As mentioned in a previous article, there are several feats in baseball which is rare for baseball players to accomplish. Hitting for the cycle is one. Another is throwing a no-hitter. Throwing a perfect game is rarer still. In Major League Baseball History, as of 2008, there has been thrown only 256 no-hitters, of which only 1 has been perfect games. Four teams have so far not been able to throw a no-hitter, those teams being the New York Mets, the San Diego Padres, the Colorado Rockies and the Tampa Bay Rays. In Phillies’ team history, Phil pitchers have thrown only nine no-hitters, including one perfect game, while being the victim eighteen times, as well as being the victim in five other games that are now no longer considered no-hitters because of a rule change made in 1991 in which a no-hitter is now considered, “An official no-hit game occurs when a pitcher (or pitchers) allows no hits during the entire course of a game, which consists of at least nine innings.” The five that are no longer considered no-hitters were games that were stopped before being able to reach the now official nine innings, mainly because of either rain (or pre-1930s, because of the game being called because of darkness.) At this moment, I will concentrate on the nine no-hitters thrown by Phillies’ pitchers.
The first Phillies’ no-hitter would be thrown on Saturday, August 29, 1885, by Charlie Ferguson, as he would defeat Dupee Shaw of the Providence Grays, 1-0, at Recreation Park. The second Phillies’ no-hitter would occur on Friday, July 8, 1898, as Red Donahue would defeat the Boston Beaneaters, 5-0, at National League Park, aka Baker Bowl. The next Phillies’ no-hitter would be the first one thrown by a Phils’ pitcher in the 20th century as Chick Fraser would no-hit the Chicago Cubs in Chicago, 10-0, on Friday, September 18, 1903, at the second ballpark that the Cubs would name West Side Park, in the second game of a doubleheader split between the two old rivals. No-hitter number four would occur on Tuesday, May 1, 1906, in Brooklyn, as Johnny Lush would defeat the Brooklyn Superbas (now the Los Angeles Dodgers) at the second part that Brooklyn would call Washington Park, 6-0. The fifth Phillies no-hitter would not occur until Sunday, June 24, 1964 when Hall of Famer Jim Bunning would throw his father’s day perfect game against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, winning 6-0. This would be the junior senator from Kentucky second no-hitter, as he threw an earlier one in 1958 as a member of the Detroit Tigers. The next no-hitter recorded by a Phillies’ pitcher would occur over seven years later, on Wednesday, June 23, 1971, as Rick Wise would help his own cause by hitting two home runs in a 4-0 defeat of Ross Grimsley of the Cincinnati Reds, in Cincinnati, at Riverfront Stadium. Phillies no-hitter number seven would be the first no-hitter to be thrown at Veterans Stadium, as Terry Mulholland would defeat Don Robinson of the San Francisco Giants 6-0, on Wednesday, August 15, 1990. No-hitter number eight, the last Phillies’ no-hitter of the 20th Century, would be the only no-hitter so far pitch outside of the U.S. by a Phillies’ pitcher as Tommy Greene would throw a no-no against the Montral Expos at Olympic Stadium, on Thursday, May 23, 1991, defeating Oil Can Boyd, 2-0. The Phillies’ ninth and most recent no-hitter, would also be the first no-no to be thrown by a Phils’ pitcher in the 21st Century, as well as the second and last one to be thrown at Veterans Stadium, as Kevin Millwood would defeat the Giants and Jesse Foppert, 1-0, on Sunday, April 27, 2003.
Phillies’ pitchers have thrown two no-hitters in the 19th Century, six in the 20th and one so far in the 21st Century. Of the nine no-hitters, four have been thrown in Philadelphia, one each has so far occurred in Chicago, Brooklyn, Cincinnati, and Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Two no-hitters were thrown at Veterans Stadium, with one each being thrown at Recreation Park, National League Park (Baker Bowl), West Side Park (II), Washington Park (II), Shea Stadium, Riverfront Stadium and Olympic Stadium. The main victim has so far been the San Francisco Giants, who have been no-noed twice, with the now defunct Providence Grays, Braves (as the Boston Beaneaters), Cubs, Dodgers (as the Brooklyn Superbas), Mets, Reds and the Nationals (as the Montreal Expos) being the victim one time each. Only one of the pitchers to throw a Phillies’ no-hitter, Jim Bunning, is now a member of the Hall of Fame.
Who will be the next Phillies’ pitcher to no-hit an opponent? No idea at this point in time, although the most likely person to do it would be Cole Hamels, the team’s present ace.
