What in the Hell is John Smallwood Talking About?

Interesting column by John Smallwood this past week in the Daily News about the 1982 Phils, and comparing them to the 2012 team.

I WONDER IF this is what Philadelphia was like in 1982.

Were disgruntled Phillie fans storming Veteran Stadium with pitchforks and torches in hand demanding the head of new manager Pat Corrales?

Did they want to trade superstars like Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Pete Rose and Gary Matthews for prospects to protect the future?

After all, just two seasons before, in 1980, the Phillies won the first World Series championship in franchise history.

But in 1981, they lost to the Montreal Expos in the National League Divisional Series during a strike year.

Now, in ’82, management was clearly guilty of trying to stretch out a great run instead of building for the future.

From World Series champs to 81-81 in two short seasons — convincing evidence that this franchise stunk once again and was heading down the toilet.

A pretty interesting comparison of the 1982 Phillies to the 2012 Phillies. Except that the 1982 he describes didn’t happen. Not even close. The Phillies did not go 81-81 in 1982. They went 89-73 and missed the pennant by a mere 3 games. There was no outrage in Philadelphia because the team was still pretty damn good, winning only two less games than they did in the World Champion year of 1980. Why would people bring pitchforks to the Vet when the team led the NL East as late as September 13th?

It’s understandable when writers make minor mistakes. I do it all the time. (See that alert reader corrected an error in the comments of the Frank Baker story below.) But geez, when the mistake forms the entire premise of the column, you’d think there would be perhaps a quick Google search of “1982 Phillies”, either by Smallwood or an editor.

Smallwood says that the 1982 Phillies and the 2012 Phillies are quite similar. They couldn’t be more different. The Phillies made a serious run at the pennant in 1982. The 2012 Phillies won’t come anywhere the pennant. The 1982 Phillies won 89 games.  The 2012 team has a better chance of losing 89.

I find it amusing that the opening line is, “I wonder if this is what Philadelphia was like in 1982.” The answer is No. Not even close.

One Comment on “What in the Hell is John Smallwood Talking About?”

  1. John E says:

    1979 seems a more apt comparison than 1982.

    And also big difference between 1982 and now is that they had what they thought were a lot of blue chip prospects ready to take over in a year or two. So in 1983 the strategy was to buy another year with an old team to try to win 1 more title and then rebuild in 1984.

    So the signings of Morgan, Perez, etc were really just 1 year fixes until they thought/hoped guys like Daulton, Len Matuszek, Samuel, Jeltz, Jeff Stone, John Russell, et al would be ready to lead the team for the next decade, along with younger guys already there like Von Hayes, Charles Hudson, Kevin Gross, etc.

    The 2012 Phillies have no such hope with prospects in the minor leagues and thus couldn’t possibly adopt the same strategy the 1983 Phillies did.

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