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It’s been 90 years since the Phillies were above .500 as a franchise

May 14, 2012, 10:30 AM EDT

Phillies Logo

Some mistakes you never stop paying for. For the Phillies, it was the 1920s through the 1940s.  Chris Jaffe brings the history over at The Hardball Times today:

Ninety years ago today was something of a turning point in Phillies franchise history.

On May 14, 1922, they beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-1. In and of itself, that wasn’t terribly important. The win gave the Phillies a record of 11-12 on the year. Again, that wasn’t particularly special, either.

No, but in a longer view, it had a meaning. That win gave the Phillies an all-time cumulative franchise record of 2,827 wins and 2,827 losses, exactly .500. It proved to be the last time they’d ever be .500.

They had losing records for 30 of the next 31 seasons. And there weren’t many borderline years in that mix. Ten of the next 20 seasons after that 1922 season were 100-loss years, including five in a row between 1938 and 1942. Six of seven between 1936 and 1942.

Puts what the Pirates have done in the past 20 years in perspective.

Bonus from Jaffe today: Mets weirdness.

  1. danaking - May 14, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    And those were with 154 game seasons, when losing 100 games still meant something. Now any bad team can do it. In those days, you really had to suck.

    • bigleagues - May 14, 2012 at 11:26 AM

      So you’re saying 62-100 doesn’t suck but 54-100 does?

      A difference of 8 wins?


  2. delawarephilliesfan - May 14, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    And the point is?

    • b7p19 - May 14, 2012 at 10:52 AM

      I think it’s pretty clear that the point is the Phillies haven’t been at .500 since 90 years ago today.

      • delawarephilliesfan - May 14, 2012 at 10:57 AM

        Oh. Next post will be Craigs favorite Gilligans Island episodes I guess.

      • b7p19 - May 14, 2012 at 11:26 AM

        I liked Ginger the best. Just something about her.

      • delawarephilliesfan - May 14, 2012 at 11:37 AM

        You got it all wrong. Maryann

      • Utley's Hair - May 14, 2012 at 12:11 PM

        Maryann. No question.

      • Jonny 5 - May 14, 2012 at 12:31 PM

        MaryAnne for sure. Ginger was just too high maintenance for that little isle, plus I have my suspicions about what types of experiments the professor was pulling with Ginger behind closed bamboo doors.

      • goawaydog - May 14, 2012 at 12:51 PM

        Mrs Howell, those hats and the way she carried her parasol … damn now I have to call my therapist again, I was doing so well until now, next thing you know I will vote cake over pie, speed dial speed dial!

    • Jonny 5 - May 14, 2012 at 12:38 PM

      Seriously though, Your skin must be translucent as thin as it is. Go Phills!

      • delawarephilliesfan - May 14, 2012 at 12:57 PM

        Okay, at 30 plus thumbs down, I was going to shrug it off. Now I am getting multiple replies on the OP.

        I think people are reading a TON into my 4 simple words……seriously. I would explain what it meant….except that it has no meaning. I wonder if I will ever again provoke that much thought on a throwaway tweak of Craig…..

  3. illcomm - May 14, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    u spend too much time hating Craig.

  4. mybrunoblog - May 14, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    Wow. I went over and read the whole thing. Interesting. I don’t see the hate just a story about a long time franchise.

  5. cur68 - May 14, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    This was clearly a “Phun Phact”. I am disappointed and saddened that it was not titled as such. I love Phun Phacts.

  6. illcomm - May 14, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    Chris wrote the article a year ago. Get some new material. He wrote it about the bravest going above .500 for the first time in about 90 years. GET NEW MATERIAL.

    • paperlions - May 14, 2012 at 10:49 AM

      Except for the fact that it was posted today and that TODAY is the 90th anniversary of the last time the Phillies were .500….you are 100% correct.

      If you hate the stuff published here FOR FREE so damned much….go away.

    • CJ - May 14, 2012 at 10:50 AM

      speaking of GET NEW MATERIAL:. It’d be nice to see a post from you that isn’t complaining about content.

