Almost 60 years ago, we remember one of the most exciting and memorable teams in Philadelphia history: the Whiz Kids. Known for their youth and energetic play, the Whiz Kids took the Phillies all the way to the World Series, only to lose to the New York Yankees.
The Whiz Kids were comprised of a bunch of young players who were trained through their farm system. The Phillies haven’t made the World Series in 35 years and had to get through the defending champions to win their first title. Unfortunately, they were swept in four games, losing the first three by a run and game 4 by a score of 5-2.
Their youth was really evadable. Their oldest starer in the field was Eddie Waitkus at 30 and the second oldest starting pitcher was Russ Meyer, 26 (the oldest was 34).
The Whiz Kids featured two future Hall of Famers in center fielder Richie Asburn and pitcher Robin Roberts. Ashburn batted .303 that year with an OBP of .372, great numbers for a lead off hitter. Roberts was their ace pitcher, going 20-11 with a 3.02 ERA. He threw 21 complete games, five of which were shut outs.
Del Ennis led the team in batting, homers, and RBI’s (.311/31/126). Other power numbers came from Dick Sisler (.297/13/83), Andy Seminick (.288/24/68), and Willie Jones (.267/25/88). Granny Hamner also drove in 82 runs.
The pitching was also phenomenal. Roberts was supported by Curt Simmons (17-8; 3.40), Bob Miller (11-6; 3.57) and their closer Jim Konstanty (16-7; 2.66; 22 saves). The closer role was different back then as Konstanty racked up a ton of wins. He would actually get the start in game 1 of the World Series, going 8 innings and allowed a run on four hits. The Phils were shut out 1-0.
This team would have been exciting to watch. I love baseball like this. Guys who hit, run well, get dirty, and play the game the right way. Today you see pimped out home runs, guys coming up short on fly balls, and guys who don’t run out ground balls. Baseball turned from an art form to a joke. There was no steroids and there was no media hype. It was just baseball and the fans, just winning and losing.