1883–1942: Early history
After being founded in 1883 as the "Quakers", the team changed its name to the "Philadelphias", after the convention of the times. This was soon shortened to "Phillies". "Quakers" continued to be used interchangeably with "Phillies" from 1883 until 1890, when the team officially became known as the "Phillies". Though the Phillies moved into a permanent home at Baker Bowl in 1887, they did not win their first pennant until nearly 30 years later, after the likes of standout players Billy Hamilton, Sam Thompson, and Ed Delahanty had departed. Player defections to the newly formed American League, especially to the cross-town Philadelphia Athletics, cost the team dearly over the next several years. A bright spot came in 1915, when the Phillies won their first pennant, thanks to the pitching of Grover Cleveland Alexander and the batting prowess of Gavvy Cravath, who set what was then the modern major-league single-season record for home runs with 24. Poor fiscal management after their appearance in the 1915 World Series, however, doomed the Phillies to sink back into relative obscurity; from 1918 to 1948 they only had one winning season. Though Chuck Klein won the Most Valuable Player Award in 1932 and the National League Triple Crown in 1933, the team continued to flounder at the bottom of the standings for years.
1943–69: "Whiz Kids"
Baker Bowl’s bleachers in 1915; home of the Phillies from 1887-1938.
Shibe Park/Connie Mack Stadium, home of the Phillies from 1938–1970
After lumber baron William B. Cox purchased the team in 1943, the Phillies rose out of last place for the first time in five years. As a result, the fan base and attendance at home games increased. Eventually Cox revealed that he had been betting on the Phillies and he was banned from baseball. The new owner, Bob Carpenter, Jr., scion of the Delaware-based DuPont family, tried to polish the team's image by unofficially changing its name to the "Bluejays". However, the new moniker did not take, and it was quietly dropped by 1949.
Instead, Carpenter turned his attention to the minor league affiliates, continuing an effort begun by Cox a year earlier; prior to Cox's ownership, the Phillies had paid almost no attention to player development. This led to the advent of the "Whiz Kids", led by a lineup of young players developed by the Phillies' farm system that included future Hall of Famers Richie Ashburn and Robin Roberts. Their 1950 season was highlighted by a last-day, pennant-clinching home run by Dick Sisler to lead the Phillies over the Brooklyn Dodgers and into the World Series, where they were swept by the New York Yankees, four games to none (although each game was close).
In contrast, the Philadelphia Athletics finished last in 1950 and long-time manager Connie Mack retired. The team struggled on for four more years with only one winning season before abandoning Philadelphia under the Johnson brothers, who bought out Mack. They began play in Kansas City in 1955. As part of the deal selling that team to the Johnson brothers, the Phillies bought Shibe Park, where both teams had played since 1938.
Many thought that the Whiz Kids, with a young core of talented players, would be a force in the league for years to come. However, the team finished with a 73–81 record in 1951, and, except for a 2nd-place tie in 1964, did not finish higher than third place again until 1975. Their lack of success was partly blamed on Carpenter's unwillingness to integrate his team after winning a pennant with an all-white team. The Phillies were the last National League team to sign a black player, a full 10 years after Jackie Robinson made his debut for the Dodgers. Their competitive futility was highlighted by a record that still stands: in 1961, the Phillies lost 23 games in a row, the worst losing streak in the majors since 1900.
The Phold of '64
Though Ashburn and Roberts were gone, the 1964 Phillies still had younger pitchers Art Mahaffey, Chris Short, and rookie Ray Culp; veterans Jim Bunning and screwballer Jack Baldschun; and fan favorites Cookie Rojas, Johnny Callison, and NL Rookie of the Year Richie Allen. The team was 90-60 on September 20, good enough for a six-and-a-half-game lead in the pennant race with 12 games to play. However, the Phillies lost 10 games in a row and finished one game out of first, losing the pennant to the St. Louis Cardinals. The "Phold of '64" is frequently mentioned as the worst collapse in sports history.
