing their series with the Nationals, 1-2, before going on to Pittsburgh to win their series with the Alleghenys, 2-1, ending July with a record of 13-10 and with an overall record of 37-36-3, and poised to make a pennant run, as Harry Wright prepares to turn his best starter, Charlie Ferguson, into an everyday player, as well as his pitching ace, because of Ferguson’s .300 batting average.
The Phillies would start August in Detroit, winning the first game of the series, before ending it with an 1-2 record, as they would lose the next two games. They would then win the next four games, winning their one-game series in Chicago, then sweeping the Hoosiers, before going back to Chicago and winning the first game of their three-games series with their western rival. They would then split the next two games to win the series, 2-1, and go back home with a winning record of 9-6. They would go home for a long seventeen-games home stand for the rest of August and the start of September, facing the Nationals for three, the Giants for four, the Hoosiers for three, the Wolverines for two, the Alleghenys for three and the White Stockings for two. The Phils would start their long home stand by sweeping the Nationals, and then winning the first two games of their series with the Giants before having their winning streak snapped at six games with a 10-8 lost. The next game with the Giants would end up in a 5-5 tie, ending the series with a 2-1-1 series win. The Phils would then sweep the Hoosiers, before spliting their two-games series with Detroit. They would then lost their three-games series with Pittsburgh, ending August with a 16-7-1 record and an overall record of 53-43-4.
The Phillies would start off the month of September by splitting their two-games series with the White Stockings, ending the home stand with a record of 11-5-1. They would then go on an equally long road trip for most of September, facing the Beaneaters for three games, the Nationals for three, the White Stockings for three, the Hoosiers for three, the Wolverines for two and the Alleghenys for three. On the eastern half of the trip, after losing the first game with the Beaneaters, they would win the next five games, including a three-games sweep of the Nationals. They are then swept in Chicago by the White Stockings, before beginning what would become a seventeen-games no-lost streak, as they would first sweep the Hoosiers in three straight, then the Wolverines for three and finally end the trip by sweeping the Alleghenys, ending their long road trip with a record of 13-4. They would then end the month of September with two games at home against the Nationals, which they would also sweep, giving them a record for the month of 16-5, and an overall record of 69-48-4.
They would continue the home stand in October with three games against Boston, sweeping the Beaneaters with ease. They would then end their season the same way they had started it, with a series against the Giants, this time facing them for two games in New York, a one-game series in Philadelphia and then one final game in New York. The Phillies would sweep the short two-games series in New York, tied their final home game in Philadelphia, going 5-5, and then winning their final game of the year, 6-3, ending October with a 6-0-1 record and the season with a record of 75-48-5, with a winning percentage of .610, their best record to date in their short existance. This would put them in second place, three games ahead of the third place White Stockings and six and a half games behind the 1887 National League Champions, the Detroit Wolverines (This would be the Wolverines only title.).
In 128 games played, the Phillies would have a home/road record of 38-23-3 at home and 37-25-2 on the road. The Phillies would have good records against all but three teams, with their best record being against the Hoosiers (17-1), followed by the Nationals (13-3-1), with their worst record being against their nemesis the White Stockings (6-12-1). They were 7-2 in shut outs, 17-11 in 1-run games and 37-13 in blowouts. The Phillies would play before 253,671 fans in their brand new park.
The Phillies’ offense and pitching would be among the league leaders in 1887. In batting, they would end up being first in doubles (213), second in at-bats (4630), runs scored (901), hits (1269) and walks (385), fourth in batting average (.274), on-base percentage (.330), slugging percentage (.389) and stolen bases (355) and fifth in triples (89), home runs (47) and strikeouts (346), while also knocking in 702 RBIs, while being hit by the pitch 52 times. The pitchers, meanwhile, would lead the league in innings pitched (1132), shut outs (7) and runs allowed (702), be second in ERA (3.47), saves (1) and strikeouts (435), third in walks (305), fourth in hits allowed (1173) and home runs allowed (48) and sixth in complete games (119), while also finishing nine games, giving up 436 earned runs, throwing 56 wild pitches, no balks and hitting 34 batters.
Individual offensive leaders for the Phillies in 1887 would be Ed Andrews in batting (.325), hits (151) and singles (121), Jim Forgarty in on-base percentage (.376), games (126), at-bats (495), total plate appearances (587), doubles (26), walks (82) and stolen bases (102), while being tied with Sid Farrar in the number of times HBP (10), George Wood in slugging percentage (.497), runs scored (118), total bases (244), triples (19), home runs (14), strikeouts (51), and extra-base hits (55), and Charlie Ferguson in RBIs (85). Ferguson would also lead the pitching staff in winning percentage (.688), saves (1) and games finished (4), while going 22-10. Dan Casey would lead the staff in ERA (2.86), wins (28), games pitched (45), games started (also 45), complete games (43), shut outs (4), hits allowed (377), walks allowed (115), hit batters (14) and batters faced (1660), while Charlie Buffinton would lead in strikeouts (160), home runs allowed (16), losses (17), earned runs allowed (135) and wild pitches (25). On the staff, there would be three twenty games winners, as Buffinton would win 21 games, to go along with Ferguson’s 22 and Casey’s 28. Fogarty would also be the league leader in total plate appearances and walks among the batters, while Casey would be the league’s ERA and shut outs leader, while Ferguson would be tied for the league’s lead in saves among pitchers.
