There’s a very good reason for that: After posting 30 losing seasons in 31 years–a record for awfulness that will probably stand forever–until last year, the Phillies stood alone as the only team in the history of organized sports with more than 10,000 losses. Coming into the 2012 season, the Phillies’ all-time won-loss record was 9,258-10,312. So far this season, they are 21-21, meaning that the franchise’s historical record is now 9,279-10,333. The next closest in total losses coming into this season was the Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, with 10,043 losses, but the Braves have an overall winning record (barely, but it is an overall winning record).
The last five years have been the golden era for the Philadelphia Phillies. During that period, the “Phighting Phillies” have won the National League’s Eastern Division for five consecutive years (even as they accumulated their 10,000th loss in 2007), back-to-back visits to the World Series in 2008-2009, and the second world championship in the history of the 129-year history of the franchise in 2008. That run has established the Phils as one of the elite franchises in baseball.
It has certainly not been that way for the overwhelming history of this franchise. As Chris Jaffe points out in this fascinating article on The Hardball Times website, the last time that the Phillies won-lost record was at the .500 mark was 90 years ago. On May 14, 1922, the Phils beat the Cardinals 5-1, raising the team’s historical record to 2,827-2,827. In typical Phillies fashion, they then reeled off 12 straight losses and 30 losing seasons out of 31. They have not come close to an overall .500 record since.
According to Jaffe, the low point occurred on May 31, 2002, when they overall record of the team was 1,245 games BELOW .500, at 8,360-9,603, a point that they hit again four days later. Since May 14, 1922, they have compiled a record of 6,431-7,484. Jaffe states that in order for the team to get back to an overall record of .500, the Phillies will have to average 87 wins per season into the next century. And that, my friends, is why my Phillies occupy more pages of You Stink! than any other team. Rightly so.
And Michael wonders why I hate the Yankees so much…