Tag Archives: Fred Luderus

Carlos Ruiz is the fan choice to become the next Phillies Wall of Famer

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‘Chooch’ is the clear favorite of fans for Wall of Fame enshrinement

A couple of weeks ago here at Phillies Nation, I published a piece speculating on which non-2008 players might be worth of a place on the Phillies Wall of Fame. Fans responded by tossing out a number of their own choices as commentary, either directly at the website or via social media.

Names not mentioned in my piece but suggested by fans included 1960’s-era players Rick WiseTony Gonzalez, and Cookie Rojas. The National League Most Valuable Player in 1950 and a key pitcher with the NL champions that year, Jim Konstanty was also mentioned. There was even someone who brought up some early-1900’s names such as Dave BancroftJack Clements, and Jimmie Wilson.
As a result of the comments, I decided to actually reach out and poll the fan base to see who their favorite might be to become the next Phillies Wall of Famer.
I decided to run the polling in a two-phase process. I would run a pair of four-player semi-final polls to kick things off. Then would take those receiving the most support and put them into a three-player finals poll. This was a simple Twitter poll, so I am claiming no special scientific method used.
As criteria, I left out most of the early-1900’s players. Fact is, those players historically receive little to no support from modern fans in such polls. Though this recency factor working against them is unfair, it is also a genuine phenomenon. However, I’ve always been a big supporter for 1910’s first baseman Fred Luderus, so put him into one of the semis polls.
The results in those semis with 241 total fans responding were as follows:
Poll #1: Carlos Ruiz 55%, Pete Rose 35%, Bobby Abreu 8%, Fred Luderus 2%
Poll #2: Shane Victorino 39%, Dan Baker 27%, Cliff Lee 18%, Manny Trillo 16%
As you can see, the two 2008 players received the greatest support, something that I anticipated. I decided to move Chooch and The Flyin’ Hawaiian into the final poll.

As the third choice, I made it public address announcer Dan Baker, who now has nearly 50 years with the organization and whose voice is recognizable to generations of Phillies fans. I also factored in that the club is not likely to actually consider Rose again any time soon, if at all.
That final poll resulted in tremendous response as 2,107 individuals cast ballots. The final voting result was a little more lopsided than I had anticipated:
If these are the only choices, your vote for next @Phillies Wall of Famer:
20%Dan Baker
59%Carlos Ruiz
21%Shane Victorino

Based on my little non-scientific polling it would appear that Carlos ‘Chooch’ Ruiz, the catcher for the 2008 World Series champions who played with the club from 2006-16, is the clear fan favorite to become the next honoree on the Phillies Wall of Fame.
If he does get selected by the team, Chooch would become the fourth backstop to be so honored. He would join Bob Boone (2005), Darren Daulton (2010), and Mike Lieberthal (2012) as catchers previously enshrined on the Wall of Fame.

If the usual timing is followed this year, the Phillies can be expected to announce the 2019 Wall of Fame honoree in late-February. There has been no announcement at this time as to whether fans will be included as part of the process for selection of that honoree.

Some potential nominees for the 2019 Phillies Wall of Fame honors

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Manny Trillo of the 1980 World Series champs is a legit Wall of Fame candidate

Approximately one month from now the Philadelphia Phillies will announce the 2019 honoree who will be enshrined on the franchise Wall of Fame this coming summer.

Last year for the very first time the team honored two individuals, and in a rare occurrence, Phillies fans had no say in either selection. One of those was Pat Gillick, who has served for 14 years as general manager, president, and senior advisor. Gillick was the first “executive inductee” to the Wall of Fame.
The other honored a year ago was former pitcher Roy Halladay, who had died suddenly and tragically in Florida back in November 2017 while piloting his private plane. Publicly released ballots seem to reveal that ‘Doc’ is also about to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame this coming summer.
Those two joined the manager of the 2008 World Series champions, Charlie Manuel (2014), the organization’s all-time greatest pitcher Steve Carlton (1989), and the greatest player in Phillies history, Mike Schmidt (1990) in becoming the only individuals honored without fan voting as part of the process.
The Phillies had honored no one in the prior summer of 2017. That year, Pete Rose had been scheduled to be enshrined on the Wall of Fame. In early-August, less than two weeks before that was to take place, the club cancelled the ceremony after Rose became embroiled in controversy surrounding allegations that he had sex with a minor while a player with the Cincinnati Reds back in the 1970’s.
Otherwise, the Phillies have honored one individual each year other than 1983. That year an entire “Centennial Team” was named and celebrated in honor of the 100th anniversary of the franchise.
Odds are that one individual will be honored when next month’s announcement is made, so who might that be? One thing that should be obvious is that with an increasing number of worthy individuals now retiring from the 2008 world championship team, we are going to see many of those players enshrined in the coming years.

