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I’m sure that most Phillies fans have probably never even heard of Charlie Ferguson, or if they have, know very little about him. Well, to be rather frank, I was among those who have never even heard of him, until I’d started doing my year-by-year look at our loveable losers and discovered him for the very first time, while also discovering that before his untimely death in 1888, at a very young age, from typhoid fever, he was developing into the team’s first true pitching star, way before the more well known Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander.
Ferguson was born on April 17, 1863, in Charlotteville, Virigina, the home of American Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe, and located near the strategic Shenandoah Valley, an area that during his youth would be constantly fought over by Northern and Southern troops during the country’s Civil War, while the city would itself be spared. Going to the University of Pennsylvania for his college education, where he would learn to play baseball, Ferguson would come back home after graduation and proceed to play for the Virginia member of the Eastern (now International) League in 1883. His team would win the Eastern League pennant that year, while his pitching would catch the eyes of the Philadelphia Quakers (now Phillies), who were preparing for their second year as a member of the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or the NL. After signing a contract, he would make his Major League debut on May 1, 1884, pitching against the Detroit Wolverine in Philadelphia at Recreation Park. He would be the game’s winning pitcher, as the Phillies would trounce the Wolverines 13-2. During his rookie season, he would pitch in 50 games, starting in 47 of them, and completing all but one of his starts, while finishing up three more. His record would be 21-25, thus becoming the franchise’s first twenty-game winner, as well as saving one other game, and throwing two shut outs, as he ended the season with an ERA of 3.54. Ferguson would pitch in 416.7 innings that year, giving up 297 runs, 164 of which would be earned, on 443 hits, as he struck out 194 batters while walking only 93 and giving up 13 home runs. In his rookie season he would be among the NL leaders in games (6), games started (6), complete games (6), games finished (3), wins (7), loses (2), saves (2), shut outs (10), innings pitched (6), strikeouts (7), hits allowed (6), walks (7), earned runs allowed (1), home runs allowed (7) and walks (7).
After helping lead the team to a 6th place finish in 1884, he would lead them to a third place finish in 1885, as he would have his second straight twenty-win season, as he would go 26-20 that year, with an ERA of 2.22. Ferguson would this time pitch in only 48 games, starting and completing 45 of them, of which five were shut outs, while finishing three other games. He would pitch in 405 innings, giving up just 197 runs, only 100 of which would be earned, on just 345 hits, as he would rung up 197 strike outs while walking just 81 batters and giving up only 5 home runs. On August 29, 1885, in Philadelphia, he would pitch the first Phillies’ No-Hitter, as he would blank the Providence Grays, 1-0. In his second season as a Phil, he would be among the league leaders in games (8), games started (9), complete games (8), games finished (1), wins (5), win/lost percentage (8), ERA (7), shut outs (6), innings pitched (7), strikeouts (6), hits allowed (10) and walks (10). He would also hit .306 for that year, in which he would play 15 games in the outfield for a grand total of 61 games.
1886 would be his breakout season, as he would become the Phillies’ first thirty-game winner as he would go 30-9, with a 1.98 ERA, in 48 games pitched, of which 45 would be starts, completing 43. He would also pitch four shut outs that year, while he would finish two other games, and collect two saves. In 395.7 innings of work, he would give up just 145 runs, of which 87 would be earned, on only 317 hits, while striking out 212 batters and walking only 69, while giving up 11 home runs. In his junior year as a Phil, he would be among the leaders in games (7), games started (9), complete games (7), games finished (7), wins (6), win/lost percentage (2), saves (1), ERA (2), shut outs (2), innings pitched (7), strikeouts (8), and home runs allowed (6). Although his efforts would help to improve the team’s overall record, the Phillies would end the year in fourth place in the National League.
In 1887, his pitching record would drop as he would end the season going only 22-10 with an ERA of 3.00, in just 37 games, of which 33 would be starts, he would complete 31 of them, with 2 of them being shut outs, while he would finish four out other games, collecting a save. In only 297.3 innings of work, he would give up 154 runs, of which 99 would be earned, on 297 hits, while he would strike out 125 batters, while walking only 47 and giving up 13 home runs. In his fourth season as a Phil, he would be among the league leaders in only games finished (2), wins (8), win/lost percentage (3), saves (1), ERA (3), shut outs (5) and strikeouts (5).
