Monday, March 23, 2009


There’s light at the end of the tunnel of these Home Grown vs. Acquired entries. Four more left… don’t get cocky, Sullivan. Better see it through to the end!

And how appropriate that we talk about following through to the end when we bring up THE PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES!

The team that has lost more games than any franchise… the team that could win a World Series until 1980… a team that at one point I felt they made a mistake leaving the Vet.

And now the team we all call The Defending World Champions.

When you think about it, it is strange the Phillies are even still in Philadelphia! There used to be two teams in Philly… the A’s and the Phillies. And the A’s were the team with the great history and heritage and the Phillies (like the Braves in Boston or the Browns in St. Louis) were the secondary team without the glamorous players.

But in the early 1950s the Phillies were putting a winning product on the field and the A’s went packing to K.C…. then to Oakland… and probably will move again.

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the Phillies. Maybe it is because I have several cousins who grew up in Delaware and are die hard Phillies fans. Maybe it is because the Phillies were the name of my Little League team.

Either way, growing up they were one of the great glamour franchises… and today they are defending a crown with probably the greatest infield the team has ever seen.

Think a team that loses a lot over the generations won’t have a lot of great players?

Au contraire.

As always the rules for the rosters can be found here.

So grab a cheesesteak and be prepared to boo Santa Claus. It’s time to list!



There’s three people we can talk about when I refer to Dutch Daulton. One guy was a three time All Star, Silver Slugger who led the NL in RBIs in 1992. He was a left handed power hitter who was impossibly handsome, popular with Phillies fans and hit a 9th inning homer in the Phillies huge Game 5 win in the 1993 NLCS.

Then there is the guy who struggled with alcohol abuse and was charged with domestic violence by his second wife.

Then of course there is the third guy… the one who is obsessed with metaphysics, numerology and thinks we will pass into a new plane of existence on December 21, 2012 at 11:11 AM. (That gives the Cubs only 4 more years to win a World Series!)

Let’s focus on the baseball player for Sully Baseball’s sanity. That’s more regard for my sanity than Daulton has for his own!


Ryan Howard was so good in the minor leagues that articles were written in papers about how the Phillies needed to either trade Howard or trade Jim Thome, who was blocking his path to the show.

Then Thome got hurt, Howard got his shot and it turns out that he is everything as advertised.

Nobody has reached 100 homers faster in their career.
In 4+ seasons, he already has won the Rookie of the Year, an MVP, was the runner up for the MVP last year, has a World Series ring and hit 3 homers in the 2008 World Series.

He has two home run titles already (2006 and 2008) and finished second in 2007. He led the league in RBI in ’06 and ’08.

I’ll say it… he already has the hard part of his Hall of Fame resume written. Now all he has to do is stay healthy.

It’s a good thing Thome got hurt.


In an interview in 2007, President George W. Bush said if he had a Fantasy Baseball team he’d draft Chase Utley first. I thought this was disturbing.

Not the pick.
Utley is a steady All Star with power and speed. He hits for a high average and has a career OPS over .900. He brings power and professionalism to the middle infield and went on to hit .353 with an OPS of 1.169 in the 2008 NLCS.

It was a good pick.

What I found disturbing was with the country falling apart, the President of the United States had given the most thought and given the best answer to who would be on his fantasy baseball team.


I was working for Sports Unfiltered when Jimmy Rollins was named NL MVP for the 2007 season. My colleague Tim Alves was disgusted. (He wanted David Wright.) He acted like they gave the MVP to a third string catcher on the Nationals.

He became one of four players in history to have 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 homers and 20 stolen bases in one season. Plus he was always in the middle of big rallies as the Phillies made their epic comeback to steal the division from the Mets.

Every time one of these facts were stated, Tim would say “That’s irrelevant!” and point out Wright had better stats.

And this is why I never want there to be a set criteria for MVP. These sorts of passionate arguments over the MVP is what makes it so terrific.

But I never DID figure out what stats Tim found relevant.


When Mike Schmidt was elected to the Hall of Fame (not unanimously for some reason) it was said he had come to terms with Philadelphia fans. And the feeling seemed to be mutual.

Um… come to terms with the fans? Should it be said to Philadelphia fans “Please, your worship of me is JUST TOO INTENSE!”?

Phillies fans never EVER had a player as great as Mike Schmidt wearing their uniform.
Nope, whatever player you were about to say… Schmidt was better.

