Philadelphia Phillies – Year 3: Finishing in the first division for the first time, at third place.
With Harry Wright still the team’s manager and with second-year pitcher Charlie Ferguson becoming a rising star, the Quakers/Phillies would begin 1885 attempting its first serious run at the National League pennant, with a chance to meet the winner of the other recognized major league, the American Association, in a post season playoff system, which would be a precusor to today’s World Series, which was first established in 1884, where the National League Champions Providence Grays would end up defeating the American Association Champions New York Metropolitans, 3-0, in a best of three games series.
The Phillies would face a National League that would be slightly different from the one that they had joined in 1883, as the Cleveland Blues franchise would fold early in the year, while the New York Gothams would change their name to the Giants, based on a comment that was suppose to have been said by their player/manager Jim Mutrie, after a victory over the Phillies in the previous season: “My big fellows! My giants!” The franchise that would replace the Blues in the NL would be the best team from the failed third major league of the previous season, the Union Association Champions, the St. Louis Maroons. Along with the Maroons, the Giants and the ‘World Champions’ Grays, the Phillies in 1885 would face the Beaneaters, the Bisons, the Wolverines and the White Stockings.
The Phillies would begin the 1885 season with a twenty-three games home stand that would cover all of May and their first game in June. During this long home stand, they would play a game with the league champs Grays, followed by two with the Beaneaters, another game with the Grays, then two more with the Beaneaters, before playing eight straight two-games series with the Wolverines, the White Stockings, the Wolverines again, the White Stockings again, the Maroons, the Bisons, the Maroons again, the Bisons again, and then a single game with the Giants. The Phillies would start the season off on a sour note as they would lose their first three home games by scores of 8-2, 2-0 and 9-8, before going on a six-games winning streak, which would include a 15-5 crushing of Boston, followed by 10-3 and 17-8 drubbings of the Wolverines. After dropping two straight games to their western nemesis, the White Stockings, they would then win two straight games against the Maroons, winning the second game by the lop-sided score of 12-1, before losing the first game in their two-games series with the Bisons. The Phils would then go on a five-games winning streak, thus ending May with a winning record of 14-8, the team’s best start in its short history.
The Phillies would start off June, and end their home stand, with a lost to the Giants, giving them a 14-9 home stand. This game would be the start of a four-game, Philadelphia to New York and back again series between the two clubs. After defeating the Giants in New York, the Phillies would drop their second home game with New York, before dropping the second game in NY. The Phils would then go on an eight-games road trip to the east coast, meeting the Grays for two-games, the Beaneaters for two, and then going to Providence, Boston, Providence and then Boston again for the last four games of the trip. The Phillies would lose both of their games with the Grays, before finally breaking their four-games losing streak with a victory over Boston. After losing their second game with Boston, they would defeat the Grays, before losing the next two games in Boston and Providence. They would then end their nine-games road trip with a victory over the Beaneaters, thus ending their Eastern trip with a 3-7 record. After splitting another Philadelphia to New York series with the Giants, losing at home and winning in New York, the Phillies would go on their first trip to the west, planning to meet the White Stockings, the Maroons, the Bisons and the Wolverines for several four-games series, for the rest of June and the start of July. After losing the first two games, the Phillies would end their visit to Chicago with a series split, as they would win the last two games. Going to St. Louis for the first time in the organization’s existance, their would lose the first three games of the series, thus ending the month with a sour record of 7-14, while having an overall record of 21-22 for the season.
July would begin with the Phillies winning the final game of their first road series in St. Louis. After losing the first game of their series with the Bisons, the Phillies would sweep a July 4th doubleheader from them by the scores of 10-5 and 7-2, the first doubleheader sweep in the franchise’s history. The Phils would then lose the last game of their series with the Bisons, then lose their first two games with the Wolverines, before splitting the last two games, thus ending the road trip with a 6-10 record. The Phillies would then come home to play a twenty-games home stand for the rest of July and early August, in which they would play seven straight two-games series with the Beaneaters, the Grays, the Wolverines, the Maroons, the Wolverines again, the Maroons again, and the White Stockings, before playing a single game with the Bisons, followed by two more games with the White Stockings and then three more games with the Bisons, before they would go on another east coast road trip. The Phillies would start the home stand by splitting their series with Boston, before being swept by Providence. After splitting the next two series, they would sweep their second two-games series with Detriot, including a 19-2 rout, before being swept themselves by both the Maroons and the White Stockings, with the later two games being 2-0 and 9-0 shut outs. The Phillies would thus end July just as badly as they had ended June, with a 9-14 record, while their overall record would now be a somewhat respectible 30-36.
