Phillies

Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies have some of the most passionate fans in all of the professional sports, but they have suffered through some of the worst losses they could possibly handle. 

The oldest major professional sports franchise that’s kept the same name in a single city has its fair share of cherished memories. Their World Series wins in 1980 and 2008 will live forever in the hearts of Philadelphians. However, the Phillies were also the first professional sports franchises to lose over 10,000 games. Some losses have been much tougher to handle than others.

Phillies Playoff Disappointments

The Fightin Phils don’t have the rich tradition of playoff success at the same level as the New York Yankees or the Los Angeles Dodgers. They’ve had two eras of sustained success in the top tier of the major leagues. Each resulted in one World Championship. 

However, the late 1970s and early 1980s came with pain surrounding the triumphant victory of Mike Schmidt and the Phillies in 1980. 

The 2008 World Series snapped a 25-year championship drought in Philadelphia sports. It also came toward the beginning of their run of dominance from 2007-2011. Teams with more talented rosters than the 2008 team broke the hearts of Phillies fans with playoff letdowns in the ensuing seasons.

While the early 2020s reignited a fan base starved for postseason baseball, the 2022 and 2023 seasons fell short of the ultimate goal.

Worst Phillies Losses

Outside of playoff exits, Phillies fans have also suffered through their fair share of regular-season heartbreakers. The late 1990s and the early 2000s came with unfulfilled hope. This is also the same franchise that owns arguably the biggest collapse in MLB history.

Do regular-season letdowns compare to devastation in the postseason? How do the worst losses in the history of the Phillies stack up?

  • 10. 2010 NLCS Game 6- Ryan Howard Watches Strike 3 Against Giants (Oct. 23, 2010)

     

    The Phillies won back-to-back National League pennants in 2008 and 2009 behind a powerful offense, and they also built a dominant starting pitching staff that took shape by 2010.

    Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt looked unbeatable, but Phillies fans found out they weren’t.

    Cody Ross came out of nowhere to help the San Francisco Giants to a stunning 3-1 NLCS series lead against the Phillies. He finished the six-game series with seven hits, three home runs, and five RBIs.

    The Phillies had a chance to continue a comeback in Game 6 at Citizens Bank Park. Trailing by one run in the 9th inning, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley reached base. Ryan Howard watched strike three pass by, and the more talented team lost.

  • 9. 2003 Wild Card Chase- Marlins Sweep Phillies (Sept. 25, 2003)

    2003 Florida Marlins

    The Phillies limped through the late 1990s and struggled to regain relevance in the early 2000s. Jim Thome, Bobby Abreu, and company carried the weight of a long postseason drought through the 2003 playoff chase.

    The Florida Marlins showed a losing mentality when they sold off the core of their team after winning the World Series in 1997. They caught lightning in a bottle once again six years later under midseason hire Jack McKeon.

    The two NL East foes fought neck and neck down the stretch in September 2003. The Phillies survived a powerful hurricane sweeping the East Coast and put themselves in great shape with a late-season series victory against the Marlins at Veterans Stadium.

    However, a three-game trip to Miami loomed. Jeff Conine belted a three-run homer off Kevin Millwood to help the Marlins overcome a 3-0 deficit in the 7th inning of the series opener.

    The veteran retread drove in two runs in another victory the next day and helped the Fish finish the sweep with two more RBIs in the third game. Jim Thome’s first season in Philadelphia ended in disappointment, and the Marlins went on a stunning run to defeat the New York Yankees in the World Series.

  • 8. 1950 World Series: Whiz Kids Meat Defeat (Oct. 7, 1950)

    Robin Roberts, Philadelphia Phillies

    The passion of the local sports scene might not have been what it is today, but Philadelphia has always embraced the underdog. The 1950 “Whiz Kids” shocked the world by winning the National League pennant on the backs of stars Del Ennis, Richie Ashburn, and Robin Roberts.

    The miracle season didn’t have a happy ending, however. Joe DiMaggio and the New York Yankees swept the underdog Phillies to win their second of five consecutive World Series.

  • 7. 2005 NL Wild Card Chase: Astros Burn Billy Wagner (Sept. 7, 2005)

    Billy Wagner, Philadelphia Phillies

    The Phillies stayed within playoff contention as a middling team in the early 2000s, and the 2005 team had an opportunity to snap a 12-year drought with a Wild Card berth.

    They dropped three straight to the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in July, but they had another chance against their NL Wild Card competition at Citizens Bank Park in early September.

    The two teams entered the series tied in the standings, but the Astros took the first two games behind Andy Pettitte and Roy Oswalt. It looked like the Phillies could salvage the final game to hang in the race only one game behind.

    They entered the 9th inning with a one-run lead and turned to Billy Wagner for the save. The fireballer had spent nine seasons with the Astros through 2003, and the familiarity burned him against a long-time former teammate.

    Craig Biggio stepped to the plate and belted a three-run home run that silenced the home crowd. Harry Kalas went to a commercial break midway through the 9th with the most defeated tone in his 38-year career as the voice of the Phillies.

    The Phillies recovered to gain ground on the Astros heading into the final weekend of the season, but they ultimately failed to get out of the three-game hole.

    Houston clinched the Wild Card on the final day of the regular season. They advanced to the World Series a month later, and it might’ve never happened without that one extra win they picked up in September.

  • 6. 1977 NLCS: Black Friday (Oct. 7, 1977)

     

    “Black Friday” could’ve been a feather in the cap for Philadelphia sports fans. The Veterans Stadium crowd heckled Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Burt Hooton right off the mound in the 2nd inning.

