MLB Top 5: Philadelphia Phillies Outfielders

This is the fourth article in a series that looks at the five best players at each position for the Philadelphia Phillies. In this installment are the outfielders.

Although there are talented players at every position on the Phillies’ all-time team, the biggest depth of stars can be found in the outfield, with a collection of Hall of Famers, All-Stars and playoff heroes throughout. The corner spots feature power and production while center field is home to some of the best base stealers and defenders in the game’s history.

The Best Outfielders in Philadelphia Phillies History

Left Fielders

Honorable Mentions – Billy Hamilton was the stolen base king of the 19th century and was part of a trio of future Hall of Famers in the Phillies outfield in the 1890s. After spending his first two years in the American Association, he came to Philadelphia in 1890. Hamilton was the ideal leadoff man and a terror on the basepaths, leading the league in steals three times. In his second season in the National League, he led the circuit with a .340 average, 141 runs, 179 hits, 102 walks, a .453 on-base percentage and a team-record 111 stolen bases. “Sliding Billy” was a scoring machine, batting .332 with a .436 on-base percentage, 406 runs, 523 hits and 270 steals in just 395 games. With his defense improving, he was switched to center field in 1893.

Raul Ibañez was selected in the 36th round by the Mariners in 1992 and went on to hit 305 home runs over a 19-year career. He had three stints with the Mariners and two with the Royals, posting three straight seasons with at least 20 home runs and 100 RBIs with Seattle. However, he earned his only All-Star selection in his first season after signing with the Phillies in 2009. That year, he batted .272 with 93 runs, 93 RBIs and a career-best 34 home runs. Ibañez put up similar production over his final two seasons in Philadelphia, but his average fell off in 2011. He was a star during the team’s run to the World Series in his first year, totaling eight runs, 14 hits, six doubles, two homers and 13 RBIs in 15 games, but the Phillies fell to the Yankees in the World Series. Ibañez played with four teams in his final three seasons and retired as a player in 2014. He later worked as a special assistant for the Dodgers, worked as an analyst for ESPN and oversaw on-field operations for Major League Baseball. He returned to Los Angeles to become vice president of baseball development and special projects in 2024.

Kyle Schwarber is one of the top power threats for the current team. He wows fans with towering home runs, leading the league with 46 to go with 94 RBIs in a 2022 season in which he was an All-Star and a silver slugger. The following year, he smacked 47 bombs and drove in 104 runs. Schwarber is also stellar in the playoffs. He won a title with the Cubs in 2016 and has 22 runs, 24 hits, 16 RBIs and 11 home runs (including five in a loss to the Diamondbacks in the 2023 NLCS) in 30 postseason contests with the Phillies. He has two drawbacks, his low average (.207 over his first two seasons with the club) and high strikeouts (he led the league the past two years and his totals of 215 in 2023 and 200 in 2022 are the top two marks in franchise history). Although he is a decent fielder, the 2015 MLB Futures Game participant moved to designated hitter in 2024.

Francis “Lefty” O’Doul was a star with San Francisco’s minor league club the Seals but was used sparingly as a pitcher with the Yankees and Red Sox. He returned to the minor for four seasons until he went to the Giants and converted to the outfield. O’Doul was traded to the Phillies in 1929 and put together a fantastic season, finished as the runner-up for the MVP Award after setting career highs with 152 runs, 32 home runs 122 RBIs and 397 total bases and leading the league with a .398 average, 254 hits and a .465 on-base percentage. Following a second season in Philadelphia in which he batted .383 with 122 runs, 202 hits and 97 RBIs, O’Doul was traded to Brooklyn, where he spent the next three years. He went back to the Giants during the 1933 season and played in the first All-Star Game.  Following his release in 1935, he spent more than 15 years managing the Seals and other teams, winning 2,094 games in total.

O’Doul also served as a hitting instructor when the Giants moved to the West Coast, but his biggest impact on the game was his work in Japan. He started making trips as a player during barnstorming tours in the early 1930s but returned several times to help train players, organize tours for Japanese players in the United States and form Japan’s first professional baseball league. Following World War II, O’Doul made several return trips to Japan for training, exhibition games and personal appearances. He retired as a manager in 1957, opened a restaurant that is still one of the most popular eateries in San Francisco and continued to travel to Japan. Known as the “Man in the Green Suit” for his customary look, O’Doul passed away in 1969 at age 72 due to the combined effects of a stroke and coronary blockage.

