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Sunday, August 15, 2010
Philadelphia Phillies Uniform and Team History
Please click on the evolution of the Phillies uniform poster above for a close-up version of the poster. The descriptions below give you some insight and background about the uniforms and/or eras depicted in the poster.
The Philadelphia Phillies are highly regarded as a team with a rich history. The Phillies are touted as the “oldest, continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional sports” according to their web site. There is a tiny bit of question as to the “one-name” claim as some feel that the team was also known as the Quakers in the 1880’s and as the Blue Jays in 1944-45.
The team began in 1883 and played at Recreation Park, where they stayed for the first four seasons. From there they went to the Philadelphia Baseball Grounds in 1887, (also known as National League Park, Philadelphia Baseball Grounds, Huntington Avenue Grounds, Philadelphia Park and Philadelphia Base Ball Park). The name was changed to the Baker Bowl in 1913 when William Baker bought the team. From 1883 to 1885, the Phillies were a middle of the road team, but in those first 13 seasons, they had a winning record nine times. In 1895 the National League consisted of twelve teams, Baltimore, Cleveland, Chicago, Boston, Brooklyn, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, New York, Washington, St. Louis, Louisville and Philadelphia.
The 1895 Phillies played a total of 133 games, winning 78 and losing 53.
The first uniform we see is a far cry from the last one we will see on this poster. The jersey is long sleeved, and has laces down the front in place of buttons. The “P” is in an old English style. If you notice, there is a center belt loop, which was to secure the belt buckle off to one side. Players of this era usually wore the belt buckle to one side to prevent injury when sliding into a base.
As we see on this home uniform, the Phillies have gone with a fully buttoned front jersey and ¾ length sleeves. The “P” has been replaced with a more simple design than the 1895 “P”, and the full collar has been replaced with an upright collar. The center belt loop still remains, and would until 1924.
After finishing with a 90-62 record, it was the Phillies turn for a chance at a World Series after watching the cross-town Philadelphia Athletics go to the Fall Classic five times in ten years and winning it three times. The 1915 Phillies took the NL pennant easily and went on to face the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. They won the first game 3-1, the only game that was won by more than a single run, Boston won the next four straight by scores of 2-1, 2-1, 2-1 and 5-4. Despite the loss in the Series, the Phillies could look back at a great season. Pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander led the league in wins with 31, ERA at 1.22 and strikeouts with 241, while right fielder Gavvy Cravath hit a record 24 home runs and led the league in RBI with 115. This would be the Phillies last appearance in a World Series until 1950.
In 1921 the Phillies went with a new look for their uniforms. The home uniform shown here has pinstripes for the first time and the “P” has a blue circle around it. They have gone back to the pullover style with buttons ¾ of the way down the jersey. The center belt loop still remains, and would until 1924.
The Phillies finished in last place in 1921 going 51-103, as well as 1919 with a 47-90 record, and also in 1920 with a 62-91record. Ironically, they led the league in home runs each year. One good reason for this was the short right field fence, which was only 272 feet away from home, in their home ballpark the Baker Bowl.
By 1925 the Phillies have dropped the pinstripes seen on the 1921 uniform and have gone back to an old English style “P” for this home jersey. This is a fully buttoned front jersey with center belt loop. The patch on the left sleeve celebrates the National League’s 50th anniversary and features the words “Golden Jubilee”, which every NL team wore.
Sadly, the ’25 Phillies were still nothing to write home about as they finished in 7th place with a 68-85 record. One of the bright spots on the team was the hitting of center fielder George Harper, who led the team with a .349 average, 18 home runs and 97 RBI.
The 1931 Phillies stuck with the old English style “P”, but moved it to both sleeves on their road uniforms and surrounded it with a diamond. The black armband on the left sleeve underneath the diamond “P” is in memory of former owner William F. Baker who passed away.
The 30’s were tough times for the Phillies, as they finished below .500 nine times out of ten. One exception was the play of left fielder Chuck Klein. In 1931 he led the league in home runs with 31 and RBI with 121, while his team played to a 66-88 record. Klein was awarded the league MVP the following year, and then won the Triple Crown in 1933.
As we see on this road uniform, the Phillies have put the team name on the front of the jersey, (this was first done in 1933). Please note: the “P” in Phillies stands out from the rest of the letters because it is filled in with white rather than red, like all the other letters; Also the inside of the “s” is white, instead of the gray background of the uniform; and the “swoosh” underlining the name has been filled in with white as well. This look would last for this season only. The red piping is still on the jersey, around the collar, down the buttons and on the sleeve.
The 30’s were tough times for the Phillies, as they finished below .500 nine times out of ten. Playing 149 games this season, the Phillies would finish with a 56-93 record.
