2001-2010: The Best Decade in Phillies History? – Phillies Nation

2001-2010: The Best Decade in Phillies History?

We, as Phillies fans, know we’ve had it pretty good the past few years. With four top-line starting pitchers in the rotation, top-five players at three positions and top-ten players at two more positions, the future portends more good things for La Furia Roja. But it’s also worth looking back and remembering how historically good the Phillies have been since the turn of the century. About a year ago, before coming to Phillies Nation, I wrote a piece exploring what would have happened if Scott Rolen had never left Philly. At the top of that post was a chart comparing the Phillies, from 2000-2009, to the team from 1975-84, the best consecutive 10 years of their existence at that point. Here is that chart:

Era 1975-1984 2000-2009
Record 872-693 850-769
Win pct. .557 .525
Playoff Appearances 6 3
Division Titles 5 3
Pennants 2 2
WS Titles 1 1
Winning Seasons 9 (plus an 81-81 season) 8
Major Awards* (ROY, MVP, Cy Young, Manager of the Year) 5 4
Best Record 101-61 (1976 and 1977) 93-69 (2009)
Worst Record 81-81 (1984) 65-97 (2000)

As you can see, the two eras are comparable even considering that dreadful last year of the Francona Era. Now that 2010 has come and gone with another great year, let’s redo that chart to take 2010 into account.

Era 1975-1984 2001-2010
Record 872-693 882-737
Win pct. .557 .544
Playoff Appearances 6 4
Division Titles 5 4
Pennants 2 2
WS Titles 1 1
Winning Seasons 9 (plus an 81-81 season) 9
Major Awards* (ROY, MVP, Cy Young, Manager of the Year) 5 5
Best Record 101-61 (1976 and 1977) 97-65 (2010)
Worst Record 81-81 (1984) 80-81 (2002)
Playoff Record 18-22 25-18

Okay, so maybe the past decade isn’t hands-down the best in the history of the team, but (thanks to the 1981 strike), the Phillies won more games from 2001-2010 than in any other 10-year span, never finishing a season more than a half-game under .500, to say nothing of four division titles running. If the Phillies have another playoff run in 2011, with a regular-season record better than 86-76, those numbers will only look better.

There’s not any deeper point to this post than “Wow, the Phillies have been really freaking good since 2001.” Sometimes, things like that are worth a moment of aesthetic arrest.

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  1. The Uber Dude

    February 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    I’m waiting til the “2003-2012” version comes out. Then we can write off the horrible low points at the beginning of the decade while basking in the glow of the Pitchocratic Hegemony.

  2. betasigmadeltashag

    February 7, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    I have to say from someone who went to his first Phillies game at the Vet in 1971 at the ripe old age of 6 and living and dying through the mid 70’s losses to the hated Dodgers I would still think that that the those teams will be cherished a little more. Ok maybe since I was in my formidable years of not having anything else really going on in my life, yea there were girls and golf, but no adult pressures of work and a wife. I think that if there was a wild card back in the late 70’s the Phillies might have won another WS who knows. But that is one thing that skews the playoff births. I know the Phillies have not needed the wild card in the last 4 years to make it, but they have had the benifit of three divisions not two. I am not taking anything away from this team I absolutely love them, I have a Sunday season ticket package, and drive from Vermont to Philly, on Saturdays of games and home on Sunday night. But Bowa and Boone and Carolton and Schmidy and those teams will remain very special to me. My two cents

  3. Pat Gallen

    February 7, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Beta, I think because there was such a long layoff – nearly two decades of futility – that people have forgotten how good those teams were. It’s a shame. I didn’t get to see them (too young) but I know how great and how special they were to the city.

  4. Lefty

    February 7, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    I have so many great memories of the teams in the late 70’s early 80’s, there were some fantastic ball clubs top to bottom. Some of the forgotten unsung heroes like Del Unser,Ted Sizemore, Dave Cash, Greg Gross, Manny Trillo and the Vukovich boys made those clubs so great. IMO The difference now is the fact that we’ve put together a longer singular run of great baseball. Yes the earlier team had more playoff appearances, but never four straight years like these last four. And five, maybe six or seven are now within reach.

  5. Brooks

    February 7, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    I dont think the answer is all that complicated. Look, the Phils in the late 70’s had 2 players on the team that are now in the HOF and at that time were considered 2 of the best in baseball in Lefty and MJ. In the early 80’s that number was expanded by Pete Rose but even the names of Maddox, Bowa, Luzinski, Ruthven, McBride, Boone – well, compare the teams from then to the squad we have now:

    MVP – Jimmy Rollins, MVP – Ryan Howard – CY – Roy Halladay –
    How many of us still believe that Chase has MVP like credentials (I do)? I also believe that there very well could be another CY winner on this team – Oswalt? Lee or definitely Hamels.

    Chooch is far better than Boone in my book – I just think this team has more recognizable individual talent, and the fact that there does not have to be a drill seargent (Green) at the helm seems to make this team more personable than the team in the 80’s.

    I was in my early 20’s back then – I’m in my mid 50’s now and this team has the electricity.

  6. bfo_33

    February 8, 2011 at 6:41 am

    A lot of memories to digest. In that same age range as Beta, saw that first decade as a kid. Being a pre-teen and teen, the 100 yrs of futility didn’t effect me much, but for the older fans, there was always that sense of doom (often in the form of Dodger Blue). Without Rose, probably wouldn’t have gotten there (unfortunately, got management tied into the model that 1 key free agent could make a difference, set the groundwork for 20 years of poor baseball).

    The Phils-Astros pennant series was the best playoff series I’ve ever seen, every game went down to the wire. I still look at that team through the eyes of a youngster – bigger than life stars – The Bull, Tugger, MJ, Carlton, Rose,…… (the same way my kids look at today’s team). The 2008 Phils had one of the most dominant playoff runs of any team – no series ever seemed in doubt, a quiet confidence (except in J-Rolls case, where it was a bit more boisterous) that no game is over.

    Right now it’s a push (while the wild card makes it easier to get into the playoffs, it makes it harder to win it all). I lean with Uber – in 2013, there won’t be an argument on the best 10 season stretch.

  7. Josh

    February 8, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Does anyone remember why they only played 161 games in 2002?

    • Chuck

      February 8, 2011 at 10:31 am

      Probably a rainout that was never made up becasue it wasn’t necessary to determine the standings. Actually happens quite a lot with teams that aren’t in contention right down to the wire.

  8. Manny

    February 8, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Also, the number of wins and losses is a function not only of how good your team is, but how good/bad the other teams were at the time.

  9. Pingback: D12: Michael Young says he’s been ‘misled’ and ‘manipulated’ (Yahoo! Sports) « Top Sports Hub

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