April 11, 2011
Today we learn about the genesis of the Phillies, or the Quakers as they were alternately called in the 1880s. For more detailed account of the origins of the Phils, go here.
By 1882, the National League was struggling. One of its teams, the Worcester Brown Stockings, had played in front of 18 spectators on the final day of the 1882 season. They needed to get big cities back in the league. So Commissioner A.G. Mills called former Athletic and entrepreneur Al Reach, who owned a succesful sporting goods company in Philly, about starting up a team to take over for the folding Worcester squad. Reach was interested, and built a new stadium at 25th and Ridge Avenue known as Recreation Park.
Though they had taken over for the Worcester squad that had been dropped by the league, they did not receive their players, so the 1883 squad was essentially an expansion team. And, as with most modern expansion teams, they were terrible. They finished their inaugural season 17-81, 46 games out of first place. They lost one game to Boston 29-4 and another game to Providence 28-0. Their ace, a gentleman by the name of John Coleman, finished the season with a record of 12-48. 48 losses is still the major league record for most in a season, even more than Tyler Green ever had. But the foundation had been laid, and the team would win a World Championship less than 100 years later.