This 1938 uniform jumps right out of the page! For this season only, the team’s colors were changed to blue and gold. The red is gone on the home jersey’s “P”, and replaced with gold with blue trim, as well as the piping. A patch on the left sleeve shows a man pitching from the top of the Liberty Bell, while players in the background play on a diamond. The words that encircle the image say “Philadelphia National League Base Ball Club”.
The 30’s were tough times for the Phillies, as they finished below .500 nine times out of ten. With a 45-105 record and years of problems with Baker Bowl, this season would mark the team’s move out of its home and into shared accommodations with their American League counterparts, the Athletics, in Shibe Park, (the name would later be changed to Connie Mack Stadium in 1953). The Phillies would play at Shibe from 1938 to 1970.
Another interesting uniform for you! After the 1938 blue and gold experiment the team went back to their traditional red until 1942 when they went to all blue. As of 1943 the “PHILLIES” script stayed pretty much the same, with the small addition of stars over the “I's" in 1944. A blue jay patch on the left sleeve was adopted since the team was trying to change their name to the Blue Jays, (which was odd since they still kept the name Phillies predominantly on the front) but it would never stick.
During the Second World War, the question is raised, should able-bodied athletes of baseball be fighting for their country rather than playing baseball? Baseball Commissioner Landis asked President Franklin D. Roosevelt what to do - here is part of Roosevelt’s reply:
“I honestly feel it would be best for the country to keep baseball going. There will be fewer people unemployed and everybody will work longer hours and harder than ever before… Here is another way of looking at it - if 300 teams use 5,000 or 6,000 players, these players are a definite recreational asset to at least 20,000,000 of their fellow citizens - and that in my judgment is thoroughly worthwhile.”
Wartime sleeve patches were worn by all levels of professional baseball teams between 1942 and 1945. A “Health” patch was worn during the 1942 season, part of a wartime health and fitness awareness campaign, and from 1943-1945 a “Stars and Stripes” was worn, which is seen on this 1944 jersey.
On the field, the Phillies had an amazing streak of finishing in last or second last place over the past 12 seasons. From 1933 to 1944 they finished last 7 times and 2nd last 5 times. This season wouldn’t be much better as they finish with a 61-92 record. The 40’s were a terrible time for Phillies fans, but once the 50’s began, things looked a whole lot better.
In 1946 the Phillies went to a red and blue look to their uniforms, and it continued to the 1948 season as seen here. What a magnificent uniform and you can see why the Phillies organization in 2007 chose this uniform as the basis for their throwback-3rd uniform.
On the field, the Phillies struggled, going 66-88, which placed them last in the eight team NL. The team had three managers - Ben Chapman (37-42), Dusty Cooke (6-6) and Eddie Sawyer (23-40).
In 1946 the Phillies went to a red and blue look to their uniforms, and then in to all red in 1950. This home uniform is more like the jerseys of the team today than what we have seen previously. The addition of red pinstripes were added in 1950 for the first time since 1923.
The Phillies finished atop the National League for the first time since 1915 with a 91-63 record, and with a much-deserved pennant in hand, they marched onto the World Series. Their American League foes were the Yankees. Stacked with players like Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford, the Phillies were no match for the Yanks, who were in the midst of winning five straight championships, and took the Series in four straight games. The 50’s would be known as the time of the “Whiz Kids” for the Phillies, with the team made up of young talent. Right fielder Del Ennis led the team in average with .311, home runs with 31 and RBI with 126, (which was also tops in the National League). On the mound, Robin Roberts led the pitching staff with a 20-11 record, with Curt Simmons close behind with a 17-8 record.
During the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s many teams used zippered jerseys instead of the more traditional button front jerseys, while a handful of teams wore them well into the 70’s and even the 80’s. Only three pre-1977 major league teams never wore zippers: the Yankees, the Reds and the A’s. The 1937 Cubs were the first team to wear a zippered jersey, and as far we can tell the 1988 Phillies were the last to wear one. Interestingly, it wasn’t until 1973 that the Phillies first wore a zippered jersey, long after most teams had abandoned the style.
The uniform didn’t change through the 50’s and 60’s, and this road uniform is almost identical to what they wore from 1950 to 1969. While at home the Phillies wore a pinstriped uniform.
The “Whiz Kids” (a group of young talent from the 50’s) were gone, (as was their American League counterparts the Athletics, who moved to Kansas City) but the great play wasn’t. With the Phillies leading the National League for most of the 1964 season, they were up by 6½ games with only 12 games left. They proceeded to lose 10 straight games to finish tied for second with a 92-70 record, only one game behind the Cardinals. The disintegration of the team is said to have a devastating effect on Phillies fans. Rookie of the year third baseman Richie Allen led the team in batting with a .318 average, while right fielder Johnny Callison hit 31 homers and drove in 104 RBI for the team. The Phillies had a great righty, lefty pitching combination with Jim Bunning winning 19 games and Chris Short winning 17.