He won three MVPs in Philadelphia and had five more top 10 finishes.
You want defense at third? How are his 10 Gold Gloves?
He had the highest OPS in the NL 5 times and was in the top four 12 times.

He had 8 home run titles and launched 548 in his career.

And oh yeah… he was the team’s leader when the Phillies had their greatest era. The Phillies had two first place finishes in their first 93 years and no World Series titles.

With Mike Schmidt as their leader, they played in the post season (including the 1981 Division Series) 6 out of 8 seasons… including the only two 100 win seasons in the team’s history, two pennants and their first World Series title.

Don’t bring up the fact he called Phillies fans a mob. I don’t care if he mailed them all a turd!

He was a baseball God and should have been treated as such.

And this is coming from a Red Sox fan!


Two days after I was born, on May 16, 1972, the Phillies lost a game to the Chicago Cubs. It actually wasn’t even close. The final was 8-1 and the Phillies, who were 15-11 at the time, would go 44-86 the rest of the way.

So why am I bringing this game up?
Well the one run the Phillies got was a homer by Greg Luzinski… the Bull. It was so high and deep it hit that Liberty Bell in the upper deck. And if anything can symbolize the great power of the Bull and the love affair the city had with him… it was that homer.

Luzinski was twice the runner up for the NL MVP, led the league in RBI in 1975 and hit many big homers, including the go ahead shot off of Ken Forsch in Game 1 of the 1980 NLCS.

I haven’t been to Bull’s BBQ yet… I bet it is awesome.


In the era of great centerfielders (Willie, Mickey and the Duke) Philadelphia had a Hall of Famer in a different mold. Not a home run threat (he never hit more than 4 in any of his 12 seasons in Philadelphia) instead he was a contact hitter who rarely struck out and led the league in hitting twice. The most famous of the 1950s Whiz Kids, he saved the pennant by throwing out a run at the plate on the final game of the season.

Later, as an announcer, he gave Tim McCarver, then just starting out in the booth, some advice. “If you don’t have anything to say, don’t say it.” How well McCarver took that advice is debatable.


Just about every bio I’ve read about Hall of Famer Chuck Klein mentions about how he took advantage of the short right field wall of the Baker Bowl.

Well what was he supposed to do? Ignore the wall? Was he supposed to look at the dimensions and say “This is too easy. I am going to take it the other way?”

Yeah his stats while playing in Philadelphia were sick. He hit 43 homers his first full season, hit 170 RBI in 1930, the same year he hit .386 and hit 40 homers.

He won the MVP in 1932 and topped it the next year when he won the Triple Crown. Naturally he DIDN’T win the MVP when he won the Triple Crown.

Got to love archane rules in the MVP vote!


Or is it Richie Allen? I understand writers dubbed him Richie to make a connection between Allen and Ashburn.

How did THAT work? Ashburn was a skinny white no power speed demon.
Allen was a hulking muscular black slugger.

Maybe that’s why he never got along with sports writers (or anyone else for that matter.)

But the 1964 Rookie of the Year could play. He had the highest OPS in the NL for 1966 and 1967. HE was a 40 home run hitter and 100 RBI man.

His time in Philly can be best summed up by his great quote.
“I can play anywhere. First, third, left field… anywhere but Philadelphia.”



There were few better pitchers in the history of baseball than “Old Pete.” He won 28 games his first season and finished third that year (1911) for the MVP.

He won 30 each of his last three seasons with the Phillies (1915, 1916 and 1917) and became the first pitcher to win the pitching Triple Crown (Wins, Strikeouts and ERA) in back to back years.

He of course was named after President Grover Cleveland and he has a strange connection to two other Presidents.

In 1920 he appeared (in Cubs uniform) in a strange campaign film for candidate Warren G. Harding.

And in 1952, Alexander’s life was turned into a Hollywood romance, The Winning Team. Who played Alexander? Ronald Reagan.


Not even Bud Selig’s incompetent handling the postponed Game 5 of the 2008 World Series could deny Cole Hamels of his rightful World Series MVP.

Like Howard and Rollins, he already got the hard part of a Hall of Fame resume out of the way!

Oh, yeah I know it is too early to talk Hall of Fame for him. But he already has the dominating post season. (4-0, 1.80 ERA and 30 Ks in 35 innings… MVP of both the LCS and World Series) and another top 5 Cy Young finish (2007.)

Just put up great numbers for 9 more years!
(Oh, is THAT all?)


I know some people think wins are an overrated gauge of a pitchers greatness. And it is true that pitchers often time get lucky with a decision or get knocked with a loss with bad support. (See my entry on Bert Blyleven for an example of that!)

