Every franchise is defined by the droves of players that have worn its uniform over time.
With such a lengthy history, the Philadelphia Phillies are well defined. From the home run heroics of Mike Schmidt to the monstrous power of Ryan Howard, the Phillies have supplied the power. From Pete Alexander to Steve Carlton, the Phils boast two of the best pitchers of their respective generations. From the gritty play of Pete Rose to the hard-nosed style of Chase Utley, Philadelphia has been well-represented.
Established in 1883, the Phillies have had some of the best players of all time under contract at one point or another, and by looking at the 50 greatest players in the history of this organization, we're able to take a glimpse at the success it has had.
Is the Phillies all-time home run king number one? What about the man simply known as "Lefty"—the team's all-time leader in wins? Will one of these commonly-named greats be number one, or are there a few surprises in store?
There is only one way to find out...
*As always, only statistics accrued with the Phillies' organization were taken into consideration for this slide show.
This list of Philadelphia Phillies' greats is probably going to be a little different from ones you may have read in the past. Most of that is because different writers value different traits, well, differently. For me, a player can only be considered "great" when he's had a long lasting impact on the club.
That reason alone creates the greatest difference—time spent with the Phillies' organization factored heavily into some of the rankings here. Players that have spent copious amounts of time with the Phillies had the opportunity to leave a larger mark on the franchise's history.
Of course, some players left long lasting impressions on the organization despite spending lesser amounts of time. That was definitely accounted for.
The second difference is that I used statistics that players accrued only in their time as a member of the Phillies. I don't think the Phils would be very concerned with what Steve Carlton did as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, or later in his career, with the Minnesota Twins. Only stats with the Phillies count.
So please, before calling for my head, keep those few points in mind.
Also, I thought this would be an appropriate spot to give Harry Kalas an honorable mention. I wanted to keep this list specifically related to players, but Harry would definitely be in my top five somewhere.
Otto Knabe is one of the least-discussed of the Philadelphia Phillies' all-time greats, and that comes as a bit of a surprise. After all, he was born in Pennsylvania, spent most of his career in the state, and was buried in Philadelphia after his death in 1961. He was even nicknamed "Dutch," which of course pays tribute to his Pennsylvania heritage.
On the field, he did everything you'd expect a short second baseman to do—play that gritty, hard-nosed style of baseball. He led the league in sacrifice hits three times with the Phillies, On the base paths, he had a knack for finding ways to reach base, normally via the walk or single, and using his speed to score runs.
For a reliever, Jim Konstanty had one heck of an interesting career. He was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies from Toronto, then of the International League, as what is described as a "minor league working agreement" prior to the 1948 season.
Though he appeared in just six games that season, Konstanty would soon become an integral part of the Phillies bullpen, allowing them to make a postseason run in 1950. Twice he would lead the league in games finished, including that '50 season, when he would also save 22 games, a feat worthy of the MVP Award for the time period.
Now that Philadelphia Phillies' fans get to listen to color commentator Chris Wheeler talk about how excitedly Juan Samuel waves his arm around as a third base coach, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise to those who don't know, but Samuel played the game with the same sort of passion as the Phils' second baseman.
After signing with the organization as an amateur free agent, Samuel became a fixture at the top of the lineup. He led the league in plate appearances twice and at-bats three times. At the plate, he was a do-or-die type player. He was prone to striking out—a lot—but he made things happen when he was able to put the ball in play. He had speed to burn, and led the league in triples twice.
After a few seasons in Philly, he was traded to the New York Mets in a deal that would bring two more key pieces to the Phillies—Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell.
With Juan Samuel on his way to New York, the Philadelphia Phillies needed a new spark at the top of the order, and luckily enough, Lenny Dykstra was the man for the job. After taking a few seasons to settle in to Philadelphia, "Dude" put his great baseball "tools" to use in 1993, become an integral part of the Phillies' march towards the World Series, finishing second to Barry Bonds in the MVP voting, despite leading the league in at-bats, runs, hits, and walks.
In fact, Dykstra's knack for finding a way to get on base would define his career, if health had not already done that. The biggest knock against him as always been (and in regards to on-the-field issues, will always be) his inability to actually stay on the field. He played in more than 100 games for the Phils in a single season just twice.
For a fun fact, his son, Cutter Dykstra, is currently playing in the Washington Nationals' system.
Charlie Ferguson spent just four seasons with the Philadelphia Quakers, and if his first season in 1884 was going to be a precursor for the rest of his career, he probably should have just quit. After all, he allowed the most earned runs in baseball that season and lost 25 games.
However, Ferguson responded with three dominant season, never posting an ERA above 3.00 and winning at least 22 games, including 30 in 1886, in a single season.
As it turns out, he was also a solid hitter, and spent some time playing second base and the outfield. He hit six career home runs and posted an OPS of .735 for his career.
