By the time the 1920s arrived, the Phillies were slipping into what would become the bleakest period in club history. It lasted for 31 years during which time the Phils had just one first division finish.
The decade of the '20s was especially dreary. The Phillies finished eighth five times and seventh three times. They lost more than 100 games four times, had six different managers and unwisely traded future Hall of Famers Dave Bancroft and Eppa Rixey before their primes.
On a more positive note, outfielder Cy Williams (photo at right) emerged as the Phillies' new slugger, winning three home run crowns. When he won his first Phillies title in 1920, Williams extended the club's record to seven home run crowns in an eight-year period.
Hitting home runs was easy at Baker Bowl where the right field wall stood just 272 feet down the line. In 1921, the Phils set a Major League team record with 88 homers. The Phils led the National League in homers in five straight years between 1919-23. Williams slammed 41 round-trippers in 1923, the same year the Phils lost a 20-14 decision to the St. Louis Cardinals in a game which featured a record 10 home runs.
In the early 1920s, Casey Stengel played with the Phillies. So did future Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame coach Earle (Greasy) Neale. Phils pitcher Lee Meadows was one of the first Major Leaguers to wear glasses.
The Phillies always had plenty of .300 hitters. In 1922, the same year the club lost a 26-23 shootout in Chicago to the Cubs in a game that still stands as a Major League record for most runs by two teams, outfielders Williams, Cliff Lee and Curt Walker all hit over .300. George Harper hit .349 in 1925.
The Phils were the victims of the major league's first unassisted triple play when the Boston Braves' Ernie Padgett turned the trick in 1923. In 1927, a section of the Baker Bowl grandstand collapsed, forcing the Phillies to play 12 games at Shibe Park.
The best news of the decade came in 1928. The team hired the highly respected Burt Shotton as manager, signed minor leaguers Pinky Whitney and Don Hurst, and--best of all--bought a kid named Chuck Klein for $5000. Klein went on to become one of the greatest players in Phillies history.
Klein paid immediate dividends by hitting .356, driving in 145 runs and leading the league with 43 homers in 1929. He was joined that year by Lefty O'Doul (photo at left), who led the league with a .398 batting average while collecting a record 254 hits to go along with 32 home runs and 122 RBI. Altogether six Phillies hit over .300 in 1929, four slugging more than 200 hits as the team placed fifth, its highest finish since 1917.