Top-10 September callups of the last 20 years

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Tue, September 01, 2015 01:00 PM Comments: 10

120312-darin-ruf-600Sept. 1 is one of my favorite days on the baseball calendar, as teams begin calling up new faces to help pad the major league roster. Historically teams may use the September callup season to give fans a taste of a top prospect ready to become an everyday player. Most of the time, though, it’s more conservative than this, as teams are usually hoping to add depth, or even protect a player from the dreaded Rule V draft.

The Phils are no different. While many of the Phils’ September callups have been for depth (especially between 2007 and ’11), a special few have been hotly anticipated. I went back 20 years to 1995 to determine the top-10 September callups of the last 20 years, focusing mostly on younger players getting their first taste (or close to it) in the majors.

So this isn’t a scientific ranking. More a combination of hype and production. Enjoy.

10. Cesar Hernandez – 2013
We were told Cesar Hernandez had outstanding infield defensive ability upon his first cup of coffee in midseason 2013. But it was in September that we saw his true range, as he started almost exclusively in centerfield. He did okay, displaying average-at-best ability in center while singling pitchers to death to a line of .289/.344/.331. He remains with the club today, starting at second base after the Chase Utley trade. His future remains a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

9. Vance Worley – 2010
Vance Worley made his major league debut in a July blowout against Colorado, but he had an extended stay in September, helping the Phillies give some rest to a pitching staff that cruised through a dominant 2010 campaign. Worley had a solid first start against the Marlins, then started once more, against Atlanta, twirling five shutout innings. Worley would become a great fifth starter in an awesome 2011 pitching staff, before being dealt to Minnesota for Ben Revere. He’s been a league-average pitcher, most recently throwing out of the Pittsburgh bullpen before being optioned to AAA.

8. Carlos Ruiz – 2006
While Carlos Ruiz had a cup of coffee in May (and July) of 2006 because of injury, he was brought up to the Phillies for good in September. Starting a few games, Chooch had his finest offensive run of the season, collecting eight hits, including two home runs. Ruiz would stay with the Phils in 2007 and beyond, turning into one of the franchise’s most revered catchers.

7. Gene Schall – 1996
Back in 1996 we had two major callups: Calvin Maduro and Gene Schall. Maduro, 21, pitched decently well, but his contribution was small. Schall – a 26-year-old Abington kid who went to La Salle High and Villanova – had a little more room to grow in 1996, getting 41 plate appearances in his September stay. He did well, too, hitting two homers, three doubles and a triple en route to a line of .306/.390/.611. I mean, that’s seriously good. Sadly, though, Schall was traded for Mike Robertson (yes, THE Mike Robertson) and never made it to the majors again. He had a solid AAA career, however, retiring in 2002 with 125 career homers at the top minor-league level.

6. Gavin Floyd – 2004
Rewind to 2004. Citizens Bank Park is glistening and new. Jim Thome is rocking homers into the seats. And the Phils have two surefire stars ready to reach Philly in Ryan Howard and Gavin Floyd. At just 21, Floyd was a big deal upon his arrival in Philadelphia in September 2004. He lived up to the hype, tossing a decent seven innings in a win over the Mets in his major league debut. He would move to the bullpen during his time in Philly, but return as a starter in 2005 and ‘06, all to pretty bad results. (Maybe Floyd was best known as the pitcher on the mound when Aaron Rowand slammed his face into the fence to catch a would-be Xavier Nady grand slam.) Floyd would find some success in Chicago, traded in the wonderful Freddy Garcia deal. Memories.

5. Darin Ruf – 2012
And it was on Sept. 14, 2012, that 26-year-old super prospect Darin Ruf got his first action in a Phillies uniform. After tearing up the minors with his power, Ruf started slow, but on Sept. 25 hit his first major league homer in a win against Washington. He’d hit two in one game a week later, ending his 2012 callup campaign with three bombs, 10 RBI, and a good line of .333/.351/.727. Ruf has been a mainstay on the Phils bench since then, playing respectably, but especially good against left-handed pitching (.291/.378/.518).

4. Marlon Anderson – 1998
Sept. 8, 1998. The Phillies are blasting the Mets, 12-3, in the seventh inning. Manager Terry Francona motions to 24-year-old Marlon Anderson. It’ll be his first career plate appearance, right there in front of a crowd of maybe 10,000 at Veterans Stadium. Against Mel Rojas, Anderson works a 2-2 count, then knocks it deep to right. It clears the fence. Marlon Anderson’s first career appearance is a home run. He’d finish 1998 with solid numbers, and would win the starting second base job for 1999. That year began with a sterling 3-for-4 day in Atlanta. That was pretty much his peak as a Phillie.