One highlight of the season occurred on Father's Day, when Jim Bunning pitched a perfect game against the New York Mets, the first in Phillies history.
1970–83: Building a winning team
At the end of the decade, in October 1970, the Phillies played their final game in Connie Mack Stadium and prepared to move into newly built Veterans Stadium, wearing new maroon uniforms to accentuate the change. While some members of the team performed admirably during the 1970s, the Phillies still clung to their position at the bottom of the National League standings. Ten years after "the Phold", they suffered another minor collapse in August and September 1974, missing out on the playoffs yet again. But the futility would not last much longer. They had a run of three straight division titles from 1976 to 1978. That run was led by pitchers Steve Carlton, Gene Garber, outfielder Greg Luzinski, and infielders Mike Schmidt and Larry Bowa. The Phillies won the NL East in 1980 after the departure of Garber, but behind pitcher Steve Carlton, outfielder Greg Luzinski, and infielders Mike Schmidt, Larry Bowa, and recently acquired Pete Rose.
1980 World Series Champions
This marker in the Citizens Bank Park parking lot commemorates Veterans Stadium
, the Phillies' home from 1971 to 2003.
In a memorable NLCS, with four of the five games going into extra innings, they fell behind 2–1 but battled back to squeeze past the Houston Astros on a tenth-inning, game-winning hit by center fielder Garry Maddox, and the city celebrated its first pennant in 30 years.
Facing the Kansas City Royals in the 1980 World Series, the Phillies won their first World Series championship ever in six games thanks to the timely hitting of Mike Schmidt and Pete Rose. Schmidt, who was the National League MVP that 1980 season, also won the World Series MVP award on the strength of his 8-for-21 hitting (.381 average), including game-winning hits in Game 2 and the clinching Game 6. This sixth, final game was also significant because it remains "the most-watched game in World Series history" with a television audience of 54.9 million viewers.
Thus, the Phillies became the last of the 16 teams that made up the major leagues from 1901 to 1961 to win a World Series.
After their Series win Ruly Carpenter, who was given control of the team in 1972 when his father stepped down as team president, sold the team to a group which was headed by long time Phillies executive Bill Giles for $32.5 million in 1981. The Phillies would return to the playoffs that season, in which the season was split in half due to a players' strike. They were defeated in the first ever National League Division Series by the Montreal Expos in five games. Mike Schmidt won his second consecutive NL MVP award that year. In 1982 the team finished 3 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the East Division narrowly missing the playoffs. Steve Carlton would capture his fourth career NL Cy Young Award that year with 23 wins. For the 1983 season the Phillies returned to the playoffs beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS in four games to capture their fourth NL pennant. They lost to the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series in 5 games. John Denny was named the 1983 NL Cy Young Award winner.
1984–92: Fall from grace
, an All-Star catcher with the Phillies from 1983 to 1997
Following their loss to the Orioles in the 1983 World Series the team would follow with near playoff misses and a rapid drop back into the basement of the National League over the next five seasons. In 1989 Mike Schmidt retired from the Phillies and thus the last member of the 1980 championship team was gone.
Over the next three seasons the Phillies would continue to miss the playoffs and finished dead last in the majors for the 1992 season.
1993–2004: A near miss, recovery, and a new home
The 1993 Phillies started the season by going 17–5 in April and finishing with a 97–65 season. They beat the Atlanta Braves in the 1993 National League Championship Series, four games to two, to earn the fifth NL pennant in franchise history, only to be defeated by the defending World Series champion Toronto Blue Jays in the 1993 World Series. Toronto's Joe Carter hit a walk-off home run in Game 6 to clinch another Phillies loss.
The 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike was a blow to the Phillies' attendance and on-field success, as was the arrival of the Braves in the division due to league realignment. Several stars came through Philadelphia, though few would stay, and the minor league system continued to develop its young prospects, who would soon rise to Phillies fame.
