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.
Although best known as the betrayed manager of the infamous 1919 Black Sox, Kid Gleason began and ended his baseball career in Philadelphia, first as a pitcher for the Phillies and later as a coach for Connie Mack’s A’s.
William J. Gleason, Jr. was born on October 26, 1866 in Camden, N.J., although at least one biographer claims that he was born in south Philadelphia and that his family would move across the Delaware River to Camden while a toddler. Gleason’s father, William, Sr. worked as a foreman for the Pennsylvania Railroad, working out of the Market Street Ferry Terminal. Growing up, Gleason would play baseball, being nicknamed the ‘Kid’ because of both his short stature and his energetic, youthful play, while also working as a brakeman for the railroad, continuing to perform that duty during the off-season for a short time after becoming a professional ballplayer. After playing for local Camden ballclubs, including the Camden Merrit club in 1885, he would play for a team in Williamsport, PA., in 1887 and then play for a team in Scranton, PA., later that same year. The following year, he would play his first professional ballgame as a member of Harry Wright’s Philadelphia Phillies, making his major league debut on April 20, debuting as the team’s opening day pitcher. Pitching against the Boston Beaneaters (now the Atlanta Braves), the team would lose 4-3.
Playing in twenty-five games during that first season with the Phillies, all but one of which would be as a pitcher, Gleason would start in twenty-three games and finished the other one. His record for the year would be 7-16 with a 2.84 ERA, as he would pitch in 199.7 innings, giving up 199 hits, 11 of which would be home runs, leading the team in that category that year, allow 112 runs to score, 63 of which would be earned, as he would also walk 53 batters, strike out 89, hit 12 batters, leading the team in that category, and throw 11 wild pitches. The following year, 1889, Gleason would play in thirty games, pitching in twenty-nine of them. He would start in twenty-one games, completing fifteen, and finishing seven other games, being the team’s leader in that category. His record for the season would be 9-15 with an ERA of 5.58, as he would pitch in 205 innings, giving up 242 hits, including 8 home runs, while allowing 177 runners to score, with 127 of them being earned. He would also walk 97 batters while striking out 64, hit 9 batters, once again leading the team’s pitching staff and throw 14 wild pitches. Gleason would also save one game, putting him in a tie for the team’s lead with Ben Sanders.
1890 would be the Kid’s breakout year as a pitcher as he would become the team’s ace thanks to that year’s Players’ League revolt. He would start the year off as the team’s opening day pitcher, facing future Hall of Famer Amos Rusie of the New York (now San Francisco) Giants on April 19, leading the Phils to a 4-0 victory over the previous season’s National League champ. Appearing in sixty-three games that season, he would play sixty games as a pitcher and two as a second baseman. Gleason would start in fifty-five games, completing all but one, while finishing the other five, placing him third in the NL in all three categories. His record for the season would be 38-17 for a .691 winning percentage, leading the team in wins (while setting the team’s record for wins in a season, which still stands) and winning percentage and placing him second behind Bill Hutchinson of the Chicago Colts in wins and second behind Tom Lovett of the Brooklyn Bridegrooms in winning percenatge, with an ERA of 2.63, leading the team and placing him fifth in the league. He would perform six shut outs, placing him second behind Kid Nichols of the Beaneaters. Gleason would also have two saves, tying him for first place in the NL with Dave Foutz of the Bridegrooms and Hutchinson of the Colts. He would pitch in 506 innings (3), giving up 479 hits (3), of which 8 would be for home runs. Gleason would also give up 253 runs, of which 148 were earned (4), walk 167 batters (5), strike out 222 (3T), perform one balk and throw 11 wild pitches. The following season, 1891, he would once again be the Phils’ opening day pitcher, pitching against the Bridegrooms on April 22, as the Phils would lose the game, 1-0. The Kid would have another winning season, but just barely, as his record drops to 24-22 with an ERA of 3.51, although leading the team in wins and ERA, and, sadly, also losses. In sixty-five games, fifty-three of which would be as a pitcher, Gleason would start in forty-four, completing forty games and finishing nine others, leading the team in all four categories, as well as leading the NL in games finished. He would have one shutout, tying him for the team’s lead with Duke Esper and John Thornton and one save. Gleason would pitch in 418 innings, giving up 431 hits, 10 of which would be for home runs, while also giving up 237 runs, 148 of which would be earned, leading the team in innings pitched, hits allowed, home runs allowed and earned runs allowed. He would also walk 165 batters while striking out only 100, and throw 17 wild pitches, leading the team in both walks and wild pitches. This would be his last season as a Phillie as at some point between the 1891 and the 1892 seasons the Phils would either let him go or trade him to the St. Louis Browns (now the Cardinals) one of the four teams picked up by the National League following the folding of the then second Major League, the American Association.
Among Phillies’ leader, Gleason is presently still 16th in wins (78), 21st in losses (70), 22nd in ERA (3.29), 58th in games pitched (166), tied for 27th in games started (143), 11th in complete games (132), tied for 37th in shut outs (7), tied for 89th in saves (4), 17th in innings pitched (1328.2), 18th in hits allowed (1351), 12th in runs allowed (779), 23rd in earned runs allowed (501), tied for 89th in home runs allowed (37), 9th in walks (482), 34th in strike outs (475), tied for 12th in hit batters (49), 9th in wild pitches (53) and 176th in winning percentage (.527). But, this would not be the last time that Phillies fans would see Gleason as a Phil, but we are presently getting ahead of ourselves.