3. Ryan Howard – 2004
With the Phillies under .500 on Sept. 1, 2004, they opted to call up top prospect Ryan Howard, who was blocked as an everyday player by all-world slugger Jim Thome. Howard would mostly pinch hit through September, garnering just a few starts toward the end of the season. He homered twice, doubled five times and finished with a good line of .282/.333/.564. This, coupled with his solid 2005 season – during a Thome injury – allowed the Phils to deal Thome to Chicago and start Howard for good.

2. Bobby Estalella – 1997
Imagine a hyped catching prospect reaching the major leagues at age 21 as a September callup. Imagine him swatting two home runs late in the season, finishing with a 6-for-11 performance in three games at Shea Stadium. Then imagine, a year later, he’s called up and starts in Montreal. Second inning, against future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez … home run. Then, down two, sixth inning, against Martinez … home run. Finally, in the ninth, he leads off … a third home run. That was Bobby Estalella, 1997.

What you can’t imagine is the excitement on a 12-year-old’s face when this veritable child socks three homers in a game. “He’s the future!” I thought. Estalella never again matched the magic he sparked that evening at Olympic Stadium.

Yes, Howard had a more impressive September statistically, but when you hit two homers off a future Hall of Famer, you earn the spot.

1. Jimmy Rollins – 2000
Highly rated shortstop prospect James Calvin Rollins joined the Phillies in mid-September 2000, immediately making his presence felt with a triple, stolen base and two runs. He would only notch one more extra-base hit that year, but he accrued 17 hits in 53 at bats, good for a .321 AVG.

The 21-year-old became an instant fan favorite, proving the hype, and would quickly be penciled in as starting shortstop. Thirteen years later, would break the franchise record for career hits.

Rollins is the best measure of a September callup. He was given a chance to play everyday, made the best of it, and set the table for an outstanding rookie season. For that, he’s the best Phillies callup of the last 20 years.


An ode to ‘The Man,’ Chase Utley

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Thu, August 20, 2015 09:41 AM Comments: 12

PHOTO: AP/Kathy Willens

PHOTO: AP/Kathy Willens

As a smallish kid in Port Richmond, I grew up idolizing infielders. I loved what little of Mike Schmidt I remember, and soon I was intently following guys like Ozzie Smith and Dickie Thon. Then Mickey Morandini came aboard. I began playing second base, shortstop, and third base for the Port Richmond Leprechauns and Port Richmond Tigers, and proudly wore No. 12. I was a small white kid. Guys like Morandini were small and white. That made sense to me. I could be him one day. That could work.

My favorite player during those years, however, wasn’t a Phillie, but Cal Ripken Jr. of the Orioles. I adored Ripken. He could hit, hit for power, run, field his position, and of course, he played every single game without rest. I cheered and cried on Sept. 6, 1995, the night Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive-game streak. Retrospectively it’s odd – we cheered and honored a man because he came to work every day. He battled through injuries, had some luck, and played well enough to never need to take off. So he never took off. That was worth hours of celebration, a historic moment with balloons and streamers, a 25-minute game stoppage.

Ripken retired in 2001. Luckily the Phillies had a player a lot like Ripken – except for the perfect health – in Scott Rolen, and naturally I had grown to admire him. For maybe a year Rolen was unquestionably my favorite baseball player. Then he was traded. So for another small moment Bobby Abreu became my favorite player because I loved his level, fluid swing.

And then came Chase Utley, called up from Scranton in 2003 to ride the pine while Placido Polanco manned second base. He socked his first major league hit – a grand slam – and toiled in Phillies purgatory until he was officially named starter in 2005 after Polanco was traded to Detroit. And for 10 seasons, Utley remained the starting second baseman of the Philadelphia Phillies, until he was traded Wednesday night to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Chase Utley is, unquestionably, my favorite baseball player ever.

