- This article is about the baseball team. For the cigars, see Phillie Blunt.
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. So, Phillies it was, and Phillies it remains to this day for the National Leaguers.
The Phillies franchise historically had four strong winning periods:
- 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 quite a few division titles, two 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.
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.
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.
- Ed Delahanty accomplished this feat on July 13, 1896, at Chicago's spacious West Side Park. Delahanty holds the distinction of being the only person to ever hit four inside the park home runs in a single game.
- Chuck Klein hit his four on July 10, 1936, not at notorious bandbox Baker Bowl but at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, which had a fairly close right field also.
- Mike Schmidt hit his on April 17, 1976, a warm and windy day at Wrigley Field in Chicago. In this wild-and-crazy game, the Cubs led 13-2 after 4 innings, only to end up losing 18-16 in 10 innings. When Schmidt hit his fourth homer of the day, in the top of the 10th, frustrated Cubs' broadcaster Jack Brickhouse asked the rhetorical question, "What is goin' on here???"
Phillies fans have endured a reputation for generally rowdy behavior (an old saying was "Phillies fans would boo a wedding or a funeral"), but the stereotype of them as rampant hellions is far overblown. 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 (an admittedly drunk) Santa during an Eagles (who shared the Vet with the Phillies until 2003) game and booed a Destiny's Child singer wearing a Lakers jersey before a NBA title game in 2001. Phillies fans have shown their hatred of J.D. Drew after he bad-mouthed Philadelphia and the Phillies after a draft by booing loudly. A single fan threw a small battery at Drew during a game, causing many media pundits to discredit all Phillies fans and even all Philadelphians. In reality the overwhelming majority of fans are well behaved, as evidenced by recent reviews conducted of both the old stadiumand the new stadium. Each of these reviews point out the knowledge and hospitality of Philly fans.
Since the 1980s, team management has been consistently criticized as being cheap and uninterested in winning. 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.
- During the team's tenure in National League Ballpark in the 1920's (commonly refered 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).
- Current 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".
- Current logo design: A blue baseball infield trimed 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.
- Current mascot: Phillie Phanatic (1978-present), Philadelphia Phil & Phillis before 1978
Minor league affiliations
- AAA: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, International League
- AA: Reading Phillies, Eastern League
- Advanced A: Clearwater Threshers, Florida State League
- A: Lakewood BlueClaws, South Atlantic League
- Short A: Batavia Muckdogs, New York-Penn League
- Rookie: GCL Phillies, Gulf Coast League
- Rookie: VSL Phillies, Venezuelan Summer League
- Phillies award winners and league leaders
- Phillies statistical records and milestone achievements
- Phillies players of note
- Phillies broadcasters and media
- Phillies managers and ownership
- Philadelphia Phillies official web site
- Balls, Sticks, & Stuff
- The Philling Station
- Countdown to 10000 losses
- The Phillies Fan Page