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Phillies continued to pick up steam in 1963

(Another in a series of Phillies seasons that ended with a 3).

Two years after enduring the longest losing streak (23 games) in baseball history, the 1963 Phillies continued an upward trend with their second consecutive winning season, something that last happened for the team in 1952-53.

Going 52-34 over the final three months, the Phillies finished 85-75 and in fourth place, 12 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Under manager Gene Mauch, a young nucleus was developing: C Clay Dalrymple (26 years old); 2B Tony Taylor (27); SS Bobby Wine (24); CF Tony Gonzalez (26); RF Johnny Callison (24); starting pitchers Chris Short (25), Art Mahaffey (25) and Dennis Bennett (23); and closer Jack Baldschun (26).

The ace of the staff was a 21-year-old rookie right-hander Ray Culp. He led the club in wins (14-11), shutouts (5) and strikeouts (176) and was the Phillies' lone All-Star. RHP Cal McLish (13-11), the club's oldest player at 37, ranked second in wins.

Baldschun was third on the staff in wins (11-7), working 113 innings in 65 relief appearances. He had 16 saves.

Callison led the club with 26 homers and 78 RBIs. Gonzalez was the leading hitter (.306). Taylor had the most hits (180), runs (102) and stolen bases (23).

In September, a right-handed slugger made his big league debut: Richie Allen. The next spring, he supplanted 35-year-old veteran Don Hoak at third base.

Mahaffey appeared on the cover of "Sports Illustrated," and Wine was the first Phillies player to win a Gold Glove.

The other notable from that season: Richie Ashburn joined the Phillies' broadcast team of By Saam and Bill Campbell. 

On Dec. 5, the Phillies and Tigers pulled off a four-player trade. Veteran RHP Jim Bunning and C Gus Triandos were acquired by the Phillies for RHP Jack Hamilton and OF Don Demeter.

One final note from the 1963 season: The Phillies won the final regular-season game played at the Polo Grounds in New York, 5-1, over the Mets, on Sept. 18 behind Chris Short (8-11). Attendance was 1,752.

Larry Shenk is the vice president of Alumni Relations for the Phillies.