The main reason for his pitching drop was because the Phillies’ manager, future Hall of Famer Harry Wright, an early strategist of the game, had decided to place Ferguson’s strong bat into the Phils’ regular lineup for the pennant run, as Ferguson would end up playing six games in the outfield, five games at third base, and twenty-seven ballgames at second base, playing that position for the final eight weeks of the season, as he would replace the bats of a couple of second baseman who were hitting a combine total of only .214. In 72 games, Ferguson would hit .337, going to the plate 264 times, knocking in 85 runs on 89 hits, while scoring 67 runs, Ferguson would hit 14 doubles, 6 triples and 3 home runs, while stealing 13 bases. He would walk 34 times while striking out only 19. He would miss out being the team’s leading batter for that year, because he would not have enough plate appearances. He would, though, end up leading the team in RBIs. Ferguson’s strong bat would help the Phillies end up a strong second to the Detroit Wolverines.
The Phillies’ strong finish at the end of the 1887 season, going 16-0-1 in their last seventeen games, would make the team confident of being able to challenge for their first NL pennant when the team entered spring training in 1888. Sadly, it was not to be as they would be struck an early blow in camp as Charlie Ferguson would be struck down by typhoid fever, dying to the dreaded disease on April 29, at the young age of 25. Ferguson would be sent back home to Charlotteville, Virginia, where he would be buried in Maplewood Cementery. During the 1888 season, in which the Phillies would drop to third place in the standings, the Phillies, the Giants, the Beaneaters and the Washington Nationals would all commemorate his passing by wearing a black crepe on their left shoulders of their team uniforms.
During his four years as a Phil, Charlie Ferguson would pitch in 183 games, starting in 170 and completing 165, while finishing 12 others. He would have a winning record of 99-64, with a winning percentage of .607, having 13 shut outs and four saves. In 1514.2 innings pitched, he would give up only 793 runs, 450 of which would be earned, on 1402 hits. He would strike out 728 batters while only walking 290, while giving up only 42 home runs. His career ERA would be 2.67. His career batting average would be .288 in 257 total games played, getting 191 hits in 963 at-bats, knocking in 157 runs while scoring 191. He would have a career total of 37 doubles, 13 triples and 6 home runs, while stealing 22 bases. Ferguson would walk 113 times while striking out 119. His 99 wins would land him in 8th place on the all-time Phillies’ win lists, trailing the likes of Hall of Famers Steve Carlton, Robert Roberts and Alexander, as well as Chris Short and possible future Hall of Famer Curt Schilling, while his 64 losses would have him tied for 24th place on that list. His ERA would place him 6th. Ferguson would also be 17th in games started, 4th in complete games, 11th in innings pitched and strikeouts and tied for 14th in shut outs, as well as be among the top 50 in several other pitching categories.
With Ferguson’s death, the Phillies would lose a chance to win a NL pennant before the turn of the century. Although the team would remain a member of the first division, except during the period 1895-97, they would not reach second place again until 1901. His early death would also deny Ferguson a place among baseball immortals at the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, N.Y., as it would be more than likely he would have won enough games, based on his winning 99 games in just four years with a then good Phillies team, to get the nod via the Veterans Committee, if not for his being stricken down by typhoid.
Main sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Ferguson_%281880s_pitcher%29 - Wikipedia page
http://www.19cbaseball.com/players-charlie-ferguson.html - Biography at Baseball History: 19th Century Baseball.com
http://www.baseball-reference.com//f/ferguch01.shtml - Stats at Baseball-reference.com
http://www.thedeadballera.com/Obits/Obits_F/Ferguson.Charles01.Obit.html - Charlie Ferguson’s Philadelphia Inquirer obit – TheDeadballEra.com
Other sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com, Baseball-reference.com, Phillies.com: Team History, Baseball History: 19th Century Baseball.com
In 1884, with Harry Wright, the future Hall of Fame manager, as the ballclub’s third manager, Reach and Rodgers would try to put together a team that they hope would become a better contender for the National League pennant than was the previous year’s team. Among the changes made would be a change in the team’s nickname, as the Quakers would now be known as the Philadelphias, following the naming convention of the time. The local sports writers would later shorten the team’s nickname down to the Phillies, which is today the longest used team nickname in American sports history. But, the local sports writers would continue to call the ballclub the Quakers in their reporting on the team, officially until 1890, using the two names interchangeably, and unofficially into the first couple of decades of the 20th century.
The Harry Wright-led Phillies would face in 1884 the same seven teams that they had faced the previous season: Boston, Providence, New York, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago. Their home ball park would remain Recreation Park.
