MLB Power Rankings: The 25 Greatest Pitchers in Philadelphia Phillies History

Josh Schoch@JoshSchochAnalyst IIIJanuary 25, 2011

MLB Power Rankings: The 25 Greatest Pitchers in Philadelphia Phillies History

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    Pitching is a vital part of the game, and with this Phillies rotation we are expecting a few World Series championships.

    With Cliff Lee going along with Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels, we are all expecting the greatest starting rotation of the decade, or even of our lives!

    This has sparked a lot of historical comparisons, to the Braves of old and to others.  This got me thinking, "Who are the best pitchers in Phillies history?"  This slideshow is devoted to just that.  Covering three centuries (19th, 20th and 21st) of Phillies history, here are the top 25 pitchers of the franchise.

    Two Things to Remember:

    1. All stats are with team unless specified otherwise.

    2. Some rankings had to be adjusted according to era.

25. Brad Lidge (2008-Present)

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Granted that he didn't consistently pitch up to this standard over the last two years, he is still one of the best closers in Phillies history.  It is because of this and the fact that he has raised the blood pressure of anyone who watches him.


    Saves: 99 (and counting), fourth on the all-time list with Phillies

    Perfect season in 2008 during WS season (41/41)

24. John Denny (1982-1985)

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    Denny was a Cy Young winner, and although his 1983 season seemed like more of a fluke, he was still a good pitcher.  He also delivered one of the best playoff starts in the team's history.  Denny had to be on this list because of his contributions in the postseason and because he was a Cy Young winner.


    Led NL in ERA in 1976 (2.52)

    Cy Young winner in 1983 with Phillies

    One of the best playoff performances in Phillies history in 1983 at Baltimore

23. Cole Hamels (2006-Present)

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    We all know about his previous successes, and now he is part of the Phils' historic rotation.  Hamels led the team to their 2008 World Series win, and he has been on the team his entire career.  He is still young, and if he stays with the Phillies he could break some records.


    66 wins on the Phillies and counting

    2008 NLCS MVP

    2008 WS MVP

    Ace of the team until Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt came to town

    Great playoff starts in the 2008 NLCS Game 1 and 2008 WS Game 1

22. Tug McGraw (1975-1984)

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    He may not have had the saves that Lidge had, but he sure didn't make us Philly Phans sweat so much.  He is arguably the best reliever in Phils history, but his numbers just do not help his cause, that is why he is not in the top 20.


    94 Saves (fifth all-time)

    3.10 ERA

    49-37 Record

    He provided the reliever that the Phillies needed in his time, and he was more efficient than Lidge, therefore he deserves a better position.

21. Erskine Mayer (1912-1918)

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    Mayer is a great pitcher, and a decent hitter, but his numbers other than his ERA are not quite up to par with some of these other guys, and that is why he is not in the top 20.  Mayer was certainly good, but I would not feel comfortable putting him any higher on the list.


    91-70 Record

    2.96 ERA (seventh all-time)

    .185 BA, which is pretty darn good for a pitcher

20. Earl Moore (1908-1913)

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    Moore's ERA and batting allowed him to make the list.  Being fifth all-time in ERA is very impressive, and he would have been cheated if he didn't make it on this list.  ERA is usually a good indicator of how good a pitcher is, since wins and losses can be skewed based on the pitcher's offensive support.


    2.63 ERA (fifth all-time)

    67 wins

    Decent hitting numbers

19. Roy Oswalt (2010-Present)

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    He's only played on the Phils for about half a season, but he has been an ace for the Astros, and in that half-season he was a monster.  Oswalt obviously has A LOT to prove, but since he was a Hall of Famer with the Astros and considering his numbers last season, and projecting how well he will do for them from now on, he deserves to make the list, even if he is our newest toy.



    1.74 ERA

    1 SHO in 12 Games Started

    Granted, he probably won't be able to keep that up, but it was still impressive.

18. Jim Bunning (1964-1968, 1970-1971)

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    During his two stints in Philadelphia, Bunning proved a very useful pitcher.  Bunning had a great career, and he definitely deserved to be on this list.  Bunning might have been higher on the list, but he did not have one great characteristic, just two solid numbers.


    2.93 ERA (12th all-time)

    89 wins (13th all-time)

    224-184 in career

17. Mitch Williams (1991-1993)

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    Williams had great numbers, and considering he was only with the Phils for three seasons, he recorded quite a few saves, and had a better ERA than the rest of the top three leaders in saves with Philly.


    102 Saves with Philly (third all-time)

    3.11 ERA with team

    192 Saves all-time

16. Ron Reed (1976-1983)

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    Reed might only be sixth in saves, but he also recorded 57 wins with the Phils, and was a pitcher who could start or relieve, which gives him this spot.  Sure he didn't start much with the Phillies, but he still deserves some credit switching from starter to a reliever/closer


    57 wins with Philly

    146 total wins

    90 Saves (sixth all-time)

    102 total Saves

15. Tully Sparks (1903-1910)

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    Sparks was third in ERA with the club, and as previously mentioned, ERA is a big component of pitching.  Sparks pitched in an era of great pitchers, and because of this, his ERA did not give him a higher place on the list.


    2.48 ERA on Phils (third all-time)

    95 wins

    150 CG in 198 GS

    If he had an offense he would have been one of the greats.

14. Jose Mesa (2001-2003, 2007)

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    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    He is not higher on the list because he had such a high ERA and WHIP, but his saves lead the franchise, and he needed to be high on the list.