But it can’t all be luck. When Robin Roberts won 20 games six seasons in a row, chucking 300+ innings a year, there must have been some skill as well.

That skill had him throw the fewest walks per nine innings four times, lead the league in strikeouts twice, have five straight seasons of having the most complete games and still managed to save a handful of games a year.

It landed him in the Hall of Fame.

Lucky guy.


Short held his own in the greatest pitching decade of the modern era.

He may not have been as great as Koufax, Drysdale, Gibson or Marichal (who were?) but between 1963 and 1968 pitched with the league leaders in wins, ERA, strikeouts and innings pitched.

Of course in 1964, Gene Mauch basically managed with the calm and self control of Tony Montana, Short and Jim Bunning pitched every other day as the Phillies collapsed horrifically. But Short actually pitched well. It’s just tough to win when the manager ends up face down in a fountain that reads “The World is Yours.”


I know Hall of Famer Eppa Rixey was a product of the Phillies system, but I am going with Church.

He came up as a rookie in 1950 and along with Robin Roberts, Curt Simmons and Jim Konstanty, gave the Phillies their first contenting team since the 1917 season. He had pitched well out of the pen and the rotation.

But on September 15th in the middle of a wild pennant chase, Church was hit in the face by a line drive off the bat of Reds’ Ted Kluszewski. It landed on the fly in right field (if the right fielder caught it, it would have been a 1-9 putout.)

He tried to pitch one more game but he was lost for the year. He had a solid 1951, giving the Phils 15 wins over 246 innings.

But who knows how the Phillies could have fared with a healthy Church in the 1950 World Series?



A member of the 1950s Whiz Kids, Simmons won 17 games and saved another as the Phillies won their second ever pennant. But he missed the World Series because he was called to military service during the Korean War.

Ironically, he was a member of the 1964 Cardinals that shot past the Hindenberg known as the 1964 Phillies. I’m sure Phillies fans loved seeing him win a ring in a St. Louis uniform!

I know it is a stretch to include him in the bullpen… but the Phillies don’t have a stirring tradition of developing their own closers.


Myers has had some success as a closer. He closed out several big games down the stretch in 2007 when the Phillies overtook the Mets (including 3 saves and a win against the Mets from August 28th on).

He also had some success as a starter, winning in double digits in each of his five full seasons in the rotation.

He even had some success at the plate. The walk he coaxed out of CC Sabathia set up the Shane Victorino grand slam in Game 2 of the Division Series last year and earned him the Sully Baseball Division Series MVP.

Hope he liked closing. I hear he had anger management issues.


One of the few home grown closers in Phillies history to do the job well, he saved 34 games in two straight seasons (96 and 97) when the Phillies were awful.

He represented the Phillies in the 1996 All Star Game played in Philadelphia and pitched a scoreless 5th.

He was a native of New Britain, CT. You’d think he’d be a biggest focus at ESPN when he played.


Game 5 of the 1980 NLCS was grinding on. The series, arguably the greatest LCS of all time, was going back and forth between the Phillies and the Astros.

The Astros were four outs from winning the pennant in Game 5 and the Phillies rallied to take the lead.

The Phillies were then four outs from winning the pennant and the Astros tied it off of Tug McGraw.

Manager Dallas Green gave the ball in the bottom of the ninth of a tied game to his 17 game winner Dick Ruthven, who had not come out of the pen since 1977.

If he let up a single run, the Astros were going to the World Series and the Phillies would have lost their fourth NLCS in five years. But Ruthven threw a 1-2-3 ninth, sending the series into its fourth extra inning game.

After the Phillies scored a run in the 10th, Ruthven had to assume the role of bullpen closer. He got Danny Heep, Terry Puhl and Enos Cabell to all fly out.

The Phillies won their first pennant since 1950 and would go on to win their first ever World Series. Losers no more… thanks in part to clutch pitching from Dick Ruthven.


Farrell had only pitched one game in the bigs before making the 1957 Phillies roster. He would fit ring into the bullpen, saving 10 and winning 10 of the Phillies 77 wins and losing only 2.

He continued being an effective reliever in 1958, saving 11 more and being named to his first All Star team. In 1960, he won 10 games and saved 11 again, throwing 103 1/3 innings of relief.

He was traded away and the Astros tried to make him a starter but he wasn’t effective. When he returned to the Phillies in 1968, they put him back in the pen and he became a double digit savior again.