Gleason would spend two plus seasons with the St. Louis Browns. He would begin the 1892 season as their opening day pitcher, going against the Chicago Colts on April 12, that would end up as a 14-10 lost for the Browns. Gleason would play in sixty-six games, forty-seven of them as a pitcher, of which forty-five would be starts, completing all but two. The rest he would play as either a shortstop or in the outfield. Gleason’s record that season would be 20-24, including two shut outs, with an ERA of 3.33. He would pitch 300 innings that year, giving up 389 hits, 11 of which would be for home runs (7), allow 244 runs to score, of which 148 would be earned (9). Gleason would also walk 151 batters, while striking out 133 and throw 9 wild pitches. He would lead the Browns in all pitching categories mentioned, except for ERA and runs allowed. The following year, 1893, would see him play in fifty-nine games, of which he would pitch in forty-eight games (6T), starting forty-five games (4), completing thirty-seven of them (8), while finishing three, pitching one shut out and saving one game (6T). In 380 and a third innings (7), he would give up 436 hits (5), of which 18 would be for home runs (2), while allowing 276 runs to score, of which 195 were earned, the lead leader in that category. He would also walk 187 batters (3), while striking out 86 and throwing 16 wild pitches (5). He would lead the Browns in wins, games started, home runs allowed, walks, hits allowed, earned runs allowed and wild pitches, while being tied for the lead in games pitched, saves and shut outs.
The 1894 season would see him play for two teams. He would begin the year playing for the Browns, with a record of 2-6 and an ERA of 6.05 in eight games pitched, all starts, with six complete games. Overall, he would play just 9 games with the Browns, playing his other game as a first baseman. He would pitch in only 58 innings, giving up just 75 hits, only two of which would be for home runs, as he would give up 50 runs, only 39 of which would be earned, while walking just 21 batters, striking out 9 and throwing just one wild pitch. On June 23, 1894, the Browns would sell him to the Baltimore Orioles for $2400. Kid would become sort of rejuvenated upon joining the Orioles, as he would end the season with a 15-5 record with a 4.45 ERA, as he would pitch in twenty-one games, playing twenty-six games overall, as he would start twenty games, completing all but one, and finishing one other game. Pitching in 172 innings, he would give up 224 hits, only three of which would be for home runs, allow 111 runs to cross the plate, of which only 85 would be earned. He would also walk 44 batters, while striking out 35 and throwing only three wild pitches, as he would help lead the Orioles to the first of two straight pennants (1894-1895) as a member of their ball club. This would turn out to be his last major year as a pitcher, as the National League, now the only major league in existance, would move the pitcher’s mound to its modern distance of 60′ 6″ from home plate, ending his effectiveness as a pitcher. He would appear in just nine more games as a pitcher in 1895, starting in five, completing three games, and finishing the other four, recording one save, as he would record a 2-4 record with an ERA of 6.97. Gleason would pitch in 50 and a third innings, giving up 77 hits, four of which would be home runs, as he would allow 51 runs to score, of which 39 would be earned. He would also walk 21 batters while striking out 6 and throw one wild pitch.
In nine season as a pitcher, Gleason would compile a record of 138-131 for the Phillies, the Browns and the Orioles for a winning percentage of .513, with a 3.79 ERA. He would pitch in 299 games, starting 266 games and finishing 30 others. Gleason would complete 240 games, while throwing 10 shut outs and saving six. The Kid would pitch in 2389.3 innings, giving up 2552 hits, of which 75 would be home runs, while allowing 1511 runs to score, of which 1007 would be earned. He would also walk 906 batters, strike out 744, hit 21 batters, throw 83 wild pitches and commit one balk.
During the 1895 season, Orioles’ manager, future Hall of Famer Ned Hanlon, would turn Gleason into an everyday player, mainly playing at second base. During that first season as a regular, Gleason would blossom as a player, hitting .309, with a slugging percentage of .399 and an on-base percentage of .366, as he would go 130 for 421 in 112 games. He would knock in 74 runs while scoring 90, as he would collect 14 doubles and 12 triples, while walking 33 times as he would strike out only 18 times. He would also steal 19 bases, as he would help lead the Orioles to their second straight NL pennant. On November 15, the Orioles would send Gleason and $3500 to the Giants, in exchange for catcher Jack Doyle.
I will continue the story on Kid Gleason next week, starting with his years playing for the New York Giants.
Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball-reference.com, Retrosheet.org, Delaware Valley Rhythm and Blues Society, Inc.com-Camden Sports Hall of Fame, The Baseball Page.com, Phillies.com
You will not believe what I’d find on the internet last night. I’d found three sites that might be of interest to people, especially those who are reading my year-by-year look at the Phillies’ history.
First, I’d discovered that the Phillies had suffered a second no-hitter during their first six seasons in the National League which I did not know about until yesterday afternoon. On October 1, 1884, Charlie Getzien of the Detroit Wolverines pitched a six innings no-hitter against the Phils, defeating them 1-0.
