Tagged: Robin Roberts

Cliff Lee throws his third straight complete game shutout as he two-hits the BoSox, leading the Phils to a 5-0 win.

Cliff Lee throws his third straight complete game shutout, the first Phils’ pitcher to do so since Robin Roberts did it in 1950, as he threw a two-hitter against Boston, as the Phils defeat the Red Sox, 5-0.

The Phils took the lead in the second as, with one man on, and with two men out, Dom Brown hits a two-run home run, his fifth home run of the season, knocking in Shane Victorino, who was safe at first on a force out, 6-4, as Ryan Howard, who had earlier singled, was forced out at second base, then moved up to second on Josh Beckett’s throwing error on a pick-off attempt, giving the Phils a 2-0 lead. The Phils then took a 3-0 lead in the fifth as, with a man on third, and with one man out, Cliff Lee helped his own cause by hitting a sacrifice fly, knocking in Brown, who had earlier doubled, then went to third on Carlos Ruiz’s fly out to right. The Phils then made it a 5-0 lead in the sixth as, with one man on, and with two men out, Victorino hits a two-run home run of his own, his ninth home run of the year, scoring Placido Polanco, who had earlier singled. That would end up being the final score as Lee pitched a complete game shutout on the BoSox, allowing only four men to reach base, Kevin Youkilis with a lead-off walk in the second, before going nowhere, Marco Scutaro with a lead-off single in the sixth, ending Lee’s no-hit bit, before being wiped out at second base on a Beckett’s doubleplay grounder, 6-3, Dustin Pedroia with a lead-off walk in the seventh, before being wiped out at second base on a one-out Youkilis doubleplay grounder, 6-4-3, to end the inning, and a lead-off double in the eighth by Darnell McDonald, who then stayed at second base as Lee got Jason Veritek to ground out to short, 6-3, for the inning’s first out, then struck out Mike Cameron, looking, for the inning’s second out, before ending the inning by getting Scutaro to ground out to third, 5-3. Lee then ended the game with a 1-2-3 ninth, as he got Pedroia to lined out to third for the game’s final out.

Cliff Lee (9-5, 2.66) got the win as he pitched his third straight complete game shutout, the first Phils’ pitcher to do so since Hall of Famer Robin Roberts did it back in 1950, as he gave up just two hits and two walks, while he struck out five BoSox batters. Josh Beckett (6-3, 2.20) took the lost as he went six innings, giving up five runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out one. Franklin Morales and Bobby Jenks pitched two scoreless innings, giving up a hit (Jenks)  and a walk (Jenks), while striking out four (two batters apiece) between them.

The Phils had only six hits in the ballgame, with Dom Brown leading the team with two hits, a double and a home run, kn0cking in two runs. Placido Polanco (Single), Chase Utley (Single), Ryan Howard (Single) and Shane Victorino (Home Run, 2 RBIs) had the other four Phils’ hits. Cliff Lee knocked in the other Phil run with a sac fly.

The Phils (50-30, 1st NL East) will continue their interleague play series with the Red Sox (45-33, 2nd AL East) with a night game tonight at Citizens Bank Park. The game will start at 7:05 pm EDT. The Phils will send to the mound Vance Worley (2-1, 2.83), who is coming off a no-decision against the A’s on June 24, as he pitched six shutout innings, giving up a hit and four walks, while striking out four, in the Phils’ walk-off, 1-0 win. He will be trying to pitched the Phils to their third straight win. The Red Sox will try to counter with John Lackey (5-6, 7.36), who is coming off a lost against the Padres on June 22, as he went only three and one-third innings, giving up five runs on four hits and four walks, while striking out four, in the BoSox’s 5-1 lost. He will be trying to come back from his last start, while trying to keep the Phils from winning the series. The Phils will be going for the series win against the BoSox.

Philadelphia Phillies – Awards: Wins Champs.

During the organization’s 127-year existence as a member of the National League, seven starters who had wore the Phillies’ uniform has won the most games in seventeen seasons.

