The Mount Rushmore of the Philadelphia Phillies

Mike-SchmidtTwo years ago, Andy did a series on choosing the top 4 players representing each major league franchise. Andy finished the American League teams and had started with some of the National League expansion franchises. Those posts and the voting results can be found here.

Since we’ve now begun a long off-season, I thought it might be fun to finish that series by running through the original NL franchises.

To start, readers are asked to choose the 4 players that best represent the Philadelphia Phillies. No rules other than that. Have fun!

This franchise started as the Philadelphia Quakers in 1883 and has operated in the National League continuously since then. In 1890 the Quakers became the Phillies, a nickname that has remained with the team since, save for the 1943 and 1944 seasons when the team was known as the Blue Jays.

For most of its existence, the Phillies have been a second division club, often failing to reach .500 much less contend. Their first pennant came in 1915, followed by second place finishes the next two years. Then 31 straight seasons finishing no higher than 4th and with only one season above .500 (and that only barely, with a 78-76 record in 1932).

A third place finish in 1949 and a second pennant in 1950 portended better things ahead but the revival was short-lived. They weren’t as bad as in the ’20s and ’30s, but the ’50s and ’60s Phillies were again consigned to the second division with only one finish higher than 4th in the twenty years from 1954 to 1973. That one season, in 1964, was notable for a famous collapse in the final two weeks of the season that saw the Phillies lose 10 straight, surrendering a 6.5 game lead in only a week (Sep 20-27).

Philadelphia’s first sustained stretch as a contending club came from 1975 to 1984 with 10 straight .500 seasons, only once finishing lower than 3rd. Included were 6 post-season appearances, two pennants and a first world championship in 1980. Back in decline after that, the Phillies had just one .500 season from 1987 to 2000 but they made it count with a fifth NL pennant in 1993. More recently, Philadelphia posted 11 of 12 .500 finishes from 2001 to 2012, never finishing lower than 3rd and climaxing with 5 straight post-season appearances from 2007 to 2011, including two more pennants and a second world championship in 2008.

Here are the top 15 Phillies batters, by career WAR:

Rk Player WAR From To Age G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Mike Schmidt 106.5 1972 1989 22-39 2404 10062 1506 2234 408 59 548 1595 1507 1883 .267 .380 .527 .908 *53/H64
2 Chase Utley 61.5 2003 2014 24-35 1478 6335 926 1569 334 48 228 886 603 923 .285 .370 .488 .858 *4/H3D
3 Ed Delahanty 60.9 1888 1901 20-33 1557 7141 1368 2214 442 158 87 1288 643 384 .348 .414 .508 .922 *7384/695
4 Richie Ashburn 57.2 1948 1959 21-32 1794 8223 1114 2217 287 97 22 499 946 455 .311 .394 .388 .782 *8/7H9
5 Sherry Magee 47.8 1904 1914 19-29 1521 6312 898 1647 337 127 75 886 546 466 .299 .371 .447 .818 *7/93684
6 Bobby Abreu 47.0 1998 2006 24-32 1353 5885 891 1474 348 42 195 814 947 1078 .303 .416 .513 .928 *9/H8D
7 Jimmy Rollins 45.7 2000 2014 21-35 2090 9511 1325 2306 479 111 216 887 753 1145 .267 .327 .424 .751 *6/HD4
8 Johnny Callison 39.4 1960 1969 21-30 1432 5930 774 1438 265 84 185 666 513 854 .271 .338 .457 .795 *97/H8
9 Roy Thomas 36.5 1899 1911 25-37 1286 5788 923 1364 80 42 6 264 946 454 .295 .421 .334 .755 *8/391
10 Billy Hamilton 36.4 1890 1895 24-29 732 3629 880 1084 126 51 23 370 553 150 .360 .468 .459 .927 *78
11 Dick Allen 35.4 1963 1976 21-34 1070 4511 697 1143 204 64 204 655 517 1023 .290 .371 .530 .902 *537/H684
12 Chuck Klein 34.9 1928 1944 23-39 1405 5772 963 1705 336 64 243 983 471 410 .326 .382 .553 .935 *97H/83
13 Del Ennis 33.8 1946 1956 21-31 1630 6939 891 1812 310 65 259 1124 539 622 .286 .344 .479 .823 *79/H83
14 Gavvy Cravath 30.9 1912 1920 31-39 1104 4238 525 1054 222 72 117 676 503 514 .291 .381 .489 .871 *9/H78
15 Sam Thompson 30.8 1889 1898 29-38 1034 4835 930 1478 275 107 95 963 344 147 .334 .388 .509 .897 *9/783
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/4/2014.

