The Phillies joined the NL in 1883, losing 81 of 98 games. The franchise would wait nearly a century for their first World Series title.
Some of baseball's biggest stars have played in Philadelphia. The first was Sam Thompson, the slugging outfielder of the 1880s and 1890s. Also during that time Billy Hamilton played for the NL Philadelphia team. The late 1890s featured Big Ed Delahanty, Nap Lajoie, and Elmer Flick. All three are in the Hall of Fame. The next superstar in Philadelphia was Grover Cleveland "Pete" Alexander. The Hall of Fame hurler won thirty games three times for the Phils and helped pace the team's first pennant winner in 1915. That team also featured slugger Gavvy Cravath and shortstop Dave Bancroft. They lost the World Series to Tris Speaker and the Red Sox.
Amazingly from 1919 to 1947, a stretch of 29 seasons, the Phillies finished last or next to last 24 times! Seventeen times during that period they were dead last. It's no wonder Philadelphia fans are considered the roughest in sports. The 1950 team won the pennant on the final day of the season, helped in large part by Richie Ashburn's throw to home plate from center field. Ashburn had a Hall of Fame career, winning two batting crowns, leading the NL in hits three times, and flashing one of the best gloves ever in the outfield. The 1950 World Series matched "The Whiz Kid" Phillies and the perennial AL champ Yankees. Predictably the Yanks took care of the overmatched Phils in four games, and it would be 30 years before Philadelphia returned to the Fall Classic. The best player on the Phillies in the 1950s was pitcher Robin Roberts, who won twenty games in six consecutive seasons, and 286 for his career.
In 1964 Philadelphia fans suffered through one of the worst collapses in history. Up by six games with ten days left, the Phillies went into a swoon, losing the flag to St. Louis on the season's last day. Manager Gene Mauch was criticized for panicking down the stretch. The biggest stars of the 1960s Phillies were pitcher Jim Bunning (acquired in a lopsided deal with Detroit), and slugger Dick Allen. Bunning is in the Hall of Fame, Allen alienated teammates, fans, the front office, and the media with his grumpiness. Nonetheless, Allen was one of the best hitters in baseball from 1964-1974.
The greatest player in Phillies history is probably Mike Schmidt. The Hall of Fame third baseman played from 1972 to 1989, the most successful period in franchise history. Schmidt won eight home run titles, four RBI titles, and three Gold Gloves. He was named MVP three times, in 1980, 1981, and 1986. He finished his career with 548 home runs, and more than 1,500 runs and RBI.
The Phillies won the NL East title every year from 1976-1978, but lost each time in the playoffs. In 1980 the Phillies finally got over the hump, winning their first pennant in 30 years after defeating the Astros in a tight playoff series.
The best pitcher in Philadelphia history is also one of the best left-handers ever - Steve Carlton. "Lefty" won 27 games for the last-place Phils in 1972, and later won twenty or more on four occasions. He won four Cy Young awards on his way to the Hall of Fame.
Carlton and Schmidt teamed with free agent Pete Rose to lead the 1980 team to a six-game Series victory over the Royals. It was the Phillies first World Championship. To this day they continue to search for another. The team returned to the Fall Classic in 1983 with veterans Schmidt, Carlton, Rose, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, and Tug McGraw leading the "Wheeze Kids". The Orioles handled them easily in the Series. Both Carlton and Schmidt retired in the mid to late 1980s, leaving a void that was impossible to fill. By 1993 the team was back in contention and won their fifth NL pennant. In the World Series against Toronto, the Phillies battled hard, led by Lenny Dykstra, Darren Daulton, John Kruk, Curt Schilling, and Mitch Williams. But it wasn't meant to be as the Blue Jays won their second straight World title.
Since that exciting 1993 season, the team failed to post a winning record in any season from 1994-2000, but by 1999 they were re-building behind promising youngsters Scott Rolen, Bobby Abreu, and Mike Lieberthal. In 2001 the Phillies pushed the Braves in the NL East, staying in contention until the season's final week.
In 2004 the Philadelphia Phillies finished in 2nd place in the National League East Division with a 86-76 record.
In 2006 the Philadelphia Phillies finished in 2nd place in the National League
East Division with a 85-77 record.