100 Greatest Phillies: 16 – Del Ennis

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Wed, March 11, 2009 03:00 PM | Comments: 36
100 Greatest Phillies, Posts

Del Ennis

Career w/Phillies: .286 AVG / 259 HR / 1124 RBI / 44 SB

Born in Philadelphia, Del Ennis got to live a boyhood dream by playing for the Philadelphia Phillies. And boy, did he make it work. Recruited out of Olney High School, Ennis flew right away with a solid rookie season. He hit .313, driving in 73 while hitting 30 doubles at age 21. His career took off from there, scoring six total top-15 finishes in MVP voting as a Phillie while boasting big numbers – eight seasons of 20 or more homers, including two 30-homer years. His best, of course, was that magical 1950 season, when at age 25, Ennis hit .311, hitting 31 homers and driving in a career-high 126. That total led the league; he’d score nine top-10 finishes in RBI over his Phillie career. He ended his Phillie career after being traded to the Cardinals for Bobby Morgan and Rip Repulski in 1956. At the time, he was the all-time franchise home run king; he’d give up that throne to Mike Schmidt 25 years later. He died in 1996 after complications with diabetes. He is buried in Roslyn.

Comment: We continue to straddle the line with guys who aren’t quite Hall of Famers, but boast impressive resumes. Ennis was a standout, pure and simple. He could hit anything; of course, he was overshadowed by some legends who played during his time. And he was a Philly boy. Utmost respect for Ennis.

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About Tim Malcolm

Tim Malcolm has written 1948 articles on Phillies Nation.

  • Posts: 0 Greg V.

    Is John Ennis coming up next?

  • Posts: 0 Tim Malcolm

    No, but Del Preston is No. 14.

  • Posts: 0 Tom G

    Del, the steady one!
    Tim, ignore the nay-sayers…good list…quibbles yes, but it is YOUR list

  • Posts: 0 Greg

    Del looks like Karl Childers finishing up that picturesque hack.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    there goes my top 10

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    10 year career… avg season somehere around .285, 25 HR, 100 RBI

    for what its worth, I do not think that Bobby Abreu should be ranked ahead of Ennis, and Im starting to worry that Abrey is going to be in the top 10

  • Posts: 52 R.C. Cowie

    Avatar of R.C. Cowie

    Abreu foreshadowing…..

    I has taken my SATs at Olney high school. Quite the experience I must say.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    My top 10 is still alive!

    I think Abreu is coming soon.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    You really didn’t have Ennis in your Top 10 either??

    voting for that closed right? I’ll tell you guys who i had if its over already

  • Posts: 0 BurrGundy

    Del Ennis was the Pat Burrell of his day —only a better player. The fans were very hard on Del. They expected a lot from him and he largely delivered. But it just was not enough to quench the desire and expectations. It is great to see him honored on this list, as he really was an outstanding Phillie. He is one of my all time favorites. A genuine gentleman.

  • Posts: 0 Jeltzismyhombre

    Ennis, Burrell, Cravath, Abreu, and Callison, and even Chuck Klein are all about in the same ballpark for their careers. I like Tim’s pick putting Del where he is, 3rd among this pack of corner outfielders. Really, a great list.

    Fifteen guys left: Klein, Abreu, Dick Allen, Richie, the 1890s Outfield, Schmidt, Schill, Alex, Bunning, Lefty, Robin… who else are we missing? Maybe Sherry Magee? Cy Williams? I still only have 14. I guess Larry Steven Jeltz is up there. DId Roy Thomas show up yet? Or Lefty O’Doul?

  • Posts: 0 Tyler

    Don, yes, it is closed.

  • Posts: 0 David

    This site is going to explode when Tim announces Abreu being ranked higher than del ennis, j-roll, utley, howard and many others.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    When J-Roll, Utley, Howard and Hamels’ careers are over, they will be ranked higher, but this list is based on what they have done so far. Tim has tried to explain this but people don’t seem to want to listen.

  • Posts: 0 David

    And what has abreu done so far besides be a pretty a good fantasy baseball player. Its funny how the team got better when they got rid of him.

