I’ve been thinking about how the 2008 Phillies compare to other teams in Phillies history.

They are one of just two teams that have won the World Series. If that’s the only thing that’s important, the discussion of the best team comes down to the ’08 Phils and the 1980 Phils. I thought I would take a look ignoring what the teams did in the post-season as well as where they finished in their division and league.

The exercise I went through considered only how many runs each team scored and allowed in a particular year, and how those numbers compare to the other teams in the National League that season. For example, in 2008 the Phillies scored 799 runs. The average team in the NL scored 733.81 runs, so the Phils scored about 108.9% the runs of the average team. The ’08 Phils allowed 680 runs while the average NL team in ’08 allowed 748.5 runs, so the Phils allowed about 90.8% of the runs of the average NL team. I then added the difference between the runs they scored and allowed (in this example 8.9 plus 9.2) relative to other teams and compared that total to the total other teams in franchise history.

Specifically, I compared the total to the totals for all other teams in the past 100 years who finished the year with a winning percentage of at least .540 (a team that goes 88-74 has a winning percentage of .543).

This is far from perfect. Notably, you are comparing the results of one year’s team against the other teams in the NL from that year, then using the results to compare teams from different years. For example, if you have access to a parallel universe where you can get the 2008 Phillies to replay their schedule in an NL where every other team is made up of fifth-graders, the Phillies will have an enormously massive difference in runs scored and runs allowed compared to the other teams in the league. When you compare their results to all of the other teams, they will look like the best team in history by a huge amount. How good the ’08 Phillies are hasn’t changed at all, but they do better in this exercise because of who they were playing (also, if you do have access to a parallel universe and go through with this, I would recommend comprehensive medical coverage and protective headgear for everyone, especially the fifth-graders playing first base with Ryan Howard at the plate who are at grave risk of being hypothetically decapitated).

Again, this is imperfect for a lot of reasons. But if you do it, these are the ten Phillies teams over the past 100 years that come out with the best results:


1.

1976

101-61 (.623)

Five regular players with OPS+ of at least 130 (Schmidt, Allen, Luzinski, Maddux, Johnstone). Carlton won 20 games and Jon Lonborg 18.  Second in NL in runs scored, third in runs allowed.  Won the NL East by nine games but were swept by the Reds in the NLCS.


2.

1977

101-61 (.623)

Led the NL in runs scored this year, but runs allowed dropped to third in the league.  Carlton won 23 games and the Cy Young.  Won the NL East, beating the Pirates by five games.  Lost the NLCS to the Dodgers three games to one.


3.

1915

90-62 (.592)

Had the best offense in the league and pitched to an NL-best 2.17 ERA in year the league average was 2.75.  First baseman Fred Luderus and outfielder Gavvy Cravath were first and second in the NL in OPS.  Cravath led the league in OBP, slugging, runs and total bases.  Pete Alexander led the league in wins with 31 and ERA (1.22).  The Phils won the National League by seven games, but the Red Sox beat them four games to one in the World Series.


4.

1978

90-72 (.556)

Phils were third best in runs scored and fifth best in runs allowed.  Won the NL East by 1 1/2 games, but were again beaten by the Dodgers in the NLCS, again falling three games to one.


5.

1993

97-65 (.599)

Dykstra, Daulton and Kruk led a monster Phillies offense that was the best in the league.  The pitching wasn’t nearly as good, in the middle of the pack in the NL, but Curt Schilling and Tommy Greene both won 16 games.  The Phils won the NL East by three games and beat the Braves 4-2 in the NLCS.  The Blue Jays won the World Series four games to two on a walkoff home run by Joe Carter.


6.

2008

92-70 (.568)

Tied for second in NL in runs scored.  Fourth-best in runs allowed using runs allowed per game.  Won the NL East by three games.  Beat the Brewers in an NLDS (three games to one) and the Dodgers in the NLCS (four games to one).  Beat Tampa Bay in the World Series, four games to one.


7.

1916

91-62 (.595)

Offense and pitching both slipped a bit from the amazing 1915 levels and the Phillies fell short of the playoffs.  The Brooklyn Robins finished 2 1/2 games ahead of them for the right to earn the right to get blasted by the Red Sox in the World Series.


8.

1952

87-67 (.575)

The 1952 Phillies had a middle-of-the pack offense but pitching that dominated the league.  Robin Roberts went 28-7 with a 2.59 ERA and finished second in the voting for league MVP.  The ’52 Phils didn’t sniff the playoffs, finishing fourth in the league, 9 1/2 games out of first place.


9.

1917

87-65 (.572)

Third straight year of 30 wins for Pete Alexander.  Phils were near the top of the NL in both hitting and pitching, but finished second in the league a distant ten games behind the New York Giants.  The Giants lost the World Series, too, but this time to the Chicago White Sox in six games.


10.

1950

91-63 (.591)

After a long drought of miserable teams from 1917 through 1949, the 1950 Phillies were great.  Del Ennis, Richie Ashburn, Dick Sisler and Andy Seminick led a solid offense, but the pitching was outstanding.  Led by 20 wins from 23-year-old Robin Roberts and another 17 from Curt Simmons, the Phillies had the dominant pitching in the league.  Reliever Jim Konstanty won 16 games and threw to a 2.66 ERA while winning MVP of the league.  Bullpen-mate Milo Candini was just about as good.  The Phillies won the National League by two games, but were swept by the Yankees in the World Series.

The World Series-winning 1980 team was eleventh. The ’80 Phils were second in the NL in runs scored and fifth in runs allowed. Mike Schmidt was MVP of the league as he led the NL in OPS and won a Gold Glove. Steve Carlton went 24-9 with a 2.34 ERA and struck out 286 in 304 innings. The Phils nipped the Expos by a game to win the NL East, topped the Astros three games to two in the NLCS and beat the Kansas City Royals four games to two to win their first World Series.

Using the same system, these are the five best teams in the last 100 years at scoring runs relative to the rest of the teams in the National League in that year:

1. 1993
2. 1976
3. 1977
4. 1981
5. 2007

And here are the five best teams at preventing runs:

1. 1915
2. 1952
3. 1976
4. 1950
5. 1917

A reminder that the 2008 World Series Film will debut in Philadelphia area theaters on November 24. Ticket information and information about the DVD (which will be available on November 25) is here.