The Phillies would start the 1890 season with a major problem. Before the season even starts, as they start to officially call themselves the Phillies, the club would lose several of its players to the teams of the Players’ League, including a new team that the rebellious league had set up in Philadelphia, the new Philadelphia Quakers. This new team would challenge not only the Phils but also the American Association’s Philadelphia franchise, the Philadelphia Athletics, to see which team would reign surpreme in the Philadelphia baseball world.
As the National League finds itself unable to destroy the upstart league through the courts, as New York Supreme Court Justice Morgan J. O’Brien rules on January 28 in favor of John Montgomery Ward, formerly a star pitcher for the New York Giants and now a Hall of Famer, in his reserve clause case against the league, they decide to destroy it on the playing field, despite losing half of the people who had played for National League teams the previous season before the start of the regular season. The league would set things up so that they would end up playing most of their games on the same day as would the teams of their Players’ League opponents, beginning with opening day, April 19.
The Phillies’ opponents for 1890 would include the two franchises that had joined the National League from the weakening American Association, after the previous season, the Brooklyn Bridegrooms and the Cincinnati Reds, replacing the now defunct Washington Nationals and Indianapolis Hoosiers franchises, along with the Beaneaters, the Giants, the Alleghenys, the Spiders and the Chicago franchise, which has before the season changed its nickname from the White Stockings to the Colts. Every member of the league, except for Cincinnati, would face a challenge from a Players’ League franchise, while only Brooklyn and Philadelphia would also face teams from the more friendly American Association. The Phillies would continue to play their home games at the Philadelphia Base Ball Grounds, while Harry Wright would begin his seventh season as the team’s manager, trying to see if he can finally pilot the team to a league pennant.
The Phillies would begin their season on the road in April, playing four games against the previous season’s champ, the Giants, and one game against the former American Association champ, the Bridegrooms. The Phillies would win the season opener behind Kid Gleason, defeating the Giants 4-0. They would then lose the next game, 5-3, before winning the four- games series, 3-1, by defeating New York by the scores of 7-3 and 3-1, and landing in a three-way tie for first place with the Beaneaters and the Alleghenys. The Phils would then lose their game with the Bridegrooms, 10-0, ending their road trip with a record of 3-2 and landing in third place, trailing the Beaneaters by a game. They would then go back home to begin an eleven-games home stand with their eastern rivals the Giants (3), the Beaneaters (4) and the Bridegrooms (4). The Phillies would end the month of April by splitting the first two of their three games with the Giants, ending the month with a record of 4-3 while in a three-way tie with the Bridegrooms and Beaneaters for second place, as they all trailed the now leading Colts by half-a-game.
With the start of May, the Phillies would conclude their series with the Giants, winning the final game, and thus winning the series, 3-1, as they would end up in a four-way tie for first place with the Beaneaters, the Colts and the Reds, all four teams a full game ahead of the Alleghenys and the Bridegrooms. The Phils would then sweep their series with the Beaneaters, putting themselves in first place, a game-and-a-half ahead of the second place Colts. The Phillies would then win their sixth game in a row as they would defeat the Bridegrooms in the first game of their four-games series, 6-1. The Phils would then lose their next two games with Brooklyn, before winning the last game of the home stand, and splitting the series 2-2, while winning their home stand, 8-3, still in first place, but now leading the Colts by two full games. The Phils then go to Boston for a one-game series, which they would lose, 14-7, before coming back home for a long twenty-four games series against all of their league opponents that would last the rest of May and the early part of June. The Phillies would begin the home stand by losing their three-games series with the Reds, 1-2, leaving them just a half-game ahead of the Colts, as their western rival come into Philadelphia for a four-games series. The Phils would win the series, 2-1-1, including a suspended final game which had the Colts leading 10-8, which would end up leaving the Phillies still in first place, a game-and-a-half ahead of the Colts, the Bridegrooms and the Giants. The Phils would next face the Alleghenys for four games. They would sweep the series, including a doubleheader sweep on May 28, winning the games by the scores of 12-10 and 7-2, which would leave them still a game-and-a-half ahead of Brooklyn. The Phils would then end the month playing four games with the Spiders, including their second doubleheader of the month, played on May 30. After winning the first game of the series, they would be swept in the doubleheader, losing the two games by the score of 8-4 and 4-1, before winning the final game of the series, thus ending up splitting their series with Cleveland, 2-2. The Phillies would end the month of May with a 17-8 record, and with an overall record of 21-11-1, a game-and-a-half ahead of both the Reds and the Bridegrooms.