The Phillies would begin the 1884 season as they have begun the disastrous 1883 season, in May, with a home stand. But, unlike the previous season, the Phillies would be involved in a twenty-one-games home stand, facing the Wolverines for two games, the White Stockings for four games, the Bisons for two games, the Blues for two games, then another two-games series with the Bisons, followed by a second two-games series with the Blues, two games with the Beaneaters, two games with the Grays, a second two-games series with Boston and finally a single game series with the Grays. The Phillies’ home opener with the Wolverines would see the Phillies win their first opening day game in the club’s history, as they pounded Detroit, 13-2. After winning the second game in their short series with the Wolverines, the team would win their third game in a row as they would beat the White Stockings in a close game, 9-8. The Phillies, after starting the season off on such a high note, would go back to their losing ways as they would lose their next three games with the White Stockings, followed by a lost to the Bisons, 9-7. After winning their next two games and then splitting the next four games of their home stand, the Phillies would find themselves mired in a long seven games losing streak, which would include seeing them being shut out three times, including a 13-0 defeat at the hands of the Beaneaters, before they would defeat the Grays in the final game of their long home stand, 4-3. Leaving Philadelphia with a record of 8-13, they would begin their first road trip of the season, a trip along the eastern seaboard, where they would face both the Beaneaters and the Grays for two two-games series, before ending the road trip with a two-games series against the Gothams in New York. Their first two two-games series against the Beaneaters and the Grays, which would include a doubleheader that was played first in Boston with the Beaneaters and then in Providence with the Grays on May 30, would see the Phillies end up losing all four games, thus ending the month of May with a losing record of 8-17.
June would begin just as badly for the Phils as May has just ended, as they would lose the two games of their second two-games series with Boston and then lose the first game of their second two-games series with the Grays, 4-0, before they would finally win their first road game of the year, a close 9-8 victory over the Grays. The Phillies would then start an eight-games series with the Gothams, that would include two two-games series in Philadelphia, as well as a second two-games series in New York. After losing the first two games in New York, thus ending their first road trip of the year with a 1-9 record, the Phillies would begin the first of their two two-games series with the Gothams in Philadelphia. The eight-games series between these two future rivals would see the Phillies playing the Gothams as competitively as they could, but when the eight-games series was over, the Phillies would leave Philadelphia having lost the series 3-5, although winning the second of the two-games series played in New York and splitting the second two-games series in Philadelphia. The Phillies would then begin their second major road trip of the year with a single game against the Grays, followed by a two-games series with the Beaneaters, then a second single game series against the Grays, before heading to Cleveland for four games with the Blues, followed by a four-games series in Buffalo, then four games against the White Stockings and then four games with the Wolverines, before finally ending the road trip with two games against the Gothams, for a total of twenty-two games from mid-June to mid-July. After losing the first game in Providence and then splitting the series with the Beaneaters, the Phillies would then lose the second game in Providence, before going on to Cleveland and losing their series with the Blues, 1-3. The Phillies would then drop the series with the Bisons, also 1-3, thus ending the month of June with a 7-17 record for the month, while having a season record of 15-34.
The Philles would begin July losing their four-games series with the White Stockings, 1-3, including losing a July 4 doubleheader by the scores of 3-1 and 22-3, before splitting the four-games series with the Wolverines and then losing the two-games series with the Gothams, ending their long road trip with a 6-16 record. After losing a two-games series at home against the Gothams, the Phillies would play four single games series, facing first the Grays, then Boston, then Providence again and then the Beaneaters once more, before coming home for a long home stand. The Phillies would split the four games, 2-2, losing the first two and then winning the last two. Their next home stand would see the Phillies play two games with the Grays, then two games with the Beaneaters, followed by a single game against the Grays, then two more games with the Beaneaters, followed by another single game series with the Grays, before they would face the Gothams for the final two games of the home stand with their east coast opponents. The Phils would begin the home stand by first losing the two games with the Grays, then losing the two with the Beaneaters, the two teams that would once again be fighting it out for the National League pennant, thus ending July on another losing note, as they would end the month with a dismal 5-15 record, while their season record would now be at 20-49.
