18 July 2007 by Published in: General musings 11 comments

I would be remiss if I didn’t at least acknowledge the 10,000th loss in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies, which occurred on Sunday afternoon while we were driving back to Columbus. Number 10,001 then occurred on Monday night.

As some of you may know, I was born in Philadelphia and raised in the area. My father is a lifelong Philadelphia sports nut (although he was primarily an A’s fan while they were there), and some of my very earliest memories are of watching Richie Allen hit long home runs at Connie Mack Stadium with my dad. I’m a diehard Phillies fan and have been for my entire life. Perhaps it explains why I am such a glutton for punishment.

The team has been around since May 1, 1883, when it lost its first game. That means that it has taken 124 years to reach the magic 10,000 number. It has won only about 8800 games over those years. The next closest team, the Braves, has lost 9600 or so games, meaning that it’s a large gap. In those years, the Phillies have only been to the World Series five times: 1915, 1950 (the Whiz Kids), 1980, 1983 (the Wheeze Kids), and 1993. They’ve won only once, 1980. That’s one world championship in 124 years.

And then there were the Fizz Kids. In a season that featured Jim Bunning’s Father’s Day perfect game and Richie Allen’s incredible rookie of the year accomplishments, the 1964 Phillies had a six game lead with twelve to go. They proceeded to lose ten in a row and finished second. Go figure. To this day, the pain from that episode still lingers in the City of Brotherly Love.

It’s well documented that Phillies fans would boo Santa Claus. If they booed the greatest third baseman to ever pick up a glove–Mike Schmidt–they will boo anyone. At the same time, once they love a player, they love him forever. We’re very loyal. Where else would a team lose 10,000 games and have its fans celebrate such a dubious accomplishment?

Every day, I read the coverage of the Phightin’s in the Philadelphia newspapers, and I watch them whenever I can. I remain as loyal to them as ever, and always will. Thus, I would be remiss if I didn’t join in the celebration of our team’s 10,000 losses. At least we’ve got that distinction to savor: the Phillies are the only professional sports franchise to EVER lose 10,000 games.

Take that, Michael Aubrecht. You and your damned Yankees can’t claim this magical accomplishment. ๐Ÿ™‚

Scridb filter

Comments

  1. David
    Wed 18th Jul 2007 at 7:44 pm

    Why did the boo Mike Schmidt?

  2. Wed 18th Jul 2007 at 9:19 pm

    Eric:

    Though raised to follow the true faith, Dodger Blue, I nonetheless have one shining Phillie memory. In 1972, when I was still in high school, a friend gave my mom a used transistor radio. Some oddity in this thing allowed me to pick up Phillie broadcasts all the way in southwest Virginia. What fun I had that summer, sitting in my room in the evenings listening to some guy acquired from the Cards named Steve Carlton mow down the National League. Every four days the Phils were magnificent. The radio went bad finally and I never could get Philadelphia again, but I’ve had a warm spot for them ever since.

    Ken

  3. Steve Basic
    Wed 18th Jul 2007 at 9:51 pm

    Philly fans boo everybody. It’s a tradition down there.:) BTW, Mike Schmidt is the best player to come out of the Ohio University Baseball program. Actually got to meet him at a football game the last time I was in Athens, OH.

    Will just add to what Ken posted, as I too could listen to Phillies games on the radion up here in Northern NJ. Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn were a great duo, and very underrated during their many years together at the microphones.

    Regards from the Garden State,

    Steve Basic

  4. Wed 18th Jul 2007 at 9:57 pm

    David,

    Schmidt used to strike out a lot early in his career, and he was streaky. He was also kind of aloof, so he made it easy for folks to be sort of cool toward him. However, one day, mired in the midst of a terrible slump, he showed up on the field wearing a wig, dark glasses and other pieces of a disguise. It was so ridiculous and so funny that the incident broke the ice, and from that moment forward, Schmidt was a much beloved figure in Philadelphia.

    548 home runs and three MVP awards later, he should have been.

