100 Greatest Phillies: 10 – Bobby Abreu

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Tue, March 17, 2009 02:00 PM | Comments: 82
100 Greatest Phillies, Posts

Bobby Abreu

Career w/Phillies: .303 AVG / 195 HR / 814 RBI / 254 SB

In 1997, the Phillies traded longtime shortstop Kevin Stocker to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In return, the Phils received outfielder Bob Abreu, a soon-to-be 24-year-old roster filler who performed invisibly for the Astros a year previously. Abreu was selected by the Rays in the expansion draft, but that same day Tampa thought they wouldn’t need a potential fifth outfielder candidate. Little did they know who Abreu would become. The Phils, however, would reap those benefits.

Abreu would run off a nine-year career where he’d break .300 six times. He’d break 100 runs six times. Somehow he’d break 100 runs batted in five more times as a Phillie. To be short, Abreu was a complete offensive machine. His specialty was getting on base. Only once during his Phillie career did he finish under .400 in OBP, and that was a .393 mark in 2001, still pretty good. That’s because the patient Abreu walked frequently — he averaged about 105 walks per season as a Phillie. Also a consistent hitter, he averaged close to 175 hits per year.

Abreu’s considerable power was at its best in 2001 (31 HR) and 2004 (30). That season might be his best — he earned his first of two All-Star berths, and a Silver Slugger while finishing third in the NL in steals with a career-high 40. The next season Abreu made a second consecutive All-Star team and rewarded Phillie fans with maybe his most memorable moment: Swatting more than 40 home runs in the Home Run Derby, setting a then-derby record.

Other memorable moments? Remember Abreu’s dribbler that beat Aaron Heilman and the Mets in April 2006? Or his game-winning inside-the-park home run in 2000 against the Giants — one of 15 game-winning inside-the-park homers in baseball history.

But that derby moment stands out because Abreu played for some bad teams. Only later in his Phillie career did he play on better teams, but Abreu’s three postseason opportunities came with different teams, and all were quick exits. In the field Abreu was mediocre, to say the least, but somehow earned a Gold Glove in 2005. There are also some who say the Phils only became a great team when they traded Abreu in 2006. Is it true? Hard to actually admit it, but to be blunt, Abreu was considered the team’s star late in his Phillie days. He could never be the go-to guy, but he was absolutely an offensive juggernaut. Two-time 30-30 player. Seven-time 20-20 player.

Comment: Argue about Abreu’s placement, but glance at those numbers. Simply awesome. Abreu was wildly consistent and produced a career arc that most players would salivate over. His power came as he hit his prime, yet his .300 average remained in tact. He could run, he could hit, he could score, he could play passable defense. Considering Abreu had his best years while Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Vladimir Guerrero and others tore up baseball, one might say Abreu will be looked upon as one of the great underrated players in baseball history. But even simpler: Abreu is absolutely one of the greatest Phillies in history. He opens the top 10.

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About Tim Malcolm

Tim Malcolm has written 1948 articles on Phillies Nation.

  • Posts: 0 From Section 113

    One of my favorite Phills ever, I think this pick will tick some people off but Jimmy Rollins and Utley and Howard have not played as long as Abreu, just keep that in mind. They are better but they need to prove that over the same length Abreu has.

  • Posts: 0 Albert

    Aberu’s numbers speak for themselves, but this is way to high of a placement for him. At some point you need to consider things outside of statistics. Abreu was definitely a great player for us but I would not include him in the top ten. I do admit that one can argue this placement based off statistics only, which is fine, but I would not place him here because he was never THAT guy for us. Its tough to explain, but I’m sure people will agree with me. With all that said I liked Abreu, and I hope he does well in LA this year.

  • Posts: 0 hamels' left hand

    ugh…we knew it was coming and it’s still tough to swallow, young Tim. sort of like that cleanse you have to drink in order to pass a drug test. that stuff is disgusting.

    he was great, I guess. I just can’t believe I’ve spent all my years rooting for a team where Bobby Freakin’ Abreu is the 10th best player of all time. Maybe I’m just mad at the Phils’ history….?

  • Posts: 0 David

    Abreu was never the best player on the team and yet has been placed above all of his teammates. If this was a fantasy baseball list, I may agree.