John Kruk never really looked like a baseball player, but did look like just the type of guy that would become an instant fan-favorite in Philadelphia. He had the mullet. He had the blue-collar workmanship that the city loved, but most of all, he was successful.
Originally drafted by the San Diego Padres, Kruk was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, along with Randy Ready, for a promising outfielder named Chris James. It's safe to say the Phillies got the better of this deal. Kruk was a three-time all start and hit .309 over the course of his Phillies career.
Though his career was short, the impact he had on the Phils, the 1993 season, and the City of Brotherly Love will never be forgotten.
The Philadelphia Phillies purchased the contract of George McQuillan of the Eastern League looking to bolster their pitching staff way back in 1906, and boy, did they ever accomplish that. His impact on the club was immediate, as he posted a record of 4-0 with an ERA of 0.66 in his first six games. The next season, he won 23 games, and in total, pitched six seasons with the Phillies, a solid rotation option in each one.
McQuillan would be traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 1911 as part of a massive eight players swap that ultimately, never really produced a household name.
The Philadelphia Phillies acquired the rights to Nap Lajoie for just $1,500 in 1896, which isn't a bad price for a guy who would go on to become one of the top second baseman in the organization's history, despite spending just five seasons with the Phils.
He had gap-to-gap power, a sort of anomaly for a second baseman of his time period, which he displayed frequently. That power was on a special display in 1898, when he led the league in doubles, hit six home runs, and drove in 127 runs.
Of course, like many a good Phillie, he had one of the best seasons of his career in 1901 after jumping ship for Philly's other team, the Philadelphia Athletics, where he would lead the league in nearly every offensive category.
Eppa Rixey is another pitcher that signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent and had an immediate impact on the club, posting an ERA of just 2.50 in his first season. In total, he tossed eight solid seasons for the Phillies, and despite leading the league in losses twice, managed to post an ERA of 2.28 for his career with the Phils.
He was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 1921 for Greasy Neale and Jimmy Ring, neither of whom amount to very much with the Phillies.
Tully Sparks had an interesting career. He pitched just one game for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1897 before joining the Pittsburgh Pirates for the 1899 campaign. In 1901, the Phillies purchased his contract from the Pirates, but Milwaukee (then of the American League) purchased his contract from the Phils before he could suit up.
Sparks must have enjoyed his time in Philadelphia, for just a few seasons later he "jumped" from the Boston Americans back to the Phillies, where he spent the next eight seasons, and the Phillies were sure happy to have him back. (Kind of reminds me of Cliff Lee's career, no?) He won 95 games for the Phils and posted an ERA of just 2.48.
The Philadelphia Phillies acquired Fred Luderus from the Chicago Cubs during the 1910 season, and some are surprised to learn that the first baseman would go on to spend 11 seasons with the Phillies. Over that span of time he accrued statistics making him worthy of, at the very least, consideration as the greatest first baseman the organization has ever seen.
Luderus was a work-horse and played a lot of games. In total, he played in 1,311 games for the Phils and was tied for the league lead in games played for the 1913 season. He posted an OPS of .744 and hit 83 home runs, so while he is considered one of the finest first baseman the organization has seen, he isn't the best.
Pinky Whitney first came to the Philadelphia Phillies from New Orleans, of the Southern Association, via the 1927 Rule 5 Draft, and after spending a couple of seasons with the team, was traded to the Boston Braves for a couple of players that never made a real name for themselves in Philadelphia. A few seasons later, the Phillies re-acquired him, then from the Boston Bees, for Mickey Haslin.
In total, Whitney spent 10 seasons with the Phils, playing a couple of different infield positions and posting an OPS of .789, batting .307, and smashing 237 doubles.
I have a feeling that most Philadelphia Phillies' fans won't appreciate seeing Scott Rolen so soon, even if he is strongly disliked by the fan base, but at least hear me out before readying (or at the very least, using) your torches and pitchforks.
Is Rolen one of the greatest third baseman of his day? Absolutely. He made an immediate impact on the St. Louis Cardinals when he was traded there in 2002, but what contributions did he make to the Phillies' organization?
The answer is next to nothing.
When he broke into the league in 1997 and won the National League's Rookie of the Year Award, he represented the hope that the organization was slowly clawing its way out of the cellar and more importantly, mediocrity. He put together about six solid seasons with the Phillies, in total, before demanding a trade and forever turning his back on the organization.
Did he throw up some impressive numbers over his tenure? Yes, though, I often tend to believe that even they are a bit exaggerated. What does he have to show for his hard work here? Once again, the answer is next to nothing.
Had he waited just a few seasons, the Phillies would have been able to assemble one of the greatest infields of all time. Jimmy Rollins was waiting in the wings, and Chase Utley and Ryan Howard soon followed.
Instead, he took the wrong way out, and has nothing to show for seven solid seasons with the Phillies organization. Once again, Rolen was an excellent defender and a great offensive player, and I would have no problem seeing him higher on a different list, but on mine, this is where he belongs.
