The Philadelphia Phillies have had just two pitchers reach the 250-innings pitched mark in the last two decades.
There was a time in the franchise history, and in baseball in general, when that mark would have been common. In fact, over the first four decades or so of the Phillies existence, the 300-innings pitched mark was reached 43 times.
Three times in club history, the 400 innings mark was reached. The all-time franchise record is unreachable. That would be the astounding 538 innings pitched by John Coleman in 1883, the first season of the franchise’ existence.
Once those first four decades were over, the game began to change. Relief pitchers came more and more into vogue, and innings pitched totals dropped for starting pitchers all across the game. At that point, reaching 300 innings became the sign of a true staff workhorse.
More from That Balls Outta Here
- Does Bailey Falter have a future in Phillies’ rotation?
- Prospect Andrew Baker could help Phillies bullpen in 2023
- Bryce Harper’s absence should lead to Phillies lineup tinkering
- Phillies rumors: Club targets Seth Lugo for possible bullpen role
- Pirates’ bizarre Vince Velasquez hype video will make Phillies fans laugh
Just three Phillies pitchers would reach the 300-innings pitched mark after 1924, and all of them are Baseball Hall of Famers who have their numbers retired by the club: Robin Roberts, who reached the mark six times, and Jim Bunning and Steve Carlton, who reached it twice each.
Carlton last reached that 300 mark when he tossed 304 in 1980, when he won his 3rd career Cy Young Award and helped lead the Phillies to the first World Series championship in franchise history.
The game again began to change in the 1980’s, gradually evolving into the “short game” that we know today, where starting pitchers are usually asked to just handle the first five to six innings of a game.
Over the last two decades, only two Phils’ pitchers have even managed to reach the 250-innings pitched mark, which has now become the new standard for a true staff horse.
Curt Schilling actually did it twice, throwing 254.1 innings in 1997 and following that up with a 268.2 innings performance in the 1998 season. Schilling would actually surpass the 225-inning mark, which the club recognizes annually in its official media guide as its own established “horse” mark, two other times, in both 1992 and 1993
The most recent pitcher to surpass the 250-innings pitched mark to date was Roy Halladay, who tossed 250.2 in 2010 en route to his 2nd career Cy Young Award, his first in a Phillies uniform.
The following year, in the record-breaking 2011 season, both Halladay (233.2) and Cliff Lee (232.2) would surpass the 225-innings mark as members of the vaunted “Four Aces” rotation. That is the last time to date that any Phils’ starter has cracked the 225 mark.
The Phillies now have a few strong arms in the pipeline, and would really benefit from one or two becoming talented enough and strong enough over the next few years to become the next 225-inning, or even 250-innings pitched workhorse.