The Phillies would start June by winning their series with the Beaneaters, 2-1 and then with the Bridegrooms, also 2-1, before sweeping their three-games series with the Giants, ending the home stand with a winning record of 17-7, leaving them in first, but now only a-half-game ahead of the Reds. The Phillies would then go on the road for seven games with Boston (4) and Brooklyn (3). The Phils would lose the first game in their series with the Beaneaters, 8-5, having their four-games winning streak snapped, before losing the series overall, 1-3. They would then get swept by the Bridegrooms, becoming mired in a five-games losing streak, as they fall into third place, five-and-a-half games behind the Reds. The Phillies would then go back home for a four-games home stand with the Alleghenys. The Phils would win the short home stand 3-1, still in third, but now trailing by three-and-a-half games. The Phillies would then go on an eleven-games road trip to Cleveland (4), Chicago (4) and Cincinnati (3) for the rest of the month and the start of July. The Phils would go to Cleveland, winning the series there, 3-1, as they now stood in second place, still three-and-a-half games behind the Reds. The Phillies would then go to Chicago, where they would lose the first game of their series with the Colts, thus ending the month with a 13-11-1 record, and an overall record of 34-22-1, falling back into third place, but still three-and-a-half games behind the Reds.
The Phillies would start July off by winning two of their next three games with the Colts, ending the series with a split, before going on to Cincinnati for their first visit to the Queen City on the Ohio. The Phils would win their first road series against the Reds, 2-1, which would include a doubleheader split on July 4th, winning the first game 11-2, and then losing the ‘nightcap’, 7-1, thus ending the road trip with a record of 7-4, still trailing the Reds by three-and-a-half games, tied for second with the Bridegrooms. The Phils would then go back home for a fifteen-games home stand against the Reds, the Spiders, the Alleghenys, the Colts and the Alleghenys again, for five three-games series. The Phillies would start the home stand by winning their series with the Reds, 2-1, leaving them now just two-and-a-half games behind the Reds, while staying in third place. They would then sweep the other four series in their home stand, thus ending the home stand with a 14-1 record, returning to first place, now leading the second place Bridegrooms by two-and-a-half games. The Phillies would then go back on the road, for nine games with the Spiders (2), the Colts (3) and the Reds (4). The Phils would begin the road trip by sweeping the Spiders, increasing their winning streak to fifteen games, while increasing their lead over the Bridegrooms to three games. The Phillies would then go to Chicago, where their winning streak would be snapped by the Colts, 12-4, before they ended the series losing it, 1-2, with their lead over Brooklyn shrinking down to two games. The Phillies would then go on to Cincinnati, where they promptly lost the first game of their four-games series to the Reds, ending the month with a 21-6 record and an overall record of 55-28-1, now leading the Bridegrooms by just a game-and-a-half.