You must be doing something right when, after being drafted in the 5th round of the amateur draft, the organization trades a future Hall of Fame first baseman to open up some playing time for you. That was exactly the case for Jim Thome's successor for the Philadelphia Phillies, Ryan Howard.
There isn't much to say about Howard that the world doesn't already know. Offensively, you have to take the good with the bad. Sure, he's going to strike out a ton, but there probably aren't many guys, if any, that are stronger in the middle of the lineup.
A former Rookie of the Year and National League MVP, Howard has led the league in home runs twice and in RBI three times. He may be somewhat of a butcher defensively, though improving, but it's hard to ignore the man who was the quickest to reach 250 homers.
Under contract through, at least, the 2016 season, it is up to Howard to define his legacy with the Phils.
Acquired by the Philadelphia Phillies prior to the 1964 season, Jim Bunning was forever written into the history of the franchise when he tossed a perfect game against the New York Mets on Fathers' Day in 1964, caught by Gus Triandos, who was also in that deal with the Tigers. However, it is going to take more than single game accomplishments to move up this list.
Even Armando Galarraga (should have) thrown a perfect game.
Bunning spent six seasons with the Phils and his perfect game is the highlight of that tenure. The rest of his career was good, but not as great. He certainly was a work-horse, however, leading the league in games started, innings-pitched, strikeouts, and batters faced at least once during his Phillies tenure.
He finished second in the Cy Young voting to Mike McCormick in 1967 with just 5% of the vote, but he may have been the best choice.
Is Cole Hamels the greatest pitcher ever drafted and developed by the Philadelphia Phillies? There is certainly a case to be made. He was drafted with the 17th overall pick in 2002, and now in 2011, Hamels is one of the best left handed starting pitchers in all of baseball.
His heroics during the 2008 postseason will never be forgotten, as he collected both NLCS MVP and WS MVP honors, marching towards a 4-0 record and a World Series ring. He boasts a career WHIP of 1.141 and unlike so many other players on this list, can still climb towards the top.
Just 28-years-old, it is not entirely unimaginable to see Hamels sitting within this list's top ten some day.
When the Philadelphia Phillies inked Larry Bowa to a contract as an amateur free agent in 1965, they knew they were getting a premium defensive shortstop. In fact, as it turns out, only one man would ever be considered better than Bowa at short in the history of this organization, and we've yet to cover him.
Obviously, the Bowa's defense never came into question. The real question was—can he it? He must have done something right at the plate because he spent 12 seasons as the Phils' shortstop. All in all, Bowa was a solid player. He led the league in many categories (did do so in triples and at-bats in two separate seasons,) but he did hit .300 a couple times, was a great base runner, and had a fire that made him a likeable guy.
He made the All Star team five time with the Phils before they shipped him to the Chicago Cubs, along with Ryne Sandberg, for Ivan De Jesus, who never did help them them take that next step.
Bowa would return to the City of Brotherly Love as the team's manager years later, and he managed with the same fire that made him a great player. Whether or not that made him a good manager, well, that is a different discussion.
The Philadelphia Phillies selected Darren Daulton in the 25th round of the amateur draft out of high school in 1980, and after a few seasons of development in the Minor League, he was ready to take over as the team's primary catcher—a position he would hold for parts of nearly 14 seasons.
A character that will forever be remembered in Philadelphia for fairly obvious reasons, "Dutch" was an integral part of the Phils' march towards the World Series in 1993. A year prior, he erupted to lead the league in RBI and was named the league's best offensive catcher. En route to a demoralizing exit from the Fall Classic in '93, Daulton would place seventh in MVP voting.
A three-time All Star, the biggest roadblock in Daulton's career had always been health. He appeared in more than 100 games with the Phils just four times. But like all great Philadelphia sports figures, Dutch has found his way into broadcasting here in Philly, and is a constant reminder of the energy and excitement of those 1993 National League champions.
Much like Larry Bowa, when the Philadelphia Phillies acquired Garry Maddox from the San Francisco Giants for talented outfielder Willie Montanez, they knew they were getting an incredibly gifted defender. After all, it was the strongest part of his game; the tool that helped him become known as the "Secretary of Defense" in center field.
With premium defense, any offensive support he provided was gravy.
As it played out, Maddox was a solid offensive player as well. His career batting average with the Phillies was .284 and he posted an OPS of .729. He had some pop and good speed, and he created an interesting mix of threats as an offensive player.
Over his 12 year Phillies' career, Maddox played a role in several different postseasons, but none bigger than the 1980 run to the World Series.
In my personal opinion, Granny Hamner is one of the most underrated Philadelphia Phillies of all time, and anyone that is employed by a single organization for more than 15 years deserves kudos. The Phillies' are historically weak at the shortstop position, and Hamner held down the fort for close to two decades, spending parts of 16 seasons in Philadelphia.
Signed as an amateur free agent in 1944, Hamner was in the lineup during the same year. He had an interesting blend of tools as a shortstop, with average defense and contact abilities, but deceptive power to the gaps and a good eye at the plate.
