Selecting the Philadelphia Phillies All-Time 25-Man Roster

Greg PintoCorrespondent IJune 25, 2012

Selecting the Philadelphia Phillies All-Time 25-Man Roster

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    It hasn't always been sunshine and rainbows for the Philadelphia Phillies, but you can go through their lengthy history and build an all-time, 25-man roster that would rival any team's all-time greats.

    Of course, any time that you can lay claim to two of the greatest players of all-time at their positions, Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton, building a roster around them becomes a whole lot easier.

    But it doesn't stop there for the Phillies. The Phillies' all-time roster will consist of Cy Young Award winners and Most Valuable Players. It will consist of All-Stars, Silver Sluggers and Gold Glove winners. You'll find postseason heroes, including a certain World Series MVP.

    For the sake of consistency, this all-time, 25-man roster was built just like an MLB roster of today. Alongside the obvious, everyday players, you'll also find a full starting rotation, bullpen and bench. However, in order to claim one of these spots, each player must have qualified for the position in their playing career.

    That means that in order to be slotted into a certain position, a player must have played enough of a certain position to qualify as one of the all-time greats.

Catcher: Bob Boone

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    The Line: (10 years) .259 / .325 / .370, 65 HR

    You can make the case for a couple of catchers, but no case is as strong as Bob Boone's.

    Boone spent 10 seasons as the Phillies backstop and helped lead the club to its first World Series title back in 1980.

    He was an exceptional two-way player. Boone's defense was second to none behind the plate and could handle a pitching staff with ease, but he wouldn't hurt you with the bat at the plate either. The three-time All-Star finished his career with seven Gold Gloves.

First Base: Ryan Howard

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    The Line: (Eight-plus years) .275 / .368 / .560, 286 HR

    First base was one of the closest positions for me, as I decided who was more deserving between current Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and an all-time great in Dick Allen.

    I obviously decided on Howard, but it wasn't easy. The deciding factors for me were that Howard has played a lot more first base with the Phillies and he's already had an incredible career with the club in a shorter amount of time. Obviously, that's not a knock against Allen, a man I believe should be in the Hall of Fame.

    Howard kicked off his rookie campaign with a Rookie of the Year Award in 2005 and followed that up by winning the MVP Award a year later. He's had five other top 10 finishes for the MVP Award, won a Silver Slugger and is a three-time All-Star.

Second Base: Chase Utley

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    The Line: (Nine-plus years) .290 / .377 / .505, 188 HR

    It's easy to win the hearts of Phillies fans. You play hard and approach the game like every one is your last. For Chase Utley, it started off with his first career hit—a grand slam—and he's been playing pedal to the metal ever since.

    Though a chronic knee condition has sapped some of his playing time in recent years, Utley made his name as the greatest second baseman in Phillies history some time ago.

    Utley is a five-time All-Star, a four-time Silver Slugger winner and has three top 10 finishes for the MVP Award.

Shortstop: Jimmy Rollins

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    The Line: (13-plus years) .272 / .328 / .431, 176 HR

    Some of the positions on this list were pretty close. This one wasn't.

    The Phillies haven't had many great shortstops in their long history, and Jimmy Rollins has been the best by far. He joined the Phillies via the draft in 1996 and has been a member of the organization ever since.

    The slick-fielding shortstop with offensive firepower has been the club's leader for quite some time. That skill-set helped him to capture the National League's MVP Award in 2007. He's also won three Gold Gloves and has made three All-Star appearances.

Third Base: Mike Schmidt

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    The Line: (18 years) .267 / .380 / .527, 548 HR

    He's the greatest player in the history of the Phillies organization, and it isn't particularly close, so it should go without saying that Mike Schmidt is the unanimous choice for the Phillies' third base representative.

    Schmidt joined the organization in 1971 when he was drafted in the second round of the amateur draft, and he would go on to spend an impressive 18 seasons in the MLB, all with the Phillies.

    He was one of the greatest two-way players in the game's history with both a vacuum for a glove and a bad that was a harbinger of power. Schmidt won three MVP Awards, nine Gold Gloves and six Silver Sluggers. He also made 12 trips to the All-Star Game.