5. Pat Burrell – He was taken with the first overall pick in the 1998 draft and, after playing in the MLB Futures Game the following year, was in the majors at first base in 2000. Burrell slumped at the start of his rookie season and was moved to left field, where he stayed for the rest of his 12-year career, with nine coming as a member of the Phillies (2000-08). Although he hit at least 20 home runs eight times and drove in more than 100 runs twice with Philadelphia, he was never selected to an All-Star team. His two best seasons were 2002, when he drove in 116 runs and set career highs with a .282 average, 96 runs, 165 hits and 37 home runs, and 2005, when he posted a .281-32-117 stat line. After several near misses, the Phillies went on a September run in 2007 and won the division on the final day of the season, making the playoffs for the first time since their World Series visit in 1993.

The following year, Philadelphia won the N. L. East with another late-season comeback and Burrell homered twice in the deciding game of the Division Series against the Brewers. He had six hits, including a game-winning home run in the opener against the Dodgers and, although he slumped in the World Series, his one hit was a run-scoring double, helping the Phillies beat the Rays for their second championship. Burrell joined Tampa Bay the following season and was traded to San Francisco in 2010, helping his new team with the title. He finished his Phillies career ranked third in franchise history in strikeouts (1,273), fourth in home runs (251) and tenth in RBIs (827) to go with 655 runs, 1,166 hits, 253 doubles and 2,200 total bases in 1,306 games. “Pat the Bat” was especially tough on the Mets, hitting 42 home runs against the division rivals. He retired before the 2012 season and has been a scout, television analyst and hitting coach/instructor for the Giants ever since.

4. Greg Luzinski – He was taken with the 11th overall pick in the 1968 draft and, after brief call-ups in two straight seasons, made the Phillies on a full-time basis in 1972. As with many sluggers, he had a propensity to strike out, but his towering home runs were getting attention from fans, opponents and the media. After his 1974 season was ruined by hand and knee injuries, he returned to bat .300 with 87 runs, 35 doubles, 34 home runs, a personal-best 179 hits and league-leading totals of 120 RBIs and 322 total bases to finish second in the MVP voting and earn his first of four straight All-Star selections. Luzinski hit a three-run homer in the game that clinched the Phillies’ first-ever division title in 1976 and finished as MVP runner-up the following year after setting career-highs with a .309 average, 99 runs, 39 home runs, 130 RBIs and 329 total bases, but he also led the league with 140 strikeouts.

Philadelphia made the playoffs four times in five years, and “The Bull” homered at least once in each of the NLCS appearances in that span, totaling 10 runs, 18 hits, five doubles, five home runs and 12 RBIs in 19 playoff games. He underwent surgery to remove cartilage from his knee in 1980 and slumped during the World Series, going 0-for-9 as the Phillies beat the Royals for their first title. Luzinski ended his 11-year tenure in Philadelphia (1970-80) with a .281 average, 618 runs, 1,299 hits, 253 doubles, 223 home runs (seventh in franchise history), 811 RBIs and 2,263 total bases in 1,289 games. Despite all his accolades, including a fielding title in 1973, four top 10 MVP finishes and the Roberto Clemente Award in 1978, Luzinski was known for two negative moments. The first was known as “Black Friday” when his fielding gaffe led to a Dodgers comeback in the 1977 NLCS and his vocal opposition to manager Dallas Green, which led to his trade to the White Sox before the 1981 season. After four years in Chicago, Luzinski retired and ran an indoor tennis and racquetball facility in New Jersey, became an avid golfer and ran a barbecue restaurant in Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park.

3. Sherry Magee – He was a five-tool player before the term was used, producing at a high rate throughout his 11 seasons in Philadelphia (1904-14). Magee was a player who joined the Phillies from a sandlot team as a 19-year-old and immediately made an impact, driving in 57 runs in 95 games as a rookie and posting a .299-5-98 stat line with 100 runs, 48 steals, 17 triples and a career-best 180 hits in 1905. The Irishman put together his best season in 1910, leading the league and setting personal bests with a .331 average, 110 runs and 123 RBIs to go with 172 hits, 39 doubles, 17 triples and 49 stolen bases.

However, for all his talent on the field, Magee was known as a troublemaker, a crab and a hothead. Nowhere was that more evident than in a July game in 1911, when he and rookie umpire Bill Finneran got into a fight after a strikeout that resulted in the ump getting knocked out cold and still wanting to fight after coming to before heading to the hospital. Magee was suspended for the rest of the season but had the ban reduced to a month on appeal. In addition, his perceived lack of effort and selfish attitude did not endear him to the Philadelphia fans. In his final season with the Phillies, he was named captain and spent more time in the infield while batting .314, scoring 96 runs, hitting a career-high 15 home runs, and leading the league with 171 hits, 39 doubles, 103 RBIs and 277 total bases.