And the top 15 pitchers, by career WAR:

Rk Player WAR From To Age G GS CG SHO W L W-L% IP BB SO ERA FIP ERA+
1 Robin Roberts 69.7 1948 1961 21-34 529 472 272 35 234 199 .540 3739.1 718 1871 3.46 3.49 114
2 Steve Carlton 64.6 1972 1986 27-41 499 499 185 39 241 161 .600 3697.1 1252 3031 3.09 3.05 120
3 Pete Alexander 60.3 1911 1930 24-43 338 280 219 61 190 91 .676 2513.2 561 1409 2.18 2.39 140
4 Cole Hamels 40.4 2006 2014 22-30 275 274 13 6 108 83 .565 1801.1 453 1707 3.27 3.48 125
5 Curt Schilling 36.8 1992 2000 25-33 242 226 61 14 101 78 .564 1659.1 415 1554 3.35 3.27 126
6 Chris Short 32.2 1959 1972 21-34 459 301 88 24 132 127 .510 2253.0 762 1585 3.38 3.24 105
7 Jim Bunning 31.4 1964 1971 32-39 226 208 65 23 89 73 .549 1520.2 329 1197 2.93 2.80 122
8 Charlie Buffinton 27.3 1887 1889 26-28 133 127 115 9 77 50 .606 1112.2 272 512 2.89 3.16 131
9 Charlie Ferguson 25.5 1884 1887 21-24 183 170 165 13 99 64 .607 1514.2 290 728 2.67 3.12 120
10 Curt Simmons 24.4 1947 1960 18-31 325 263 109 18 115 110 .511 1939.2 718 1052 3.66 3.45 108
11 Tully Sparks 24.0 1897 1910 22-35 224 198 150 18 95 95 .500 1698.0 374 586 2.48 2.60 109
12 Al Orth 23.4 1895 1901 22-28 193 173 149 14 100 72 .581 1504.2 314 359 3.49 3.55 109
13 Cliff Lee 22.3 2009 2014 30-35 118 118 12 8 48 34 .585 827.1 124 813 2.94 2.85 132
14 Dan Casey 21.9 1886 1889 23-26 142 142 128 11 72 59 .550 1197.2 339 485 2.91 3.50 124
15 Kid Gleason 18.7 1888 1891 21-24 166 143 132 7 78 70 .527 1328.2 482 475 3.39 3.61 105
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/4/2014.

Please choose 4 players, or write in your own. Polls are open until midnight Pacific time on Tue, Nov 18th. You can check on results using the link at the bottom of the ballot.

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73 Comments on "The Mount Rushmore of the Philadelphia Phillies"

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no statistician but
Guest

First to comment—that’s a first, if I hurry.

Can’t do without Schmidt and Roberts, it seems to me. Carlton, too. The other big names, except Ashburn, made as much a mark elsewhere as in Philly. Have to go with the presidential candidate, I think. Three pitchers out of four?

Phil
Guest

Schmidt and Carlton, obviously, probably Robin Roberts too. In an odd sort of way, Ryan Howard came to mind next, for reasons both good and bad.

Hartvig
Guest
Oh happy day- Mount Rushmore is back. I’ve wondered more than a time or two since we last voted when or even if this was going to happen. I’m not ready to cast my vote just yet. I generally prefer to have a representative sample of players from across the franchises entire timeline but since almost all of their success is centered around a couple of eras (late 70’s/early 80’s and the 00’s) but a few brief blips on the radar in the many years outside of that this is going to be a tough one. I’m mean how do… Read more »
John Autin
Editor

A welcome diversion, Doug! But this was a LOT tougher than it might have been, for the losing-est team in MLB history. I went Schmitty & Lefty, Utley and Ol’ Pete. I felt dirty leaving out Robin Roberts, one of the best 5-year peaks in the live-ball era. (Maybe he can get a “Crazy Horse” monument later on.)

bstar
Guest

I went with Schmidt, Carlton, Utley, and Robin Roberts. Alexander only playing seven seasons for Philly was why I left him off. Richie Ashburn was a tougher omission. Utley was my final choice because I don’t think he’s done accumulating WAR.