The Phillies would start August with their losing streak going to six games as their would lose their game with Providence and then their first game with the Beaneaters, before finally ending the streak with a 6-2 victory over Boston. After losing the next game with Providence, the Phillies would split their two games with the Gothams, thus ending the home stand with a 2-8 record, before the two teams would head on to New York for another two games series, which would also end up as a split series. The Phillies would then go back home to Philadelphia for another long home stand, this time against teams from the west, starting with a five-games series with the Blues, followed by a four-games series with the Bisons, then a six-games series with the Wolverines, and then, finally, a four-games series with the White Stockings, for a grand total of twenty-nine games from late-August to mid-September. The Phils would begin the home stand by losing the opener to the Blues, and then tying the second game on August 20, 9-9. They would then win the next three games with Cleveland, including a 20-1 pounding of the Blues, thus winning their first series since their July 23 single series game with Boston, going 3-1-1. They would then lose the series with the Bisons, going 1-3, ending August with a somewhat good record of 7-9-1 and with an overall season mark of 27-58-1.
The Phillies would start off September on a high note as they would win their six-games series with the Wolverines, going 4-2, before getting creamed in their four-games series with the White Stockings, losing by scores of 15-10, 16-6, 19-2 and 5-2, thus ending their long home stand with a somewhat respectible record of 8-10-1. The Phillies would then conduct their second and final western road trip, facing the Bisons, the Blues, the Wolverines and the White Stockings for four games each. The Phillies would start their series against Buffalo by losing the first three games, increasing their losing streak to seven games, before finally ending it with a 3-0 shut out of the Bisons on September 20. The Phillies would then embark on a winning streak of their own, defeating the Blues for four straight games and then winning their first game with the Wolverines, for a six games winning streak, as they would end their first winning month in the team’s history by going 10-9, while increasing their season record to 37-67-1.
The Phillies would start October seeing their winning streak end as they lose to Detroit, 1-0, before going on to win their next two games, winning the series at 3-1. The Phillies would then go on to Chicago, where they would be swept in four games by the White Stockings. They would then come back home on October 15, to finish out the season by losing to the Grays, 8-0, ending the month with a 2-6 record and the season with a record of 39-73-1, with a winning percentage of .348.
In their second season of existance, the Phillies would end the year in sixth place, 23 games behind the fifth place White Stockings and 45 games behind the 1884 NL champions, the Providence Grays. The Phillies would end up playing sixteen ballgames with each of their opponents, except for the Blues, whom they would face in seventeen games. Their best season record would be with the Wolverines, against whom they would go 11-5, followed by the Blues at 10-6-1. They would have losing records with the rest of the league: Bisons and Gothams (5-11), Beaneaters and Grays (3-13) and White Stockings (2-14). The Phillies would go 3-13 in shut outs, 10-11 in 1-run games and 12-43 in blow outs. The Phillies would be 19-37-1 at home, while they would go 20-36 on the road, which would be improvements over their previous season’s home/road record, as they would go 9-40-1 at home and 8-41 on the road. The team’s home attendence for the year, at 100,475 fans, would be an increase over the team’s 1883 attendence mark of 55,992 fans.
In 1884, the team would play in 113 games, with the batters ending the season with a team batting average of .234 (7th), a team slugging percentage of .272 (6th) and a team on-base percentage of .301 (7th). The team batted 3998 times (6th) and had 934 hits (6th), as they scored 549 runs (6th) of which 343 would be by RBIs. Of their 934 hits, the Phillies would have 149 2Bs (5th), 39 3Bs (8th) and 14 HRs (8th). Phillies batters would receive 209 walks (5th), while striking out 512 times (4th). Pitching wise, the Phillies pitchers would have a team ERA of 3.93 (8th), with 106 complete games (7th), of which only three were shut outs (7th), while seven other games would be completed by another pitcher. The pitchers would convert one save (3rd) during the season. In 981 innings pitched (8th), they would give up 1090 hits (7th) and 824 runs (8th), of which 428 were earned. They would give up 38 home runs (6th) and walked 254 batters (6th), while striking out 411 (8th). They also committed 126 wild pitches.
Among the team’s batting leaders, Jack Manning would lead the team in batting average (.271), slugging percentage (.394), on-base percentage (.334), total bases (167), doubles (29), home runs (5), RBIs (52), walks (40), strikeouts (67) and extra-base hits (38), while Bill McClellan would lead the team in at-bats (450), total plate appearances (478), hits (116) and singles (98), Ed Andrews would lead in runs scored (74), Blondie Purcell would lead in triples (7), while McClellan and Sid Ferrar would be tied for most games played at 111. In pitching, Charlie Ferguson led the team in games pitched (50), games started (47), games finished (3), complete games (46), wins (21), loses (25), saves (1), shut outs (2), innings pitched (416.7) and strikeouts (194), while Bill Vinton would lead in ERA (2.23) and Jim McElroy in wild pitches (46).