The first Phil to lead the league in wins would be Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander, who would do so in his rookie season of 1911, winning 28 games. The next Phil to lead the NL in wins would be Tom Seaton, who, in 1913, would lead the league with 27 wins. Alexander would then become the leader in wins for the next four seasons with 27 wins in 1914, 31 wins in 1915, as he help lead the Phils to their first National League pennant, as he performed the first of his two straight triple crown (Wins/ERA/Ks) pitching season as a Phil, 33 wins in 1916, as he performed his second triple crown season, while setting the Phils record for most wins in a season, and 30 wins in 1917. The third Phil to lead the league in victories would be Jumbo Elliott, who did so in a tie for first with Bill Hallahan of the St. Louis Cardinals and Heinie Meine of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who all had 19 wins in 1931. The fourth Phil pitcher to lead the NL in wins would be Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, who would lead the league with 28 victories in 1952, then would be tied for the lead in 1953 with fellow Hall of Famer Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves with 23 wins, then lead the league by himself in both 1954 and 1955 with 23 wins in both years. The fifth Phil starter to lead the NL would be Hall of Famer Steve Carlton, who first lead the NL in his pitching triple crown season of 1972, as he lead the NL with 27 wins, followed by 1977 with 23 victories, then 24 in 1980, as he helped lead the Phils to their first World Series Championship, and finally 1982, when he won 23 starts. The sixth Phil pitcher to lead the league would follow in 1983, as John Denny would lead the league with 19 wins, as he help lead the Phils to their fourth NL pennant. It would be twenty-seven years before the seventh, and presently last, Phil starter would lead the NL in wins, when Roy Halladay led the National League in wins with 21 in 2010.

Of the seven Phils to lead the National League in victories, three of them were Hall of Famers (Grover Cleveland Alexander, Robin Roberts and Steve Carlton), with all three of them doing it multiple times. Alexander did it the most, as he won the title five times, with two of them as he won the pitching equivalent of the triple crown, followed by Robin Roberts and Steve Carlton, who have both won the title four times, with Carlton also performing the pitching triple crown. The other four have won it only once. Two of the Phils were tied for the lead in wins when they won the title, Jumbo Elliott in a three-way tie in 1931, and Roberts, when he was tied with Warren Spahn in 1953. Alexander had the most wins, when he won the title with 33 wins in 1916, which is still a team record, while Elliott and John Denny won the title with the least wins as the two recorded only 19 wins in 1931 and 1983, respectively. Phils’ pitchers have led the NL sixteen times in the 20th Century and have, so far, only done it once in the 21st Century.

Who might be the next Phil starter to lead the NL in victories? It could be any of their four major starters, as three of them (Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee) have all already lead either league in wins.

Jamie Moyer gains career victory no. 266 as the Phils defeat the Indians, 2-1.

Jamie Moyer pitches eight strong innings as he collects career victory no. 266, tying him for 36th place on the all-time wins list with former Indian Hall of Famer Bob Feller and one time Phil Hall of Famer Eppa Rixey, as he leads the Phils to a 2 to 1 win over the Indians.

The Phils took the lead in the first as, with two men on, and with one man out, Ryan Howard hits an RBI single, knocking in Placido Polanco, who had earlier singled, and then moved up to second base on a Chase Utley walk, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead, while sending Utley, who had earlier walked, over to third base. The Phils then made it 2-0 as, with runners now on the corners, and with still only one man out, Jayson Werth hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Utley. The Indians would cut the Phils’ lead in the second as, with two men out, Russell Branyan hits a solo home run, his tenth home run of the season, and the 505th home run given up by Phils’ starter Jamie Moyer in his 24-years career, tying him with the late Hall of Famer Robin Roberts for this dubious distinction, making it a 2-1 Phils’ lead. The game then became a pitchers’ duel between Moyer and Indians’ starter Mitch Talbot. Talbot would give up only two more hits and two more walks to the Phils after the first inning, escaping a jam in the fourth as Shane Victorino hits into a 4-6-3 double play with runners on first and third, and with one man out, as Raul Ibanez, who had just singled, is called out at second for runner’s interference on the play, thus preventing a run from scoring. This call would lead to Charlie Manual being ejected from the game for arguing over the call. Moyer, meantime, would only give up one more hit and one walk after the Branyan home run, as he escapes a two on and two out jam of his own in the sixth by getting Carlos Santana to fly out to left. The Indians then tried to put together a rally in the ninth as they were able to get two men on, Shin-Soo Choo with a single and Santana with a walk, after J.C. Romero had started the inning off by getting out the lead-off man. Brad Lidge is then brought in, and proceeds to record his fifth save of the season in six attempts by first striking out Austin Kearns swinging and then striking out Jhonny Peralta, also swinging, to end the ball game.

