Phillies' last seven-game series was 90 years ago and it would've driven Ricky Bo batty


Anything and everything goes in this unprecedented 2020 Major League Baseball season.

Seven-inning doubleheaders.

Runner on second base to start extra innings.

Universal designated hitter.

Personal rosin bags.

Fake crowd noise.

Air high-fives.

Seven-game series.

The pandemic-shortened 60-game season has brought many new looks to the game, but the seven-game series is not one of them.

The Phillies will open a crucial seven-game series against the Marlins in Miami on Thursday night. The seven-gamer was necessitated by COVID-related postponements earlier in the season and it will include two doubleheaders.

As unusual as this seven-game series will be, it will not be the first one the Phillies have ever played.

Their last one, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, was 90 years ago in Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs. The series, played from August 16-20, 1930, included two doubleheaders, one necessitated by an earlier rainout.

The Phillies went 2-3-2 in that series, which, for them, did not carry nearly the significance of the one that they are about to play in Miami.

The 1930 Phillies were one of the worst clubs in franchise history. Though their offense averaged over six runs per game, they couldn’t pitch. They gave up 7.69 runs per game, lost 102 and finished 40 games back in the National League.

The Cubs were a 90-win team in 1930. They finished two games behind the St. Louis Cardinals, who lost in the World Series to Connie Mack’s Philadelphia A’s.

The Phils actually played two seven-game series in August 1930. Earlier that month, they played seven in Boston against the Braves and went 2-5.

After their seven-game series in Wrigley Field later that month, the Phillies traveled to St. Louis, where they were swept by the Cardinals in five games.

Before the Phillies head into Miami for this big seven-game series, let’s take a look back at the last time they played a series of at least that many games 90 years ago in Chicago:

Saturday August 16 (doubleheader)

Game 1

Cubs 10, Phillies 9

The Cubs rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth on RBI hits by Hack Wilson and Gabby Harnett, both Hall of Famers. 

Game 2

Phillies 3, Cubs 3

Can only imagine what Ricky Bo would have sounded like after this one. 

Phillies starter Claude Willoughby coughed up a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth. He allowed a single and a walk then got two outs before balking home a run and giving up a two-run homer to Woody English. The game remained tied through 11 innings when it was ruled a tie. Remember, there were no lights at Wrigley Field in 1930. In fact, night baseball did not appear anywhere until 1935. 

Sunday August 17

Cubs 5, Phillies 4

Lefty O’Doul and Pinky Whitney homered for the Phils but it wasn’t enough. Phillies shortstop Tommy Thevenow made his 44therror in this game. He finished the season with 56, the most in the NL that year. Now, the gloves and fields weren’t as good back then, but it’s worth noting that Jimmy Rollins made just 37 errors from 2007-2011 and just six in both 2009 and 2010.

Monday August 18

Cubs 17, Phillies 3

Wilson had four hits, including his 42nd homer, and four RBIs to lead the Cubs’ rout. Phillies starter Snipe Hanson lasted just 2 2/3 innings. Reliever Buz Phillips couldn’t stop the bleeding. He allowed 12 runs in 5 1/3 innings. Thevenow made another error.

Tuesday August 19 (doubleheader)

Game 1

Phillies 9, Cubs 8

Phillies starting pitcher Les Sweetland survived three home runs and got the win and Willoughby bounced back from his ninth-inning disaster three days earlier for the save. Second baseman Fresco Thompson drove in three runs. Thevenow made another error. The Phillies went 7 for 17 with runners in scoring position. Charlie Root was the losing pitcher. A few years later, he was involved in one of baseball’s most legendary moments. Look it up, home slice.

Game 2

Phillies 6, Cubs 6

The Cubs tied the game on a pinch-hit, three-run homer by Les Bell in the bottom of the eighth (Ricky Bo would not have liked that) and the game ended in a tie after 16 innings. Cubs first baseman High Pockets Kelly, an eventual Hall of Famer, had five hits. Yes, Thevenow made an error. Phillies starting pitcher Phil Collins was a rock star going all 16.

Wednesday August 20

Phillies 10, Cubs 8

The Phillies took the final game of the series on the strength of five homers, two by catcher Spud Davis. Davis’ three-run shot in the seventh was one of three homers the Phillies hit in that inning. Phillies starter Ray Benge gutted out nine innings and survived 17 hits and eight runs. No error for Thevenow.

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