The Phillies’ Wheeze Kids at spring training in 1983
By Dan Holmes August 15, 2018
The 1983 Philadelphia Phillies didn’t know how to program a VCR. Well, they wouldn’t have really known what a VCR was, but even if they did, these old geezers wouldn’t have had a clue. The Phillies’ starting lineup is still the oldest to ever win a pennant. Seven of their eight starting position players were over 30 years old, most of them well past that milestone. First baseman Pete Rose was 42, second baseman Joe Morgan was 39, and Mike Schmidt at third was 33. Center fielder Garry Maddox was 33, as was left fielder Gary Matthews. Ace Steve Carlton was 38 years old, and 41-year old Tony Perez was the top pinch-hitter off the bench.
They were called “The Wheeze Kids” and they rolled to the division title, beating younger, faster teams. They easily defeated the Dodgers in the playoffs and went to the Fall Classic where they faced the Orioles. The Wheeze Kids lost that series, but their unique team, a bunch of “old guys” is one of the most interesting teams in the history of the game. Four members of the team are in the Hall of Fame.
Here’s a video from spring training in 1983, check out that short swing from the future Hit King, Mr. Pete Rose.
Dan Holmes is an author and baseball historian. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and Major League Baseball. He once defeated George Brett in Texas Hold Em poker and faced Phil Niekro's knuckleball. He has two daughters and he writes regularly about baseball and many other topics.