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Coming soon, way too soon: first franchise to give up 100,000 runs

This is a companion of sorts to Coming soon, finally: 10,000 Wins. The Phillies got to 10,000 losses far too quickly, and correspondingly have taken too long to get to 10,000 wins, a milestone they will most likely reach some time in August.

Before that, probably in late May, they will become the first franchise in MLB history to reach 100,000 runs allowed. Similar to becoming the first to 10,000 (and 11,000) losses, this is despite the fact that there are three teams that began play a year earlier (Cardinals, Pirates, Reds), and two teams that were founding members of the National League SEVEN years before the Phillies entered the fray (Cubs, Braves).

The franchises with the most runs allowed:

99,827 - Phillies
96,806 - Cubs
95,931 - Braves

Their 30 years in the wilderness from 1919 through 1948 are a big reason they are the only franchise close to giving up 100,000 runs. If a team loses as much as they did in those years (a 30-year winning percentage of .371), it stands to reason they would give up a ton of runs over that time.

The other big reason they’ll get to this milestone first is their home park for 51 years.

The Baker Bowl was the Phillies’ home park from 1887 through mid-1938, and was a state of the art facility when it was built — the first to include a cantilevered upper deck, and the first park to be built primarily of steel and brick. But it was also one of the worst parks for pitchers in MLB history.

The park’s dimensions were typical to left field (341 ft), and center (408 ft). But because, like many parks of the day, it was wedged into the existing urban grid, the distance to it’s right field fence was only 280 ft, and only 300 ft to right-center.

We can analyze home-road splits going back to 1901, and from 1901 through ‘38 it defied the laws of home field advantage for Phils pitchers. Both hitters and pitchers tend to do better at home, and over this period, the rest of the teams in MLB allowed 11% fewer runs at home (per 9 innings) than they did on the road. But not the Phillies. Over this time the Phillies allowed 7% MORE runs at home.

The difference between giving up 11% fewer and 7% more at home is over 2,500 runs, and that’s for only 38 of their 51 years there. Even without those extra runs they would still be leading, as we would expect from their record, just not running away with it.

Obviously it also helped Phillies hitters similarly, so it didn’t necessarily impact wins and losses to a significant degree.

(franchises are shown by their present day cities, so MIN=Senators, for example)

On a brighter note, in early May Phillies pitchers will also reach 100,000 strikeouts, to become the fourth franchise to reach that number.

In summary, we can expect them to hit three big franchise-long milestones this year:

  • Fourth franchise to strike out 100,000 batters (early May)
    Currently 99,849, averaging 9.1 per game since last year
  • FIRST franchise to 100,000 Runs Allowed (late May)
    Currently 99,827, averaging 4.6 per game since last year
  • Ninth franchise to 10,000 Wins (August)
    Currently 9,938, so barring rainouts, the range of possibilities for August:
    —August 2nd, at 65-39, i.e. wildly optimistic at .625 or a 101-win pace
    —August 31st, at 65-66, so hopefully pessimistic and an 80-win pace

Obviously getting there will be a lot more fun if they start winning some games.