      Or at least it’d be nice to not see a post from you complaining about content. I’m sure there are plenty crappy baseball blogs you can go to and complain about content where it’d be actually be valid and (gasp, perhaps even) appreciated. You know, unlike here where it’s neither.

  7. illcomm - May 14, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    meant to say bravest have been at .500 for last ninty years.

    • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - May 14, 2012 at 11:45 AM

      Are you typing “bravest” on purpose, or do you sometimes accidentally hit the ‘T’ on your keyboard after typing an ‘S’?

      Or, to rephrase in simpler terms: Are you dense, or are you just a shitty typist?

  8. Utley's Hair - May 14, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    Meh. Yup…we know they’ve lost a bunch of games over their history. Everybody else knows they’ve lost a bunch of games over their history. And recently, they’ve won a bunch of games to close the gap a bit. No biggie.

    • b7p19 - May 14, 2012 at 10:54 AM

      No biggie is right. It’s just really cool to read articles like this. Baseball history is really interesting and 90 years is pretty remarkable, no?

    • The Rabbit - May 14, 2012 at 11:32 AM

      Morning Mr. Utley,
      Yeah, the “offended” children (or maybe just trolls?) are commenting. I love the game’s history.
      If my dad, an accountant and diehard Phillies fan for 8 decades were still alive, not only would he have known the facts of Chris’ article without the research, he would have been able to recall every game…. well, except for the ones that were played while he were overseas in WW II.
      It’s hard to imagine what kind of cr*p these “not quite evolved to the point of critical thinking” commenters would be spewing if the Phillies were to ever duplicate the EPIC September of 1964, the miserable streak to which my father compared all other Phillies’ seasons.
      But, you aren’t old enough to remember that disaster.

      • Utley's Hair - May 14, 2012 at 12:05 PM

        Mornin’, Rabbit.

        I may be too young to remember the Collapse of ’64—did things really happen before I was born?—but I am lucky enough to have witnessed the Mutts’ impersonation in 2007. I was even at the final game, and happened to look over at the scoreboard in time for the cheers to erupt after Glavine’s implosion became evident.

      • Jonny 5 - May 14, 2012 at 12:35 PM

        I’ll have to ask my Dad and see if He remembers 1964. 😛 He was only 10 at the time so he may not.

      • natstowngreg - May 14, 2012 at 12:57 PM

        I was 13, and barely remember it. But that was decades before I realized how obnoxious Phillies fans are. Of course, back then there weren’t many Phillies fans.

      • dexterismyhero - May 14, 2012 at 12:58 PM

        I was 7 and I remember it. I also remember my dad and uncles going crazy at the K of C in Cornwells Heights (now Bensalem). Bunning pitched a perfect game that year I believe. Johnny Callison was my favoirite player. He had 31 homers and 104 rbi’s that year. Amaro’s dad was on that team. Richie Allen was rookie of the year and even though they lost those games they did come back and beat the Reds the final 2 games and knocked them out of first place. Phun Phacts indeed!!!

      • professor59 - May 14, 2012 at 2:05 PM

        I was only 4, so I only know from the stories. But I DO know that a bunch of fans held on to those 1964 Phillies World Series tickets as collector’s items. It’s like having a Dewey Defeats Truman front page.

        Meanwhile, it does take an amazing amount of suck to finish last for 20 years, but I can’t blame the players. Once an owner decides he doesn’t give a crap and the commissioner doesn’t do anything about it, a city can suffer until that loser dies. Plenty of examples around even today.

      • The Rabbit - May 14, 2012 at 2:43 PM

        @Jonny Your dad and I are the same age so he probably remembers 1964. It’s the late 60’s and early 70’s that some of us from that era can’t remember. :-)

        @dexterismyhero You are correct and I don’t have to look it up. Bunning pitched a perfect game against the Mets on Father’s Day that year. I was in New York visiting relatives and got to see it. It was unforgettable.
        According to my dad (who like your family was going nuts every day in late September as the Phillies were blowing what appeared to be an insurmountable lead), the losses were all Gene Mauch’s fault for overusing Bunning and Chris Short at the end of the season.