He became a very durable player, and over the course of his career posted an OPS of .689 and batted .263. He hit 180 home runs and drove in more than 80 runs in four different seasons. He was a member of just one postseason team, and while most of the Phils' offense rolled over for the New York Yankees in 1950, Hamner refused to give in, batting .429.
After Darren Daulton and before Carlos Ruiz, Mike Lieberthal was the Philadelphia Phillies' starting catcher. Drafted by the Phils with the third overall pick of the 1990 amateur draft, "Lieby" didn't spend much time in the Minor Leagues before arriving as the team's everyday catcher in 1994.
He would spend 14 seasons with the Phillies, becoming arguably the greatest offensive catcher the organization has ever seen. He posted a career OPS of .788 with the Phils and hit 155 home runs, as well as 255 doubles.
Though he was never known as much of a defensive catcher, he was a solid backstop (that never should have won a Gold Glove Award.) All in all, with few bright spots for the club during his tenure, Lieberthal was a breath of fresh air, and one heck of a good catcher.
When the Philadelphia Phillies acquired Ron Reed from the St. Louis Cardinals in 1975 in exchange for Mike Anderson, they had no way of knowing just how important he would be to the club's success. For eight seasons he was one of the best relievers in all of baseball, serving primarily as the bridge to Tug McGraw in the ninth inning, but a number of different roles as well.
He logged more than 800 innings for the Phillies to the tune of a 3.06 ERA and 1.150 WHIP. Reed appeared in 458 games and seven postseasons, including the 1980 World Series run, where he and McGraw were lights out.
The Philadelphia Phillies have had a few great catchers in their history, and save for Carlos Ruiz to today's fans, Bob Boone may have been the best and most recognizable. He was drafted by the Phillies in the sixth round of the 1969 amateur draft and took over as the starting catcher just a few seasons later.
He was a whiz behind the plate, known for his proficient game calling and defensive skills. He wasn't too shabby at the plate either. He had good power for a catcher and drove the ball well. Of course, he was more valuable to the Phillies because of his skill in handling the pitching staff, but he as no automatic out at the plate either.
He spent ten seasons in Philadelphia before joining the California Angels.
The Philadelphia Phillies signed Willie Jones as an amateur free agent in 1947, and in a short period of time he would be contributing to the club in a big way. "Puddin' Head," as he was called, spent 13 seasons as a member of the Phillies' organization, having one of his finest seasons in 1950, helping the "Whiz Kids" make the postseason, and the World Series, before eventually losing to the New York Yankees.
When Jones became an everyday player, he rarely took a day off and almost never missed a game—he played in 1,520 games with Phillies, to be exact. A two-time All Star, Jones hit 180 home runs and posted an OPS of .756 for the Phils, before he was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 1959.
Curt Simmons came to the Philadelphia Phillies organization as an amateur free agent in 1947, and he pitched just one game that season. Over the course of the next 13 seasons, the fans would be seeing a lot more of him, however.
A three-time All Star, Simmons racked up 115 wins for the Phils and posted an ERA of 3.66, He had arguably his best season with the Phillies in 1950, when he posted a record of 17-8 as the Phils marched towards the World Series—a series that Simmons would miss due to his involvement with the Korean War.
Though he was ineligible for the World Series, he was granted permission to attend to cheer his guys on, but ultimately, the underdog Whiz Kids were no match for the New York Yankees.
The Philadelphia Phillies acquired Johnny Callison from the Chicago White Sox prior to the 1960 season, hoping that the young outfielder would develop into a fine player in Philadelphia, and boy, did he ever. He spent 10 seasons in Philadelphia and developed into one of the finest outfielders in the history of the organization.
Callison led the league in triples twice and once hit 40 doubles to lead the league in that statistic as well. He posted an OPS of .795 with the Phillies and hit .271, bopping 185 home runs as well. He had a knack for drawing walks and getting on base, and though he wasn't necessarily "fast," he was a great runner and a pest to pitchers.
The Phillies would later trade him to the Chicago Cubs for Oscar Gamble and Dick Selma, effectively ending his career with the Phils.
When the Philadelphia Phillies purchased the contract of Gavvy Cravath in 1911, they had no idea he would put up the kind of numbers that he did. He became the premier slugger of his time, and combined with a small ball park, was not a man that the opposing pitcher wanted to see in the batter's box.
He spent nine seasons with the Phillies, tearing the cover off of the ball in each one. At one point or another during his Phillies tenure, Cravath led the league in runs, hits, home runs, RBI, walks, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, and total bases at least once, but several multiple times.
A respected baseball man, he would later become the manager of the Phillies, though he didn't have much success in that regard.
Greg Luzinski was the Phillies' 11th overall selection during the 1968 amateur draft, so there were high hopes that he could use his tremendous size to hit for power, and he did not disappoint. "The Bull" spent 11 seasons with the Phillies and became a fan favorite, deeply entrenched in the city, where he now owns a restaurant in Citizens Bank Park.
