Don't be deceived by their astounding .315 team batting average, or by Chuck Klein's 170 RBIs, or Lefty O'Doul's .383 batting average.
If you really want to get to the heart of the 1930 Phillies, forget about their hitters. Instead, look at their owners and their pitchers.
Only then will you begin to understand how a team that put up such mind-boggling offensive statistics could finish last in the National League, 50 games under .500, 40 games behind the pennant-winning Cardinals.
The Phillies' task of competing with the successful team seven blocks west on Lehigh Avenue, Connie Mack's 1930 world-champion A's, was made nearly impossible by their hapless history of ownership.
At the dawn of that 1930 season, they were owned by the man who lent his name to their dilapidated ballpark, William Baker. He would turn out to be the middleman in the Phillies' Three Stooges Era.
Baker had cemented his spot in this unfortunate triumvirate by trading Hall of Fame pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander in his prime. His predecessor had been Horace Fogel, a hapless sportswriter who eventually was banned from baseball. And Baker, who died in 1930, was succeeded by Gerry Nugent, a shoe salesman who quickly proved he knew far more about brogans than baseball.
As for the 1930 Phillies' pitchers, consider this:
The 1962 New York Mets, with their 40-120 record, are rightly considered one of baseball's worst-ever teams. Their pitching staff was horrendous, allowing 948 runs and finishing with a 5.04 ERA. Well, those numbers would have been positively Koufax-like for the '30 Phils.
Six of that team's 14 pitchers lost 10 or more games. Eight had ERAs over 7.00. Their team ERA was a mind-boggling 6.71, a figure that has not been surpassed in the subsequent 79 years.
No team in baseball history has ever yielded as many runs as the 1,199 allowed by a Phillies staff that included Snipe Hansen, Ray Benge, Buz Phillips and Alexander, who, at 43 and washed-up, had been reacquired before the season.
They lost by scores of 21-8, 22-8, 19-8, 18-0. In one span of four days, they were beaten - that seems too mild a verb - 19-15, 19-16, 9-5, and 16-2. In their defense, the pitching was not helped much by its fielders' 239 errors.
Still, offensively, the Phillies could have held their own with the world-champion Athletics. Throughout baseball, 1930 was remarkable for the numbers an enlivened ball generated. Some of the most remarkable were compiled by Phillies. Klein hit .386 with 40 homers, 170 RBIs, 59 doubles, and 445 total bases. O'Doul hit .383 (down from .398 in 1929) with 22 homers and 97 RBIs.
First baseman Don Hurst (.327, 17, 78), third baseman Pinky Whitney (.342, 8, 117), and catcher Spud Davis (.313, 14, 65) had career years.
Despite the merry-go-round of run scoring, Burt Shotton's team drew just 299,007 fans to Baker Bowl.