The Phils would start the month of August by losing two of three to the Reds, thus losing the series, 1-3, and the road trip with a 4-5 record, now in second place and a game behind the Bridegrooms, as the pennant race starts to heat up. The Phillies would then go back home for a short three-games home stand against the Giants (2) and the Beaneaters (1). The Phils would split their short series with the Giants, 1-1, before losing their game with Boston, ending the homestand, 1-2 and now three games behind Brooklyn, as they remain in second place. The Phillies then go back onto the road for nine games with Boston (2), New York (3) and Brooklyn (4). The Phillies go into Boston, where they are swept by the Beaneaters, dropping them into third, still three games behind Brooklyn. The Phils then go to New York, where they would lose the series to the Giants, 1-2, leaving them four games behind the Bridegrooms, before going into Brooklyn. The Phillies would then fall further behind Brooklyn, as they would lose three of their four games with the Bridegrooms, including a doubleheader lost on the 20, by the lopsided scores of 13-2 and 12-7, ending the road trip with a 2-7 record, now six games behind the first place Bridegrooms, as they fall into fourth place. The Phillies would then return home for a long nineteen-games home stand against all of their opponents for four straight three-games series (Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago and Cincinnati), two straight two-games series (Boston and New York) and then a final three-games series with Brooklyn. The Phils would start the home stand by redeeming themselves as they would proceed to sweep first the Alleghenys and then the Spiders, putting them back into third place, now three games behind Brooklyn. They then had a setback as they got swept in turn by the Colts, ending August with a losing record of 10-14, and an overall mark of 65-42-1, in a technical tie for third place with the Reds, six games behind the league leading Bridegrooms.
The Phillies would start September off by spliting a doubleheader with the Reds on the 1, winning the first game, 2-1 and then losing the ‘nightcap’, 8-5, before winning the third game of the series to win the series, 2-1. They would then split their two-games series with the Giants, which was a doubleheader split on the 3, losing the first game, 9-6, then winning the ‘nightcap’, 9-5, leaving them in third place, eight games behind the Bridegrooms. The Phillies would then be swept by the Beaneaters in their two-games series, leaving them now eight and a half games behind Brooklyn, still in third place, as the Bridegrooms come to Philadelphia for three-games, giving the Phils one last chance to make up ground on first place Brooklyn. The Phils would proceed to sweep the Bridegrooms, winning the three games by scores of 4-3, 13-6 and 9-3, ending the home stand with a record of 12-7, now trailing the Bridegrooms by five-and-a-half games. The Phillies would then go on the road for the final time, to play fifteen games in Boston (3), Cincinnati (4), Chicago (2), Pittsburgh (2) and Cleveland (4), for the rest of September and the start of October. The Phillies would start the road trip off by taking two of three from the Beaneaters, leaving them still five-and-a-half games behind Brooklyn and now a game behind the second place Beaneaters. The Philles would then lose three of four to the Reds, watching them stay in third place, six-and-a-half games behind Brooklyn, with only an outside chance to win the pennant. The Phils would then go to Chicago, where they would sweep the Colts, seeing them move up into second place over the Colts, six games behind the Bridegrooms. The Phillies would then go to Pittsburgh, where they would split the two-games series with the Alleghenys, losing the second game by the score of 10-1, thus ending the month with a record of 12-9 and an overall record of 77-51-1, now in third place, seven-and-a-half games behind the Bridegrooms, as Brooklyn clinches the pennant on that same day, September 30, by defeating the Spiders, 4-3 while the second place Colts would lose to the Beaneaters, 6-4.
The Phillies would end the season playing four games in October with the Spiders. After tying the first game, 2-2, they would win the next game, 5-4, before ending the season by being swept in an October 4 doubleheader, losing by the scores of 5-1 and 7-3, ending the month with a record of 1-2-1, the road trip with a record of 7-7-1, and ending the season with a record of 78-53-2, two-and-a-half games behind the second place Colts and nine games behind the league champ, the Brooklyn Bridegrooms, so far the only Major League franchise to win a championship two years in a row in two difference leagues (AA 1889, NL 1890).