PARADE TO THE WALL COULD CONTINUE FOR ’08 CHAMPS

Already on the Wall of Fame from that team, joining general manager Gillick and manager Manuel, is outfielder Pat Burrell. The Phillies already have individual ceremonies scheduled for this summer to honor Jimmy RollinsRyan Howard, and Chase Utley due to the announcement of their formal retirements as players.
If the honor goes to another member of those 2008 World Series champions this time around, the leading candidates would be Shane VictorinoCarlos RuizJayson WerthBrad Lidge, and Jamie Moyer. The favorite might be Victorino after the popular Flyin’ Hawaiian was fetted just last season at Citizens Bank Park upon his formal retirement from baseball.
But the Phillies could also take another tack, choosing to honor some other worthy individuals before beginning what should prove to become a veritable parade to the Wall of Fame for a half-dozen or more of those 2008 players during the decade of the 2020’s.
If the club chooses through their own selection, or through a fan vote, or some combination to honor someone other than a 2008 player, who might be a few worthy candidates to consider?

NINE POTENTIAL NON-2008 WALL CONTENDERS

Baker has been Phillies PA announcer
for nearly a half-century
(Phillygd1/WikiCommons)

Before getting into the players, there is one non-player who absolutely deserves consideration. That would be 72-year-old public address announcer Dan Baker.

A native of Philadelphia, Baker became the PA announcer for Phillies games at Veteran’s Stadium beginning with its second season in 1972. His voice has now greeted, entertained, and informed generations of fans over nearly a half-century at both ‘The Vet’ and Citizens Bank Park.
There are eight former Phillies players who, in my opinion, deserve at least some measure of consideration for the Wall of Fame, and who are not associated with the 2008 world championship team. They are: Fred LuderusBobby WineRon ReedManny TrilloScott RolenBobby AbreuCliff Lee, and Rose.
Luderus was the Phillies starting first baseman, one of the best in all of baseball during the ‘Dead Ball Era’ of the 1910’s. I have previously championed his cause in a pair of pieces when he was nominated for the Wall of Fame back in 2016 and the previous year.
Now 80 years of age, Wine was the Phillies starting shortstop for much of the 1960’s, winning the 1963 National League Gold Glove Award at the position. After retiring from baseball, Wine joined the Phillies coaching staff. He remained a valuable coach under four managers during the club’s rise to power, serving from July 1972 through the 1983 NL pennant-winning campaign.
Reed already had a dozen big-league seasons under his belt when he joined the Phillies in a January 1975 trade from the Saint Louis Cardinals. Over the next 10 seasons, the tall right-hander became one of the most effective relief pitchers in club history, going 57-38 with 90 Saves and allowing 702 hits over 809 innings. He registered a 3.06 ERA over 458 games with the club, including nine starts. Reed further appeared in 21 postseason games, and recorded a Save in Game One of the 1980 World Series.
Trillo, now 68-years-old, originally signed with the Phillies as an amateur free agent in January 1968 but was left unprotected and was lost to the Oakland A’s in the Rule 5 Draft in December 1969.
He returned to the club as part of an eight-player swap with the Chicago Cubs in February 1979 and became a vital key over the next four years. Trillo won three Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, appeared in three MLB All-Star games, and was the MVP of the dramatic 1980 National League Championship Series.