Second, late last night, while I was looking at several baseball related websites, which included a couple of museums, one dedicated to Ty Cobb, and the other to Babe Ruth, I’d accidently stumble upon http://www.retrosheet.org/ which is an on-line website that, among other things, contains the day-by-day standings of every major league baseball season going back to 1871 and the National Association. That was the one thing that has been missing from my year-by-year look at the Phillies, to see how the team was doing in the daily standings during each National League season. Anyway, I am not going to go back to the previous six seasons. Instead, I will instead post a link to the first game that the Phillies’ played during the years 1883-1888 and let those of you who might be interested to follow the development of the pennant races for those six seasons.
I plan to start posting how the Phillies were doing daily in the standings starting with the 1889 season.
Lastly, I was lead, via retrosheet, to another website http://www.baseballgraphs.com/main/index.php/site/, which, as its front page says “…is dedicated to the better use and communication of baseball statistics.” It is the home to Historical Baseball Graphs http://www.baseballgraphs.com/main/index.php/site/histindex/ which gives a year-to-year graph for every National and American League season since 1901. For example, say you want to see the graph for the 1914 season, the year of the Miracle Braves. You would first go to section that reads, League Graphs by Year, which is on your left, then you would go to the National League Graphs, then press on it. It will give you several listings that covers several 10 years period. You would then go to the 1910’s listing and press on it. This will give you the listing for each individual year, starting with 1910. Since the year you want is 1914, you will now press on the listing for that season. This will give up several graphs to your left, as well as several listings to your right. The most interesting of these listings are first a Pennant Race graph which, in graphic form, shows you how each team in both leagues did during the regular season, including showing you how the Braves went from being in last place on the 4th of July to winning the pennant in the NL graph, as well as showing you how the Athletics broke away from the rest of the AL that same season. But the more interesting one is the one just under it which says The Pennant in Action. This one is an animated program which shows you how the pennant race developed that season in both leagues, from opening day, to the end, showing you, among other things, how each team did, their day by day position in the race, and, towards the end, when each team was eliminated from the race until the Braves secured the pennant. For best result, I would suggest pushing speed back to one, and doing the same with smooth.
I am enclosing a link to the animated 1914 pennant race so that you can watch it for yourself: http://www.baseballrace.com/races/MLB-1914-NL-Normal.asp . When I get to the 1901 season, I will be adding a link to both the graph and the animation for that year into my history.
Anyway, I hope you folks will enjoy the graphs and the animation while I prepare to work on the 1889 Phillies season with the addition of the standings from retrosheet.
Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com, Retrosheet.org, Baseballgraphs.com. Baseballrace.com
Ed Delahanty, a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, would probably be considered one of the first, if not the first, major star to put on a Phillies uniform.
‘Big Ed’, as he was nicknamed, was born on October 30, 1867, in Cleveland, Ohio, the oldest of seven brothers, five of whom, including himself, would eventually play professional baseball. He would go to high school at Central High School, in Cleveland, Ohio, and then go on to college and graduate from St. Joseph’s, before he started playing professional baseball with Mansfield in the Ohio State League. He would then play ball in Wheeling, West Virginia, before having his contract bought early in 1888 by the Philadelphia Phillies as the replacement for the recently deceased Charlie Ferguson. Delahanty would make his major league debut on May 22, 1888 at the young age of 20. Appearing in 74 games, mostly at second base, he would hit a low, for his eventual 16-year career, .228 (66 for 290), with a slugging percentage of .293 and an on-base percentage of only .261, as he would hit just 12 2Bs, 2 3Bs and 1 HRs and steal only 38 bases, as he scored just 40 runs while he knocked in 31.
In his second season as a Phil, his batting average would rise to .293 (72 for 246), as he would play in only 56 games. His slugging percentage would also rise to .370, while his on-base percentage would increase to .333, as he would also hit 13 2Bs and 3 3Bs, while stealing 14 bases. ‘Big Ed’ would also score 37 runs while knocking in 27. In his third season as a major league ballplayer, he would be among the players who would jump from either the National League or the American Association to join the short-lived Players’ League, which was formed in revolt against the reserve clause. Playing for his home town Cleveland Infants of the upstart league, ‘Big Ed’ would start to show his prowess, as he would play in 113 games, batting .296 (153 for 517), with a slugging percentage of .414 and an on-base percentage of .337. He would hit 26 2Bs, 13 3Bs and 3 HRs, while stealing 25 bases, and would score 107 runs while knocking in 64. After the PL’s collapse, he would rejoin the Phillies for the 1891 season. In 128 games, his batting average would dip to .243 (132 for 543), as did his slugging percentage (.339) and his on-base percentage (.296). His power numbers would also drop, as he would only hit 19 2Bs, 9 3Bs and 5 HRs, while he would steal 25 bases, score 92 runs and knock in 86.
The 1892 season would see Delahanty start to become a hitting threat, as he would end the season with his first .300+ batting average as he would hit .306 (146 for 477) in 123 games, with a slugging percentage of .495, leading the league in that category, and an on-base percentage of .360, as he would hit 30 2Bs, 21 3Bs (league leader) and 6 HRs, with 29 stolen bases, while scoring 79 runs as he knocked in 91. In 1893, his batting average would rise to .368 (219 for 595) in 132 games, while his slugging percentage would increase to .583, once again the league leader, and his on-base percentage would rise to .423, as he would hit 35 2Bs, 18 3Bs and 19 HRs (league leader), with 37 steals, as he knocked in 146 runs (league leader) while scoring 145. The following season, his batting average would rise to .400 for the first time in his career as a member of the .400+ Phillies outfield of Billy Hamilton (.404), Sam Thompson (.407) (both hall of famers) and Tuck Turner (.416), as he would hit .407 (199 for 489) in 114 games, ending up in fourth place behind league leader Hugh Duffy (.440, the major league record), with a .585 slugging percentage and a .423 on-base percentage. That year, he would hit 39 2Bs, 18 3Bs and 4 HRs, and steal 21 bases, while also scoring 147 runs as he knocked in 131. In 1895, in 116 games, Delahanty’s batting average would drop a little to .404 (194 for 480), while both his slugging (.617) and on-base (.500, league leader) percentage would rise, as he would hit 49 2Bs (league leader), 10 3Bs and 11 HRs, while stealing 46 bases, as he scored 149 times, while knocking in 126.
