Jimmy Rollins and the 9 Strongest Arms in Philadelphia Phillies History

Joe IannelloAnalyst IIIAugust 8, 2011

Jimmy Rollins and the 9 Strongest Arms in Philadelphia Phillies History

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    A player that is identified as having a strong arm could be described in a myriad of ways. For instance, it could be a work-horse type pitcher who throws a plethora of complete games, a pitcher who can hit 100 mph on the radar gun, an infielder who is a web-gem waiting to happen, a catcher who can throw out base-runners, or even an outfielder with a rocket for an arm.

    The Philadelphia Phillies have been around for 127 seasons and their franchise has been blessed with some ridiculously strong arms. This ranking will celebrate those "cannon's" of the past and the present.

    Here is a ranking of the nine strongest arms in Philadelphia Phillies history.

Honorable Mentions- Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay

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    Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee will continue to be work-horses for the Philadelphia Phillies at least the next three years. Neither player cracked the top nine in my opinion only because of their short tenure's with the team thus far.

    It still was extremely difficult to keep them off the list. At the All-star break, Halladay (not surprisingly) led all of baseball in innings pitched and Cliff Lee was a close second.

    Barring injury, Halladay will pitch at least 200 innings for the sixth straight season, and this will be Lee's third straight.  Halladay has had three different 20-win seasons, tied or led the league in complete games six different times and is the active career leader in MLB with 19 shutouts.

    Cliff Lee just became the first pitcher to throw five shutouts in a season since the great Steve Carlton. Both Lee and Halladay are in the minority in baseball today as pitchers who have the ability to go nine innings every fifth day.

    It's amazing how difficult it was to keep off two players who have played less than four full seasons combined for the Philadelphia Phillies.

9. Bob Boone

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    Bob Boone is widely considered to be the best Philadelphia Phillies catcher of all time. He played an unprecedented 19 seasons (his knee's must really be aching) where he threw out an incredible 731 runners over his career.

    Base-stealers kept trying to run on Boone over his career and he continued to throw them out at a remarkable 40% clip over his career. Boone had all of the tools that a defensive catcher should possess: Quick feet, intelligence, agility and a cannon for an arm.

    Boone won seven Gold Gloves during his MLB career, proving that the rest of baseball recognized how brilliant of a defensive player he really was.

8. David Bancroft

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    David James "Beauty" Bancroft was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971. Bancroft played for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1915-1920, until he was traded to the San Francisco Giants

    Bancroft is considered to be not only one of the best shortstops in MLB history, but one of the best fielders to ever play the game. Bancroft is third all-time in put-outs in a season by a shortstop with 598, trailing only Ozzie Smith and Glenn Wright.

    He played on two pennant winning Phillies ball-clubs before the team became a perennial cellar-dwellar.  The owner of the Phillies at that time was William Baker, who was known for his policy of selling his top stars for top dollar and that is exactly what he did with Dave Bancroft.

    If a Phillies fan needed further reason to dislike the Giants, Bancroft led the league in putouts, assists, and double plays during his first year with San Francisco (1921-1922).

7. Jimmy Rollins

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    Jimmy Rollins has flashed his trademark smile for the Philadelphia Phillies for 12 seasons, and his cannon for an arm has made Phillie Nation smile back. Rollins may go down as the greatest shortstop to ever wear a Phillies uniform and he still has the ability to make eye-popping defensive plays because of his agility and arm.

    Rollins makes plays deep in the hole look so rudimentary because his arm is incredibly strong and accurate as well. Rollins may only be 5'8" but his arm is as strong as anyone in the game.

    It's a shame that his contract demands might make it unreasonable for the Phillies to re-sign him. Rollins has spoiled Phillies Nation for a dozen years.

    If a ball is hit anywhere near shortstop you can mark down an out if you're keeping score.

6. Scott Rolen

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    Scott Rolen still gets booed every time he walks to the plate in Philadelphia. Rolen may have angered the Phillies and their fan's when he demanded a trade, but his play on the field only led to jubilation.

    Rolen played seven seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies and he has compiled eight Gold Gloves over his career. Only Michael Jack Schmidt (10) and Brooks Robinson (16) have had more Gold Gloves at third base.

    Robinson is widely considered to be the greatest defensive third baseman of all time, but Scott Rolen can certainly stake his claim as the best third baseman since 2000. A Scott Rolen web-gem was a staple on ESPN's Baseball Tonight for over a decade.

     

5. Shane Victorino

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    Shane Victorino is another player on this current Philadelphia Phillies roster that has a tremendous arm. Victorino played his first game as a Phillie in 2005 and runners knew not to test his arm very quickly.

    ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick listed in this article http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=crasnick_jerry&id=2909515 the elite arms in the game. Victorino had only been in the major's for two seasons and he already was ranked at No. 4 on the list.

    The "Flyin' Hawaiian" has won the last three Gold Glove's from center-field and has 36 outfield-assists since 2007. Watching Victorino use his above-average speed to charge a ball and nail an opposing base-runner is something that we have grown to expect from Victorino.

    That doesn't mean it will ever get old.

4. Ed Delanhanty

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    Ed Delanhanty may have been one of the earliest power hitters in MLB history, but he also had one of the most feared arms from right-field. All the way back in 1893 Delanhanty compiled a ridiculous 31 outfield assists while playing both center and left field.

    Those 31 outfield assists still rank as the fourth most all-time for a left-fielder.

3. Billy Wagner

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    As much as it pains me to do so, Billy Wagner is deserving of a spot on any list ranking the best arms in baseball. Wagner pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies from 2004-2005 where he posted 21 and 38 saves respectively.

    Fans would watch the screens in left and right-field after every pitch and cheer whenever Wagner would reach 100 mph on his fastball. Wagner never clicked with the great fans of Philadelphia, as he never understood that the city was not booing him when he threw 99 or below.

    In 16 seasons, Wagner has a career ERA of 2.31 with 422 saves and an 11.9 K/9 ratio. Ridiculous numbers for sure.

    Wagner's ability to hit triple-digits on the radar-gun was a huge reason why he was one of the most intimidating pitchers in MLB for more than a decade.

2. Mike Schmidt

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    Michael Jack Schmidt is second all-time in Gold Gloves by a third-baseman with 10. He is also the greatest Philadelphia Phillie ever.

    Schmidt was as complete of a baseball player to have ever played the game. His use of the turf (concrete) at Veterans Stadium to bounce balls from his knees may have revolutionized the position forever.

    Schmidt dominated the 1970's, and joined Joe Morgan and Johnny Bench as the three players who were tops in the NL offensively and defensively at their respective positions. Schimidt's 404 put-outs in 1974 is still sixth all-time for MLB third-basemen.

1. Chuck Klein

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    Chuck Klein is one of the greatest Philadelphia Phillies to have ever played the game. He played right field for the Phillies for 15 seasons and his numbers defensively are rather impressive.

    Klein ranks sixth all-time in put-outs among RF with 2,638, and sixth in career assists (from RF) with 171. In 1930, Klein had the third most assists ever by a right fielder with 44.

    Right field is often the position where you will find the outfielder with the strongest arm, and Chuck Klein certainly proves that adage true.