      • dexterismyhero - May 14, 2012 at 4:34 PM

        Thanks Rabbit. Fathers Day is correct. I remember we were at West Point Park having a picnic put on by the K of C. Birch Beer and burgers and dogs. I remember Dad and all the guys getting louder and louder as the game went on. Baseball & Ballantine Beer!!!!!

  9. illcomm - May 14, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    paperlions. Chris posted an identical article last year on May 23rd, 2011.

    • paperlions - May 14, 2012 at 11:00 AM

      Then go complain to Jaffe….though, I admit that I don’t see how an article about the Braves being above .500 for 90 years could possibly be IDENTICAL to one about the Phillies being below .500 for 90 years….especially as each article is about the history of the team…a topic that many people are interested in….and that the Braves and Phillies are two different franchises, with decidedly different histories.

      Identical means something….and this….ain’t it.

  10. paperlions - May 14, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    Only 12 teams have a franchise record above .500. I was surprised to see that the Red Sox, Cubs, Indians, White Sox, and Pirates are among them.

    • florida76 - May 14, 2012 at 11:26 AM

      Don’t know why it would surprise anyone to see the Bucs on the list of teams with franchise records above .500. Baseball didn’t begin in 1993, and the Pirates have a winning tradition for anyone who is knowledgeable about the game.

      For me, the major concern about the Phillies is the low total of World Titles, matching the Cubs and Indians. It’s amazing each of those teams has the same total as the Marlins, despite each being around for roughly a century longer. Of course there are worse lots in life, like rooting for a team like the Brewers which has never won it all. Difficult to fathom there are 50 year old plus people in that market who never experienced a world championship.

      • paperlions - May 14, 2012 at 11:40 AM

        I guess just because you don’t hear much about legendary awesome pirates dynasties….I’m sure there were some, I just don’t recall them (besides the “we are family” years, which I remember just fine, loved the ‘fros and square-topped hats).

  11. kopy - May 14, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    It’s also been about 39 days since the Phillies were last above .500 this season, when they won their Opening Day.

    • Utley's Hair - May 14, 2012 at 1:14 PM

      Maybe they’ll be climbing over your Twinkies to get back over .500, though I hope it’ll be to build on their super-.500 record. 😛

      • kopy - May 14, 2012 at 2:00 PM

        The series certainly won’t hurt the Phillies. I’d say the Twins been good at helping teams turn around, but they’ve only just given bad teams (like the Angels, Red Sox) a couple Ws before they move on and struggle some more.

  12. sdelmonte - May 14, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    I love the stuff about the Mets. Most of those tidbits are pure baseball gold. Even the embarrassing ones.

  13. nolanwiffle - May 14, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    So you’re telling me these last five years were an aberration……..phew!

  14. El Bravo - May 14, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Ahhhhh, those truly were the good ‘ol days.

    • Utley's Hair - May 14, 2012 at 12:08 PM

      BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! CAKE rules…(pie) drools!!!

  15. Gonzo - May 14, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    I’m a proud fan of the entire 129 year history.

    /2012 minus 1883. I hope my math is correct.

  16. hushbrother - May 14, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    The Phillies had played 5,654 games by 1922? That’s kind of hard to believe.

    Baseball’s been around a long time.

    • Utley's Hair - May 14, 2012 at 12:07 PM

      That’s only organized baseball. Selig’s buddy Abner invented the game a good bit before that.

  17. natstowngreg - May 14, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    The 1938-1942 Phillies have long been my favorite example of consistent team futility. Puts the Nats’ back-to-back 59-win seasons of 2008-9 (and the Mariners’ comparable failures) in perspective.

    • professor59 - May 14, 2012 at 2:26 PM

      Yes, numbers-wise. But one could argue that the Nats and the Mariners were actually trying to win games. Those Phillies weren’t.

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