Abreu was an offensive machine as the Phillies grew from late-90’s also-ran to mid-00’s contender (Rdikeman/WikiCommons)
Rolen is 43-years-old and is now the director of player development for the University of Indiana Hoosiers collegiate baseball program. He was the Phillies second round pick in the 1993 MLB Amateur Draft out of high school in Indiana.
Rolen broke into the big-leagues in 1996 and became the 1997 NL Rookie of the Year. He then won four Gold Glove Awards at third base over the next five years and was also an NL All-Star and Silver Slugger winner in 2002, his final year with the club.
Abreu was just 23-years-old when he joined the Phillies in a November 1997 trade with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He became an immediate starter with the Phillies, and over nine seasons was a key performer as the club rose from also-ran to contender.
Abreu, now 44, was a 2x NL All-Star, a 2004 Silver Slugger winner, and a 2005 Gold Glove Award winner. He also won the 2005 Home Run Derby at the MLB All-Star festivities. For seven straight seasons he was a 20/20 player, including two 30/30 campaigns.
The 40-year-old Lee is easily the most well-known of these candidates to current Phillies fans. He was already an AL Cy Young Award winner when he arrived from the Cleveland Indians in July 2009 as part of a six-player deal.
After he led the Phillies back to the World Series that October, GM Ruben Amaro dealt him away on the same December 2009 day that Halladay was acquired. But Lee chose to return when the became a free agent a year later, and was part of the 2011 ‘Four Aces’ starting rotation that led the Phillies to a franchise-record 102 regular season victories.
Over parts of five seasons with the club, Lee put together a 48-34 record with a 2.94 ERA, 2.85 FIP, and 1.089 WHIP. He allowed 777 hits over 827.1 innings with an incredible 6.56 K:BB ratio. Lee was also a 2x NL All-Star with the club, and finished top six in the NL Cy Young Award voting.
And then there is Rose. As with the Baseball Hall of Fame, on playing credentials alone he is worthy of the Phillies Wall of Fame. He was the first-ever big Phillies free agent signing in December 1978 and was an NL All-Star each of the next four years with the club.
Rose won the 1981 NL Silver Slugger at first base, received NL MVP votes twice including a top ten finish in that 1981 campaign, and has been credited with pushing the Phillies over the hump to the 1980 world championship.
As for the allegations of statutory rape, Rose continues to deny them. Would the Phillies ever re-open his Wall of Fame case during this current “Me Too” movement era? Despite America supposedly being an innocent-until-proven-guilty country, that is likely a longshot.
Will the 2008 World Series championship team continue to be honored with another member getting a plaque on the Phillies Wall of Fame later this summer? Will one of the worthy non-2008 players finally find their way on to the Wall of Fame? Will fans even get a say in this year’s selection process? Those questions will be answered in the coming weeks.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as As Phillies prepare to honor a parade of 2008 players, who else deserves the Wall of Fame?

Possible Future Non-2008 Phillies Wall of Famers

The Philadelphia Phillies honor the greatest players and other figures in franchise history with a place on their Wall of Fame.

In 1978, the Philadelphia Phillies began what has become one of the great traditions for this now 134-year-old franchise. 
That summer the Phils honored “Whiz Kids” pitcher and Baseball Hall of Famer Robin Roberts as the initial inductee into the Phillies Wall of Fame.
The Wall of Fame was created as a place to honor individuals who have contributed excellence on and off the field to the success of the team. It also allows the club and its fans to celebrate the history of the team.
Since inducting Roberts, the Philadelphia Phillies have honored one individual with induction each year, with the exception of 1983 when the Phillies celebrated 100 years of play, and instead honored a “Centennial Team” of stars from those first 100 seasons.
The players honored on the Wall of Fame now include 19th century stars such as Sherry MageeSam Thompson, and Billy Hamilton. The Wall of Fame also includes more contemporary star players such as Pat Burrell and Jim Thome.
You will find all of the expected Baseball Hall of Famers on the Wall including Mike SchmidtSteve CarltonJim Bunning, Grover Cleveland Pete AlexanderRichie Ashburn, and Chuck Klein
Non-players such as beloved broadcaster Harry Kalas, 1970s team architect Paul Owens, and World Series-winning managers Dallas Greenand Charlie Manuel are also on the Wall.
With Thome’s induction this past summer, there are now a total of 38 individuals who have been honored with plaques on the Wall of Fame. 