Left Field: Ed Delahanty

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    The Line: (13 years) .348 / .414 / .508, 87 HR

    Ed Delahanty may have been one of the most interesting men in the history of the game, but that isn't what landed him on this list. That would be his impressive, 13-year career with the Phillies.

    Long before the league created awards to signify the game's best players, Delahanty already had a reputation for being just that. He led the league in OPS five times and hit better than .400 in three different seasons.

    He also managed to lead the league in doubles five times, RBI three times and home runs twice.

Center Field: Richie Ashburn

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    The Line: (12 years) .311 / .394 / .388, 22 HR

    The Phillies have had a plethora of great outfielders come through their ranks throughout their history, but none have been on quite the same level as the Phillies' all-time great, Richie Ashburn.

    Ashburn came into the organization back in 1945 as an amateur free agent and would remain in the organization in some way, shape or form for most of the next several decades.

    As a player, he was a great centerfielder, both offensively and defensively. He was a five-time All-Star and led the league in hits three different times. He'd lead the league in a number of different categories throughout his career, including triples, stolen bases, and walks.

Right Fielder: Bobby Abreu

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    The Line: (Nine years) .303 / .416 / .513, 195 HR

    This selection may come as a surprise to some, but that's only because Bobby Abreu has to be one of the most underrated players in the history of this franchise. Of course, it doesn't help that Abreu had an attitude that most fans would like to forget.

    On the field, he was the type of guy that everyone wanted on their club. While his defense in right field could be questionable at times, Abreu was certainly a true five-tool player. He could hit for contact and power, flash the leather and run.

    A two-time All-Star, Abreu was also awarded with a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove during his Phillies tenure.

Starting Pitcher 1: Steve Carlton

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    The Line: (15 years) 241-161, 3.09 ERA

    Steve Carlton played in some good lineups and he played in some bad lineups, but he could make any Phillies team look great when he was on the mound. 

    He certainly took the mound often for the Phillies. Carlton spent 15 seasons with the club and helped lead the Phillies to their first World Series title in 1980.

    "Lefty" won the Cy Young Award an incredible four times and placed in the top five twice more. He also made 10 trips to the All-Star Game and retired with more than 300 career wins.

Starting Pitcher 2: Pete Alexander

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    The Line: (Eight years) 190-91, 2.18 ERA

    Long before Steve Carlton helped lead the Phillies to their first World Series title in 1980, Pete Alexander gave the club its first shot at the honor way back in 1915, when he led the Phillies to their first ever National League pennant.

    Alexander began what would prove to be a Hall of Fame career with the Phillies back in 1911. In his first seven seasons with the Phillies, Alexander would finish in the top 10 for the league's MVP voting twice.

    Those seven seasons were some of the most dominant of his career. He led the league in wins five times. He led the league in ERA twice. That's just a small sample of what Alexander would do with the Phillies, as he also led the league in statistics like innings pitched and strikeouts.

Starting Pitcher 3: Robin Roberts

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    The Line: (14 years) 234-199, 3.46 ERA

    When Robin Roberts made his MLB debut in 1948, the Phillies knew that they had something special. A couple of seasons later, he was leading the ace of the club's starting rotation and leading the Phillies to their second World Series appearance in 1950.

    Roberts put on one of the most impressive pitching stretches in Phillies history during the early years of his career. He led the league in wins in four straight seasons. He led the league in games started six straight times and in complete games five straight times, and that's just a sample.

    Roberts would also make seven straight All-Star appearances and finish in the top 10 of the league's MVP voting five times.

Starting Pitcher 4: Jim Bunning

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    The Line: (Six years) 89-73, 2.93 ERA

    Compared to some of the other starting pitchers on this list, Jim Bunning's Phillies career was relatively short, but few men were able to have the same amount of success that he had during his career here in Philadelphia.

