A Special Time in Philadelphia Baseball History
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
As the Philadelphia Phillies play the San Francisco Giants for the National League Championship Series title, the team is already making baseball history.
“Not since 1929-1931 has a Philadelphia team - the Athletics of Connie Mack, Lefty Grove, Al Simmons, Jimmy Foxx, and so on - dominated Major League Baseball in the way the current Phillies are dominating the National League,” says Saint Joseph’s University marketing professor John Lord, Ph.D., who teaches sports economics and marketing.
The Phillies, who are in contention for their third consecutive National League pennant after a three game sweep over the Cincinnati Reds, are one of only five clubs to appear in three or more consecutive League Championship Series. Not to mention that the last time a team won an NL Championship three years in a row was in 1944 (St. Louis Cardinals) when most major leaguers were serving their country during World War II.
“It is clear that in fall 2010, with the Phillies having won two consecutive National League championships, a World Series title in 2008, and being four wins away from a third consecutive pennant, that we are witnessing an extraordinary era in the history of baseball in Philadelphia, or almost anywhere for that matter,” says Lord.
The match-up is a close one. In the regular season, the Phillies faced the Giants six times, coming out 3-3. The Giants are the only team in the National League to have beaten each of the Phils’ “H2O” trio of Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt, and their pitching line up is also one of the best in the league.
But Lord is confident that the Phightin’ Phils are up for the challenge. With the batting line up and bullpen back to normal after a string of regular season injuries, Charlie Manuel’s management and the post-season weapon that is Carlos Ruiz, he “just [doesn’t] see this team losing.”
The marketing professor, who has studied the statistical profiles of teams from every era, and teaches a class titled Baseball: Traditions and Business, ranks today’s Phillies with the likes of the 1950s-60s Yankees, Jackie Robinson and the “Boys of Summer,” and the Philadelphia A’s just before Connie Mack sold his best players at the onset of the Great Depression – all teams that made a great impact on America’s favorite pastime.
“This is indeed a special time in the history of baseball in Philadelphia,” says Lord. John Lord, Ph.D., chair of marketing at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia