Namesake of Phil Collins Suffered Way Too Many Hits as a Baseball Pitcher
He could feel it coming in the air tonight, but it was forty years before his namesake began playing drums for the progressive rock band. Phil Collins was one of the pitchers who suffered a dubious streak, nearly forgotten until ninety years later.
Their record of futility has been exhumed recently, thanks to the equally pitiful pitching corps of the Baltimore Orioles. For six consecutive games the O's gave up at least nine runs in each, thereby matching the unenviable mark of the Phillies of nearly a century ago.
Collins took the mound as part of the rotation of the 1929 and 30 Philadelphia Phillies, whose incompetence was never more apparent than during a six game stretch in both of those seasons. The Phils surrendered at least nine runs, beginning on June 19 of '29.
Had the total in that game been ,imited to nine runs, the Phil and the Phils would have come out victorious because they scored fourteen themselves. However, the New York Giants plated fifteen runs, as Mel Ott greeted Collins with a pair of home runs and lead off man Edd Roush punched out three hits and drove in four.
Roush then crushed a home run to lead off the next game en route to a 12-6 Giants win, and Ott drove in three the next day to lead New York to an 11-6 victory. In the second of the twinbill Ott collected four RBI in an 11-5 Giants win, their fourth straight double digit total against the hapless Phils.
Ott continued his tear by driving in five the next day, the Giants doubling the Phils with a dozen runs. Day six saw the Giants one shy of double digits heading into the last frame, when Ott with two men aboard crushed his twentieth homer of the season to give New York a 12-5 win.
Thirteen months later the same pitching staff of the Phils suffered exactly the same streak, only the run barrages came against clubs other than the Giants. Right hander Lee Sweetland, who had twice been victimized during last year's six-game reign of terrible, gave up a three-run homer to Pittsburgh's Pie Traynor in the eleventh of a 16-15 Pirates win on July 23.
Philadelphia's starter for the next game Claude Willoughby, who had also been part of the rotation the previous year, entered with an ugly 2-9 record. He walked the first two Cubs batters before Kiki Cuyler drove both home on a single and, three runs later, Willoughby was lifted down 5-0 without having recorded a single out.
Chicago went on to score nineteen runs, eclipsing the fifteen plated by the Phillies offense. Ray Benge's outing the next day looked fabulous compared to the two previous games, as he managed to limit the Chicago hitters to single digit runs.
That being said, the nine runs he did give up were more than enough for the Cubs, who worked a nine to five win. The streak of yielding at least nine runs was now halfway to matching the one from last season and Phil Collins, who had been at the genesis of that run of infamy, was starting against the Cubs the next day.
Phil Collins was pounded like a drum from the get-go, surrendering a two-run blast to Hack Wilson in the first and then a three-run shot to the same future Hall of Famer in the second. By the time it was all over, Chicago had amassed sixteen runs to the pair mustered by the Phils.
It was Sweetland feeling sour the next day, when the Phillies visited the Brooklyn Robins. First baseman Babe Herman scored in each of the first two innings and three overall, as the Robins rocked their visitors by a 10-6 mark.
Winless in six starts for the Phils, Snipe Hansen was firing away at the Robins for six innings. Just as it looked as if Philadelphia would mercifully put the the streak to rest, Brooklyn rallied for nine runs in the last three frames to win 9-6.
Since the powerful Giants were hosting the Phillies the next day, there was a good chance the streak would eclipse the six game run from last year. Alas, the Philly arms managed to hold the Giants to five runs, even though the Phillies lost the game by one.
Although not a single player from those two Phillies teams is around to witness Baltimore's duplicate of that regrettable streak, their descendants probably wish the Orioles had not suffered the exact fate. While misery often loves company it sometimes, just like in this case, exhumes long dead regrets that would have been better left buried.