    The Phillies acquired Bunning in a trade with the Detroit Tigers prior to the 1964 season, and it would go on to be one of the best deals in franchise history. In his first season with the club, Bunning would toss a perfect game and help the Phillies challenge for a National League pennant.

    Bunning was a seven-time All-Star, and though he never won a Cy Young Award, he sure came close in 1967 when he finished second to San Francisco's Mike McCormick.

Starting Pitcher 5: Cole Hamels / Curt Schilling

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    The Line, Cole Hamels: (Seven years) 84-57, 3.38 ERA

    OK, so I cheated a lit bit here. Without a doubt, this spot was the closest on the list. At the end of the day, it wasn't quite a tie, as I selected Cole Hamels, but I just couldn't bring myself to leaving Curt Schilling off of the list. Here's why.

    For Hamels, the case is simple. He's a homegrown talent that helped the club to its second World Series title in 2008, a year in which he was awarded as both the NLCS and World Series MVP.

    He has been one of the most successful homegrown players in franchise history, and should he re-up with the Phillies this offseason, you can expect him to conquer some of the club's all-time records.

     

    The Line, Curt Schilling: (Nine years) 101-78, 3.35 ERA

    If Hamels doesn't re-sign with the Phillies, it'll create an interesting debate between he and Curt Schilling.

    Schilling managed to have a great career with the Phillies despite the fact that he played for some really bad teams during his tenure in Philadelphia.

    Schilling was a six-time All-Star and finished in the top five for the Cy Young Award four different times, including three second place finishes.

    He also led the Phillies' starting rotation during that improbable run at the World Series in 1993.

Backup Catcher: Darren Daulton

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    The Line: (14 years) .245 / .357 / .427, 134 HR

    You could make the case for a couple of catchers in this spot, but few guys fit the role like Darren Daulton.

    Daulton joined the Phillies organization when he was selected in the 25th round of the 1980 draft. He was behind the plate when the Phillies made a surprising charge towards the World Series in 1993 and the year prior led the league in RBI.

    Daulton was a three-time All-Star, a Silver Slugger winner and twice placed in the top 10 for MVP voting.

Utility Infielder: Granny Hamner

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    The Line: (16 years) .263 / .305 / .385, 103 HR

    One of the things that you need for your utility infielder to do is have the ability to play both second base and shortstop, at the very least. Those are a couple of thin areas for the Phillies, so you can make an argument for a couple of guys here. I went with Granny Hamner.

    Hamner played his first game for the Phillies in 1944 at the age of 17. He'd go on to play for the Phillies for 16 seasons, appearing in three All-Star Games. In 1950, he finished sixth in the National League's MVP voting.

Outfielder: Billy Hamilton

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    The Line: (Six years) .360 / .468 / .459, 23 HR, 510 SB

    Picking a backup outfielder was interesting. The way I saw it, for a list like this, you could go in one of two ways. You could either choose the supreme defensive player or a speedy guy that can hit. I went with the latter.

    Billy Hamilton spent six seasons with the Phillies during the 1890s. In that span of time, he led the league in hitting twice and on-base percentage three times. He led the league in steals twice and walks and hits once.

    In 1893, he led the league in OPS. Not a bad guy to have on your bench.

Right-Handed Pinch Hitter: Sherry Magee

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    The Line: (11 years) .299 / .371 / .447, 75 HR

    For the last couple of bench spots, I did something a little different than what you would expect on an MLB roster today. I assigned two spots to pinch-hitters, one right-handed, the other a lefty.

    My right-handed pinch-hitter is none other than one of the most underrated players in Phillies history, Sherry Magee.

    Magee had one of the best seasons in club history in 1910 when he led the league in runs, RBI, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+ and total bases.

    In his final season with the Phillies in 1914, he finished seventh in the league's MVP voting, ahead of teammate Pete Alexander.

Right Field: Chuck Klein

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    The Line: (15 years) .326 / .382 / .553, 243 HR 

    I almost feel guilty about calling Chuck Klein a "left-handed pinch hitter," but I just couldn't bring myself to name him the starting right fielder over Bobby Abreu, a guy that I feel had a vastly underrated career with the Phillies.