  • Posts: 0 James Kay

    I never saw Delmer Ennis play. His numbers and the positive comments submitted about him all appear to indicate that he deserves a high place on the list. He is probably the most bland and least reported on entry in the top 20, a real plain brown wrapper slugger. I would venture to say that the pre 1920 Phillie stars had more lasting things said and written about them. Even his teammate Whitey Ashburn almost never mentioned him in the many baseball anecdotes he delivered in the press and broadcast booth. He is almost completely ignored for HOF induction. Maybe he should have adopted a colorful nickname to bolster his image. How does “Home Boy” or “CornBread” Ennis sound. I think that might grab some attention. Seriously though, I second the motion that the guy demands respect.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    Hey Tim, I love your list! I can’t say I agree 100% with every placement, but it is turning out to look like a great list. Good job keep it up and ignore the nay-sayers!

  • Posts: 0 BurrGundy

    Reluctantly I should mentiion this fact — as it points out how decent a man Del Ennis was. Del was a rookie in 1946 — right after WWII. He was of the Jewish faith and was on the receiving end of a lot of bigotry and slurs. He was not as talented as the legendary Hank Greenburg, a legend and also Jewish. Here are some facts that illustrate how good Ennis was as a ballplayer. He was among the TOP TEN in these categories: BATTING AVERAGE (three times), HOME RUNS (eight times), RBI’s (ten times), MVP VOTING (eight times), TOTAL BASES (six times). The bigotry is one reason that you don’t hear much about Del Ennis. Sad but true. He most certanly is one of those players who is very close to being a Hall of Famer in terms of talent and production — just a little short of it.

  • Posts: 0 whizkidfanatic

    It is Tim’s list and I respect and acknowledge it. As a guy who saw Del play often I can attest to my strong belief that he is an alltime top ten Phillie. He was a complete player who was a fine hitter and above average defensive outfielder. Before Ashburn came along they even talked of making him a center fielder. For years he was the only legitimate power hitter on the Phils and was often pitched around. Yet he still produced big numbers season after season. For a power hitter, he struck out seldom, rarely more than 50-60 times a season.

    Here is something that Whitey Ashburn did say about Ennis and I quote, “I never understood why they booed Del, Hell, he played like Pete Rose, hustled every play and played hard 154 games a year.” You can “look it up”. :)

    The booing started in earnest after the 1951 season when Del, unknown to the fans, played hurt for most of the season with a pulled back muscle that prevented him from swinging the bat naturally. He took the hit for the Whizkids ’51 swoon to the “Fizzkids”. He was an exceptionally private, quiet person who kept his ailments private.

    It was Roy Hamey who ruined Del’s chances for HOF numbers. (There are those, myself included who believe today he is better than at least a dozen and a half who are in it). Del needed to stay in Philly for private reasons known only to a few and his trade to St Louis extinguished Del’s desire for the game. He was a great man and a great ballplayer who has never received his due…definately an alltime Phillie!

  • Posts: 0 bigbobster

    Neat fact: Up until ’80′s, Del Ennis ran a bowling alley in Huntingdon Valley, PA just west of the Fox Chase section (there’s a Genuardi’s there now). It had about 30 lanes, and was spotless when I was a kid. He was a classy, quiet guy, respectful to all of us local kids who hung out there on weekends. His red locker was stationed by the entrance, and I’d marvel at it, the glove, the bats, etc. Based on his stats and his 1950 season, I’m a little surprised he’s not in the top ten.

  • Posts: 0 Wilson

    This is the first time I’ve disagreed with you Tim….but I still respect it!

    I look forward to these posts everyday….even if Del isn’t in the top ten!

  • Posts: 0 Good Night Joe Carter

    BurrGundy, can you give me any source that substantiates Del Ennis being Jewish? I’ve never seen him listed on any list of Jewish ballplayers.

  • Posts: 0 ashmidt

    i used to frequent del ennis lanes growing up, del was a true gentleman quiet and dignified. i like what whizkidfan said, he should have been the 1950 mvp, i remember a show jim barniak did on prism. where he used to interview ex athletes who live in the area. he asked del why he got booed, and del said therewas a contingent of fans from south philly who used to get on him because he was form north philly, it was a city thing. one of the reasons i cant stand pat burrell, besides being the all time choke, is because he had a free ride, he literally sucked and didnt get booed. del ennis, richie allen, and mike schmidt were awesome and got booed. where are those south philly jokers today.