From humble beginnings on a concourse wall at Veteran’s Stadium, the official Wall of Fame has now been given a permanent home out on Ashburn Alley beyond center field at Citizens Bank Park.
In future years some very obvious players will find themselves fetted by the team and its fans. Jimmy RollinsChase UtleyRyan HowardCole Hamels, and Carlos Ruiz – all homegrown stars from the 2008 World Series winners – come immediately to mind.
But who are some of the others, players who were not a part of that World Series club, who might still find a place on the Phillies Wall of Fame, or who certainly deserve serious consideration, in a future season?
For the past couple of years, I have been pushing the cause of 1910s first baseman Fred Luderus for inclusion. 
Luderus was arguably the second-best first baseman of that decade, the key hitter in the middle of the club’s first-ever pennant winner in the 1915 season.
Luderus is a glaring omission from my point of view, lost to time in the rush to put more recent vintage players who fans more closely identify with onto the Wall of Fame.
Another old-timer who is, for my money, a similar glaring omission is early 20th century outfielder Roy Thomas
Thomas led the NL in walks a half-dozen times between 1900-06, and is to this day ninth in career WAR among all position players to ever pull on a Phillies jersey, the highest-rated such player not already on the Wall.
Staying old-time, Nap Lajoie had a career 2,204 plate appearances in 492 games over five seasons in a Phillies uniform. 
A Baseball Hall of Famer rightly better known for his play with the Cleveland Indians, Lajoie has the third highest batting average (.345) in Phillies history.
Ranking sixth in Offensive WAR among all Phillies players in history is 1998-2006 outfielder Bobby Abreu
A Silver Slugger and Gold Glover, he was a 2x NL All-Star and won the MLB All-Star Home Run Derby while with the team.
On the Wall of Fame from the beloved “Macho Row” 1993 NL pennant-winning Phillies are Curt SchillingDarren Daulton, and John Kruk, each honored in three of the four years between 2010-13. 
But it’s hard to imagine that team winning anything without the contributions of the man known alternately as “Nails” and “The Dude”, center fielder Lenny Dykstra.
Dykstra hit for a .289/.388/.422 slash line over eight seasons with the Phils from 1989-96. In those years he was a 3x NL All-Star, a Silver Slugger, and the runner-up for NL MVP in that 1993 season. 
A number of public troubles and revelations since his retirement may make Dykstra a hard swallow for the team to honor. But you cannot deny his on-field contributions.
Another controversial placement could be first baseman Pete Rose. There is little doubt that Rose was the biggest difference maker for the 1980 World Series champions.
Over five seasons in a Phillies uniform, Rose was an NL All-Star four times, received NL MVP votes twice, and won a Silver Slugger.
The club’s second round pick in the 1993 MLB Amateur Draft out of an Indiana high school, Scott Rolen became the 1997 NL Rookie of the Year. Defensively, he rivals Schmidt as the greatest glove man at the hot corner in team history.
Playing during the late-90s and into the 21st century at Veteran’s Stadium, Rolen was an NL All-Star and Silver Slugger winner and a 4x Gold Glove Award winner over parts of seven seasons with the Phillies.
There will be a compelling case made for a pair of pitchers who helped lead the Phillies to many victories during their recent stretch of glory, but who were not a part of the 2008 World Series championship team. 
Both right-hander Roy Halladay and left-hander Cliff Lee were popular members of some great Phillies pitching rotations.
Halladay pitched a perfect game and a playoff no-hitter while going 55-29 over parts of four seasons in Philly from 2010-13. Lee went 48-34 over parts of five seasons in 2009 and then from 2011-14.
Those are eight players who seem like obvious Phillies Wall of Famers to me. You could probably also make an argument for someone such as Placido Polanco, an NL All-Star and Gold Glover over seven Phillies seasons.

Phillies 2016 Wall of Fame Nominee Fred Luderus

Luderus was Phillies starting first baseman during the 1910’s

The Philadelphia Phillies Wall of Fame is a wonderful tradition of honoring the great individuals who have made Phillies baseball more enjoyable for fans of the team over its 133-season existence.

Beginning with Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts in 1978, the Phillies have honored one player, coach, or other individual each season with a place on the Wall with a plaque, similar to those received by inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The location for display of these plaques was originally a section of wall on the inner concourses at Veteran’s Stadium.
The construction of Citizens Bank Park included a more distinctive place, an actual specially built Wall of Fame, which can be found just off Ashburn Alley in the center field concourse.
In its current format, the Phillies allow fans to vote online from a group of a dozen candidates, specially selected for their service to the team.
These nominees must have spent at least four years with the team, and be retired at least three years.
Consideration is given by the team for longevity, ability, character, statistics, special achievements, and contributions to the Phillies and baseball.
Fans vote from that list of a dozen candidates for their top three choices. The results of that fan voting are then sent on to a special panel, which chooses the actual final Wall of Fame honoree.
That fan voting ends at 5pm on Monday, March 7th this season at the Phillies website.
Last year, the Phillies honored Pat Burrell with that place on the Wall of Fame. While “Pat the Bat” is certainly a deserving honoree, he was not my selection for that honor at this time.
I firmly believe that, while he would have made it eventually and deservedly, it was too soon to be honoring a player who recently retired when a number of deserving individuals have waited far longer.
Leading that list remains Fred Luderus, who I championed last January in the run-up to the fan voting.

Once again here in 2016, I am calling on all fans to vote Luderus among their final three nominees, and for the Phillies to honor Luderus with a well-earned place on the Wall of Fame.
Since no Phillies fan currently alive is likely to have ever seen Luderus play, and most fans of the team are still likely to ask “Who?” when confronted with his name, a refresher of his qualifications.
Luderus was the Phils’ starting first baseman for nearly the entirety of the second decade of the 20th century.
From 1911-19, Luderus played in 1,326 games at the position, a record that stood for nearly a century until broken just last season by Ryan Howard.
He hit in the middle of the very first Phillies team to ever win a National League pennant in 1915, and hit the first home run in the franchise’ World Series history during that postseason.
If you look up Luderus’ statistics and are unimpressed at first glance, you would be excused for thinking that his nomination might be overrated.
However, I pointed out a year ago the following factors that mitigate those stats:

But it must be remembered that Luderus had a significant handicap, playing his entire career during baseball’s “dead ball era” in the early 20th century. During these years, the balls themselves were actually softer, and were often used nearly until the laces fell off. 