John
Guest

Schmidt and Carlton are gimmes. The other 2 were tougher. Then realized Robert & Klein both won Triple Crowns for lousy teams. There’s my 4.

Alan
Guest

Hey, I didn’t quite get this: who was the Robert you referenced here that won the Triple Crown?

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

That is a puzzler.
The only other Phillie to win a TC was named Pete.
He won three in a row, but not for lousy teams.

Richard Chester
Guest

Perhaps he erroneously thought that Robin Roberts won the pitching TC.

John
Guest

Ya got me. I erroneously thought Robin Roberts did. He’d’ve won 300 games if he’d pitched for better teams.

Alan
Guest

Well, I voted for Roberts in any case, as well as Schmidt and Carlton (can’t believe anybody would not vote for Lefty!), plus Pete Alexander. 3 pitchers–wasn’t expecting that.

birtelcom
Guest

Seven World Series homers for Utley. Only Duke Snider has more for one team other than the Yankees. Frank Robinson had seven for the O’s, Goose Goslin seven for the Senators, and Utley — that’s it in terms of topping six for one team. Overall, an 1.183 WS OPS. With everything else he’s accomplished, and given Phillies history, that’s enough for me to chisel his face on the mountain.

John Nacca
Guest
Schmidt and Carlton are easy……. My third choice was Delahanty……… My fourth choice was………..in all honesty?………..”The Phillie Phanatic”. Think I am crazy? Here, according to wikipedia, are all the non-baseball credits the Phanatic has received……. In popular culture The Phillie Phanatic with fans at Veterans Stadium at a Camera Day pre-game event in 1987. The Phillie Phanatic in the stands of Veterans Stadium on Opening Day, 1986. The Phanatic appeared in the closing credits of the film Rocky Balboa (2006). The Phanatic appeared on the episode of the television show Jon and Kate Plus 8 titled “Baseball Game with Daddy”,… Read more »
John Nacca
Guest

The Phillie Phanatic was created in 1978, and his first appearance at a Phillies game was April 25th, 1978. Next Opening Day will mark 38 consecutive years. If that isn’t Mount Rushmore worthy, I don’t know what else is………especially since the Phillies haven’t had a real run of truly great players over the 125+ years of existence (which is pretty sad when you think of it).

Rich Looby
Guest

Millwood’s no no was on The Phanatics b day. It was 4/28. I think “his” actual day is 5/2

Dr. Doom
Guest

I felt like spreading the love out chronologically. I went with Pete Alexander, Robin Roberts, Mike Schmidt, and Chase Utley. To me, the issue isn’t that the Phils haven’t had great players – it’s that their great players have been too close together in terms of value and/or impact. That makes this tough. Fun, though! The only real ‘gimme’ I see is Schmidt. As for the rest? I don’t think you can really go wrong, at least if you’re voting within reason.

Arsen
Guest
I voted for Schmidt, Carlton, Roberts and Ashburn. I think that the first three clearly deserve to be on the monument. I chose Ashburn over Utley (my all-time favorite Phil)for a couple of reasons. Ashburn is a true legend in the Philadelphia. After his playing career he was an announcer for three decades. Ashburn and Harry Kalas were the voices of the Phillies during that 1970s and 80s run. Utley, while great, was never the acknowledged leader of the team. He was unfairly overshadowed by Ryan Howard’s slugging, Jimmy Rollins all around game and the pitching of Cliff Lee and… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
First I narrowed the list down to 8. Klein and Allen were the first 2 overboard and then Utley. The last guy to get tossed was Ashburn, which was really a hard call. My final votes: Schmidt- well duh. Lefty- it actually came down to him & Ashburn and the WS titles was the deciding factor. Roberts- maybe not quite as great as Carlton at his best but you had a much better idea of what you were going to get from year to year. Alexander- OK I know he was only a Philly for 8 years and one of… Read more »
Steve
Guest

Schmidt and Carlton without a doubt Roberts and Ashburn – sorry Chase war or not Richie gets the nod

mo
Guest

Schmidt, Ashburn, Roberts, Carlton. Mount Rushmore is about fame, so even if Utley has more WAR than Ashburn, Ashburn was the face of the Phillies during the the 50s.