In 1896, his ninth season as a major leaguer, and his eighth as a Phil, Delahanty would perform several feats. On July 13, 1896, he would go five for five in one game, four of which would be home runs, all of them inside-the-park, thus in one day becoming, so far, the only man to hit four inside-the-park home runs, the second man in major league history to hit four home runs in one day, after Bobby Lowe of the Boston Beaneaters did it on May 30, 1894, and the first player to do so in a losing cause, as the Phillies would lose to the Chicago Colts (now Cubs), 9-8. Overall, in 116 games, his batting average would be .397 (198 for 499), with a slugging percentage of .631 and an on-base percentage of. 472. He would hit 44 2Bs, 17 3Bs and 13 HRs, while stealing 37 bases, as he scored 131 runs while knocking in 126, leading the league in slugging, doubles, home runs and RBIs. In 1897, his ninth year in the National League, his average would drop down to .377 (200 for 530), as he would play in 129 games that season, having a slugging percentage of .538 and an on-base mark of .444, as he would hit 40 2Bs, 15 3Bs and 5 HRs, while also swipping 26 bases, as he crossed the plate 109 times while knocking in only 96 runs. The following season, 1898, in 144 games, ‘Big Ed”s batting average would fall to .334 (183 for 548), with similar drops in slugging (.454) and on-base percentage (.426). He would hit 38 2Bs, 9 3Bs and 4 HRs, while stealing 58 bases (league leader), as he scored 115 times while knocking in just 92 runs.
1899, his tenth season as a Phil, would be his best season as a major leaguer, as he would play in 146 games, winning his first batting title with a .410 average (238 for 581), with a .582 slugging mark and a .464 on-base percentage. Delahanty would hit 55 2Bs, 9 3Bs, and 9 HRs, as he scored 135 runs while knocking in 137. ‘Big Ed’ would lead the National League in slugging percentage, hits, doubles and RBIs, as well as total bases (338), while also being among the leaders in on-base percentage (2), runs scored (4), home runs (3), singles (165, 5). He would also that year hit safely in 31 straight games, while also hitting four doubles in one game, becoming the only man in major league history to hit both four home runs in one game and four doubles in another, as well as collecting 10 straight hits. After his career season, his numbers would dropped as a member of the turn of the century (1900) Phils. In 131 games, his batting average would drop to .323 (174 for 539), as would his slugging (.430) and on-base percentage (.378), as he would hit only 32 2Bs, 10 3Bs and 2 HRs, while stealing just 16 bases, as he would cross the plate just 82 times while knocking in 109. In 1901, in what would turn out to be his thirteenth and final season with the Phillies, Delahanty would play in 139 games, as his batting average rose to .354 (192 for 542), as would both his slugging (.528) and on-base (.427) percentage, as he would hit 38 2Bs (league leader), 16 3Bs and 8 HRs, crossing the plate 106 times while knocking in 108.
In 1902, he would jump to the American League, becoming a member of the Washington Senators, soon having his best season since his 1897 season, as he would win the AL batting title, the only man to so far do it in both major leagues in major league history as he would end a 123 games season with a .367 average (178 for 473), while slugging (.590) with an on-base percentage (.376), both being the league leader. ‘Big Ed’ would that season hit 43 2Bs (league leader), 14 3Bs and 10 HRs, while he would score 103 times while knocking in 93 RBIs, placing him among the league leaders in hits (4), triples, home runs, RBIs, runs scored (all 5) as well as total bases (279, 4). The following season, 1903, Delahanty would appear in only 42 games, going .333 (52 for 156), with a .436 slugging and a .388 on-base percentage, as he would hit 11 2Bs, 1 3Bs and 1 HRs, as he would cross the plate 22 times while knocking in 21.
Ed Delahanty, although a good ballplayer, would be plagued with a personal life marred by alcohol and gambling. His debts would get so big that at one point he would threathen to commit suicide so that his fellow teammates would have to bail him out. In fact, his mother would at one point travel with him to make sure that he wouldn’t kill himself. On the night of July 2, 1903, Delahanty would be taking the train from Detroit to New York so that he could once again jump leagues, this time to join the National League’s New York Giants of John J. McGraw. During the trip, as the train reached Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, he would get himself kicked off of train by the train’s conductor, after making himself a general nusiance by getting drunk. Delahanty, according to eyewitness accounts, then attempted to cross the International Bridge in the dark. He would then get into a confrontation with Sam Kingston, the bridge’s watchman, before running away. Kingston claimed that he then heard a splash. Delahanty would be missing for several days, before his nude, lifeless form would appear at the base of the falls on July 9, later identify by M.A. Green, a stockholder of the Senators.