Another factor during this period working against hitters like Luderus was that pitchers could “doctor” the ball. The spitball, for instance, was legal during the entirety of his career, not outlawed until 1921, a year after he retired. 

Unlike today when a number of modern ballparks have generous hitting dimensions, in those days many ballparks were nightmares for hitters with 500+ foot deep fences. Even the rules were against homerun hitters. Prior to Luderus’ last season of 1920, balls hit over the fence in fair territory, but landing in foul, were ruled foul balls. 

Because of these factors, Luderus’ home run totals are dwarfed by Howard and Burrell, and his rbi totals significantly behind theirs. But he actually has more doubles than Howard, and his total is just 4 behind Burrell’s on the Phillies list. 

Luderus’ career batting average of .270 is better than both players, and his 55 career Phillies stolen bases dwarfs their career Phillies totals combined. 

In fact, a reasonable look at the regular starting 1st basemen during the 1910’s shows that only Jake Daubert, who played for the National League’s Brooklyn Spiders during the majority of the decade, was more productive at the position in that decade than Luderus was for the Phillies.

As pointed out in his biography at SABR, the man known as “Ludy” to scribes, fans, and his peers “reached double digits in home runs each season from 1911 to 1914. This was no small feat in those dead-ball days.
Joe Dittmar, who wrote the SABR bio, goes on to point out that 

“the modest Ludy became known for his dependability after his home-run hitting dropped off. From 1916 to 1919 he played in 533 consecutive games, considered “the greatest streak of continuous play by a modern major leaguer.””

This year, Luderus finds himself up against such popular ex-players as Jim ThomeManny Trillo, and Rick Wise.
Also, the popular manager of the ‘Macho Row’ 1993 NL champions, Jim Fregosi, is on the ballot. The 1950 NL MVP and one of the ‘Whiz Kids’, Jim Konstanty, is present.
There are a number of worthy nominees on that ballot. The likelihood is that the recency factor once again wins out, and that someone such as Thome or Fregosi has a plaque hung in the Wall of Fame this coming summer. Both men are certainly deserving.
But once again, as with Burrell a year ago, there are a few men who deserve that place on the Wall before those two nominees.
At the top of that list, again, is Luderus. He is likely to once again have his nomination lost to time. But it is absolutely important to keep his name in the narrative until finally honored.
Go to the Phillies website if you read this before the voting closes, and give Luderus one of your three nomination votes.
And if you happen to read this after the voting closes, keep his name in your memory banks for future elections.
Also, perhaps consider treating yourself to some further research on baseball in that dead-ball era, as well as the early days of the Phillies franchise.
It may help you appreciate much more the accomplishments of players such as Luderus when compared to those in the modern game.