Charlie Ferguson, in his first major league season, would become the first twenty-game winner in franchise’s history with his 21 victories.
Harry Wright would continue as the Phillies’ manager in 1885, as he continue to try to turn the team into a first division team in the eight team National League.
Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com, Baseball-Reference.com
In 1883, Philadelphia, along with New York, would rejoin the eight-teams National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or the National League, after the 1876 editions of both clubs, in the league’s first season of existence, were both expelled by the league for their refusal to participate in a late season western cities road trip. The new Philadelphia team, nicknamed the Quakers, would be brought into existance by former professional ballplayer and sporting goods manufacturer Al Reach, and his partner, attorney John Rogers, after the two men had successfully won the franchise rights of the now defunct Worcester (Massachusetts) Brown Stockings (also known as the Ruby Legs), which has gone bankrupt in 1882. Reach would become the team’s first president. The team’s first manager would be Bob Ferguson, who was, like Reach, a former professional ballplayer, as well as the former manager of the Troy (New York) Trojans, another disbanded team, whose franchise right would be bought by the New York Gothams (later the New York/San Francisco Giants). The Quakers would play their home games out of Recreation Park, which was located in North Philadelphia between 23rd and 25th Streets and Ridge and Columbia (now Cecil B. Moore) Avenues.
The Phillies’ opponents for its inaugural season, along with fellow newcomer, the New York Gothams, would be, by geographical order: Boston Beaneaters (1876 member); Providence (Rhode Island) Grays (1878 member); Buffalo (New York) Bisons (1879 member); Cleveland Blues (1879 member); Detroit Wolverines (1881 member) and Chicago White Stockings (1876 member). Of the other six teams, only Boston (now in Atlanta) and Chicago, along with the new teams from Philadelphia and New York (now in San Francisco), would still be playing in the National League.
The Quakers’ first game, which was also their first home game, would be played on May 1, 1883 against the Providence Grays. The game would end up as a 4-3 lost to the Grays. The Phillies would then play two more games with the Grays, followed by a three game series at home with the Beaneaters, all loses, including two games in which the opposition would score twenty or more runs against the Quakers, a 24-6 thumping by the Grays on May 3 and a 20-8 defeat by the Beaneaters on May 7, ending the team’s first home stand winless. After losing two straight games on the road to the White Stockings in Chicago, the Quakers would finally get the first victory in Phillies’ history, a 12-1 victory on May 14 against the White Stockings, thus ending the first losing streak in Phillies’ history at eight games. After winning their second victory over the Wolverines in Detroit, for the club’s first winning streak, the Quakers would lose the next two games in the series, quickly followed by a two-game split with the Blues in Cleveland before they would lose their three games series against the Bisons in Buffalo, including the first game in which the Phillies would be unable to score a single run, losing 4-0 on May 25, before winning the last game in the series on May 28, 3-2, thus ending its first road trip at 4-7. But before their next home stand, the Quakers’ manager, Ferguson, with a record of 4-13, would be fired by the owners, thus becoming the first Phillies manager to be let go. He would be quickly replaced by Blondie Purcell, a player on the Quakers’, thus becoming the team’s first player-manager. Sadly, the change in managers would not improve the team’s fortunes, as they would begin their next home stand, on May 30, losing the team’s first doubleheader, dropping both games to the White Stockings by the lopsided scores of 15-8 and 22-4. The team would then end their first month of existance by losing their third game in a row to the White Stockings by the score of 4-3, with a record for the month of 4-16.
June would begin just as badly for the Quakers as it would finish its first four game series by losing to the White Stockings 10-1. During the rest of the home stand, three more four games series with the Wolverines, Blues, and Bisons, the team would go 4-8, which would include the first game in which the Quakers would score 20 or more runs, a 20-4 drubbings of the Wolverines on June 6, which was also the team’s first home victory, as well as the team’s first shut out victory, a 2-0 win against the Bisons on June 14, ending the home stand at 4-12. The team would then go back on the road for two two-games series with the Beaneaters and the Grays and a single game series with the Gothams. The Quakers’ bad fortune would continue as they would lose the first six games of that road trip, including a 29-4 shlacking by the Beaneaters on June 20, before finally gaining another road victory, the team’s first shut out defeat of an opponent on the road, as they would defeat the Grays 4-0 on June 26, before losing the last two games of the road trip. The team would then come home to face the Gothams, losing the game 8-6, thus ending the month of June with a losing record of 5-18 and an overall record of 9-34, last in the league. Also in June, on the ninth, the NL would allow the Quakers to slash its ticket prices down to .25 cents, so that it would be able to compete with the more popular Philadelphia Athletics baseball club of the rival American Association, as the team’s home attendence would increase because of the decrease in ticket price.
