1950 Philadelphia Phillies: Pennant
35 years and two World Wars would be fought before the Phillies won their next pennant in 1950.
They also had a ‘new’ ballpark, Shibe, which had been the home of the Philadelphia Athletics since 1909. Though the A’s were a much younger franchise, the Phillies’ city rivals had experienced far greater success; by the time the Phillies joined them at Shibe, the A’s had already won nine pennants and five World Series championships.
The Phillies became tenants at Shibe in 1938, but their pennant drought continued until 1950. That year, the “Whiz Kids” – so named for their many young players – topped the National League by winning 91 games, their first 90+ win season since 1916.
Led by future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, who pitched over 300 innings in the regular season, and closer Jim Konstanty, who led MLB that season in games pitched, games finished, and saves to win NL MVP, the Phillies threw themselves back into the World Series. Remember, there were no divisions yet, and therefore, no divisional or league rounds; whichever team won the most games in each league automatically won the pennant and headed straight to the World Series.
Facing the New York Yankees in the World Series, Konstanty started Game 1; workhorse Roberts had started an astounding four games in the span of eight days. Ironically, the closer pitched the first eight innings but did not finish the game. As was already de rigueur for the Phillies, the offense disappeared when it was needed most, and the Yankees swept them in four games.
It wouldn’t be the last World Series they’d lose to the Yankees, but more on that later…