Why do people insist on fixing things that aren’t broken.



I could have Hall of Famer Dave Bancroft, but I am putting Samuel here for a few reasons:

1. Bancroft had his worst seasons in Philadelphia and didn’t wasn’t Hall of Fame caliber (or even a star quality player) until he went to the Giants.

2. Samuel put up some great power numbers (28 homers in 1987) and great speed (72 stolen bases in 1984, his rookie year) for the Phillies in the mid to late 1980s.

3. The Juan Samuel trade to the Mets (bringing Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell to Philadelphia) not only lay down the foundation for the 1993 NL Champs but ripped the heart out of the Mets and they haven’t won a World Series since.

All reasons that should make a Phillies fan happy.


Aren’t short tempered lunatics more fun when they play on YOUR team? Bowa had a temper that would make Sonny Corelone say “Dude, count to ten!” But he was a Gold Glover, a five time All Star and finished third in the 1978 MVP vote.

Plus his single in the 8th inning of Game 5 of the 1980 NLCS started the rally that saved the Phillies season.

I’m sure if he played somewhere else, Phillies fans would HATE him. But in a Phillies uni, they loved him.

And the respect is returned as seen in this recent clip of Bowa, now a coach for the Dodgers.


It always seemed like Pat Burrell’s relationship with Phillies fans could best be described as “Complicated.”

The first overall pick in the 1998 draft, Burrell was a regular two years after being picked and consistently hit 25-30 homers.

But his numbers plummeted after signing a gigantic contract before the 2003 season, which of course made him a target for the same Phillies fans who booed Mike Schmidt. And the first half of the 2007 season was so horrific for Burrell that he got benched.

But he rebounded with a terrific second half.

And in the 2008 post season, hit two homers in the clinching Game 4 of the Division Series. Then he hit the game winning homer in Game 1 of the 2008 NLCS.

And his double in the 7th inning of the resumed game 5 of the 2008 World Series began the World Series winning rally.

So he’s a hero, right? Well he left Philly for Tampa in the off season. Who knows how he’ll be received.

It’s complicated.


The Hall of Fame outfielder was one of the legit power hitters of the 19th century, clocking 19 one year. During the deadball era that would be the equivalent of 50 today.

He also has two of the strangest facts I have ever read about a Hall of Famer, thus insuring his inclusion on this post.

In 1892, he chased down a fly ball that got stuck in a small dog house next to the manual scoreboard that was in play. Evidently the scoreboard operator used the dog house to hold the numbers for the scoreboard. Delahanty crawled into the dog house to get the ball, got stuck and couldn’t get out before the hitter circled the bases with an inside the park homer.

The other bit of trivia was he was kicked off a train near Niagara Falls in 1903 for being drunk and threatening people with a razor. Later he fell off of the International Bridge and died in the Falls. Nobody knows if it was suicide.

Before you suggest another outfielder to put in this spot, ask yourself: Does that other outfielder have ONE story as interesting as Ed Delahanty’s TWO?


Bob Boone is best remembered for two things:

Being part of the Boone baseball dynasty. His Father Ray Boone was an All Star and his sons Bret and Aaron Boone have been All Stars. Bob was named to four All Star teams (three with the Phillies.)

He is also remembered for dropping the ball that Pete Rose caught out of the air with 1 out in the 9th inning of Game 6 of the 1980 World Series, putting the Phillies 1 out from the World Series.

He was a terrific catcher as well. He had some pop and rarely struck out. But his real key was behind the plate as he handling the pitching staff brilliantly and won two Gold Gloves in Philadelphia along the way.

Granted, he made that play in 1980 as if his glove were actually made of gold. Good thing Pete was there!


Call this inclusion a preemptive strike against all the Phillies fans who are going to scream at me for including someone like Bob Walk (who came out of nowhere to win Game 1 of the 1980 World Series) and leaving off the pitcher who leads the Phillies in many statistical categories including career ERA.

For 101 seasons he held the record of most scoreless innings at the start of a career with 25 in 1907. Oakland’s Brad Ziegler broke it last year with 39 1/3.

Let’s see Ziegler win 23 games his SECOND year like McQuillan.

With all of this talent, it’s hard to believe the Phillies went nearly 3 ½ decades without contending!

Did they do a good job picking talent from other teams?

Oh just a few Hall of Famer and arguably the deepest bullpen that you will ever see in the Home Grown vs. Acquired series.

Read on!