Sources: Wikipedia, Phillies.com, Baseball Almanac.com, Retrosheet.org
With Harry Wright now entering his third year as the Phillies’ manager, and with two 20 games winners in Charlie Ferguson and Ed Daily (although both pitchers were also 20 games losers), the Phillies would be positioned to improve on their third place finish of 1885.
The National League of 1886 would be a very much different league compared to the league at the end of 1885, as two franchises, the Providence Grays and the Buffalo Bisons, would both collapse during the off-season, leaving the league with only six teams for the ’86 season, including the Phillies: the Beaneaters, the Giants, the Wolverines, the White Stockings and the Maroons being the other five. That situation would be corrected by the league early in 1886 by first admitting into the fold the Washington Nationals (aka Senators, the first NL team to play in the Nation’s Capital) in January, and then in February by allowing the Kansas City Cowboys (the first NL team to play beyond the Mississippi River) into the league for a one-year trial. The Phillies would still play their home games at Recreation Park, although a new ballpark, the Philadelphia Base Ball Grounds, later known as Baker Bowl, would be built for them in 1887.
The Phillies’ season would start on April 29, with a three-games series against the new Nationals in Washington. The Phillies would spilt the two games that they would play with the Nationals in April, losing the first game 6-3, then winning the second game on April 30, 12-3, before losing the first game played in May, 9-2, starting May off on a losing note, while going home with a 1-2 record. The Phillies would then play a short four-games home stand, with three games being against the Giants and one game against the Beaneaters. The Phillies would win two of their three games with their rivals from New York, before defeating the Beaneaters, ending their short home stand with a 3-1 record and leaving Philadelphia with an overall record of 4-3, as they would begin a nine-games western road trip against St. Louis, Detroit and Chicago. In St. Louis, after dropping the first game, they would win the next two games with the Maroons, but they would then end the road trip mired in a six games losing streak, being swept first by the Wolverines, than by their nemesis the White Stockings, ending the road trip with a record of 2-7. They would then come home for a fifteen-games home stand for the rest of May and the first days of June, facing the Cowboys for the first time for four games, including a doubleheader on the 29, two games with Chicago, three games with the Maroons, three with the Wolverines and three with the Nationals. The Phillies would begin the home stand by winning three of four games from Kansas City, including a sweep of the twinbill, winning the two games by the scores of 1-0 and 9-3. They would then lose the last game of May to the White Stockings by the score of 4-3, thus ending the month of May with a record of 8-11, with an overall record for the season of 9-12.
The Phillies would then win their first game in June, defeating Chicago 3-0, thus splitting the two games of the series. The Phillies would then proceed to sweep their series with the Maroons, lose their series with the Wolverines, going 1-2, and then sweep their series with the Nationals, ending their fifteen-games home stand with a record of 11-4. The Phillies would then conduct a sixteen-games road trip for the rest of June and the beginning of July, which would see them visit New York City for two, the Beaneaters for three, Detroit for a game, Chicago for three, visit Kansas City for the first time for three games, St. Louis for three, then visit Detroit again for another game, before going back home. The Phils would start the trip off by splitting their two-games series with New York, then sweeping the Beaneaters in Boston. The Phillies would then lose their game in Detroit, then the first two games in Chicago before defeating the White Stockings in the third game of the series, thus ending June with a winning record of 13-6 and an overall season record of 22-18. The Phillies would then begin July with a sweep of their next two series with the Cowboys and the Maroons, including their second doubleheader win of the year, this time over the Maroons on July 5 by the scores of 6-1 and 3-2, before leaving St. Louis with a seven-games winning streak. The streak would be broken in Detroit as they would lose to the Wolverines by the score of 2-0, ending their road trip with an 11-5 record. The Phillies would then return to Philadelphia to face their east coast rivals the Giants and the Beaneaters for a five-games home stand, three games with New York and two with Boston. The Phils would lose the first game of the home stand to New York, before winning the next four games against New York and Boston, ending the home stand with a 4-1 record. They would then conduct a three cities, eight-games, east coast road trip to Washington (3), New York (3) and Boston (2). In Washington, they would increase their winning streak to six games by winning their first two meetings with the Nationals, before losing the final game in the series. They would then go on to New York, where they would lose their first two meetings with the Giants, before winning the going away game. The Phillies would then split their two-games series with the Beaneaters, thus ending their east coast trip with a 4-4 record.