‘Big Ed”s body would be sent home to Cleveland to be buried, with his entire family attending the funeral, along with several friends whom he had made while in the majors, with McGraw acting as one of his pallbearers.
In a 16-year career, ‘Big Ed’ still has the fifth highest batting average in baseball history (.346) (2596 (75th) for 7505). He is also 13th in triples (185), 32nd in on-base percentage (.411), 36th in doubles (522), 44th in runs scored (1599), 47th in stolen bases (455), 54th in RBIs (1464), 81st in singles (1788) 85th in slugging percentage (.505), and 97th in total bases (3791), while also playing in 1835 games, mostly as an outfielder, and hitting 101 HRs. In his career, he would win two batting titles, lead the league in slugging percentage and doubles five times, in on-base percentage, total bases and home runs twice, in hits, triples and stolen bases one time each, and in rbis four times. As a Phil, in 13 full seasons, he is still the team leader in 2Bs (442) and 3Bs (157), is 2nd in batting average (.348), total bases (3230), runs scored (1367) and RBIs (1286), 3rd in hits (2213), 4th in at-bats (6359), 6th in games (1555), 8th in slugging percentage (.510), and 28th in HRs (87).
In 1945, he would be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee, to help clear up a log jam of players who mainly played in the 19th Century. Teammates Hamilton and Thompson would join him in the Hall in 1961 and 1974 respectively
Wikipedia Biography: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Delahanty
National Baseball Hall of Fame Bio: http://baseballhall.org/hof/delahanty-ed
Hall of Fame Vote, 1945: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baseball_Hall_of_Fame_balloting,_1945
Baseball.com Biography: http://www.thebaseballpage.com/players/delahed01.php
Baseball-reference.com stats: http://www.baseball-reference.com/d/delahed01.shtml
Ed Delahanty’s Obits (NY Times): http://www.thedeadballera.com/Obits/Obits_D/Delahanty.Ed.Obit.html
As 1888 dawns, Harry Wright was starting his fifth year as the Phillies’ manager, leading a team that hoped to use their momentum from the previous season where they went 17-0-1 in their last 18 games, lead by their pitcher-second baseman Charlie Ferguson, to finally win the organization’s first pennant.
The 1888 National League would contain no changes among its membership. The Phillies’ opponents for the season would still be the Beaneaters, the Giants and the Nationals in the east and the Alleghenys, the Wolverines, the Hoosiers and the White Stockings in the west. The Phillies would continue to play their home games in the Philadelphia Base Ball Grounds.
But, before the season would officially start, the Phillies’ pennant chances would be struck a major blow, as their star player, Charlie Ferguson, would be struck down by tyhoid fever in spring training, and would die in late April, after the start of the 1888 season. The Phillies would spend the rest of the season wearing a black crepe upon their left shoulders in honor of their fallen comrade, as would their east coast opponents, the Giants, the Nationals and the Beaneaters. Ferguson’s place on the team would eventually be taken by future Hall of Famer, Ed Delahanty, who would be the oldest of five brothers who would all play the game professionally by the end of the 19th Century.
(For more information on Charlie Ferguson, go here: Philadelphia Phillies – The Players: Charlie Ferguson, the Phillies’ unknown first star.)
The Phillies, without Ferguson, would begin the 1888 season on April 20 at home with a four-games series against the Beaneaters, which would see the Phils being swept by Boston by scores of 4-3, 9-3, 3-1 and 7-1, with the Phils’ opening day pitcher being rookie pitcher Kid Gleason, who would later be the manager of the infamous 1919 Chicago White Sox. The Phils would then go to New York for four games with the Giants. After winning the first game 5-3, they would lose the next three, ending their short road trip, 1-3. They would then come back home for another short four-games series, this time with the Nationals, for the last day of April and the beginning of May. The Phillies would begin the series by winning the first game by the score of 3-1, ending April with a record of 2-7.
The Phils would begin May by continuing their short home stand with the Nationals. They would win the next two games, giving them a three games winning streak, before losing the final game in the home stand, giving them a 3-1 series win. The Phillies would then go west for a ten-games western road trip, playing against the Alleghenys for two games, the Wolverines for three, the Hoosiers for one and then their main western rival, the White Stockings, for four games, before going on to Boston for three more games for a thirteen-game road trip. Their two games series with their cross-state rival would end up being a two-games series win. The Phils would then move on to Detroit, where they would win the first game with the Wolverines, before losing the next two games, losing the series 1-2. They would then go into Indianapolis, losing the only game in that short series, before going on to Chicago, where they would lose the first game in their four-games series. The Phillies would then win the next two games, including the May 22 game which would feature the major league debut of Ferguson’s replacement, Ed Delahanty, thus breaking their four games losing streak, before losing the away game in their series, splitting their series with the White Stockings, 2-2. The Phils would then go to Boston, where they would sweep the three-games series from the Beaneaters, ending their road trip with a record of 8-5. The Phillies would then go home for a fifteen-games home stand for the last day of May and most of June, against the Wolverines (3), the White Stockings (4), the Alleghenys (4) and the Hoosiers (4). The Phillies would begin the home stand by playing a doubleheader with the Wolverines, which they would split, losing the opener by the score of 6-2 and then winning the ‘nightcap’ by the score of 5-4, thus ending May with a winning record of 11-7 and an overall win-lost record of 13-14.