Following the stellar campaign, Magee was traded to the champion Braves, missing out on the Phillies’ own pennant run the following year. He batted .299 with 75 home runs and 2,463 total bases, and he ranks second in franchise history in triples (127), fourth in stolen bases (387, including seven seasons with 30 or more), sixth in doubles (337), eighth in hits (1,647), ninth in runs (898) and RBIs (896) and tenth in games (1,521). During Magee’s first appearance in spring training, he broke a collarbone after stepping in a hole in the outfield grass and his play mostly fell off from there. He had a resurgence with the Reds, batting .298 with a league-best 76 RBIs in 1918 and ended his major league career with two pinch-hitting appearances during the 1919 World Series victory over the “Black Sox.” He played seven seasons in the minors, then became an umpire and restaurant worker. Magee passed away in 1929 at age 44 due to pneumonia.

2. Del Ennis – He was one of the most talented players in Phillies history and a veteran presence on the “Whiz Kids” pennant-winning team despite being just 25 at the time. Ennis was scouted during high school and played baseball in Guam as a warrant officer in the Navy during World War II. He was an All-Star and received MVP consideration after batting a career-best .313 with 17 home runs as a rookie in 1946. After a sophomore slump, he became one of the top run producers in baseball, posting at least 20 homers and 150 hits eight times each and driving in more than 100 runs on six occasions.

Ennis had his best campaign during that magical 1950 season, batting .311, setting career highs with 92 runs, 185 hits, 31 home runs, 328 total bases and a league-leading 126 runs batted in. However, like many of his teammates, he was shut down by the Yankees in the World Series, managing just two hits in 14 at-bats (a .143 average). Ennis earned All-Star honors despite a down year the following season, then posted four straight years with 20 home runs and 100 RBIs, while only making the All-Star team once. He was not known for his defense and drew the ire of fans at times for his play in the field, but he won a fielding title in 1946 and made several diving barehanded catches that would easily have made today’s highlight reels.

Ennis batted .286 and ranks third in franchise history in home runs (259), fourth in RBIs (1,124) and total bases (3,029), fifth in hits (1,812), sixth in games (1,630), eighth in doubles (310), tenth in triples (65) and tied for tenth in runs (891). He was traded to the Cardinals in 1957 and split his final season between the Reds and White Sox two years later. Ennis ran a bowling alley, raised and raced greyhounds (which he named after teammates on the famed 1950 club) and, along with former teammate Robin Roberts, started Phillies fantasy camps. He passed away due to complications from diabetes in 1996 at age 70.

1. Ed Delahanty – He was one of baseball’s early stars, batting over .400 three times, leading the league in home runs twice, RBIs three times and doubles and slugging percentage four times each over 13 seasons with the Phillies (1888-89, 91-1901). Delahanty was the oldest of five brothers to play in the major leagues, joining Philadelphia in 1888. After two seasons, he joined Cleveland of the Players League but returned when the league folded, driving in 86 runs in 1891 despite batting only .243. The following year, his average rose to .306, which would be the lowest mark for the rest of his career, and he also led the league with 21 triples. “Big Ed” would become a leader on arguably the best offensive team of the era, using his power as well as his ability to place the ball when opposing outfielders played deep.

Delahanty had a stellar season in 1893, batting .368 with 145 runs, 219 hits and leading the league with a .583 slugging percentage, 19 home runs, 146 RBIs and 347 total bases, the last three stats leading the league. The following year, he batted .405 (one of four Phillies outfielders to reach the .400 mark), had 148 runs, 200 hits and 133 RBIs. Delahanty led the league in at least one offensive category nearly every year of his career, batting .404 with 194 hits, 106 RBIs, 46 stolen bases and a career-high 149 runs to go with league-leading totals of 49 doubles and a personal-best .500 on-base percentage (second in team history) in 1895, nearly won the Triple Crown the following season with a .397 average and N. L.-best totals of 13 homers, 125 RBIs, 44 doubles and a career-high.631 slugging percentage. During a July game in Chicago, he torched Colts (now Cubs) pitchers for four home runs, becoming just the second player in major league history to accomplish the feat.

