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
Allen fell one vote short of enshrinement into the Hall of Fame in the Golden Days Era Committee vote in December 2021. Momentum seemed to be building for Allen, whose dominance offensively was 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. Bryce Harper, 2021
Harper won the 2021 NL MVP Award for this performance. He batted .309 with 42 doubles, one triple, 35 home runs, 84 RBIs, a 1.044 OPS and a 179 OPS+. He led baseball in doubles, slugging percentage (.615), OPS and OPS+. He ranked second in the NL in fWAR (6.6), on-base percentage (.429) and walks (100); third in batting average and outfield assists (10); sixth in home runs and runs (101) and ninth in bWAR (5.9). He even tied for 17th in stolen bases (13). Harper became only the fourth outfielder in AL/NL history to have at least 100 runs, 100 walks, 40 doubles and 35 home runs in a season. Babe Ruth, Stan Musial and Barry Bonds are the others. He did this after getting hit in the face with a 97 mph fastball in late April. He also did this with a depleted supporting cast, forcing him to carry the Phillies down the stretch to keep them in postseason contention heading into the final week of the season