David Horwich
Guest

I took Schmidt, Carlton, Roberts, and Rollins.

Hard to leave out Ashburn, but I wanted a player from their recent run of success. Utley has been more productive than Rollins, of course, but Rollins has had the longer and more durable career, and is now at or near the top of the franchise leaderboard for most major offensive counting stats; so to me he’s more the ‘face’ of the franchise than Utley.

Luis Gomez
Guest

Is there an easier choice than Schmidt in the Philiies Mount Rushmore, than any other team?

Now that Mount Rushmore is back, we need to get back too the simi-fantasy-baseball thing that we were part of, a few months ago.

mosc
Guest

My guy was great… except for the fact he couldn’t pitch more than 15 innings A YEAR. I did think that was cool though. Probably a lot of work to put together.

RJ
Guest

Adam has said he is too busy to continue with that. I was considering prodding him to see if he still has the save files so someone else might carry on with it…

brp
Guest
Tony Gwynn was easier. You could envision Joe Baseball Fan saying Carlton or maybe a modern guy like Rollins/Utley if asked to name the best Phillie. Schmidt is pretty obviously the best but it’s possible someone else could pop into your mind if put on the spot. I can’t imagine anyone not saying Tony Gwynn; there simply isn’t another option. Based on teams we’ve already voted for, George Brett and the Royals is the same way to me. But yeah, Schmidt is a complete no-brainer. As a side note – is there a way to disable the voting on those… Read more »
John Nacca
Guest

Babe Ruth……….Hank Aaron…………Willie Mays………possibly Ernie Banks……..

oneblankspace
Guest

Banks has the advantage of not playing for another team at the end of his career.

donburgh
Guest

I went with Schmidt, Carlton, Roberts and Ashburn. Alexander is the last player I cut.

Thank you, Doug, for bringing this back. It bugged me that this series was dropped in the middle for no reason. I didn’t get involved in CoG voting right away because I feared that it might also just fade away.

Dr. Doom
Guest

Wow… I was just imagining what would happen if the COG stopped for no apparent reason. There would be mutiny! People would seek out birtelcom’s house and… I don’t know… forcibly tie him to a chair until he ran the next round, or something.

birtelcom
Guest

Oh no, not the Comfy Chair!

Dr. Doom
Guest

“No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!”

David P
Guest

As an FYI, there seems to be a discrepancy re: Chase Utley’s WAR. His player page lists 62.7, not the 61.5 that comes up in search results.

I think the 62.7 is correct, that’s what you get when you add up him individual seasons.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/WAR_active.shtml

Probably doesn’t effect anyone’s vote, but worth noting.

RJ
Guest

I’ve also noticed occasional differences in what comes up on a search and what the player page says. Perhaps one total comes from adding rounded numbers together, whilst the other total uses the raw, non-rounded numbers.

David P
Guest

RJ – It definitely seems to happen more than it should. But I can’t see how it would be due to rounding. A 1.2 WAR difference is quite large. And just looking at Schmidt, his player page shows the exact same WAR as the search results.

David P
Guest

Looks like the Utley error has already been corrected. His player page now lists 61.5 career WAR, the lower of the two figures. When I looked at it earlier his 2014 was listed at 4.8. It’s now been changed to 3.6. That must have been the source of the discrepancy.