  • Posts: 0 Steve

    Tim, he played a half season more in Philly than Rollins has. But Rollins has 2 gold gloves (please no one bring up the fraud gold glove that Abreu won), an MVP award, and he led this team to a world series. Rollins also plays one of the most important positions on the field. Just comparing them side by side right now, you can’t say that Abreu was a better Phillie than Rollins. You just wanted to get a rise out of this.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    Bobby Abreu is the poster boy for the old school “He’s not a winner, he’s not clutch” vs. the new school “look at that OBP!” argument.

  • Posts: 0 Good Night Joe Carter

    As hard as this may be to swallow for some, I think Tim’s placement is very defensible.

    Bobby Abreu is the all-time Phillies leaders in on-base percentage. I know he has a rap from many, including Howard Eskin, of being an empty stats kind of player. But stats are stats, and Bobby did get on base…a lot.

    I also must say that, at the time, his amazing performance in the Home Run Derby was a great moment, at least to me. For a fan whose teams hadn’t won anything…in years…it was nice to finally have someone win something.

  • Posts: 0 Michael Stubel

    Looking back, Bobby Abreu had fantastic numbers for the Phillies. No doubt, he is one of the most talented and consistent hitters in the team history. Although I would place him slightly behind Rollins, I cannot argue with this placement too much.

    This is the “100 Greatest Phillies” not the “100 Greatest Teammates or Leaders.” And although we all value the 1980 and 2008 Championship squads and the players that made them tick, Abreu was a fabulous piece of the Phillies in the late 90s and the opening years of this decade.

    .303 AVG, nearly 200 HR, 200+ SB


  • Posts: 0 Chutley

    section 113 how are you gonna say that Rollins hasnt played as long as Abreu? Rollins deserves this spot

  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    Jim Bunning is a hall of famer and has his number retired as a Phillie (one of only 8 Phillies, excluding Jackie Robinson to have their number retired)… I could have stomached that.

    Sliding Billy Hamilton is a hall of famer… with the limited Phils in the hall of fame, that would have been alright with me.

    Sherry Magee played two more years and put up comparable numbers in a deadball era… top 10 would have been ok by me.

    Cy Williams… the only guy to hit 200 HR before Ruth did. Would have been ok with that selection, too.

    Jimmy Rollins has 3 AS, a SS, an MVP trophy and 2 gold gloves at the most valuable defensive position in baseabll… his numbers are comparable except for walks (Bobby A sure knows how to walk to first). Oh yeah, and that World Series trophy. I could have stomached that.

    Del Ennis, Curt Schilling, Gavvy Cravath…

    My anti-Abreu bias is obviously showing. I love the list and I have been very appreciative of all of the history that has been brought to life by presenting it… HOWEVER it is tough for me to sit back and hear you say that there aren’t 10 players in Philadelphia history better than Bobby Abreu… say what you want, he’s a loser. If he wasn’t, someone would have picked up the 35 year-old outfielder/DH for more than a 1 year $5 million deal.

  • Posts: 0 Jim

    I think the people that say “he wasnt a leader, and never won, and was never clutch” is actually the reason why he is not in the top 5. he had way better numbers than his whiteness and i assume that he has yet to make this list. why is he ahead of him, his leadership abilitiy.

  • Posts: 0 Woodman


  • Posts: 0 greeninil

    LA? Oh yeah – Los Angeles Angels Of Anahiem – GEEZ LOUISE! – good luck in Anahiem Bobby

  • Posts: 0 Jim

    For all the people who say rollins deserves this spot more.

    Abreu(w/ phillies) – 144
    Rollins – 99 OPS+

    That means, offensively speaking, abrue has played 50%(!) better than rollins. rollins , according to his ops, has been a below average (ill be it by 1 point) hitter in his career.

    mind you, rollins started off very slow, and has picked it up, give rollins some time and he may bump abreu from the top ten. he makes up for it defensivley, something abrue never did (though he had an arm)

    i think these stats speak for themselves

  • Posts: 0 Josh

    If you compare them, Abreu is miles ahead of Rollins offensively during his Phillies career. Check it out:



    He won’t be top 10 in another 10 years, he’ll be more like 14 or so. At the moment, I’m ok with this. The whole point of top 10(+) lists is to spark discussion anyway.

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Hey, at least he’s No.10 and not 7 or 8!

  • Posts: 0 David

    There is more to baseball than stats. Abreu was king of the meaningless stats. If you need a clutch hit, stolen base, or defense, Bobby was very lacking. He did know how to take a walk, even when they needed him to Hit in that situation. He is the posterboy for the late 90′s when we were a lousy team. It’s easier to get stats when the other teams are kicking the tar out of you.

