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 2022 Season.

Before we started this list, we were pretty sure that Mike Schmidt was going to land at number one on our list of the 50 all-time Philadelphia Phillies.  As you can see, that is where he is ranked but as we poured through statistic after statistic, Schmidt was not just our number once choice, it was not even remotely close.
In the first half of the 1950’s, Robin Roberts made a case as the National League’s top pitcher, and had the Cy Young Award existed then, Roberts very well could have won five in a row, whether or not sabremetircs were thought of back then! 
Steve Carlton did so much in his Hall of Fame career as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies that it is easy to forget that he already brought a decent resume before he became a member of the Phillies.  His run with St. Louis saw him win a World Series, go to three All-Star Games and he already was a 20 Game winner.  That is good, but with Philadelphia, he became a superstar.
Ed Delahanty was a highly touted player in the late 1880’s (yes they did think longterm in baseball back then) and after a few years and a quick jump to the Player’s League and back, a refocused dedication to the sport saw him live up to those projections.
Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1938 Grover Cleveland “Old Pete” Alexander might be a bit of a surprise to be ranked so high when he only played eight seasons for Philadelphia, and realistically, we are only really talking about seven of them, as the eight was his final season in Baseball at age 43 where he was not very productive.  However, as we look at the first seven years of Alexander’s professional career you will see a worthy top five entrant on this list of the greatest Philadelphia Phillies of all-time.
A farm boy from Nebraska to Baseball Hall of Fame is quite the story for Richie Ashburn, the popular Centerfielder who spent 12 of his 15 seasons with the Phillies.
Sherry Magee was one of the top hitters of the dead-ball era in the National League.  Essentially if there was an offensive category during the time that McGee was playing in Philadelphia, you would more than likely see his name in the leaderboard.
Chase Utley put together a very impressive career with the Philadelphia Phillies, but did so in such a non-descript way that we have to wonder just how many people outside of Philadelphia knew just how good Utley was.
Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. Chuck Klein probably should not have debuted with the Philadelphia Phillies, as he was the property of the St. Louis Cardinals.  Klein was turning heads with Fort Wayne of the Central League and was likely to be called up.   The only thing was that the Redbirds also owned the Dayton club in the same league, which was against the rules of MLB and then Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis forced St. Louis to sell the team and its players.  Philadelphia was the highest bidder for Klein. 
At present, Jimmy Rollins is the all-time leader in Hits (2,306) for the Philadelphia Phillies, which might surprise you considering how many great players the franchise has had over their century-plus in the league.  This is certainly a testament to just how good Rollins was.
Gavvy Cravath did not make his MLB debut until he was 27 with the Red Sox but he was bemoaned as being too slow to be an effective player by fans, management, and teammates alike.  He would bounce around until a clerical error at the age of 31 gave him a second chance with the Phillies and he certainly made the most of the opportunity.
In the 1890s, Billy Hamilton was regarded as the greatest base stealer the game of baseball had ever seen.  Realistically, when you look at what “Sliding” Billy Hamilton has done, he is still among the game’s great at that feat.
A master of the change up and the four seam fastball, Cole Hamels will always be remembered for his role as the staff ace in the 2008 World Series win.  In that post season, Hamels went 4-0 where he fanned 30 batters and was named the NLCS and World Series MVP. 
It is next to impossible to discuss Dick Allen and his tenure with Philadelphia without mentioning the controversy that surrounded him. It needs to be mentioned that Allen was the first black star for the Phillies, and this was at a time when all of the other teams in MLB had integrated had African-American players of note.  Allen suffered through severe racism as the first black player for their minor league team in Little Rock and despite being an instant star with Philadelphia the racially charged city often targeted him.
Bobby Abreu was the master of plate discipline and the maestro of working a pitch count.  The Venezuelan would get much of his due when he was traded to the New York Yankees, but it was in Philadelphia where he was at his best and a two time All Star who the sabremetricians absolutely loved.
Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame via the Veterans Committee in 1974, Sam Thompson’s contract was purchased from the Detroit Wolverines by the then named Philadelphia Quakers for $5,000 and it would prove to be money well spent.
As a Chicago Cub, Cy Williams had already shown power during the deadball era by winning the Home Run title in 1916 with 12 taters.  He had hit 13 the season before.  The Cubs would trade Williams to the Phillies for Dode Paskert who at age 36 would go into steep decline.  The 30-year-old Williams would however begin to find his groove.
Before Curt Schilling helped take both the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Boston Red Sox to World Series wins, he was a large factor in assisting the Philadelphia Phillies to make the 1993 World Series and actually has comparable career numbers with Philly as he does with Arizona and Boston combined.
While Jim Bunning played and won significantly more games and was named to more All Star Games (5 to 2) as a Detroit Tiger, he will always be far more known for what he accomplished in Philadelphia.