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For a franchise that’s been around as long as the Philadelphia Phillies, it’s only natural that there have been several Phillies’ World Series appearances.
After their surprise run to the 2022 World Series, they’ve now been to the Fall Classic eight times. But for those who aren’t longtime fans of the franchise, how have those Phillies World Series appearances gone for the Phils and their fans?
History of Phillies World Series appearances
With a lot of years to cover, we wanted to take a closer look at the Phillies championship teams and the times they were able to lift the World Series trophy and bring it back to the City of Brotherly Love.
Going one Fall Classic at a time, let’s take a closer look at the Philadelphia Phillies’ World Series wins, as well as the times they came up a little short.
While the franchise had existed in some form since 1883, it took until 1915 for the first of now eight Phillies World Series appearances. In those days, there were only eight teams in the National League and no divisions. The Phillies won the pennant with a 90-62 record and a seven-game cushion. While this was in the middle of the dead-ball era, Gavvy Cravath hit 24 home runs for the Phillies this season to lead the National League.
In the World Series, Hall of Fame pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander pitched a complete game, allowing one run on eight hits to lead the Phillies to a win in Game 1.
However, that was Philadelphia’s only win of the series. The Red Sox won the next three games by a score of 2-1 and took Game 5 5-4 with the Phillies letting a 4-2 lead slip away in the final innings, giving Boston the series win in five games.
It took 35 years for the Phillies to get back to the Fall Classic in 1950, but this would not end up being one of the Philadelphia Phillies World Series wins. Granted, the Phils put together an impressive regular season. Their young roster was nicknamed the “Whiz Kids,” and they won 91 games, holding off the Dodgers by just two games in the standings.
But the 1950 World Series would not go Philadelphia’s way, as the Yankees had a roster that included five future Hall of Famers such as Yogi Berra and Joe DiMaggio. For what it’s worth, the games were competitive.
The Yankees won Game 1 1-0 and Game 2 2-1 in 10 innings. When the series shifted to Yankee Stadium, the home team won Games 3 and 4 by scores of 3-2 and 5-2, respectively, giving the Yankees a four-game sweep.
The third time would finally be the charm with regard to Phillies World Series appearances. Of course, the team’s third trip to the Fall Classic didn’t come until 1980. By this point, there were two divisions in each league. But NL East titles in 1976, 1977, and 1978 by the Phillies all ended with losses in the NLCS.
However, the 1980 season would be different, as the “Cardiac Kids,” as they were dubbed for their propensity to win close games, edged out the Expos by one game with a 91-71 record to win the NL East for the fourth time in five years. The Phillies also had to survive an endlessly entertaining NLCS with the Astros. Four of the five games in the series went to extra innings with the Phillies overcoming a 2-1 series deficit by winning Games 4 and 5 on the road to get back to the World Series.
In a matchup with the Royals, the home team won the first four games of the series, all of which were decided by two runs or less, resulting in a 2-2 stalemate. But the Phillies finally broke that trend by winning Game 5, scoring two runs in the top of the ninth to take a 4-3 lead.
The Phillies then returned home to win Game 6, which remains one of the most-watched games in World Series history. With their first World Series title, the Phillies became the last of the 16 original MLB franchises to win a championship.
The 1983 season marked Philadelphia’s sixth trip to the postseason in an eight-year span. With a 90-72 record, the Phillies won the NL East crown after falling three games short the previous season. For the second straight season, the Phillies had the Cy Young winner, as John Denny took home the award one year after Steve Carlton won his fourth and final Cy Young Award.
In the postseason, the Phillies made relatively quick work of the Dodgers. They split the first two games of the series in Los Angeles and proceeded to win Games 3 and 4 by identical scores of 7-2 at Veterans Stadium to get back to the World Series.
Unfortunately for the Phillies, the Orioles were on the back end of a golden era. The Phillies won the first game of the series on the road. But the Orioles proceeded to win the next four games behind American League MVP Cal Ripken Jr. While Game 3 and 4 were both decided by a single run, the Phillies lost all three of their home games with Baltimore winning the 1983 World Series in five games.
A decade later, the Phillies returned to the postseason for the first time since losing the 1983 World Series. They had to hold off the Expos, who finished just three games back in the NL East. The Phillies then had a wild NLCS against the Braves.
Philadelphia took Game 1 in 10 innings, only to lose Game 2 14-3 at home. The Braves went ahead in the series after a 9-4 win in Game 2. But the Phillies pulled off a 2-1 win in Game 4 and a 4-3 win to win Game 5 in 10 innings. That set up the Phillies to go home with the series lead, finishing off the Braves with a 6-3 win in Game 6.
The Phillies then played in one of the most memorable World Series in recent memory, although not memorable in a good way for Philadelphia sports fans. Trailing in the series 2-1, the Phillies blew a 14-9 lead by allowing the Blue Jays to score six runs in the top of the eighth to win 15-14, giving closer Mitch Williams the loss.
To their credit, the Phillies responded with a 2-0 win in Game 5 to send the series back to Toronto. Philadelphia was close to forcing a Game 7 after scoring five runs in the top of the seventh to take a 6-4 lead. But Williams failed to close out the game, allowing a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to Joe Carter, which remains the second walk-off homer to ever end a World Series.
Nearly three decades after their first championship, the Phillies finally won their second. The Phillies World Series roster in 2008 was loaded with sluggers like Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell, and Chase Utley, as well as Gold Glove winners Jimmy Rollins (who won MVP honors in 2007) and Shane Victorino.
After battling with the Mets in September for a second straight season, the Phillies won the NL East with a three-game margin. They proceeded to beat the Brewers 3-1 in the NLDS and the Dodgers 4-1 in the NLCS. Philadelphia’s outstanding October continued in the World Series, winning three games by just one run but taking care of the Rays in five games to win the second World Series in franchise history.
Fresh off a title in 2008, the Phillies were in an excellent position to repeat in 2009 with largely the same group of stars. With a 93-69 record, Philadelphia won the NL East with a little more ease than the previous two seasons.
It was a similar story in the playoffs, as the Phillies beat the Rockies 3-1 in the NLDS and once again dispatched the Dodgers 4-1 in the NLCS.
However, the World Series that year was a little different. The previous Phillies titles didn’t give them much of an advantage against the Yankees, who won 103 games during the regular season.
Thanks to a gem from Cliff Lee, the Phillies took Game 1 at Yankee Stadium and looked to be in good shape. But the Yankees took the next three games, including two games at Citizens Bank Park. Once again, Lee was the winning pitcher in Game 5 to give the Phillies some hope. However, the Yankees jumped all over Pedro Martinez in Game 6, ultimately winning 7-3 to end the series and prevent the Phillies from repeating as World Series champs.
The most recent of the Phillies’ World Series appearances wouldn’t have been possible the year before. The Phillies snuck into the postseason with a record of 87-75, enduring an up-and-down season and a mid-season managerial change.
But once they made it to the postseason, they were a different team. The Phillies beat the Cardinals in the Wild Card Round, upset the defending champion Braves in the NLDS, and dismantled the favored Padres in just five games during the NLCS.
Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, as the Phillies ran into the Astros in the World Series. Despite winning the first game of the series and taking a 2-1 series lead with a 7-0 win in Game 3, Philadelphia couldn’t stay hot. The Astros pitched a combined no-hitter in Game 4 and the Phillies never got their offense rolling again, ultimately losing the series in six games.