You don't get to see an abundant amount of loyalty in the game of baseball. Players don't often finish their careers in the same place they began, and that's especially true for today's game, when players will often wind up playing for the highest bidder.
So when you see a player spend all of—or even a majority of, nowadays—his career with a single club, it resonates with you. You associate that player with that club and often find yourself thinking, "Man. He was proud to fly that team's flag."
The Philadelphia Phillies have had a few of those players—guys who were proud to wear that signature "P" on their cap and embrace the way the city of Philadelphia enjoyed its baseball.
They understood what playing baseball in this city was all about: hard work and determination. The fans enjoy a "blue collar" style of baseball, but most importantly, value a player that wants to win.
Now the question is simple: Who are they? Which players truly bled Phillies red?
Tony Taylor certainly wasn't the greatest player to ever suit up for the Phillies, but you could tell by the way that he went about his business that he was happy to be representing the Phils, and that made him a fan favorite.
Of course, playing in the All-Star Game during your first season with your new club certainly won't hurt the cause, and that's exactly what Taylor did in 1960, when the Phillies acquired him from the Chicago Cubs.
Taylor would go on to spend an impressive 15 seasons with the Phillies, and while he never did make a return trip to the All-Star Game, he would go on to become a mainstay in their infield for a very long time.
Granny Hamner probably wasn't a name you were expecting when you opened this list up, but there is no doubt in my mind that the former shortstop was one of the proudest players to ever play for the Phillies.
Hamner donned his first professional uniform in 1944 at the age of 17 and probably never wanted to take it off.
Though he would play inconsistently throughout the first part of his career, Hamner would eventually settle in as the club's everyday shortstop and, as a whole, played in Philadelphia for 16 seasons.
Del Ennis is a name that flies under the radar nowadays, but this was a man that was probably the Phillies' first legitimate "power hitter."
Long before the likes of Ryan Howard and before Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski were destroying baseballs, it was Ennis that provided the pop in the Phillies' lineup.
Ennis, who spent 11 seasons with the Phillies, hit 259 home runs from 1946-56—long before the long ball became a mainstay as an offensive attack.
It wouldn't be inaccurate to say that Ennis paved the way for guys like Howard, Schimdt and Luzinski.
He's probably not the most obvious choice for a list like this given the way the last offseason went for him, but that's also part of the reason that I'm including him here.
While most people were obsessed with what actually happened between Scott Boras, Ruben Amaro, Jr. and David Montgomery, the player was almost forgotten.
I really thought that Ryan Madson wanted to stay with the Phillies.
After all, he was on the precipice of signing a lucrative deal to become the Phillies closer for the next four seasons. It was the club that drafted him, stuck with him when he flunked as a starter and gave him his shot in the late innings out of the bullpen.
Nine seasons of good memories seemed to be flushed down the toilet by a botched deal. Who's to blame?
Before signing with the Washington Nationals last offseason, Brad Lidge wanted to come back to the Phillies, but they had seen enough.
Sure, they'll always remember 2008. That was the year that Lidge was "perfect" and didn't blow a single save, with the end result being a parade down Broad Street as World Champions.
But after that, things surely went downhill quickly. Lidge suffered injury after injury and really just never got the wheels back on the track.
By the end of his contract, the two parties found themselves looking in opposite directions. Lidge would have been happy in any role. The Phillies were happy his deal was off the books.
In the end, however, I don't think you could question Lidge's loyalty to the Phillies—not that it was mutual.
This seems like a stretch in some regards, but I'm not sure that there is a guy, at least in recent memory, that has shown more joy being a Major League player with the Phillies than Carlos Ruiz.
Of course, there is no quantifiable evidence here, but anyone who watches the Phillies on a consistent basis knows what I mean.
Signed as an amateur second baseman, the Phillies asked "Chooch" to start catching, and he did. Then he became one of the best defensive catchers in the game. They asked him to become a better hitter, and he did. Now he's at the top of the league in most offensive categories.
The bottom line is that few players are willing to work harder than Ruiz to ensure that he remains where he wants to be—with the Phils.
You can look back through the Phillies history and see that almost every time they were good, there was at least one dominant reliever on the club. Jim Konstanty in 1950. Brad Lidge in 2008. And those are just a couple of examples.
So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that when the Phillies were at their best during the 1970s and into the 1980s, they had two very good relievers in the back end of the bullpen. One was obviously Tug McGraw.
The other was a bit underrated: Ron Reed.
Reed, who wasn't the greatest starting pitcher in the world with other clubs, really found his niche in the bullpen with the Phillies.
He and McGraw teamed up to terrorize hitters late in ball games and were two of the most important cogs in the machine when the Phils were going well.
Reed spent eight seasons in Philadelphia and finished an impressive 255 games.
Call me biased, but I love Curt Simmons' story.
Born and raised in the state of Pennsylvania, Simmons was an excellent "prospect" (if you could call young kids "prospects" back then) during the latter half of the 1940s.
The Phillies, on the other hand, were bad. Very bad. So bad that they would hold crazy promotions as a means of bringing in some attendance, or even a bit of publicity.