    They impacted the game as much any home field advantage can. However, the Phillies spoiled the memory because they couldn’t close the deal.

    They took a 5-3 lead into the 9th inning with a chance to take a 2-1 lead in a best-of-five-game series. Greg Luzinski frequently left the game for a defensive replacement in 1977, but manager Danny Ozark kept him in left field for one of the most crucial parts of the season.

    His gaffe helped the Dodgers rally in a momentum-changing 6-5 victory. They closed the Phillies out in Game 4 at the Vet.

  • 5. 2022 World Series: Astros Shift Momentum with No-Hitter (Nov. 2, 2022)

     

    The 2022 Phillies backed into the postseason and earned the sixth seed in the National League in the first year of the expanded playoff system.

    The miracle ride began with a 9th inning comeback in St. Louis in the Wild Card Round. Red October swept back through Philadelphia for the first time in 11 years. The hot streak came out of nowhere, and the National League champs rode the momentum all the way to a 2-1 lead against Houston Astros in the World Series.

    The fun ended. The Astros solved the Citizens Bank Park home field advantage with a combined no-hitter in Game 4 that changed the course of the series. The bats were quiet, and the Phillies finally lost their magic just short of the finish line.

    They lost another heartbreaker when Chas McCormick robbed J.T. Realmuto of a potential game-changer in the bottom of the 9th in Game 5. The Astros officially shut the door on the 2022 Phillies in Houston in Game 6.

  • 4. 2023 NLCS: Phillies Choke Away Series Lead At Citizens Bank Park (Oct. 24, 2023)

     

    The Phillies defeated the Atlanta Braves 3-1 in the NLDS for the second consecutive postseason in 2023. Two wins at Citizens Bank Park put the 84-78 Arizona Diamondbacks in a hole that looked insurmountable. However, the Phillies coughed up an absurdly advantageous position.

    After surviving a storm in Arizona, they returned to South Philadelphia with a 3-2 series lead. They only needed one of the two home games to advance to their second consecutive World Series, but they got neither.

    The Diamondbacks held the hard-hitting Phillies to three runs in the final two games of the series to end another Red October.

  • 3. 1964 National League Pennant Race: The Infamous Collapse (Sept. 21, 1964)

     

    When an MLB team leads its division by 6.5 games with only 12 left to play, the race is virtually over. It’s not actually over though.

    The Phillies started the most infamous freefall in baseball history on Sept. 21, 1964, when Chico Ruiz stole home for the Cincinnati Reds at Connie Mack Stadium in a 1-0 victory.

    The loss began a 10-game losing streak that allowed the red hot St. Louis Cardinals back into the playoff picture (more on that later).

    Manager Gene Mauch ultimately allowed the unthinkable to happen. The Phillies blew their chance to clinch a spot in their third World Series in franchise history. They wouldn’t win their first for 16 more years.

  • 2. 1993 World Series: Joe Carter Crushes the Dream (Oct. 23, 1993)

     

    The 1993 season is one of the most beloved in the folklore of Philadelphia sports. “Macho Row” cliqued with the fan base with an attitude the city got behind.

    The Phillies took down the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS behind fan favorites like John Kruk, Lenny Dykstra, and Darren Daulton. The Toronto Blue Jays were the final obstacle in a fantastic run, but the Phillies couldn’t finish them off in the World Series.

    Mitch Williams took the hill for the save in Game 6 with a chance to close the door and force a decisive Game 7.

    Joe Carter came to the plate and belted one of the most famous home runs in major league history. He joyously danced around the bases after the infamous walk-off home run while Phillies fans sat south of the Canadian border with broken hearts.

  • 1. 2011 NLDS: The End Of An Era (Oct. 7, 2011)

    Phillies Worst Losses: Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2011 NLCS

    The stretch of five consecutive NL East championships between 2007-2011 was the best era in the history of a franchise that began in 1883.

    The Phillies steamrolled through the 2011 regular season to a 102-60 record behind Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt. The dominance ended there.

    The red hot St. Louis Cardinals snuck into the playoffs partly thanks to a decision by Charlie Manuel not to rest players in the final week of the regular season. The Wild Card winners faced a seemingly insurmountable hole with a 1-0 series deficit and a 4-0 deficit in Game 2.

    They rallied for a 5-4 win and fought tooth and nails to stretch the series all the way to a decisive Game 5 at Citizens Bank Park.

    Roy Halladay took the hill against Chris Carpenter on what turned out to be the most fateful day in Phillies history. Skip Schumaker drove home a run to put the Cardinals ahead in the 1st inning, and the scoring for the night was over.

    Carpenter threw an absolute gem in a complete game shutout, and even more devastating consequences resulted from the game.

    Ryan Howard recorded the final out at Citizens Bank Park for the second consecutive year, but the NLDS groundout in 2011 destroyed the remainder of his career. He tore his Achilles running the ball out, and the injury abruptly ended the prime of one of the best power hitters in the league.

    Halladay battled through an injury early in the game, but the resulting pain management after the loss started a downward spiral with tragic consequences.

  • 97.5 The Fanatic

    Watch The John Kincade Show live on the 97.5 The Fanatic YouTube page on weekday mornings from 6am-10am.

Sign me up for the 97.5 The Fanatic email newsletter!

Become a Fanatic MVP to get the latest info on the Philly Sports landscape, plus access to exclusive content and member-only contests.

*
*
By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.