The Phillies would spend most of the year without their manager as Harry Wright would become blind on May 22. He would not be able to distinguish light from dark for ten days and would not return to manage the Phils until August 6. As Wright recovers, the Phillies would originally replace him with catcher Jack Clements, thus making him the fourth manager in Phillies’ history and the team’s second player-manager. Clements would be at the helm for only nineteen games, compling a record of 12-6-1 for a winning percentage of .667. Phillies co-owner, Al Reach, would replace him as the team’s fifth manager, leading the team for eleven games, compling a losing record of 4-7 for a winning percentage of .364. Reach then replaces himself as the team’s manager with shortstop Bob Allen, making him the team’s sixth manager and the third player-manager in franchise’s history. Allen would remain the team’s leader until Wright’s return, compling a record of 25-10 in thirty-five games, for a winning percentage of .714. Wright would return on August 6, leading the team during the final two-plus months of the pennant race, leading the Phils to its third third place finish, as he compiled a record of 36-31-1 in sixty-eight games, for a winning percentage of .537.
The Phillies would end up playing a total of 133 games, with a home/road split of 54-21-1 at home and 24-32-1 on the road, as 148,366 fans would come to watch them play at home. They would face the Spiders, the Reds and the Beaneaters twenty times each, the Colts and the Allghenys nineteen times, the Bridegrooms eighteen times and the Giants only seventeen times. The Phillies had winning records against four of their opponents, with their best record being against the Alleghenys, as they would go 17-2, followed by the Spiders at 14-5-1. They would have losing records with three teams, with their worst record being against the Bridegrooms, as they went 8-10, followed by both the Beaneaters and the Reds at 9-11. The Phillies would be 9-3 in shut outs, 17-9 in 1-run games and 30-17 in blowouts.
During the season, the Phillies would be either at the top, or near the top, in most offensive categories. The team would be first in doubles (220), batting average (.269) and on-base percentage (.342), second in hits (1267), walks (522), slugging percentage (.364) and stolen bases (335), third in run scored (823) and triples (78), fifth in at-bats (4707), sixth in home runs (23) and strikeouts (403), while also knocking in 631 RBIs, while 64 batters would be hit by the pitch. Meanwhile, the pitchers would also be near the top in most categories. They would be second in saves (2), shut outs (9), innings pitched (1194), home runs allowed (22) and strikeouts (507), fifth in complete games (122), and sixth in ERA (3.32), hits allowed (1210), runs allowed (707), and walks (486), as well as start 133 games, complete eleven games, allowed 440 earned runs, throw 45 wild pitches and commit two balks.
Team offensive leaders for the season would include Billy Hamilton in batting average (.325), on-base percentage (.430), runs scored (133), stolen bases (102), also leading the league in that category, and singles (137), being tied for the league lead with Cliff Carroll of the Chicago Colts. Clements would lead the team in slugging percentage (.472) and home runs (7). Allen would lead in games played (133), walks (87) and strikeouts (54), while being tied with Eddie Burke for triples with 11 each. Sam Thompson would be the team leader in at-bats (549), total plate appearances (599), hits (172), tied for the league lead with Jack Glasscock of the New York Giants, total bases (243), doubles (41), being the league leader, RBIs (102) and extra-base hits (54). Al Myers would lead in hit by the bat by being plunked 10 times.
Pitching wise, 1890 would be the coming out year for Kid Gleason, as he would be the team leader in most pitching categories. He would have the lowest ERA (2.63), win the most games (38, which is still the team’s single season record), highest win-lost percentage (.691), game played (60), saves (2), tied for the lead in that category with Dave Foutz of the Brooklyn Bridegrooms and Bill Hutchison of the Chicago Colts, innings pitched (506), strikeouts (222), games started (55), complete games (54), games finished (5), shutouts (6), hits allowed (479), earned runs allowed (148), while being tied with Tom Vickery for the team lead in home runs allowed (6). Vickery would also lead the team in walks (184), losses (22) and wild pitches (23). The Phils would only have two pitchers who would win twenty or more games, Gleason, setting a club record 38 wins and Vickery with 24.
