No decade in Phillies history began more gloriously than the 1980s.
After 97 years, the Phillies finally reached the promised land in 1980 by winning their first World Championship. In a continuation of what had become the team's Golden Era, it was the climax of a memorable season in which the Phils captured their first National League pennant in 30 years by winning what is generally considered the most exciting League Championship Series ever held.
The 1980 season was full of outstanding performances. Mike Schmidt led the league in home runs with 48 and in RBI with 121 and was named the Most Valuable Player. Steve Carlton won the Cy Young Award with a 24-9 record. Outfielder Lonnie Smith was The Sporting News Rookie of the Year after hitting .339. Bake McBride hit .309 with 83 RBI. And the team got stellar performances from Manny Trillo, Pete Rose, Larry Bowa, Garry Maddox, Bob Boone and a pitching staff that included 17-game winner Dick Ruthven (photo at left), late-season callup Marty Bystrom and a strong bullpen led by Tug McGraw and Ron Reed.
The Phillies floundered through the first half of the season, but caught fire in mid-August. Then, winning 21 of 27 games, they clinched the division title on the next to last day of the season as Schmidt's two-run homer in the 11th inning defeated the Montreal Expos, 6-4.
Manager Dallas Green's club then defeated the Houston Astros in the LCS, three games to two. Four of the games were decided in extra innings. Behind two games to one, the Phillies won the last two, including a pulsating fifth game in which they had trailed, 5-2, against Nolan Ryan in the eighth inning. The Phils, who came back with five runs in the eighth, finally won in the 10th, 8-7, on Maddox's RBI single. Ruthven got the win in relief and Trillo was named the LCS MVP.
In the World Series, the Phillies defeated the Kansas City Royals in six games. They won the first two, lost the next two, then won games five and six. In the final game at Veterans Stadium, Carlton got his second win of the Series, but not before some late-inning heroics by Rose (photo at right), who caught Boone's dropped popup, and reliever McGraw, who fanned Willie Wilson for the final out. Schmidt, who hit .381 with two home runs, was the Series MVP.
The Phillies returned to post-season play in 1981 in a season interupted by a 50-day work stoppage. During the season, Rose broke Stan Musial's National League record for most hits when he laced his 3631st safety. Schmidt again won home run and RBI crowns and his second straight MVP. Because of the long gap, the season was divided into two halves with the Phillies winning the first half and entering a special playoff with the Expos. Montreal won the best-of-five series, three games to two with Steve Rogers blanking the Phils in the deciding game, 3-0.
After the season, Green resigned as manager to join the Chicago Cubs, and the Carpenter family sold the team to a partnership headed by vice president Bill Giles.
Carlton won his fourth Cy Young Award with 23 wins in 1982, and new catcher Bo Diaz had a fine season, hitting .288 with 18 home runs and 85 RBI. That winter, the Phils sent five players to the Cleveland Indians for outfielder Von Hayes (photo at left).
By 1983, many players from the 1980 team were gone. With a number of older players on the roster, the Phils were dubbed the "Wheeze Kids."
Schmidt again led the NL with 40 home runs, Carlton won his 300th game with a 6-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals and John Denny claimed the Cy Young Award with a 19-6 record. Joe Lefebvre hit .310, and Al Holland (photo at right), Willie Hernandez and Ron Reed led an outstanding relief corps.
GM Paul Owens again took over as manager of the team at mid-season, and with Joe Morgan sparking a hot streak in September, the Phils won 14 of their last 16 games to clinch the division title. The Phils then defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in four games with Carlton getting two of the three wins and Gary Matthews winning the MVP with his timely hitting. In the World Series, Maddox's home run gave the Phils and Denny a 2-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles in the first game. But the Phils then lost four straight with Scott McGregor pitching a five-hit, 5-0 win in the clincher.
The Phillies had no more pennant runs after '83. Individual highlights, however, continued. Two exciting young players burst on the scene in 1984 with Juan Samuel winning The Sporting News Rookie of the Year award and Jeff Stone hitting .362. That year, Tim Corcoran hit .341 and Greg Gross (photo at left) .322 in part-time roles.
The Phillies clobbered the New York Mets, 26-7, in a memorable game in 1985. Von Hayes slugged two home runs, including a grand slam, in the first inning to become only the second Phillies player ever to homer twice in one inning. Glenn Wilson ended the year by leading National League outfielders in assists and drove in 102 runs.
Schmidt won his seventh and last home run crown and his third and last MVP award in 1986 after slugging 37 homers and driving in 119 runs. Another Phils legend, Steve Carlton, was released in June, while Hayes had a fine season, batting .305 and driving in 98 runs.
In 1987, Schmidt hit the 500th home run of his career off the Pittsburgh Pirates' Don Robinson. Steve Bedrosian registered 40 saves to win the Cy Young Award, and Kent Tekulve (photo at right) set a club record by appearing in 90 games. Schmidt collected 35 homers and 113 RBI, Samuel had 28 home runs and drove in 100 runs and Milt Thompson hit .302.
Lee Thomas was named Phillies general manager in 1988. In 1989, John Kruk hit .331, switch-hitter Steve Jeltz became the first Phillie to hit a home run from each side of the plate in the same game, and Schmidt retired with 548 home runs.