Paul E
Guest

Schmidt, Roberts, Carlton….Allen

For combined seasons, from the age of 22-25, Dick Allen is third (3rd !) all-time in oWAR – behind two bums named Cobb and Mantle. Then he ripped his ulna nerve in his wrist and hand in August 1967…

I can only imagine what he would have done in the Utley-Rollins-Howard era playing in that newer little league park with the 365 foot alleys. But, if you go to BR and enter the 2009 season for Allen, you get something like:

.327 .407 .585 in lieu of .311 .388 .585 for his first four seasons (22-25)

Paul E
Guest

sorry, that actual slugging percentage was “only” .559 in the second example

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Took a peek at Pete Rose.
Noticed that he played all 162 games at age 41 with a WAR of -1.1

Worst WAR for 162 games played:

-1.8 … Joe Carter
-1.1 … P.E. Rose
-1.1 … Neifi Perez
-1.1 … Matt Kemp
-0.7 … Bobby Richardson
-0.6 … Leon Wagner (163)
-0.4 … P.E. Rose
________

Most games in a season, age 40+

162 … Rose
156 … Wagner
156 … Winfield
152 … Murray
151 … Rose
150 … Wagner
150 … Darrell Evans

Pete also played 162 at age 39.
________

And no, I’ve decided not to vote for Rose on the Philly Mt. Rushmore

no statistician but
Guest
Gavvy Cravath didn’t make the bigs to stay until age 31, then put up some numbers that make you wonder what he might have done if he’s gotten an earlier start. He set a Minor League record for HRs in 1911 (29) and escaped the contract that held him in Minneapolis by accident. Four years later he was the offensive force that drove the Phillies to the pennant. Arguably he was just as important as Alexander. Without either one the team would have gone nowhere. Not a Rushmore guy, no, but for 8 years, starting at age 31, he was… Read more »
David P
Guest

Cravath is best known as the guy who held the career home run record until some guy named Babe Ruth came along. (Baseball Reference lists Roger Connor but he played entirely in the 19th century).

Anyway, Cravath is one of those guys who could have been a HOFer if he had been born on the east coast. Unfortunately he was born in California and spent a while toiling in the PCL before making his way east.

Richard Chester
Guest

Of Cravath’s 119 HR, 92 came at the Baker Bowl. He had 10 bounce HR and 4 IPHR. He was a RHB so if he took advantage of the short RF fence at the Bowl he was going the opposite way.

David Horwich
Guest

Just to note, although probably no one knew it at the time, Cravath was in fact never higher than 4th all-time in home runs, behind three 19th century players: Connor, Sam Thompson, and Harry Stovey.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_lifetime_home_run_leaders_in_Major_League_Baseball

David P
Guest

David H – I’m never really sure where the early baseball records fit in. Nevertheless, I’m guessing the Cravath had the record for most over the fence home runs since the other players on the list were likely IPHR types.

David Horwich
Guest

According to their HR logs on bb-ref, the totals of the top pre-Ruth HR hitters break down as follows:

Connor 138 total: 1 bounce, 17 IPHR = 120 over the fence
Thompson 126 total: 13 IPHR = 113 OTF
Cravath 119 total: 10 bounce, 4 IPHR = 105 OTF
J Ryan 118 total: 2 bounce, 17 IPHR = 99 OTF
Stovey 122 total: 1 bounce, 27 IPHR = 94 OTF

So Connor, Thompson, and Cravath were the only 3 players with 100+ over the fence home runs before Ruth.

bstar
Guest

Priceless quote from Cravath’s SABR bio. In reference to his lack of speed:

“They call me wooden shoes and piano legs and a few other pet names,” he once said. “I do not claim to be the fastest man in the world, but I can get around the bases with a fair wind and all sails set. And so long as I am busting the old apple on the seam, I am not worrying a great deal about my legs.”

Busting the ol’ apple. On the seam. We just need more people in the world who talk to way, see.

dr-remulak
Guest

Schmidt, Utley, Carlton, Roberts.

Darien
Guest

Schmidt, Rollins, Bunning, and Hamels. And in my defense: we’re talking players who best exemplify being a Phillie, not players who were all-time awesome. 🙂

PP
Guest

3 pitchers for me too. Couldn’t pull the trigger for Utley over Alexander.

Dan Mallon
Guest

Phillies might have the easiest Mt. Rushmore to choose in baseball. Just walk around Citizens Bank Park, find the four statues, there you go.