In 2001, the Phillies had their first winning season in eight years under new manager Larry Bowa, and their season record would not dip below .500 again from the 2003 season onward. In 2004, the Phillies moved to their new home, Citizens Bank Park, across the street from the Vet.
2005–12: The Golden Era
Charlie Manuel took over the reins of the club from Bowa after the 2004 season, and general manager Ed Wade was replaced by Pat Gillick in November 2005. Gillick reshaped the club as his own, sending stars away in trades and allowing the Phillies' young core to develop. After the franchise lost its 10,000th game in 2007, its core of young players, including infielders Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins and pitcher Cole Hamels, responded by winning the National League East division title, but they were swept by the Colorado Rockies in the Division Series. After the 2007 season, they acquired closer Brad Lidge.
2008 World Series Champions
The Phillies logo as it illuminated the Cira Centre
in October 2008
In 2008, the Phillies clinched their second straight division title and defeated the Milwaukee Brewers in the Division Series to record the franchise's first post-season victory since winning the 1993 NLCS. Behind strong pitching from the rotation and stellar offensive production from virtually all members of the starting lineup, the Phillies won the 2008 National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers; Hamels was named the series' Most Valuable Player. The Phillies would then go on to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays in 5 games for their second World Series title in their 126-year history. Hamels was named both NLCS MVP as well as World Series MVP after going 4–0 in the postseason that year.
President Barack Obama
greets the Phillies after their World Series victory
Gillick retired as general manager after the 2008 season and was succeeded by one of his assistants, Rubén Amaro, Jr. After adding outfielder Raúl Ibañez to replace the departed Pat Burrell, the Phillies retained the majority of their core players for the 2009 season. In July, they signed three-time Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martínez and acquired 2008 American League Cy Young winner Cliff Lee before the trade deadline. On September 30, 2009, they clinched a third consecutive National League East Division title for the first time since the 1976–78 seasons. The team continued this run of success with wins over the Colorado Rockies in the NLDS (3 games to 1) and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS (4 games to 1), to become the first Phillies team to win back-to-back pennants and the first National League team since the 1996 Atlanta Braves to have an opportunity to defend their World Series title. The Phillies were unable to repeat the 2008 World Series victory; they were defeated in the 2009 series by the New York Yankees, 4 games to 2. In recognition of the team's recent accomplishments, Baseball America named the Phillies as its Organization of the Year.
The Phillies celebrate on the field after Game 5 of the NLCS.
On December 16, 2009, they acquired starting pitcher Roy Halladay from the Toronto Blue Jays for three minor-league prospects, and traded Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners for three prospects. On May 29, 2010, Halladay pitched a perfect game against the Florida Marlins.[d]
In June 2010, the team's scheduled 2010 series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre was moved to Philadelphia, because of security concerns for the G-20 Summit. The Blue Jays wore their home white uniforms and batted last as the home team, and the designated hitter was used. The game was the first occasion of the use of a designated hitter in a National League ballpark in a regular-season game; Ryan Howard was the first player to fill the role.
The 2010 Phillies won their fourth consecutive NL East Division championship despite a rash of significant injuries to key players, including Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, and Carlos Ruiz. After dropping seven games behind the Atlanta Braves on July 21, Philadelphia finished with an MLB-best record of 97–65. The streak included a 20–5 record in September, the Phillies' best September since winning 22 games that month in 1983, and an 11–0 run in the middle of the month. The acquisition of pitcher Roy Oswalt in early August was a key step, as Oswalt won seven consecutive games in just over five weeks from August 11 through September 17. The Phillies clinched the division on September 27, behind a two-hit shutout by Halladay.
