100 Greatest Phillies

100 Greatest Phillies: 29 – Juan Samuel

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Thu, February 26, 2009 05:30 PM Comments: 34

Juan Samuel
Second Baseman

Career w/Phillies: .262 AVG / 100 HR / 413 RBI / 249 SB

Sammy. From 1983 to 1989, Juan Samuel was the resident thief at Veterans Stadium, swiping bags like it was his job. Well, it was his job. Seventh in franchise history in stolen bases, he holds the single-season mark with his 72 swipes in 1984. He fell back to Earth with 53 in 1985, then 42, 35 and 33 in ’86, ’87 and ’88, respectively. Otherwise he was a consummate free swinger (“You don’t walk off the island, you hit.”), striking out at least 140 times in five consecutive seasons while only drawing an average of about 40 walks per season (he led the National League in strikeouts his first four full seasons in the league). The free swinging paid off a bit, as he clubbed a career-high 28 home runs in 1987, driving in 100 in the process. The two-time All Star and runner-up for 1984 Rookie of the Year was the first player in major league history to reach double figures in doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases in each of his first four major league seasons. He was traded in midseason 1989 to the Mets. The Phillies received Lenny Dykstra — a good move, in retrospect. Samuel was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2008.

Comment: Sammy was a fine player to watch, and my first favorite player (along with Schmidty). Kid could run. Kid could hit. Of course both tapered off quickly, but for a few great years, Sammy was clearly one of the leaders of the pack in Major League Baseball. He kicks off the top 30.


100 Greatest Phillies: 30 – Fred Luderus

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Wed, February 25, 2009 09:11 PM Comments: 13

Fred Luderus
First Baseman

Career w/Phillies: .277 AVG / 83 HR / 630 RBI / 55 SB

Bill Foxen had a great rookie season in 1908, yet the Phillies decided to trade him to Chicago for Fred Luderus, an unproven 24-year-old infielder from Milwaukee. Luderus immediately responded, ending the 1910 season on high note before launching into a strong career. For the next nine seasons, Luderus would average more than 140 hits per season. In an era where hitting was at a premium, Luderus was one of the league’s steadiest contact hitters. He finished in the top 10 of National League home runs eight times, of doubles seven times and of RBI four times. He slugged .403 for his career, which in his time was very good. And just as good, he walked (414 times) almost as much as he struck out (421). His best season was the 1915 National League championship year, when he hit .315 with a .376 on-base percentage.

Comment: An early star for the Phillies, Luderus was able to come up big in an era where offense suffered. A steady bat who was extremely consistent for his career, he makes it this high with a strong combination of quality and stability.


100 Greatest Phillies: 31 – Larry Bowa

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Tue, February 24, 2009 03:33 PM Comments: 14

Larry Bowa

Career w/Phillies: .263 AVG / 13 HR / 421 RBI / 288 SB

Not many players epitomize Philadelphia quite like Larry Bowa. The long-time shortstop entered the city in 1970 and helped to open Veterans Stadium with its first hit. He continued his career through the franchise’s best seasons, helping to lead the team to its first world championship in 1980. Through it all, he gave his most to the team, getting on base, stealing bases, diving for balls, speaking out, raising hell. His best seasons came with the division titles, as he hit .305 in 1975 (a year before the first crown) and .294 in 1978. He also stole a ton of bases – more than 30 three times and more than 20 a handful more. In 1974 he actually stole more bases than the number of runners he drove in. Combine those leadoff man numbers with strong defense and leadership and you have a five-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner. Of course, he was a coach who managed the Phillies between 2001 and ’04, but didn’t quite gel with his players.

Comment: Bowa was one of the hardest players to peg for this list. I thought he belonged in the top 50 because of his leadership, name value, leadoff skills and defensive ability. But to me, Bowa wasn’t one of the franchise’s truly legendary players. Compare him, if you will, to Jimmy Rollins. In a shorter period of time, Rollins has trumped Bowa in practically all of his most redeeming qualities, and is a much more productive offensive player. Ultimately, that is why Bowa comes in here and not a little higher, toward Rollins.


100 Greatest Phillies: 32 – Bob Boone

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Mon, February 23, 2009 03:30 PM Comments: 13

Bob Boone

Career w/Phillies: .259 AVG / 65 HR / 456 RBI / 23 SB

A three-time All Star and two-time Gold Glove winner as a Phillie, Bob Boone was one of the unquestioned leaders of the 1980 championship team. The second-generation ballplayer (his father was Ray Boone) was drafted by the Phillies in 1969 and made his franchise debut in 1972, at age 24. Quickly he established himself as one of baseball’s better all-around catchers, hitting 10 home runs with a .261 average in 1973, his rookie season. His best offensive seasons came between 1976 and ’79, when Boone hit about .283 over the course of those four seasons. But Boone was best on defense, committing just 25 errors between ’76 and ’79 and handling an ever-changing pitching staff through his entire Phillie tenure. Though not on the level of co-NL backstops Gary Carter and Ted Simmons, Boone ended his career as one of the game’s most durable and consistent catchers.