An All Star catcher and a leader on the 1950 National League Champions, Seminick hit two homers in one inning on June 2,1949.

Originally in the Pirates and Dodgers farms systems, he became Phillie for life, he became a coach and minor league manager. He coached Mike Schmidt, Bob Boone and Greg Luzinski in the minors, leaving his thumbprint on the 1980 World Championship squad.


Two of the coolest visuals and most significant visuals in Phillies history happened with one out in the top of the ninth of 1980 World Series game 6.

Frank White popped up between home plate and first in foul territory. Bob Boone came over to catch it, which would put the Phillies one out from the World Series title… and as I wrote above he dropped it. Same old Phillies… unable to win the big one.

But for some reason the biggest free agent signing in Phillies history, Pete Rose, was standing right there.

He caught it out of the air. No longer the same old Phillies.

After the unbelievable play, Rose ran back over, ball in his hand back to Tug McGraw. But before hand, he dribbled the ball on the Astroturf.

It was a wonderfully cocky moment that was decidedly “Un-Phillies” like. But then again that’s why they brought Rose in… to transform them from a playoff team to a Champion.

He did.
Safest bet the Phillies ever made. (Sorry.)


After losing three straight NLCS between 1976 and 1978, the Phillies shook things up in 1979. Obviously the biggest change was bringing in Pete Rose. But Manny Trillo turned out to be a pretty big move as well.

He gave the Phillies a Gold Glove at second and a Silver Slugger in the line up.

In the 1980 NLCS, he batted .381 with an OPS of .935. More importantly, he got huge hits in the series, including the two out triple off of Ken Forsch in the 8th inning of Game 5 that gave the Phillies the lead.

He was named the Series MVP. Not as cool as Rose, but his play smelled just as sweet.


Rowdy Richard represented the Phillies in the first ever All Star Game (1933). He was the starting shortstop on a line up that included Bill Terry, Pepper Martin and Chuck Klein. He went hitless.

He played with intensity as his nickname would suggest and was a smart situational hitter.

He also was kind of a tough person to be on a team with and he was traded several time, playing for five different teams.


In the surreal 1993 NLCS, the Braves out hit and out pitched the Phillies BADLY, and yet were trailing 3-2 in the series going into Philadelphia.

With Greg Maddux on the mound, there was a lot of reasons to think the Braves were going to tie the series and have a rested and ready Tom Glavine AND John Smoltz on the mound for Game 7.

The Phillies were clinging to a 2-1 lead in the fifth and the fans were waiting for the other shoe to drop when Mickey Morandini reached on an error and with one out, Dave Hollins came to the plate.

He homered to deep right center field and the Vet erupted. It seemed like the moment that Phillies fans allowed themselves to believe they were actually going to win the series.

The Phillies never let the Braves back into it after Hollins’ homer and they were World Series bound.


The Juan Samuel trade could never happen now. There would be violence. There might actually be deaths.

The Mets and Phillies have developed into bitter rivals and there is no way anyone in their right mind would send a hard nose player like Lenny Dykstra… a clutch post season performer loved by the fans… and send him to the arch rival.

The state of New Jersey would be destroyed in the cross fire.

And Dykstra amazingly played more seasons in Philadelphia than in New York. And he was the hero of the 1993 post season. He crushed 6 homers (including 4 in the World Series.) His 10th inning homer won Game 5 of the NLCS. And he would have been the World Series MVP had the Phillies won based on his .348 average and 1.413 OPS.

And Met fans have yet to move beyond this trade.

I know Dykstra only played a handful of games in left field, but center field belongs to Garry Maddox.
Remember, 2/3 of the Earth is covered by water... the other 1/3 is covered by Garry Maddox.


Weren't we just talking about Maddox?

In the top of the 10th inning of Game 5 of the 1980 NLCS, Del Unser was on second base but Phillies heroes Mike Schmidt and Manny Trillo made outs. The job of driving in the run (and preventing the bottom of the 10th from being yet another potential pennant clincher for Houston) fell onto Garry Maddox.

His two out double to center scored Unser and put the Phillies in the position of clinching the pennant. In the bottom of the tenth, Maddox caught Terry Puhl’s line out to bring the Phillies to within an out of the pennant.

Then Enos Cabell popped up to Maddox. He drove in the winner and he caught the clinching out.

It’s safe to say Maddox was the hero of the Phillies’ first pennant clinching in 30 years.


Callison was part of the great collapse in 1964, but don’t blame him! He finished second in the MVP vote that year, hit a walk off homer in the All Star Game and continued hitting even as the Phillies were losing.

