This is going to be a summer of records and milestones. Bonds is marching towards 756. Biggio is hobbling towards 3,000. Glavine is crawling to 300. And Sosa managed to sneak up on 600.
But of all the numbers, the most impressive surely belongs not to an individual, but to an organization. The Philadelphia Phillies are now only 10 losses away from 10,000 all-time.
The Phillies have lost 35 games so far this season. They came into the year with 9,955 losses, or 9,954, depending on who you asked. From the Philly Inquirer:
With the Phillies nearing a milestone that no other professional team has passed, not everyone was on the same page as far as the official number of losses. Now, after some work by Phillies vice president of PR Larry Shenk, the accurate number is 9,990 losses.
Shenk wrote an e-mail recently to several media outlets, including the Daily News:
“In doing some research just prior to spring training, I came across two different totals as the 2007 season approached.
“9,956: sources – Phillies Media Guide, NL Green Book, BaseballReference.com and Baseball Almanac.com.
“9,955: sources – Wikipedia.com, The Sporting News Record Book, Retrosheet.org.
“The difference was traced to May 23, 1890, the Phillies and the Chicago Cubs.
“Through e-mails with several SABR members, the following information was uncovered: ‘Ed Hartig of Chicago [SABR member] pointed out a reference in the 1891 Spaulding Guide which said the May 23, 1890 win of Chicago over Philadelphia was thrown out because umpire McQuaid refused to let Philadelphia substitute Grey.’ This would mean the Phillies in 1890 lost 53 games instead of 54 as several sources listed.
“I then checked with Peter Palmer and Gary Gillette, co-editors of the ‘ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia’ [fourth edition]. That publication also listed 54 losses in 1890. Palmer responded: ‘I believe the 9,955 figure is correct as Hartig pointed out. I had noted that back in 2001, but somehow forget to delete the loss. Steve G. updated The Sporting News files properly.’
So there you have it. The Phillies are, without a doubt, ten losses away from the big 10K. Who will be the pitcher to lose the historic game? Who will make the error that leads to the losing run? Who will strikeout looking to end the game?
Ok, so maybe we already know the answer to that last one (Pat Burrell, we’re looking at you!).