“Big Ed” led the league and set a career-high with 58 steals in 1898 and the next year, he put together an all-time great season, winning the batting title with a .410 average, scoring 135 runs and leading the league with 238 hits (third in team history), 37 doubles, a .582 slugging percentage, 338 total bases and a career-best 55 doubles (which also ranks second in franchise history). Like many other National League stars, Delahanty jumped ship to the American League for higher salaries, finishing his Phillies tenure as the franchise’s all-time leader in triples (158) and ranking second in average (.348), runs (1,368), doubles (442) and RBIs (1,288), third in steals (412) and total bases (3,233), fourth in hits (2,214), fifth in on-base percentage (.415) and eighth in games (1,557) along with 87 home runs.  He signed with the Washington Senators in 1902. While he is listed as leading the league with his .376 average, former teammate Nap Lajoie actually won the batting crown at .378 (although he wouldn’t have been eligible with today’s at-bat standards).

The later years of Delahanty’s career were troublesome. He got into drinking and gambling on horse races, and he found himself in dire need for funds after his wife became ill. He signed a contract with the Giants that included a salary advance, but the peace between the leagues before the 1903 season negated the deal and forced him to repay the money. The drinking increased and he became volatile, threatening to hurt himself and his teammates and abandoning his team on multiple occasions. Delahanty got drunk on a train from Detroit to New York on July 2, but was put off the train by the conductor for smoking and breaking things. He stumbled around on the tracks over the Niagara River in the darkness and, after a scuffle with a night watchman, he either jumped or stumbled over the edge. Delahanty’s body was found a week later at the bottom of the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side, dead at age 35. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Old Timers Committee in 1945.

Center Fielders

Honorable Mentions – George “Dode” Paskert was one of the finest defensive players at his position in the early 1900s, winning three fielding titles in seven years with Philadelphia (1911-17). He was also a patient leadoff hitter who excelled at working his way around the bases. Nicknamed “Honey Boy” for his sweet defense, Paskert was traded from the Reds to the Phillies before the 1911 season and benefitted his new team by making a diving bare-handed catch just his second game. He had his best offensive season the following year, earning MVP consideration after setting career highs with a .315 average, a .420 on-base percentage, 102 runs, 170 hits and 37 doubles to go with 43 RBIs and 36 stolen bases. While Paskert didn’t come close to some of those numbers again in his career, his play remained consistent through the end of his tenure with the Phillies. Overall, he batted .272 with 551 runs, 933 hits, 175 doubles, 291 RBIs, 149 stolen bases and 1,286 total bases in 953 games. Paskert had three hits and scored two runs in a loss to the Red Sox in the 1915 World Series. He was traded to the Cubs two years later for another player on this list and retired after spending the 1921 season with the Reds. Before that campaign, he rescued three families from an apartment fire in Cleveland, resulting in burns to his arms and face. Paskert played in the minor league for six years and worked as an inspector for an auto equipment company. He passed away after a stroke in 1959 at age 77.

Tony Gonzalez was a Cuban-born star who was a stellar fielder with a strong arm. He played nine seasons with Philadelphia (1960-68) and had his best offensive year in 1967, when he manned left field. That season, he earned MVP consideration after driving in 59 runs and setting career highs with a .339 average and 172 hits. Gonzalez totaled batted .295 overall with 514 runs, 1,110 hits, 185 doubles, 50 triples, 77 home runs, 438 RBIs and 1,626 total bases in 1,118 games. The two-time fielding champion never made an All-Star team, and he dealt with eye inflammation and back issues throughout his career. Gonzalez played for the Padres, Braves and Angels in his final three seasons, but failed to make the Expos in 1972. He played in Mexico, Japan and in the minors as a player-coach in the minors for the Phillies, officially retiring after the 1973 season. Gonzalez was a minor league coach for Philadelphia and California and participated in Phillies Fantasy Camps. He passed away in 2021 at age 84.

Lenny Dykstra – The talented but troubled outfielder spent his first five years with the Mets before joining the Phillies after being traded in a move involving second baseman Juan Samuel during the 1989 season. He was selected to three All-Star Games with Philadelphia, including his first full season, when he batted .325 and led the N. L. with 192 hits and a .418 on-base percentage. Dykstra had his best season the same year the Phillies did during his tenure with the franchise. Although he did not make the All-Star team in 1993, he won a silver slugger and was the runner-up for the MVP Award after posting a .305-19-66 stat line and leading the league with 143 runs, 194 hits and 129 walks, which was also a club record. He was also stellar in the postseason, totaling 14 runs, 15 hits, six home runs, 10 RBIs and four stolen bases in 12 games, helping the Phillies reach the World Series. “Nails” made the All-Star team each of the next two seasons, but appendicitis and spinal stenosis curtailed his career, and he retired in 1996 after posting a .289 average, 515 runs, 829 hits, 177 doubles, 51 home runs, 251 RBIs, 169 steals and 1,211 total bases in 734 games. He had a failed comeback in 1998 and admitted to using steroids, especially during his time with the Phillies. His post-baseball career included multiple bankruptcies, failed businesses, charges of sexual assault theft, fraud, identity theft, drug possession, indecent exposure, and money laundering. Dykstra was hospitalized in February 2024 after suffering a stroke.

