SI Vault
The Beautiful Losers: An Oral History of the Philadelphia Phillies
July 02, 2007
The existentialist Samuel Beckett exhorted, "Fail better." And no professional sports team has ever failed better or with greater frequency than the Philadelphia Phillies. Failure has become synonymous with a franchise whose players have borne such nicknames as Losing Pitcher (Hugh Mulcahy) and What's the Use? (Pearce Chiles). If luck is on the Phils' side--and over 125 seasons it rarely has been--one day before the end of July they will record their 10,000th defeat, a milestone never before reached by any franchise in any sport. Through Sunday the tragic number stood at 9,991; the next most prolific losers, the Braves, are at 9,677.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
July 02, 2007

The Beautiful Losers: An Oral History Of The Philadelphia Phillies

View CoverRead All Articles
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

"No matter what we tried, it didn't work. The only thing that I didn't try was suicide."

-- Gene Mauch, on the Phillies' 23-game losing streak, tied for the third-longest in baseball history

Loss number 6,333, Aug. 20, 1961

"Go in twos and threes. That way, they won't be able to get us all at once. They're selling rocks at a dollar a pail."

-- Frank Sullivan, pitcher, peering out a plane window at the hundreds of fans awaiting the team at Philadelphia Airport after a road trip

Losses number 6,569 through 6,578, Sept. 21-30, 1964

" Mauch was a volatile, damned-near-scary skipper who could straighten you out in a hurry. What puzzled us during the crash was how quiet he was. I guess he thought he was taking the pressure off us players by not jumping our asses. We all waited for him to scream at us or throw a chair or upset a meal table, but he never did. If he had, we might have responded."

-- Dallas Green, pitcher and future Phils manager, on the '64 collapse

"It was like swimming in a long, long lake, and then you drown."

-- Cookie Rojas, utilityman, on the Philly Phlop

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8