On the field, he wasn't called the Bull for nothing. He just had this presence at the plate that made pitchers quiver, and he stood tall anchoring the Phils' lineup. During the 1975 campaign, he led the league in RBI, total bases, and intentional walks, finishing second in the MVP voting to future-Phillie, Joe Morgan.
He was a member of the 1980 World Series team, and much like Pat Burrell many years in the future, his last game in a Phillies' uniform was spent celebrating the title. He signed as a free agent with the Chicago White Sox in 1981.
There have been several great catchers in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies, but arguably the greatest of the bunch is very rarely discussed. That man would be Jack Clements, who signed as a free agent in Philadelphia when the team was still known as the Quakers.
Clements spent 14 seasons as a member of the Phillies / Quakers, primarily serving as the team's catcher but also as an outfielder. He hit .289 over his tenure and posted an OPS of .778. His 70 home runs and 193 doubles show that he had some power for the time period, especially for a catcher.
Perhaps most interestingly, he was left handed! Most catchers today are right handed, but Clements caught more than 1,000 games as a left handed catcher. He was later traded to the St. Louis Browns in a deal that brought not only Red Donahue to Philadelphia, but also a guy by the name of Klondike Douglass. (Awesome.)
Von Hayes' name may forever be marred by the fact that he was involved in one of the worst trades of all time, as far as the Philadelphia Phillies are concerned. After all, the Phils sent five players, including Manny Trillo and Julio Franco, to the Cleveland Indians for his services. What people tend to forget is that while he was here—and though he may have never lived up to his full potential—he was good.
Really good. Hayes spent nine seasons with the Phillies, leading the league in doubles and runs in 1986, when he finished eighth in the MVP voting. Though he made just one All Star team, Hayes threw up some good numbers. He hit .272 and posted an OPS of .789. He was a great base runner and swiped 202 bags. Hayes had tremendous power to the gaps, and collected 232 doubles, as well as 124 home runs.
When the Phillies traded him to the California Angels years later, they acquire Ruben Amaro Jr.—now the general manager of the Phillies.
When the Philadelphia Phillies selected Pat Burrell first overall in 1998, they knew that they were getting a guy who could throw up some big offensive numbers. The biggest knock against him had always been defense, and for those of us who have watched him make playing left field look difficult, it isn't hard to imagine why he was never going to stick as a third baseman (though, some guy named Scott Rolen had a little something to do with his moving to left field as well.)
Looking back, I think some fans may forget just how good "Pat the Bat" was over the course of his career in Philadelphia. The batting average may not have been there, but everything else was. He slugged 251 home runs with the Phillies and posted an OPS of .852.
With his help, the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, and don't think any of us will forget who led the parade down Broad Street.
Chris Short was one of the most versatile pitchers to ever come through the Philadelphia Phillies' organization, but then again, there's always something strange about those left handed pitchers, isn't there? Signed as an amateur free agent in 1957, he got his first taste of Major League Baseball just a few seasons later, and by 1960, was beginning to play a large role.
In total, Short had a long career—14 years with the Phillies. Over that time he pitched as a starter and a reliever; an ace and a middle of the rotation guy; a middle innings reliever, a long reliever, and a guy counted on to get big outs.
A two-time All Star, Short logged 2,253 innings as a member of the Phillies. He recorded 132 wins and posted an ERA of 3.38. In arguably his best season, 1965, he logged 18 wins and posted an ERA of just 2.82.
Is there a more iconic image in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies' franchise than Tug McGraw celebrating the team's first World Series? A few come close, but in the end, the "Tugger" throwing both of his arms to the sky stands alone.
He came to the Phillies after spending the first nine seasons of his career with the rival New York Mets, when the two teams struck a deal, sending the closer (along with Don Hahn and Dave Schneck) to the Phils in exchange for Mac Scarce, John Stearns, and Del Unser.
McGraw was an instant hit in the City of Brotherly Love. He was an All Star in his first season with the Phillies, and success followed. He saved 94 games for the Phils and finished 313. When the Phillies won the World Series in 1980, he pitched in every game of the League Championship Series and four World Series game.
That same season, he finished fifth in the Cy Young voting, with teammate Steve Carlton coming out on top.
The Philadelphia Phillies purchased the contract of Billy Hamilton from the Kansas City Cowboys prior to the 1891 seasons for a price somewhere in the range of $5,000 - $6,000, and it was well worth it.
Hamilton spent six seasons with the Phillies, building much of his Hall of Fame career with the organization. With an incredible eye at the plate and great speed, he was an obvious threat. He led the league in walks and steals five times, in runs scored four times, and even once in hits.
He led the league in on-base percentage five times and his career OBP with the Phillies was an incredible .468. Those statistics are just the tip of the iceberg. Hamilton's OPS with the Phils was .927, and to sum him up, he could do it all.
