Mike Lieberthal spent 13 seasons as the back stop for the Phillies. He replaced another Phillies catching legend Darren Daulton, but little did the organization know just how good Lieby was going to be.
He is arguably the best catcher in franchise history and played during arguably the Phillies' worst years. He was as durable and long lasting as the energizer bunny as he caught the most games in franchise history, 1,139.
He hit 149 homers, which also is the most among any Phillies catcher. His best season was in 1999 where he batted .300, belted 31 home runs, knocked in 96 RBI, won the Gold Glove Award and played in the All-Star game.
A very important asset that didn't show up in the box score was how loved he was in Philly. Easily one of the most loved Phillies of all time who always gave his best effort despite ailing knees.
An interesting fact, the Phillies never made the playoffs when Lieby was on the team, but they made it the year before he joined and the year after he left.
So why should the Phillies not have let Lieberthal walk after the 2006 season? Because they would platoon catchers between journey-man, Rod Barajas and the 33-year-old rookie, Chris Coste. It took a year and a half before Carlos Ruiz separated himself from the rest.
Lieby was loved and he produced great numbers, unfortunately he wasn't getting any younger and the Phils let him go where he signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, then called it a quits the next year.
Phils fans would have loved to see him spend his entire MLB career in Philadelphia. He signed a one-day contract with the Phils in 2008 and officially retired as a Phillie, the best Phillies catcher to ever play the game.