A guy on my Phils discussion listserv group reflected recently on something that I think a lot of Phillies phans have cause to consider: just how good, or bad, has the team been historically? At least, in recent times - cutting out the horrible 1918-1948 stretch where ownership was actively sabotaging efforts to compete? I decided to look at how the red pinstripes stack up against the other teams that have been around since the auspicious year of 1973.**
> in terms of what I can actually remember and experienced as a kid, the
> Phillies were a regular NL power who finally won a World Series - and
> got back there quickly too. But somehow I knew better, and we have
> listmembers in their 20s who also learned that. (Of course, saying
> this, you have to wonder - reduced to a 30 year period, it has in fact
> been a very successful franchise hasn't it? Two championships, two
> other WS appearances, a handful of other postseason berths).
My response went as follows:
That got me thinking, and I decided to do a chart for my lifetime -
dating back to the 1973 season. There were 24 teams then in the majors.
So how have those 24 compared over that 36-season stretch?
team playoffs pennants championships
ATL 15 5 1
CHC 6 0 0
CIN 6 3 3
HOU 9 1 0
LAD 12 5 2
MON/WAS 1 0 0
NYM 6 3 1
PHI 9 4 2
PIT 6 1 1
SDP 5 2 0
SFG 6 2 0
STL 10 5 2
BAL 6 2 1
BOS 12 4 2
DET 3 2 1
CHW 5 1 1
CLE 7 2 0
KAN 7 2 1
LAA/CAL 8 1 1
MIL 3 1 0
MIN 6 2 2
NYY 18 9 6
OAK 13 5 3
TEX 3 0 0
Phils are tied for seventh in playoff appearances, with 7; tied for
sixth in pennants, with 4; and in a five-way tie for fourth in
championships, with 2. That's all out of 24 teams, so by all three
measures, we're in the top third of teams in baseball.
The teams most hurt by this cutoff would be the Orioles and Pirates,
both of whom won WS titles and multiple division titles in 1969-1973.
In fact, I hadn't realized before just how good the Pirates were
throughout the 1970s.
It's also interesting, looking at this chart, that the Royals looks like
a normal franchise, and that between Minnesota and Texas, it was the
former that baseball proposed to contract at one point.
** Actually 1973 seems to have been a generally rotten year all around.