Comment: What Boone lacked offensively he made up for in defense, and altogether was an integral part of the team’s success in the 1970s. For this, it’s not hard to see why Boone is the highest-rated catcher of the 100 Greatest Phillies, narrowly defeating Darren Daulton and Mike Lieberthal.


100 Greatest Phillies: 33 – John Kruk

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sun, February 22, 2009 03:00 PM Comments: 33

John Kruk
First Baseman

Career w/Phillies: .306 AVG / 62 HR / 390 RBI / 33 SB

Like his other 1993 teammates, John Kruk’s career was hampered by injury. But when he was healthy, he was very good. Kruk arrived in Philadelphia with Randy Ready for emerging outfielder Chris James. While James never quite lived up to his promise, settling into a utility/DH role, Kruk became a three-time All Star with the Phillies. He did it by being a skilled hitter — a .291 average in 1990, .294 in 1991, .323 in 1992 and .316 in 1993. He also finished second in the National League in on-base percentage in ’92 and ’93. He was also a disciplined hitter, sometimes walking more than striking out and ending with a career ratio close to 1:1. Sadly, Kruk’s career was derailed in Spring Training 1994 when a pickoff throw by Mitch Williams hit Kruk in the groin. Kruk wasn’t only injured, but a testicle proved to be cancerous. He played little in ’94, the Phillies granted him free agency in 1995, and he signed up with the White Sox. On July 30, 1995, in Baltimore, Kruk — feeling bored with the game — struck a single. Then he took himself out of the game … and ended his career.

Comment: Nobody personified the 1993 Phils quite like Kruk — he was out of shape, dirty and nothing graceful. And he somehow found himself in the spotlight because of one lucky year. His greatness is abbreviated, but it isn’t lost.


100 Greatest Phillies: 34 – Von Hayes

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, February 21, 2009 06:30 PM Comments: 40

Von Hayes

Career w/Phillies: .272 AVG / 124 HR / 568 RBI / 202 SB

Von Hayes hit 14 home runs, drove in 82, stole 32 bases and hit .250 for the Cleveland Indians in 1982. That resume was enough for the Phillies to trade five players (including Julio Franco) to Cleveland for Hayes, a trade that would define the Phillies for the rest of the decade. Hayes wasn’t a bad player — in fact, he was very good. He was an extremely disciplined player, walking more than 100 times twice. And when he got on base, he reeked havoc, stealing at least 20 bases six times, including a 48-SB outburst in 1984. Between that year and 1987, Hayes slammed 69 homers, hitting into the .280s. He suffered an injury that kept him sidelined in 1988, but he rebounded tremendously in 1989 with a career-high 26 homers. But Hayes got hurt too much, and after a poor 1991 season, was traded to the Angels, where he finished his career.

Comment: A strong five-tool player, Hayes wasn’t quite the face of the franchise, but was a solid player for most of nine seasons in Philadelphia. He could field and throw, hit and homer and, of course, run. He was so fast his name became fodder in “Major League.” Better than being known as five-for-one.


100 Greatest Phillies: 35 – Lenny Dykstra

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, February 20, 2009 08:53 PM Comments: 25

Lenny Dykstra

Career w/Phillies: .288 AVG / 51 HR / 251 RBI / 169 SB

I was attending a Phillies game, age 4, on June 18, 1989. The Phillies were playing the Mets. The Phillies won in a good game, but that’s not what I remember. What I do remember is the Phanavision, immediately after the game, saying the Phils had traded Juan Samuel to the Mets for Lenny Dykstra. My little heart broke. Samuel was probably my first favorite player. And this guy Dykstra was coming over from New York? Poo. Lucky for us.

More than anything, Lenny Dykstra had pizazz. He was an on-base machine, leading the league in 1990 and coming in third in 1993. He hit a lot of doubles and triples, scored a lot of runs, stole bases and walked. But the three-time All Star never did it with grace. He was down and dirty, tough as … well … nails. No. 4 had his best season in ’93, scoring 143 runs off 194 hits, recording a .482 slugging percentage with his over .400 OBP. He had an insane 307 total bases and finished second in MVP voting to Barry Bonds. Sadly, he’d never quite be himself after that ’93 season (and legendary postseason). Injuries caught up to him, and by age 33, Dykstra was finished playing baseball. We all know his post-baseball life has been weird, but like Lenny, it’s always been dirty and thrilling.

