In the 127-year history of the Philadelphia Phillies franchise, one team has to be the worst. The 1928 Phillies may have been the one. The only thing that might have saved them from this ignominy was the acquistion on July 28 of a 23 year-old lefthanded slugger named Chuck Klein. The team was a pathetic 6-22 in July, marginally better than their 3-22 May, but made an immediate improvement to 11- 19 in August due in large part because of Klein; in 64 games he hit .360 with 11 homeruns and 34 RBIs.
Under new manager, Burt Shotton, the team played poorly right from the start, and seemed to adopt a “what’s the use?” attitude when catching stalwart Jimmie Wilson (27 years old) was traded to St. Louis on May 11, where he helped the Cardinals win the pennant, 51 games ahead of the last place Phillies who lost 109 games. Forty one year-old Pete Alexander was still chucking for the Cardinals, going 16-9, 4-0 against the Phillies.
Later events would show that catcher Spud Davis (24) and firstbaseman Don Hurst (23), acquired in the Wilson trade, were very good ballplayers. In 1928 the Phillies also got an out-of-nowhere performance from 23 year-old rookie thirdbaseman Pinky Whitney who hit .301 and led the team with 103 RBIs.
So there it was – the Phillies had some rising stars, but somebody forgot about the pitching. And boy was it bad. Old amigo, Jimmy Ring, back for another Baker Bowl bruising, was 4-17 with a 6.44 ERA; Les Sweetland, the lefty option, 3-15, ERA – 6.58; Ray Benge, 8-18, 4.55. The team lost 15 of 16 to close the season. But it couldn’t all be blamed on Baker Bowl – they only won 17 road games and lost 60.
Worst in team history? Wait ‘til you read about the 1938-42 Phillies.
It was the fate of the 1928 Cardinals to be the raw meat for the lion’s den New York Yankees in the World’s Series. Another four-game sweep, keyed by four homeruns from Lou Gehrig, and three from Babe Ruth. The Cardinal’s Old Pete Alexander took the hit before 61,000 screaming, thumbs down, revenge-seeking, zealots, in game two at the New York Coliseum called Yankee Stadium.By max blue
- Babe Ruth, Baker Bowl, Burt Shotton, Chuck Klein, Don Hurst, Jimmie Wilson, Jimmy Ring, Les Sweetland, Lou Gehrig, Pete Alexander, Philadelphia Phillies, Pinky Whitney, Ray Benge, Spud Davis