ATLANTA -- The Phillies have been in the National League since 1883, but it took them 127 years to finish a season with the best record in baseball.
They entered Sunday's series finale against the Braves at 97-64. Even if the Phils lose Sunday, nobody can catch them. The Yankees and Rays entered Sunday with 95 wins.
"It means a lot to the franchise," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "Obviously it's not nearly as important as having success in the playoffs, but it speaks a lot to the resiliency of the club and [manager] Charlie [Manuel's] steady hand. And when you think about it, we really haven't had typical years out of our everyday players."
The Phils have not. The only two players who have played above their career averages are Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz. Werth has a career-high .915 on-base-plus-slugging percentage this season, which is 68 points higher than his career average. Ruiz has a career-high .846 OPS after posting a previous career-high .780 OPS last season.
A look at the other regulars:
Jimmy Rollins' .696 OPS is his lowest since 2002 (.686) and 68 points below his career average.
Placido Polanco's .730 OPS is 28 points below his career average.
Chase Utley's .838 OPS is his lowest since 2004 (.776), his last season before he became a starter. It also is 57 points below his career average.
Ryan Howard's .861 OPS is the lowest of his career and 83 points below his career average.
Raul Ibanez's .798 OPS is his lowest since 2005 (.792) and 25 points below his career average.
Shane Victorino's .761 OPS is his lowest since he became an everyday player in 2006 (.760) and 11 points below his career average.
"In a lot of ways, they've kind of had off years, whether it was health or performance or what have you," Amaro said. "But what we did do is play better as the year went on. Clearly we really struggled in the middle of the season. But they stayed after it. They're resilient. They kept after it."