The Phils would then come back home for a twenty-games home stand for the rest of July and the balance of August, facing the Cowboys for three games, the Wolverines for three, St. Louis for three, Chicago for two, the Nationals for three, Boston for three and the Giants for three. The Phillies would start the home stand off by sweeping the Cowboys and then losing the first of three games to Detroit, ending July with a record of 17-7 and with an overall record of 39-25. The Phillies would then begin August on a winning note by sweeping their next two games with the Wolverines. They would then lose their three-games series with the Maroons, 1-2. They would then split their series with the White Stockings before sweeping their series with the Nationals, and then winnings both of their series with the Beaneaters and the Giants, both 2-1, thus ending their twenty-games home stand with a record of 14-6. The Phillies would then go back onto the road for the rest of August and most of September, going to Detroit (3), Chicago (3), Kansas City (4), St. Louis (3), Washington (3), Boston (2) and New York (3) for eighteen games. They would win their series with the Wolverines, winning it by going 2-1, before being swept by the White Stockings, ending August with a record of 13-9 and an overall record of 52-34.
The Phillies would start off September by winning their series in Kansas City, 3-1. They would then lose their series in St. Louis 1-2, thus ending the western half of their road trip with a 6-7 record. They would then start the eastern half of their long road trip by winning the first game of their series with the Nationals, then losing the second game, which would be the debut game of future hall of fame manager Connie Mack, before ending up in a 3-3 tie in the series’ final game. The Phillies would then go on to Boston, where they would split the series, before heading on to New York, where they would end their road trip by losing the series 0-2-1, with the middle game of the series ending up as a 3-3 tie. The Phillies would end the eastern part of their road trip with a 2-4-2 record, ending the entire road trip with a somewhat respectible 10-11-2 record. The Phillies would then come home, where they would end their season with an eighteen-games home stand for the rest of September and October against the Nationals (3), the White Stockings (5), the Maroons (3), the Cowboys (3) and the Wolverines (4). The Phillies would start the home stand off by sweeping the Nationals, before defeating their western nemesis, the White Stockings in four of the five games they would play, with the other game, the third game in the five-games series, ending up as a 3-3 tie. The Phillies would then have their seven-games winning streak snapped by the Maroons in the first games of their three-games series, ending the month of September with a 13-8-3 record and with an overall season record of 65-42-3. The Phillies would then start off the month of October by winning the next two games with St. Louis, winning the series 2-1. They would then win their series with the Cowboys, going 2-0-1, with the final game of the series ending in a 6-6 tie. They would then start off their final series of the season with an 1-1 tie against the Wolverines, before losing the next game, and then ending the season with a two-games winning streak, ending the series with a 2-1-1 record, ending the home stand with a record of 13-1-2, ending October with a 6-1-2 record and ending the season with a combine record of 71-43-5, for a winning percentage of .623, finishing the 1886 season in fourth place, two and a half games behind the third place Giants and fourteen games behind the first place White Stockings.
In 1886, the Phillies would play 119 games, having winning records against all but three of their opponents, with their best record being a record of 14-2-1 against the Cowboys, followed by a record of 13-4-1 with the Nationals and a record of 10-3 against Boston. Their worst records would be against the second place Detroit Wolverines and the league winner Chicago White Stockings, both being records of 7-10-1. During the season, the Phillies would play 18 games apiece against four fellow NL teams (Nationals, Wolverines, White Stockings and Maroons), meet the Cowboys and the Giants for 17 games each and battle the Beaneaters only 13 times. The Phillies record in shut outs would be 10-5, 17-8 in 1-run games and 27-12 in blowouts. The Phillies home record would be 45-14-3, while their road record would be 26-29-2. Home Attendence for 1886 would be 175,623.
The Phillies’ batters would go to bat 4072 times (8th) getting 976 hits (6th) for a team batting average of .240 (5th), a team slugging percentage of .327 (5th) and a team on-base percentage of .289 (5th). The batters would knock in 621 runs (5th) on 424 RBIs, while hitting 145 2Bs (7th), 66 3Bs (4th) and 26 HRs (4th), while receiving 282 walks (3rd) while striking out 516 times (5th). The team would lead the league in stolen bases with 226. The Phillies’ pitchers would lead the league in team ERA with a 2.45 mark, as they would pitch a total of 1045 innings (6th), pitching 110 complete games (1st), while finishing 9 other games, having 10 shut outs (1st) and 2 saves (2nd). The pitchers would give up 498 runs (1st) of which 284 would be earned on 923 hits (1st). They would give up 29 home runs (4th), 264 walks (3rd) and 60 wild pitches, while striking out 540 batters (4th).
