Sunday, April 10, 2011

1954 Philadelphia Phillies

The Haves and The Have Nots
I am placing a post about each team in any given year based on how far they went in the playoffs and then by their overall record for the season. In 1954, the league champion only went to the World Series, so aside from the first two team, these are all in order of how they finished record wise for the season. Last week I covered the Milwaukee Braves, who had an 89-65 record. That is even better than a 90 win team in the 2010 season, as they played 8 less games, and they essentially finished 6th out of the 16 teams. This week we get to the Philadelphia Phillies, who finished 14 games worse with a record of 75-79. They are the first '54 team with a losing record. And that 14 games represents the divide between winning teams and losing teams. So it appears that there were some great teams and then some not so great teams, with not a lot in the middle.

The 1954 Phillies were trending downward. They were halfway between appearing in a World Series in 1950 and finishing in last place every year between 1958-1961. Expansion in 1962 probably saved them from making that 5 years in a row. This may explain why they were a slightly below .500 team in 1954. This team was led by pitching, and most specifically pitcher Robin Roberts, who led the team with 23 wins and had a sub 3.00 ERA. Offensively, this team was carried by center fielder Richie Ashburn and second baseman Granny Hamner.

The Hometown Team
What started on the side project of making a checklist for the ultimate 1954 set, even though I own zero of these cards, was this entry at the Phillies Room on the 1954 Topps cards. If you haven't paid attention to that blog, Jim has been putting up a review of every Topps set since 1951 showing the Phillies that are in each set. A conversation came up on how during the era when Bowman was in existence, the star Phillies players were not found in the Topps set. My argument was that Bowman was based in Philadelphia, and they may have got preference for signing exclusive contracts with players because they were the hometown team. I started this side project to see what an ultimate set from 1954 may look like, as 1954 is probably my personal favorite design of these early sets. As we are finding out the Bowman-Philadelphia connection really may not be the case at all. Bowman did have a better selection of current players that were probably more in demand in 1954 for most teams.

Starter and Hall-of-Fame/All-Star Scores
Exclusive players to a set are in italics.

Topps Regulars (4): Granny Hamner, Willie Jones, Richie Ashburn, Herm Wehmeier (shown with the Reds, split time between Phillies and Reds, getting more playing time with the Phillies)

Bowman Regulars (12): Smokey Burgess, Earl Torgeson, Granny Hamner, Willie Jones, Del Ennis, Richie Ashburn, Stan Lopata, Mel Clark, Robin Roberts, Curt Simmons, Murry Dickson, Steve Ridzik

Topps All-Stars & Hall-of-Famers (1): Richie Ashburn

Bowman All-Stars & Hall-of-Famers (4): Richie Ashburn, Smokey Burgess, Granny Hamner, Robin Roberts

For a Phillies fan...there is really no reason to buy Topps cards in 1954. The only player of any significance that appears only in the Topps set, Herm Wehmeier, is shown in a Reds uniform. Topps picks things up by showing 8 minor players and coaches that do not appear in the Bowman set. Johnny Lindell who appears in only 7 games, all as a pinch hitter, appears in both sets, and represents the only Phillies player in the Bowman set that is not considered by definitions as a regular. Topps had the opportunity to add some regulars, as neither set had starting shortstop Bobby Morgan, outfielder Danny Schell (I have him listed as the right fielder, but Del Ennis led the team in appearances in both left and right field, so I put Ennis as the left fielder), outfielder Johnny Wyrostek, starting pitcher Bob Miller, and relief pitchers Jim Konstanty and Ron Mrozinski.

Tom Qualters
I am not sure of Tom Qualters role on the Phillies in 1954. He appeared in one game as an 18 year old in 1953 with the Phillies. I don't see him listed as a player in the military, and there is no record of him playing anywhere, majors or minors. He shows up again with a minor league record in the Phillies system in 1955 and 1956, and then appears again in the majors with the Phillies in 1957. 1954 appears to be a mystery, but he gets a card in the Topps set. His last appearance in the majors was with the Phillies and White Sox in 1958.

__ BO 31 C Smoky Burgess PHI
__ BO 63 1B Earl Torgeson PHI
__ TO 24 2B Granny Hamner PHI
__ TO 41 3B Willie Jones PHI

SS Bobby Morgan
__ BO 127 LF Del Ennis PHI
__ TO 45 CF Richie Ashburn PHI

RF Danny Schell
__ BO 207 C Stan Lopata PHI

RF Johnny Wyrostek
__ BO 175 OF Mel Clark PHI

Starting Pitchers
__ BO 95 SP Robin Roberts PHI
__ BO 79 SP Curt Simmons PHI
__ BO 111 SP Murry Dickson PHI
__ TO 162 SP Herm Wehmeier CIN

SP Bob Miller

Relief Pitchers
__ BO 223 RP Steve Ridzik PHI

RP Jim Konstanty

RP Ron Mrozinski

Other Players
__ TO 78 SS Ted Kazanski PHI

IF Floyd Baker

3B Jim Command
__ TO 51 PH Johnny Lindell PHI

C Gus Niarhos

RF Stan Palys
__ TO 212 SS Mickey Micelotta PHI

PH Stan Jok

RP Bob Greenwood
__ TO 236 SP Paul Penson PHI

RP Karl Drews
__ TO 108 RP Thornton Kipper PHI

Minor Leaguers
__ TO 174 MN Tom Qualters PHI

__ TO 127 MG Steve O'Neill PHI

MG Terry Moore
__ TO 183 CO Earle Combs PHI
__ TO 247 CO Eddie Mayo PHI


  1. Lindell had been on his comeback as a knuckleball pitcher the year before after a long career as a pretty good fourth outfielder/ Qualters was a bonus baby and had to stick in the majors for a while basically unused.

  2. Great post.

    ecloy - Thanks for clearing up the Qualters mystery.

  3. Talk about wasting talent with Qualters...he was good enough to be signed at 18, and then just sits basically for two years....were all of the Phillies games that close that they couldn't let him pitch an inning in a 10-0 blowout every now and again, just to let him get some experience.