The Phillies "P" is iconic. It is Philadelphia. From Richie Asburn to Chase Utley it is considered an honor to wear the P, no matter the color or style of print. In part one of the History of the Phillies, the "P" and their Uniforms we looked back at the birth of the sports worlds oldest team.
In Part Two we take a look at the 1950 Whiz Kids, red pinstripes, Veterans Stadium, and the first World Series Title for the Philadelphia Phillies! We also delve into the short lived life of Phil and Phyllis and the iconic birth of the Phillie Phanatic!
Let us know what your favorite moment in Philadelphia sports history is, as well as your favorite uniform of all-time!
1948 brought about a uniform change that looks extremely familiar to Phillies phans today. In 2008, as a part of the team's 125th anniversary, they introduced these cream jerseys to be worn for home day games. The 1948 uniform was the first time since 1937 that both the home and away jerseys displayed "Phillies" written across the chest. The cream colored uniforms are highlighted with red and blue colors. It is always fun to go to the park on Sunday afternoon games and see the "alternate" cream jersey being worn with the blue and red cap. The Phillies also selected 2008 as the year to unveil the 1948 jersey because it marked the 50th anniversary of Robin Roberts' and Richie Asburn's rookie debute with the team.
1950 marked the first year that the Philllies started wearing RED pinstripes (1st time since 1923) on their home jerseys. The 1950 jerseys are nearly identical to the regular home jerseys today. 1950 would mark another successful season in Phillies history, winning their 2nd pennant. The debut of Roberts and Whitey in '48 was the beginning of an influx of young, home grown talent for the Phillies. Affectionately dubbed the "Whiz Kids" the 1950 Phillies had 11 primary contributors under the age of 25, who all came up through the Phillies farm system.
Whiz Kid, Robin Roberts
The fate of the 1950 season came down to the last game of the year, for the Phils, on October 1st at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. Making his 4th start in the last nine days Robin Roberts still managed to go 10 strong innings. The Phillies won 4-1 thanks to a legendary home run by Dick Sisler in the top half of the tenth and Roberts retiring the Dodgers in order in the bottom of the tenth. The Phillies were headed to their first World Series appearance since 1915. They were swept in 4 games by them bums in the Bronx.
The uniform for the Phillies didn’t change through the 50’s and 60’s, and their current road uniform is almost interchangeable to what they wore from 1950 to 1969. While at home the Phillies wore a red pinstriped uniform like they do today. Through the 40's, 50's and 60's a lot of teams went from the traditional buttoned down jersey to the zippered jersey. The Phillies didn't catch on to the trend until 1973, by that time most teams had abandoned the zippers. In 1973 the road jerseys became blue-ish in color. The Phillies were also the last team to wear a zippered jersey in 1990.
After the memorable Whiz Kids season of 1950 the Phillies wouldn't see the playoffs again until 1976. In 1964 the Phillies held a 6.5 game 1st place lead in the National League with 12 games to go. What ensued was the biggest choke in Philadelphia sports history as the Phillies went on a 10-game losing streak and missed the playoffs. The biggest bright spot in 1964 was on June 21 when the Phillies faced the Mets in a Father's Day double-header at Shea Stadium. 1st year Phillie Jim Bunning, in game one of the double bill, was flawless as he faced 27 batters and retired them all in a 6-0 win! His was the first perfect game in team history and the first in the National League's modern era. The previous NL perfect game came in 1880.
The 1970's marked the beginning of a new era for Phillies baseball. On August 10, 1971 the Phillies played their first game at newly built Veterans Stadium on Broad and Pattison in South Philly. The multi-purpose "octorad" design stadium, innovative in its day, was built to house both the Phillies and the Eagles. The Phillies beat the Montreal Expos 4-1 in front of an audience of 55, 352. The stadium was brought to life with the opening ceremonies conducted by none other than the late, great Harry Kalas. Coincidentally Harry's first year with the Phillies. It would go on to be a beautiful marriage between HK, the Phillies and the city of Philadelphia.
In 1971 the Phillies also debuted their short lived mascots Phil and Phyllis. Phil and his counterpart Phyllis were children dressed in colonial garb. Phil is seen tossing a baseball and holding a bat (need a glove? Nah) while Phylis is ready to play with her glove. Phil and Phyllis were used heavily in promotions for the bicentennial in 1976. Thankfully their popularity was brief and they were replaced by the iconic and loveable Phillie Phanatic in 1978!
