1976 Philadelphia Phillies
1976 Philadelphia Phillies / Franchise: Philadelphia Phillies / BR Team Page
Clinched Division: September 26, 1976, At Montreal Expos
Managed by Danny Ozark
History, Comments, Contributions
The 1976 Philadelphia Phillies played in the year everything came together for a young Phillies team that had gradually improved for several seasons under patient manager Danny Ozark. The 1976 club set a team record for victories with 101 and won its first NL East title.
The main off-season changes in personnel affected the pitching staff. The Phillies had hit well in 1975 but suffered from inconsistent pitching. To shore up the staff they acquired veterans Ron Reed and Jim Kaat in fairly one-sided trades. Everyone on the staff seemed to improve as a result, including ace Steve Carlton, aging Jim Lonborg, and youngsters Larry Christenson and Tom Underwood. The Phillies featured a nice mix of left- and right-handed pitchers. As usual, their impressive offense was sparked by third baseman Mike Schmidt and outfielder Greg Luzinski.
The divisional race was never in doubt. Even a tailspin 2-13 stretch in late August and early September, which had Phillies fans flashing back in horror to 1964, turned out to be ephemeral. Despite losing their last five meetings to the veteran defending division champion Pittsburgh Pirates, the Phillies had simply built up an insurmountable lead. They played extremely well in the last two weeks of the season to pull away from Pittsburgh.
In their first postseason appearance in 26 years, the Phillies were overmatched by the Cincinnati Reds, but seemed happy to be at the dance at all. Good things, presumably, lay ahead.
Schmidt was the home run champion and won a Gold Glove. Kaat and Garry Maddox also were Gold Glovers, and Maddox hit a surprising .330 to finish third in the batting race. Carlton compiled his third 20-win season.
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Bob Boone, Larry Bowa, Dave Cash, Greg Luzinski and Mike Schmidt
- NL Gold Glove: Jim Kaat (P), Garry Maddox (OF) and Mike Schmidt (3B)
- Manager of the Year Award: Danny Ozark
- Associated Press: "Phils Win, Take Title In Division", New York Times, September 27, 1976