During the team’s previous 127-year history, twelve Phillies players have led the National League in at-bats a total of 20 times, with four of them winning it more than once.
The first Phil to lead the NL in at-bats was Hall of Famer Sam Thompson, who would win it in 1893 with 600 at-bats. The next Phil to lead the NL would be Duff Cooley, who in 1897 ended up in a four-way tie with Gene DeMontreville of the Washington Senators, Fred Tenney of the Boston Beaneaters and George Van Haltren of the New York Giants, who all finished that year with 566 at-bats. The third Phil to lead the NL in at-bats was Eddie Grant, who would do it in two straight seasons, with 598 at-bats in 1908, and leading again in 1909 with 631 at-bats. The fourth Phil to lead the league in at-bats would do so twenty-four years later, as Chick Fullis would have the most at-bats in 1933 with 647 of them. Phils nos. five and six would be tied for the lead in 1949 as Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn and Granny Hamner would both end the season in a tie for first with 662 at-bats. The next Phil to lead the NL was Larry Bowa, who ended the 1971 season with 650 at-bats. Phil no. eight would be Dave Cash, who would lead the league in three straight years, 1974 (687), 1975 (699) and 1976 (666), helping to lead the team to the first of three NL Eastern Division pennants that year. The ninth Phil to lead the league in official at-bats would be Juan Samuel, who, like Cash, would lead the NL in three seasons, 1984 (701), 1985 (663) and 1987 (655). The next Phil to lead the league in at-bats was Lenny Dykstra, who did so in 1993, the year that the Phils won the NL pennant, with 637 at bats. The eleventh Phil to lead the league would be Doug Glanville, who would have 678 at-bats in 1998. The twelfth, and presently last, Phil to lead the NL in at-bats is Jimmy Rollins, who would lead the lead in at-bats in four different seasons, 2001 (656), 2002 (637), 2007 (716), the year that he won the MVP as he help lead the Phils to their first NL Eastern Division title since 1993 and 2009 (672), the season that the Phils would win their first back-to-back NL pennants.
During the twenty times that a Phil had led the league in officials at-bats, three had done so while tied with another player, in 1897 (4-way tie) and 1949 (2-way tie between two Phils). Phils would lead the NL twice in the 19th Century, fifteen times in the 20th Century and four times, so far, in the 21st Century. Two of the Phils to lead the league were Hall of Famers (Sam Thompson in 1893 and Richie Ashburn in 1949). Jimmy Rollins had done it the most times with four, followed by both Juan Samuel and Dave Cash, who have each done it three times, then Eddie Grant, who did it twice. The rest have done it only once. Jimmy Rollins would have the highest total of at-bats with his 716 in 2007 and Duff Cooley would have the least with his 566 official at-bats in 1897.
Who would most likely be the next Phil to lead the NL in at-bats? Most likely Jimmy Rollins, if he can keep from getting injured.
In the Phillies’ 126-years history as a National League team, Phillies’ players have had the best slugging percentage among the league’s batters twenty times. The title was won by nine different players, with a few of them actually winning it several times in their careers.
The first Phillie player to win the title was Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty, who won his first slugging title with a .495 slugging percentage in 1892 and then repeated it in 1893 with a .583 slugging mark. The second Phil to win the title, the third overall for the team, was Delahanty’s fellow Hall of Famer Sam Thompson, as he won it in 1895 with a slugging percentage of .654. Delahanty regained the title in 1896 with a .631 slugging percentage. Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie made it three years in a row that a Phil won the title as he won it in 1897 with a .569 slugging percentage. Delahanty won his fourth and final title as a Phil in 1899 with a .582 winning percentage. The next Phil to win the title, the fourth Phillie player to do so, was Sherry Magee, who won the title in 1910 with a .507 slugging percentage. Gavvy Cravath became the fifth Phil to win the title, winning it in 1913 with a 568 slugging percentage. Magee regained the crown in 1914 with a .509 slugging percentage. Cravath took the title back the following year, 1915, as he help lead the Phils to their first National League title with a .510 slugging mark, making it the second time that Phillie players would win the title three years in a row. The next Phillie player to win the title was Cy Williams, winning the crown in 1926 with a .568 slugging percentage. The seventh Phil to win the title was Hall of Famer Chuck Klein, winning the first of three straight slugging titles with a .584 slugging percentage in 1931, one season after having set the Phillies’ single season slugging percentage with a slugging mark of .687. He repeated during his Most Valuable Player season of 1932, winning it with a .646 slugging percentage. He won the crown for a third straight time during his Triple Crown year of 1933, winning the title with a .602 slugging mark. It would be thirty-two years before another Phil won the title. In 1966, Dick Allen became the eighth Phil to win the title, with a slugging percentage of .632. The ninth, and presently, last Phil, to win the title was Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, doing it five times during his long career. He won his first title in 1974 with a .546 slugging percentage. He then won the title in three straight seasons, the second Phillie player to do so, by first hitting .624 in 1980, helping to lead the team to its first World Series title, then hitting .644 in the strike-shorten year of 1981, and finally with a .547 mark in 1982. Schmidt won his fifth and final title in 1986 with a .547 slugging percentage. No Phil has won the title since then.