As many times as I have seen Sam Thompson's numbers, I still have trouble believing he was that good. He came to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1889—the last season the team was called the Quakers—when his contract was purchased from the Detorit Wolverines for $5,000. The Wolverines probably wish they had just kept him.
Thompson spent 10 seasons with the Phillies, posting outlandish numbers that landed him in the Hall of Fame years later. He led the league in RBI three times, and in at-bats, hits, and home runs twice. In his career with the Phillies, he posted an OPS of .897, hit .334, and swiped 192 bases. As a right fielder with a cannon, he was the epitome of a five-tool player.
And "Big Sam" did it all with that ridiculous mustache!
When the Philadelphia Phillies acquired Curt Schilling from the Houston Astros in 1992, they were doing something that they seem to do much more frequently nowadays—bringing a legitimate ace to Philly. Swapped for Jason Grimsely, Schilling would give the Phils' rotation a legitimate threat, though ultimately, he has nothing to show for his tenure.
A three-time All Star for the Phillies, Schilling lead the league in strikeouts twice while wearing red pin-stripes and through various other statistics, showed off his work-horse mentality by leading the league in innings pitched, games started, and complete games on different occasions. He finished fourth in Cy Young voting in 1997, but some guy named Pedro Martinez—a future teammate—won the award.
When the Phillies traded him to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2000, they should have been able to pillage the farm system, but instead settled for scrubs like Vicente Padilla and Travis Lee.
The Philadelphia Phillies drafted Chase Utley with the 15th overall selection in the 2000 amateur draft, and he has been an integral part of the organization ever since. Known as a silent leader who leads by example, Utley has been at the forefront of the Phillies' offense attack for nine seasons, as well as playing well above average defense, and the legendary Harry Kalas went so far as to call him, simply, "The Man."
A five-time All Star, Utley has finished within the top 10 in MVP voting in three seasons. He is the owner of a career .290 batting average and .882 OPS. As a second baseman, Utley has provided an uncommon source of power, driving 258 doubles and hitting 188 home runs.
Will injuries play a significant part in the remainder of his career? Well, that remains to be seen. One thing that remains certain is that Utley will continue to be the club's silent leader and one of the most popular Phillies of all time.
The Philadelphia Phillies have housed some great power hitters over the years, but the first that come to mind are often the likes of Mike Schimdt and Ryan Howard. One guy that often isn't mentioned, but should be, is Del Ennis. Signed as an amateur free agent in 1943, he anchored the Phillies' lineup for 11 years and boy, was he strong.
He hit 259 home runs as a Phillie and added 310 doubles. A three-time All Star, he posted an OPS of .812 in his years as a Phillie, but unlike later power hitters, also posted a batting average of .284. Like many of the Whiz Kids, he had trouble hitting against the New York Yankees during the World Series, but during the regular season finished fourth in MVP voting—and award that would go to teammate Jim Konstanty.
Roy Thomas joined the Philadelphia Phillies a year before the turn of the 20th century, but his play for the club was well before its time. A center fielder by trade, he would later be shadowed by popular center fielders like Richie Ashburn, Garry Maddox, and more recently, Shane Victorino, but Thomas was one of the first great center fielders the Phillies had.
He spent 11 seasons in the City of Brotherly Love, and had an incredible affinity for getting on base. Seven times he lead the league in walks with the Phillies, twice in on-base percentage, and during the 1900 season, he also lead the league in plate appearances and runs.
As one can imagine, getting on base frequently over the duration of a career usually means that a player scored frequently, and Thomas did just that. Over his Phillies career, the speedy outfielder (he also stole 228 bases) crossed the plate 923 times.
Photo Credit: www.wikipedia.org
Bobby Abreu gets a lot of flack for not being a "leader" with the Philadelphia Phillies, but it's hard to ignore the success that he had on the field. Acquired from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Kevin Stocker, Abreu reached the height of his potential in a Phillies uniform, becoming the multifaceted offensive player that more than one scout envisioned.
His defense left something to be desired, but there was no ignoring his offensive output. A two-time All Star, Abreu posted an OPS of .928 over his nine year Phillies career, hitting 195 home runs and adding 348 doubles. He drew close to 1,000 walks and stole 254 bases.
People always draw parallels between the fact that after Abreu was traded to the New York Yankees, the Phillies started winning, but it's time to be honest people—it was just a coincidence. The Phils didn't have the pitching to compete until after he was a Bronx Bomber.
The Philadelphia Phillies signed Sherry Magee as an amateur free agent way back in 1904, and though he spent 11 seasons with the franchise, he is not talked about nearly enough as he deserves to be.
Over those 11 seasons, Magee hit .291 and posted an OPS of .790. Taking into consideration the time period in which he played (1904-1914 for the Phillies,) Magee had impressive power. He hit 75 home runs and added 337 doubles. What truly made him a special player was his well-rounded skill set. He had an incredible eye at the plate, drawing 546 walks, and was always a threat to steal, swiping 387 bags in his Phils career.