In July, things doesn’t get any better for the ballclub, as the Quakers would lose two more games to the Gothams, the first one at Recreation Park, then the other in New York, before they begin a short four games home stand with the Grays and the Beaneaters. After winning a forfeit with the Grays (the actual score was 9-11 Grays) as the Grays had to leave town so that they could play a game with the Gothams in New York on that same day, the Quakers would get swept once again by the Beaneaters, including a game that they would play after the forfeited game with the Grays (both played on July 4). (The forefited game would also be the first series that the Phillies would win in the club’s history.) The Quakers would then spend the rest of the month on another ‘western’ road trip, which would include a five games series (their first) with the Blues, and three straight four games series against the Bisons, the White Stockings and the Wolverines. By the time they finally limp back home on August 4 to face the Gothams, the road trip would be a complete disaster, as they would only win three games of the seventeen games road trip, thus ending the month of July with a 3-17 record, while their overall season record would now be at 12-51, still in last place.
Back home, the Phillies would lose to the Gothams, before heading to New York to lose the next game. After coming back home to gain a victory over their fellow newcomer, they would go back to New York, where they would be swept in two games there. They would then be swept in two straight three games series by both the Beaneaters and the Grays, the two teams who were at this point fighting for the National League pennant. Among these loses would be a 28-0 drubbing at the hands of the Grays on August 21, the most lopsided shut out in the game’s history. The Quakers would then end the month playing three more games with the Gothams (one of which was played at Recreation Park) and two home games with the Grays, losing all five, thus ending the month of August with a 2-17 record and an overall record of 14-68.
The Quakers would spend the rest of the season playing at home, playing seventeen games with the Beaneaters (1), the Grays (1), the Gothams (2), the Blues (3), the Bisons (3), the Wolverines (4) and the White Stockings (3). The Quakers would go 3-13-1 in those games, which would include their third two-games winning streak, as they would win single games with the Grays, winning their second series, and the Gothams, get no-hit on September 13 by Hugh Daly of the Blues, losing 1-0, and be tied for the first time in the team’s history on September 22 with the Wolverines, as the two teams would play that day to a 6-6 tie. The Quakers would end its first season in the National League in last place with a 17-81-1 record, 23 games behind seventh place Detroit and 46 games behind the league’s champion, the Boston Beaneaters.
Against the rest of the league, the team would only have losing records in 1883: Beaneaters (0-14); Grays (3-11); Gothams (2-12); Bisons (5-9); Blues (2-12); Wolverines (3-11-1) and White Stockings (2-12), with its worst record being against the Beaneaters and its best being against the Bisons. They would be 3-7 in shut outs, 2-12 in 1-run games and 4-42 in blowouts.
In a 99 games season, the team would go to the plate a total of 3576 times (6th) while getting only 859 hits (7th) for a team batting average of .240 (8th), a team on-base percentage of .269 (8th) and a team slugging percentage of .320 (8th). The Quakers would score 437 runs (8th) on 299 RBIs. The team would get 181 2Bs (6th), 48 3Bs (6th) and 3 HRs (8th), while also receiving 141 walks (4th) as they struck out 355 (5th) times. Pitching wise, the Quakers had a Team ERA of 5.34 (8th), and in 99 games played, they had 91 complete games (2nd) with 8 other games finished by another pitcher, only 3 (8th) of which would be shut outs. In 864 innings pitched (5th), the team’s pitchers would give up 1267 hits (8th), allow 887 runs (8th) to score of which 513 were earned, give up 20 HRs (6th) and walk 125 batters (5th) and strike out only 253 (8th).
Individually, the team batting leader was Purcell with a .268 batting average, while Jack Manning would lead the team in slugging percentage with .364 and in on-base percentage with .300. Purcell would also lead the team with 425 at-bats, 70 runs scored, 114 hits and 88 singles, while Manning would also lead the team in total at-bats with about 470, 153 total bases, 31 doubles, and 37 RBIs. Other team batting leaders were: Sid Farrar in games played (99); John Coleman and Farrar in triples (8 each); Purcell, Bil McClellan and Emil Gross in home runs (1 each); Bill Harbridge in walks (24) and Coleman in strikeouts (39). In pitching, Coleman would also be the team leader in ERA (4.87), wins (12), loses (48), games pitched (65), innings pitched (538.3), strikeouts (159), games started (61), complete games (59), and shut outs (3).