Jamie Moyer gets the win as he pitches eight strong innings, giving up only one run on two hits and a walk, while striking out five. His record is now 8-6 with an ERA of 4.43. J.C. Romero records his second hold of the season, as he gives up just one hit and a walk. Brad Lidge picks up his fifth save of the season as he strikes out both men that he would face. Mitch Talbot took the lost as he pitches seven innings, giving up  two runs on four hits and three walks, while he strikes out three. His record is now 7-6 with 4.08 ERA. Kerry Wood pitches a 1-2-3 inning.

The Phils had only four hits in the game, with Ryan Howard having two of the four hits, both singles, as he knocks in a run, raising his average to .294. Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez had the other two Phils’ hits, both singles, while Jayson Werth knocks in the other Phil’s run with a sac fly. The Phils’ offense, once again, went cold, but thanks to Moyer’s strong outing, it was enough to win the game, but it shows that the team is once again not playing the way that everyone expects them to play.

The Phillies (36-32, 3rd NL East) will continue their three-game series with the Indians (26-43, 5th AL Central) with another night game. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern.The Phils’ starter will be Kyle Kendrick (4-2 4.48), who is coming off a win against the Yankees on June 17, when he pitched seven strong innings, giving up a run on four hits and two walks, in the Phils’ 7-1 win. He will be trying to pitched his second straight good outing while trying to capture his fifth win. The Indians will send to the mound Jake Westbrook (4-4, 4.76), who is coming off a lost against the Mets, also on June 17, as he pitched seven innings, getting tagged for five runs on eleven hits and two walks, while striking out five, in the Indians’ 6-4 lost. He will be trying to keep from being smoked for the second straight start. The Phils will be trying for their second series win in three tries, while hoping that they can actually smoked the Indians, while also hoping that Jimmy Rollins will regain his batting stroke tonight.

The Phils honor Roberts by defeating the Cardinals, 7-2.

The Phils honor the late Robin Roberts by defeating their rival the Cardinals, 7-2. They increase their present winning streak to three games, while increasing their lead in the East to two games over both the Mets and the Nationals.

After honoring the late Robin Roberts before the game, the Phils took a quick 3-0 lead in the third as, with two men on, and with two men out, Jayson Werth, who is from Roberts’ hometown of Springfield, Ill., hits a three-run home run, his fifth home run of the year, knocking in Chase Utley, who had earlier singled, and Ryan Howard, who had walked, moving Utley up to second base. The Cards got a run back in the second as, with a runner on third, via a Werth three-base fielding error of a David Freese fly ball, and with one man out, Freese scored on a Wilson Valdez throwing error of a Jason LaRue grounder, making it a 3-1 Phils’ lead, while allowing LaRue to move up to second on the bad throw. The Phils increased their lead in their half of the second as, with runners on second and third, and with two men out, Howard hits a two-run single, knocking in Phils’ starter Roy Halladay, who reached first base on a Tyler Greene throwing error, and then went to third on Shane Victorino’s double, and Victorino, who had earlier doubled, giving the Phils a 5-1 lead. The Phils added to their lead in the fifth as Raul Ibanez hits a lead-off home run, his second home run of the season, making it a 6-1 Phils’ lead. The Cardinals got a run back in the seventh as, with runners on the corners, and with two men out, Albert Pujols hits an RBI single, knocking in pinch hitter Jon Jay, who had earlier singled, and went to third on Skip Schumaker’s single, cutting the Phils’ lead to 6-2, while sending Schumaker, who had earlier singled, up to second base. The Phils got the run back in their half of the seventh as, with two runners on, and with one man out, Carlos Ruiz hits an RBI single, scoring Werth, who had earlier doubled, giving the Phils a 7-2 lead. That would be the final score as Chad Durbin and Danys Baez pitch two scoreless innings.

