Top 50 Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia is one of the great sports cities of the United States and as such the Phillies have one of the strongest fan bases in baseball.  That being said, the success on the field has not matched the fervor of their fans.

Beginning in 1883 as the Philadelphia Quakers, the soon to be named Phillies had some very good players come through there in their early years (Billy Hamilton, Sam Thompson, and Ed Delahanty to name a few) but overall they were not particularly good.  In 1915, they would go to their first World Series though they would fail to win it and shortly afterward fall into an abyss of mediocrity.

The Phillies had only one winning season from 1918 to 1948.  Generally if looked at the bottom of the standing of the National League the chances were good that they were there.  In turned around briefly in the early 1950s when a crop of young talent known as “The Whiz Kids” took them to the 1950 World Series, though they lost again, but they went back to the bottom and more notably was on the wrong side of history as they were the last team to integrate.

After more years of poor performances, the Phils climbed back up the standings in the 1970s and they finally won their first World Series in 1980.  They would return to the Fall Classic in ’82 (they lost) and would lose again in 1993.  In 2008 they would win their second World Series.

For a team that has been around well over 100 years there are not as many elite players as there should be, but considering that they have had far more losing seasons than winning ones, this is not that much of a surprise.

Note: Baseball lists are based on an amalgamation of tenure, traditional statistics, advanced statistics, playoff statistics, and post-season accolades. 

This list is updated up until the end of the 2020 Season.

After a fruitful career at LSU, Aaron Nola was a First Round Pick by the Philadelphia Phillies, which is the only MLB team that he has ever played for.
While Elmer Flick would enter the Baseball Hall of Fame as a Veteran’s Committee inductee mostly for what he did for Cleveland, the first four seasons of his career with Philadelphia cannot be discounted.
Granny Hamner made his debut for the Phillies at age 17 during World War II, but he was clearly talented and by the 1948 season he secured his role as the Phillies’ starting Shortstop and from 1949 to 1954 he was in the top ten in Defensive bWAR and thus provided good defense for the “Whiz Kid” teams of the early 1950’s Hamner was named an All-Star three years in a row (1952 to 1954) and had six straight 150 Hit seasons (1949 to 1954).  He would have 1,518 Hits overall for Philadelphia.
Before we get to the statistical reasons for placing John Titus on our list, let’s first take a look at his nicknames.
Portly and popular, John Kruk was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies squad that went to the 1993 World Series.  Kruk was only with Philadelphia for five and a half seasons but in three of those (1991 to 1993) he went to the All Star Game based primarily on his excellent batting eye.  In two of those seasons he had a .300 Batting and .400 On Base Percentage season and he finished second in both 1992 & 1993 in OBP.  It is worth noting that Kruk received (though not many) MVP votes in 1991, 1992 and 1993.  Arguably he is…
A couple of decades before there was Mike Schmidt, the Philadelphia Phillies had another enigmatic Third Baseman in Willie Jones, one of the famed “Whiz Kids”.  Jones was with Philadelphia for a little over a decade and he would produce an even 1,400 Hits for the team.  Jones showed off some power with a pair of 20 Home Run seasons, both of which he also earned a trip to the All Star Game (1950 & 1951).  He would smack a  total of 180 dingers for the Phils.  While he was a little immobile at times at the hot corner, he…
Al Orth had his best seasons late in his career with the New York Giants but he was still a decent player when he arrived in Philadelphia and joined the Phillies.
From the baseball rich nation of Cuba, Tony Gonzalez played nine of his eleven seasons in Major League Baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies and while he was never named an All Star or achieved a lot of fame outside of Eastern Pennsylvania he was a decent hitter who provided 1,110 Hits for the Phils.  Gonzalez would have three .300 seasons over his career.  He would also lead all the National League Centerfielders in Fielding Percentage twice.
Carlos Ruiz was not always known as one of the top Catchers but realistically he should have been, as he was known as a favorite of Pitchers and was a solid defensive backstop.  The Panamanian’s defense at the plate propelled him to three straight seasons with MVP votes, something that a player who never had over 125 Hits should have had.

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Here is another interesting one. Napoleon Lajoie easily cemented his Baseball Hall of Fame legacy with Cleveland but his career started with the Philadelphia Phillies where in his first five seasons in the professional baseball he secured himself as a bona fide baseball player.  As a Phillie, he had 721 Hits and would lead the National League in Runs Batted In in 1998 while finishing first in Slugging Percentage the season before.  Overall in Philadelphia he had a .345 Batting Average.
Of all of the players we are ranking on this list, Kid Gleason might be the most interesting one. Based on what you have read so far, we are saying an awful lot!
Tully Sparks enters this list based on the strength of three strong seasons (1905-1907).  In that three year span he would have ERAs under 2.20, all of which were good enough for the top ten in that category.  He would also finish in the top ten those seasons in bWAR for Pitchers and WHIP, the best of which was a 0.966 in 1906 in the latter category.  It is worth noting that his control was very good as he finished in the top ten in BB/9 five times for Philadelphia.