The Phillies are in the midst of what is shaping up to be a special season.

Sunday's 11-5 victory over the Nationals left them 20 games over .500 at 34-14. It matched the best start in franchise history set by the 1976 Phils and matched by the 1993 squad.

Don’t order those championship t-shirts just yet, however, for neither of those previous Phils teams won the World Series.  The 1976 Phils won 101 games, but were run over by the “Big Red Machine” of Cincinnati in the NLCS. And everyone under 50 remembers where they were when Toronto’s Joe Carter ruined the Phils’ dream in ’93.

Just for fun, let’s compare the ’76 and ’93 teams with the current team. Here’s one opinion of how they stack up.

CATCHER – Bob Boone (’76), Darren Daulton (’93), J.T. Realmuto (’24): Boone was an all-star and was a master at handling the pitching staff. Realmuto is also off to a good start, but “Dutch” was the reason they won in ’93. EDGE: Daulton.

FIRST BASE - Dick Allen (’76), John Kruk (’93), Bryce Harper (’24). Allen was the best of the bunch but was at the end of his career. Kruk batted .316 while Harper has worked to become a good first baseman to go with his outstanding hitting. EDGE: Harper.

SECOND BASE – Dave Cash (’76), Micky Morandini (’93), Bryson Stott (’24). Cash made the all-star team that year and was the best second baseman that year not named Joe Morgan. EDGE: Cash.

SHORTSTOP - Larry Bowa (’76), Kevin Stocker (’93), Trea Turner (’24). Turner is the most talented player, but Bowa was the sparkplug of that ’76 team. EDGE: Bowa.

THIRD BASE – Mike Schmidt (’76), Dave Hollins (’93), Alec Bohm (’24). Bohm is certainly having an outstanding year, but let's be serious....EDGE: Schmidt.

LEFT FIELD - Greg Luzinski (’76), Milt Thompson (’93), Brandon Marsh/Kyle Schwarber (’24). You mess with “The Bull,” you get the horns. And he has great barbeque! EDGE: Luzinski.

CENTER FIELD - Garry Maddox (’76), Lenny Dykstra (’93), Johan Rojas (’24). Two-thirds of the Earth was covered by water. The other third is by Garry Maddox. EDGE: Maddox.

RIGHT FIELD - Jay Johnston (’76), Jim Eisenreich (’93), Nick Castellanos (’24). Eisenreich was in his first season with the Phillies after playing with Kansas City.  He filled a huge void on the field and in the clubhouse. EDGE: Eisenreich.

STARTING PITCHING: Steve Carlton, Jim Kaat, Jim Lonborg, Larry Christianson, Tommy Underwood (’76); Curt Schilling, Danny Jackson, Tommy Greene, Ben Rivera (’93); Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Ranger Suarez, Cristopher Sanchez, Taijuan Walker, Spencer Turnbull (’24). You know you have a deep rotation when you’re No. 3 starter (Suarez) is a Cy Young candidate. But no one touches “Lefty.” EDGE: 1976.

BULLPEN: Tug McGraw, Gene Garber, Ron Reed (’76); Mitch Williams, David West, Larry Anderson, Roger Mason (’93); Jose Alvarado, Jeff Hoffman, Matt Strahm, etc. (’24). With apologies to “Tugger,” Williams registered 43 saves and also gets bonus points for managing the Atlantic City Surf. EDGE: 1993.

MANAGER: Danny Ozark (’76), Jim Fregosi (’93), Rob Thomson (’24). Ozark pushed all the right buttons in ’76 and won 101 games. Fregosi doesn’t get enough credit for overseeing his rowdy bunch. I’m just not sure yet about Thomson. EDGE: Fregosi.

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Gallery Credit: Mike Gill

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