Shane Victorino was one of many stars who terrorized opposing pitchers during the Phillies’ run of success earlier in the 21st century. He was a Rule 5 draft pick and spent his early career with the Padres and in the Dodgers’ minor league system. Philadelphia took Victorino in the Rule 5 draft once again and joined the team to stay late in the 2005 season. He became a solid player known for his clutch hits and stellar play in center that earned him two gold gloves and three fielding titles. The “Flyin’ Hawaiian” won the Lou Gehrig Award, then hit the first grand slam in Phillies post-season history against the Brewers in the 2008 Division Series, drove in six runs, including a game-winning home run against the Dodgers in the NLCS and had five hits in the World Series victory over the Rays. The following year, Victorino had his best season at the plate, earning his first All-Star selection after batting .292 with 10 home runs, 62 RBIs and 25 stolen bases, leading the league with 13 triples and posting career-bests with 102 runs, 181 hits and 39 doubles. He hit two homers and drove in six runs in a rematch with Los Angeles in the NLCS but slumped during a World Series loss to the Yankees. Victorino was traded to the Dodgers during the 2012 season, ending his eight-year run with the Phillies (2005-12) with a .279 average, 582 runs, 998 hits, 181 doubles, 63 triples, 88 home runs, 390 RBIs, 179 stolen bases and 1,569 total bases in 987 games. The three-time All-Star added 25 runs, 47 hits, nine doubles, six home runs and 30 RBIs in 46 postseason games. Victorino spent time with both Los Angeles franchises, as well as Boston before officially retiring in 2018. He appeared on an episode of the Hawaii Five-O remake and appeared in a game for the barnstorming Savannah Bananas team in 2023.

5. Roy Thomas – He was known for his bunting ability, getting on base and scoring runs during a 13-year career, 12 with Philadelphia (1899-1908 and 10-11). He was one of two brothers to reach the major leagues, and his strict Christian upbringing led to him missing Sunday games. Thomas graduated from Ivy League college Penn and spent four years playing semipro ball before joining the Phillies in 1899. During his time in the City of Brotherly Love, he batted .300 or better five times, totaled at least 100 runs and 150 hits four times each, led the league in on-base percentage twice and walks seven times. Thomas’ best season was 1900, when he batted .316 with 168 hits, 37 stolen bases and league-leading totals of 132 runs and 115 walks. The ability of Thomas and others to purposely foul off pitches led to a rule change in 1901 that counted the first two foul balls as strikes. The new rule hardly had an effect on his game, as he led the league in walks six times after its implementation.

Thomas’ speed and production declined later in his career, and he spent time with the Pirates and Boston Doves (later Braves) before returning to the Phillies for his final two seasons. He ranks second in franchise history in on-base percentage (.421), tied for third in walks (946) and ninth in stolen bases (228) to go with a .295 average, 923 runs, 1,364 hits, 264 RBIs and 1,546 total bases in 1,286 games. Thomas also was solid at his position, winning four fielding titles and leading the league in assists four times and putouts three times. Following his playing career, he was a part-owner of a car dealership and was a sales representative for a coal company. Thomas coached at Penn and then Haverford College. He passed away in 1959 at age 85.

4. Garry Maddox – He survived a difficult childhood and a year in service during the Vietnam War to become one of the greatest defensive players of his era. Maddox played his first four years in San Francisco before he was traded to Philadelphia in 1975. Despite suffering a fractured kneecap, he was stellar in the field, earning gold gloves in each of his first eight seasons with the Phillies. The free-swinging Maddox set career-highs with a .330 average and 175 hits to finish fifth in the MVP voting the following year. Philadelphia went to the playoffs three straight years but could not win a pennant. Maddox made two straight errors that cost his team the series against the Dodgers in 1978. Two years later, the Phillies finally broke through, with the center fielder hitting a game-winning single in the 10th inning against the Astros. In the World Series, he had five hits and drove in a run to help Philadelphia beat Kansas City for the first championship in franchise history.

