The first MVP season in Philadelphia Phillies history

(Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Phillies teams of the 1920s and 1930s aren’t remembered much at all. The lack of attention they get has to do with more than how distant they played in the past. Those teams were also terribly bad despite having one of the franchise’s greatest hitters on the roster, Chuck Klein.

Klein debut in 1928 with the Phillies and gave them a terrific 64 game performance. He ended the year hitting .360/.396/.577 with 11 home runs and 34 RBI. It was only a precursor of what was to come.

Klein would go on to lead the league with 43 home runs in 1929 and smack more dingers than anyone else in the National League again in each season from 1931-1933. It was in that 1932 season when Klein would become the first player in Phillies history to win the MVP Award.

Chuck Klein won the first MVP in Philadelphia Phillies history and he should have had more

The 1932 season was, amazingly, not the best year in Klein’s career! Although he led the league with 152 runs, 226, 38 home runs, and 20 stolen bases, Klein outdueled himself in many other numbers in other seasons.

The 1932 campaign was only the second with the MVP Award recognized as we know it today. Klein fell short the year prior, finishing in second place to Frankie Frisch. In 1932, Klein was able to capture the majority of the vote and make some Phillies history in doing so.

Amazingly, he was able to do something incredibly special the following year. With a league-leading 28 home runs, 120 RBI, and .368 batting average, Klein took home the Triple Crown. And even then, it wasn’t enough for him to win his second MVP. The award, instead, went to pitcher Carl Hubbell who had an incredible year of his own for the New York Giants.

The 1933 season was, unfortunately, the last for Klein in Phillies uniform during the prime of his career. He was traded to the Chicago Cubs in November. He would later return in mid-1936 with much less power than he had prior.

Chuck Klein’s prime is out of this world

The first stint with the Phillies from 1928-1933 included 191 home runs, 727 RBI, and a .359/.412/.632 slash line. An MVP, two runner-ups, four home run titles, a batting title, three years leading the league in runs, two years leading in hits, two seasons of having more doubles than anyone else, a pair of seasons with the most RBI in the National League, and a 20 stolen base season in 1932 which led the league help to highlight what Klein accomplished in such a short period of time.

From it, he came away with just a single MVP.

Baseball wasn’t the same back in those days. In 1930, there wasn’t even an MVP awarded in any format. Klein had a monster season that year, smashing 40 home runs and finishing the year with 170 RBI and a .386 batting average. These were certainly MVP numbers yet none of them led the league.

Next. Phillies all-time starting lineup. dark

Klein’s latter days with the Philadelphia Phillies were a much different story. All years included, Klein would hit .326/.382/.553 for the organization with 243 home runs and 983 RBI. Still good enough to be among some of the best in franchise history, Klein’s true claim to fame is becoming the first Phillies player to be recognized as the league’s Most Valuable Player.