No period in Phillies history was more bizarre than the decade of the 1930s. On the one hand, the club had some of its worst teams. On the other hand, it had some of its best players.
A perfect example was the 1930 season. The Phillies hit .315 for the third highest team batting average in National League history. Five regulars hit above .300. Yet, the club still lost 102 games, thanks largely to a pitching staff that had an ERA of 6.71 and gave up an all-time record 1199 runs.
In 1930, Chuck Klein (photo at right) hit .386 with 40 home runs and 170 RBI in one of the best years any Phillie ever had. Lefty O'Doul added a .383 average during a year that also saw Grover Cleveland Alexander return to the team as a washed-up part-timer.
Klein was in the midst of one of baseball's finest first five-years. In 1931, he won his first of three home run titles with 31 homers while also leading the league in RBI, hitting .337 and being named the league's Most Valuable Player. After going .348-38-137 and winning another MVP award in 1932, Klein topped off his heroics in 1933 by winning the Phillies' only Triple Crown with a .368 average, 28 home runs and 129 RBI. He and fiery shortstop Dick Bartell (photo at right) were both starters in the first All-Star Game that year.
The Phils of the 1930s had loads of outstanding hitters. First baseman Don Hurst led the league with 143 RBI while hitting .339 in 1932. Spud Davis, Pinky Whitney (photo at left), Johnny Moore, Ethan Allen and Dolph Camilli were all heavy hitters as the decade progressed.
Good pitching, though, was a rarity. Jumbo Elliott in 1931 and Curt Davis in 1934 were 19-game winners. In 1935, manager and catcher Jimmie Wilson converted third baseman Bucky Walters (photo below) to pitcher, and he along with Claude Passeau became fine moundsmen. But it wasn't enough to keep the Phillies from four eighth place and three seventh place finishes during the decade.
The Phils' best season was in 1932 when they wound up fourth under manager Burt Shotton, the team's only first division finish between 1917 and 1949.
The Phillies of the '30s were noted for trading their top players to make ends meet. William Baker died in 1930 and he was eventually replaced by Gerry Nugent, who swapped everything that wasn't nailed down. Nugent's wife, Mae, became the first woman vice president in the National League.
In 1935, the Phils met the Cincinnati Reds at Crosley Field in the first Major League night game. That year, second baseman Chile Gomez became the team's first Latin American player. In 1938, the Phils finally moved out of Baker Bowl and into Shibe Park where one year later thay played in their first home night game.