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Gillick: Phillies 116 Wins

Posted By Christopher Rowe On Feb 23 2011 @ 2:11 am In MLB,Philadelphia | 4 Comments

[1]Pat Gillick has roamed many baseball fields, evaluated countless players and seen more than most In his half-century in professional baseball. Gillick has seen thousands of games, from undefined pastures and sandlots in Third World countries to artificially [2]engineered billiard surface stadia to perfectly manicured lawns in billion dollar palaces across the Major League landscape. Gillick has made and re-made careers for scrawny hopefuls, can’t miss prospects and last-chance [3]retreads aiming for one more shot at the Show.  Gillick has scouted thousands of players, from gangly teens and can’t miss prospects trying to make The Show right on through to  grizzled veterans hoping for one more day in the sun.  Gillick has earned the reputation for being a savvy talent evaluator and success as an executive with four MLB franchises. Not many executives are enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame as Gillick will be this summer but he has defined the modern paradigm for franchise architects.


[4]You can still see the “retired” 73-year-old senior Phillies advisor at Bright House Field. Gillick seems to meander from field to field, surveying a team that many think has a chance to be something special. What makes his perspective unique is that 10 years ago, Gillick was general manager of the Seattle Mariners, a team who posted  116 wins, most in the expansion era, tied with the 1906 Chicago Cubs for the most regular season wins ever. Comparisons have been drawn between that Seattle squad and a Phillies team coming off four division championships, three NLCS appearances, two World Series trips and one championship – and who still may have their best season ahead of them.  


[5]Heading straight to the proverbial horse’s mouth, Pat Gillick was asked  point blank which club is better: 2011 Phillies or 2001 Mariners? “This team [Phillies] is better, on paper,” he said. “On paper.”


[6]That caveat is ominous if not completely reasonable. Gillick hasn’t predicted that the Phillies will set a new record for regular season wins (he left that to shortstop and prominent Phillies prognosticator Jimmy Rollins). For any team to win 116 games, so many elements have to conspire –  even for the most talented team.


[7]In 145 years of major league baseball, only 14 teams have finished with a .700 win percentage or better, ten of those exceeding 100 wins and 6 over 110. 1906 Chicago Cubs (NL) and 2001 Seattle Mariners(AL) lead the pack with 116 each but oddly enough, neither of those teams won the World Series. In fact of all 16 teams on the list, only 5 teams notched a World Series win in the same season. Chicago Cubs won in 1907, posting 107 [8]wins following their 1906 win total of 116. It is also significant to note that only the 2001 Seattle Mariners and 1998 New York Yankees have topped 114 wins since 1955 – prior to expansion, jet travel, an expanded 162 game format and predominantly nighttime baseball schedule. All of the sub-100 game winners occurred in the nineteenth century before the schedule, participating teams and league structure had been formalized.


[9]Those 2001 Mariners were a very different type of ballclub from the 2011 projected Phillies roster. Seattle manager Lou Pinella used just six starting pitchers all season. They were largely injury-free. They seemed to have a knack for getting the big hit at just the right time and they featured Ichiro Suzuki (who three seasons later would set the new MLB record for hits (262) in a season. Ichiro had 242 hits in 2001 and averages 229 per season over ten years.


[10] [11]Now, a decade later, perspective offers us the view that only Suzuki and designated hitter Edgar Martinez might be considered strong Hall of Fame candidates. The 2001 Mariners didn’t even feature an abundance of All-Stars while the 2011 Phillies boast several current or former All-Stars and arguably 3/4 of the All-Time Best Phillies infield. Oh… and in case you hadn’t noticed… there is the issue of Four Aces, which have raised some eyebrows in the baseball world.



[12]The 2001 Mariners staff ace was Freddy Garcia, at a point of his career when he could be dominant. Jamie Moyer won 20 games in 2001, continuing to prove that baseball life really can begin after 30. Aaron Sele, Paul Abbott, John Halama and Joel Pineiro rounded out the rotation. Coincidentally, three of those pitchers would eventually wear Phillies pinstripes, but only Moyer had any success. Gillick acquired Garcia from the White Sox before the 2007 season. He arrived with a sore shoulder and won just one game. Abbott was toast by the time he showed up in 2004. Come to think of it, David Bell was  competent for the 2001 Mariners but was no world-beater at third base for Philadelphia.