Among the team’s batting leaders, Jim Fogarty would lead the team in batting average with a .293 mark, on-base percentage with .385, and 42 walks, while being tied with George Wood for the team lead in slugging percentage with a .407 mark. Wood would also lead the team in at-bats (450), total plate appearances (473), hits (123), total bases (183), triples (15) and strikeouts (75). Sid Farrar would lead the team in games played with 118, as well as in doubles (19) and home runs (5). Ed Andrews would lead in runs scored with 93, singles (88) and stolen bases (56), also being the league leader in that category in 1886. Joe Mulvey would be the team’s RBI leader with 53. Among the pitchers, Charlie Ferguson would lead the team in most pitching categories. He would be the leader in ERA with a 1.98 mark, in wins with 30, becoming the team’s first 30-games winner, win-lost percentage with .769, games pitched with 48, games started with 45, games completed with 43, games saved with 2, while also being the league leader in that category, innings pitched with 395.7, strikeouts with 212, batters faced with 1582 and home runs allowed with 11, while being tied with Dan Casey for the team lead in shut outs with 4. Casey, who would win 24 games that season for the team, would also be the team leader in walks with 104, hits allowed with 326, losses with 18, earned runs allowed with 99 and wild pitches with 25. Ed Daily would lead the team in games finished with 4.
The Phillies, while still in the first division, and having improved on their previous season record, are still looking for their first division title, while watching the American Association’s St. Louis Browns defeat the National League winner, the White Stockings, in a seven-games post season contest, 4 games to 2.
Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com, Baseball-reference.com
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
In 1884, with Harry Wright, the future Hall of Fame manager, as the ballclub’s third manager, Reach and Rodgers would try to put together a team that they hope would become a better contender for the National League pennant than was the previous year’s team. Among the changes made would be a change in the team’s nickname, as the Quakers would now be known as the Philadelphias, following the naming convention of the time. The local sports writers would later shorten the team’s nickname down to the Phillies, which is today the longest used team nickname in American sports history. But, the local sports writers would continue to call the ballclub the Quakers in their reporting on the team, officially until 1890, using the two names interchangeably, and unofficially into the first couple of decades of the 20th century.
The Harry Wright-led Phillies would face in 1884 the same seven teams that they had faced the previous season: Boston, Providence, New York, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago. Their home ball park would remain Recreation Park.
The Phillies would begin the 1884 season as they have begun the disastrous 1883 season, in May, with a home stand. But, unlike the previous season, the Phillies would be involved in a twenty-one-games home stand, facing the Wolverines for two games, the White Stockings for four games, the Bisons for two games, the Blues for two games, then another two-games series with the Bisons, followed by a second two-games series with the Blues, two games with the Beaneaters, two games with the Grays, a second two-games series with Boston and finally a single game series with the Grays. The Phillies’ home opener with the Wolverines would see the Phillies win their first opening day game in the club’s history, as they pounded Detroit, 13-2. After winning the second game in their short series with the Wolverines, the team would win their third game in a row as they would beat the White Stockings in a close game, 9-8. The Phillies, after starting the season off on such a high note, would go back to their losing ways as they would lose their next three games with the White Stockings, followed by a lost to the Bisons, 9-7. After winning their next two games and then splitting the next four games of their home stand, the Phillies would find themselves mired in a long seven games losing streak, which would include seeing them being shut out three times, including a 13-0 defeat at the hands of the Beaneaters, before they would defeat the Grays in the final game of their long home stand, 4-3. Leaving Philadelphia with a record of 8-13, they would begin their first road trip of the season, a trip along the eastern seaboard, where they would face both the Beaneaters and the Grays for two two-games series, before ending the road trip with a two-games series against the Gothams in New York. Their first two two-games series against the Beaneaters and the Grays, which would include a doubleheader that was played first in Boston with the Beaneaters and then in Providence with the Grays on May 30, would see the Phillies end up losing all four games, thus ending the month of May with a losing record of 8-17.
June would begin just as badly for the Phils as May has just ended, as they would lose the two games of their second two-games series with Boston and then lose the first game of their second two-games series with the Grays, 4-0, before they would finally win their first road game of the year, a close 9-8 victory over the Grays. The Phillies would then start an eight-games series with the Gothams, that would include two two-games series in Philadelphia, as well as a second two-games series in New York. After losing the first two games in New York, thus ending their first road trip of the year with a 1-9 record, the Phillies would begin the first of their two two-games series with the Gothams in Philadelphia. The eight-games series between these two future rivals would see the Phillies playing the Gothams as competitively as they could, but when the eight-games series was over, the Phillies would leave Philadelphia having lost the series 3-5, although winning the second of the two-games series played in New York and splitting the second two-games series in Philadelphia. The Phillies would then begin their second major road trip of the year with a single game against the Grays, followed by a two-games series with the Beaneaters, then a second single game series against the Grays, before heading to Cleveland for four games with the Blues, followed by a four-games series in Buffalo, then four games against the White Stockings and then four games with the Wolverines, before finally ending the road trip with two games against the Gothams, for a total of twenty-two games from mid-June to mid-July. After losing the first game in Providence and then splitting the series with the Beaneaters, the Phillies would then lose the second game in Providence, before going on to Cleveland and losing their series with the Blues, 1-3. The Phillies would then drop the series with the Bisons, also 1-3, thus ending the month of June with a 7-17 record for the month, while having a season record of 15-34.
