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Philadelphia Phillies History

By Wikipedia

The Philadelphia Phillies are a Major League Baseball team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They play in the Eastern Division of the National League.

At a glance...
Franchise Facts
Established 1883
Located Philadelphia
Year by Year Results
National League (1883-present)
 East Division (1969-present)
World Series titles (1) 1980
NL Pennants (5) 1993 • 1983 • 1980
1950 • 1915
East Division titles (6) 1993 • 1983 • 1980
1978 • 1977 • 1976
Wild card berths (0) None
Philadelphia Phillies (1885-present)
Philadelphia Blue Jays (1944-1949)
Philadelphia Quakers (1883-1884)
Citizens Bank Park (2004-present)
Veterans Stadium (1971-2003)
Connie Mack Stadium (1938-1970)
Baker Bowl (1887-1938)
Recreation Park (1883-1886)
Retired Numbers
Richie Ashburn*
Jim Bunning*
Mike Schmidt*
Steve Carlton*
Robin Roberts*
Grover Alexander*
Chuck Klein*
42: Jackie Robinson* (huh?)
* - Hall of Famer
**Alexander & Klein have retirement honors, but
they played in the era prior to uniform numbers
Top Performances (through 2004)


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 an American Association entry and would later be adopted by the new entry in the American League. So, Phillies it was, and Phillies it remains to this day for the National Leaguers.

The Phillies franchise historically had four strong winning periods:

There 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.

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 in 1995).

One hallmark of the Phillies throughout history is losing and inept management. From 1919 to 1947, a stretch of 29 seasons, the Phillies finished last 17 times and next to last in 7 of the seasons. The small size of Baker Bowl used to be blamed for their problems, but the continuation of their losing ways after moving to the normal-sized Shibe Park undercut that theory.

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.


1956 Philadelphia Phillies program.

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.

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 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.

A rare distinction in baseball is to have hit four home runs in one game. There are only fifteen times that this has happened. The Phillies have had three batters with four home runs in a game, this is more than any other team, past or present.


1970 Philadelphia Phillies program promoting the forthcoming move to Veteran's Stadium.

Phillies fans have endured a reputation for generally rowdy behavior (an old saying was "Phillies fans would boo a wedding or a funeral").While some players have openly complained about a segment of fans who routinely boo their own team, it must also be said that Phillies fans are among the most loyal in the major leagues, turning out to support the team despite a multitude of losing seasons. This is mainly due to the fans' appreciation of players who give maximum effort; many of the Phils' most popular players have not necessarily been the best or most talented, but rather the scrappiest.

The Philly fans reputation for rowdiness is nothing new. Visiting team radio announcers in the 1960s would regularly report over the airwaves about fights breaking out in the stands at Connie Mack Stadium.

Their reputation was enhanced by several events that occurred at Veteran’s Stadium and the general behavior in the infamous 700 level at the Vet. The city of Philadelphia built a court into the Vet to deal with rowdy fans. Fans have thrown snowballs at Santa during an Eagles game (though that happened before The Vet was built) and booed a Destiny's Child singer wearing a Lakers jersey before a NBA title game in 2001. Phillies fans often booed their own Hall of Famers, such as Mike Schmidt.

Since the 1980s, team management has been consistently criticized as being cheap and uninterested in winning - this despite three World Series appearances between 1980 and 1993. A series of terrible managers and general managers was briefly interrupted by 1993's magical run, which ended in a World Series defeat to the defending champions, the Toronto Blue Jays. The Phillies or the Jays have not returned to the post-season since. The opening of the new ballpark brought hope to fans, but the hope has quickly faded as the team has failed to meet expectations in the '00 decade. On October 10, 2005, general manager Ed Wade was fired after his seventh season.

At the beginning of the 2005 season, as confirmed by The Sporting News Baseball Record Book, the Phillies' lifetime record from 1883-2004, was 8606-9805, a .467 winning percentage. After the 2005 season, their lifetime record is 8694-9879, a .468 winning percentage. At over a thousand games under .500, the Phillies have lost more games than any other "major" professional team in the history of sports in the United States.


  • 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 and contemporary newspapers often called them the Philadelphia Phillies in one part of a story and the Blue Jays in another. The Blue Jays name seems to have fallen out of favor for good around 1949.
  • 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).

Quick Facts

Uniform colors: White with red pinstripes for home games and gray for away games. Both with the word "Phillies" across the front and name and number on the back. Red hats with the letter "P".
Logo design: A blue baseball infield trimmed in white and scarlet red with a white Liberty Bell inside and "Phillies" in scarlet red script and underscore with blue stars dotting the "I"s in white trim.
Mascot: Phillie Phanatic (1978-present); Philadelphia Phil & Phillis before 1978

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Images of team logos used with permission from Chris Creamer's awesome Sports Logo site.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

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