Maddox slumped and was benched in the second half of the strike-shortened 1981 season, as well as the Division Series against the Expos, but continued his solid defensive play. He stuck around through the “Wheeze Kids” team in 1983, but he had a back injury and his play diminished until he retired in May after appearing in six games that season. Maddox finished his 12 seasons (1975-86) with a .284 average, 556 runs, 1,333 hits, 249 doubles, 85 home runs, 566 RBIs, 189 stolen bases and 1,921 total bases in 1,328 games. He also appeared in five NLCS and two World Series, totaling eight runs, 29 hits, eight doubles, one home run and 11 RBIs in 29 games. In addition to his gold gloves, he won the Roberto Clemente Award in his final season. Maddox has focused on business and philanthropy since his playing career, running concessions and office furniture businesses and sitting on the board of directors for Philadelphia’s Chamber of Commerce and Federal Reserve Bank. He also started the Urban Youth Golf Association, ran a bowling tournament and created Compete 360, which promotes critical thinking and problem-solving in the classroom.

3. Fred “Cy” Williams – He was a track star who took up baseball while at Notre Dame. Williams bypassed the minor leagues after signing with the Cubs, but his decision caused him to turn down a spot as a broadjumper in the 1912 Summer Olympics in Sweden. After three years as a reserve, he moved into the starting lineup in 1915 and led the league with 12 home runs the following year. When dissension arose between management, he was sent to the Phillies for Paskert before the 1918 season. The trade certainly benefitted Philadelphia, with Williams becoming one of the premier power hitters in the National League of his 13 seasons with the club (1918-30). He batted .300 or better six times, hit 20 or more homers in a season four times and led the league on three occasions.

Williams led the N. L. with 15 home runs and posted a personal-best 192 hits in 1920. However, his two best years came in back-to-back campaigns, leading the league with 41 home runs and driving in 114 runs in 1923 and posting a .348-24-93 stat line with 183 hits and a career-high 101 runs the following season. Williams also led the league with a .568 slugging percentage in 1926 and topped the circuit with 30 homers the following year, his fourth time topping all hitters in that category.

Williams ranks eighth in franchise history in home runs (217), ninth in total bases (2,539) and tenth in hits (1,553) to go with a .306 average, 825 runs, 237 doubles and 795 RBIs in 1,463 games. The 1923 fielding champion ended his 19-year career with 251 home runs, which ranked second in the National League at his retirement. While Ted Williams was known for opposing teams employing a shift against him, “Cy” was such a pull hitter that many teams modified their defense more than 20 years before the “Splendid Splinter” reached the major leagues. Williams spent one year as a minor league player-manager before working as an architect and running a construction business in Virginia. He passed away in 1974 at age 86.

2. Billy Hamilton – After three stellar years in left field, he and Delahanty switched spots, but his outstanding offense continued. Hamilton won his second batting title with a .380 mark and led the league with a .490 on-base percentage in his first season at the position. However, his true worth to his team came after he was diagnosed with typhoid fever in August. He missed the rest of the season and the Phillies fell from second place to fourth. Hamilton’s 1894 season was one of the best in the history of the game. He stole 100 bases for a fourth time, batted .403 with 225 hits, posted career highs with 15 triples and 90 RBIs, had an N. L.-best 128 walks (tied for second in team history), led the league and set a team record with a .521 on-base percentage and set a league record with 198 runs in 132 games, a mark that almost certainly will never be broken. Included in the season was a 36-game hitting streak, a team record that stood for more than 100 years.

“Sliding Billy” saw his numbers drop, but they were still totals that would be envied by today’s players. He batted .389, with 201 hits and 74 RBIs, led the league in runs (166) and walks for a third time and stole 97 bases to win his fifth N. L. crown. Despite all of this, the Phillies never finished higher than third during Hamilton’s tenure and the star outfielder feuded with manager Arthur Irwin. The Phillies rid themselves of the entire issue by firing the manager and trading their star to the Boston Beaneaters (later Braves). Hamilton was his usual self for the first the first three years with his new club, but the fastest man in the game began to be worn down, first by a sprained knee and then tendon issues. He held on through the 1901 season, with his release from Boston marking his last major league appearance. Hamilton finished his six-year run in Philadelphia (1890-95) was the team’s all-time leader in batting average (.360), stolen bases (510) and on-base percentage (.468). he also totaled 880 runs (scoring at least 110 in every season), 1,084 hits, 126 doubles, 51 triples and 370 RBIs in 732 games.

Hamilton was a minor league player-manager for the next decade, scouted for the Braves and owned a minor league team in Massachusetts for a brief time. When he retired, his 1,189 walks were a league record (which stood for nearly 20 years), his .344 average is tied for 10th on the all-time list and his .455 on-base percentage is fourth. Hamilton’s 914 stolen bases was a record that stood for nearly 80 years until it was broken by Lou Brock, and his 1.06 runs per game (1,697 runs in 1,594 games) is the best mark in league history. He worked as a foreman at a leather manufacturing plant and passed away in 1940 at age 70. Hamilton finally got his richly deserved recognition when he was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1961.

