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Chris Short pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1959 to 1972. He was one of the most dominant southpaw pitchers of the 1960s (Behind Sandy Koufax, of course) and strung together four seasons of 17 or more wins.

Growing up, Short was always a solid pitcher, but he was a wild one. He plunked a lot of opposing batters, and even occasionally questioned if baseball was the right path for him. All of his coaches urged him to stick with it as they saw his potential, and they were right.

After three years at a public high school in Delaware, Short decided to enroll in Bordentown Military Institute where he put on a display sharp enough to get major league attention. Despite many team offers, he signed with his childhood favorites, the Philadelphia Phillies.

Short spent a couple years in the minors, and in 1959, made it to the bigs for three games, but was up and down until 1960 where he made a home for himself in Philadelphia. He pitched in 42 games that year, starting in 10 and finishing the season with a 6-9 record and a 3.94 ERA.

It wouldn’t be until 1963 when Short was a more consistent starting pitcher for the team, and really made a name for himself. In his 14 seasons with the Phillies, Short won 132 games, collected 24 shutouts, and struck out 6.3 batters per nine innings pitched. The number that stands out the most is his 1.283 WHIP that comes from 2,253 innings pitched with the team.

Let’s take a look at some of Short’s other career achievements:

  • Phillies Wall of Fame
  • 2x All-Star
  • 5x sub-3.00 ERA
  • 6x Phillies Opening Day starter

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  • 24 career shutouts - 188th all time
  • 1,629 strikeouts - 171st all time
  • Perfect fielding percentage in 1963 and 1967

Short saw a significant increase in his productivity and reliability with the Phillies in that 1963 season after adding a slider to his arsenal. The great Ted Williams always said that the slider is the hardest pitch to hit in baseball, and Short’s numbers back that up. In the ‘63 season, Short’s ERA dropped below 3.00 (2.95) and his FIP was as low as 2.74. He picked up 160 strikeouts that season and was striking out 7.3 batters per nine innings.

In 1964, Short earned his first All-Star honors and won an impressive 17 games while putting up his career best 2.20 ERA. His performance in ‘64 was so strong that he earned the right to start Opening Day for the Phillies in 1965. The game took place in Houston and Short struck out 11 batters, gave up just four hits, and no runs. The Phillies won 2-0.

From this point on, Short really made a name for himself around the league. He won 18 games in ‘65, 20 games in ‘66, received his second All-Star honors in ‘67, and picked up 19 more wins in ‘68.

Unfortunately at the beginning of the 1969 season, Short hurt his back and the injury required surgery. He pitched in only two games in ‘69 and was out for the remainder of the season. His comeback in 1970 didn’t amount to much, as he put together a 9-16 record with a 4.30 ERA.

His production with the team slowly went down after his surgery, and in 1972, the Phillies released him. He did pitch one more season with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1973, and called it a career after that.

Short may not have been the best pitcher of his time, but he is certainly one of the top pitchers Phillies fans have ever seen. His 132 wins are fourth in Phillies history, his 1,585 strikeouts are third, and his 24 shutouts are fourth.

The Phillies did not have a ton of success as a franchise in the 1960s, but Chris Short was always a reliable bright spot for the team. His success in Philadelphia earned him a spot on the Phillies Wall of Fame, as the lefty will be remembered for so many great seasons in a Phillies uniform. 

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