Comment: Dykstra was one of the first players I emulated. Most of us 20-somethings can say the same. While Darren Daulton was brutish and handsome, and while John Kruk was meaty and scary, Dykstra was scrappy and soulful. And he could play. Oh he could play. Though Dykstra is at No. 35, two members of that great 1993 team remain on the list.


100 Greatest Phillies: 36 – Nap Lajoie

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Thu, February 19, 2009 04:00 PM Comments: 17

Nap Lajoie
Second Baseman

Career w/Phillies: .344 AVG / 32 HR / 458 RBI / 87 SB

Napoleon Lajoie. One of the greats. Maybe the greatest second baseman ever. And he began his career as a Phillie. His Phillies career wasn’t too shabby, either, as he broke in at age 21 and hit .326 in limited time. His big years started in 1897, when he hit .361 and drove in 127 at age 22. The next season he again drove in 127, but hit a pedestrian .324. Though his power would dissipate, his slick hitting would continue, as he’d score a .378 and .337 averages in his final two Phillies seasons. Also a base thief, he accumulated 20 or more steals three times. He was among league leaders in home runs, hits and doubles as a Phillie, before deciding to play for the Athletics in response to a National League salary cap. Playing for the other Philly team he hit .426 (an AL record) in 1901. After that unreal season, the Phillies obtained an injunction to bar Lajoie to play for another team except the Phillies. But the injunction was only valid in Pennsylvania, so Lajoie was sold to the Cleveland franchise, who became popular because of Lajoie. Without Nap, the Cleveland Indians may have never happened.

Comment: Darn. Thanks to a salary cap, the Phillies went without potentially its greatest player ever. Instead, the Phils got a few amazing years out of baseball’s first star. Because of his otherworldly play, Lajoie deserves respectful placement on the list.


100 Greatest Phillies: 37 – Darren Daulton

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Wed, February 18, 2009 04:00 PM Comments: 35

Darren Daulton

Career w/Phillies: .244 AVG / 134 HR / 567 RBI / 48 SB

During that treasured 1980 season, the Phillies drafted some kid in the 25th round by the name of Darren Daulton. Slowly but steadily, Daulton made the big club, appearing first during the 1983 season. The catcher came back in 1985, got a little more playing time in 1986, a little more playing time in 1987, a little more playing time in 1988, then finally, the starting job in 1989. He would become a big hitter in the Phillies lineup, hitting 27 home runs in 1992 and 24 homers in 1993, his two most complete seasons. Despite missing a lot of time to injuries, “Dutch” always displayed huge power and had the ability to hit .300, reaching that mark in the strike-shortened 1994 season, which was shaping up to be his best year. He had a good but injury-plagued season in ’95, then missed almost all of 1996. He came back as an outfielder in 1997, but was traded to the Marlins so he could try to win his first world championship. He did. Then he retired. Then became utterly weird.

Comment: If only he was a healthier player. Or, if only he got more time when younger. Whatever the case, Daulton had the look, potential and talent of one of the greatest catchers ever. Instead, he remains an integral part of the 1993 NL Championship team and a wonderful source of what-if queries. For the time he played, Daulton was a very big-hitting player with fine pitch-handling and defensive skills. A leader to boot.


100 Greatest Phillies: 38 – Manny Trillo

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Tue, February 17, 2009 03:00 PM Comments: 22

Manny Trillo
Second Baseman

Career w/Phillies: .277 AVG / 19 HR / 160 RBI / 30 SB

Acquired in a trade with the Cubs along with Greg Gross, Manny Trillo was one of the final pieces of the 1980 championship puzzle. And what a piece. His defense overshadowed everything, as he won three Gold Gloves as a Phillie with some sterling plays at the sack. One cannot overlook the offense, however, which was always steady, earning him two Silver Slugger awards during his Philadelphia tenure. His best offensive season was 1980, when he hit .292 while slugging .412. He may have had a career year in 1981, hitting six homers and driving in 36, but his season was short because of the players’ strike. What stands out is Trillo was never a detriment to the Phillies offense, which makes him all the more appealing as an all-around player. Elite defense, good-enough offense. And of course, that MVP in the thrilling 1980 National League Championship Series. He was one of the five traded to the Indians for Von Hayes before the 1983 season.

Comment: A superior defensive player, Trillo easily earns Top 40 honors. While he’s one of the franchise’s greatest middle infielders, he’s only the first of four second basemen in the top 40. A stacked position, for sure.

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