The Philadelphia Phillies’ Greatest Players in Franchise History – by Position

by on October 4th, 2015
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For years, the Philadelphia Phillies were doormats of the National League (NL).

They are doormats no more, at least as of the 2011 Major League Baseball (MLB) season.

According to Wikipedia, “The franchise has also experienced long periods of struggle. The age of the team and its history of adversity has earned it the dubious distinction of having lost the most games of any team in the history of American professional sports.”

Again, points out Wikipedia, the Phillies had losing records from 1919-1931, 1933-1948, 1951, 1956, 1958-1961, 1968-1974, 1984-1985, 1987-1992, 1994-2002. The team has been in the World Series (WS) only seven times, 1915, 1950, 1980, 1983, 1993, 2008 and 2009. The team has won two WS, in 1981 and 2008.

Now, those futilities of losing are gone. The Phils haven’t had a losing season since 2003, and cliched the National League (NL) Central Division.

So, who are the best all time Philadelphia Phillies, by position?

By position, I mean the symbols shared by almost all baseball scorekeeping systems. Scorekeeping systems involve designating a player by the player’s position, regardless of his uniform number or actual name.

I have two rules when choosing the best all time players by position. 1) the player must be in his prime when playing for the team, and, 2) he played for the team at least five years. For example, I could put center fielder Willie Mays, who played for the Mets at the tail-end of his career, as the greatest Met center fielder. But Willie played for the Mets for only a short period, and was in his 40s and way past his prime when he was on the team.

Some symbols and abbreviations are shared by nearly all scorekeeping systems. For example, the position of each player is indicated by a number. According to Wikipedia, here are the numbers for each baseball position:

1. Pitcher 2. Catcher 3. First Baseman 4. Second Baseman 5. Third Baseman 6. Shortstop 7. Left Field 8. Center Field 9. Right Field

A three way tie. Pitchers Steve Carlton ,Grover Alexander and Robin Roberts. Both hurlers were on Phillie teams that appeared in the WS. And, they had long associations with the club. I place Alexander on the team because he was in the first Phillie WS appearance. I would put Carlton first, because he was on the first Phillie WS team.. I’d place Roberts on the team because he was on the 1950 NL Champs, and was a workhorse, in terms of innings pitched, wins, etc. If he had played for the Yankees, for example, he could have won 300 games or more.

Catcher Darren Dalton was elected to the Phillies “Wall of Fame” in 2010. According to Wilkipedia, Dalton, “nicknamed Dutch…He has been called the “Greatest Clubhouse Leader the Phillies ever had.” He earned a WS ring with the Florida Marlins in 1997.”

In addition, “In 14 seasons, Daulton hit .245 with 137 home runs, 588 RBI and 511 runs scored in 1161 games.”

Also, “Daulton was ranked as the 25th greatest catcher of all-time by Bill James in the 2001 edition of his Historical Baseball Abstract.”

First Baseman Ryan Howard joined the team in 2004, and has played for the Phillies his entire career. Howard has hit as many as 58 home runs (HRs) in a year, and as many as 149 runs batted in (RBI). In total, Howard has clubbed 288 HRs, drove in 864 RBI, and has a lifetime batting average (BA) of .275. Howard won the Rookie of the Year (RoY) in 2005 and the Most Valuable Player Award (MVP), in 2006, according to Wikipedia.

In addition, Wikipedia points out that, “Howard is the fastest player to reach both the 100 and 200 home run milestones in Major League Baseball history, passing the marks in 2007 and 2009, respectively.”

Another Phillie “Wall of Famer” is Second Baseman Juan Samuel, who played for the team from 1983-1989.

According to Wikipedia, “During his majors career, Samuel collected 1,578 hits, 396 stolen bases (SBs), and also reached double figures in home runs nine times. A popular player in Philadelphia, he appeared in the 1983 World Series, going 0-for-1 in three games. Samuel, an aggressive hitter who infrequently drew bases on balls was once quoted as saying, “You don’t walk off the Island (meaning his home country). You Hit.”

