The end of the most dominant era of Philadelphia baseball is most likely upon us. In the wake of this unfortunate realization, I take solace in pondering the greatness of Phillies teams past. Not only the ones I saw, but also imagining what it would have been like to be a spectator in the stands for those teams which came long before my time.
I have compiled what I believe to be the best lineup one could make, selecting the cream of the crop from every player to ever wear the red pinstripes. Enjoy!
Whitey wasn’t a power-hitting outfielder. But he was a career .311 hitter who could get on base and run. What’s more, he was an outstanding defensive centerfielder.
Richie Ashburn is heralded as one of the greatest Phillies to ever play the game. He was fast and lively and was an integral part of the Whiz Kids, who, unfortunately, never could capture that allusive World Series.
To say that Jimmy Rollins doesn’t belong on this list would be blasphemous. He won an MVP, for crying out loud!
I’ve been watching Jimmy Rollins since I was a teenager. Over the course of all that time, he’s been one of the best defensive players I have ever seen, and an excellent leadoff man to boot.
Rollins has pop in his bat, and when he’s on, he’s on.
Oh yeah, he has a World Series ring too.
Michael Jack Schmidt is the undisputed greatest Phillie to ever wear the team’s uniform. He may even be the best third baseman in the history of the game.
To go along with his 1980 World Series championship, Schmidty was a 12 time All-Star with three MVP awards and 10 Gold Gloves.
Moreover, that mustache was incredible.
Oh man! I love it when he does that bat pointing thing!
The Big Piece has been the most prolific run producer in baseball since his ascension to the MLB. Since his 2006 MVP year, he has finished every season among the top four NL RBI leaders.
Ryan Howard hits for power, drives in runs and strikes fear into the souls of opposing pitchers. His importance to the franchise has been illustrated by the team’s record so far this year without him in the lineup.
It’s a shame that he’ll likely never be the same after suffering a torn Achilles tendon. Nonetheless, his presence has been instrumental to five consecutive NL East titles, two pennants and a World Series championship.
"Burrell ain't got nothin' on Greg Luzinski!" my dad used to say.
I'll take his word for it.
Greg Luzinski was the Phillies’ quintessential power-hitting outfielder. I heard that one time he hit a ball so far, it struck the liberty bell atop the Vet.
During his 10 years with the Phillies, The Bull hit .280 with 223 HRs and 811 RBIs.
Personally, I can’t think of a better guy to back up Ryan Howard.
Chase Utley is as tough as nails. Chase Utley is clutch. Chase Utley is the spirit of the city of Philadelphia manifested in the form of an All-Star second baseman.
Right now, he’s playing with no cartilage in his knee(s). The guy has been as productive as anyone, doing it all with several injuries, most of which we probably don’t even know about.
Behind that pretty face is the heart of a champion. Utley is the kind of guy you need to have on your team.
Once a defensive liability, Utley eventually became one of the best defensive second basemen in the game.
As far as his accolades go, he is a five-time All-Star, World Series champion and the second baseman on the Sports Illustrated 2000s All-Decade Team.
If it weren’t for his teammates, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins, the guy might have even won an MVP.
At first, I had Bobby Abreu here. But, the people have spoken. Also, after remembering how lazy Abreu was, and considering the fact that he may have used PEDs, I've decided to cut him.
Even though Chuck Klein played during an era when the best baseball players in the world did not compete against each other because of a racial barrier, I think that all things considered, Klein belongs on this list.
The Hoosier Hammer won the Triple Crown in 1933 (a phillie wins the triple crown, get it?); and during his career with the Phils, Klein hit 243 HRs, had 983 RBIs, and he had an average of .326. Those are pretty remarkable numbers. He even hit four home runs in a game once!
This one was a toss-up between Chooch and Lieberthal. But I went with Mike because I’m sentimental. He was my favorite Phillie when I was kid because he wasn’t Scott Rolen, and because he was a good player.
Lieberthal, for a time, was the most tenured athlete in Philadelphia. He was with the team for 13 seasons. Sometimes he was good, and sometimes he was bad.
All things considered, Mike Lieberthal was just your average catcher on a crappy team. But he belongs here not only because of his service time, but also because he wasn’t a bad player. In fact, he has better numbers than Dutch.
The next few slides will be the All-Time Phillies pitching staff.
Is it really a question who the ace is going to be? Lefty, as he was so affectionately known, was one of the most dominant pitchers of his era.
Among his pitching arsenal was one of the most devastating pitches in baseball history: his slider, which he used to make fools out of hitters on a regular basis.
Carlton won 241 games as a Phillie, struck out 3.031 batters and took home four Cy Young awards. He was also a multi-time All-Star, World Series champion, won a couple of pennants, yada yada…
Come on, man. Have you ever seen anyone like Doc on the mound in a Phillies uniform? Remember that perfect game? Remember that no-hitter he threw in his first postseason game?
Sometimes, the pitches Halladay throws look like they defy the laws of physics. He’s not a strikeout pitcher, but he’s usually among the league’s leaders in the category.
It’s a shame that he’ll probably never win a World Series in Philadelphia. But you can’t take away his greatness.
Don’t even try to tell me that Cole Hamels doesn’t belong on this list. He’s a World Series MVP who has put together a string of incredible seasons.
Aside from 2009, Hamels has been a consistently reliable pitcher with one of the game’s best pitches in his arsenal: the changeup.
When all is said and done, I will not be surprised if Cole Hamels ends up at the top of another list like this one.
Let’s hope he lives up to that $144 million contract of his.
Sure, he’s an arrogant, loud-mouthed know-it-all. But, Schilling was the ace of the Phillies' mediocre pitching staffs during the 1990s.
It was heartbreaking when they gave him to the Diamondbacks for nothing. But I probably wouldn’t have wanted to be on the sinking ship that was the turn-of-the-century Phillies, either.
Regardless, Schilling was as dominant a pitcher as there was during an era where steroids juked stats and hitters bombed the ball out of the park regularly.
As a Phillie, Curt Schilling went 101-78 with a 3.35 ERA and 1,554 strikes. Of course he belongs here.
Roberts hardly ever walked anybody. That’s the kind of razor-sharp control you want in your pitching rotation.
He’s number five because he played way back when players weren’t as good as they exponentially became in the subsequent decades.
Nonetheless, he might be the second-best pitcher in Phillies history.
Roberts went 234-199 with a 3.46 ERA and 1,871 strikes as a member of the Phillies. Those numbers are nothing to scoff at.
Was anyone as good at what they did as Lidge and his perfect 2008 campaign?
I get chills when I think about that strikeout that won the World Series. Chills, I tell ya!