He had a three homer game on September 27. Naturally the Phillies lost that game and fell out of first place…

Once again, don’t blame Callison.


On the day of the Expansion Draft for the Diamondbacks and the Devil Rays, Tampa chose Abreu, a talented left handed hitter from the Astros.

It was a heck of a smart pick. And typical of most moves the Devil Rays made their first few years, they found a way to screw it up.

Abreu was in the Tampa organization for less than a day as he was traded to the Phillies for shortstop Kevin Stocker, a veteran of the 1993 World Series. Stocker played 2 ½ uneventful seasons in Tampa, batting only .208 his first year.

Abreu became an All Star in Philadelphia, driving in 100 runs four times for the Phillies. He was a consistent .300 hitter, a career .902 OPS hitter who also steal 25-40 bases a year. Plus he put on quite a show at the 2005 All Star Home Run derby, hitting 24 homers in the first round.

I’m sure a Tampa Bay executive or two watched that home run derby and thought “Oh… Kevin Stocker was worth it.”



I believe Steve Carlton might be the best pitcher who ever pitched in my lifetime. He’s in the conversation.

I remember Tom Seaver. I vividly remember Roger Clemens and saw Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Tommy Glavine live.

All were amazing. Was Carlton better?

A guy who could win 27 games on a 1972 Phillies team that only won 59 must be pretty great.

Four Cy Youngs are pretty great. Six 20 win seasons are great. Five strikeout titles are great. Completing double digit games each season is great. Having the best strikeout to walk ratio in the game for years is great. Going 2-0 in the 1980 World Series (including winning the clinching game is great.)

Where he ranks is debatable. What isn’t is his greatness. I don’t even mind that he hung around too long and pitched unmemorably for the Giants, Indians, White Sox and Twins.

If I were that great, I’d want to make sure I was done as well!


The Junior Senator from Kentucky and future Hall of Famer was sent to Philly by way of Detroit with Gus Triandos for Don Demeter and Jack Hamilton before the 1964 season.

It was nothing short of a steal! The Phillies got a Cy Young candidate (he was the Cy Young runner up in 1967) and an ace for the Phillies team that SHOULD have won the 1964 pennant.

Gene Mauch kept going to the well with Short and Bunning down the stretch. He started on September 16th, 20th, 24th, 27th and 30th. These days you can’t throw a reliever that regularly!

On the final day of the season, he threw a complete game shutout… but Bob Gibson won as well, ergo there would be no playoff for the pennant.

If only the future Senator had objected to his over use!


Schilling retired from baseball today and his candidacy for the Hall of Fame begins in earnest. He was a decent pitching prospect with the Red Sox who never really turned heads with Baltimore and Houston.

But he became Schilling The Ace in a Phillies uniform.
He won the 1993 NLCS Most Valuable Player despite going 0-0 for the series (Mitch Williams blew the leads in both games but got the wins.)

He struck out 19 Braves in 16 innings including 10 in the stunning Game 1 victory. He also threw a complete game shutout in Game 5 of the World Series to keep the Phillies alive.

In 1999, he started as a Phillie in the All Star Game against Pedro Martinez. Little did anyone know how Schilling and Pedro and Fenway Park would be linked 5 seasons later.


The 1980s had a few relatively obscure Cy Young Award winners and John Denny won’t be the only one mentioned in this post.

Denny was a journeyman starter with one pretty good season with the 1978 Cardinals and a bunch of .500 seasons with ERAs in the mid 4’s. There was no reason to think the Phillies got anything special when they traded for Denny down the stretch in 1982.

In 1983 everything came together for one season. He won 19 games, threw 242 2/3 innings to a 2.37 ERA. He won each of his last six starts and also won Game 1 of the 1983 World Series.

His numbers receded the next season making his Cy Young winning seasons one of the strangest aberrations in baseball history.


On August 15, 1990, not long before I left Palo Alto to go to college in New York, I watched Phillies pitcher Terry Mulholland throw a no hitter against the Giants.

I called my friend Greg Lee, one of the biggest Giants fans I know, to ask him if he saw the Giants game. He said no.

I said “Terry Mulholland threw a no hitter.”

Greg said “That’s awesome!”

I was confused and reminded him that Terry Mulholland pitched it AGAINST the Giants.

Terry Mulholland seemed to be in the Giants organization for decades. So I guess it was understandable that Greg thought he was still a Giant. I felt bad informing him that not only did the Giants not throw a no hitter but they were the hitless line up.