  • Posts: 0 BurrGundy

    Bobby Abreu deserves high placement on this list. He suffers from making the game look easy and perhaps he paces himself. He suffered a broken leg early in his career, but has been fairly injury-free most of his career. His stats are stunning and that is an important part of baseball. I believe he was largely run out of town by that idiot commentator Howard Eskin, who never liked Abreu and made a point of campaigning against him.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Rollins is a Gold Glove player… who turned it on in meaningful games and carried this team to the postseason

    Abreu is good.. but like someone else said, this ain’t fantasy baseball.. but this is Tim’s list.. I happen to disagree with Abreu over Rollins

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    The problem with Abreu was that he’s a good player… not a great player, and he didn’t have a ton of talent around him all the time, though he did have Rollins, Rolen, Burrell, Thome, etc… at different points..

    When they needed him to be the #1 guy, he couldn’t do it.. he’d rather walk than drive in the winning run..

    Rollins, MVP, Gold GLoves (Abreu winning one was a joke), NL East crowns, World Series Champions… Rollins is HANDS DOWN a “Greater Phillie” than Abreu

  • Posts: 0 Kyle

    Abreu was a good hitter and had legitimate arm strength in the outfield, however, those instances by the outfield wall at the end of his Phillie career still drive me crazy.

    The Phillies improved by subtracting his lackadaisical attitude and approach to the game when they traded him for next to nothing, If he was such a great player, where was his trade value? Giving him the designation of #10 has to mean he was a GREAT player even at the end of his Phillie career. Good riddance

  • Posts: 0 Kyle

    When they needed him to be the #1 guy, he couldn’t do it.. he’d rather walk than drive in the winning run..

    Well Said Don

    …that summarizes his attitude and phillie career

  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    Agree with everything you’re saying, Don. He’s never going to carry a team into the postseason… he doesn’t have that in him.

    If I had to come up with a pecking order of important characteristics for determining an all franchise list, it would probably look like this:
    1. Tenure 2. Personal accolades/historical importance 3. Championships 4. Cumulative Statistics 5. Intangibles 6. Average/Per year statistics

    Eskin is the king of all d-bags. I saw him at a Phillies game one time (lower level, right field) and he just seems so pompous… it was a great game and he got up and left in the 6th or 7th inning. I booed his ass… and I don’t usually do that (to normal fans… I have three kids so I understand that things happen) but I just couldn’t resist.

  • Posts: 0 James Kay

    Salivating career arc “Old School vs New School” poster boy. Now that is artful. You can’t argue very affectively against the prolonged top tier offensive consistency. But it doesn’t feel right that an uninspirational player like Abreu is in the top 10. Most of the players mentioned in the Chuck P post should have placed higher than Abreu.

  • Posts: 0 NateB

    should have put him at #11… he doesn’t deserve top 10 and NOBODY will have guessed the complete top 10 list in order. great numbers with the phils, but never helped them compete.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    Here are some statistics… my anti-Abreu clearly getting the best of me… maybe this is a witch hunt…. it’s probably not a fair indication of the type of player he was but it validates my feelings in some way:
    Bobby Abreu’s career batting average in the 9th inning… .256
    Bobby Abreu’s career batting average in extra innings…. .237
    1 HR/32 AB’s in the 9th inning (career average: 1HR/27 AB’s)
    1 HR/38 AB’s in extra innings
    With 2 outs, his numbers are worse than they are with 0 and 1 out (.286 BA and .454 SLG… career numbers are .300 and .498)
    His worst months March/April (understandable) and September… inexcusable.
    His BA and power numbers against Mets and Braves (especially ATL) are lower than his career numbers.

  • Posts: 0 Greg V.

    Abreu was good for getting hits when it didn’t matter! If the Phils were down 10-0, he’d hit a solo shot or hit a bases clearing double. When it counted he didnt’ hit and he was even a worse fielder. I don’t recall him being clutch at all! Is Kenny Lofton making the list too?

  • Posts: 0 Richie Allen

    No doubt his numbers put him in the top 10.
    But some players are not the important pieces that help you win games.And clearly Abreu was not a key piece.

    The proof is in this offseason’s outfield selection of Ibanez.If Abreu was so valuable,we would have had him here for less money.Even though he is a right feilder ,Im sure Werth could have played left.

