What are the five best individual seasons by a player in Phillies history?
Well, it depends on the criteria. If we wanted, Mike Schmidt’s five best seasons could make the list. Or maybe some combination of Schmidt and Dick Allen, anyway. But that would be no fun. So we came up with two criteria: We only use a player once. We only consider players from 1900 and later.
Sorry, Billy Hamilton and Ed Delahanty.
Here is our list:
1. Mike Schmidt, 1980
So many Schmidt seasons could fit into the top five. He put up incredible numbers nearly every single season from 1974-87. But his 1980 season gets the nod as the greatest single season by a position player in Phillies history for multiple reasons. Schmidt slashed .286/.380/.624 with 48 home runs, 121 RBIs, a 1.004 OPS and a 171 OPS+. He won the National League MVP, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards. He made the NL All-Star team. He also earned World Series MVP honors, helping the Phillies win their first championship in franchise history. Schmidt put up better offensive numbers in the strike-shortened 1981 season, when he won his second of three MVPs. But Schmidt’s '80 campaign will always be the one people remember most.
2. Dick Allen, 1966
It was anticipated that Allen would be inducted into the Hall of Fame next month, but the Hall postponed its upcoming Golden Days Committee vote because of the pandemic. Momentum seemed to be building for Allen, whose dominance offensively seems to be getting its due. Allen had several dominant seasons with the Phillies, but his 1966 campaign took the cake. He slashed .317/.396/.632 with 40 home runs, 110 RBIs, a 1.027 OPS and a 181 OPS+. Allen finished fourth for NL MVP that season behind Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax and Willie Mays.
3. Ryan Howard, 2006
Howard’s NL MVP season in 2006 was so much fun to watch. The Big Piece slashed .313/.425/.659 with a franchise-record 58 home runs, 149 RBIs, a 1.084 OPS and a 167 OPS+. He hit 26 home runs in his final 63 games that season. He got intentionally walked 28 times in that stretch. Teams did not want to face him. They were afraid.
4. Chuck Klein, 1933
Klein won the NL MVP in 1932, but he earned the Triple Crown in 1933. He slashed .368/.422/.602 with 28 home runs and 120 RBIs. He led the league in hits (223), doubles (44), home runs, RBIs, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS and total bases. Klein’s historic season is tricky, though. He greatly benefited playing at Baker Bowl. The left-handed-hitting Klein took advantage of a right-field wall that stood just 280 feet from home plate. (Fenway Park’s Green Monster is 310 feet from home plate.) It explains why Klein had a 1.305 OPS at home but just a .774 OPS on the road that season.
5. Lefty O'Doul, 1929
O’Doul played for five teams in his 11-year career from 1919-34. (He did not play in the big leagues in 1921 and from '24-27.) He played just two years with the Phillies (1929-30), and like Klein, O’Doul took advantage of the ridiculously short porch in right field at Baker Bowl. He slashed .398/.465/.622 with 32 home runs, 122 RBIs and a 1.097 OPS in 1929. He finished second for NL MVP behind Rogers Hornsby. Not too many Phillies fans know much about O’Doul, but baseball writers across the country know him. He managed the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League from 1935-51. He opened a bar in his name in San Francisco's Union Square around that time, and it remained there after he died in 1969 until it closed in 2017.