All of the Phils should be in Clearwater, getting ready to defend their 2009 NL Crown. Come on guys, let see if we can join the 1880-82 White Stockings (now Cubs), the 1891-93 Beaneaters (now Braves), the 1894-96 Orioles, the 1901-03 Pirates, the 1906-1908 Cubs, the 1911-13 Giants, and the 1942-44 Cardinals, and hopefully prepare in 2011 to tie the 1921-24 Giants for four straight NL pennants, the only NL team to accomplish that feat.
Almost everyone is saying that this is probably the best Phillies team in years. On paper. Go out there and prove them right, guys!!!
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 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