Tubbs
Guest

I voted for Schmidt, Carlton, Roberts, and Alexander. Alexander just edged out Ashburn for my last spot

I’m glad to see the Mt. Rushmore series back and would also like to see the “Does He Belong in the Hall of Fame” polls brought back, especially with the Golden Era Veteran Committee election coming up in December. I’d love to see what the readers here think of Miñoso, Kaat, Boyer, Hodges, Tiant and others HOF candidacies. Also, there a lot of recently retired players such as Abreu, Rolen, and Helton who would make interesting subjects

Joseph
Guest

I just noticed Ashburn’s 1958 season. I would bet that may be the only time where a player had 215 hits, 97 walks, 30 stolen bases, and scored under 100 runs. I don’t know for sure, I don’t have a subscription to play index right now.

Can someone check that?

But jeez, what an offensive mess that team must have been in–the guy was on base over 315 times and his teammates could not bring him home more than 98 times?

David P
Guest

Joseph – You actually don’t need a subscription to check this. And yes, you’re right. Only season with 200+ hits, 90+ walks, 30+ steals and fewer than 100 runs scored. If you eliminate the SB requirement, you add Pete Rose in 1979 and nearly Wade Boggs in 1983 (exactly 100 runs scored).

no statistician but
Guest

Also— Robin Roberts had his last big year for that team, going 17-14. Ashburn’s WAR was 7.1, Roberts’ was 6.2. The team finished 69-85 in last place even though they won their last 6 games. Prior to that they had a streak of 11-32. A weird season, one probably worth analyzing for historical purposes, if anyone does that sort of thing.

Hartvig
Guest
Yeah, offensively they didn’t look that bad. They were a little below the league average in runs scored and 6th out of 8 teams in scoring but also just 2 runs from moving up another notch. And in terms of team OPS+ they were 4th in the league. Seven of their 8 starters and 5 of the 7 guys on the bench with more than 100 PA’s all have OPS+’s above 100. The only place they really stunk up the joint was LOB, where they were almost 100 over the league average and 69 more than the next team. It’s… Read more »
David P
Guest
Adding to Hartving: 1) The Phillies were 1st in hits, 2nd in double, 3rd in triples, 1st in walks, 1st in OBP, yet they finished 6th in runs scored. Sure they were 6th in home runs and slugging but that doesn’t seem like it should be enough to cancel out all the positive. 2) 15 players had 100+ PAs and 12 of those posted an OPS+ of 102 or better. But the other 3 had an OPS+ under 71. And those 3 accounted for over 1000 PAs. Which is how the Phillies ended up with a team OPS+ of 96.… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
It’s a tangent, yeah, but the season’s over—long time till spring: The 1958 season itself was pretty weird. In the NL, the Braves led by 1 game on July 9 with a record of 40-34 and the Phillies were only 3 out at 37-37. At the end the Braves were 92-62, and the Phiillies were bunched at the bottom with three other teams, 2 at 72-82, 1 at 71-83, and the Phils at 69-85. In the AL the Yankees on July 10 were 50-26, leading by 11, and at one point had extended their dominance to 63-30, a pace to… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest

Ugh. I have been raised to have a visceral reaction whenever the ’58 series or the ’59 playoff is brought up. My stomach is seriously queasy just thinking about that. Yuck.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Schmidt
Delahanty
Alexander
Utley

_____________

I voted for Big Ed, even though he “Jumped from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Cleveland Infants.”

And Roberts & Carlton may have done it longer, but Grover’s 7 years were ridiculous. Deadball era or not, a 4-year stretch of

121-50
1.74
.
.
.
gets my vote.

MikeD
Guest

Good to see this back after a couple of years, roughly the equivalent of me being out of the country!

Missed this vote. Can’t disagree with the final vote, although somehow I wanted to vote for Old Pete. He deserves to be on some team’s Mt. Rushmore, yet he only spent seven years in Philly. Ed Delahanty? Time and a suicide have dimmed the image of one of the best hitters (the best?) in Philly history. Or was it murder?

Jason
Guest

I missed the poll, but I would have voted for the top four vote getters: Schmidt, Carlton, Roberts, Ashburn. Hard to argue with any of them.

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