After starting August by defeating the Bisons, the Phillies would be swept once again by the White Stockings, before ending the home stand by winning two of their three games with the Bisons, thus ending the home stand with an 8-12 record. The Phils would then visit Boston, Providence and New York for three straight two-games series on the road. The Phils would sweep the Grays, then spilt their series with the Beaneaters, before being swept by the Giants, to end up with a 3-3 road trip. They would then participate in a six-games home stand with the Beaneaters for two games, the Grays for three and the Giants for one. After splitting the series with Boston, the Phillies would then proceed to sweep the Grays, starting it with a 2-0 blanking in the series’ first game, and ending it with Charlie Ferguson pitching a 1-0 no-hitter against the Grays on August 29, the first no-hitter in the franchise’s history. The Phils would then end their home stand by losing to the Giants for a 4-2 home stand and ending the month with an 11-11 record. The team’s overall record would now be at 41-47.
The Phillies would start off September by visiting the Giants, before playing against them at home for two more games. After losing the game in New York, the Phillies would sweep New York at home, which would be their last home games of the year, as they would now spend the rest of September and all of their October games on the road. With their two wins over the Giants, they would end the year with a 29-26 mark at home, while their overall record at this point would be 43-48. Their long twenty-games road trip would include two straight two-games series with the Grays and the Beaneaters, before ending with four four-games series with the four western teams, the Bisons, the Wolverines, the Maroons and the White Stockings. After splitting the series with Providence, they would sweep the two-games series with Boston. After losing the first game in Buffalo, they would win the next three games against the Bisons, before going to Detroit and losing the series with the Wolverines, 1-3. The Phillies would then go to St. Louis, where they would win their last game in September, to end the month with a 10-6 record, and an overall record of 51-53, now just two games under .500.
The Phillies would start October with a 3-3 tie against the Maroons, before sweeping the next two games to take the series at 3-0-1. In their last series of the year, against Chicago, after losing the first game, they would win their last three games of the season, to end the month with a 5-1-1 record, and the road trip at 13-6-1, as they would end the season at 56-54-1. This would land them in third place for the first time in the team’s history with a .509 winning percentage, three games ahead of the fourth place Grays, 28 games behind the second place Giants and 30 games behind the 1885 NL Champs, the White Stockings. The team’s road record would end up being 27-28-1.
The Phillies would meet the other teams in the National League sixteen times each, except for the Grays, whom they would meet fifteen times. They would have winning records against five of those teams (Beaneaters, Bisons, Wolverines, Grays and Maroons) with their best record being against the Bisons at 11-5. Their worst records would be against the White Stockings and the Giants, both ending up at 5-11. The Phillies would be 10-9 in shut outs, 13-12 in 1-run games and 17-19 in blowouts. The Phillies would play 55 games at home before 150,698 fans.
In 111 games played, Phillies batters would end up being second in doubles (156), fourth in walks (220), fifth in at-bats (3893), runs scored (513) and home runs (20) and sixth in hits (891), triples (35), strike outs (401), batting average (.229), slugging percentage (.302) and on-base percentage (.270), while also having 327 rbis. Among pitchers, the team ended up second in hits allowed (860), third in ERA (2.39), wins (56), complete games (108), shut outs (10), runs allowed (511), home runs allowed (18), walks given up (218), fourth in innings pitched (976), fifth in saves (0) and strike outs (378) and sixth in loses (54), while also finishing three games, giving up 259 earned runs, throwing 63 wild pitches and being called for three balks.
Individually, the team leaders in offensive categories would be Joe Mulvey at Batting Average (.269), Slugging Percentage (.393), Hits (119), Total Bases (174), Doubles (25), Triples and Home Runs (6 each) and RBIs (64), Ed Andrews in on-base percentage (.318), runs scored (77) and singles (94), Sid Farrar and Jim Fogarty in games played (111), Jack Manning in at-bats (445), total plate appearances (482) and walks (37) and Charlie Bastian in strikeouts with 82. Among pitchers, Charlie Ferguson and Ed Daily would be tied for the team lead in wins with 26, becoming the first pitchers to win 20 or more games in the same year in franchise’s history, while Daily would become the team’s second twenty-games winner. Daily would also lead the team in ERA (2.21), games pitched (50), innings pitched (440), home runs allowed (12), walks (90), hits allowed (370), loses (23), earned runs allowed (108), and wild pitches (40), while Ferguson led the team in strikeouts (197), shut outs (5) and games finished (3).
The Phillies’ third place finish would, for the moment, place them among the league’s elite, while they prepare to compete for a league pennant in 1886.
Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com, Baseball-reference.com, Baseball History: 19th Century Baseball.com