In 1970 the Phillies introduced a new logo to their uniforms; the “P” was modernized and replaced the team name that appeared on the jersey for so many years. Also for the first time in Phillies history, the player’s numbers were on the front of the jerseys. Uniform numbers first made their appearance on the front of a uniform in 1952 - the Brooklyn Dodgers were the first team to wear uniform numbers on the front of their jersey. The Braves followed suit in 1953, and the Reds joined in beginning in 1956. The 1916 Cleveland Indians actually wore a uniform number on their sleeve, but it wasn’t until the ’52 Dodgers that the number made it to the front.
In 1973 the jersey had its buttons taken away and a zipper replaced it. Also this year the road uniforms became blue-ish in color, which is how we see this road uniform on the poster. The patch on the left sleeve is for the bicentennial.
The new home for the Phillies, Veterans Stadium, was opened in 1971, and this 1976 season it would see its first All Star game and post season play. Philadelphia captured the NL East title going 101-61, (their first trip back to the post season since 1950) and played the Cincinnati Reds for the National League pennant. Sparky Anderson’s “Big Red Machine” took the series in three straight games. Beginning with this 1976 season, the Phillies would win the NL East three years in a row (1976, 1977, 1978) and 4 out of 5 (1980 as well), twice with identical 100+ win seasons - 101-61 records in both 1976 and 1977. Mike Schmidt led the team and the NL with 38 homers while also leading the Phillies in RBI with 107. On the mound, Steve Carlton led the pitching staff with a 20-7 record.
The look of the Phillies in the 80’s wasn’t much different from the 70’s. Even the zipper was on the jersey until 1990. Most of the ‘80’s saw pinstripes on the home uniform and blue on the road.
The look of the 1980 uniform might have been the same as the ‘70’s but the play on the field was not! They finished the regular season atop the NL East going 91-71, with Philly third baseman Mike Schmidt leading the team to the post season, while winning the NL MVP award. He led the league with 48 home runs and 121 RBI, while Pete Rose hit 42 doubles to also lead the league. The Houston Astros were the only thing in the way of the Phillies and a shot at a second title, (their first was 1950). The Astros went up 2 games to 1 and needed only one more win to move on to the World Series. Game four would go ten innings with the Phillies coming out on top 5-3, opening the door for a fifth and deciding game in Houston. The Philly batters would have to take on Nolan Ryan who struck out 200 batters during the regular season, (second to the Phillies Steve Carlton who led the league with 286). By the 7th inning Philadelphia was down 5-2, but stormed back in the 8th to go ahead 7-5. Houston came back in the bottom of the inning to tie it up at 7. For the fifth game in a row, they would head to extra innings. The Phillies didn’t waste any time and scored a run in the top of the 10th to win the pennant 8-7 and go on to face the Kansas City Royals for the World Series. After winning games one and two at home, the Phillies dropped the next two in Kansas City to even the series at 2-2. The Phillies regrouped under the leadership and hitting of Mike Schmidt, winning the next two games and taking the championship for their first World Series title. Steve Carlton won both games he started, while Schmidt won the Series MVP award.
The home uniform we see is ultimately the same as their World Series year in 1980, with the addition of the patch on the left sleeve commemorating the teams 100 years in baseball. The patch is of a diamond with four different Phillies “P” logos on each corner. In the middle are the number 100 and the years 1883 and 1983. The Philadelphia Phillies are highly regarded as a team with a rich history. The Phillies are touted as the “oldest, continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional sports” according to their web site.
After winning it all in 1980, the Phillies made another run for the 1983 championship with their 90-72 record.. They faced the L.A. Dodgers for the pennant, and beat them 3 games to 1 to advance to the World Series against Baltimore. Mike Schmidt once again led the team with a .467 average in the N.L. Championship Series. After winning the first game of the series, Philadelphia ran into a Baltimore Orioles team on a mission. The “Birds” won four straight to take the championship, while shutting down Mike Schmidt who would only get 1 hit in the five games. The entire Phillies team hit an anemic .195 for the Series.
The Phillies dropped the blue road uniform in 1989 in favor of the more traditional gray, as we see in this 1993 jersey. The Phillies also brought back the written team name on the front of the jersey in ’92 for the first time since 1970, with a subtle addition of blue stars over the “i’s” instead of red. They have also moved the player’s numbers to the left sleeve, and banished the zipper, (thank goodness) for buttons down the front and red trim around the sleeves. The Phillies would be the last team to get rid of the zippered jersey, wearing it for the last time in 1988.