After the season, Purcell would be replaced as the team’s manager with Harry Wright, another former professional ballplayer, and former manager of the second place Grays, and before that, the manager of the Beaneaters, leading that franchise to NL pennants in 1877 and 1878. It was hoped by both Reach and Rogers that he would turn the team’s fortune around.
Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com and Baseball-Reference.com
Now, let’s see how the Phillies did pitching wise, both individually and as a team. First, let’s look at the entire pitching staff as a whole.
In 2008, in 162 games, the Phillies pitchers would win 92 games and would lose 70 for a winning percentage of .568. The overall staff ERA would be 3.88, fourth best in the league. The starters would finish four games, which would tie them for fifth in the league, along with the Houston Astros and the San Francisco Giants. The team would pitch eleven shut outs, tying them for fourth in the NL with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The relief corps would end up saving 47 games, for second place, out of a total of 62 save opportunities, tying them for sixth with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The pitching staff would pitch a total of 1449 and 2/3 innings (seventh), during which they would give up 1444 hits (eight worst), allow only 680 runners to score (14th worst), of which only 625 of those runs would be earned (13th worst). They would be hit for 160 home runs, tying them for tenth worst in that category with the Chicago Cubs. They would hit a total of 57 batters (seventh worst). The staff would strike out 1081 batters (11th), while walking only 533 (11th), of which 64 would be intentional (third), striking out 2.03 batters for every one that they would walk (seventh). The pitching staff would walk on average 3.31 batters per game (BB/9) (sixth), while striking out 6.71 batters per game (K/9) (12th worst). They would give up on average only 8.96 hits per game (H9) (ninth). They gave up a total of 2280 total bases, tying them for eighth with the San Diego Padres. They would give up only two balks during the entire year, tying them for second in that category with the Diamondbacks. They gave up only 34 wild pitches (second best). They allowed 109 stolen bases (fifth), while helping to catch 34 runners (ninth) and picking off 8 more, tying them for sixth with the Atlanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers. They would get 1718 batters out via ground outs (seventh) and get out 1465 more via fly outs (tenth) with a GO/AO ratio of 1.26 (seventh). The staff’s WHIP (Walks plus Hits/Innings Pitched) is 1.36, tied for fifth with the Astros. Opponents are batting .260 (eighth) against the pitching staff, while its SLG (Slugging Percentage Allowed) is .410 (ninth), and its OBA (On-Base Percentage Allowed) is .329 (sixth). The staff has faced(PA) 6229 batters (11th worst), throwing to them (NP) a total of 23,498 pitches (12th worst), throwing 16.21 pitches per inning pitched (P/IP) (fifth). The relief corps would successfully hold the lead 79 times, tying them for fourth with the Astros.
The pitching staff, thanks mainly to the bullpen, but also to a starting rotation that got its act together towards the end of the season, would place itself among the best in team ERA, while placing itself either among the leaders or in the middle of the pack in most pitching categories, including saves, shut outs, complete games, innings pitched, fewest runs allowed and earned runs, fewest wild pitches thrown, fewest hit batters, most batters struck out per nine innings and least batters walked per nine innings, lowest opponents’ batting average, fewest home runs given up and most leads held. After starting the season with a lot of question marks, especially around the relief corps, the team’s pitchers would end up being among the National League elite staffs.
Now individually, the team’s starting ace, Cole Hamels would find himself among the league leaders in wins with 14 (T-15th), innings pitched with 227.1 (second), games started with 33 (T-ninth), earned run average with 3.09 (T-fifth), strikouts with 196 (sixth), complete games with 2 (T-sixth) and shut outs with 2 (T-third). Jamie Moyer is among the league leaders in win with 16 (T-seventh), earned run average with .371 (T-15th) and game started with 33 (T-ninth). Brett Myers is among the leaders in strike outs with 163 (T-17th), complete games with two (T-sixth) and shut outs with 1 (T-seventh). Brad Lidge is among the league leaders in saves with 41 (T-second). J.C. Romero is among the league leaders in games pitched with 81 (T-fifth) as is Ryan Madson with 76 (T-ninth).