As the Phillies continue to try to claim their first pennant, the National League Champ, the Brooklyn Bridegrooms, would face the American Association Champ, the Louisville Colonels in a seven-games post-season series, that would end up as a 3-3-1 tie between the two teams. Meanwhile, the Players’ League folds, as the league’s idea of having a revenue sharing-pool between the players would backfire, as the owners of the league’s eight teams are unable to make enough of a profit to stay in business. This would force the owners to sell the interest of their teams to the owners of the National League, who would in the process regain many of the players that they had lost to the revolt, such as the Phillies regaining Ed Delahanty from the Cleveland Infants. Meanwhile, as the Players’ League dies, the American Association would kick the Athletics out of the fold, for violating the league’s constitution. The Athletics would then be replaced in the AA by the Quakers of the Players’ League, leaving the Phillies with a rival. Noone, however, would have any idea how damaging the players’ revolt would be to the AA until 1891.
Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com, Baseball-reference.org, Retrosheet.org
One of the rarest of hitting accomplishments is batting .400 during the regular season. Not done since 1941, when Hall of Famer Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox hit .406 that season, batting .400 has been done only twenty-eight times since 1876. All but six of the men to reach .400 are now members of the Hall of Fame. The first player to do it would be Ross Barnes of the Chicago White Stockings (now the Chicago Cubs), who would bat .429 in the first National League season of 1876, winning the batting title for that year. Hall of Famer Hugh Duffy of the Boston Beaneaters (now the Atlanta Braves) would have the highest .400 average, as he would hit .440 in 1894. Fellow Hall of Famer Ty Cobb of the Detroit Tigers would have the lowest .400 batting average, hitting .401 in 1922. Cobb is tied with fellow Hall of Famers Ed Delahanty and Rogers Hornsby for the most times a player would have hit over .400 in his career, with all three men doing it three times a piece.
In the history of the Phillies, four Phils have officially hit .400 or better six times, three times by the above mentioned Delahanty, and once each by fellow Hall of Famers Billy Hamilton and Sam Thompson and Tuck Turner. Delahanty would hit .400 for the first time in 1894, as he would hit .407 that season. Hamilton would also reach .400 for the only time in his carrer that same year as he would bat .404, along with fellow outfielders Thompson (.407) and Turner (.416), being the only outfield in baseball history that would bat over .400 during the same season. None of them would win the batting title that year, as they would all be outhit by Duffy’s .440. Delahanty would hit .400 again in 1895, hitting .404 in 1895. Delahanty would become the last Phil batter to hit over .400, as he would hit .410 in 1899, winning his first batting title in the process. Although Delahanty is listed as the Phil with the highest batting average in the team’s history (his .410 in 1895), Turner’s .416 is recognized by major league baseball as a .400 batting average, although he only played part-time in 1894.
Among the 28 .400 hitters, Phillies are ranked at number 9 (Turner, 1894), 11-T (Delahanty, 1899), 16-T (Thompson, 1894), 18 (Delahanty, 1894), 20 (Hamilton, 1894) and 21 (Delahanty, 1895).
Will another Phil ever reach .400? I seriously doubt it, as such a person would have to avoid running into a major slump during the entire season.
During the team’s 126 years existance in the National League, the Phillies would be just as successful producing RBI leaders as they would be creating home run champs. Thirteen Phils would combine to win a total of twenty-three RBI titles for the ballclub, including one title that would be won in a tie with another National Leaguer.
