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Phillies Roster Set to Historically Lack Postseason Performance

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The Boys of Summer of '69, maybe. Fall? Not so much. Someone call Bryan Adams.

Dick Allen in 2015, back when Phillies players presumably knew what the playoffs were
Dick Allen in 2015, back when Phillies players presumably knew what the playoffs were
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

For a minute now, we've all been watching as the old guard of Championship Phillies Teams and Good Phillies Teams and Non-Nauseating Phillies Teams slowly traverse our plane of existence. The last five years have been drawn out, but even as the last remaining vestiges of that 2008 run moved further from our grasp, we still had Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley and Cole Hamels and Carlos Ruiz and Ryan Howard to at least remind us that this team was better and more enjoyable, and that "playoff baseball" was a thing in Philadelphia somewhat recently.

It's going to be harder to hold to those reminiscences now.

Rollins, Utley, Hamels and Ruiz have all been traded. Shortly after the World Series ends, the Phillies will decline to exercise the full amount of Ryan Howard's 2017 option, and he'll become a free agent. At the moment, the Phillies roster will be completely devoid of any player who has registered a postseason hit. It's a weird situation. And, true, it's almost certainly not going to last. The club's probably bound to pick up someone like, I dunno, Gregor Blanco, and his 24 playoff hits immediately render this whole thing null and void. But consider: Once Howard is no longer part of the roster, the players on the Phillies' 40-man have zero hits in the playoffs. None of them have a single poke or bloop or anything.

That starts off as a curiosity, but when the train of thought turns to the last time this was the case, well, that's when it becomes clear that this is a special case for the franchise. If we look at past seasons and the postseason experience that each roster had entering that year, we have to go back a bit to find the last time a team had zero combined postseason hits at any point in seasons prior. And by "a bit," I mean we have to go back to 1969.

Seriously! It's been almost 50 years since a Phillies team was built like this. Don't believe me? Look! There's at least one player on every squad with a previous postseason with a hit or hits:

  • 2008-16: Ryan Howard (2007)
  • 2006-07: Aaron Rowand (2005)
  • 2003-05: Jim Thome (1995-99, 2001)
  • 2002: Dave Hollins (...1993)
  • 2001: Todd Pratt (1999)
  • 2000: Mickey Morandini (Sigh. 1993, 1998)
  • 1999: Ron Gant (1991-93, 1995-96)
  • 1995-98: Gregg Jeffries (1988)
  • 1989-1994: Lenny Dykstra (1986)
  • 1977-1989: Mike Schmidt (1976)
  • 1975-76: Tim McCarver (1947, 1967-68)
  • 1974: Tony Taylor (1972)
  • 1973: Cesar Tovar (1969-70)
  • 1970-72: McCarver again
And so we arrive at 1969. Bob Skinner and George Myatt took turns losing games as the club's field managers. The rotation was led by 26-year-old Grant Jackson and 23-year-old Rick Wise. The most frequently used batting order looked like this:
  1. Tony Taylor, 3B (.262/.317/.339)
  2. Cookie Rojas, 2B (.228/.269/.292)
  3. Dick Allen, 1B (.288/.375/.573)
  4. Johnny Callison, RF (.265/.332/.440)
  5. Deron Johnson, LF (.255/.333/.419)
  6. Don Money, SS (.229/.296/.327)
  7. Mike Ryan, C (.204/.256/.332)
  8. Larry Hisle, CF (.266/.338/.459)
With lines like that, you probably wouldn't be surprised to learn that this team went 63-99. Also, man, 1963-69 was a colossal waste of a player like Dick Allen.

Anyway, back to the point. None of the above, nor the 11 bench bats, nor any of the 15 pitchers used had accumulated a single hit in the playoffs up to the 1969 season. The team was completely devoid of offensive playoff success, and it's not even like they had one or two experienced guys and traded them away late; they just straight-up never had one.

Fast forward a measly 47 years, and we find ourselves in a similar situation. In fact, the overwhelming majority of remaining players haven't even been to the playoffs to have a chance to get a hit yet. All that being said, there's reason for optimism in the face of this strange little dearth: It only took seven seasons for the Phillies to get back to the playoffs after the last time this happened!