Tony Phillips 1959-2016

Tony-PhillipsTony Phillips died last week of a heart attack, aged only 56. Phillips exceeded 50 WAR in an 18 year career played primarily with the Athletics and Tigers. One of the most versatile players in major league history, Phillips started his career as a shortstop but ended up playing over 400 games at 2B, 3B and LF.

More on Phillips after the jump.

Eleven of Phillips’ 18 seasons saw him compile qualifying PAs, but he played more than two-thirds of his team’s games at one position in only two of those campaigns, both as a left-fielder late in his career. For his career, Phillips played 20 games at three positions 6 times, and 30 games at two positions on 11 occasions. His 1984 season with 91 games at both 2B and SS (obviously including a significant number of games in which he played both positions) is the only season with 75 games at each of the keystone positions. That was his second year with 60 games at those two spots, also a unique accomplishment.

Most of Phillips’ career value came in the back end of his career, after compiling only 11.6 WAR through his age 29 season for the 1988 AL champion A’s. Among 98 players including Phillips with 30 WAR aged 30+, only Cy Williams and Dixie Walker compiled less WAR in 500+ games before age 30. Phillips’ had a late career peak at age 31-36, exceeding 4 WAR in each of those seasons to rank among 57 players since 1901 with 25 WAR and 15 WAA at those ages. Of that group, only Stan Musial and Paul Molitor joined Phillips in not playing two-thirds of their games at one position.

Phillips compiled an 11.4% walk rate through his age 30 season, but increased that to 16.0% after age 30 (a 40% improvement). That change contributed to 6 consecutive seasons (1992-97) of 90 walks and 90 runs (a stretch that included two strike-shortened seasons) making Phillips the only player with that accomplishment aged 33-38. Those seasons also made Phillips the only player at any age with 6 consecutive years of 90 walks, 90 strikeouts and fewer than 30 home runs.

Phillips posted a career best 119 runs in both 1995 and 1996; those 238 total runs trail only Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds at age 36-37. Phillips’ 2023 career hits are the fewest among 87 retired players to reach 1300 runs for their careers. Similarly, his 9110 career PA and .389 SLG are the lowest marks among 38 retired players to reach 1300 runs and 1300 walks.

Phillips’ career ended where it began, playing with the A’s in 1999 at age 40 and typically recording 15+ games at four different positions. Phillips’ 15 home runs that year are the 5th highest final season total aged 40+, tied with another player who returned to Oakland for his final campaign. Who is he?

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David P
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Quiz answer is Reggie. First name that popped into my head. Though perhaps it was a bit obvious.

Hartvig
Guest

I actually thought of Harmon Killebrew.

He turned 40 mid-way thru his final season when he hit 14 home runs for Kansas City.

However, by that time they were no longer the Athletics but the Royals.

Dr. Doom
Guest

The trivia answer is Reggie Jackson, which I didn’t need to look up to know. But I did, just to be sure. 🙂

Doug
Guest

As quizzes go, this one was a cream puff.

Kahuna Tuna
Guest

For final seasons aged 40+, Phillips’ 43 XBH (24 2B, 4 3B, 15 HR) are the fourth highest ever, trailing only Craig Biggio (44 in 2007), Ted Williams (44 in 1960), and George Brett (53 in 1993).

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Only MLB player to ever come out of New Mexico Military Institute (Roswell, NM).

The only player with at least 250 games at
SS, 2B, 3B, and LF.

The only player with at least 150 games at
SS, 2B, 3B, LF, and RF.

One of only 3 players with at least 90 games at
SS, 2B, 3B, LF, RF, and CF
(Woodie Held and Willie Bloomquist)

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Highest OBP in a final season, age 40+,
450+ PA:

.480 … Barry Lamar (477)
.367 … Kenny Lofton (557)
.362 … Tony Phillips (484)
.342 … Edgar Martinez (549)
.335 … Paul Molitor (559)
___________________________

Minimum 430 PA:

.480 … Barry Lamar (477)
.377 … Larry Wayne Jones (448)
.367 … Kenny Lofton (557)
.362 … Tony Phillips (484)
.359 … Yaz (437)
.356 … Joe Morgan (438)
.342 … Edgar Martinez (549)
.342 … Lou Brock (436)
.335 … Paul Molitor (559)

Hartvig
Guest

If Pittsburg hadn’t dragged Honus Wagner out of retirement midway thru his final season he would have been between Phillips & Martinez on the first list.

And lowering the PA’s to 390 would have added Ty Cobb & Ted Williams to the list.

That’s some pretty impressive company.