I met him once, on St. Patrick’s Day 2009 in Clearwater. We attended the Moyer Foundation’s St. Patrick’s Day barbecue outside Bright House Networks Field. Coming off the 2008 world championship, this provided the opportunity to tell every Phillie near and far how much I loved him. Like Chris Farley to Paul McCartney, I sidled up to Geoff Jenkins. Continue reading An ode to ‘The Man,’ Chase Utley


The 7-year battle: Accepting Ryan Howard

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Thu, August 13, 2015 11:30 AM Comments: 21

(Eric Hartline/ USA Today Sports)  Via Philly.com

(Eric Hartline/ USA Today Sports) Via Philly.com

Jimmy Rollins is gone.

Cole Hamels is gone.

Chase Utley may be gone soon.

And all that’s left from that 2008 team is Carlos Ruiz

Wait. Oh yes. There’s him, too. Him, standing there at first base, now folding his arms as he’s watching me. He’s aggravated, isn’t he? It’s Ryan Howard, who thanks to Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera, we sort of forgotten. Of course, that was the point, wasn’t it? Let him just fade into obscurity and just ignore the $25 million the Phillies are paying him this year … and next year … oh, and there’s a 2017 club option, too. Hooray.

I should go on record. On April 14, 2008 – way in the beginning of what became a legendary season – I published a piece that helped put Phillies Nation in the national eye. It was titled “Why I Would Trade Ryan Howard.”

“It sounds almost ridiculous that a team in the top half of the payroll list contending for a World Series would want to trade its biggest power hitter, a man capable of hitting 60 home runs,” I wrote at the time. “But there are reasons to think heavily about dumping Howard.”

Those reasons, I continued, included that Howard “is an average at best first baseman in the field.” I said he’d be a logical designated hitter for an American League team. Moreover, I wrote, “Ryan Howard wants to make big bucks, especially if he’s not getting a long-term deal. This season he’s making $10M, the largest arbitration victory ever. Experts say a $20M arbitration prize before 2010 isn’t out of the question. That means a long-term deal would mean potentially $25M per year.”

Son of a …

I then outlined a number of potential returns in a Ryan Howard trade. In retrospect, most of them would have turned out dreadfully. My best hypothetical return was from the Yankees: Ian Kennedy (12.7 fWAR since 2008), Austin Jackson (16.9 fWAR), Chris Britton (-0.2 fWAR), David Robertson (10.8 fWAR) and Marcos Vechionacci (0.0 fWAR). Compared to Howard’s 9.3 fWAR since 2008, it would’ve been a steal. Maybe with Kennedy the Phillies don’t pay hefty prices for starting pitching. Maybe with Jackson the Phils trade Shane Victorino and restock the system. Maybe with Robertson they can shift easily from Brad Lidge and never sign Jonathan Papelbon. And look, I basically would’ve traded Howard around the peak of his value.

Seriously, why didn’t they make this deal?

A month later, in May 2008, Howard was hitting .183. In May. I attempted to lambaste Howard. Continue reading The 7-year battle: Accepting Ryan Howard


Coping with the end of an era

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Thu, August 06, 2015 09:17 AM Comments: 5

Please welcome back Tim Malcolm! Tim was the editor-in-chief of Phillies Nation from 2006 to 2009.

The struggle to cope through change has been documented for centuries. In one moment your experiences marry the ongoing popular culture and the people carrying influence; then, in an instant, no longer. You’re a dinosaur. Your views aren’t those of the youth. Your experiences are merely shared with your peers, and become nothing more than history, something that collects dust in the basement.

Cole Hamels speech

Cole Hamels’s speech after the 2008 World Series parade

It was only seven years ago when I walked through a pattern of red bodies gathered happily on Broad Street waiting for the Phillies to parade a world championship. On that day Cole Hamels uttered words that will grow dust in my brain forever:

“If there is one thing I cannot wait to do, it’s go down that Broad Street parade again, and again, and again.”

Again, and again, and again. The boldness! The swagger!

Admittedly, others shared similar sentiments, but it was Hamels’ words that stayed. He was 24, just a year older than me at the time. His first major league start was May 12, 2006, which I remember clearly. I was standing in my parents’ Boston hotel room, the first night of commencement weekend at Boston University, checking blog comments for updates on Hamels’ debut. This was before Twitter and, really, before the advent of streaming content that allowed a range of game-following experiences. We took whatever we had.