Mulholland would eventually come back to the Giants but not before he made the All Star team and won a World Series game for the Phillies.

He never threw a no hitter FOR the Giants.



I have mentioned before my fascination with closers and how I wish I could be one. Specifically I wanted to be like Tug McGraw. I wanted to be able to come into a game with everything on the line… but who am I kidding?

What I really wanted was to be the guy who holds his arms up and gets mobbed on the mound. I used to imitate his arms up celebration throwing a whiffle ball in our front yard.

There were better closers statistically. He never won the Rolaids Award nor led the league in Saves. But nobody seemed cooler under pressure (even self induced pressure) and nobody looked cooler closing the big game that Tug McGraw.


After being traumatized by his disastrous 2005 post season with miserable years in 2006 and 2007, Brad Lidge clearly needed a change of scenery. I made the plea on the site for the Astros to deal him.

Obviously possessing a world of talent, he needed to have a clean slate.

Who would have thought that he could leave the relatively relaxed baseball city of Houston to the pressure cooker that is Philadelphia and find peace?

His 2008 was as stunningly dominating as any closer has had in recent memory.

He struck out 92 in 69 1/3 innings, but always had the strikeout in his arsenal. He pitched to a 1.95 ERA and saved 41.

He lost no games.
He blew no saves.

Think about that for a second. Every lead he was handed he kept. Each tied game he entered, he preserved.

And it went into the post season as well, as all memories of Albert Pujols, Scott Posednik and Jermaine Dye were wiped away with 7 saves in 7 chances and a 0.96 ERA.

He became the second pitcher (along with Tug McGraw) to clinch a World Series for the Phillies.

All because of the calming environment known as Philadelphia. Who knew?


Like Denny and Schilling, Konstanty didn’t have the reputation of a World Beater when he landed in Philadelphia… but he became one.

Used purely out of the pen in 1949, he won 9 and saved 7 as the Phillies had their first winning season since 1932. He was just getting warmed up.

For the 1950 Whiz Kids, Konstanty put together what was considered at the time to be one of the best seasons a reliever ever. He won 16 games, saved 22 and threw 152 innings… all in relief. He won the NL MVP for 1950.

Then in the World Series, with Bubba Church hurt and Curt Simmons in Korea, Konstantly made his first start of the season in Game 1 of the 1950 World Series.

He pitched brilliantly, holding the Yankees to 4 hits and 1 run over 8 innings. Unfortunately for the Phillies, Vic Raschi was even better, throwing a complete game shut out.

Imagine a closer starting game 1 of the World Series today?


I mentioned in my Astros post that Nolan Ryan deserved the Cy Young Award in 1987 and I list my reasons for thinking so.

That isn’t a slight against Steve Bedrosian, who did indeed win the Cy Young Award that year for the Phillies.

His 40 saves led the NL that year, was named to the All Star Game and was the Rolaids Relief Award winner.

I just preferred Nolan Ryan. It’s never a dishonor to be compared to Nolan Ryan!


Going into the 1983 season, I am guessing not a lot of people thought that John Denny and Al Holland were going to be the big pitching stars for the Phillies.

Besides, Denny was a journeyman starter and Holland, while talented, was hardly an All Star when he came over from San Francisco with Joe Morgan.

The Phillies got not only an “out of nowhere” Cy Young in Denny but an equally “out of nowhere” Rolains Relief Winner in Holland. He saved 25 games for the NL Champs, finishing 6th in the Cy Young vote.

He clinched the pennant by closing out game 4 of the NLCS against the Dodgers and then saved Game 1 of the 1983 World Series.

A few years later his career was derailed by cocaine suspensions and was out of baseball after the 1987 season, but not before he could pitch the Phillies back to the World Series!

I know Jose Mesa leads the club in saves historically. And if anyone suggests I add him to the list, I will kindly ask you to return your Phillies fan credentials.



Dave Cash was only a Phillie for three seasons, but he made the most of them, making the All Star team all three years, giving the Phillies a .300 hitter with 20 stolen bases at second base. He led the NL with hits in 1975 and triples in 1976 as the Phillies won their first division title and played in the post season for the first time since 1950.

Cash was the only singer on the Phillies Fever record to NOT win a World Series ring with the 1980 team.


May was an All Star infielder for the Phillies in the 1940s. He led the league in fielding three times and batted .293 in 1940. That year he received some points in the MVP vote despite the fact that the Phillies were 50-103 and in dead last place that year.