The Philles would begin July losing their four-games series with the White Stockings, 1-3, including losing a July 4 doubleheader by the scores of 3-1 and 22-3, before splitting the four-games series with the Wolverines and then losing the two-games series with the Gothams, ending their long road trip with a 6-16 record. After losing a two-games series at home against the Gothams, the Phillies would play four single games series, facing first the Grays, then Boston, then Providence again and then the Beaneaters once more, before coming home for a long home stand. The Phillies would split the four games, 2-2, losing the first two and then winning the last two. Their next home stand would see the Phillies play two games with the Grays, then two games with the Beaneaters, followed by a single game against the Grays, then two more games with the Beaneaters, followed by another single game series with the Grays, before they would face the Gothams for the final two games of the home stand with their east coast opponents. The Phils would begin the home stand by first losing the two games with the Grays, then losing the two with the Beaneaters, the two teams that would once again be fighting it out for the National League pennant, thus ending July on another losing note, as they would end the month with a dismal 5-15 record, while their season record would now be at 20-49.
The Phillies would start August with their losing streak going to six games as their would lose their game with Providence and then their first game with the Beaneaters, before finally ending the streak with a 6-2 victory over Boston. After losing the next game with Providence, the Phillies would split their two games with the Gothams, thus ending the home stand with a 2-8 record, before the two teams would head on to New York for another two games series, which would also end up as a split series. The Phillies would then go back home to Philadelphia for another long home stand, this time against teams from the west, starting with a five-games series with the Blues, followed by a four-games series with the Bisons, then a six-games series with the Wolverines, and then, finally, a four-games series with the White Stockings, for a grand total of twenty-nine games from late-August to mid-September. The Phils would begin the home stand by losing the opener to the Blues, and then tying the second game on August 20, 9-9. They would then win the next three games with Cleveland, including a 20-1 pounding of the Blues, thus winning their first series since their July 23 single series game with Boston, going 3-1-1. They would then lose the series with the Bisons, going 1-3, ending August with a somewhat good record of 7-9-1 and with an overall season mark of 27-58-1.
The Phillies would start off September on a high note as they would win their six-games series with the Wolverines, going 4-2, before getting creamed in their four-games series with the White Stockings, losing by scores of 15-10, 16-6, 19-2 and 5-2, thus ending their long home stand with a somewhat respectible record of 8-10-1. The Phillies would then conduct their second and final western road trip, facing the Bisons, the Blues, the Wolverines and the White Stockings for four games each. The Phillies would start their series against Buffalo by losing the first three games, increasing their losing streak to seven games, before finally ending it with a 3-0 shut out of the Bisons on September 20. The Phillies would then embark on a winning streak of their own, defeating the Blues for four straight games and then winning their first game with the Wolverines, for a six games winning streak, as they would end their first winning month in the team’s history by going 10-9, while increasing their season record to 37-67-1.
The Phillies would start October seeing their winning streak end as they lose to Detroit, 1-0, before going on to win their next two games, winning the series at 3-1. The Phillies would then go on to Chicago, where they would be swept in four games by the White Stockings. They would then come back home on October 15, to finish out the season by losing to the Grays, 8-0, ending the month with a 2-6 record and the season with a record of 39-73-1, with a winning percentage of .348.
In their second season of existance, the Phillies would end the year in sixth place, 23 games behind the fifth place White Stockings and 45 games behind the 1884 NL champions, the Providence Grays. The Phillies would end up playing sixteen ballgames with each of their opponents, except for the Blues, whom they would face in seventeen games. Their best season record would be with the Wolverines, against whom they would go 11-5, followed by the Blues at 10-6-1. They would have losing records with the rest of the league: Bisons and Gothams (5-11), Beaneaters and Grays (3-13) and White Stockings (2-14). The Phillies would go 3-13 in shut outs, 10-11 in 1-run games and 12-43 in blow outs. The Phillies would be 19-37-1 at home, while they would go 20-36 on the road, which would be improvements over their previous season’s home/road record, as they would go 9-40-1 at home and 8-41 on the road. The team’s home attendence for the year, at 100,475 fans, would be an increase over the team’s 1883 attendence mark of 55,992 fans.