[13]Let’s just say that Seattle’s pitching staff doesn’t leap to mind when the discussion turns to finding historical comparisons for Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton. This is where Gillick believes the Phillies really separate themselves. 1971 Baltimore Orioles, 1995 Atlanta Braves, 1965 Los Angeles Dodgers and a few other select staffs come t [14]o mind. Barring injury, the 2011 Phillies may be arguably one of the most formidable pitching staffs in baseball history – or one of the most disappointing and overpriced. Is Gillick right? Was [GM Ruben] Amaro (Gillick’s successor and former protégé) right to get them? Time will tell. I’m guessing by July that will be resolved.


The Phillies’ starters have three Cy Young awards and 10 other top-5 finishes with plenty of time to add more hardware. None of the Mariners’ sextet ever came in first and they combined for just four top-5 vote totals. The Phillies also have Joe Blanton… for now…


[15]Seattle’s closer that season was Kazuhiro Sasaki and he saved 45 games despite a 3.24 earned run average. The primary setup men were Arthur Rhodes and Jeff Nelson, both of whom had excellent seasons. Rhodes also spent time with the Phillies. Seems Gillick was fond of his former players . Give the Mariners a slight bullpen advantage, since Brad Lidge has been up-and-down the last couple of years and lefty J.C. Romero was brought back only after Dennys Reyes was red-flagged by the Phillies’ medical staff. Nelson/Rhodes in 2001 made Sasaki even better while Lidge has seen support from Madsen, Contreras and a cast of thousands. Romero, Bastardo, Herndon, Baez and Kendrick may not strike fear in the hearts of opponents, but this team is not heading into the 2011 postseason with the same roster we will see Opening Day.


[16]The Mariners’ catcher was Dan Wilson, and their infield consisted of first baseman John Olerud, second baseman Bret Boone, shortstop Carlos Guillen and third baseman David Bell. They had eight All-Star appearances among them. Assuming Carlos Ruiz, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco do nothing more than reach their career norms, advantage Phillies, with 12 All-Star selections and a pair of Most Valuable Player awards (Rollins, Howard).


[17]One of the big question marks for 2011 is replacing Jayson Werth in Right Field. While the Phillies haven’t settled on that answer yet (Ben Francisco, Domonic Brown, Ross Gload, John Mayberry), Raul Ibanez is looking for a bounce-back year at age 38. Centerfielder Shane [18]Victorino is also coming off a down season, but has three straight Gold Glove Awards for his efforts. Seattle’s 2001 outfield boasted  Ichiro but a jumble including Ibanez (also a former Mariner) along with the Right Field Seven could be just as good as Al Martin was in left and Mike Cameron in center. Ichiro and DH Martinez alone were AL All-Stars an impressive 17 times. So without Werth call the outfield a wash until someone emerges. Phillies are still likely to make a deal for a right fielder who can bat fifth behind Howard. Funny… didn’t they used to have someone to do that…?


[19]Gillick’s bottom line: “Having Oswalt all year and having Cliff Lee all year paired with Hamels and Halladay… means there’s a chance [the 2011 Phillies] could go past 100 wins.” It will be interesting to see exactly how far past 100 wins that may be. Remember that Utley, Rollins and Howard will all need a few days off, not to mention Ibanez and Ruiz. Charlie Manuel tends to not be good at resting his starters but in 2010 (due to injuries) Manuel only had his starting eight intact for fewer than 25 regular season games. Depending on how all this plays out, perhaps the bench (Wilson Valdez, Brian Schneider, John Mayberry and Ross Gload – perhaps with newcomers Robb Qunlan, Mike Rizzotti or Delwyn Young) and/or whatever talent is brought in via trade, 116 wins are possible.


[20]If they put everything together, with a lot of luck, contributions from all 25 players and hopefully the deportation of Danys Baez, maybe they will challenge the city record set by the 1931 Philadelphia Athletics, who went 107-45. This is for amusement purposes only since none of that matters once the playoffs begin. Winning the division and being healthy for the playoffs are important in the Modern Era. Eleven postseason wins are what matter – not the difference between 100 and 116 regular season wins.