After that debut I’d graduate, and after that I’d start writing regularly about baseball. My interest in the team would grow to something beyond simply watching games. Starting in 2006 I’d watch every game I could, follow every game regardless, analyze statistics, write about the games, and attend as many games as possible. My favorite players were now around my age. I wasn’t looking up to personal icons like Thome, Abreu, Rolen, or Daulton. I related – at least on one small level – with these new guys, especially Hamels. We “graduated” on the same week. We would grow through our new careers, hopefully find success, and reach new heights together.

It’s 2015. I’m 30 and Hamels is 31. My career is shifting, as I’m about to throw myself into full-time self-employed writing; his is changing, as well: recently we saw him standing on the pitcher’s mound in Arlington, Texas. For a few years I stepped back from following the Phillies fanatically; recently Hamels has seen a major transformation with his team. His words from the 2008 parade are now simply history; they will likely never come to fruition.

A day after Hamels was traded, sweating while standing on the stage at Citizens Bank Park, Pat Burrell accepted his place in the Phillies Wall of Fame humbly, but not without a reminder of the surreality surrounding the weekend.

“I’ve played with some great players,” said Burrell, “but the guy I enjoyed playing with the most is actually still here in the dugout. And I hope that all of you realize how special of a player, and a man, Chase Utley is.” Continue reading Coping with the end of an era


Nola’s Start Stands Out Among Phils Debuts

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, July 22, 2015 11:30 AM Comments: 2

Nola had a solid debut last night for the Phillies. He stacks up well against debuts in Phils history. Photo: Philly.com

Nola had a solid debut last night for the Phillies. He stacks up well against debuts in Phils history. Photo: Philly.com

Aaron Nola went six innings last night, striking out six while giving up just five hits and just one run, a solo homer to pitcher Nathan Karns. While Nola ended up on the wrong side of the ledger of a 1-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, the recently-22  Nola showed promise in locating pitches and wasn’t phased by base runners or by a tight early strike zone.

Here are how some other notable Phillies’ home-grown starters fared in their first starts.

Curt Simmons: September 28, 1947 – 9.0 IP, 5 H, 9 SO, 6 BB, 1 ER, W. The Gold Standards of Phillies’ debuts, Simmons’ contract forced the Phillies to keep the 18-year old on their roster through 1947 after signing him. Simmons, just a few weeks removed from pitching a gem in Egypt, PA against the Phillies in an exhibition, held the power-heavy New York Giants, with catcher Walker Cooper (35 HR), first baseman Johnny Mize (51),  and outfielders Willard Marshall (36) and Bobby Thompson (29) patrolling the middle of the line-up, to one earned while striking out nine.

Robin Roberts: June 18, 1948 - 8.0 IP, 5 H, 2 SO, 2 BB, 2 ER, L. Roberts would join Simmons on the Phillies the following season and have a pretty nice debut of his own, losing a 2-0 game thanks in part to a Wally Westlake homer. Continue reading Nola’s Start Stands Out Among Phils Debuts


Race to the Bottom: #2 1928 Phillies

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, July 21, 2015 03:15 PM Comments: 0

Klein had a great start to his Hall of Fame career in 1928 but it barely made a dent.

Klein had a great start to his Hall of Fame career in 1928 but it barely made a dent in the team’s fortunes. Photo: Baseball Hall of Fame

This is the fourth entry in the countdown of the five worst teams in Phillies history. For the introduction and criteria used for this series, please check out the first entry here.

Team: 1928 Phillies

Record: 43-109 (T-4th least wins in any season, T-2nd least wins in seasons with 140 games played or more)

Winning Percentage: 30.1% (4th worst winning percentage in any season, 3rd worst winning percentage in seasons with 140 games played or more)

Run Differential: Minus 297

Burt Shotton managed the Brooklyn Dodgers to 326-215 record across parts of four seasons, good for a 60.3% winning percentage and two pennants. Shotton’s big moment came just three games into the 1947 season: Shotton was appointed manager, taking over for Clyde Sukoforth who was the interim replacement for Hall of Famer Leo Durocher, and successfully navigated the Dodgers to the pennant following the addition of Jackie Robinson and the outpouring of racism that followed Robinson and the team.

But it wasn’t always so easy for Shotton. Shotton’s first managerial gig came in 1928 with the Philadelphia Phillies, beginning a six-year run as the team’s skipper. Shotton’s Phils squads went 370-549, good for a 40.26% winning percentage. It all started with one of the worst Phillies’ teams of all time, the 1928 edition. Continue reading Race to the Bottom: #2 1928 Phillies


For Rays players, coaches 08′ Series one to forget

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Tue, July 21, 2015 10:59 AM Comments: 13

With the Tampa Bay Rays back in town, memories of the 2008 World Series inevitably surface. For them however, the memories are not fond ones to say the least.