Of the twenty titles, all but six titles were won by Hall of Famers, with Mike Schmidt winning the most titles with five wins. Ed Delahanty was next with four, followed by Chuck Klein with three title wins. The Phil who won the title with the highest slugging percentage was Chuck Klein with his .646 slugging percentage during his MVP season of 1932, while Ed Delahanty won it with the lowest percentage as he hit only .495 in 1892. The Phils have won six titles in the 19th century, fourteen in the 20th and, so far, none in the 21st Century.
Who would be the next Phil to win the title? Unless Ryan Howard can do the deed within the next few years, it may be a few more seasons before a Phil will slug his win into the title.
When we have last seen Kid Gleason, he has just been traded by the Baltimore Orioles to the New York Giants after the 1895 season. Gleason is made team captain after the trade. During his first season with the Giants, 1896, he would go 162 for 541 in 133 games, tied for the team lead with Mike Tiernan and George Van Haltren, compling a batting average of .299, with a slugging percentage of .372 and an on-base percentage of .352. He would that year knock in 89 runs while scoring 79. He would have 17 doubles, 5 triples and 4 home runs, walk 42 times, strike out 13, steal 46 bases and be hit by the pitch two times. This is presently the last season for when his strike out totals are known. From 1888 to 1896, Gleason is known to have struck out 131 times. After that, his strike out totals are unknown. The following year, 1897, would be his best season as a regular. Playing in 131 games, the team leader in that category, mainly at second base, Gleason would go 172 for 540 for a .319 batting average, with a slugging percentage of .369 and an on-base percentage of .353. He would have 16 doubles, 4 triples and 1 home run, knocking in 106 runs while scoring 85. Gleason would walk 26 times, steal 43 bases and be hit by the pitch three times. In 1898, his batting average would drop to .221, along with a slugging percentage of .253 and an on-base percentage of .278, as he would go 126 for 570 in 150 games. Gleason would record only 8 triples and 5 doubles, getting just 62 RBIs while scoring 78 runs. He would walk 39 times, steal 21 bases and be hit six times. The following season, 1899, Gleason’s average would rise to .264, along with a slugging percentage of .302 and an on-base percentage of .293, as he would go 152 for 576 in 146 games. He would hit 14 doubles and 4 triples, collect 24 walks and steal 29 bases. In 1900, his last year as a Giant, Gleason’s average would drop again, as he would hit .248, with a slugging percentage of .295 and an on-base percentage of .280, as he would go 104 for 420 in only 111 games. He would get 11 doubles, 3 triples and 1 home run, along with 17 walks, as he would steal 23 bases while being hit twice.
Before the start of the 1901 season, Gleason would jump to the upstart American League, becoming the Detroit Tigers’ first starting second baseman. During the season, he would play in 135 games, going 150 for 547 with a .274 batting average, a .364 slugging percentage and a .327 on-base percentage. He would hit 16 doubles, 12 triples and three home runs, as he knocked in 75 RBIs while scoring 82 runs. Gleason would also walk 41 times while stealing 32 bases and being hit twice. He would be tied for the team lead in most games played with Jimmy Barrett, while being the team leader in at-bats and triples. In his second season as a Tiger, Gleason’s batting average would drop to .247, with a .297 slugging percentage and a .292 on-base percentage as he would go 109 for 441 in 118 games. He would hit 11 doubles, four triples and one home run, knocking in 38 runners while crossing the plate 42 times, as he would also walk 25 times, steal 17 bases and be hit three times. After peace was made between the American and National Leagues, the Tigers would, on March 2, 1903, trade Gleason to the Giants for Heinie Smith. But, at some point between then and the start of the 1903 regular season, Gleason would be let go by the Giants, and then rejoined his old team, the Phillies, now as their starting second baseman.