1. Richie Ashburn – After Williams’ retirement, the position had very little stability for the Phillies until Ashburn signed with the Phillies in 1945. He missed the following year due to Army obligations but joined the Phillies for good in 1948, becoming the team’s leadoff hitter and arguably the greatest defensive center fielder of his or any era. Ashburn earned an All-Star selection and finishing third in the Rookie of the Year voting after batting .333 and leading the league with 32 stolen bases. As a member of the “Whiz Kids” team in 1950, he batted .303 with 41 RBIs, 180 hits and a league-high 15 triples, then had three hits in the World Series loss to the Yankees.

The Phillies tumbled down the standings after their pennant, but Ashburn continued his stellar play, reaching 200 hits and leading the league in the category three times, topping the N. L. in walks three times, and winning a pair of batting titles among his eight seasons of .300 or higher. His best season was 1958, when he earned his fourth All-Star selection after leading the league with a career-high .350 average, a .440 on-base percentage, 215 hits, 13 triples and 97 walks. He edged out Willie Mays for the batting crown after going 3-for-4 on the final day of the season. Following a down year, he was traded to the Cubs after the 1959 season.

Ashburn ranks third in franchise history in games (1,794 and hits (2,217), tied for third in walks (946), fourth in runs (1,114), fifth in triples (97), eighth in total bases (2,764) and ninth in doubles (287) to go with a .311 average, 499 RBIs and 199 steals. He won two fielding titles and led the league in putouts nine times, including 1951, when he made 538 outs, a record by a centerfielder at the time. “Whitey” spent two years with the Cubs and one with the expansion Mets before retiring in 1962 and embarking on a broadcasting career with the Phillies that lasted for 35 years. His folksy humor endeared himself to fans and his pairing with Harry Kalas became one of the best in the game. After 15 years on the ballot and a long campaign to change voting rules, Ashburn was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1995 (and was inducted along with fellow Phillies legend, Mike Schmidt). He felt ill after calling a game between the Mets and Phillies in 1997 and passed away from an apparent heart attack at age 70.

Right Fielders

Honorable Mentions – The Philadelphias offered very little in the way of star hitters except for Jim Fogarty, a speedster and defensive whiz whose career was cut short by tragic circumstances. He was a member of the Philadelphia reserve team in the franchise’s first season in 1883 and settled in as a starter his first few seasons with the big-league club. His best year was 1887, when he set career-highs with 113 runs, 129 hits and 102 stolen bases (tied for second in team history), drove in 50 runs and led the league with 82 walks. Two years later, he matched the hit total and led the league with 99 steals. However, Fogarty loved the nightlife and was constantly in search of ways to make more money, including exhibition and barnstorming tours. In 1890, he became one of the leaders of the movement to unionize ball players and joined Philadelphia’s entry in the newly formed Players League. Following the circuit’s demise after one season, Fogarty and his attitude were reluctantly welcomed back by the Phillies, but his knees were bad, his hands had been burned during an apartment fire and he had been sick for nearly a year. He rapidly lost weight and had to be taken care of by friends until he succumbed to tuberculosis on May 20, 1891, at just 27 years old. Fogarty ranks fifth in franchise history with 289 stolen bases, and he totaled 437 runs, 626 hits and 262 RBIs in 660 games.

John Titus worked in coal mines and served in the Army during the Spanish-American War before playing minor league baseball in New Hampshire. The Phillies signed him in 1903, and he soon became a talented hitter, switching corner outfield spots with Magee at various times. His best season was arguably 1905, when he batted .308 and set career highs with 99 runs, 169 hits, 36 doubles and 89 runs batted in. Known as “Silent John” due to his calm demeanor, the toothpick-sporting Titus was a model of dependability and consistency until breaking his leg on a slide in 1911. He was traded to the Boston Braves the following year but after another broken leg, he was sold to the minor leagues. Titus retired after suffering a fractured skull during a game in 1914. At age 39 in 1915, he married his 17-year-old neighbor and the two were together for 27 years until his death in 1943 at age 66.