In 1884, the team would play in 113 games, with the batters ending the season with a team batting average of .234 (7th), a team slugging percentage of .272 (6th) and a team on-base percentage of .301 (7th). The team batted 3998 times (6th) and had 934 hits (6th), as they scored 549 runs (6th) of which 343 would be by RBIs. Of their 934 hits, the Phillies would have 149 2Bs (5th), 39 3Bs (8th) and 14 HRs (8th). Phillies batters would receive 209 walks (5th), while striking out 512 times (4th). Pitching wise, the Phillies pitchers would have a team ERA of 3.93 (8th), with 106 complete games (7th), of which only three were shut outs (7th), while seven other games would be completed by another pitcher. The pitchers would convert one save (3rd) during the season. In 981 innings pitched (8th), they would give up 1090 hits (7th) and 824 runs (8th), of which 428 were earned. They would give up 38 home runs (6th) and walked 254 batters (6th), while striking out 411 (8th). They also committed 126 wild pitches.
Among the team’s batting leaders, Jack Manning would lead the team in batting average (.271), slugging percentage (.394), on-base percentage (.334), total bases (167), doubles (29), home runs (5), RBIs (52), walks (40), strikeouts (67) and extra-base hits (38), while Bill McClellan would lead the team in at-bats (450), total plate appearances (478), hits (116) and singles (98), Ed Andrews would lead in runs scored (74), Blondie Purcell would lead in triples (7), while McClellan and Sid Ferrar would be tied for most games played at 111. In pitching, Charlie Ferguson led the team in games pitched (50), games started (47), games finished (3), complete games (46), wins (21), loses (25), saves (1), shut outs (2), innings pitched (416.7) and strikeouts (194), while Bill Vinton would lead in ERA (2.23) and Jim McElroy in wild pitches (46).
Charlie Ferguson, in his first major league season, would become the first twenty-game winner in franchise’s history with his 21 victories.
Harry Wright would continue as the Phillies’ manager in 1885, as he continue to try to turn the team into a first division team in the eight team National League.
Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com, Baseball-Reference.com
In 1883, Philadelphia, along with New York, would rejoin the eight-teams National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or the National League, after the 1876 editions of both clubs, in the league’s first season of existence, were both expelled by the league for their refusal to participate in a late season western cities road trip. The new Philadelphia team, nicknamed the Quakers, would be brought into existance by former professional ballplayer and sporting goods manufacturer Al Reach, and his partner, attorney John Rogers, after the two men had successfully won the franchise rights of the now defunct Worcester (Massachusetts) Brown Stockings (also known as the Ruby Legs), which has gone bankrupt in 1882. Reach would become the team’s first president. The team’s first manager would be Bob Ferguson, who was, like Reach, a former professional ballplayer, as well as the former manager of the Troy (New York) Trojans, another disbanded team, whose franchise right would be bought by the New York Gothams (later the New York/San Francisco Giants). The Quakers would play their home games out of Recreation Park, which was located in North Philadelphia between 23rd and 25th Streets and Ridge and Columbia (now Cecil B. Moore) Avenues.
The Phillies’ opponents for its inaugural season, along with fellow newcomer, the New York Gothams, would be, by geographical order: Boston Beaneaters (1876 member); Providence (Rhode Island) Grays (1878 member); Buffalo (New York) Bisons (1879 member); Cleveland Blues (1879 member); Detroit Wolverines (1881 member) and Chicago White Stockings (1876 member). Of the other six teams, only Boston (now in Atlanta) and Chicago, along with the new teams from Philadelphia and New York (now in San Francisco), would still be playing in the National League.
The Quakers’ first game, which was also their first home game, would be played on May 1, 1883 against the Providence Grays. The game would end up as a 4-3 lost to the Grays. The Phillies would then play two more games with the Grays, followed by a three game series at home with the Beaneaters, all loses, including two games in which the opposition would score twenty or more runs against the Quakers, a 24-6 thumping by the Grays on May 3 and a 20-8 defeat by the Beaneaters on May 7, ending the team’s first home stand winless. After losing two straight games on the road to the White Stockings in Chicago, the Quakers would finally get the first victory in Phillies’ history, a 12-1 victory on May 14 against the White Stockings, thus ending the first losing streak in Phillies’ history at eight games. After winning their second victory over the Wolverines in Detroit, for the club’s first winning streak, the Quakers would lose the next two games in the series, quickly followed by a two-game split with the Blues in Cleveland before they would lose their three games series against the Bisons in Buffalo, including the first game in which the Phillies would be unable to score a single run, losing 4-0 on May 25, before winning the last game in the series on May 28, 3-2, thus ending its first road trip at 4-7. But before their next home stand, the Quakers’ manager, Ferguson, with a record of 4-13, would be fired by the owners, thus becoming the first Phillies manager to be let go. He would be quickly replaced by Blondie Purcell, a player on the Quakers’, thus becoming the team’s first player-manager. Sadly, the change in managers would not improve the team’s fortunes, as they would begin their next home stand, on May 30, losing the team’s first doubleheader, dropping both games to the White Stockings by the lopsided scores of 15-8 and 22-4. The team would then end their first month of existance by losing their third game in a row to the White Stockings by the score of 4-3, with a record for the month of 4-16.