Phillies Fall Classics I: 1915 World Series Game One

My 14-part series examining each of the games won by the club in the World Series over the franchise’ history begins here with Game One of the 1915 series against the Boston Red Sox.
In 1915, the Phillies played in just their 33rd season of existence since the franchise had been founded back in 1883. 
Not once in the prior 32 years had the club finished in 1st place, and they had just three 2nd place finishes. 
One of those had been just two years earlier, in 1913, when the Phils won 88 games, the 2nd-highest total in franchise history to that point.
The club was unable to put it together in 1914 due largely to defections to the rival Federal League, finishing 74-80 and in 6th place of the 8 teams then playing in the National League.
Then on Christmas Eve of that disappointing year, the Phillies traded away star outfielder Sherry Magee to the defending World Series champion Boston Braves for players to be named later, and cash.
Magee had debuted with the Phils a decade earlier in 1904 at just age 19. Over that next decade, Magee became one of the best players in baseball. 
He won a batting title in 1910, and led the NL in RBI that year for one of four times in his career, three of those wearing the Phillies ‘P’ on his cap.
The 1914 season may have been the best of his career. He hit for a .314/.380/.509 slash line during baseball’s Dead Ball Era, tying a career high with 15 homers and producing a league leading 103 RBI. 
He also led the National League in hits, doubles, and total bases. Magee finished 7th in the NL MVP voting that season.
However, Magee had also just turned 30 years of age, and for years while benefiting from his tremendous baseball skills, the Phillies had also been putting up with his hot temper, one that led to numerous ejections and suspensions, including a famed 1911 incident in which he had actually punched out an umpire.
In Magee’s SABR bioTom Simon quoted a 1908 Philadelphia Times article:
“That he is one of the most hot-headed players in either big league is admitted; it couldn’t be denied, because the records, showing how often he has been suspended for scrapping with the umpires, speak for themselves.”
Magee also had a massive ego, and thought himself the best man to take over as Phillies manager when the club ownership decided to move on from Red Dooin, who had been the skipper for five seasons. 
When owner William F. Baker decided to hire former Phillies player Pat Moran as skipper, it was a blow to that massive Magee ego.
Magee began to lobby for a trade to a winning team. So the team decided to deal away what they saw as a troublemaker, albeit a talented one, who was also aging, while they could still get some value in return. 
The Braves were the champs, had a talented roster, and in the end sent the Phillies a pair of players to complete the Magee deal.
One of those was a utility player named Oscar Dugey, who would amount to little. But also sent to the Phils was a hustling 25-year old named Possum Whitted, who would become the Phillies starting center fielder for the next three seasons.
Under Moran, the 1915 Phillies bolted out to a white-hot start, winning their first eight games, and 11 of their first 13. 
The club held first place until the end of May, but then a slump dropped them into 2nd place. 
In mid-June, a stretch during which they lost six of eight games dropped them a season-high 4 1/2 games out in the National League.
From that point on, the Fightin’ Phils would battle back, reclaiming first place on July 13th. 
They would never yield the top spot in the standings again that season. The team would win 21 of their final 27 games, and slowly pulled away in the NL race.
On Tuesday, September 28th at Ebbetts Field in Brooklyn against the Robins (later the ‘Dodgers’, and now the Los Angeles Dodgers), the Phillies clinched the franchise’ first-ever National League pennant with a 6-4 victory.
Led by future Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander, known as Old Pete Alexander at the time, and often simply called “Alex”, the Phils’ pitching staff allowed the fewest runs in the National League. Alexander won the pitching “Triple Crown”, leading the league in Wins (31), ERA (1.22), and Strikeouts (241) that season.
Partnering with the 28-year old Alexander, the Phillies staff also featured tough, young 25-year old righthander Erskine Mayer, who won 21 games with a 2.36 ERA.
In addition to that leading 1-2 punch, the rotation included steady 30-year old righty Al Demaree, who went 14-11 and pitching 209.2 innings. 
Talented, young 24-year old lefty Eppa Rixey fashioned a tidy 2.39 ERA and won 11 games. 
5th starter George Chalmers went 8-9 with a 2.48 ERA. The club also received 8 strong starts from George McQuillan, obtained in a mid-August trade from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In those pre-closer days, the relief innings needed were usually filled by the starting pitchers who might be available on any given day, each of them recording at least one Save in their official records.
Only four men pitched out of the bullpen for the Phillies that season, and three of them were kids: 23-year old Joe Oeschger, 22-year old Ben Tincup, and 20-year old Stan Baumgartner, who despite his being the youngest appeared in the most games (14) and tossed a pen-high 48.1 innings.
Offensively, the 1915 Phillies were led by right fielder Gavvy Cravath, who had finished 2nd in the NL MVP voting for that Phillies 2nd place team in 1913, and who would receive MVP votes in the next three seasons as well, including in that 1915 campaign.