As good as those 2001 Mariners were, they didn’t win the World Series. Didn’t even get there. Won just one game while being bounced from the ALCS by the Yankees (who lost the World Series to Arizona). So while racking up a ton of wins in the regular season is fun, October is when baseball teams prove how good they really are.



Year [22]

Franchise [22]

League [22]

W [22]

L [22]

Percentage [22]

Finish [22]

1906 [23]

Chicago Cubs [24]





Lost 1906 World Series [25]

1902 [26]

Pittsburgh Pirates [27]





National League Champions

1886 [28]

Chicago White Stockings [24]





Lost 1886 World Series [29]

1909 [30]

Pittsburgh Pirates [27]





Won 1909 World Series [31]

1954 [32]

Cleveland Indians [33]





Lost 1954 World Series [34]

2001 [35]

Seattle Mariners [36]





Lost 2001 ALCS [37]

1927 [38]

New York Yankees [39]





Won 1927 World Series [40]

1886 [28]

Detroit Wolverines [41]





2nd place in National League

1897 [42]

Boston Beaneaters [43]





Lost 1897 Temple Cup [44]

1907 [45]

Chicago Cubs [24]





Won 1907 World Series [46]

1931 [47]

Philadelphia Athletics [48]





Lost 1931 World Series [49]

1887 [50]

St. Louis Browns [51]





Lost 1887 World Series [52]

1998 [53]

New York Yankees [39]





Won 1998 World Series [54]

1939 [55]

New York Yankees [39]





Won 1939 World Series [56]

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MLB Standings Preview : http://prosportsblogging.com/mlb-baseball/mlb-predictions-standings-2011/ [59]

Cy Young Predictions: http://prosportsblogging.com/mlb-baseball/2011-cy-young-predictions/ [60]

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[22] : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best_Major_League_Baseball_season_won-loss_records

[23] 1906: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1906_in_baseball

[24] Chicago Cubs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Cubs

[25] 1906 World Series: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1906_World_Series

[26] 1902: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1902_in_baseball

[27] Pittsburgh Pirates: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittsburgh_Pirates

[28] 1886: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1886_in_baseball

[29] 1886 World Series: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1886_World_Series

[30] 1909: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1909_in_baseball

[31] 1909 World Series: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1909_World_Series

[32] 1954: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1954_in_baseball

[33] Cleveland Indians: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleveland_Indians

[34] 1954 World Series: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1954_World_Series

[35] 2001: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_in_baseball

[36] Seattle Mariners: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seattle_Mariners

[37] 2001 ALCS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_American_League_Championship_Series

[38] 1927: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1927_in_baseball

[39] New York Yankees: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Yankees

[40] 1927 World Series: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1927_World_Series

[41] Detroit Wolverines: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detroit_Wolverines

[42] 1897: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1897_in_baseball

[43] Boston Beaneaters: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlanta_Braves

[44] Temple Cup: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_Cup

[45] 1907: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1907_in_baseball

[46] 1907 World Series: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1907_World_Series

[47] 1931: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1931_in_baseball

[48] Philadelphia Athletics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oakland_Athletics

[49] 1931 World Series: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1931_World_Series

[50] 1887: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1887_in_baseball

[51] St. Louis Browns: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Louis_Cardinals

[52] 1887 World Series: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1887_World_Series

[53] 1998: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1998_in_baseball

[54] 1998 World Series: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1998_World_Series

[55] 1939: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1939_in_baseball

[56] 1939 World Series: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1939_World_Series

[57] http://prosportsblogging.com/mlb-baseball/mlb-2011-preview-al-east/: http://www.linkedin.com/redirect?url=http%3A%2F%2Fprosportsblogging%2Ecom%2Fmlb-baseball%2Fmlb-2011-preview-al-east%2F&urlhash=2f1c&_t=tracking_anet

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[59] http://prosportsblogging.com/mlb-baseball/mlb-predictions-standings-2011/: http://prosportsblogging.com/mlb-baseball/mlb-predictions-standings-2011/

[60] http://prosportsblogging.com/mlb-baseball/2011-cy-young-predictions/: http://prosportsblogging.com/mlb-baseball/2011-cy-young-predictions/

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