He was later traded to the Boston Braves for little return, and few men would replicate the success he had with the Phillies.
Photo Credit: www.meetup.com/phillies
Dick Allen certainly had an interesting career, and it was never a popular one. A tremendous talent, the Philadelphia Phillies signed him as an amateur free agent in 1960, and just a few seasons later, he was the National League Rookie of the Year.
A few seasons later, after nearly ending his career by smashing his hand through a car's headlight, he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for a package of players that included Joe Hoerner, Tim McCarver, and Willie Montanez. The Phillies would later re-acquire as part of a three-team deal with the Atlanta Braves and Chicago White Sox that cost the Phillies Barry Bonnell and Jim Essian.
How can I truly sum up his playing career? He was good, but misunderstood. In total, he played for nine seasons in Philadelphia, leading the league in OPS twice during his tenure, ending his Phils career with an OPS of .902. He hit 204 home runs and the same amount of doubles, had an excellent eye at the plate and drove in runners with great frequency.
He would win an MVP Award with the White Sox, and I often get the feeling that had he been the poster boy that the league wanted, he would get much more respect as a player than he often does.
Not long after Roy Thomas was finished roaming center field, the Philadelphia Phillies acquired a new center fielder. They struck a deal with the Chicago Cubs, acquiring Cy Williams in exchange for Dode Paskert in what has become one of the most favored trades in the franchise's history.
Williams would go on to spend 13 seasons with the Phils, arriving in 1918 and retiring in 1930. Over that span of time he hit .306 and posted an OPS of .880. He had a big frame for a center fielder of the day and that translated into above average power. He hit 237 doubles and 213 home runs while under contract with the Phillies.
He was an impressive player, through and through, legging out 49 triples and drawing 551 walks. He lead the league in home runs three times with the Phils, and at one point or another during his career, would lead the league in slugging percentage and OPS.
Now that he's a free agent, Jimmy Rollins' standing in the clubs history has come under question a lot over recent weeks, and the answer isn't much of answer at all—he's more valuable to some than others.
Personally, I tend to take the side of how valuable he actually was to the club. Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the second round of the 1996 amateur draft, it wasn't long before he had arrived in Philly, and above all else, he helped to change the culture of a struggling franchise.
We've heard it said numerous times, but Rollins provided the "spark" that the franchise was severely lacking during some of its darkest days, and with his arrival, the Phillies finally began to turn things around. Rollins is the kind of player who can do that. After all, his defense has always been top notch and in his prime (which some will argue has come and gone,) he had the skill-set to pick the club up and carry it on his back.
And he did.
He won the National League MVP Award in 2007 and is a three-time All Star. He narrowly missed out on adding the Rookie of the Year Award to his collection, but was bested by a couple of guys named Albert Pujols and Roy Oswalt, who happen to be pretty darn good.
But I think that, now that he is in his declining years, some people tend to forget just how good Rollins was and can still be. In 12 seasons with the Phils, Rollins has done it all. He's led the league in plate appearances, at-bats, and triples multiple times, as well as leading the league in games played and stolen bases once.
He hit .272 in his first 12 seasons as a Phillie, and posted an OPS of .761. Rollins has walked 568 times, stolen 373 bases, and hit 100 triples, 388 doubles, and 170 home runs.
There is no doubt in my mind that Rollins is one of the greatest Phillies of all time, and the only reason he is ranked seventh on this list is because there are guys who just can't go any lower in front of him. It would be a real shame to see him wear another uniform in his career.
He deserves to be a lifetime Phillie.
Richie Ashburn is a beloved figure in the city of Philadelphia, not only because of his work with the Philadelphia Phillies on the field, but his work in the broadcast booth as well. When his work was finished out in center field, he and Harry Kalas became the voice of the Phillies, welcomed into the homes of hundreds of thousands of people.
Signed as an amateur free agent, Ashburn joined the Major League club in 1948, finishing third in Rookie of the Year voting. Over the next 12 seasons, he would be somewhat of an on-base machine, and though he had little power, he always found a way to get the offense going.
Over the course of his career, "Whitey" led the league in games played, plate appearances, hits, triples, walks, batting average, and on-base percentage multiple times, and in at-bats and stolen bases once. He posted a career batting average of .311 with the Phillies, and an OPS of .782.
A five-time All Star, Ashburn would continue to inspire the city off the field for a long time, as he and Kalas became known as one of the greatest broadcasting duos across the sport.
Signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1948 as an amateur free agent, the 14 seasons that Robin Roberts spent would the team would be more than historic. He was the definition of a "work-horse" and an "ace," and he exists as so much more than one of the greatest pitchers in the history of the Phillies' organization, but in all of baseball as well.
Roberts was at his best from 1950-56, when he won at least 20 games over each of those six seasons and narrowly missed a seventh straight, when he won 19 games in 1957. Over that span of time he led the league in innings pitched, games started, wins, complete games, strikeouts, batters faced, WHIP, BB/9, and SO/BB.