    Abreu just wasnt a championship piece and the phils know it.

  • Posts: 0 KM

    I totally forgot that Bobby wasn’t mentioned.

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    One more good year from Utley, Howard, and J-Roll, and all 3 of them should knock Abreu off the top 10!!

  • Posts: 0 Brett

    just about.

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Shane just got an RBI for team USA to put them in the lead 2-1 vs. Puerto Rico (elimination game!)

  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    USA!!! USA!!! USA!!!

  • Posts: 0 Paul

    No flippin’ way. I don’t even think top 20. Current players Howard and Rollins will surpass Bobby bare effort- the last 3 years as a Phillies he stopped playing hard- that is why they gave him away. Better than HOF Bunning -no. He is not even better than Tony Taylor’s 2000 hits. Luzinski had a greater impact and those old time HOF- even Johnny Calison. Top 10 I’m afraid not.

  • Posts: 0 Rob


  • Posts: 0 From Section 113

    Bobby Abreu was a 20/20 player for 7+ yrs. That’s beyond impressive.
    I stated before while he will be passed Abreu is in the top 10 of most offensive categories.

    ANd as for clutch, he was clutch up until that last yr or so. THe problem with Abreu is that he was thought of a prime leader and player when really he was just a great all around player and role player. He was not THAT guy and we look down on him for it but we shouldn’t. I mean neither was Pat Burrell BUT we all love him for helping us win, I totally believe if the Phills had Abreu here over Pat with our lineup, we could have won and we would have looked at Burrell and ABreu very differently.

    THough I love Abreu, Schilling was more important to this team than Abreu, those who think Schill isn’t a HOF are just foolin themselves.

  • Posts: 0 Joe O'Phillie


    Stat guy who cared about his stats. The best selfsih player in Phils history but cant be top 10 when we now have 2 world seies champs.

  • Posts: 0 David

    Clutch?????????????? As stated, one of his biggest hits in a Phillies uniform was a dribbler to Aaron Heilman. The difference between abreu and burrell is that burrell would swing the bat with the game on the line. Abreu would walk and let the mike lieberthal end the game.

  • Posts: 0 Mark

    Man the day Bobby left the Phillies, I had a party at my house. Top ten, please….Not even a top 100. He was a piler and a horrible outfielder. Soft soft soft. Whatch out for the fence bobby.

  • Posts: 0 christopher

    let’s just call this list what it is at this point “100 Phillies with Best Career Team Stats & Randy Lerch”… because “100 Greatest Phillies” is very misleading with a list that slights so many actual greats but puts abreu in the top 10.

  • Posts: 0 Jay

    did not see that one coming

  • Posts: 0 Kevin Stocker

    I stopped paying attention once my name popped up.

  • Posts: 0 MikeB

    Abreu should be ranked between 20 and 30 somewhere for all the reasons previously stated above by those who do not agree with Tim’s rating.

  • Posts: 0 Jh

    didnt rowand hit the dribbler down the 3rd base line vs. the heilman

  • Posts: 0 Jason B.

    I think stat wise, Abreu deserves the top 10 nod. What makes him different from Rollins or Utley, isn’t his stats. When Utley loses, you can tell it doesn’t sit well with him. You can see in his eyes that he is bothered by any loss. Same with Jimmy. When Abreu lost, he would hop into his Red Ferrari, and drive 90mph up the turnpike, back to his Manhattan high rise. He didn’t care win or lose. Although I agree stat wise that Abreu is a top ten Phil, I wouldn’t have put him there. I would have put him at 11 just on principle alone.

  • Posts: 0 Jason B.

    One other thing, look at picture of Abreu in 2000 and then look at him in 01, 02, and 03. I think he was taking his magic vitamins. He was always a consistent hitter, but his power numbers ballooned with his head.

  • Posts: 0 From Section 113

    I just love how we can all hate on Abreu for not being “that guy”. While I agree whole heartedly and I DO think him leaving benefited or changed the team for the better, he is still deserving of being a top Philly. Maybe not top 10 of all time, but for position players, yes he is definitely a top all time Philly.

    However, we ALL LOVE Nails for taking his “vitamins” and leading us to a WS. He never stayed healthy for us and basically stole money at the end of his career because he never played, but he gets a pass.