In 1993 the Phillies finished atop the NL East Division with a record of 97-65 and cast of blue-collar workers. Several players had beards, chewed tobacco and seemed to always have a dirty uniform, even if the game had just started. The 1993 team led the league in several hitting categories as well as pitching. They would face the highly favored Atlanta Braves for the pennant and beat them four games to two.
Once again they were the underdog against the defending champion Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series, (note: remember in 1944 & 1945 the Phillies were actually called the Blue Jays). The Jays went up 2 games to 1 in a high scoring Series so far with scores like 8-5 in game one for the Jays, 6-4 for the Phillies in game two and 10-3 for Toronto in game three. Game 4 would be no different. Going into the 8th, Philly was up 14-9. Closer Mitch Williams came into the game looking to shut down any attempts at a Jay comeback. As the inning ended and Williams walked back to the dugout, the Jays had scored 6 runs and were now up 15-14 and 3 games to 1 in the Series. The next game saw the Phillies Curt Schilling pitch a complete game 5 hit shutout. Just what the Phillies needed. Onto game six in Toronto. The Jays went up 5-1 early on, until the Phillies score 5 of their own in the 7th to take the lead 6-5. Mitch Williams comes on once again to close things out in the bottom of the 9th. Rickey Henderson and Paul Molitor both get on base, as Joe Carter steps up to the plate for one of the most memorable moments in World Series history. He drives a Williams pitch to left for a dramatic three run homer, giving the Jays their second straight championship. Carter’s home run is only the second Series ending homer in history, (the first was in the 1960 World Series when Bill Mazeroski of the Pirates hit a solo home run to beat the Yankees in game seven 10-9).
A classic look – note how this 2001 Phillies home uniform resembles the 1950 uniform. Note also that just like the 1993 uniform, the numbers are still on the sleeve and the stars above the “i’s” are blue.
The Phillies finished the 2001 season with an 86-76 record, only 2 games back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. Speedster Jimmy Rollins led the league in stolen bases with 46, (he tied with Colorado’s Juan Pierre) as well as triples with 12. The entire Philly team used their speed leading the NL with 153 stolen bases. Heavy hitting outfielder Bobby Abreu led the team in homers with 31 and RBI with 110, while third baseman Scott Rollin followed close behind with 25 homers and 107 RBI.
The color of this 2007 road gray uniform harkens back to the 50’s and 60’s when MLB teams wore truly gray uniforms on the road vs light gray and even blue-ish road uniforms (see the 1976 Phillies uniform) at times in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
The 2007 edition of the Phillies were on a steady climb towards something really special – the 2008 World Series Championship. After finishing 2nd in the NL East in 2006, the 2007 squad won the NL East with an 89-73 record and a one-game win over the Mets. In the NL Division Series, the Phillies ran into the remarkable Rockies and lost the series in three straight. But never mind, 2008 was just around the corner.
And leading the Phillies on the field in 2007 were Ryan Howard, who had 142 hits, 47 dingers, 136 RBI and a .584 sluggish percentage, and Jimmy Rollins with had 212 hits, 30 home runs, 94 RBI and a .296 batting average. And on the mound the leader was Cole Hamels who went 15-5 and had a nifty 3.39 ERA.
Celebrate the Phillies' uniform history by owning a piece of history:
If you love the Philadelphia Phillies and the history of the Phillies franchise, you might really love to own an original piece of artwork celebrating the team's historic uniforms as seen in the poster at the top of this blog - you can actually own one of those original pieces of art! There are only 17 pieces of original art available for sale, and when these 17 are sold, that's it, they're all sold out.
These original watercolor paintings would make a great gift (birthday gift, anniversary gift, retirement gift, Christmas gift, etc.) for someone you love or even a great gift for yourself (one of these framed pieces would look fantastic in your home or office). Each piece can be bought one of three ways:
1. As unframed art that you could have framed or mounted yourself (the one on the left)
2. Framed in our "Classic" framed version (the middle version)
3. Framed in our "Deluxe" framed version (the version on the right)
If you would like more information about this great artwork including the three ways you could purchase each piece, please visit our Philadelphia Phillies YouTube video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_bWnC8IPas or go directly to the artwork website www.heritagesportsart.com/Philadelphia-Phillies-c153/ where you can see and purchase the artwork.
And if someone you know loves the history of sports uniforms (but maybe another team) and loves great art, please let them know that we have over 1500 pieces of great original artwork for sale at www.heritagesportsart.com (all NFL teams, all MLB teams, all NHL teams, all CFL teams, select NCAA football teams) or check out each team's video at the Heritage Sports Art YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/user/ssillcox
And please search my blog archive http://heritagejerseys.blogspot.com/ for other blogs on the history of the Phillies.
This text was written by Scott Sillcox and was last updated August 15, 2010. I have tried to ensure the accuracy of the information, but I am human and can make mistakes. If you believe I have made a mistake, please let me know by email at firstname.lastname@example.org !