After 141 seasons, a first for the Phillies

October 24th, 2023

Established in 1883, the Phillies are one of the oldest franchises in baseball. Now, in their 141st season, they’ll be playing their first postseason Game 7.

After losing Game 6 of the NLCS against the D-backs, the Phillies are set for a winner-take-all Game 7 on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Remarkably, a team that has 16 postseason appearances and has played 132 postseason games hasn’t found itself in this exact spot before. The Phillies have, however, played in winner-take-all games before. They won Game 5 of the 1980 NLCS vs. the Astros on their way to a World Series title that season. Philadelphia lost Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS vs. the Cardinals and Game 5 of the 1981 NLDS vs. the Expos.

The Phillies have had some close calls in several Game 6s. With Philadelphia down 3-2 in the 2010 NLCS vs. the Giants, the game was tied, 2-2, before Juan Uribe hit the decisive home run in the top of the eighth inning. More notable is Game 6 of the 1993 World Series vs. the Blue Jays, when Joe Carter hit his memorable walk-off, title-clinching home run against Mitch Williams in Toronto.

As noted by The Athletic senior writer Tyler Kepner, the only other teams to not play a Game 7 were established in the expansion era (since 1961):

  • Padres (est. 1969)
  • Mariners (est. 1977)
  • Rockies (est. 1993)

(The White Sox played in a Game 7 in a best-of-nine World Series in 1919.)

On the flip side, the Cardinals hold the record for most Game 7s (16), with an 11-5 record. Behind them are the Yankees -- who are 6-9 in 15 Game 7s -- Red Sox (11 Game 7s), Dodgers (10), Giants (eight) and Pirates (eight).

The best winning percentage in winner-take-all Game 7s belongs to the Marlins (2-0), Rays (2-0), Nationals (1-0) and D-backs (1-0). Arizona will look to move its Game 7 record to 2-0 on Tuesday vs. the Phillies.

Meanwhile, there are three teams that have played in a Game 7 and never won. The Orioles (1971 and ’79) and Brewers (1982 and 2018) are 0-2, while the Blue Jays lost their lone Game 7 appearance, in the 1985 ALCS.