The Phillies would then lose the final game of their series with the Wolverines, winning the series, 2-1. They would win the first game of their four-games series with the White Stockings, before being swept by them for three straight games, losing the series, 1-3. They would then win the next six games, sweeping their series with the Alleghenys, then winning the first two games with the Hoosiers, before splitting the final two games in the series, winning the series, 3-1, and the home stand, 10-5. The Phillies would then go to Washington for a four-games road trip, which they would lose to the Nationals, 1-3. They would then come back home for a two teams, seven-games, home stand with the Giants (4) and the Beaneaters (3) for the last days of June and the first day of July. The Phils would split their four-games series with the Giants, before winning the first two games of their series with Boston, ending the month with a winning record of 13-10, and an overall record of 26-24.
The Phillies would start July off by winning the final game of their series with Boston, sweeping the Beaneaters, and winning the home stand, 5-2. The Phils would then go on another western road trip, this time for twelve-games, for four three-games series with the White Stockings, the Hoosiers, the Wolverines and the Alleghenys, until the middle of the month. They would start the road trip off with a July 4 doubleheader with the White Stockings, losing the first game by the score of 10-8, ending their four-games winning streak, then winning the second game by the score of 6-5. They would then lose the away game, thus losing the series, 1-2. They would then go to Indianapolis to face the Hoosiers, losing that series, 1-2. They next went to Detroit, where they would end up being swept by the Wolverines, before going on to Pittsburgh, where they would sweep the Alleghenys, thus end the road trip with a record of 5-7. They would then return to Philadelphia for a six-games home stand of two three-games series with the Giants and the Nationals. After defeating the Giants in the opening game of their series, the Phillies would be defeated in the next five games, losing two in a row to the Giants and then being swept by the Nationals, ending the home stand with a 1-5 record. The Phillies would then go on an east coast road trip to face the Giants (3), the Beaneaters (3) and the Nationals (3), for the end of July and the beginning of August. The Phillies would start off the road trip by being swept by the Giants, with their losing streak going up to eight games, before finally ending the month by defeating the Beaneaters for the first two games of their series, thus snapping their losing streak, while ending the month with a losing record of 9-15 and an overall win-lost record of 35-39.
The Phillies would begin August by winning the final games of their series with the Beaneaters, thus sweeping the series. They would then go on to Washington, where they would lose the first game of the series, then win the next two games, winning the series, 2-1 and ending the road trip with a 5-4 record. They would then go back to Philadelphia for a sixteen-games home stand, which would include a two-games series with the White Stockings, three straight three-games series with the Wolverines, the Hoosiers and the Alleghenys, a two-games series with Boston and a three-games series with the Giants. The Phils would begin the home stand by splitting their series with the White Stockings, before sweeping their series with the Wolverines and the Hoosiers. The Phillies would then lose their series with the Alleghenys, 1-2, before being swept by the Beaneaters in their short two-games series. They then ended the home stand by losing their series with the Giants, after winning the first games in the series, 1-2, thus ending the home stand with a 9-7 record. The Phillies would then end the month by playing four of their next five games with the Nationals, two games in Washington and three more in Philadelphia. The Phillies would start things off by winning the two-games series in Washington, then winning the first game played in Philadelphia before having their three-games winning streak snapped by losing the final game to be played that month, thus ending the month of August with a 15-9 record and having a win-lost record of 50-48.
The Phillies would start off September by ending their road-home series with Washington, beating the Nationals, winning the series, 4-1. They would then go onto the road for twenty-one games for most of the month, facing the Giants (3), the Alleghenys (4), the Wolverines (4), the White Stockings (3), the Hoosiers (3) and the Beaneaters (4), They would start off their road trip by playing the Giants to an 0-0 tie, then losing the next two games for an 0-2-1 losing record. The Phillies would then split their series with the Alleghenys, before losing their series with the Wolverines, 1-3. They would then sweep their two three-games series, first with the White Stockings, including the September 18 game where their starter Ben Sanders would miss throwing a perfect game as he would give up a single in the ninth inning to Chicago pitcher Gus Krock in a 6-0 shut out, and then the Hoosiers, before losing their series with Boston, 1-3, ending the long road trip with a record of 10-10-1. The Phillies would then spend the rest of their season at home, facing the Alleghenys for two games in September and two more in October, followed by a three-games series with the Hoosiers, then two two-games series with the Wolverines and the White Stockings. The Phillies would end the month, and start the home stand, by losing the first two-games of their four games series to Pittsburgh, ending the month with an 11-12-1 record and with an overall record of 61-60-1.
The Phillies would then rebound and win their next two games with the Alleghenys, splitting the series. The Phillies would then sweep the Hoosiers, before splitting their series with the Wolverines and then ending the season with a sweep of their main western rivals, the White Stockings, with the last game being won via forfeit. The final home stand would end up a winning record of 8-3 and an overall season record of 69-61-1 for a .531 winning percentage, landing the Phillies back into third place, five and a half games behind second place Chicago and fourteen and a half game behind the league champ, the New York Giants.
The Phillies would play a total of 131 games, with a home-road record of 37-29 at home and 32-32-1 on the road. The Phillies had winning records against all but two of their opponents, with their best record being a 14-6 record against the Pittsburgh Alleghenys, followed by a 13-4 one with the Hoosiers. Their two losing records would be against the league champion Giants (5-14-1) and the Wolverines (7-11). The Phillies were 16-8 in shut outs, 28-16 in 1-run games and 19-17 in blowouts. The Phillies’ home attendence for 1888 would be 151,804 patrons.
The Phillies’ offense would in 1888 be ranked among the bottom of the league, being fourth in doubles (151), fifth in walks (268), sixth in runs scored (535), strikeouts (485), on-base percentage (.269) and slugging percentage (.290), seventh in hits (1021), triples (46), home runs (16), batting average (.225) and stolen bases (246) and eighth in at-bats (4528), as well as having 418 RBIs and having 51 hit batsmen. The Phillies’ pitchers would end the season being number one in saves (3), second in ERA (2.38), shut outs (16), hits allowed (1072), runs allowed (509), home runs allowed (26) and walks (196), fourth in strike outs (519), seventh in complete games (125) and eighth in innings pitched (1167), as well as finishing seven games, giving up 309 earned runs, throwing 50 wild pitches, hitting 25 batters and throwing 2 balks.
Among the team’s batting leaders, Jack Clements would lead the team in batting average, hitting .245. Jim Fogarty would lead the team in on-base percentage (.325), walks (53), strike outs (66) and stolen bases (58). George Wood would lead in slugging percentage (.342) and home runs (6). Sid Farrar would lead in games played (131), total bases (165), doubles (24), triples (7), RBIs (53) extra-base hits (32) and hit by the pitch (13), while being tied with Ed Andrews for the team’s lead in total plate appearances with 552. Andrews would also lead the team in at-bats (528), runs scored (75), hits (126), and singles (105). Among the team’s leader in pitching, Ben Sanders would lead the team in ERA (1.90), win-loss percentage (.655), and shut outs (8), also being tied for first in the league lead in that category with Tim Keefe of the Giants, as well as being tied with George Wood for the team’s lead in games finished with two. Wood would lead the team in saves with 2, also being the league leader in that category. Charlie Buffinton would lead the team in wins with 28, being the team’s only 20-game winner, games pitched and started (46), innings pitched (400.3), strikeouts (199), complete games (43), walks (59), hits allowed (324), wild pitches (15) and batters faced (1586). Rookie Kid Gleason would lead in home runs allowed (11) and hit batters (12). Dan Casey would lead the team in losses with 18 and earned runs allowed with 100.
The Phillies would end the season still among the league’s elite teams while still looking for their first team pennant. Meanwhile, the Giants would face the American Association winner, the St. Louis Browns, in a post-season series, which the Giants would win 6 games to four.
Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com, Baseball-reference.com
I’m sure that most Phillies fans have probably never even heard of Charlie Ferguson, or if they have, know very little about him. Well, to be rather frank, I was among those who have never even heard of him, until I’d started doing my year-by-year look at our loveable losers and discovered him for the very first time, while also discovering that before his untimely death in 1888, at a very young age, from typhoid fever, he was developing into the team’s first true pitching star, way before the more well known Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander.
Ferguson was born on April 17, 1863, in Charlotteville, Virigina, the home of American Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe, and located near the strategic Shenandoah Valley, an area that during his youth would be constantly fought over by Northern and Southern troops during the country’s Civil War, while the city would itself be spared. Going to the University of Pennsylvania for his college education, where he would learn to play baseball, Ferguson would come back home after graduation and proceed to play for the Virginia member of the Eastern (now International) League in 1883. His team would win the Eastern League pennant that year, while his pitching would catch the eyes of the Philadelphia Quakers (now Phillies), who were preparing for their second year as a member of the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or the NL. After signing a contract, he would make his Major League debut on May 1, 1884, pitching against the Detroit Wolverine in Philadelphia at Recreation Park. He would be the game’s winning pitcher, as the Phillies would trounce the Wolverines 13-2. During his rookie season, he would pitch in 50 games, starting in 47 of them, and completing all but one of his starts, while finishing up three more. His record would be 21-25, thus becoming the franchise’s first twenty-game winner, as well as saving one other game, and throwing two shut outs, as he ended the season with an ERA of 3.54. Ferguson would pitch in 416.7 innings that year, giving up 297 runs, 164 of which would be earned, on 443 hits, as he struck out 194 batters while walking only 93 and giving up 13 home runs. In his rookie season he would be among the NL leaders in games (6), games started (6), complete games (6), games finished (3), wins (7), loses (2), saves (2), shut outs (10), innings pitched (6), strikeouts (7), hits allowed (6), walks (7), earned runs allowed (1), home runs allowed (7) and walks (7).
After helping lead the team to a 6th place finish in 1884, he would lead them to a third place finish in 1885, as he would have his second straight twenty-win season, as he would go 26-20 that year, with an ERA of 2.22. Ferguson would this time pitch in only 48 games, starting and completing 45 of them, of which five were shut outs, while finishing three other games. He would pitch in 405 innings, giving up just 197 runs, only 100 of which would be earned, on just 345 hits, as he would rung up 197 strike outs while walking just 81 batters and giving up only 5 home runs. On August 29, 1885, in Philadelphia, he would pitch the first Phillies’ No-Hitter, as he would blank the Providence Grays, 1-0. In his second season as a Phil, he would be among the league leaders in games (8), games started (9), complete games (8), games finished (1), wins (5), win/lost percentage (8), ERA (7), shut outs (6), innings pitched (7), strikeouts (6), hits allowed (10) and walks (10). He would also hit .306 for that year, in which he would play 15 games in the outfield for a grand total of 61 games.
