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May 01, 2020

Ten of the weirdest and wackiest Phillies stats, team records

Major League Baseball, as the oldest professional American sport, has a very long history of stats and records, making it an immense pleasure to roam through archives to look at the silly names of former players — or the crazy achievements of guys from other eras.

Over the course of their history of being one of the oldest franchises in the oldest sport, the Phillies have some really fun, wacky stats and records that help tell the history of the organization. As we did a few days ago when we looked at some of the weirdest Eagles records and stats, we dove into the Phillies today.

We could probably write 10 entire articles on the Phillies, but decided to try and narrow it down to the 10 things we think are the most interesting. Take a look:

1. Struck heem outtt*

*(In Harry Kalas Voice)

Current Phillies ace Aaron Nola has a higher strikeouts per nine innings (9.63) than any other Phillie ever. That's more than Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Steve Carlton or Curt Schilling. The sample size is relatively small, but he is certainly tending up after averaging 10.2 batters wrung up per nine innings in 2019. He has not yet pitched enough to qualify for Baseball Reference's all-time leaderboard, but at this rate he would slot in at 17th all-time (Yu Darvish, 11.12, Chris Sale, 11.08 and Randy Johnson, 10.61 are the top three).

2. Struck heem outtt*

*(Also in Harry Kalas Voice)

Ryan Howard has the four seasons with the most strikeouts at the plate in Phillies history, his top two (or worst two) showings at 199 strikeouts in both 2007 and 2008. Baseball is changing, as many readers of this article likely already know, and strikeouts are becoming much more prevalent, making Howard ahead of his time. In 2008, he was the MLB record holder — but in the 12 seasons since, a ridiculous 16 player have tied or surpassed him on the single-season list. Marlon Byrd is the highest non-Big Piece on the Phillies list with 185 K's in 2014. 

3. Take a walk

Mike Schmidt (1,507) has the most walks of any Phillies player ever by more than 550 (Bobb Abreu is second with 947). That’s a bigger difference in bases on balls than Lenny Dykstra had in his entire Phillies career.

BONUS: Chase Utley was hit by 188 pitches, almost double the next highest Phillie (Mike Leiberthal). 

4. Maximum efficiency

Staying on Utley for a moment, the Phillies' best ever second baseman wasn't just the most efficient base stealer in team history — successfully swiping a bag in 88.75 percent of tries (142 out of 160). He also is the most efficient base stealer ever to play the game. If you look at baserunners who have stolen at least 100 bases, to narrow the field to players who stole bases routinely, Utley stands alone, just ahead of Carlos Beltran and his 86.45 percent success rate. Ricky Henderson, the all-time leader in SB was successful just 80.74 percent of the time.

5. Finish what you started

Robin Roberts had 272 complete game efforts for the Phillies. For contrast, Cole Hamels started in 294 career games as a Phillie and had seven complete games. Roberts' 303 career complete games overall help illustrate the changing face of baseball, as he ranks just 38th all time in the category. 

6. How did his arm not fall off?

Speaking of complete games and how they used to be so commonplace, here's one that absolutely wasn't. In 1919, Phillies starter Joe Oeschger pitched a 20-inning complete game in which he allowed eight runs and 24 hits. The Phillies tied Brooklyn in the game, a no decision for Oeschger, who went 6-18 that season. That wasn’t even the longest outing ever by Oeschger (who was born in freaking 1892 by the way). A year later he went 26 innings in another tie with Brooklyn when he was with the Boston Braves. That game apparently ended due to darkness.

7. Out of left (and right) field

In the 10 seasons since 2010, the Phillies have started 10 different players in right field and nine different players in left field on Opening Day. If you don't even remember some of them we don't blame you:

2019Andrew McCutchenBryce Harper
2018Rhys HoskinsNick Williams
2017 Howie KendrickMichael Saunders
2016Cedric HunterPeter Bourjos
2015Ben RevereGrady Sizemore
2014Tony Gwynn Jr.Marlon Byrd
2013Domonic BrownJohn Mayberry
2012John MayberryHunter Pence
2011Raul IbanezBen Francisco
2010Raul IbanezJayson Werth

If the 2020 season ever does start, they could buck both trends this year.

8. What a waste...

In 1930, Phillies slugger Chuck Klein set still-standing NL records for RBI (170) and extra base hits (107). He hit .386 and slammed 40 homers that year. That season was an incredible accomplishment, but it gets better...

That 1930 season was one of the wackiest ever for the Phillies' franchise. Led by Klein, the team's high-powered offense set franchise records that year for total bases, hits, runs, and doubles. They scored 944 total runs (in 156 games), the fourth most of any year for the Phillies. 

And yet, the squad allowed a ridiculous 1,199 runs and 1,993 hits. Both of those are not only team records, but National League highs as well. In other words, they had the the worst pitching and defense in National League history. The 1930 Phillies went 52-102-2, wasting Klein's revelatory season.

9. Hitter's park

The 2019 Phillies allowed the most home runs in team history and it wasn’t even close. The squad last year surrendered 258 dingers, 37 more than they did two years ago in 2017 and 44 more than they did in 2004. There's no doubt the Phillies play in a hitter-friendly park in Citizens Bank Park, but their opponents routinely take advantage, not the home team.

10. Experience is everything

The three oldest (by average age) Phillies teams in the history of the franchise were, interestingly, three of the most successful.

YearAvg. ageFinish
198331.9 (1st)90-72, lost World Series
201031.8 (2nd)97-65, lost NLCS
201131.4 (3rd)102-60, most wins ever, lost NLDS
200931.3 (4th)93-69, lost World Series

None of the 16 youngest versions of the Phillies, all time, made the playoffs. 

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