If I were forming an all-time team comprised of players as they actually were used Phillips, Gil McDougald and possibly Junior Gilliam would be on my bench.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest
I just noticed that Honus had a ball-playing brother named Butts. Never saw that before. I wonder where they rank on the all-time Hit list for brothers. (among brothers where both brothers got at least one hit (sorry Larry Yount)) Am I missing anybody? 5611 … Paul and Lloyd Waner 3987 … Hank and Tommie Aaron 3960 … Roberto and Sandy Alomar 3894 … Joe and Dom DiMaggio 3878 … Felipe and Matty Alou 3858 … Cal and Billy Ripken 3756 … Ed and Jim Delahanty 3539 … Ken and Clete Boyer 3479 … Honus and Butts Wagner 3317 …… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

3619…Joe and Luke Sewell

Kahuna Tuna
Guest

3007 … Zack and Mack Wheat

Kahuna Tuna
Guest

2769 … Lave and Amos Cross

Kahuna Tuna
Guest

3063 … Vladimir and Wilton Guerrero

Kahuna Tuna
Guest

2746 … Joe and Frank Torre

Joseph
Guest

2639–Vince and Dom DiMaggio

Joseph
Guest

1245–David and Mike Bell.

Joseph
Guest

Carlos and Lee May–3158

Richard Chester
Guest

2163…Ken and Cloyd Boyer

Kahuna Tuna
Guest

3343 … Bob and Roy Johnson
3214 … Bob and Irish Meusel
2993 … Matty and Jesús Alou
2850 … Dixie and Harry Walker
2710 … Brian and Marcus Giles
2639 … Dom and Vince DiMaggio
2551 … Dmitri and Delmon Young
2485 … Jimmy and Doc Johnston
2484 … J.D. and Stephen Drew
2382 … Jason and Jeremy Giambi
2196 … Gee and Hub Walker
2152 … Kid and Harry Gleason
2132 … Clyde and Horace Milan
2101 … George and Skeeter Kell
2070 … Bob and George Dickey
2060 … Dick and Hank Allen
2021 … Rick and Wes Ferrell

Hartvig
Guest

Pretty amazing to find a pitcher on any all-time hitting leaders list even if it is the one you would most expect.

And I have to admit that I had completely forgotten about Hank Allen, even though I must have surely been aware of him when he was playing.

oneblankspace
Guest

2021… Yadier* & José Molina
1909… Bengie & José Molina

1185… Tom Paciorek & his one brother
1165… Tom Paciorek & his other brother
…26… Jim & John Paciorek
..201… Dizzy & Daffy Dean

Richard Chester
Guest

Phillips’ .386 OBP in the number 1 position in the batting order is the tenth highest all-time (mimimum 3000 PA in that position).

Kahuna Tuna
Guest

2612 … José and Heity Cruz

Kahuna Tuna
Guest

2354 … Graig and Jim Nettles

David P
Guest

2318…BJ and Justin Upton. And obviously climbing.

They certainly have a good shot at #2 all time. Bill James’ favorite tool projects BJ to finish with 1590 hits and Justin with 2251. I’ll take the under on Melvin. But Justin? With 1175 hits through age 27, I think he’s a lock to get well over 2251 hits.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest
Okay, updated, with everyone’s contributions. (i hope the formatting transfers, as some of these are cut and paste, some i had to rewrite) Most hits by brothers: 5611 … Paul and Lloyd Waner 3987 … Hank and Tommie Aaron 3960 … Roberto and Sandy Alomar 3894 … Joe and Dom DiMaggio 3878 … Felipe and Matty Alou 3858 … Cal and Billy Ripken 3756 … Ed and Jim Delahanty 3619 … Joe and Luke Sewell 3539 … Ken and Clete Boyer 3479 … Honus and Butts Wagner 3343 … Bob and Roy Johnson 3317 … Felipe and Jesus Alou 3299… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest

The Bells and Boones were third generation big leaguers, and the Walkers and Alomars were second generation big leaguers. The most evenly matched brothers were probably the Meusels. The Walkers both lead the NL one time in batting and triples (both 16). Bret Boone and his grandfather Ray both lead the league one time in RBIs.

I’ll leave it to others for further comments.

no statistician but
Guest
That’s Dixie and Harry Walker, not Gee and Hub. Pitcher Wes Ferrell hit more HRs than catcher Rick. Bob and Roy Johnson weren’t at all alike as players, but they both batted .296 lifetime. The Meusel brothers each led the league in RBIs one time. Of all the Bells, Gus, Buddy, David, and Mike, only Gus led his league in a batting category, triples, in 1951. All four Boones, Ray, Bob, Bret, and Aaron, were All-Star selections, as were all three Alomars, both Sandys and Roberto. Then there’s Moises Alou, son/nephew of the Alou Brothers. The Sewells had a brother,… Read more »
Kahuna Tuna
Guest

San Diegan, so should have caught this earlier:

3404 … Tony and Chris Gwynn

Hartvig
Guest

Pretty amazing that Pete Rose & his bookie and Ty Cobb & his demons both managed to outdo all sibling pairs but one.

Of course if not for WW2 the younger of the DiMaggio boys would be up near if not over 5000 hits as well.

Mike L
Guest

Came across the oddest bit of trivia about Cobb. He endorsed Woodrow Wilson for President in 1916. Something to ponder as we go into tonight’s debate.

e pluribus munu
Guest

Cobb and Wilson were Southerners; Hughes was from New York. Wilson’s margin over Hughes in Cobb’s native Georgia was 80-7%.

Mike L
Guest

100 years is a very long time. Hughes went on to be Secretary of State, then back on the Supreme Court (reappointed by Hoover).