1886 would be his breakout season, as he would become the Phillies’ first thirty-game winner as he would go 30-9, with a 1.98 ERA, in 48 games pitched, of which 45 would be starts, completing 43. He would also pitch four shut outs that year, while he would finish two other games, and collect two saves. In 395.7 innings of work, he would give up just 145 runs, of which 87 would be earned, on only 317 hits, while striking out 212 batters and walking only 69, while giving up 11 home runs. In his junior year as a Phil, he would be among the leaders in games (7), games started (9), complete games (7), games finished (7), wins (6), win/lost percentage (2), saves (1), ERA (2), shut outs (2), innings pitched (7), strikeouts (8), and home runs allowed (6). Although his efforts would help to improve the team’s overall record, the Phillies would end the year in fourth place in the National League.
In 1887, his pitching record would drop as he would end the season going only 22-10 with an ERA of 3.00, in just 37 games, of which 33 would be starts, he would complete 31 of them, with 2 of them being shut outs, while he would finish four out other games, collecting a save. In only 297.3 innings of work, he would give up 154 runs, of which 99 would be earned, on 297 hits, while he would strike out 125 batters, while walking only 47 and giving up 13 home runs. In his fourth season as a Phil, he would be among the league leaders in only games finished (2), wins (8), win/lost percentage (3), saves (1), ERA (3), shut outs (5) and strikeouts (5).
The main reason for his pitching drop was because the Phillies’ manager, future Hall of Famer Harry Wright, an early strategist of the game, had decided to place Ferguson’s strong bat into the Phils’ regular lineup for the pennant run, as Ferguson would end up playing six games in the outfield, five games at third base, and twenty-seven ballgames at second base, playing that position for the final eight weeks of the season, as he would replace the bats of a couple of second baseman who were hitting a combine total of only .214. In 72 games, Ferguson would hit .337, going to the plate 264 times, knocking in 85 runs on 89 hits, while scoring 67 runs, Ferguson would hit 14 doubles, 6 triples and 3 home runs, while stealing 13 bases. He would walk 34 times while striking out only 19. He would miss out being the team’s leading batter for that year, because he would not have enough plate appearances. He would, though, end up leading the team in RBIs. Ferguson’s strong bat would help the Phillies end up a strong second to the Detroit Wolverines.
The Phillies’ strong finish at the end of the 1887 season, going 16-0-1 in their last seventeen games, would make the team confident of being able to challenge for their first NL pennant when the team entered spring training in 1888. Sadly, it was not to be as they would be struck an early blow in camp as Charlie Ferguson would be struck down by typhoid fever, dying to the dreaded disease on April 29, at the young age of 25. Ferguson would be sent back home to Charlotteville, Virginia, where he would be buried in Maplewood Cementery. During the 1888 season, in which the Phillies would drop to third place in the standings, the Phillies, the Giants, the Beaneaters and the Washington Nationals would all commemorate his passing by wearing a black crepe on their left shoulders of their team uniforms.
During his four years as a Phil, Charlie Ferguson would pitch in 183 games, starting in 170 and completing 165, while finishing 12 others. He would have a winning record of 99-64, with a winning percentage of .607, having 13 shut outs and four saves. In 1514.2 innings pitched, he would give up only 793 runs, 450 of which would be earned, on 1402 hits. He would strike out 728 batters while only walking 290, while giving up only 42 home runs. His career ERA would be 2.67. His career batting average would be .288 in 257 total games played, getting 191 hits in 963 at-bats, knocking in 157 runs while scoring 191. He would have a career total of 37 doubles, 13 triples and 6 home runs, while stealing 22 bases. Ferguson would walk 113 times while striking out 119. His 99 wins would land him in 8th place on the all-time Phillies’ win lists, trailing the likes of Hall of Famers Steve Carlton, Robert Roberts and Alexander, as well as Chris Short and possible future Hall of Famer Curt Schilling, while his 64 losses would have him tied for 24th place on that list. His ERA would place him 6th. Ferguson would also be 17th in games started, 4th in complete games, 11th in innings pitched and strikeouts and tied for 14th in shut outs, as well as be among the top 50 in several other pitching categories.
With Ferguson’s death, the Phillies would lose a chance to win a NL pennant before the turn of the century. Although the team would remain a member of the first division, except during the period 1895-97, they would not reach second place again until 1901. His early death would also deny Ferguson a place among baseball immortals at the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, N.Y., as it would be more than likely he would have won enough games, based on his winning 99 games in just four years with a then good Phillies team, to get the nod via the Veterans Committee, if not for his being stricken down by typhoid.
Main sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Ferguson_%281880s_pitcher%29 – Wikipedia page
http://www.19cbaseball.com/players-charlie-ferguson.html – Biography at Baseball History: 19th Century Baseball.com
http://www.baseball-reference.com//f/ferguch01.shtml – Stats at Baseball-reference.com
http://www.thedeadballera.com/Obits/Obits_F/Ferguson.Charles01.Obit.html – Charlie Ferguson’s Philadelphia Inquirer obit – TheDeadballEra.com
Other sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com, Baseball-reference.com, Phillies.com: Team History, Baseball History: 19th Century Baseball.com