Phan Phavorites: 10 Most Beloved Phillies Role Players
The Philadelphia Phillies have a long and storied, although not always impressive, history.
Throughout the years they have had their fair share of characters—and Philadelphia fans have a soft spot in their hearts for the quirky, the loud-mouthed, the eccentric, and the bold.
Although they did not always lead the team in numerical categories, these players have won the affection of the populace as the most beloved Phillies of all time.
Shane Victorino has stolen Philadelphia's favor just as quickly as he steals second base. The speedster, nicknamed the "Flyin' Hawaiian," has also proven to be an invaluable addition to the Phils' lineup.
Victorino's play in center field has been nothing short of brilliant, and he has produced quite a highlight reel of diving catches and warning track saves.
Off the field, Victorino has an infectious enthusiasm and personifies his native land with his upbeat and laid back personality.
Although Mitch Williams will forever live in infamy for being on the wrong side of Joe Carter's World Series winning dinger in 1993, he was a fan favorite for his shaggy, unruly locks and his go-for-broke style on the mound.
Williams was nicknamed the "Wild Thing" because of his appearance, pitching style, and intro music during his tenure in Chicago. Both the nickname and popularity stayed with him following his switch to Philadelphia.
WIlliams' pitching style was raw power. He put everything he had into every single pitch, and would often lose his balance and fall off of the mound following his pitches.
If this guy does not represent the common man of Philadelphia, nobody does.
John Kruk, in addition to being a fan favorite and local heartthrob (yeah right), was a very productive power hitter for the Phillies between 1989 and 1994.
One of Kruk's most memorable antics came during the 1993 All Star game, where he flailed wildly at Randy Johnson's fastballs, from as far away as he could possibly get from the plate. Kruk was also the de facto leader of the Phillies "Macho Row."
Kruk was quoted as once saying, "I ain't an athlete, lady, I'm a baseball player."
The quote sums up the man. He knew he had a gut, he knew he wasn't in peak condition, but he was a baseball player and didn't care.
Mike Lieberthal gets points for his long stay in Philadelphia. Lieby started his career with the Phils in 1994 and remained on the squad until 2006.
Lieby was known mostly for his fielding behind the plate, but broke out the big stick in 1999, when he hit 31 HRs.
Lieby was a "lunchbox" player. He came in every day with his proverbial lunchbox and did his job like it was supposed to be done.
Although he wasn't the most handsome guy on the field, Mickey won over the fans by doing all the little things (it is not a coincidence that he is bunting in this picture) and made history by recording an unassisted triple play in 1992.
Mickey was far from a pitcher's worst nightmare, as he posted subpar numbers at the plate throughout his seven year career with the Phillies; he never hit above .300 in a season.
Mickey was, however, a defensive specialist and did not begrudge his role as a perpetual sacrifice hitter. He did what the team needed him to do in order to win and that is why he is one of the more memorable Phillies role players.
Those unfamiliar with "The Walrus" Matt Stairs might have wondered why a third base coach was in the batter's box, or how John Kruk managed to get back on the Phillies' roster and lose so much weight, while watching one of his at-bats.
Stairs is the prototypical grizzled, burly veteran and is one of the last of a dying breed.
Stairs has played for 12 different teams in his storied career, and only was a Phillie for two of them.
What makes his stay in Philadelphia special is that he hit his first career postseason HR during this time—a walk-off against the Dodgers in the NLCS in a crucial pinch-hit at bat.
Stairs would then hit another memorable home run against the Rockies in April of 2009, which was also a game winner. That home run was the last to be called by iconic Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas.
Matt Stairs provided timely hitting and is entrenched in Philadelphia Phillies history.
This list is focused mostly on the lesser-knowns in Phillies lore, but Chase Utley has the unfair advantage of being one the team's most beloved, and best, players.
Chase represents the tough, gritty mindset of the city itself. In his legendary speech following the Phillies 2008 World Series win, Utley dubbed the team "World Phucking Champions," eliciting a roar of applause from the fans in this day and age where censorship is prevalent and athletes are expected to project squeaky clean personas.
Chase never shies away from a ball thrown inside, accepting the pain in order to take an easy base and help his team win ball games.
Utley is also an active PETA supporter and Phillies locker room leader.
Lenny Dykstra was a man's man, and the fans loved him.
Although coming under the unfavorable auspice of playing for the Mets, fans soon took to Dykstra because of his hard-nosed approach to the game. Dykstra's signature was a cheek packed to the brim with tobacco, while he was also known for his uneven temper.
Dykstra was not putting on an act, as fans would soon learn. While driving drunk, Dykstra slammed his car into a tree in affluent Radnor Township outside of Philadelphia.
In spite of, or because of, his off-the-field misadventures, Dykstra was a hero of the working class in Philadelphia.
Greg Luzinski was a gregarious, beer drinking, red meat eater (starting to see a pattern here?).
The Bull was an archetypical slugger, weighing in at 6'1" and 255 lbs. He was a prolific power hitter and recorded 371 career HRs.
Although Luzinski was a Chicago native, he adopted Philadelphia as his own. Luzisnki capitalized on his popularity in the City of Brotherly Love by opening "Bull's Barbecue," a popular locale in the new Citizens Bank Park.
The Philly Phanatic is not really a player, if you couldn't have guessed. However, this article features fan favorites and role players, and the Phanatic is both.
No one is more beloved by fans than this fat, furry monstrosity, and his role comes in packing the seats and delighting fans during sometimes tedious games.
The Phanatic is one of the more famous mascots in history and is known for taunting opposing teams and playing pranks on them. He is a psychological boost for the team and the fans and improves morale wherever he goes.