In a piece titled Rays Tales: 2008 memories of PhiladelphiaTampa Bay Times reporter Marc Topkin asked players and coaches to reflect on their time in Philadelphia during the World Series.

3B Evan Longoria (.050 BA with 9 Ks and 2 RBI in series):

“The heartbreak sticks with me the most. The hardest part of it, aside from the losing, was the way we had to do it. It was a little bit easier for them because they were home, and when we had all the weather issues, there we were out of a hotel and we were moving and there was some uncertainty as far as what the plan was.

Just the weather in general was miserable. I’m sure if you ask the guys on that Philly team, although they won and that kind of smooths everything over, it was less than ideal conditions to play a baseball game in. I think just the losing and the way that we ended up losing, that just made it that much tougher to deal with.”

OF Rocco Baldelli (1-6 with 1 HR and 1 RBI in series):

“I hate doing this. This is awful. This is like tortuous thinking about this.

Anybody who talked about the city of Philadelphia at that time, nobody is exaggerating any of those thoughts and comments. Whatever the opposite of hospitable would be to you, that’s what the people of Philadelphia were to us at that time.”

It didn’t seem like the people of the city were happy that their team was in the World Series. It seemed like they were more happy and excited to take out their anger on the opposition and to degrade us”

3B coach Tom Foley:

“It stunk. Not a whole lot of good memories of Philadelphia from 2008. It was a great year, it just ended badly. And it ended there.”

 Bullpen C Scott Cursi:

“It was a very passionate crowd for the Phillies. I’m trying to be politically correct. It was a tough crowd. They were on us from batting practice until the last out was made. There was a kid by the bullpen cursing at us and there was a cop there just laughing. There were a lot of colorful metaphors from the fans.”

Pitching Coach Jim Hickey:

“My ex-wife was there and she was appalled at the behavior of their fans, especially toward ours. At one point she went to get the security guard, who was actually an on-duty police officer, and he laughed at her and didn’t help at all.”

The fans lived up to their belligerent level. They revel in that type of thing. They wear it as a badge of honor, but it really ought to be a source of embarrassment to them.”

Seven years later, it sounds like the wounds have not fully healed for the Rays. For the Phillies and their fans, thinking about the 2008 World Series brings back fond memories of achievement, jubilation, and a championship parade down Broad Street. It was the club’s first World Series appearance since 1993, and their first World Series championship since 1980. The fans celebrated, and they had good reason to.

Citizens Bank Park was loud, electric, and alive for those three games. If these comments say anything, it’s that the fans did everything they could to will their team to victory and provide a true home field advantage—making opposing fans feel like they’re in enemy territory is a part of that. It obviously worked.


The Unlikeliest Phillies All-Stars

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, July 13, 2015 12:40 PM Comments: 6

At age 37, Ibanez's hot start had Phillies fans talking MVP while earning him a starting All-Star election from the fans.

At age 37, Ibanez’s hot start had Phillies fans talking MVP while earning him a starting All-Star election from the fans.

This year, the Phillies will send just one All-Star to Cincinnati. With a 1.60 ERA, closer Jonathan Papelbon is a deserved choice to represent the Phillies but that hasn’t been the case every year. While Mike Schmidt leads the team with 12 All-Star selections among position players and Steve Carlton leads the Phils’ pitchers with seven selections, there have been a number of Phillies All-Star selections that appear to be head-scratchers in hindsight. The criteria to make this list includes age when selected as an All-Star, the volume of below-average play prior to selection, pedigree, which includes high draft selection or high praise as an international signing (sorry Glenn Wilson and Vicente Padilla!), and any additional circumstances (hot start, manager selecting All-Star reserves, etc.)

Here is a list of some of the unlikeliest Phillies All-Stars.

Hersh Martin, 1938 NL All-Star Selection, Center Field

Martin was nearly a career-minor leaguer from Birmingham, Alabama who went to Oklahoma State, OK who caught a break as a 27-year old with the 61-92 1937 Phillies. In his rookie year, Martin hit .283 with eight homers and 11 steals. Martin finished 30th in the 1938 NL MVP race while earning an All-Star birth, hitting .298 with three homers and eight steals. Martin was a .285 hitter with 28 homers across six years in the Majors, playing from 1937 through 1945, spending time with the minor league Milwaukee Brewers from 1941 through 1943 before returning to the Majors in 1944 during World War II. Martin would, perhaps, become most notable for becoming future MLB Commissioner Bud Selig’s favorite player but was an unlikely All-Star for the Phillies.

