Philadelphia Phillies Information
Founded in 1883, the National League's Philadelphia Phillies are the longest standing one-name, one-location team in all professional American sports. Named for a verbal shorthand of their city of residence ("Philly"), the Phillies replaced the Worcester, Massachusetts Brown Stockings in the National League. However, the team was not relocated - the Worcesters were expelled from the league, and the new Phillies were given their spot. The name has absolutely nothing to do with horses, even if contemporary sportswriters sometimes called them "Fillies" just to be funny. Their initial owners were John Rodgers along with Al Reach, the sporting goods magnate and the first ever professional baseball player according to many definitions. Reach was the man to give the Phillies their name. The time-honored team name in the city had been "Athletic of Philadelphia", but that name was already taken by the American Association entry and would later be adopted by the new entry in the American League.
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the 1890s, when they featured one of the strongest outfields of all time in Hall of Famers Billy Hamilton, Sam Thompson and Ed Delahanty. The 1894 team set an all-time mark for team batting average, but could finish only fourth in the standings due to weak pitching. The team still contended throughout the decade. the 1910s, winning the National League pennant in 1915 and contending for another three. This team featured Hall of Fame pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander and hitting stars Gavvy Cravath and Sherry Magee.
the "Whiz Kids" of the 1950s, pennant winners in 1950 and contenders throughout. Hall of Famers Richie Ashburn (center fielder) and Robin Roberts (pitcher) played here.
the late 1970s and early 1980s, winning five division titles (in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, and 1983), a first-half division championship in the 1981 split season, two National League pennants (in 1980 and 1983), and one World Series, in 1980. This stands as the only World Series victory in the Phillies' 122-year history. This was a team with such notable names as Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose, Greg Luzinski, Tug McGraw and Larry Bowa.
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Phillies catcher Mike Lieberthal, Phillies former third baseman Scott Rolen, and Phillies right fielder Bobby AbreuThere is some irony to the fact that the Athletics were generally the much stronger and more popular team in the city for decades. By the 1940s, though, neither team was in contention very often. The Phillies' resurgence in the early 1950s apparently tipped the scales in their favor, and the A's soon took the opportunity to head west, leaving the city's senior team as a solo act in Philly.
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After Mike Schmidt retired in 1989, the Phillies had a decade of losing seasons, save for a World Series berth in 1993. Beloved by the city of Philadelphia, this team with names such as Darren Daulton, John Kruk, Lenny Dykstra also known as Nails, and Curt Schilling surprised the city and the nation with their achievements. Losing to the Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series, giving the Canadians two consecutive World Series titles, was nonetheless disappointing. The team was often described as "shaggy," "unkempt" and "dirty." The previous year, noting the presence of the clean-cut Dale Murphy, Kruk himself described the team as "24 morons and one Mormon." Their character endeared them to Philadelphia, and attendance records were set the following season. But with that season's (1994) players' strike, most of the Phillies' fan base was greatly offended, and since then the Phillies have had little success either on the field or at the gate - the realignment of the Atlanta Braves into the National League East in 1994 having had a negative effect on both as the Braves have won the division every year since joining it, often by lopsided margins. Indeed, following their 1983 World Series loss to the Baltimore Orioles, the team neglected to post back-to-back winning seasons until finally doing so in 2003 and 2004; the 2004 team also was second in the NL East, only the third time the Phillies have finished that high since the 1994 realignment (including a joint second-place finish with the New York Mets.
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And of course, the famous collapse of 1964, or "Phold," is legendary. Up by 6 1/2 games with 12 left to play, the Phillies dropped 10 consecutive games, dropping behind. Then they started to win again, and if the St. Louis Cardinals had lost on the final day, the Phillies would have been included in a tie (along with the Cincinnati Reds), forcing an unprecedented 3-team playoff for first place. It was not to be. The Cardinals won that last game, and the Phillies had lost their chance at the National League crown.
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During this 10-game period, the Phillies found new ways to lose. Manager Gene Mauch was criticized for panicking down the stretch. The Phold is widely known as one of the most notable collapses in all of sports history, only surmounted by the Brooklyn Dodgers' memorable fall to the New York Giants in 1951, the Boston Red Sox blowing a 14-game lead to the New York Yankees during the month of September, 1978, and by the play-off collapse of the New York Yankees to the Boston Red Sox in 2004. The Phillies' recent failures have contributed a resurgence in the belief of the Curse of Billy Penn.
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In a 1962 baseball magazine, there was a cartoon showing a ballplayer arriving at a French Foreign Legion outpost. His explanation: "I was released by the Phillies!" If the cartoon had been done a year later, it would have said "Mets", as the Phillies were starting to improve while the Mets lost 120 games in their first year.
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Phillies fans have endured a reputation for generally rowdy behavior, with the old joke saying was "Phillies fans would boo a wedding or a funeral". Visiting team radio announcers in the 1960s would regularly report over the airwaves about fights breaking out in the stands at Connie Mack Stadium. In one incident, after J. D. Drew made negative statements about the team and their fans, he was loudly booed and a single fan threw a small battery at Drew during a game. Though they may boo heavily, the majority of fans are well-behaved and even welcoming of fans of other teams.
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The team's name, Phillies, is the longest continuous use of a nickname in American professional sports. Newspaper writers tried to change the name to "Quakers" or "Live Wires" in the 1910s, and the team took a fan poll giving them the secondary name of "Blue Jays" in 1943, but neither of them caught on as an official team name.
During the team's tenure in National League Ballpark in the 1920's (commonly referred to as 'Baker Bowl', after their late owner), a common joke, which was inspired by an outfield wall advertisement, was, "the Phillies may use Lifebuoy, but they still stink". Lifebuoy was a brand name of soap manufactured by Lever Brothers. There were various versions of the same joke, usually employed by detractors of other losing teams.
Until 2005, the Phillies claimed the longest national championship drought in baseball history (including World Series precursors), at 97 years (from their founding until their victory in 1980). This unfortunate record has just been tied by the Chicago Cubs (1908-present).