The Top 10 Philadelphia Phillies Pitchers of All-Time
When Roy Halladay joined the Philadelphia Phillies, I made a comment on local sports-talk radio that Halladay immediately joins the Phillies' Mount Rushmore of starting pitchers. Was this hyperbole?
Could a guy in his first season with the Phillies ( a team founded in 1883) possibly be one of the top four starting pitchers in the team's history?
Let's take a look at the All Time Phillies pitching staff.
The Ace - Grover Cleveland Alexander (1911-1917)
"Big Pete" is one of the five or six greatest pitchers of all time. In seven years with the Phils, Alexander led the NL in innings six times, wins shutouts and strikeouts five times, and ERA twice.
He also topped 30 wins three times with the Phillies, and brought home two pitching Triple Crowns.
The Number Two: Steve Carlton (1972-1986)
Carlton was the first four-time Cy Young Award winner, all with the Phillies.
Carlton led the National League in wins four times with the Phillies, including in 1972, when he famously won 27 games for a Phillies team that only managed 59 wins total.
Carlton also led the NL in strikeouts five times and ERA once, and was the ace of the 1980 World Champion team.
Three Hole: Robin Roberts (1948-1961)
During Roberts' peak with the Phillies, he led the National League in wins, starts, complete games, innings, and batters faced for four straight years from 1952 to 1955.
But Roberts certainly had his downside as well. He also led the NL in hits allowed during those years, and in the two years after that four year run he led the NL in losses in both 1956 and 1957.
The current major league career leader in home runs allowed with 505, Roberts will soon be eclipsed by current Phil Jamie Moyer, who has given up 501 home runs.
The Top of the Back End - Curt Schilling (1992-2000)
Schilling will be known by a generation of baseball fans for his bloody sock in the 2004 World Series with the Boston Red Sox, and maybe for his dominance with the 2001 World Series winning Arizona Diamondbacks.
Before he became a future Hall of Famer on those teams, Schilling led the Phillies to the 1993 World Series, finished with 300 or more strikeouts two years in a row, and became one of seven Phillies pitchers with 100 or more wins with the team.
The Fifth Spot - Jim Bunning (1964-1967)
Halladay will have to wait after all. The soon-to-be retired Senator Jim Bunning spent four memorable years in Philadelphia, winning 19 games three times, leading the NL in games started and shutouts twice, and finishing with three of the Phillies top nine strikeout totals of all time.
The Closer: Tug McGraw (1975-1984)
The closer on the 1980 World Champion team and a valuable member of the 1983 World Series team, McGraw spent the last 10 years of his career with the Phillies.
McGraw ranks third on the Phillies' all time games pitched list, behind Roberts and Carlton.
The Set-Up Men: Ron Reed (1976-1983)
A member of two World Series teams and six playoffs teams in eight years, Reed pitched over 100 relief innings three times, posting an ERA in the twos each year.
The Set-Up Men: Brad Lidge (2008-present)
Lidge has certainly had his issues with the Phillies in 2009 and so far in 2010, but Philadelphia sports fans will never forget the role Lidge played on the 2008 World Champion team.
Lidge was a perfect 41-for-41 in the regular season and then went 7-for-7 in the post-season to lead the Phillies to the first Philadelphia sports championship in over 25 years.
The Set-Up Men: Steve Bedrosian (1986-1989)
One of only three NL relievers to ever win the Cy Young Award, Bedrosian made the most of his three and a half years in Philadelphia, accumulating 103 saves.
The Set-Up Men: Mitch Williams (1991-1993)
The final spot in the bullpen either goes to Williams, who in three short years became the third all time leader in saves for the Phillies and rode with them to the 1993 World Series, only to serve up Joe Carter's Series-winning homerun in Game Six, or Jose Mesa, the Phillies' all time career leader in saves who, nevertheless, enjoyed mixed success in his three years with the team and is universally deplored by Phillies fans.
I'll go with the guy who went to the World Series.
At the end of the day, though, this roster of Phillies pitchers truly demonstrates what a thin 128 years it has been for this franchise. Roy Halladay will be on this list soon enough.