Across several sites on the SBNation network, they are looking at the best teams of their following that never won a championship. Several other sites are actually simulating these “best of the rest” and seeing who would win in the end (Go 1994 Expos!). Here at The Good Phight, we’re going to do something a little differently.
There were a lot of close calls in Phillies history when it came to impressively put together teams that didn’t take home the top prize. From those that lost in the World Series to those that couldn’t even win a round in the playoffs, Phillies history is littered (scattered?) with squads that came up just short. Below is a list and a brief summary of each team.
1915 Phillies (90-62 actual record; .608 pythagorean record)
The first iteration of the Phillies to make an appearance in the World Series, they were led on the field by Pete Alexander (10.8 rWAR) who was in front of a pitching staff that allowed only 463 runs in those 152 games (3.04 runs per game). They lost to the Red Sox in the World Series.
1950 Phillies (91-63 actual record; .566 pythagorean record)
The second version of the Phillies to make the World Series, they did so on one of the more exciting last days of the season in history, edging the Brooklyn Dodgers for the right to get run out of the Series by the mighty Yankees, the version of which many believe to be the greatest team ever. Led by Robin Roberts (6.9 rWAR) and Jim Konstanty (4.4 rWAR), the “Whiz Kids” were thought to be loaded for the future. They weren’t.
1976 Phillies (101-61 actual record; .644 pythagorean record)
The first team of the first true prime in team history, this was, by Pythagorean record, the best of the ‘76-’83 teams. You know the names - Schmidt, Carlton, Bowa, Luzinski - but this team and the one after it....and the one after it...could not get past the Big Red Machine to get into the World Series.
1977 Phillies (101-61 actual record; .607 Pythagorean record)
This is the second version, the one that many fans still consider the best team in team history. This is when all those younger players that made their debut on the national stage the year before really blossomed.
Then Black Friday happened.
1981 Phillies (59-48 actual record; .518 Pythagorean record)
Ah, the strike season. The Phillies, the first half champions in that weird year, were already assured of a playoff spot by virtue of having the best record in the NL East prior to the player’s strike that wiped out most of the summer. With that spot safe, perhaps they rested on their laurels, taking any momentum out of themselves that ended up costing them a spot in the NLCS when they were beaten by the up and coming Expos in the division series. This team holds a tremendous “what if?” over their season.
1993 Phillies (97-65 actual record; .577 Pythagorean record)
The team nearest and dearest to the city’s heart, this ragamuffin band of misfits tore through the National League and came within a poorly located fastball from the tired arm of Mitch Williams to go to a seventh game in the World Series. This was the height of Lenny Dykstra’s
steroid use powers, Kruk’s lovable attitude toward the game and Daulton’s leadership, this team saw everything come together in just the right way that led them on their journey.
2010 Phillies (97-65 actual record; .585 Pythagorean record)
The first team after the World Series versions, this team had its ace in Roy Halladay, a lineup that still had everyone healthy and productive, and they ran into those &^$%* Giants. We all hate you still, Cody Ross.
2011 Phillies (102-60 actual record; .633 pythagorean record)
By record, this is the best team assembled in team history. The famous “Four Aces” rotation, the lineup that just ate the opponents’ pitching staffs alive....and they couldn’t even get out of the division series. The image of Ryan Howard blowing out his Achilles’ tendon is one of the lasting images of this team, as a huge reminder of what could’ve been.
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Once we have the results, we’ll be bringing you some more in-depth looks at these teams.