He made seven consecutive trips to the All Star Game, winning 234 games as a Phillie and posting an ERA of 3.46. Roberts tossed 272 complete games with the club, and posted a WHIP of just 1.171 over those 14 seasons.
As was pointed out in the comments section, I somehow managed to skip over Chuck Klein when writing out the slides, and that is an injustice that simply cannot happen. One of the five greatest Philadelphia Phillies to ever play the game, the list is simply invalid without him.
He was acquired by the Phillies for the first time in July of 1928 from Fort Wayne of the Central League. He would later be traded to the Chicago Cubs and then re-acquired by the Phillies, also signing with the team as a free agent on multiple occasions. All in all, he would spend 15 seasons with the organization, and he was a force to be reckoned with.
Klein posted an OPS of .935 with the Phillies, and as great a mark as that is, it does not begin to describe how good he was. He took home the MVP Award in 1932, and in the years before and after that season finished second to Frankie Frisch and Carl Hubbell, respectively.
As you may have gather from the picture posted to the left, Klein was an offensive juggernaut. At one point or another in his career, he led the league in games, runs, hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, stolen bases, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, and total bases.
Once again, Klein is one of the greatest Phillies of all time without question, and his exclusion from this list (originally) was nothing more than a mistake. Thanks to those who pointed that out.
I'm not sure that a word other than "incredible" exists to describe the career of Ed Delahanty.
He played his first season with the Philadelphia Quakers, and frankly, wasn't good. He posted an OPS of .554 in 1888. He spent another season with the Quakers before going to Cleveland, only to come back to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1891. He'd never have a terrible season again.
In total, he spent 13 seasons with the Phillies' organization, throwing up ridiculous numbers in just about every one of them. "Big Ed" hit .348 with the Phils and posted an OPS of .922. He led the league in doubles, home runs, RBI, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, and total bases multiple times, as well as hits, triples, and batting average at least once.
An interesting factoid that will probably never be replicated again: He hit better than .400 three times!
Baseball is a crazy sport that gives people the opportunity to have vastly different opinions on most topics and not be entirely wrong. This is one of them. Just last week I wrote about the 25 greatest pitchers in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies, and I listed Pete Alexander as number one.
I'm not sure what has changed over the last couple of days, but I don't feel that way any longer—at least—not in regards to this slide show.
For this ranking, I'm putting "Old Pete" number three for reasons we'll get to in just a second. The Phillies took Alexander from Syracuse in the Rule 5 Draft, and boy, did it ever pay dividends. Over the course of eight seasons, he would win more than 30 games three times, and in total, logged 190. He threw a ton of innings, 2,513.2 as a Phillie.
At one point or another, he led the league in nearly every pitching category ever created, but in the long run, it comes down to this: Was he the greatest pitcher to ever impact the Phillies' organization?
I think the next guy would have something to say about that.
That man is none other than the great Steve Carlton.
When I posted the list about the Philadelphia Phillies' greatest pitchers, there was no doubt in my mind that Alexander was the better pitcher. Numbers wise, he did things that took Carlton almost twice the amount of time to accomplish, but this list is different. On this list, I took into account the impact that each man had on the organization, and that opened my eyes a bit, or at least, focused them differently.
After coming to the Phillies via trade from the St. Louis Cardinals, "Lefty" would spend an incredible 15 seasons in Philadelphia, and he was tremendous throughout. He is the team's all-time leader in wins with 241, including the 27 he earned in 1972—widely regarded as one of the greatest pitching seasons of all time.
A 10-time All Star, Carlton won the Cy Young Award an incredible four times with the Phillies, and at one point or another over the course of his career with the team, led the league in wins, ERA, games started, complete games, innings pitched, strikeouts, batters faced, ERA+, SO/9, and SO/BB.
Alexander is one of the greatest pitchers in the history of the game, and may be the better pitcher, but as far as the Phillies are concerned, Carlton is the greatest of all time.
There will be no controversy surrounding the greatest Philadelphia Phillie of all time, because that man is, without a doubt, none other than Michael Jack Schmidt.
Drafted by the Phillies in the second round of the 1971 amateur draft, Schmidt spent his entire 18 season career in the City of Brotherly Love. The greatest third baseman of all time, he is a three-time MVP and a 12-time All Star.
He may be best recognized by the Phillies' faithful for his mammoth home runs, in which no Phillie has ever had more, but he was a well rounded player. A great defender, the biggest knock against his game was his affinity for striking out, but you'll take the good with the bad when a player retires with 548 home runs.
A master at driving in runs, he also had an incredible eye at the plate, leading the league in walks four times and finished with more than 1,500 for his career. It goes without saying that at one point or another, Schmidt led the league in nearly every offensive category ever created, especially those that represent power.
There has never been a Phillie greater than Schmidt, and frankly, there may never be.