As the Phillies would spent the off-season preparing to hopefully win their first pennant, the Detroit Wolverines would face the American Association’s pennant winner, the St. Louis Browns, in a fifteen games World Series, which would be won by the Wolverines, 10 games to 5.
Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com and Baseball-Reference.com
In 1883, Philadelphia, along with New York, would rejoin the eight-teams National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or the National League, after the 1876 editions of both clubs, in the league’s first season of existence, were both expelled by the league for their refusal to participate in a late season western cities road trip. The new Philadelphia team, nicknamed the Quakers, would be brought into existance by former professional ballplayer and sporting goods manufacturer Al Reach, and his partner, attorney John Rogers, after the two men had successfully won the franchise rights of the now defunct Worcester (Massachusetts) Brown Stockings (also known as the Ruby Legs), which has gone bankrupt in 1882. Reach would become the team’s first president. The team’s first manager would be Bob Ferguson, who was, like Reach, a former professional ballplayer, as well as the former manager of the Troy (New York) Trojans, another disbanded team, whose franchise right would be bought by the New York Gothams (later the New York/San Francisco Giants). The Quakers would play their home games out of Recreation Park, which was located in North Philadelphia between 23rd and 25th Streets and Ridge and Columbia (now Cecil B. Moore) Avenues.
The Phillies’ opponents for its inaugural season, along with fellow newcomer, the New York Gothams, would be, by geographical order: Boston Beaneaters (1876 member); Providence (Rhode Island) Grays (1878 member); Buffalo (New York) Bisons (1879 member); Cleveland Blues (1879 member); Detroit Wolverines (1881 member) and Chicago White Stockings (1876 member). Of the other six teams, only Boston (now in Atlanta) and Chicago, along with the new teams from Philadelphia and New York (now in San Francisco), would still be playing in the National League.
The Quakers’ first game, which was also their first home game, would be played on May 1, 1883 against the Providence Grays. The game would end up as a 4-3 lost to the Grays. The Phillies would then play two more games with the Grays, followed by a three game series at home with the Beaneaters, all loses, including two games in which the opposition would score twenty or more runs against the Quakers, a 24-6 thumping by the Grays on May 3 and a 20-8 defeat by the Beaneaters on May 7, ending the team’s first home stand winless. After losing two straight games on the road to the White Stockings in Chicago, the Quakers would finally get the first victory in Phillies’ history, a 12-1 victory on May 14 against the White Stockings, thus ending the first losing streak in Phillies’ history at eight games. After winning their second victory over the Wolverines in Detroit, for the club’s first winning streak, the Quakers would lose the next two games in the series, quickly followed by a two-game split with the Blues in Cleveland before they would lose their three games series against the Bisons in Buffalo, including the first game in which the Phillies would be unable to score a single run, losing 4-0 on May 25, before winning the last game in the series on May 28, 3-2, thus ending its first road trip at 4-7. But before their next home stand, the Quakers’ manager, Ferguson, with a record of 4-13, would be fired by the owners, thus becoming the first Phillies manager to be let go. He would be quickly replaced by Blondie Purcell, a player on the Quakers’, thus becoming the team’s first player-manager. Sadly, the change in managers would not improve the team’s fortunes, as they would begin their next home stand, on May 30, losing the team’s first doubleheader, dropping both games to the White Stockings by the lopsided scores of 15-8 and 22-4. The team would then end their first month of existance by losing their third game in a row to the White Stockings by the score of 4-3, with a record for the month of 4-16.
June would begin just as badly for the Quakers as it would finish its first four game series by losing to the White Stockings 10-1. During the rest of the home stand, three more four games series with the Wolverines, Blues, and Bisons, the team would go 4-8, which would include the first game in which the Quakers would score 20 or more runs, a 20-4 drubbings of the Wolverines on June 6, which was also the team’s first home victory, as well as the team’s first shut out victory, a 2-0 win against the Bisons on June 14, ending the home stand at 4-12. The team would then go back on the road for two two-games series with the Beaneaters and the Grays and a single game series with the Gothams. The Quakers’ bad fortune would continue as they would lose the first six games of that road trip, including a 29-4 shlacking by the Beaneaters on June 20, before finally gaining another road victory, the team’s first shut out defeat of an opponent on the road, as they would defeat the Grays 4-0 on June 26, before losing the last two games of the road trip. The team would then come home to face the Gothams, losing the game 8-6, thus ending the month of June with a losing record of 5-18 and an overall record of 9-34, last in the league. Also in June, on the ninth, the NL would allow the Quakers to slash its ticket prices down to .25 cents, so that it would be able to compete with the more popular Philadelphia Athletics baseball club of the rival American Association, as the team’s home attendence would increase because of the decrease in ticket price.