His son was Milt May, former Pirates and Giants catcher. I do not know why he was nicknamed “Pinky.”


Supposedly Sam Thompson was a roofer in Indiana who was convinced by his friends to try out for a baseball team. He wound up being a Hall of Fame power hitter.

He had eight 100 RBI seasons, including 165 for the 1895 Phillies. His first season in Philadelphia he became the first ever 20-20 man (20 homers, 24 stolen bases.)

Plus he batted .407 in 1894... which placed him third in the league. (His teammated Billy Hamilton and Ed Delahanty also hit over .400 that year.)

Frankly I don't believe the roofer story... but it makes for a nice legend.


Cravath was passed around between the Red Sox, White Sox and Senators before landing with the Phillies. He fit in perfectly. He led the NL in homers six times, hitting some totals that were eye popping in the dead ball era (including 24 in 1915.)

He didn't know it at the time, but he had the highest OPS in 1913, 1914 and 1915.

And on September 29, 1915, he homered in the game that clinched the first ever pennant for the Phillies franchise.

Evidently the knickname is a variation of the Spanish word for Seagull. He killed a seagull with a line drive once. Nicknames are a lost art.


Bo Diaz had to fill Bob Boone's shoes when he came over from the Indians before the 1982 season. He did more than hold his own by hitting career highs in homers, RBI his first season in Philadelphia.

The next year, Diaz helped clinch the division on September 28th, 1983 by going 5 for 5 with 2 homers and 3 RBI. In a losing cause he batted .333 in the World Series.

His value behind the plate was evident as the Phillies won the pennant with unlikely contributions by John Denny, Al Holland and Charles Hudson... and none of them replicated their 1983 success. Maybe throwing to the late Bo Diaz was the answer for the success.


The son of Hall of Famer George Sisler, Dick played 8 good but hardly outstanding seasons in the big leagues. But any celebration of Phillies history would be laughably incomplete without him. His 13th homer in the 1950 season was one of the great moments in Philadelphia sports history.

On the last day of the 1950 season, with the Phillies in a tailspin, Sisler and company were in Brooklyn. A Dodgers win would force a playoff for the pennant.

But in the 10th inning, Sisler homered to the opposite field, stunning Brooklyn. The Phillies would close the game out and win their first pennant since 1915.

Yes I know there are bigger players in Phillies history. But few moments as big as the Sisler homer.

Don't believe me? No less than Ernest Hemmingway mentions him in Old Man and the Sea. If Sisler is good enough for Hemmingway, he is good enough for Sully Baseball!


Sure the Home Growns have Schmidt, Alexander and the current infield, which is the best the Phillies have ever had.

But don't you know that Rose will find a way to win?
Don't you know that Carlton and Schilling will pitch the big game?

And can you imagine scoring off of that bullpen?



One more down!

That's the Phillies

And the Cubs
And the Indians
And the Tigers
And the White Sox.
And the Royals
And the Brewers
And the Reds
And the Dodgers
And the Blue Jays
And the Pirates
And the Diamondbacks
And the Mariners
And the Nationals
And the Angels
And The Padres
And The Twins
And The Orioles
And the A's
And the Astros
And the Giants
And the Rockies
And the Mets
And the Rangers
And the Marlins
And the Yankees
And the Red Sox

3 to go...



  1. Anonymous7:28 AM

    That's pretty good analysis for a non-Phillies fan, Sully. One slight change I would make is to flip flop Garry Maddox and Lenny Dykstra in the outfield. Your posting on Maddox doesn't even reference that he was one of the best defensive centerfielders of all time. As the saying goes, "2/3 of the Earth is covered by water, the other third is covered by Garry Maddox!"

  2. Anonymous1:41 PM

    Grover Cleveland Alexander was also named after a President.

  3. Hey, great job with this, despite the booing Santa cheap shot in the beginning. One thing though, Myers loved closing, and was a little pissed when they moved him to back into the rotation last year.

  4. grannyhamnerraro11:37 AM

    Sully, extremely well done, even though a syntactical error made it seem like Dime won the MVP instead of J-Roll, and the fact that you didn't mention that I was his Unfilters riposter.

  5. After a slow start, the Phillies are starting to turn it on. They’ve always been my favourite teams in MLB. Just read about them here:

  6. Anonymous1:39 PM

    I'd take Jim Thome over Abreu for Pinch hitter.

  7. Anonymous5:07 PM

    Ed Delahanty? Mike Lieberthal?

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