Philadelphia Phillies: Top 20 Phillies Catchers of All Time
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
I'm pretty certain this has been done before, but in doing the research, it was before the Carlos Ruiz era. So, let's see where Chooch ranks among the all-time greatest Phillies backstops heading into the 2012 season. These rankings factor in:
Games Played, AB's, Runs Scored, Home Runs, RBI, Average and Postseason Awards.
So here we go....
#20 Benito Santiago
Benito Santiago's lone season with the Phillies in 1996 was just enough to nudge out Lance Parrish's underwhelming two seasons in Philly for the Top 20. Santiago hit .264 with 30 home runs and 85 RBI. His .835 OPS that season was the second highest in his 20-year career and the only time he ever hit 30 home runs. As a matter of fact, Santiago never hit more than 18 in a season besides his 1996 season with the Phillies. Although just one season, it was enough to make the Top 20.
#19 Mike Ryan
Probably the weakest offensive catcher on the list as he hit .190 in 392 career games with the Phillies. But the 392 games rank 16th in Phillies history and after his playing career was over, Ryan was a long-time bullpen coach for the club. His first season as bullpen coach, the Phillies won the World Series in 1980. He stayed in that role for 16 seasons.
#18 Bill Killefer
Killefer was the Phillies primary catcher from 1912-1918. In seven seasons for the Phillies, he played in 636 games but only hit four home runs in the dead-ball era. Longevity is Killefer's main reason for making the list.
#17 Ozzie Virgil
Ozzie Virgil comes in at No. 18. His best season in Philadelphia was 1984 when he hit .261 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI. That carried over to 1985 where he had a solid first half of the season and was named to the All Star team. Virgil finished that season .246-19-55. He appeared in three World Series games in 1983 and went 1-2 at the plate. Virgil appeared in 383 games for the Phillies.
#16 Smokey Burgess
Burgess played in 1691 career games, 327 of those with the Phillies in 1952, 53, 54 and parts of 55. While with the Phils, Burgess hit .316 in 1049 at bats and a .393 on base percentage. Almost unheard of in today's game, Burgess only struck out 50 times in four seasons with the Phillies and he made the All Star game in 1954. That was his only All Star game as a Phillie but he played in five more in his career. More than likely, one that shouldn't have gotten away.
#15 Bo Diaz
Diaz was the Phillies starting catcher for the 1983 pennant winning club that lost to the Baltimore Orioles in five games. When the Phillies dealt OF Lonnie Smith away in a three-team deal after the 1981 season, the key player they received in return was Diaz from the Cleveland Indians. Diaz hit .288-18-85 in his first season in Philly and was their backstop for another two and a half seasons after that. He played in 333 games for the Phils and went to Cincinnati in a mid-season trade in 1985. Diaz played out his career in Cincinnati playing his final game in 1989. Tragically, Diaz died in an accident in Venezuela in 1990 at the young age of 37.
#14 Tim McCarver
McCarver had two stints with the Phillies. The first was from 1970-72 and the second was 1975-80. It was said that when Phillies Hall of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton and Tim McCarver die, they will be buried 60.6 feet away from one another. McCarver was largely Carlton's personal catcher while they were teammates with the Phillies. But McCarver could handle the stick pretty well too. In parts of nine seasons for the Phils, Tim hit .272 in 1698 plate appearances including a .320 mark in 1977 when the Phillies won 101 games.
#13 Ed McFarland
McFarland was the Phillies' catcher from 1897-1901. In 1,713 plate appearances with the Phillies, McFarland hit .294 and scored 225 runs. His best season was 1899 when he hit .333 and struck out just 10 times in 371 plate appearances.
#12 Carlos Ruiz
The current Phillies' catcher and one of the more beloved Philadelphia players of this era. Affectionately known as "Chooch", Ruiz was the starting catcher for the every game in the 2008 World Series and had the game winning hit in the pivotal third game. Ruiz is continuing his climb up the All Time Phillies Catchers list and though he has never played in an All Star game, Chooch received MVP votes after the 2010 and 2011 season. The current Phillies pitching staff often credits Ruiz for a lot of their success but he has turned himself into an offensive threat as well.
#11 Butch Henline
Henline played in 11 seasons during his major league career and the majority was with the Phillies. In 1922, Henline hit .316 with 14 home runs and 64 RBI. In 1926 plate appearances in a Phils' uniform, Henline hit .304 with an impressive .372 on base percentage. Butch actually became a major league umpire after his playing days were over calling games in the National League from 1945-48.
#10 Clay Dalrymple
Clay Dalrymple gets the Top 10 underway. Dalrymple played in 1,006 games for the Phillies between 1960 and 1968. His best season was 1962 when he hit .276-11-54 in 123 games. He clubbed 50 home runs as a Phillie catching 1,003 of those 1,006 games. His amount of games caught rank fifth all-time for the Phillies.