In July, things doesn’t get any better for the ballclub, as the Quakers would lose two more games to the Gothams, the first one at Recreation Park, then the other in New York, before they begin a short four games home stand with the Grays and the Beaneaters. After winning a forfeit with the Grays (the actual score was 9-11 Grays) as the Grays had to leave town so that they could play a game with the Gothams in New York on that same day, the Quakers would get swept once again by the Beaneaters, including a game that they would play after the forfeited game with the Grays (both played on July 4). (The forefited game would also be the first series that the Phillies would win in the club’s history.) The Quakers would then spend the rest of the month on another ‘western’ road trip, which would include a five games series (their first) with the Blues, and three straight four games series against the Bisons, the White Stockings and the Wolverines. By the time they finally limp back home on August 4 to face the Gothams, the road trip would be a complete disaster, as they would only win three games of the seventeen games road trip, thus ending the month of July with a 3-17 record, while their overall season record would now be at 12-51, still in last place.
Back home, the Phillies would lose to the Gothams, before heading to New York to lose the next game. After coming back home to gain a victory over their fellow newcomer, they would go back to New York, where they would be swept in two games there. They would then be swept in two straight three games series by both the Beaneaters and the Grays, the two teams who were at this point fighting for the National League pennant. Among these loses would be a 28-0 drubbing at the hands of the Grays on August 21, the most lopsided shut out in the game’s history. The Quakers would then end the month playing three more games with the Gothams (one of which was played at Recreation Park) and two home games with the Grays, losing all five, thus ending the month of August with a 2-17 record and an overall record of 14-68.
The Quakers would spend the rest of the season playing at home, playing seventeen games with the Beaneaters (1), the Grays (1), the Gothams (2), the Blues (3), the Bisons (3), the Wolverines (4) and the White Stockings (3). The Quakers would go 3-13-1 in those games, which would include their third two-games winning streak, as they would win single games with the Grays, winning their second series, and the Gothams, get no-hit on September 13 by Hugh Daly of the Blues, losing 1-0, and be tied for the first time in the team’s history on September 22 with the Wolverines, as the two teams would play that day to a 6-6 tie. The Quakers would end its first season in the National League in last place with a 17-81-1 record, 23 games behind seventh place Detroit and 46 games behind the league’s champion, the Boston Beaneaters.
Against the rest of the league, the team would only have losing records in 1883: Beaneaters (0-14); Grays (3-11); Gothams (2-12); Bisons (5-9); Blues (2-12); Wolverines (3-11-1) and White Stockings (2-12), with its worst record being against the Beaneaters and its best being against the Bisons. They would be 3-7 in shut outs, 2-12 in 1-run games and 4-42 in blowouts.
In a 99 games season, the team would go to the plate a total of 3576 times (6th) while getting only 859 hits (7th) for a team batting average of .240 (8th), a team on-base percentage of .269 (8th) and a team slugging percentage of .320 (8th). The Quakers would score 437 runs (8th) on 299 RBIs. The team would get 181 2Bs (6th), 48 3Bs (6th) and 3 HRs (8th), while also receiving 141 walks (4th) as they struck out 355 (5th) times. Pitching wise, the Quakers had a Team ERA of 5.34 (8th), and in 99 games played, they had 91 complete games (2nd) with 8 other games finished by another pitcher, only 3 (8th) of which would be shut outs. In 864 innings pitched (5th), the team’s pitchers would give up 1267 hits (8th), allow 887 runs (8th) to score of which 513 were earned, give up 20 HRs (6th) and walk 125 batters (5th) and strike out only 253 (8th).
Individually, the team batting leader was Purcell with a .268 batting average, while Jack Manning would lead the team in slugging percentage with .364 and in on-base percentage with .300. Purcell would also lead the team with 425 at-bats, 70 runs scored, 114 hits and 88 singles, while Manning would also lead the team in total at-bats with about 470, 153 total bases, 31 doubles, and 37 RBIs. Other team batting leaders were: Sid Farrar in games played (99); John Coleman and Farrar in triples (8 each); Purcell, Bil McClellan and Emil Gross in home runs (1 each); Bill Harbridge in walks (24) and Coleman in strikeouts (39). In pitching, Coleman would also be the team leader in ERA (4.87), wins (12), loses (48), games pitched (65), innings pitched (538.3), strikeouts (159), games started (61), complete games (59), and shut outs (3).
After the season, Purcell would be replaced as the team’s manager with Harry Wright, another former professional ballplayer, and former manager of the second place Grays, and before that, the manager of the Beaneaters, leading that franchise to NL pennants in 1877 and 1878. It was hoped by both Reach and Rogers that he would turn the team’s fortune around.
Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com and Baseball-Reference.com