June would begin just as badly for the Quakers as it would finish its first four game series by losing to the White Stockings 10-1. During the rest of the home stand, three more four games series with the Wolverines, Blues, and Bisons, the team would go 4-8, which would include the first game in which the Quakers would score 20 or more runs, a 20-4 drubbings of the Wolverines on June 6, which was also the team’s first home victory, as well as the team’s first shut out victory, a 2-0 win against the Bisons on June 14, ending the home stand at 4-12. The team would then go back on the road for two two-games series with the Beaneaters and the Grays and a single game series with the Gothams. The Quakers’ bad fortune would continue as they would lose the first six games of that road trip, including a 29-4 shlacking by the Beaneaters on June 20, before finally gaining another road victory, the team’s first shut out defeat of an opponent on the road, as they would defeat the Grays 4-0 on June 26, before losing the last two games of the road trip. The team would then come home to face the Gothams, losing the game 8-6, thus ending the month of June with a losing record of 5-18 and an overall record of 9-34, last in the league. Also in June, on the ninth, the NL would allow the Quakers to slash its ticket prices down to .25 cents, so that it would be able to compete with the more popular Philadelphia Athletics baseball club of the rival American Association, as the team’s home attendence would increase because of the decrease in ticket price.
In July, things doesn’t get any better for the ballclub, as the Quakers would lose two more games to the Gothams, the first one at Recreation Park, then the other in New York, before they begin a short four games home stand with the Grays and the Beaneaters. After winning a forfeit with the Grays (the actual score was 9-11 Grays) as the Grays had to leave town so that they could play a game with the Gothams in New York on that same day, the Quakers would get swept once again by the Beaneaters, including a game that they would play after the forfeited game with the Grays (both played on July 4). (The forefited game would also be the first series that the Phillies would win in the club’s history.) The Quakers would then spend the rest of the month on another ‘western’ road trip, which would include a five games series (their first) with the Blues, and three straight four games series against the Bisons, the White Stockings and the Wolverines. By the time they finally limp back home on August 4 to face the Gothams, the road trip would be a complete disaster, as they would only win three games of the seventeen games road trip, thus ending the month of July with a 3-17 record, while their overall season record would now be at 12-51, still in last place.
Back home, the Phillies would lose to the Gothams, before heading to New York to lose the next game. After coming back home to gain a victory over their fellow newcomer, they would go back to New York, where they would be swept in two games there. They would then be swept in two straight three games series by both the Beaneaters and the Grays, the two teams who were at this point fighting for the National League pennant. Among these loses would be a 28-0 drubbing at the hands of the Grays on August 21, the most lopsided shut out in the game’s history. The Quakers would then end the month playing three more games with the Gothams (one of which was played at Recreation Park) and two home games with the Grays, losing all five, thus ending the month of August with a 2-17 record and an overall record of 14-68.
The Quakers would spend the rest of the season playing at home, playing seventeen games with the Beaneaters (1), the Grays (1), the Gothams (2), the Blues (3), the Bisons (3), the Wolverines (4) and the White Stockings (3). The Quakers would go 3-13-1 in those games, which would include their third two-games winning streak, as they would win single games with the Grays, winning their second series, and the Gothams, get no-hit on September 13 by Hugh Daly of the Blues, losing 1-0, and be tied for the first time in the team’s history on September 22 with the Wolverines, as the two teams would play that day to a 6-6 tie. The Quakers would end its first season in the National League in last place with a 17-81-1 record, 23 games behind seventh place Detroit and 46 games behind the league’s champion, the Boston Beaneaters.
Against the rest of the league, the team would only have losing records in 1883: Beaneaters (0-14); Grays (3-11); Gothams (2-12); Bisons (5-9); Blues (2-12); Wolverines (3-11-1) and White Stockings (2-12), with its worst record being against the Beaneaters and its best being against the Bisons. They would be 3-7 in shut outs, 2-12 in 1-run games and 4-42 in blowouts.