Roy Halladay got the win as he pitches seven innings, giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, on seven hits and three walks, while he strikes out nine. His record is now 6-1 with a 1.45 ERA. Chad Durbin pitches a scoreless inning, hitting two batters. Danys Baez pitches a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out a batter. Kyle Lohse took the lose as he pitches only four innings, giving up five runs, only three of which were earned, on nine hits and a walk, while he strikes out three. Blake Hawksworth pitches one and two-thirds innings, giving up a run on two hits, while striking out one. Trever Miller pitches a third of an inning, getting out the only man that he would face. Jason Motte pitches an inning, giving up a run on three hits and a walk, while striking out a batter. Dennys Reyes pitches a scoreless inning, walking a batter.

The Phils had fourteen hits, with Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz leading the way with three hits each, with Werth’s hits being a three-run home run and two doubles, knocking in three runs while scoring two runs, while Ruiz had two singles and a double, knocking in a run. They were followed by Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez who had two hits apiece, with Howard having two singles, knocking in two runs, while Ibanez’s hits were a single and a solo home run. Shane Victorino, Placido Polanco, Chase Utley and Wilson Valdez had the other four Phils’ hit, with Victorino and Valdez both having doubles and Polanco and Utley both having singles.

The Phils (17-11, 1st) will conclude their home stand with a three-game series against the Braves (12-16, 5th). The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound Jamie Moyer (3-2, 5.70), who is coming off a win against the Mets on May 2, as he went six innings, giving up five runs on six hits, while he struck out two, in the Phils’ 11-5 win. He will be trying to continue the Phils good home stand while trying to lower his ERA. The Braves will counter with Derek Lowe (4-2, 5.18), who is coming off a win against the Astros on May 2, as he went five innings, giving up a run on six hits and a walk, while he struck out three, in the Braves’ 7-1 win. He will try to even his record against the Phils, while trying to end the Phils’ present winning streak. The Phils will be trying to increase their present winning streak to four games, while increasing their lead in the division.

Phillies’ Hall of Famer Robin Roberts died earlier this morning at the age of 83, due to natural causes.

Hall of Fame pitcher Roberts dies at 83

Beloved member of 1950 ‘Whiz Kids’ team was Phillies legend

05/06/10 5:20 PM ET

For the second time in three days, baseball lost one of its foremost gentlemen. Robin Roberts, as pleasant and gracious as any man in the game, died Thursday. As readily associated with the Phillies as any player has been with any franchise, Roberts was 83 years old when he passed away in Florida due to natural causes.

The most accomplished right-handed pitcher in the history of the Phillies, Roberts was a Hall of Famer, card-carrying member of the 1950 “Whiz Kids” and an active force in the creation of the Major League Baseball Players Association. Most of all he was an agreeable, genial man whose company was enjoyed by those who met him.

Roberts’ death followed, by two days, the passing of beloved Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell, and it leaves another conspicuous void in the game. Few men who reached the levels Roberts and Harwell attained have been so widely hailed for their pleasant natures and general goodness.

The Phillies observed a moment of silence in Roberts’ memory prior to their Thursday afternoon home game against the Cardinals. They also announced that Phillies jersey No. 36 will be hung in the team’s dugout during games for the remainder of the season, that players will wear No. 36 patches on the right sleeves of their uniforms beginning Friday, and that the 1950 pennant will be hung at half-mast at Citizens Bank Park. It was a championship the Whiz Kids wouldn’t have won without Roberts’ contribution.

“Robin Roberts was a Phillies treasure, a Hall of Fame pitcher and a Hall of Fame person,” Phillies president David Montgomery said in a statement. “He will be sorely missed. Having known Robin since the late 1960s, this is a personal loss as well as one felt by the entire Phillies organization and our fans.”

