During the organization’s 127-year existence as a member of the National League, seven starters who had wore the Phillies’ uniform has won the most games in seventeen seasons.
The first Phil to lead the league in wins would be Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander, who would do so in his rookie season of 1911, winning 28 games. The next Phil to lead the NL in wins would be Tom Seaton, who, in 1913, would lead the league with 27 wins. Alexander would then become the leader in wins for the next four seasons with 27 wins in 1914, 31 wins in 1915, as he help lead the Phils to their first National League pennant, as he performed the first of his two straight triple crown (Wins/ERA/Ks) pitching season as a Phil, 33 wins in 1916, as he performed his second triple crown season, while setting the Phils record for most wins in a season, and 30 wins in 1917. The third Phil to lead the league in victories would be Jumbo Elliott, who did so in a tie for first with Bill Hallahan of the St. Louis Cardinals and Heinie Meine of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who all had 19 wins in 1931. The fourth Phil pitcher to lead the NL in wins would be Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, who would lead the league with 28 victories in 1952, then would be tied for the lead in 1953 with fellow Hall of Famer Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves with 23 wins, then lead the league by himself in both 1954 and 1955 with 23 wins in both years. The fifth Phil starter to lead the NL would be Hall of Famer Steve Carlton, who first lead the NL in his pitching triple crown season of 1972, as he lead the NL with 27 wins, followed by 1977 with 23 victories, then 24 in 1980, as he helped lead the Phils to their first World Series Championship, and finally 1982, when he won 23 starts. The sixth Phil pitcher to lead the league would follow in 1983, as John Denny would lead the league with 19 wins, as he help lead the Phils to their fourth NL pennant. It would be twenty-seven years before the seventh, and presently last, Phil starter would lead the NL in wins, when Roy Halladay led the National League in wins with 21 in 2010.
Of the seven Phils to lead the National League in victories, three of them were Hall of Famers (Grover Cleveland Alexander, Robin Roberts and Steve Carlton), with all three of them doing it multiple times. Alexander did it the most, as he won the title five times, with two of them as he won the pitching equivalent of the triple crown, followed by Robin Roberts and Steve Carlton, who have both won the title four times, with Carlton also performing the pitching triple crown. The other four have won it only once. Two of the Phils were tied for the lead in wins when they won the title, Jumbo Elliott in a three-way tie in 1931, and Roberts, when he was tied with Warren Spahn in 1953. Alexander had the most wins, when he won the title with 33 wins in 1916, which is still a team record, while Elliott and John Denny won the title with the least wins as the two recorded only 19 wins in 1931 and 1983, respectively. Phils’ pitchers have led the NL sixteen times in the 20th Century and have, so far, only done it once in the 21st Century.
Who might be the next Phil starter to lead the NL in victories? It could be any of their four major starters, as three of them (Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee) have all already lead either league in wins.
In the Phillies’ 128-year history as a member of the National League, they have spent most of that time being either a cellar dweller or as a member of the second division. But, the team has spent some time in the first division, winning two World Series Championship, seven National League pennants, with two in consecutive seasons (2008-2009) and ten National League Eastern Division flags, including winning the last four (2007-2010). The team has also finished in second place in either the National League (1883-1968) or in the National League Eastern Division (1969 to the present) a grand total of thirteen time.
The first time they would end up in second place would be in 1887, the fifth year of the team’s existence, as they would finish the season behind the first place Detroit Wolverines with a record of 75-48 for a winning percentage of .610, finishing 3.5 games behind the Wolverines in a league of eight teams, before the expansion to twelve teams in 1892. For the Phils, who were also called the Quakers at the time, this would be their only second place finish in the 19th Century. The next time the Phils would finish in second place, and the first time in the 20th Century, would occur in 1901, as they fell behind the Pittsburgh Pirates, who were at the beginning of winning three straight NL pennants (1901-1903), as they finish the season with a record of 83-57, with a .593 winning percentage, finishing 7.5 games behind the Bucos. The next time that the Phils would end up in second place would occur in 1913, as they finished behind the New York Giants, who had won their third straight NL pennant (1911-1913), ending the year with a record of 88-63 for a winning percentage of .583, ending up 12.5 games behind the Giants. The Phils would then finished second for the two seasons after they had won their first NL pennant in 1915. The first time, for the fourth time overall, would occur in 1916, when they would finish behind the Brooklyn Robins, now Dodgers, with a 91-62 record, winning one game more than they did the year that they won the pennant, with a winning percentage of .595, finishing 2.5 games behind the Robins. The following season, 1917, they would finish in second place again, this time behind the Giants, with a record of 87-65, with a .572 winning percentage, trailing the Giants by 10 games. The Phils would then spend most of the next 47 years in the second division before once again finishing second. The Phils would then end up tied for second place with the Cincinnati Reds in 1964, after collapsing in September, finishing behind the St. Louis Cardinals with a record of 92-70, with a winning percentage of .568, a game out of first. This would be the sixth and final time that they would finish in second place in the National League before the two major leagues split into divisions in 1969, with the Phils becoming a member of the NL East. The first time the Phils would end up in second place in the NL East would occur in 1975, when they finished second to the Pirates, finishing the year with a record of 86-76, with a .531 winning percentage, finishing 6.5 games before the Pirates. The second time they would end up in second place in the NL East would happen in 1982, as they trail the Cardinals, ending up with a record of 89-73, with a winning percentage of .549, finishing 3 games behind the redbirds. The third time they would finish second in the NL East would be in 1986, as they finished behind the New York Mets with a record of 86-75, with a .534 winning percentage, trailing by 21.5 games. The fourth time they would finish the season in second place in the NL East would not occur until 2001, when they finished behind the Atlanta Braves with an 86-76 record, a winning percentage of .531, ending up 2 games out of first. The Phils will then end up in second place in the East, missing being the wild card winner each season, in 2004, 2005, and 2006, finishing behind the Braves in 2004 and 2005 and then behind the Mets in 2006. In 2004, they finished the season with an 86-76 record, a .531 winning percentage, as they finished 10 games behind the Braves. In 2005, they finished the year with a record of 88-74, with a winning percentage of .543, 2 games behind the Braves. In 2006, they would end the baseball season with a record of 85-77, a winning percentage of .525, 12 games in back of the Mets.