During his first season back as a Phil, Gleason’s batting average rebounded as he would go 117 for 412 in 106 games for a .284 average, with a .367 slugging percentage and a .326 on-base percentage. Kid would collect 19 doubles, six triples and 1 home run, knocking in 49 RBIs while scoring 65 runs, as he also walked 23 times, stole 12 bases and was hit by the pitch three times. The next year, 1904, he would appear in 153 games, going 161 for 587 for a .274 batting average, a .334 slugging percentage and a .319 on-base percentage. Gleason would get 23 doubles and six triples, as he knocked in 42 RBIs while crossing the plate 61 times, as he also walked 37 times, stole 17 bases and was hit twice. In that season, he would lead the Phillies in games played, at-bats and hits. 1905 would see the start of a slow decline, as Gleason, although playing in 155 games, would only go 150 for 608 as his battling average slides to .247, with a .303 slugging percentage and a .302 on-base percentage. He would get 17 doubles, 7 triples and 1 home run, as he would knock in 50 RBIs while scoring 95 runs. He would walk 45 times, while stealing 16 bases, and be hit by the pitch three times. Gleason would lead the club in at-bats while being tied with Ernie Courtney and Sherry Magee for the most games played. The following season, 1906, as he played in 136 games, he would only go 112 for 494 for a .227 batting average, a .269 slugging percentage and a .281 on-base percentage. Gleason would hit 17 doubles and two triples, knocking in 34 RBIs while scoring 47 runs. He would walk only 36 times while stealing 17 bases and being hit two times. In 1907, he would appear in just 36 games, going 18 for 126 for a .143 average, a .167 slugging percentage and a .200 on-base percentage, as he would hit only three doubles and six RBIs while scoring just 11 times. He would also receive just seven walks and steal only three bases. In his last year as a Phil, 1908, he would appear in just two games, going 0 for 1 with a .000 batting average. Between 1908 and 1911, Gleason would be in the minors, acting mainly as a player-manager, before being signed by the Chicago White Sox as a coach.
His first year as a coach, 1912, would also be the last time he would make an appearance on the field, as he would play in one game at second base, going 1 for 2 for a .500 batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.
During his twenty-two years as a pitcher and a player, Gleason would play in 1966 ballgames, going 1944 for 7452 for a career .261 batting average, a .317 slugging percentage and a .311 on-base percentage. He has a career total of 216 doubles, 80 triples, 15 home runs, 823 RBIs, 1020 runs scored, 500 walks, 328 stolen bases and been hit by the pitch 38 times, as he becomes one of the few players in major league history to play in four difference decades (1880s, 1890s, 1900s, 1910s).
As the coach of the White Sox, starting in 1912, he watch the team land in fourth place in 1912, fifth in 1913, and sixth in 1914, before watching it rise to third place in 1915, second in 1916 and first place in 1917. In the 1917 World Series, the White Sox would face the National League Champion, the New York Giants, in a best of seven series. The White Sox would win the World Series over the Giants, 4-2, becoming the baseball champs for 1917, with him be given credit for much of the White Sox’s success that season. (Here is a graphic showing the 1917 pennant race: http://www.baseballrace.com/races/MLB-1917-AL-Normal.asp) The following season, Gleason would be dropped as the team’s coach. He would watch the White Sox drop down to sixth place during the war shortened season of 1918. Gleason would be called back by White Sox owner, Charles Comiskey, who would make him the team’s manager for the 1919 season.
I will continue Gleason’s story with the third and final part, which will look at the 1919 season, Gleason managerial career at the Black Sox Scandal and his years as a coach for Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics.
Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball-reference.com, Retrosheet.org, The Delaware Valley Rhythm & Blues Society, Inc. (DVRBS.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
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