The first Phil to win an RBI title would be Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty, who would win the title in 1893 as he knocked in 146 runs. The next Phillie batter to win the crown would be fellow Hall of Famer Sam Thompson, who would capture the title in 1895 as he would bring home 165 men. Delahanty would regain the title the following year, 1896, as he would send 126 runnerrs home. Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie would become the third Phil player to win the fourth title in the team’s history as he would drive in 127 players in 1898. Delahanty would capture his third RBI title in 1899 by driving in 137 runs. Hall of Famer Elmer Flick would make it three RBI titles in a row by Phillies batters, as he would become the fourth Phil to capture the crown, knocking in 110 runners in 1900. Sherry Magee would become Phils’ RBI champ number five, as he would knock in 85 batters in 1907. He would then win title no. seven for the organization by knocking in 123 runs in 1910. In 1913, Gavvy Cravath would become the sixth Phil RBI champ, as he would knock in 128 players. Magee would win his third RBI title, and title number nine for the Phils, as he would plate 103 runs in 1914. Cravath would win his second title in 1915, making it the second time in the organization’s history that the Phillies would capture the title three years in a row, as he would send home 115 runs, as he would help lead the team to its first National League title. Hall of Famer Chuck Klein would become the seventh Phil to win the title, just one year after knocking in the team’s record 170 RBIs, but falling short to Chicago Cub Hack Wilson, who had knocked in the major league record 191 RBIs in 1930, as he would knock in 121 RBIs in 1931. In 1932, Don Hurst would win the title, becoming the eighth Phil to do so, as he would knock in 143 RBIs that season. Klein would regain the title during his triple crown season of 1933, knocking in 120 runs, as the Phils would win the title for three straight seasons for the third time in the organization’s history. It would be seventeen years before another Phil would win an RBI title. When it is, it would be done in 1950, by Whiz Kid Del Ennis, as he become the ninth Phil to win the title, sending home 126 runners, as he would help lead the Whiz Kids to the National League pennant. The tenth Phil to win the RBI crown, for the sixteenth time in the organization’s history, would be Greg ‘the Bull’ Luzinski, who would knock in 120 runs in 1975. Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt would become the eleventh Phil to win the title in 1980, as he would knock in 121 RBIs as he would help lead the Phils to their first World Series Championship. He would recapture the title in the strike-shortened season of 1981, as he would knock in only 91 RBIs. He would regain the title in 1984 as he would tie for the lead with fellow Hall of Famer Gary Carter of the Montreal Expos (now the Washinton Nationals (III)) with 106 ribbies. Schmidt would then win his fourth and final title, the twentieth in the club’s history, in 1986, as he would knock in 119 batters. In 1992, Darren Daulton would become the twelfth Phil to win the RBI crown, as he would knock in 109 runners. Ryan Howard would become the thirteenth Phillie batter to win the RBI title as he would knock in 149 runs during his NL Most Valuable Player season of 2006. He would recapture the title, winning the club’s twenty-third title in the process, in 2008, as he would lead the league by bringing home 146 runners, as he would help lead the Phils to their second World Series title.
Among the thirteen title winners, six would win it at least twice, with Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt winning the most titles with four, followed by fellow Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty with three. Six Hall of Famers would win the title while playing for the Phillies (Delahanty, Sam Thompson, Nap Lajoie, Elmer Flick, Chuck Klein, Schmidt). Ryan Howard’s 149 RBIs in 2006 would be the most ribbies knocked in by a Phil who would win the RBI title, while Sherry Magee’s 85 in 1907 would be the least. The Phillies would win five RBI titles in the 19th Century, seventeen in the 20th Century and two so far in the 21st Century. Three times in the team’s history (1898-1900, 1913-1915, 1931-1933), the Phils would win the title three years in a row, with the first time being done by three different players, all now Hall of Famers (Lajoie (1898), Delahanty (1899), Flick (1900)).
Who would be the most likely Phil to win the next RBI title? Like with home runs, it would most likely be the big man, Ryan Howard.
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.
During the club’s 126 years of existance, the team has won only nine batting titles. The nine titles have been secured by seven men, two of whom have won it twice: Hall of Famer Billy Hamilton in 1891 and 1893 and Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn in 1955 and 1958. One of the seven, Harry ‘the Hat’ Walker, would win the title in 1947, after being traded from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Phils early in the season. Ed Delanhanty’s 410 average would be the highest batting average among Phils’ title winners. The Phil with the lowest batting average to secure the title would be Sherry Magee with his .331 average. Of the seven, four are now members of the Baseball Hall of Fame: Hamilton, Delahanty, Chuck Klein and Ashburn, while a fifth, Magee, was on the Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committe’s pre-1943 Hall of Fame Ballot for 2009. The last Phil to secure the batting title was Ashburn, who did it in 1958.