Roberts’ funeral will be at 6 p.m. ET Monday at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Temple Terrace, Fla., where he lived. In lieu of flowers, mourners are asked to donate to the church, the Baseball Assistance Team or the Gold Shield Foundation.

Former Phillies owner Bill Giles said, “When I think of Robin, there is definitely one word that comes quickly to mind — class. He was a class act both on and off the field. He was definitely one of the most consistent quality pitchers of all time, and the way he lived his life was exemplary. Every young baseball player should model their life after Robin.”

And former Phillies president Ruly Carpenter issued this statement: “Baseball and the Phillies not only lost one of the greatest pitchers the game has ever known but the Carpenter family also lost a true friend. He was my idol as I grew up with the 1950 Phillies.”

Robin Evan Roberts was a remarkable pitcher because of his effectiveness and a level of stamina uncommon even at a time when pitchers routinely worked overtime. Beginning in 1950, the only year his Phillies reached the World Series, Roberts won 20 or more games and pitched at least 304 innings in six consecutive seasons.

He was the winning pitcher in the Phillies’ 4-1 pennant-clinching victory against the Brooklyn Dodgers on Oct. 1, 1950. That distinction, of itself, paled to a degree in comparison to the circumstances surrounding it. Roberts pitched a 10-inning complete game in smallish Ebbets Field and if not for a home run by Pee Wee Reese, would have shut out Dem Bums.

Moreover, that start occurred three days after he had pitched nine innings in a loss to the New York Giants in the unforgiving Polo Grounds, and four days after he had thrown four in another unsuccessful start in New York. And beyond that, Roberts was the starter in Game 2 of the World Series against the Yankees on Oct. 5 — he pitched 10 innings — and threw an inning in relief in the final game of the Yankees’ sweep two days later.

“He was like a diesel engine,” Roberts’ teammate and fellow Phillies starter Curt Simmons said from his home in Arizona. “The more you used him, the better he ran. I don’t think you could wear him out. The end of the 1950 season, I was in the Army and I think Bob Miller had a bad back. I know Robin had to throw almost every day.”

Dallas Green, the former Phillies manager and pitcher, became one of Roberts’ friends despite an eight-year difference in age. Green who broke into the Majors in 1956, attended Roberts’ professional debut in 1948 in Wilmington, Del., where Green lived. Roberts’ first game was as a member of the Blue Hens. “Robbie was a real special person to me,” Green said Thursday. “I love him. He was as old-school as you could get. He’d just run and throw to get in shape. I tell all the kids that now.”

Roberts contended that pitching came easily to him. “Too many people try to make it more complicated than it really is,” he would say as part of his continuing effort to deflect praise. His efforts in that regard weren’t as successful as his pitching. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976.

He won 286 games overall and still was pitching in the Minor Leagues when he retired because he wanted 14 more wins. “Three hundred was big to him. He wanted it,” Green said. “We were roomies at Reading in the old Eastern League and we were both at the end. Robbie just ran out of gas. The will was there. It was always there.”

The second-leading all-time winner among the Phillies — Steve Carlton won 241 games to Roberts’ 234 — Roberts was recognized primarily as a power pitcher until late in his career when he pitched for the Orioles, Astros and Cubs. His career strikeouts total of 2,357 was unremarkable. It ranks 40th all-time. But he walked merely 902 batters and never more than 77 in a season.

The numbers that distinguished him most during and after his 19-year career were his victories, shutouts (45), complete games (305) and home runs allowed (505), the most ever. But like fellow Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter, Roberts was renowned for limiting the damage. Sixty-five percent of the home runs he surrendered were hit with the bases empty.

His complete-games total ranks 38th all-time and nearly all of those who pitched more played well before Roberts broke in on June 18, 1948. He pitched 28 consecutive complete games from August 1952 to July 1953. What would closer Brad Lidge have done during Roberts’ time with the Phillies?

That will remain an unknown, but Lidge certainly developed an appreciation for the pitcher now memorialized by a statute outside Citizens Bank Park.