One of these promotions involved the Phillies squaring off with the best high school players in the state—the all-stars, if you will.
The Phillies played most of their regulars on that day in 1947 and were opposed by a young left-handed pitcher by the name of Curt Simmons. Not only did Simmons hold his own, but he almost won the game. The Phillies barely beat the high school all-stars.
Simmons impressed the right people that day. He was offered a contract to play for the Phillies and signed right away, starting a game for the club later that year. Over the next couple of seasons, he became a mainstay in the rotation, and by 1950, was the latter part of a potent one-two punch in the starting rotation along with Robin Roberts.
Johnny Callison didn't begin or end his career as a member of the Phillies, but there is no doubt that he made a name for himself wearing their uniform.
For most of the 1960s, Callison was the face of the franchise. A right fielder by trade, he built up his reputation by playing a pristine defensive outfield and coming through in the clutch in seemingly every possible situation.
In a volatile time to be a fan of the Phillies, Callison seemed to be one of the few things that remained the same. Death, taxes and Johnny Callsion.
The fastest man to 250 home runs. The second-fastest man to 300 home runs.
Phillies fans like milestones. All baseball fans do. That's just an inherent fact of the game. Ever since displacing future Hall of Fame first baseman Jim Thome from his position back in 2005, all Ryan Howard has done is collect milestones while wearing the "P" on his cap.
Including the two I listed above, Howard is also a former Rookie of the Year and MVP award winner. He's a World Series champion, three-time All-Star and home run derby winner. He's also a member of the 50 home run club.
Like most players on this list, Howard showed his Phillies pride by foregoing free agency to sign a deal that kept him in Philadelphia.
In hindsight, it seems as though Chris Short was always in someone's shadow.
Early in his career, he was a reliever. When he finally moved into the starting rotation, there was some guy named Jim Bunning right ahead of him on the depth chart. Then came Rick Wise. But by that time, Short was at the back end of his career anyway.
Don't get me wrong—Short was a a great pitcher. He was invaluable to the Phillies for a long time thanks to his versatility, but I don't think he ever got quite the recognition that he deserved.
It seemed as though (and still to this day) Short was one of the most underrated pitchers of all-time. He spent all but one season of his 15-year career as a member of the Phillies.
For whatever reason, Larry Bowa seems to have a poor reputation in the city of Philadelphia. I really still haven't figured out why.
Bowa was one of the better shortstops of his day, even without a big bat. He was a slick fielder that made playing the position look easy and a pest at the plate that earned him the nickname of "Gnat."
When his playing days were over, the fiery shortstop would eventually become the Phillies manager. During that time, he helped cultivate a young club that would eventually become World Champions.
Not that I'm ranking them here, but Bowa may be one of the most important people in the history of this organization.
Remember when you were in high school and there was always that one kid that showed a bit more responsibility than the other ones?
That was Darren Daulton in 1993.
Not to narrow Daulton's career down to one season, but that was the year that the former catcher really showed just how much he meant to the club. While the Phillies were a group of loose, fun-loving characters, Daulton was in charge.
He was the voice that represented them to the media and the guiding hand that made sure things never go too out of control (because they were going to get out of control no matter who stepped in and had a say).
In 15 seasons, "Dutch" spent just 52 games wearing a different uniform. Of course, those games were spent as a member of the then-Florida Marlins in 1997 when he helped them to a World Series title.
I'm sure one of Daulton's greatest regrets would eventually be failing to get the job done in 1993. That was a club that he really belonged with.
Lenny Dykstra was on my rough draft of this list. Then he wasn't. Then I looked over it and put him back on, only to take him off again. Now here we are, with Dykstra on the list for good.
People familiar with Dykstra nowadays are probably more familiar with the bankrupt, scandalous, Charlie Sheen associate that couldn't be any further removed from the game of baseball.
Once upon a time, however, Dykstra was one of the most popular players in this city. "Nails" truly embraced the style of baseball that the people of Philadelphia couldn't get enough of.
He'd throw caution to the wind without a second thought, running into an outfield wall to grab a fly ball, sliding headfirst like he was made of steel, etc.
Sure, he hasn't been the greatest role model as of late, but there was a time where you would have thought that Dykstra was born wearing a Phillies uniform—and the fans loved him.
Even with 2012 being a marred year for him, Roy Halladay has been everything the Phillies could have hoped for.
The Toronto Blue Jays were determined to trade their ace following the 2009 season, and while they ultimately had the final say, the wanted to do right by him.
Halladay, of course, was allured by the opportunity to win a World Series. He'd done just about everything he could in Toronto, but that ring proved to be elusive.
At the time, the Phillies were at the height of their potential. Halladay fit right into their clubhouse and dazzled fans both with his words and on the diamond. He tossed a perfect game during his first year and finished it off by no-hitting the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Division Series.
He was unanimously named the National League's Cy Young winner for 2010.
Let's face it, he could have gone to other big markets, but Halladay chose Philadelphia, and that's something that the fans won't forget.
Jimmy Rollins has probably had a few more peaks and valleys than some of the players on this list, but there is no doubt that he is proud to be a member of this club.