#9 Jimmie Wilson
Like Tim McCarver, Jimmie Wilson also had two stints with the Phillies. The first was 1923-28 and the second was 1934-38 when he was player-manager. During his time with the Phillies, Wilson hit .288 in 2,778 plate appearances while catching in nearly 700 games. A versatile player who also played 1b, 2b and OF, Wilson was 6'1 200 lbs who also stole 44 bases while with the Phillies. As a 24-year old in 1925, Wilson hit .328 and then on his second go-round, was an All Star at 34 in 1935. Wilson's double duty of player/manager didn't yield much success sporting season records of 54-100 and 45-103 during his tenure. He died suddenly of a heart attack in 1947 at just 46 years old.
#8 Red Dooin
Dooin played in the most games as a Phillie among players on this list with 1,219. He wasn't much of a hitter but caught 1,185 games from 1902-14. Unfortunately, he was traded after the '14 season to the Cincinnati Reds so he missed out on the Phillies first World Series season of 1915. Red did amass 137 doubles and 132 stolen bases with the Phillies and was extremely durable. His best season was 1911 when he hit .328, 83 pts higher than his career average with the Phillies. He also was a player manager from 1910-14 with the Phils.
#7 Stan Lopata
Besides 32 games with the Milwaukee Braves in 1959 and 1960, Lopata spent his entire career in Philadelphia. He played in 821 games in Philly and had a monster season in 1956. Lopata hit .267 with 32 home runs and 95 RBI and 96 runs scored in 146 games. He was named an All Star in 1955 and 1956 and finished 20th in MVP voting in '56. His 116 home runs in Philly rank fourth on this list.
#6 Spud Davis
Spud had a 16-year career and half of that was spent with the Phillies. During those eight seasons from 1928-33 and again in 1938-39, Davis hit .321 for the Phillies in 2,462 at bats. In 1933, Davis hit .349 with nine home runs and 65 runs batted in. He finished 25th in MVP voting that season. In six of his eight seasons in Philly, Davis hit over .300 with career high 14 home runs in 1930 and 1932.
#5 Andy Seminick
The fourth catcher on the list to have more than one stint with the Phillies. Seminick was the Phillies primary catcher from 1945-50 and 1955-56. In total, Seminick played in 985 games for the Phillies making the All Star game in 1949 and finishing 14th in MVP voting in the magical 1950 Whiz Kids season. Seminick hit .288 with 24 home runs and 68 RBI that year and caught all four World Series games vs the Yankees. In his All Star season in 1949, Andy had just 81 hits on the season but 24 were home runs and 37 were for extra bases. He hit 123 home runs during his time with the Phillies and retired in 1957 at 36 years old.
#4 Jack Clements
Clements played 14 years for the Phillies from 1884-97. In 1895, Clements hit a remarkable .394 with 13 home runs and 75 runs batted in. He struck out just seven times in 355 plate appearances. In total, Clements hit .289 for the Phillies in 4,105 plate appearances with 70 home runs and 636 RBI. He added 53 triples and 54 stolen bases and was a prototypical turn of the century built catcher at 5'8 204 lbs.
#3 Darren Daulton
Daulton was the unquestioned leader of the 1993 pennant winning team, and that occurred exactly when he was having his best seasons. Known as "Dutch," Daulton played for the Phillies from 1983-97. He made the All Star game three times (1992, 1993, 1995) and is the only Phillies catcher to ever win a Silver Slugger award in 1992. That season he hit .270 with 27 home runs and a league leading 109 RBI. Although the '92 team won just 70 games, Daulton finished sixth in MVP voting. In '93 Daulton finished seventh in MVP voting as he hit .257-24-105 with an incredible 117 walks. When the strike hit in 1994, Daulton was hitting .300 and was well on his way to 30 home runs.
#2 Bob Boone
Boone was a mainstay behind the plate for the Phils from 1972-81. He went to the All Star game three times while in Philly and won two gold gloves. Boonie hit .259 for the Phils in 4,152 plate appearances. He also hit .412 in the 1980 World Series, the only World Series he played in during his 19-season career. His best season was probably 1978 when he hit .283 with 12 home runs and 62 RBI. He finished 23rd in MVP voting that season.
#1 Mike Lieberthal
Eye browsed raised? Maybe. Lieberthal might not be adored like Darren Daulton or Bob Boone, but it isn't his fault his tenure occurred during some lean Phillies' seasons. Lieby played for the Phillies from 1994-2006. Maybe he was a bad luck charm but that was the exact gap of the Phillies not making the postseason. They went to the World Series in '93 the year before he debuted and have won the division every year since he left.
However, Lieberthal ranks near the top in every category regarding Philadelphia catchers. He played in 1,174 games, had 4,695 plate appearances, crushed 150 home runs, was a two-time All Star and snagged a gold glove along the way. In 1999, Lieberthal hit .300 with 31 home runs and 96 RBI. Overall, Lieberthal hit .274 for the Phils and twice hit .300. His .313 batting average while playing 131 games in 2003 was a career high. It's just unfortunate Lieberthal played when he did, but he was an all-around terrific catcher who is probably underrated in the eyes of most.