    Me and many here on this board love Myers’ competitiveness but he’s a scum bag for beating a woman. I’ll always like him as a player, but he’s a scum bag. Daulton too, but hey they got us to a WS so they get a pass. Yet people on here say there’s more to a person than stats? Really? Do we believe Rose NEVER bet against the team he was on? Why? Because he old the truth so many times before to us? I don’t and there is no proof he didn’t bet against the Phills, and for as much and as long as he lied to us he needs to prove he’s telling the truth. I have seen drunks who can’t control themselves and do very dumb things and hurt people. I have seen the same with gamblers, I wouldn’t put it past him.

    Abreu constantly tried to get into scoring position to help this team out. Was he the greatest defensive player ever? Hell no! He’s afraid of walls. Ok. He had a good arm and enough speed to cover up everything else.

    Considering how conservative Bunning is in the Senate, I am sure there are a few of us, at least 50%, who would not be buddies and think highly different of the guy if we knew him. There’s more to players than just stats right?

    Burrell vetoed a possible trade to benefit this team, yet we love him because he won. He was such a dog at times and heard it from the phans, yet he get’s a pass, because he was here in ’08. I guess everyone on ’08/’80 should make up the top 50 and than any HOFers and then guys like Abreu, because I guess you are all right, stats don’t matter.

    If the technology and mass media was like it is now back then, I am sure our opinion of these guys would be vastly different. How much of an impact did Tugger have on us after his playing days in Philly? A ton, and I am sure that goes into judging him as well. Even if we don’t think it does, we still subconsciously do it.

    Well I’ll let you in on a secret, the reason why guys like Jeter/JRoll/Wright piss other fans off is because they are so special. They have the ability and gusto. If everyone played like them they wouldn’t be special. All I know is it takes a pretty damn good player to hit .300 for his career over the course of 13 seasons. A pretty damn good player, regardless of leadership or intangibles.

    Abreu’s stats with RISP are good. His OBP was VERY good. People got made he took too many walks. My GOD people how many times have we seen Burrel/Howard/even Jroll out of the leadoff spot not work the count one bit? Howard, the best power hitter in this franchises’ history, is booed here yet we get mad at Abreu because he put up stats? Some guys aren’t leaders. He was unfortunately a role player who put up, unfortunately for him, very good offensive numbers.

    Some players have the stats but not the intangibles, some have the intangibles but not the stats, some have both but can never stay healthy. Should we handicap everyone not affiliated with ’08/’08 because they never won?

    ***I think the biggest gripes about this list to me could have been corrected with just 2 things:

    1st make a cut off date. Pick the earliest HOF of the Phills, and any player around his time or after him are eligible.

    2nd, more importantly, NO CURRENT Philly should have been eligible. Burrel/Schilling yes, Howard/Utley/JRoll/ect NO. This would eliminate a ton of problems and allow us to better view where we could see these players be in terms of the franchise’s all time greatest. Also this would allow more flexibility with the list, even though it does exist as is, with the names in there it just creates more problems.

    If anything, I tended to group numbers together. I didn’t see player #33 better than #34, I just grouped the players by tens or fives. This was rather long response, sorry about that.

  • Posts: 0 Bret

    This selection proves youre a stat geek and not a true evaluator of baseball talent. You rip Howard, but you love the stat machine Abreu. He goes to the Yankees and they miss the playoffs…..not conicidental.

  • Posts: 0 From Section 113

    JASON B —> Yeah a guy whose power decreased after 31 and never topped out over 31 is a huge poster boy for roids but a loveable short stop with MVP and WS ring who hit nearly as many HRs in a 2 yr span (’06-’07) than in the 5 yrs preceeding it is clean as a whistle.

    14, 11, 8, 14, 12, 25, 30, 11
    17, 20, 25, 31, 20, 20, 30, 24, 15, 16, 20


  • Posts: 0 From Section 113

    BRET —> the Yanks also made the playoffs with Abreu in ’06 & ’07.
    And he was a HUGE contributor to that team in ’06. Shows you are such a knowledgeable baseball fan I guess.

    I think Howard gets a bad rap actually. I have season tickets and he gets booed for striking out. Yet we get on him of he doesn’t hit a HR every day. WOnder why some people take roids I guess.

    I am actually not a stats lover at all, I call it how I see it. People liek to get on Abreu’s case but never dare knock Dykstra or Burrell anymore because they got us to a WS. I liked to Abreu not because I am a big stat geek but because he was so patient at the plate and he had a really nice fluid swing. It was a sweet swing.

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