Of their thirteen finishes in second place, six occurred as a member of the NL, and the other seven as a member of the NL East. They would finish in second place once in the 19th Century, eight times in the 20th Century (5 (NL), 3 (NL East)), and four, so far, in the 21st Century as a member of the NL East. Their best record in second place was when they finished second in 1964, when they finished with a record of 91-70. Their worst second place finish was in 1887, the first time they would finish second, as they had a record of 75-48. Their highest winning percentage would be the .610 of 1887, while the worst would be the .525 of 2006. Their best game behind finish was when they ended a game behind (with the Reds) in 1964, while their worst was when they fell 21.5 games behind (the Mets in the East) in 1986.
With the way the Phils are presently structured, they could remain as either a first or a second place team in the NL East for several more seasons.
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
During the team’s 126-year existance as a member of the National League, the Phils would have a lot more success producing home runs hitters than they would have producing batting champs. Eight Phils would win a total of twenty-eight home runs titles, including five titles that would be shared with another National Leaguer.
The first Phillie home run champ would be Hall of Famer Sam Thompson, who would win the title in 1889 when he would hit 20 home runs. The second Phil to win the title would be Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty, who would win the crown in 1893 when he would hit 19 roundtrippers. Thompson would win the third Phillie home run title, his second as a Phil, in 1895 when he would hit 18 homers that year. The following year, 1896, would see Delahanty regain the title as he would end the season being tied with Billy Joyce, who would spend the season playing for both the Washington Nationals (II) and the New York Giants (now the San Francisco Giants), with both men hitting 13 home runs. The next Phil to win the home run title would be Gavvy Cravath, who would run off a string of home runs crowns in the 1910s, winning the title outright in 1913, 1914, 1915, 1918 and 1919, and tying with Dave Robertson of the Giants in 1917, as he would hit 19 (’13 and ’14), 24 (’15), 12 (’17), 8 (’18) and 12 (’19) home runs respectively. The next Phillie player to win the crown (title no. eleven) would be Cy Williams, who would will the title in 1920 by hitting 15 homers. He would win his second home run title as a Phil, the twelfth title for the Phillies organization, in 1923, when he would hit 41 home runs. In 1927, he would win his third Phillie title, and the fourth in his career as he had won one in 1916 as a Chicago Cubs, as he ended the season tied with Hack Wilson of the Cubs, with both men knocking out 30 roundtrippers. Hall of Famer Chuck Klein would become the fifth Phil (winning title no. fourteen) to win the home run title as he would hit 43 home runs in 1929. Two years later, in 1931, Klein would regain the crown, as he would hit 31 balls out of National League ballparks. He would win the title again in 1932, as he would be tied with Mel Ott of the Giants, with both players knocking out 38 home runs. In 1933, the year when he would win the triple crown, Klein would lead the NL in home runs with 28, winning the organization’s seventeenth home run title. It would then be forty-one years before another Phil would win the home run crown. When it finally occurred, it would be done by Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, becoming the sixth Phil to win the crown, as he would win the title outright in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1983 and 1986 and would be tied with Dale Murphy of the Atlanta Braves in 1984, as he would hit 36 (’74), 38 (’75 and ’76), 48 (’80), 31 (’81), 40 (’83), 36 (’84) and 37 (’86) home runs, while helping to lead the organization to its first World Series title in 1980. The seventh Phillie home run champ, as he would win home run crown number twenty-sixth for the club, would be Jim Thome, as he would knock out 47 home runs in 2003. The eighth Phil to win the title would do so three years later, as Ryan Howard would knock out 58 home runs, the present Phillies’ team record for home runs hit in a season, in 2006. In 2008, Howard would capture his second home runs title, the twenty-eighth one to be won in the organization’s long existance, as he hit 48 home runs, as he helped lead the Phils to their second World Series Championship.
Oh the eight Phils to win the home run title, all but one (Jim Thome) have won the title at least twice, with Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt winning it the most times, doing it eight times in the seventies and eighties, followed by Gavvy Cravath, who would do it six times in the teens. Four of the Phils to win the title (Sam Thompson, Ed Delahanty, Chuck Klein and Mike Schmidt) are now in the Hall of Fame. Ryan Howard has hit the most home runs as a Phils’ home run champ when he knocked out 58 dingers in 2006, while Gavvy Cravath has hit the least when he hit only 8 homers back in 1918. The Phils have won four home runs titles in the 19th Century, twenty-one in the 20th and three, so far, in the 21st.
Who would be the next Phil to win the title? More than likely Ryan Howard will do it again sometime during the next few years.