In 1915, the man nicknamed “Cactus” hit for a .285/.393/.510 slash line with 24 homers, 31 doubles, 115 RBI, 89 runs scored, and a .902 OPS. 
In most of those categories, Cravath led the league, though his numbers were undoubtedly inflated thanks to Baker Bowl’s generous hitting dimensions.
In center field, Whitted showed his worth in the Magee trade as he hustled his way to a team-high 24 stolen bases, and his 43 RBI were fourth on the club. 
In left field, Moran platooned the lefty-swinging Beals Becker and righty Dode Paskert, the two combining for 14 homers, 89 runs, and 74 RBI.
Around the infield, the 1915 Phillies started Bobby Byrne at 3rd base for most of the season. However, Byrne suffered a late-season injury, and was replaced for the final month and most of the World Series by backup Milt Stock. Both men were light hitters, so the loss didn’t hurt the Phillies at all.
At shortstop was a switch-hitting 24-year old rookie named Dave Bancroft, who was just beginning what would become a Hall of Fame career. In that freshman season, Bancroft hit just .254 and led the league by being thrown out stealing 27 times.
Still, his 85 runs scored and 143 hits were 2nd on the club only to Cravath. Bancroft would become known as a defensive whiz at shortstop from that point and right through his career spanning the entirety of the 1920’s. 
He played with four teams, none for longer than the parts of the first six seasons which he spent in a Phillies uniform.
The 2nd baseman was another slick fielder named Bert Niehoff. At 31, Niehoff was the senior man on the infield for the Phillies. While a light hitter, he was also a clutch hitter, and finished 3rd on the team with 49 RBI.
Perhaps the most underrated player in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies franchise handled the duties at 1st base.
That would be Fred Luderus, the starter at that position for more games than any player in franchise history until Ryan Howard came along over this past decade.
Luderus hit for a .315/.376/.457 slash line with a team-high 36 doubles. He was 3rd on the club with seven homers, 2nd with 62 RBI, and his .833 OPS was also 2nd on the club to only Cravath. 
Luderus fashioned a career with the Phils that is clearly deserving of a place on the Wall of Fame.
The catching for that 1915 Phillies club was handled by two men, regular starter Bill Killefer, who was a 27-year old with no power, but who was an excellent handler of pitchers and defensive backstop. 
His backup was Ed Burns, who was the same age and pretty much a carbon copy as far as playing ability goes.
That was the team that won the 1915 National League pennant by seven games over Magee and the Braves, and which advanced to the World Series for the first time in franchise history.
Facing them would be another team from Boston, the American League’s Red Sox. The Red Sox were a team with no power whatsoever. The entire team hit just 14 home runs all season, four of those hit by a 20-year old pitcher by the name of Babe Ruth.
What those 1915 Red Sox could do was run, and pitch. Their offense was led by a trio of 27-year old outfielders including future Hall of Fame center fielder Tris Speaker, who hit .322 with 29 steals and 108 runs, and was one of three Boston players with at least a dozen triples.
Left fielder Duffy Lewis hit .291 with a team-high 31 doubles and 76 RBI. The right fielder was another future Hall of Famer, Harry Hooper, who had perhaps his worst statistical season that year. Still, Hooper was 2nd on the club with 22 steals, and hustled his way to 90 runs scored and a team-high 13 triples.
On the mound, the 1915 Boston Red Sox came at opposing teams with one of the greatest starting pitching rotations, at least over one season, in the history of baseball. 
It was this starting rotation made up of three righthanders and a pair of southpaws that would ultimately prove too much for the Phillies to overcome.
At the front of that dominating quintet of arms was 27-year old Rube Foster, who had gone 19-8 with a 2.11 ERA over 33 starts. Ernie Shore went 19-8 with a 1.64 ERA over 32 starts. 
Then came the lefties, with the rookie Ruth making 28 starts and going 18-8 with a 2.44 ERA. His lefty partner was Dutch Leonard, who went 15-7 with a 2.36 ERA over 21 starts. 
Finally, Smoky Joe Wood received 16 starts but appeared in 25 games, going 15-5 with a 1.49 ERA.
Pitching in five games for the Red Sox that year in what was already his 4th season in the big leagues was a 21-year old who had been a member of the Philadelphia Athletics staff when they lost the World Series the previous year. 
That young pitcher would go on to fashion a Hall of Fame career over 22 seasons, 11 of them with the New York Yankees. But Herb Pennock would not see action in the 1915 World Series.
The Red Sox had gone 101-50, winning the American League pennant by just 2 1/2 games over the Detroit Tigers. 
They didn’t clinch until Leonard shut out the Yankees in the first game of a doubleheader by 2-0 at the Polo Grounds on October 6th, giving the Bosox a three game lead with just two remaining.
So these were the two clubs that moved into the World Series to face off against one another. 
For a 2nd straight season, it would be Boston against Philadelphia for the world championship of baseball. But this time, instead of the Braves against the Athletics, it was the Red Sox against the Phillies.
While the Phils were in what would become later known as the Fall Classic for the first time, it was the Red Sox’ 3rd visit to the postseason. 
Boston’s AL entry had won both the first-ever 1903 World Series by 5-3 over the Pittsburgh Pirates, and then the 1912 World Series by 4-3 over the New York Giants.