The first Phillie to win the batting title would be Billy Hamilton, who would win it in 1891 with a .340 batting average, beating out Bug Holliday of the Cincinnati Reds. Hamilton would then win a second batting crown as a Phil, doing it in 1893, with a .380 batting average, as he beat out fellow Phils Sam Thompson and Ed Delahanty. The second Phil to win the honors would be Delahanty, who would win the title in 1899 with a .410 average, beating out Jesse Burkett of the St. Louis Perfectos. The next Phil batter to win the batting title would be Sherry Magee, winning the crown in 1910 with a .331 average, as he beat out Vin Campbell of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The fourth Phil to capture the batting crown would be Lefty O’Doul, doing it in 1929 with an average of .398, beating Babe Herman of the Brooklyn Robins. Chuck Klein would be the fifth Phil to win the batting title, doing it in 1933, the year that he won the triple crown, hitting .368, to go along with his league leading 28 home runs and 120 RBIs, beating out fellow Phil Spud Davis. The sixth Phillie batting champ would be Harry Walker, who would win the title with a .363 batting average, beating out Bob Elliott of the Boston Braves, after being traded to the Phillies by the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, May 3, 1947, along with Freddy Schmidt, in exchange for Ron Northey. The last Phil who would win the batting title would be Richie Ashburn in 1955, as he beat out Willie Mays of the New York Giants, with a .338 average. Ashburn would then win his second and last batting title in 1958, batting .350, as he once again beat out Mays, this time in a tighter race. No Phil has won the batting title since.
Could another Phillie batter win the batting crown? To be honest, I don’t know.
Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball-reference.com, Retrosheet.org
Like hitting for the cycle, pitching a no-hitter, or pitching a perfect game, another rare feat in baseball is hitting four home runs in one game. Even rarer is hitting four home runs in four consecutive at bats. In baseball history, hitting four home runs in one game has been done only fifteen times, making it one of the rarest feats to be performed by a ballplayer. Of those fifteen, three of them have played for the Phillies, one of only two teams, the other one being the Dodgers, to have more than one player in their organization’s history to have perform that particular feat.
The first Phillie player to perform the deed would be the second man to do it in major league history. On Monday, July 13, 1896, Ed Delahanty would have five hits that day, four of which would be home runs, with all of them being inside-the-park home runs, as the Phillies would lose to the Chicago Colts (now the Chicago Cubs), 9-8, at West Side Park (II) in Chicago. In peforming his feat, Delahanty would become the first and, so far, the only player in major league history to hit four inside-the-park home runs. He would also become the first player to hit four home runs in a losing cause, a feat that would not be equalled until Bob Horner of the Atlanta Braves would equal it on Sunday, July 6, 1986, as the Braves would lose to the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals), 11-8. The second Phil to hit four home runs in one game would be the fourth major leaguer to do the deed. Chuck Klein would hit four home runs on Friday, July 10, 1936, as he would lead the Phils to a 9-6 extra-innings (10) victory over the Phillies’ cross-state rival, the Pittsburgh Pirates, at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. The third, and last Phillie batter to perform the dead would be the tenth player to do the deed, as well as also being the fourth player in major league history to hit four home runs in consecutive at-bats. At Wrigley Field in Chicago, on Saturday, April 17, 1976, Mike Schmidt would lead the Phillies to a wild extra-innings (10) victory over the Cubs, leading the team back from a 12-1 defecit to an 18-16 victory over their old rival, as his fourth and final home run, a three-run shot, would seal the win. (Here’s the boxscore of that game, with the play-by-play, courtesy of retrosheet.org: http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1976/B04170CHN1976.htm.
All three Phils would perform their deeds on the road, twice in Chicago and once in Pittsburgh. Of the three, Delahanty would be the only one who did not perform his deed in an extra-innings game. In those three games, the Phillies are 2-1. Also, the deed has so far never been performed against the Phillies. And lastly, all three Phillies who have performed the feat are now members of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Sources: Wikipedia, Retrosheet.org
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