In a 99 games season, the team would go to the plate a total of 3576 times (6th) while getting only 859 hits (7th) for a team batting average of .240 (8th), a team on-base percentage of .269 (8th) and a team slugging percentage of .320 (8th). The Quakers would score 437 runs (8th) on 299 RBIs. The team would get 181 2Bs (6th), 48 3Bs (6th) and 3 HRs (8th), while also receiving 141 walks (4th) as they struck out 355 (5th) times. Pitching wise, the Quakers had a Team ERA of 5.34 (8th), and in 99 games played, they had 91 complete games (2nd) with 8 other games finished by another pitcher, only 3 (8th) of which would be shut outs. In 864 innings pitched (5th), the team’s pitchers would give up 1267 hits (8th), allow 887 runs (8th) to score of which 513 were earned, give up 20 HRs (6th) and walk 125 batters (5th) and strike out only 253 (8th).
Individually, the team batting leader was Purcell with a .268 batting average, while Jack Manning would lead the team in slugging percentage with .364 and in on-base percentage with .300. Purcell would also lead the team with 425 at-bats, 70 runs scored, 114 hits and 88 singles, while Manning would also lead the team in total at-bats with about 470, 153 total bases, 31 doubles, and 37 RBIs. Other team batting leaders were: Sid Farrar in games played (99); John Coleman and Farrar in triples (8 each); Purcell, Bil McClellan and Emil Gross in home runs (1 each); Bill Harbridge in walks (24) and Coleman in strikeouts (39). In pitching, Coleman would also be the team leader in ERA (4.87), wins (12), loses (48), games pitched (65), innings pitched (538.3), strikeouts (159), games started (61), complete games (59), and shut outs (3).
After the season, Purcell would be replaced as the team’s manager with Harry Wright, another former professional ballplayer, and former manager of the second place Grays, and before that, the manager of the Beaneaters, leading that franchise to NL pennants in 1877 and 1878. It was hoped by both Reach and Rogers that he would turn the team’s fortune around.
Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com and Baseball-Reference.com
A lot has changed in this country and culture since the first Phillies game, but the basic game of baseball hasn’t changed that much.
There are 30 teams today, the designated hitter, divisions and Wild Cards, none of which existed in 1883. But a regulation game is still nine innings played by nine players. There are still three outs in an inning and a batter still gets three strikes. The bases are still 90 feet apart and the weight of a baseball has not changed.
Some of the more interesting rules and practices that were in effect in 1883:
• Gloves were made of thin leather and did not cover the fingers.
• The pitcher’s “mound” was a flat surface, 50 feet from home plate (it became 60’6″ in 1893).
• Home plate was a 12-inch square, instead of the present-day five-sided figure that is 17 inches wide.
• Catchers were positioned 20 or more feet behind the batter and caught the balls on a bounce. They did not wear chest protectors until 1885 or shinguards until 1907.
• Batters were permitted to ask for a high or low pitch (rule was abolished in 1886).
• Pitchers had to throw seven balls in order to issue a walk and were required to throw underhanded (overhanded began in 1884).
• Rules prohibited the use of a new ball until the beginning of a new inning, no matter how worn or disfigured the ball might have been.
• No games were played on Sundays.
• There was one umpire per game.
• Players had to pay for their uniforms (clubs began paying for them in 1912).
• Team rosters were 11 or 12 players.
History shows the Phillies played their first game on May 1, 1883, losing to the Providence Grays, 4-3, at Recreation Park, located at 24th and Columbia Avenues. The crowd was an estimated 1,200. Time of game: 1:30.
The Grays scored four runs in the eighth to win the game. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer game story of May 2, “The fielding was good on both sides, but the batting was weak.” According to the box score, each team had six hits. The Grays had five errors, the Phillies three.
Left fielder William (Blondie) Purcell got the Phillies’ first hit and scored the first run. He singled to left-center in the first inning and scored on a ground out.
Right-hander John Coleman went the distance and took the loss. Coleman finished the season with a 12-48 record in 65 games, pitching a total of 538 1/3 innings.
100th Anniversary Game
The Phillies defeated Houston, 11-3, on May 1, 1983, before 27,968 at Veterans Stadium. Time of game: 2:48.
First baseman Tony Perez was 3-for-5 with a homer and five RBIs. His .391 average at the time led the NL. Left fielder Gary Matthews batted second, and went 1-for-5 with two runs scored.
Larry Christenson (1-2) was the winner, allowing three hits and one run in seven innings. Al Holland and Sid Monge finished the game, pitching one inning each. Reliever Larry Andersen was unavailable for unexplained reasons. (H/T Phillies.com)
So, today’s the 125 anniversary of the Phillies first game? Best way for them to celebrate would be for them to defeat the Padres tonight and take over first place. 🙂