The locations for the games were determined when Phils’ owner Baker won a coin toss over Red Sox owner Joseph Lannin. 
Baker chose to have the first two games in Philadelphia, while Lannin chose to have his team’s games played not at Fenway Park, but instead at the National League Braves Field, which was brand new and held more spectators.
This was the setting for Game One of the World Series at Baker Bowl in Philadelphia on October 8th, 1915. 
With a packed crowd of 19, 343 fans in attendance at Broad and Huntingdon Streets, Moran sent out his ace Alexander to start the opener. Red Sox skipper Bill Carrigan countered with Shore.
Alexander hadn’t started a game in 10 days, and the rust showed a bit. He allowed eight hits to the usually weak Red Sox lineup. 
Hugh S. Fullerton, a writer with the New York Times, later reported that “Alexander pitched a bad game of ball. He had little or nothing. He was tagged hard, and the only times at which he showed his prowess were on the two occasions on which the Red Sox threatened him. Then he fell back upon his curve and stopped them, and finished breezing along easily and seemingly without tiring himself at all.”
The game was scoreless through three innings, thanks in part to Alexander picking off Boston 1st baseman Dick Hoblitzell at 1st with Boston runners at the corners and two outs in the 1st inning.
Meanwhile, as Fullerton reported it, the Phillies “did not hit Shore at all“, their “few and scattered hits were of the accidental variety.” 
In fact, through those first three innings, the Phils managed just two walks and an infield single by Alexander himself. In the bottom of the 4th, the Phillies broke through with the first run of the game. 
Paskert led off with a looping single to right, “a dropping handle hit that fell safe back of first base” as described in Fullerton’s account. Cravath then sacrificed Paskert to 2nd, and the Phillies’ left fielder moved to 3rd base on a ground out.
It was then that the game’s first key hit came, with Whitted proving his worth by hustling out a grounder to 2nd for a base hit, allowing Paskert to score with the run that put the Phillies ahead by 1-0.
Alexander continued to move workmanlike through the Boston lineup into the top of the 8th, allowing a hit each inning, but keeping the Red Sox off the board and maintaining the slim lead.
In that top of the 8th, however, his luck ran out, and Boston broke through for the tie. With one out, Speaker drew a walk to begin the rally.
Alexander then recorded the 2nd out, and though Speaker moved up to 2nd base on the play, ‘Old Pete’ seemed ready to again maneuver his way out of an inning. 
However, Lewis ripped a game-tying RBI single to left, scoring Speaker to make it a 1-1 ball game.
The Phillies came to bat in the bottom of the 8th having registered just three hits off Shore. But with one out, Shore made the mistake of walking the light-hitting Stock. 
When Bancroft followed with an infield single, the Phillies were threatening. Clearly struggling, Shore then walked Paskert to load the bases.
Cravath then did what the best hitters on a team do, he got the key run home. It was only with a ground out to shortstop, but it was enough to bring home Stock with the go-ahead run. 
Now up 2-1, Luderus came to the plate with runners at 2nd and 3rd. He grounded back towards Shore, and the ball apparently changed directions off the edge of the dirt cutout which existed at the time between the pitcher’s mound and home plate.
As Fullerton recounted the play, the ball “rolled straight toward him, struck the side of the scalped spot, and rolled past his feet for a base hit that yielded the third (run).”
With the Phillies now leading by 3-1, Alexander took the mound for the top of the 9th and struck out the leadoff hitter. 
Pinch-hitter Olaf Henriksen then reached on an error, and the Red Sox brought the tying run to the plate.
At that point, Carrigan decided to give his biggest threat a shot as a pinch-hitter. and sent to the plate the young George Herman Ruth. 
It would prove to be the Babe’s only appearance on this, his first-ever World Series, and it would not prove memorable. 
The future ‘Sultan of Swat’ grounded out meekly to 1st base. Alexander then retired Hooper on an easy pop out to 1st to end it.
The Phillies had won the first-ever World Series game in franchise history, holding a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series against the Red Sox. 
Their ace Alexander got the win, and the fans at Baker Bowl filed out happily awaiting the next day’s Game Two.
Unfortunately for the Phils and their fans, that would be the last Phillies win of the series. 
The next day, the Red Sox would score a run in the top of the 9th to steal a 2-1 victory in Game Two and tie the series. 
Back in Boston, they scored in the bottom of the 9th to win Game Three by an identical 2-1 score and to take a 2-1 series lead.
In Game Four in Boston, the Red Sox held off a late Phillies rally to again win by the very same score of 2-1, opening up a 3-1 series lead. 
The series returned to Baker Bowl for Game 5, and the Phils finally solved the Boston pitching, taking a 4-2 lead into the 8th. 
But the Red Sox rallied, scoring twice in that 8th to tie, and a run in the 9th that would clinch the World Series victory.
The Phillies won Game 1 of the World Series, 2-1 behind the legendary Grover Cleveland Alexander.
It thus becomes our Phillies Fall Classic I in this 14-part series. But it would take another 65 years before the franchise would win another World Series game, and thus provide us with Phillies Fall Classic II.