Entering June 2015, the Philadelphia Phillies haven’t played in the World Series since 2009. One hundred years earlier (1909), the Phillies were way behind reaching the pinnacle stage of Major League Baseball.
In his third season as Philadelphia’s manager, Billy Murray led the Phillies to 74 wins, 79 losses, and one tie. Finishing 36.5 games behind the National League champion in fifth place, it marked Philadelphia’s first season below fourth place since earning eighth place in 1904 at 52-100-3.
A season after posting the league lows in Earned Run Average (2.10) and runs allowed (446), Phillies pitchers dipped to a combined 2.44 ERA with 89 complete games out of 154 games. Walks had been a concerning factor as the staff allowed 472 bases on balls, but the Phillies struck out 612 batters in 1,391 innings; the total amount of strikeouts were the most for any season in franchise history at that time (the Phillies started in 1883).
Earl Moore (18-12) led Philadelphia’s pitching staff in wins, starts (34), complete games (24), innings (300), hits (238), walks (a league-most 108), strikeouts (173), shutouts (four) and ERA (2.10); Moore defeated all clubs in the eight-team NL. George McQuillan, who went 23-17 with a 1.52 ERA in 360 innings in 1908, finished 13-16 in 41 games (28 starts, 16 complete games) with 202 hits, 54 walks, four shutouts and 96 strikeouts while posting a 2.14 ERA in 248 innings.
Frank Corridon (11-7, 27 games, 171 innings, 69 strikeouts, three shutouts 2.11 ERA) and Tully Sparks (6-11, 24 games, 122 innings, 40 strikeouts, one shutout 2.95 ERA) couldn’t match past success. Harry Covelski wasn’t a New York Giants killer this time as he tallied a 6-10 record (2.73 ERA) in 122 innings (24 games, 17 starts, eight complete games) with 109 hits, 49 walks, 56 strikeouts, and two shutouts; in 1908, Covelski defeated the Giants three times in a six-day stretch. Bill Foxen (3-7, 18 games, 83 innings, 37 strikeouts, one shutout, 3.36 ERA) and Lew Moren (16-15, 40 games, 258 innings, 226 hits, 93 walks, 110 strikeouts, two shutouts, 2.65 ERA) also pitched on Philadelphia’s starting rotation.
Offensively, the Phillies didn’t have any players hit above .300 and they failed to produce a 10-plus home run hitter for the ninth consecutive season. At the plate, the Phillies batted .244 (1,228 hits in 5,036 at-bats) with 516 runs, 185 doubles, 53 triples, 12 homers, 185 stolen bases, and 417 runs batted in.
Centerfielder Johnny Bates led all regulars in hitting at .293 with 11 doubles, one triple, one homer, 15 RBIs, 43 runs, and 22 steals despite appearing in 77 games. First baseman Kitty Bransfield batted .292 with 47 runs, 154 hits, 27 doubes, six triples, one round-tripper, 17 steals, and 59 RBIs. Left-fielder Sherry Magee (.270 in 143 games) led the Phillies in doubles (33), triples (14), RBIs (66), and steals (38).
Right-fielder John Titus also batted .270, collecting 23 RBIs, 69 runs, 22 doubles, six triples, a team-high three home runs, and 23 steals. First baseman Ed Grant appeared in all 154 games, garnering a league-most 631 at-bats (.269 average) with 75 runs, 147 singles, 18 doubles, four triples, one four-bagger, 28 steals, and 37 RBIs.
Shortstop Mickey Doolan posted two triples on May 31 at New York. Bates stole three bases in a game on two separate occasions, both at Cincinnati (Aug. 8 and Sept. 23).
The Phillies turned a triple play on Sept. 4 vs. Brooklyn (shortstop to second base to first base to catcher). Furthermore, Philadelphia posted the league’s second-best fielding percentage at .960 after turning 97 doube plays and committing 240 errors.
Doolan led all NL shortstops in putouts (351), assists (482), and tied for most double plays (58). Catcher Red Dooin led all NL backstops in assists (199), the most at that position in franchise history.
One season after drawing 420,660 fans, Baker Bowl sold 303,177 tickets. After the 1909 season, Horace Fogel replaced the late Israel W. Durham as team president; Durham’s presidency lasted less than one year. Fogel didn’t wait long to fire Murray (240-214-4 from 1907 until 1909), hiring Dooin to also serve as Phillies manager in 1910.
*Information about the 1909 Phillies can be found in “The Phillies Encyclopedia (Third Edition) by Rich Westcott and Frank Bilovsky.