Debuting in 2000, Rollins would spend 12 consecutive seasons with the Phillies before reaching free agency last offseason, only to re-sign with the club for another three years, guaranteed.
His already illustrious career contains an MVP award, a World Series ring and more than a few incredible "predictions" I'm still surprised came true.
Any man that turns down millions of dollars to play for the Phillies automatically earns a spot on this list.
Longstanding fans of this franchise know that Philadelphia wasn't always a desirable place. This used to be a cheap "large market" masquerading as a small-market team and players didn't want to come here. But winning changes everything.
After all, his first stint in Philly was a good one. He was acquired by the Cleveland Indians midseason and pitched the Phillies back into the World Series later that year.
Without a doubt, losing that series to the Yankees only fueled his desire to return and finish the job that he started in '09.
It seems like anyone who ever remembers Robin Roberts winds up with a smile on his face. By any account I've ever seen or heard, he was not only one of the greatest pitchers in the history of this club, but one of the greatest people.
Of course, it didn't hurt that from 1950-56, he had one of the most dominant stretches of pitching of all-time, winning 157 games and hurling an incredible 183 complete games.
Roberts was the ace of that legendary 1950 "Whiz Kids" club and almost led the Phillies to their first World Series title had it not been for those pesky New York Yankees.
He is currently one of just five men honored with a statue in or around Citizens Bank Park.
It hasn't been a season full of memorable images—especially happy ones—for the Phillies and their fans, but one that seems to resonate is Cole Hamels sitting at the podium next to general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. announcing his new contract.
His agent was probably sitting there dying a little inside. Sure, Hamels was paid handsomely, but he was just months away from becoming the top free agent in baseball. Who knows what a team like the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers would pay for one of the game's top lefties, just entering his prime.
But Hamels made it clear that he wanted to remain with the Phillies, and remain with the Phillies he did. He didn't turn down much to do it, but Hamels came up with the Phillies and clearly didn't want to leave, and the fans won't forget that.
Tug McGraw was the kind of pitcher that was just happy to be in the MLB, but you got the feeling that he felt especially at home as a member of the Phillies.
McGraw, who had already won a World Series as a member of the New York Mets, joined the Phillies in 1975 via trade and gave them the grit that they would eventually need to win a World Series of their own.
It was only fitting that the thigh-slapping, screwball-throwing closer would be on the mound to record the final out of the 1980 Fall Classic against the Kansas City Royals.
He gave us one of the most memorable images in the history of this organization and became a legend in the city of Philadelphia.
Many have tried, but few players have ever personified the Phillies' style of baseball better than Chase Utley.
That's because it isn't just a matter of replication. Plenty of guys have used the "blue collar" baseball facade, but how many of them have actually made it work?
Utley plays the game on one speed, and that's the reason that he is wearing his knees into the ground, but don't think for a second that the people of Philadelphia don't appreciate it. It's the reason his name is on the back of most of their replica jerseys.
Richie Ashburn was a Phillie through and through.
He spent 12 of his 15 seasons as a member of the Phils, and his style of play made him the perfect fit. He was a picture-perfect slider, ran hard on every single play and became a singles machine. Ashburn was as durable as they come, logged a ton of plate appearances and always seemed to be on base in front of the middle of the order.
Ashburn retired from playing the game in 1962 but couldn't get baseball out of his system. He'd eventually move to the Phillies' broadcast booth and partner up with the legendary Harry Kalas, creating one of the greatest broadcast teams of all-time.
He was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1995 and is one of just five men to have a statue erected in his honor in or around Citizens Bank Park (and of course, the famous Ashburn Alley, named after him).
Steve Carlton wound up playing for a lot of teams during his career, but make no mistake about it, "Lefty" will forever be known as a Phillie, and that's not an accident.
Carlton, who came up with the St. Louis Cardinals and bounced around to a handful of teams at the end of the line, spent 15 years of his 24-season career as a member of the Phillies.
During that time, he led them to their first World Series title, was named the National League Cy Young winner four different times and logged a remarkable 241 wins.
For his career, Carlton would join the 300 wins club and be voted into the Hall of Fame, wearing a Phillies cap, of course.
There hasn't been a single player in the history of the Phillies franchise more synonymous with their name than Mike Schmidt—the greatest player to ever wear their uniform.
Schmidt, now a member of the Hall of Fame, spent his entire 18-season career as a member of the Phillies.
During that time period, Schmidt was named the National League MVP three different times and slugged more than 500 home runs.
To this date, he is arguably the greatest third baseman to ever play the game, and he spent every waking moment of his professional career doing it for the Phillies.
So I'm cheating a bit.
He may not have worn the uniform, but there is not a single man to ever live that better represented what the Phillies stand for than their long time voice, Harry Kalas.
Kalas, who spent more than 40 years with the organization, was truly the heart and soul of this ball club. He was the man encouraging the players to do well, and they played for him. He was the man who rallied the fans, and they stood behind him.
He may not have thrown a no-hitter or slugged a home run, but Kalas meant more to the Phillies than any dollar sign could ever quantify.