    321 Saves in his career

    112 Saves w/ Phillies (first all-time)

    45 SV in 2002

    4.05 ERA

13. Al Orth (1895-1901)

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    Orth started his career as a Philly, and he recorded 100 wins in his first seven seasons.  He was seventh all-time in wins, and he lasted through the entire game a lot more often than any pitcher today is allowed to.


    100 wins w/ team (seventh all-time)

    3.49 ERA w/ team

    149 CG in 173 GS

    204 career wins

    324 career CG

12. Curt Schilling (1992-2000)

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    Sure he is known as a Red Sox and a Diamondback, but he was a great Philly.  Schilling played a big role in the 1993 playoffs in his second year on the team, and from then on he became one of the best pitchers of the time.  Fresh in our minds, he appears on this list at No. 12.


    101 wins w/ team (sixth all-time)

    3.35 ERA w/ team

    SHO in Game 5 of the 1993 WS

    Allowed only 1 ER in 8 IP i 1993 NLCS Game 5 victory

11. Curt Simmons (1947-1950, 1951-1960)

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    Simmons was a winner, that's obvious when you look at his stats.  Simmons would have been higher, but his wins are really the only remarkable stats he has.


    115 wins w/ team (fifth all-time)

    193 wins in career

    262 games started, 109 complete games

10. Charlie Ferguson (1884-1887)

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    Ferguson was not only a pitcher, he played other positions before he pitched.  He only pitched four seasons with the Phils, and he was amazing.  Ferguson's pitching stats could have been spectacular if he pitched longer than four years.


    2.67 ERA with team (sixth-best all-time)

    99 wins in four seasons

    165 CG in 170 GS

    .288 BA, .372 SLG

9. Steve Bedrosian (1986-1989)

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    He didn't have the most saves, but his numbers besides total saves are the best, and he was a true star for the Phillies.  Bedrosian was known as a shut-down guy for the Phillies, and that's why he is in the top 10.


    103 Saves with the club (second all-time)

    3.29 ERA

    1.25 WHIP

8. Cliff Lee (2009, Present)

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    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    Sure he is one of the best pitchers in the league, but he's only been on the team for a year.  Sure he doesn't have the most wins or lowest ERA in team history, but he's only been on the team for a year.  Even though he only pitched for half a year on the team, he is still one of their greatest.


    2009 NLDS Game 1 line: 9 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K

    2009 WS Game 1: 9 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K

    A few fielding plays in the 2009 postseason that were just jaw-dropping if you saw them

7. Roy Halladay (2010-Present)

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    In his first year with the Phils, Halladay's numbers and accolades were impressive.  If Halladay keeps this up (and this is based on projected stats, too), he could be one of their greats.  Halladay is also a Hall of Famer, which leads him to the No. 7 spot.


    2010 NL Cy Young

    21-10 record

    2.44 ERA

    4 SHO

    Perfect game against the Marlins in the regular season

    Postseason no-hitter against the potent Reds in the NLDS Game 1

6. Frank Corridon (1904-1909)

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    Corridon had a great ERA, and he usually finished what he started, not completing his game in only 31 of 112 games.  Corridon was a great pitcher, which is why he is so high.


    2.61 ERA w/ Philadelphia (fourth all-time)

    59 wins

    81 CG in 112 GS

5. Chris Short (1959-1972)

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    Short had spectacular numbers in both wins and shutouts, which shows his dominance.  Short is one of those guys who dominated in two categories, which puts him in the top five.


    132 Wins with team (fourth all-time)

    24 SHO with team (fourth all-time)

    3.38 ERA

4. George McQuillan (1907-1910, 1915, 1916)

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    McQuillan was the only player in a Phillies uniform to maintain an ERA under 2.00, which catapults him into the No. 4 position since ERA is such a good indicator of a pitcher.  McQuillan pitched deep into games, and he shut down the opposition...two qualities of an elite pitcher.


    1.79 ERA with team (first all-time)

    54 wins

    72 CG in 103 GS

3. Robin Roberts (1948-1961)

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    Roberts' stats were astounding, and he was the greatest righty pitcher that the Phils ever had.  Roberts was one of the elite members of the Phillies, and is one of the most well-known Phillies pitcher.  Roberts deserves the three spot because he was so great, but his ERA is what held him back from being No. 1 or No. 2.


    234 wins with team (second all-time)

    3.46 ERA

    272 CG with team (first all-time)

    35 SHO with team (first all-time)

2. Steve Carlton (1972-1986)

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    Carlton led the Phillies in wins, and his numbers were all solid, but he is not the best.  I know that a lot of you out there will be thinking that Carlton had to be No. 1, but his numbers are second only to one.  Carlton was definitely in the top three, but he is No. 2...


    241 wins with team (first all-time)

    39 SHO (second all-time)

    185 CG (third all-time)

1. Grover Cleveland Alexander (1911-1917, 1930)

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    Grover Cleveland Alexander has possibly the most impressive stats of any pitcher on this list, AND he did it in much less time than the other elite pitchers.  Although it was a different era, Alexander's number are just jaw-dropping, and although it is very, VERY close, he is just ahead of Carlton.  His stats say it all, and these are why he is No. 1.


    190-91 record with team (third-most wins all-time)

    2.18 ERA with team (second all-time)

    61 SHO (first all-time) in 219 CG (second all-time)

    1.07 WHIP

    Yeah, he deserves No. 1 in my opinion, but any and all of the top three on this list have been called No. 1.