    Eric

  5. Wed 18th Jul 2007 at 10:00 pm

    Ken,

    I remember the deal when the Phils got Carlton. They traded Rick Wise for him. In 1971, Wise won 20 games and may have had the finest single game of any pitcher in history. He pitched a no-hitter against the Reds at Riverfront Stadium and also hit two home runs that night. He was very popular in Philadelphia, as he was a rookie on that 1964 Fizz Kids team. Although Carlton had also won 20 and held the major league record with 19 strikeouts in a game, he was unknown.

    In 1972, he probably had the finest year of any pitcher in the history of the game. He went 27-10 on a team that won 54 games that year. Ponder that–he won 50% of the team’s games that season. He won 15 straight, had 310 strikeouts, and an ERA under 2.0. It was truly an incredible year.

    Lefty was a weird dude, and he hung on too long, but what a pitcher he was. Nobody before or since has had a nasaty slider as an out pitch like he did.

    Eric

  6. Paul Taylor
    Wed 18th Jul 2007 at 10:15 pm

    Eric,

    Though a lifelong Tigers fan, one of my earliest boyhood sports memories involved the Phillies and their 60’s manager, Gene Mauch. I think it was ’64 or ’65 when they put together one of the great collapses in sports history, losing however many in a row at the end of the season which cost them the pennant. My poor father was a Phillies fan and I remember it being just sheer day-by-day torture for him as he listened to their games on the radio! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Paul

  7. Thu 19th Jul 2007 at 9:33 am

    Quite an accomplishment for sure my friend. I must say that as disappointing as the Phillies are, the Athletics were a real force to be reckoned with ‘back in the day.’ When I worked for Baseball-Almanac, I wrote a ton of material on that franchise when I was recapping every World Series. Remember, the A’s were 104-46 in 1929 and won the American League pennant by 18 games over the New York Yankees, who had swept the World Series in 1927 and 1928. That is a HUGE accomplishment given the powerhouse that the Yankees were (Murderer’s Row).

    Is that why you became a historian? Because the only good baseball with your city took place in the past? ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Thu 19th Jul 2007 at 10:39 am

    Eric,
    Thanks for the memories.I no longer follow the game (except to root against the Yanks), but growing up the 1960’s Phillies were my idols. I well remember watching in rapture the likes of Richie Allen, Tony Taylor, and Johnny Callison. Heck, my sister even had a crush on Clay Darymple, who as I recall was a short, overweight bald catcher. In fact, I have two autographed balls on my desk – one Callison and one Tommy Green. “Win…we don’t need no stinkin’ win”. Take care…

  9. Thu 19th Jul 2007 at 1:22 pm

    BTW Eric, I just posted a little promo over at my blog on a title that you may be interested in looking at. I’m just looking out for your best interests buddy. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Thu 19th Jul 2007 at 2:37 pm

    Eric,
    Glutton for punishment you say? I’m right there with you; I am a lifelong Pittsburgh Pirates fan. The past 15 years have been especially hard. I remember as a kid having a friend who was a Philadelphia sports fan. One year I traded him all my Phillies and Eagles cards for all of his Pirates and Steelers. What a great deal! The Eagles went on to the Super Bowl that year (1981?) but I didn’t care. To this day, I am a huge Pittsburgh sports fan, and made it a point to visit the Hall of Fame inside the Heinz Regional History Center when I was up there last month. Oh well, maybe one day greatness will return to our respective clubs.

    Andrew

  11. Fri 20th Jul 2007 at 8:07 am

    Eric and Andrew:

    I should add that the first major league game I actually saw in person involved the Phillies and Pirates at Three Rivers. I booed Pete Rose in person, and it felt good. Bought a “Lumber Company” shirt too. The area around my hometown was Pirates country due to our local minor league team in Salem, VA,, and I saw a lot of that “We Are Family” team come up through the ranks. Many of my high school buddies still root for the Buccos. I’m convinced that they’d rebound if they went back to the mustrad colored caps. And maybe got rid of Jim Tracy.

    Ken

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