Third baseman Mike Schmidt may just be the best Phillie player ever. Not on the Phillies Wall of Fame, but elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame (HoF) in 1995 (a first ballot inductee, receiving 96.5% of first ballot votes), as well as the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. Schmidt is considered one of the all-time best third basemen, spending his entire career (1972-1979) with the team. Schmidt’s uniform number 20 was retired by the Phils in 1990.

He is a three-time MVP (1980,1981, 1986), a 12-time all star, a 10-time Gold Glove winner, and WS MVP when the Phils won their first WS Championship in 1980.

Schmidt is a member of the illustrous 500 HR club (548), drove in 1,595 RBI, and averaged .267.

He led the league in HRs eight times, RBI four times, and slugging percentage five times.

Shortstop Jimmy Rollins. A lifetime Phillie, on the team since 2000, Rollins’ total figures include a .272 Ave., 373 SBs, 1,080 runs scored, and 170 HRs.

He was MVP in 2007, a WS Champ in 2008, a three-time all star, a Silver Slugger winner in 2007, led the league in SBs (46) in 2001, and in 2007 he topped the league in runs scored, with 139.

Left fielder Gregory Michael “The Bull” Luzinski was on the 1980 Philly WS Champ team. He played for the Phils for 11 of his 12-year career (1970-1983), finishing up his career with the Chicago White Sox as a first baseman/DH. He was an all star four times, representing Philadelphia.

He led the league in RBI in 1975.

According to Wikipedia, Luzinski “homered in each of the 3 National League series played from 1976 to 1978, though the Phillies did not advance to the World Series those years. In 1980, he suffered a major slump with injuries in the regular season, batting just .228 with 19 home runs and 56 RBIs, but came back with 2 game-winning hits in the 1980 National League Championship Series, including a game-winning home run in Game 1, as Philadelphia beat Houston in five games to finally make the World Series, where they defeated the Kansas City Royals to take the title.”

Luzinski finished his career with a .276 Ave., 307 HRs, and 1,128 RBI.

Accordnig to Wikipedia, Center fielder Don Richard “Richie” Ashburn (March 19, 1927 – September 9, 1997), also known by the nicknames, “Putt-Putt”, “The Tilden Flash”, and “Whitey” due to his light-blond hair…He grew up to become a professional outfielder and veteran broadcaster for the Philadelphia Phillies and one of the most beloved sports figures in Philadephia history. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995.” His uniform was retired by the team in 1979.

Ashburn spent 12 of his 15-year career (1948-1962), with the Phils, and also spent time with the Cubs and Mets during the latter part of his career.

He was a six-time all star, and led the league in On-base percentage four times, SBs once, BA twice, and hits three times.

Right fielder Chuck Klein, who, according to Wikipedia, “was known as the “Hoosier Hammer.” He was one of the most prodigious National League sluggers in the late 1920s and early 1930s.”

Among Klein’s highlights are MVP (1932), triple crown winner (1933), a two-time all star (1933-1934), was HR (38) and SB champ (20) in 1932, and in 1936, hit four home runs in one game. He led the league in HRs four times, Ave. and SBs once, runs scored and slugging percentage tthree times, and hits twice.

Klein played from 1928-1944, playing for the Phils 10 years of his career, also playing for the Cubs.. He was elected to the Hof in 1980, and his uniform number was retired by the Phillies in 2001.


Explanation of scorekeeping:

Phillies Records:

Grover Alexander statistics:

Steve Carlton’s statistics:

Robin Roberts’ statistics:

Darren Daulton’s background and statistics:

Ryan Howard’s statistics:

Juan Samuel’s statistics and background:

Mike Schmidt’s background and statistics:

Jimmie Rollins statistics:

Greg Luzinski’s background and statistics:’R’

Richie Ashburn statistics and background:

Chuck Klein background and statistics:

Philadelphia Phillies Wall of Fame:

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