    Let's also not forget that Klein played during a very different era. Now, on to the good stuff.

    Klein had two stints with the Phillies, the first of which was much better than the second. During that span of time, he led the league in nearly every offensive candidate at least once and nearly led the league in every offensive category in one season in 1933.

    He made two trips to the All-Star Game and won an MVP Award in 1932. In the years before and after, Klein finished second.

Long Reliever: Chris Short

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    The Line: (14 years) 132-127, 3.38 ERA

    Chris Short was one of the easiest choices on this list, especially as the long reliever because he had experience both starting and relieving.

    The left-handed pitcher joined the Phillies in 1957 and was in the MLB by 1959 at the age of 21. Short would go on to spend 14 years of his 15-year career with the Phillies.

    Short made two trips to the All-Star Game and received votes for the MVP Award in two different seasons.

Middle Reliever: Turk Farrell

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    The Line: (Nine years) 47-41, 3.25 ERA, 244 GF, 65 SV

    Turk Farrell joined the Phillies as an amateur free agent and would prove to be one of the club's best relievers in two different stints.

    He was named to the All-Star Game four different times and won 10 games out of the Phillies bullpen in two different seasons.

Middle Reliever: Steve Bedrosian

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    The Line: (Four years) 21-18, 3.29 ERA, 188 GF, 103 SV

    When the Phillies acquired Steve Bedrosian from the Atlanta Braves prior to the 1986 season, I'm not sure even they knew just how good he would be.

    Though his career with the club was relatively short compared to some of the other players on this list, Bedrosian turned in three and a half very impressive seasons for the Phillies.

    1987 was the most impressive season of Bedrosian's career. He led the league in saves with 40 and won the National League Cy Young Award.

    Bedrosian is second on the Phillies' all-time saves list.

Middle Reliever: Billy Wagner

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    The Line: (Two years) 8-3, 1.86 ERA, 108 GF, 59 SV

    Phillies fans aren't going to like seeing Billy Wagner on this list, but I struggle to envision any all-time Phillies bullpen without his name listed on it.

    Wagner was at his best during his two years with the Phillies when he was nearly untouchable. He made one All-Star appearance for the club in the same year that he led baseball in games finished.

Middle Reliever: Jim Konstanty

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    The Line: (Seven years) 51-39, 3.64 ERA, 202 GF, 54 SV

    Jim Konstanty was a trendsetter for the Phillies.

    He would appear in just six games for the Phillies during the 1948 season, but it was just a glimpse of what he would be able to do out of the club's bullpen. He pitched his first full season in 1949, and by 1950, he was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball.

    Konstanty was just one of several incredible players on the Phillies' 1950 roster, but few were as impressive. Konstanty led the league in games, games finished and saves. He won 16 games out of the bullpen and even started Game 1 of the World Series.

    When all was said and done in 1950, he was named the league's MVP.

Set-Up Man: Ron Reed

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    The Line: (Eight years) 57-38, 3.06 ERA, 255 GF, 90 SV

    For years, Ron Reed and Tug McGraw anchored the Phillies bullpen, so it is only appropriate that the duo get the nod on this all-time roster.

    The Phillies acquired Reed when he was a struggling starting pitcher for the Atlanta Braves and the move to the bullpen in Philadelphia seemed to reinvigorate the right-handed pitcher.

    For parts of eight seasons, Reed would serve as one of the club's most valuable relievers, pitching both as the team's set-up man and closer.

Closer: Tug McGraw

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    The Line: (10 years) 49-37, 3.10 ERA, 313 GF, 94 SV

    Who better to close out this list of all-time greats than the man who closed out the Phillies' first World Series title in 1980, Tug McGraw.

    McGraw came over from the New York Mets and instantaneously gave the Phillies bullpen a little extra grit. He attacked the competition head-on, and it wasn't long before he was a fan-favorite in Philly.

    McGraw was a two-time All-Star, and during the year in which he helped the club to a World Series, he finished fifth in the league's Cy Young voting—an award that eventually went to teammate Steve Carlton.