Kahuna Tuna
Guest
Enormous as Wilson’s 1916 vote advantage was in Georgia, two other Southern states voted for him by even bigger margins: Mississippi, 93% to 5%, and South Carolina, 96.7% to 2.4%. In three South Carolina counties every single voter voted for Wilson. Ah, the Solid South. Yet there were also five states where the final popular-vote margin was less than one percent. Wilson won New Hampshire by 56 votes, and Hughes carried Minnesota by 392 votes! California, the winner of which would clinch the electoral majority, cast 999,603 votes; Wilson received 3,773 votes more than Hughes, a victory margin of 0.38%.… Read more »
Mike L
Guest

Tuna, Wilson did have a very high Leverage Index in his second term…BTW, there’s an argument that Hughes lost California because conservatives convinced Hughes not to meet with Hiram Johnson–then Governor who had run as TR’s Veep in 1912.

John
Guest

Typical politician. Wilson won reelection with the slogan “He kept us out of the war.” He was sworn in again on March 4, 1917, and we entered WWI in April, 1917. Yup, he kept us out of the war just long enough to win reelection.

Kahuna Tuna
Guest

Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare had more to do with Wilson’s declaring war than simple political expediency. American public opinion on entry into the war had shifted dramatically since 1914.

Mike, can a second-term president be truly said to have a high Leverage Index? (-;þ That having been said, in my opinion Wilson’s defeat over the linked Versailles Treaty/League of Nations vote should be attributed more to his own political obduracy than to his lame-duck status.

Richard Chester
Guest

Of course you mean Bill Dickey, not Bob.

Kahuna Tuna
Guest

Mmmf. Yes, Bill Dickey. Got George, biffed on the Hall of Famer.

Kahuna Tuna
Guest

I think this gets most of the rest of the brothers with 2000+ hits.

2918 … Orator Jim and John O’Rourke
2871 … Fred and Josh Clarke
2521 … Roger and Joe Connor
2417 … Orlando and Jólbert Cabrera
2341 … Barry and Stephen Larkin (Stephen had one hit)
2338 … Deacon and Will White (Will was a pitcher)
2080 … Carney and Joe Lansford
1913 … César and Maicer Izturis (who knew these two ranked so high?)

Artie Z.
Guest

2027 – Yadier and Jose Molina

Bengie and Jose are within 100 of the cutoff – 1909 hits

Jose and Ozzie Canseco are within 110 – 1890

Doug
Guest

Adrian and Edgar Gonzalez are at 1914. Should pass 2000 this year.

Steve and Dave Sax fell just short, at 1965, as did Patsy and George Tebeau at 1908.

Dr. Doom
Guest
You also missed 3503 … Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco. Or do Bash Brothers not count? Also, weird note: Canseco out-hit McGwire by 251 hits – 1877 to 1626. McGwire, though, has an edge in Total Bases (though only by 8) and in walks by a lot – 1317 to 906. Of course, Canseco has an edge in stolen bases by quite margin, too: 200-12. Canseco played one season and 13 games more than McGwire. This is all nonsense (in my opinion, INTERESTING nonsense, but nonsense nevertheless) that evolved from making a stupid joke… I love baseball.
Kahuna Tuna
Guest
Bash Brothers could count, I guess. That means I also missed 3786 … Hugh Duffy and Tommy McCarthy, the Heavenly Twins. I will not accept the proposition that interesting baseball information should not be shared even when it’s nonsensical. Some of my favorite baseball facts are things I’m extremely glad to be able to care about . . . and I had to learn them before I could care about them. Fellow baseball fans might like them as much as I do—not terribly likely, but likely enough that I’d enjoy the chance to share them if the conversation turned in the proper… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

According to the Charlton’s Chronology, through 2006, the Waners are the only brothers to hit back-to-back HR. It occurred on 9-15-1938.

Doug
Guest

Justin and B.J. Upton did it twice, on 4-6-13 and 4-23-13 (2nd game). They also had three games in 2014 (Jun 24, Aug 8, Sep 27) in which they batted consecutively and hit home runs off the same pitcher, but in different innings.

I also checked Adam and Andy LaRoche in Pittsburgh in 2008 and 2009, but never happened with them.

e pluribus munu
Guest

Richard, A few years ago you put me on to the Charlton Chronology (baseballlibrary.com) – agreat site, but I can no longer locate it online (there seems to be a replacement site, baseballchronology.com, that’s far less complete).

Are you still able to access the Charlton Chronology? Or do you, perhaps, consult the original print version (but that’s a 1991 book, and you’re talking about a stat good through 2006 . . .)?

Richard Chester
Guest

I can no longer find it online either. But I did create a word document in which I saved what I considered to be significant facts. I occasionally browse through it and I was looking up something about the Waners and stumbled across the consecutive HR note. That Chronology had facts that you would not find anywhere else.

e pluribus munu
Guest

I should have done what you did, Richard. You’re a wise man.

What I most miss is the detailed chronology of rule changes, which included far more than I’ve been able to locate on any other site, including baseballchronology.com.

Doug
Guest

Cal and Billy Ripken twice homered in the same inning, on 9-15-90 and 5-28-96, but not batting consecutively.

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