Me and the Phanatic chillin!
In 2013 you cannot talk about Phillies Baseball without mentioning the endearing and legendary Phillie Phanatic! Just imagine if Phil and Phyllis had stuck around? It would look more like oversized heads stumbling on the field in Washington instead of the greatest mascot in sports history! The large, green, furry creature from the Galapagos Islands is the Phillies biggest phan.
The Phanatic was created to attract more families to Veterans Stadium and he has turned into a baseball icon. You can't walk around the Bank without seeing Phanatic hats, t-shirts, jerseys, book bags, or entire customs! His pre-game antics and heckling of the opposing team is priceless. He attracts a mob of Phillies phans wherever his big feet take him throughout the park. He causes grown men to push over children just to get a high five.
Michael Jack Schmidt
The 70's also brought about the greatest 3rd baseman in Phillies history, and the all-time leader in home runs. Michael Jack Schmidt played his first full season with the big league club in 1973. In only his second full year with the Phillies, in 1974, Schmidt earned his first of twelve All-Star nods with 160 hits, 36 homeruns and 116 rbi's. In 1976 Schmitty led the Phillies to their first division crown since division play began in 1969. The Phillies would win 3 straight division crowns from 1976-1978.
The 70's brought increased success to South Philly and also another shade of red and a new "P." The white logo P with the baseball in the center is still one of the most iconic logos in Phillies history. 1970 was also the first year the Phillies put numbers on the front of their jerseys, with the new P, replacing the team name "Phillies." The burgundy red Phillies gear is more popular today than it was in the 70's. The white with red pinstripe home jerseys would stay the same for the next 21 years, while the grey and burgundy road jersey would see a color change to a powder blue from 1973-1988. Some of the greatest Phillies in team history would adorn the powder blue.
The most memoable color change was in 1979, the "Saturday Nights Special," an all maroon uniform designed to be worn for every Saturday game in 1979. From the hats to the pants, the entire uniform was maroon with a white stripe running down both arms and down the sides of the jersey and pants. Unforunately the Saturday Night Special was so poorly received it only lasted one night.
Saturday Night Special
The look for the Phillies didn't change much from the 1970's into the 1980's. Most of the uniforms saw pinstripes on the home jersey and blue on the road. Still sporting the P on the left chest, with the player number on the right chest. The Phillies even kept the zippers on the jerseys until 1990.
But ONE major thing did change in 1980! The 1980 Phillies phinally brought a World Series title to Philadelphia!! Led by NL MVP Mike Schmidt, the Phillies won the National League East with 91 wins. Schmitty hit 48 home runs and drove in 121, while Pete Rose led the league with 42 doubles. Looking for their first pennant since 1950, the Phillies trailed the Houston Astros 2-1 in the National League Championship series. The Phils took Game 4 in the tenth inning 5-3 to force a deciding Game 5. In Game 5 the Phillies and Stros went into extras for the 5th straight game. The Phillies scored a run in the top of the tenth to win the pennant 8-7!! The Phillies would go on to face the Kansas City Royals in the 1980 World Series.
Tug McGraw clinches the '80 World Series!
The Phillies brought home their first ever World Series Championship in six games over the Royals! The 1980 Champs featured Cy Young Award winner "Lefty" Steve Carlton and NL MVP Mike Schmdit, along with energetic, screwball throwing reliever Tug McGraw. In Game 6 on October 21, 1980 Tugger struck out Willie Wilson at 11:29 to clinch the series for the Phils! Mike Schmdit scored two in the third en route to World Series MVP. A strong pitching performance by Lefty, saved by Tugger, was all the Phillies needed for a 4-1 victory and an incredible parade down Broad Street! Tugger reaching for the sky in celebration after the final out is forever etched in Phillies history.
In 1980 all four Philadelpia major sports teams (Phillies, Flyers, Sixers and Eagles) played for their respective leagues championship. The Phillies the only one coming away with a title and a parade.
In 1983 the Phillies sported a commemorative patch on the left sleeve of their jersey celebrating 100 years of Phillies Baseball! The patch was a diamond with four different Phillies "P" logo representing each corner. Highlighting the many logos throughout the Phillies rich history. The Phillies celebrated in style in 1983 winning their 4th pennant, their 2nd in four years. They would lose the 1983 to the Baltimore Orioles in 5 games.
Stay tuned for Part Three of the Phillies History, the "P" and their Uniforms!!