  • Posts: 0 BurrGundy

    Joe Carter — Being Jewish myself, my father used Del as an example of a good ballplayer who was also Jewish and he became one of my idols. I hope my father wasn’t bullshitting me or was mistaken. He used to deliver eggs to the Ennis family years ago as he had an egg route throughout the Northeast, Bucks and Montgomery counties. My father passed a decade ago and I know my uncles believed the same about Del and were very proud of him.

  • Posts: 0 Brett

    Pat got booed plenty.

  • Posts: 0 Good Night Joe Carter


    Here are links to two of the most authoritative lists. I’m sorry to tell you that he doesn’t show up on either:



  • Posts: 0 James Kay

    BurrGundy and whizkidfanatic, Thanks for sharing the illuminating details. For those of us who only had the numbers to go off of, they really helped paint a more complete picture of Ennis. After a second glance at his picture, he does indeed look Jewish. Not that there is anything wrong with that. How many Jewish ball players are active today in the major leagues?

  • Posts: 0 Memphis

    Very surprised that Abreu and Allen rank ahead of Ennis. Very. Look at the all-time offensive numbers in Phillie history and Ennis is all over the place.

  • Posts: 0 Chutley

    Joe Carter why would you shit on the guys memory he had with his dad?

  • Posts: 0 Memphis

    Some Ennis numbers courtesy of baseball-reference.com…all-time Phillies history: 4th in hits, 3rd in total bases, 2nd in HRs, 3rd in RBIs, top 10 in doubles, triples, runs…5th in games played… 11 seasons as a Phillie and he received MVP votes in 7 of them.

    Allen, by comparison, 8 seasons as a Phillie, only 4 with more than 122 games, MVP votes in 4 Phillie seasons (won the MVP with CWS), ranked in the Top 10 in adjusted OPS+ (2nd), also “adjusted batting runs” and “batting wins.” Modern statistics are kinder to Allen, but his career numbers as a Phillie don’t match Ennis.

  • Posts: 0 James Kay

    Chutley, Challenging the accuracy of the claims made in these threads is part of the attraction of participating. Especially if you have proof that refutes the claim. Proclaiming the hitherto unknown Jewishness of Ennis is a major revelation worthy of substantiation. By the way, converts and offspring of parents with only a Jewish father don’t count as real Jews.

  • Posts: 0 bob kerry

    Del Ennis was from a family that was Irish. Ennis in Gaelic means Island. Very doubtful that he was of the Jewish faith. I saw the man play for the Phils up close and relate that when he came to bat especially with men on, people at Connie Mack paid attention big time. He could open a game wide with one swing and everyone knew that. He was a threat to every team especially in a clutch situation. He could draw a walk or put one on the roof at 21st and Lehigh. No slouch with the glove either for a big man. Ennis was no showboat but he was the linchpin of the franchise more so than Whitey. He did not seek attention or media either. His numbers are hall of fame. Go look at Kiner or Slaughter or even Doby.

  • Posts: 0 American Idols

    There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in here.

  • Posts: 0 Bзлoмщик

    Кстати это все придумали приблизительно лет 10 назад .:

  • Posts: 0 Robert Washbun

    I was 15 in 1950 and a Cub fan. But after listing to a Cub vs Phillies night game where Del Ennis hit a grand slam, I became interested in the Phils and Del. Living in Chi. town it was natural to be a Cub fan, but I was born in Philly and the Phils Whiz Kids were so much more exciting, especially Del. I’ve always referred to Del as my boyhood hero, pushing Andy Pafko aside. Del being Jewish is new to me, was he? I grew up in a Chicago Jewish neighborhood and the gang I hung -out with was partially Jewish so I would have heard that Del was Jewish. How about putting more photos of Del on your website.


  • Posts: 0 Valentino Soldados

    Del played in the old Connie Mack stadium, 330 down the lines and 347 to dead center. Had he hit in the little bandbox the Phillies play in now he would have averaged more homers per season. Having Ashburn hitting ahead of him helped him amass lots of RBI’s. Some criticized his lack of range as a left fielder. But that was silly. Had he had more range Ashburn would have called him off plays anyway. A little short of Hall of Fame credentials, but a great, solid ball player. On a par with Hank Bauer, Carl Furillo, and Enos Slaughter.

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