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October 29, 2022

Is this an all-time great Phillies team?

Phillies MLB
Bryce_Harper_Phillies_Blue_Jays_092022_KateFrese32.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 20: A photo from the Philadelphia Phillies game against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 20, 2022 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. (Photo by Kate Frese/PhillyVoice)

The Phillies kicked off their eighth ever World Series appearance Friday night, and what do you know — they won in extra innings and have become favorites to win a title.

All of this happened so darn fast — as the team took October by storm beating some of the NL's best to shock baseball and make it to the Fall Classic — that there hasn't really been any time to pause and put this in a historical perspective. This team, the third Wild Card team in the National League that has just 87 wins, is three wins away from winning a championship.

If the road ends here, and they falter to Houston, where do they rank with comparison to some of the great Phillies teams of yesteryear?

First let's look at some basic numbers — keeping in mind that technically the Phillies date back to 1883. We're only including stats from the modern era, otherwise it would get weird:

Category2022 stat (rank)Team best
Wins87 (20th)102 (2011)
Runs scored747 (31st)994 (1930)
Home Runs205 (6th)224 (2009)
Slugging.422 (20th).458 (2007) 
Fielding %.988 (1st)
ERA3.97 (68th)2.10 (1910)
Strikeouts1,423 (3rd)1,480 (2021)

The numbers are not special. That's really not where this team shines brightest (though they have surprisingly had the best defensive season in history by virtue of errors made — they had just 69 of them). 

Would they be able to out-hit the 2008 team, with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard at the peak of their powers in the middle of the lineup? Would Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler be able to out-duel Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels? Will they have more Hall of Famers than the 1980 squad, led by Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton?

The answers to all of those questions is a pretty solid "no."

But that isn't what makes the 2022 Phillies great. It's the memories, the clutch hits and the improbable nature of the playoff sprint they are currently on.

It would be hard to find a run, at least one in recent memory that had all of the big moments — particularly at home — that this postseason run had. And the very fact that it is happening at all, as the Phils just kind of slid through the back door after the postseason was drastically expanded over the last few years gives this team a real Philadelphia kind of flavor to it.

So the pennant winning 2022 Philadelphia Phillies rank where, compared to the seven other World Series teams from the city?

1. 2008

I can't take away my bias. This team was magical, it was homegrown, they won their division and they only lost three games in the playoffs. There were folk heroes on this team, like Matt Stairs, and there were MVPs, like Howard and Jimmy Rollins. The half Game 5 they won the damn thing during is legendary, as is Cole Hamels' playoff performance and Brad Lidge slamming the door shut. This team ended a very long title drought and united the city.

2. 1980

The Phillies only other world title is a strong No. 2 here, as Carlton and Schmidt along with a slew of other household names finished a dream season with a world title during Philadelphia's prosperous 1980s.

3. 1993

I think if the 2022 team wins the World Series they'd probably jump the '93 team in more ways than one. There is kind of similar vibes with this team based on the personalities on the team and the whirlwind both of these seasons were.

4. 2022

Even if the Phillies falter and lose this World Series, I think I am comfortable putting them in the four spot. I was not alive to see the teams of the 80s, and obviously not the 1950 or 1915 squads, but there is no way they gave their fans as much as this 2022 team has given this season. 

5. 1983

Three years after their first ever title the Phillies had a chance to do it again but they ran up against a better Orioles team that dominated them in five games.

6. 2009

I have just as much love for this 2009 team as I do for '08 — but they faltered against the Yankees in 2009 and were unable to pull off the repeat. The regular season performances of these teams got better and better from 2007-2011, but the playoff magic only gave that era one World Series.

7. 1950

Robin Roberts was the star of this team that was swept by one of the best Yankee teams of all time. It was a blip during a long stretch of forgettable baseball in Philadelphia.

8. 1915

Babe Ruth was a member of the Red Sox squad that beat the Phillies in five games in 1915. The Curse of the Bambino would start shortly after.

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