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.
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.