Emil Verban, 1946 and 1947 NL All-Star Selection, Second Base

You may be wondering why Verban made this list even though he was a two-time All-Star selection but his two selections were similarly unlikely. Verban received a Major League opportunity during World War II at age 28 with the St. Louis Cardinals, winning the starting second base job and driving in the World Series-winning run in the 1944 Fall Classic against the St. Louis Browns. Verban was traded to the Phillies near the start of the 1946 season for Clyde Kluttz. Verban hit .275/.306/.332 with the Phillies with no homers and five steals. At age 30, Verban made his All-Star debut and returned to the All-Star game with the Phillies at age 31 in 1947 with a slightly improved line of .285/.316/.341 with no homers and five steals. Continue reading The Unlikeliest Phillies All-Stars


Race to the Bottom: #3 1941 Phillies

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, July 08, 2015 01:15 PM Comments: 2

Left fielder and baseball innovator Danny Litwhiler was one of the lone standouts on an otherwise offensively inept 1941 Phillies squad.

This is the third entry in the countdown of the five worst teams in Phillies history. For the introduction and criteria used for this series, please check out the first entry here.

Team: 1941 Phillies

Record: 43-111 (T-4th least wins in any season, T-2nd least wins in seasons with 140 games played or more)

Winning Percentage: 30.1% (3rd worst winning percentage in any season, 2nd worst winning percentage in seasons with 140 games played or more)

Run Differential: Minus 292

The 1941 Phillies line up was young, promising, and full of potential. The youth was there: with an average age of 26.25 years old in their most common starting line-up, the team started a pair of 23-year olds up the middle with Danny Murtaugh at second and Bobby Bragan at short. The promise was there: left fielder Danny Litwhiler was 24-years old and hit .305/.350/.466 with 18 homers leading the team in hits, doubles, triples, homers, and slugging. And the potential was becoming a reality: 27-year old first baseman Nick Etten would lead the team with a .311 average, a .405 OBP, and 79 RBIs.

Sadly, Lithwhiler and Etten would be the lone bright spots in a line-up that would hit just .244, finishing dead-last out of 16 Major League teams in runs scored, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, and any combination of therefor. Late-blooming, 30-year old third baseman Pinky May continued to play solid defense and was a solid offensive contributor the previous season but saw a 30 or so point drop across his slash line while similarly late-blooming catcher Bernie Warren hit .214 but slugged nine homers.

Continue reading Race to the Bottom: #3 1941 Phillies


Race to the Bottom: #4 1945 Phillies

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, July 07, 2015 02:36 PM Comments: 3

38-year old “Kewpie Dick” Barrett was the workhorse of the ’45 Phils, pitching over 190 innings and posting a 8-20 record with a 5.39.

This is the second entry in the countdown of the five worst teams in Phillies history. For the introduction and criteria used for this series, please check out the first entry here.

Team: 1945 Phillies

Record: 46-108 (6th least wins in any season, 5th least wins in seasons with 140 games played or more)

Winning Percentage: 29.9% (6th worst winning percentage in any season, 5th worst winning percentage in seasons with 140 games played or more)

Run Differential: Minus 317 (worst in team history)

An older team doesn’t directly equate to a bad team. In fact, the five teams with the oldest average age among positional players in Phillies history (1983, 2010, 2011, 2009, and 1981) all won division titles and two of those teams won pennants while number 11 and 13 on that list won the World Series. And of the 15 Phils’ squads with the oldest pitching squads, seven were playoff teams, a group that includes three pennants (2009, 2008, and 1983) and a World Series winner (2008).

Obviously, older teams do have some measure of risk as older players are at greater risk for injury. Finishing 52 games out of first place, the 1945 Phillies, known for the second season in a row as the Blue Jays, had the 14th oldest hitting and fifth oldest pitching group in Phillies history. In part because of World War II, the Phillies, as well as many other teams in the Major Leagues, relied on veteran players too old to serve. Continue reading Race to the Bottom: #4 1945 Phillies

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