“Every time he came around the clubhouse he would start talking about pitching,” Lidge said Thursday. “He talked with me about my slider, and anything he had to say, I was all ears. Another thing about Robbie was that he never talked about the way things were when he played the game. He realized that the game changed with time. I was really fortunate to be able to talk with a living legend about pitching.”

Lidge’s teammate Jamie Moyer provided this perspective: “Almost every day I look at the Phillies Hall of Fame jerseys that hang in the hallway by the clubhouse. I try to appreciate what Robin did as a pitcher. Looking back at the impact he had on the game, it was special. He would always kid around when he came by and would be concerned about how I was and how my family was doing. I feel like I lost a friend. He bled Phillies Red. He was a true Phillie top to bottom.”

Roberts’ contemporaries saw him in a different light. “Probably the best fastball I ever saw was Robin Roberts’.” Ralph Kiner once said. “His ball would rise around six or eight inches, and with plenty on it. And he had great control.”

“He looks like the kind of pitcher you can’t wait to swing at, but you swing and the ball isn’t where you thought it was,” the late Pirates slugger Willie Stargell once said.

“You know,” Green said, “for all the success Robbie had, he did it without a breaking ball. He had that little ‘slurvy’ thing that was an ugly pitch. But he got you when it counted. A man on third with less than two out just didn’t score. He’d bear down like nobody else. And he never threw at any one. That wasn’t him.”

Stan Lopata, one of Roberts’ catchers with the Phillies, recalled that he didn’t have the best move to first base. “They’d always be running on him,” Lopata said Thursday. “[Fellow catcher] Andy Seminick and I went to Robbie one day and said ‘You gotta give us a chance.’ And Robbie said ‘They can steal second, they can steal third, but they’re not gonna score. And 99 times out a hundred, they stayed at third.”

Roberts was born in Springfield, Ill., the son of an immigrant Welsh coal miner. He attended Michigan State University and participated in an Army Air Corps training program. He returned to the school following World War II. He signed with the Phillies in 1948.

His extraordinary workload in the early to mid-’50s took a toll on his shoulder. In 1956, he lost 18 games but won 19. In the following seasons his career took a steep descent. He won 10 games, his fewest victories since his rookie season, and he lost a career-high 22 games, the most in the National League, in 1957. He won in double figures through 1960 but produced a 1-10 record in 1961.

The Yankees purchased his contract after that season, but Roberts was released by the Yankees without pitching for them in May 1962. He became something of a finesse pitcher thereafter, pitching for three teams before returning to the Phillies’ Reading team at age 40.

He played an integral role in establishing the Players Association. Michael Weiner, the current executive director of the union, noted as much in a statement Thursday. Weiner said Roberts helped “the players of his day understand the benefits to be gained by standing together as one. Robin and his peers had the foresight to hire Marvin Miller as the MLBPA’s first executive director in 1966, a decision that has since benefited all Major Leaguers and their families.”

Miller could not be reached Thursday.

Roberts later served as head coach of the University of South Florida in Tampa and roving Minor League instructor for the Phillies.

He is survived by four sons, Robin Jr., Dan, Rick and Jim; one brother, John; seven grandchildren and one great-grandson.

“Dad didn’t miss a Phillies game on television, including [Wednesday] night,” Jim Roberts said Thursday. “He really loved this team and was so thrilled that he was included in the World Series festivities the last two years.

“He’d sit there and would comment, ‘Did you see Jimmy make that play? … Chase can really play this game … My man Jayson is some kind of an athlete … Did you see that change-up from Cole? … How strong is Ryan? … Roy makes pitching look so easy and it isn’t … I wish I had Brad’s slider … Shane can fly. Can’t he?'”

H/T Phillies.com

And thus another great of the game, and a gentleman, fades away. Condolences to both your family and to the Phils, Robbie. You will be missed. 

Philadelphia Phillies – The Players: Charlie Ferguson, the Phillies’ unknown first star.

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  

The Philles ‘officially’ retired Robin Robert’s number 36 while honoring him and the rest of the 1950 Whiz Kids.

Phillies offically retire No. 36
Roberts and the 1950s Whiz Kids honored before game