The stats show that this year, although he didn’t lead the team in wins, thanks to the offense at time not giving him a lot of runs, Cole Hamels was the team’s ace as he lead the team in most other categories. The stats also shown that getting Brad Lidge has provided the Phillies’ relief corps with a nail down closer. If a team can shut down the Rays’ bats during the World Series, the Phillies should be the team to do it.
The Phillies (41-30) will start a six games home stand and the resumption of their involvement in Interleague Play tonight by hosting the World Champion Boston Red Sox (44-28, 1st American League East) for three games. The series’ opener will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound their ace Cole Hamels (6-4, 3.27), who is coming off a no-decision against the Marlins on June 11, where he went eight innings, giving up only two earned runs, both on solo home runs to Jorge Cantu, on three hits, in the Phils’ 6-2 lost. In his previous start against the Reds on June 5, he would pitch a complete game shut out as he gave up only three hits to the Reds, in the Phils’ 5-0 victory. This will be his first time facing the BoSox, so he will be seeing how well he pitches against an elite team of the American League while trying to get his own team back on the winning track after suffering a couple of tough loses over the weekend. His opponent will be Bartolo Colon (4-1, 3.41), who is coming off a win against the Baltimore Orioles on June 11, where he pitched six innings, giving up an earned run on five scattered hits, in the Red Sox’s 6-3 win. In his five starts, Bartolo has given up three earned runs or less in all but one of his starts. Lifetime against the Phillies, he is 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA in four starts, while this will be his first start at Citizens Bank Park. He will be trying to pitch his team past the Phils so that they can stay ahead of the surprisingly good Tampa Bay Rays.
The Phillies will be looking to regroup after losing their last two series on their recent nine games road trip, especially after yesterday’s lost to the Cardinals thanks to a pair of misconnections between Chase Utley and Tom Gordon with two men out in the bottom of the tenth which allowed the Cardinals to win the extra-inning game. The offense will be trying to once again score a lot of runs like they were doing several weeks earlier. With their upcoming series against the BoSox and the Angels, the Phillies will be seeing if they can compete with a pair of elite teams in the American League, whom they might be playing against if they get into the World Series later this year, as well as to see if any problem that they might have will be exposed now so that they can be plugged up later before the late summer and September stretch run towards the pennant.
Oh, and it seems that Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina has only received a concussion from his close encounter with Eric Bruntlett, but he was kept in the hospital for overnight observation, just in case. Thanks goodness. I hate to see a ballplayer get injured, no matter what the cause, or which team they play for.
Going into tonight’s game, Cole Hamels is among the National League leaders in Earned Run Average (10th), Strikeouts (4th-T), Innings Pitched (4th), Complete Games (1st-T) and Shut Outs (1st). He is also tied for 17th in Wins (6) and is tied for 16th in Games Started (14). As mentioned earlier, he will be trying to help his team defeat an elite team of the American League while improving on his stats in each category.
Inspite of the lost, the Phillies have at present the third best record in the National League, trailing only the National League Central leading Chicago Cubs (45-25), and the St. Louis Cardinals (42-29). In fact, they are at present the only National League teams to have won 40 or more games so far this season. Only three other teams in the majors have won over 40 or more games: Boston, the American League Western leading Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (42-28) and the Tampa Bay Rays (40-29). They have the best road record in the National League (20-17) and one of the best record at home (21-13). Only one other team has scored more runs than they have in the NL, the Chicago Cubs (387 (Cubs), 381 (Phils)). They are also the third best team in the NL in giving up the least runs (291), with only the Cubs (279) and the Braves (282) being better. The offense has the fifth best batting average in the NL at .264, while they are among the leaders in Slugging Percentage (1st), On-Base Percentage (4th), Walks (5th), Total Bases (1st), Runs Batted In (2nd), Home Runs (2nd), Doubles (3rd), Hits (4th) and At-Bats (3rd). The Phillies have the fourth best team ERA (3.82) in the NL, while the relief corps still has the best team ERA (2.62).
The Phillies lead the second place Marlins by three games, as they prepare to start a three games series against the Seattle Mariners in Seattle. The third place Braves, after their late lost to the Angels, are still six and a half games behind the Phillies, as they prepare to face the Rockies in Denver for a make up game, before starting a three games series against the Texas Rangers in Arlington. The fourth place Mets also trails the Phillies by six and a half games, as they get ready to meet the Angels in Anaheim for a three games series. The Phillies hope to hold their own against the World Champions, to win the series, while trying to once again get some more distance betweeen themselves and the other teams in their division.