This article was written by Clem Comly
This article was published in 1964 Philadelphia Phillies essays
Philadelphia Phillies fans and Phillies management looked forward to contending again in 1965. But their close finish in 1964 turned out to be an illusion.Philadelphia Phillies fans and Phillies management looked forward to contending again in 1965. But their close finish in 1964 turned out to be an illusion. The Phillies had won 92 games to finish one game back but the other six 162-game pennant races to that date had produced first-place teams with an average of 101 wins. So one could postulate that the Phillies were more like nine games back. From that perspective, the Phillies should have continued to build the team for the future but instead they thought they had a contending team and traded many of their younger players for older veterans beginning with the trade of 25-year-old lefty Dennis Bennett for 32-year-old Dick Stuart to stop the revolving door at first base and to punish their league if it continued to throw southpaws at them. In 1965 Danny Cater (25) was traded for pitcher Ray Herbert (35). The Phillies signed pitcher Ryne Duren (36) and purchased pitcher Lew Burdette (38).
In 1966 Alex Johnson (23), Art Mahaffey (28), and Pat Corrales (25) were traded for Dick Groat (35), Bill White (32), and Bob Uecker (31). The Phillies traded outfielder Adolfo Phillips (24), pitcher Fergie Jenkins (23), and utilityman John Herrnstein (28) to get pitchers Larry Jackson (35), and Bob Buhl (37). The Phillies bought Harvey Kuenn (35) and signed Roger Craig (35). The last four years of the ten-team NL (1965-1968) saw the Phillies win 85, 87, 82, and 76 games while the first-place team averaged 97 wins.
CLEM COMLY (1955-2014) was a SABR member for more than 30 years and longtime co-chair of the Statistical Analysis Committee. He was vice president and treasurer of Retrosheet, the organization’s Cy Young of play-by-play translation and computer input. He was also a contributing editor to several SABR publications, including Sweet ’60: The 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates. He was an inveterate trivia buff and helped create and vet questions for the contests at the last several annual SABR conventions.