Phillies: Best individual pitching seasons by age
Age 30: John Denny (1983)
After four double-digit win seasons over his first seven full seasons with the Cardinals and Indians, the Phillies acquired Denny via trade with Cleveland for Jerry Reed, Wil Culmer, and Roy Smith. Denny lost both decisions with the Phillies in four starts with an ERA of 4.03.
As part of the 1983 NL Championship “Wheeze Kids”, Denny put together his best season at the age of 30. He led the National League in wins with 19 and in winning percentage at .760. He completed seven of his 36 starts with a shutout, while allowing only nine home runs in 242 2/3 innings pitched with an ERA of 2.37. Denny’s efforts earned him the NL Cy Young Award.
Denny was limited to 22 starts in 1984 and while only posting a 7-7 record, he had a 2.45 ERA. Although still a workhorse in 1985 with 230 2/3 innings, Denny had a losing record at 11-14 with an ERA of 3.82.
Denny was traded from the Phillies to the Reds on December 11, 1985 for reliever Tom Hume and outfielder Gary Redus. After an 11-win season in 1986, Denny retired with 123 wins and an ERA of 3.59.
Age 31: Curt Schilling (1998), Brad Lidge (2008)
Normally only one name is associated with each year, but it’s extremely difficult to leave either Schilling of Lidge off the list, so the exception has been made.
Schilling made his first of six All-Star appearances in 1997, leading the league in strikeouts with 319, while notching 17 wins and an ERA of 2.97. He would have made the list at age 30 had it not been for Denny’s Cy Young Award season.
The following season, Schilling again led the league in punchouts, recording 300, while leading the league in complete games with 15 and innings pitched with 268 2/3. He also had a solid 15 wins and a 3.25 ERA. Three times Schilling was second in the Cy Young Award vote, twice with Arizona and once with Boston. He retired with 216 wins, 3116 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.46.
As for Lidge, he had an up and down career with the Astros before signing with the Phillies. He had a 1.90 ERA in 2004 and 2.29 ERA with 42 saves in 2005. On the downside, Lidge was 1-5 with a 5.28 ERA in 2006.
His accomplishments in 2008 are a big reason the Phillies won the World Series. During the regular season he converted all 42 save opportunities while posting a 2-0 record with a 1.95 ERA, striking out 92 in 69 1/3 innings.
Although the 2009 season was a disaster for Lidge, he was solid in 2010 with a 2.96 ERA and 27 saves. Injuries took their toll and Lidge was out of baseball following 25 games with the Phillies in 2011 and 11 with the Nationals in 2012.