The late Roy Halladay
became only the second pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the postseason
In Game 1 of the 2010 National League Division Series, Halladay threw the second no-hitter in Major League baseball postseason history, leading the Phillies over the Cincinnati Reds, 4–0. (The first was New York Yankee pitcher Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series.) Halladay's no-hitter was the fifth time a pitcher has thrown two no-hitters in the same season, and was also the first time that one of the two occurred in the postseason. The Phillies went on to sweep the Reds in three straight games. In the 2010 National League Championship Series, the Phillies fell to the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants in six games.
On September 17, 2011, the Phillies won their fifth consecutive East Division championship, and on September 28, during the final game of the season, the team set a franchise record for victories in a season with 102 by beating the Atlanta Braves in 13 innings, denying their division rivals a potential wild card berth. Yet the Phillies lost in the NLDS to the St. Louis Cardinals – the team that won the National League Wild Card as a result of the Phillies beating the Braves. The Cardinals subsequently beat the Brewers in the NLCS and won the 2011 World Series in 7 games over the Texas Rangers.
The 2012 Phillies experienced an up and down season. They played .500 ball through the first two months, but then slumped through a 9–19 stretch in June where they ended up at the bottom of the NL East by midseason. With any hope dimming, the Phillies traded key players Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants before the trade deadline. A hot start in the second half of the season put the Phillies back on the postseason hunt, but any hope was eventually extinguished with a loss to the Washington Nationals on September 28, costing the Phillies the postseason for the first time since 2006.
2013–present: Recent years
During the 2013 season, the team struggled again, and was unable to consistently play well for the majority of the season. On August 16, 2013, with the team's record at 53-68, the Phillies fired manager Charlie Manuel, who had managed the team since 2005, and promoted third-base coach Ryne Sandberg to Interim Manager. Manuel had spent over nine years as manager, leading Philadelphia to its first World Series victory in nearly 30 years and amassing an overall record of 780-636 to become the manager with the most wins in the franchise's history. The 2013 Phillies ended up with a record of 73-89, their first losing season since 2002.
In 2015, Sandberg resigned as manager and bench coach Pete Mackanin was brought in as interim manager. Also in 2015 general manager Rubén Amaro, Jr. was fired and Andy MacPhail was brought in as the interim GM.
In the 2014 season, one of the few bright spots was the September 1 game against a division rival, the Atlanta Braves, when starter Cole Hamels and relievers Jake Diekman, Ken Giles, and Jonathan Papelbon combined for a no-hitter in Turner Field and a 7-0 victory over Atlanta.
On June 16, 2015, veteran outfielder Jeff Francoeur was called in to pitch in an interleague game against the Baltimore Orioles in which the Orioles were winning 17-3 going into the seventh inning. Francoeur pitched two innings while giving up one hit, two runs (earned), three walks, and struck out one. The Phillies were forced to use Francoeur because they had used all other pitchers available for the night.
On July 25, 2015, in what would be his final start for the Phillies before being traded, Cole Hamels no-hit the Chicago Cubs 5–0 at Wrigley Field, striking out 13 and only giving up two walks, both to Dexter Fowler, and besting the Cubs' Jake Arrieta—himself a no-hit pitcher a month later, on August 30 of that season. It was the first no-hitter against the Cubs since Sandy Koufax's perfect game in 1965, and first at Wrigley since the Cubs' Milt Pappas in 1972.
On July 31, 2015, Cole Hamels was dealt to the Texas Rangers along with Jake Diekman and cash for Matt Harrison, Jerad Eickhoff, Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Alec Asher, and Jake Thompson.
On October 14, 2015 Andy MacPhail was officially named the 17th President of Baseball Operations in Philadelphia Phillies history.
On September 29, 2017, Pete Mackannin was fired as manager of the Phillies. With only 3 games left, Mackannin would go on to finish managing the team until October 1, 2017.
On October 30, 2017, the Phillies announced Gabe Kapler as their new manager to succeed Mackanin. From November 2014 to the date he was hired as Phillies manager, Kapler was the Director of Player Development for the Los Angeles Dodgers.