Arnold “Bake” McBride was the son of a Negro League player by the same name who overcame an ankle injury playing basketball in high school that resulted in a steel clamp being inserted. He first played organized baseball in college and was drafted by the Cardinals. McBride was named Rookie of the Year in 1974 and earned his only All-Star selection two years later. However, his greatest career moment came against the Mets in September 1964, when he scored all the way from first on an errant pickoff attempt in the 25TH inning, ending the longest night game in major league history. McBride was traded to the Phillies in 1977 and put up solid numbers over the next four years despite shoulder issues. His best season in Philadelphia was 1980, when he batted .309 with 171 hits and 87 RBIs and finished in the top 10 in the MVP race. McBride had five hits in the victory over the Astros in the NLCS and seven more, along with five RBIs and his team’s only home run in the World Series victory over the Royals for their first championship. Following the strike-shortened campaign, McBride was traded to Cleveland, where he would play two more injury-riddled seasons. His ailments included a partial tear of his right rotator cuff, torn ligaments in his left thumb and an eye infection that nearly cost him his eyesight. After one season in the minors, McBride retired in 1984 and was a coach and instructor for the Mets and Cardinals for more than two decades.

This position must indeed be deep for a player the caliber of Elmer Flick to be an honorary mention. The son of a Civil War soldier joined the Phillies in 1898 and spent the next four years (1898-1901) manning right field. In each of those seasons, Flick hit better than .300 with at least 80 runs, 80 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. His best campaign was in 1900, when he scored 106 runs, stole 35 bases and set career highs with 200 hits, 11 home runs, a .367 average and 110 runs batted in, which led the National League. Flick ranks third in franchise history in on-base percentage (.419) and fourth in average (.338) while totaling 400 runs, 683 hits and 377 RBIs in 537 games. He joined several of his teammates in jumping to the American League squad in Philadelphia, but unlike the others, he left before the court injunction, signing with the Cleveland Bronchos (soon to be Naps after his teammate Nap Lajoie, with whom he got into a fight as teammates with the Phillies that resulted in the second baseman breaking his thumb). Flick spent nine seasons with the Naps franchise, playing his last major league action in 1910 after being diagnosed with gastritis. He played in the minor leagues, was a scout for Cleveland and worked in real estate. Flick was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1963 and he died of congestive heart failure in 1971, two days before his 95th birthday.

Perhaps no player has received more hype from fans, the media and “baseball people” in the 21st century than Bryce Harper. He was the first pick in the 2010 draft by the Nationals and earned six All-Star selections, plus MVP and Rookie of the Year awards during his seven seasons in Washington. Harper signed with the Phillies in 2019, posting a .260-35-114 stat line, with his RBI total being a career-high mark. Following the COVID-shortened season, he produced another stellar offensive season, batting .309 with 101 runs, 151 hits, 35 home runs, a .429 on-base percentage and a league-best 42 doubles to win his second MVP Award and silver slugger. Harper missed time with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, as well as a fractured left thumb during the 2022 season, but he was selected to the All-Star team. He returned and had four runs, eight hits, two home runs and five RBIs against the Braves in the Division Series, then equaled those numbers while winning the NLCS MVP in the victory over the Padres. He had four hits, including a home run, but the Astros prevailed in the World Series.

Harper missed nearly six months after undergoing offseason Tommy John surgery, but he took home another silver slugger after batting .293 with 21 home runs, then hit five more in the postseason, helping the Phillies reach the NLCS. Harper ranks third in franchise history with a .534 slugging percentage to go with a .284 average, 387 runs, 591 hits, 144 doubles, 122 homers, 368 RBI and 1,113 total bases in 581 games. The 2021 Hank Aaron Award winner appeared in 30 postseason games, totaling 26 runs, 34 hits, seven doubles, 11 home runs and 21 runs batted in. After spending his first four years in right field, followed by two at designated hitter, he moved to first base for the 2024 season.

5. Johnny Callison – He spent his first two years with the White Sox and developed into a talented slugger after he was traded to the Phillies following the 1959 season. A four-time All-Star, Callison hit at least 20 home runs four times, topped 100 runs and 100 RBIs twice each and led the league in triples twice and doubles once. His best season was 1964, when he finished second in the MVP voting after batting .274 with 101 runs, 179 hits, 31 home runs and a career-best 104 runs batted in. He was named MVP of the All-Star Game that year after hitting a game-winning three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning. In ten seasons with Philadelphia (1960-69), Callison ranks sixth in franchise history in triples (84) and batted .271 with 774 runs, 1,438 hits, 265 doubles, 185 home runs, 666 RBIs and 2,426 RBIs in 1,432 games. He also won two fielding titles and led the league in putouts five times and assists four times. Callison played two seasons each with the Cubs and Yankees, was a car salesman and bartender after his 1973 retirement and passed away due to cancer in 2006 at ag 67.

4. Clifford “Gavvy” Cravath – His nickname came about when he was playing a game in Mexico as an amateur and a ball he hit killed a seagull in flight. The natives called out “gaviota” (the Spanish word for seagull), and it was shortened to “Gavy” (with the American press adding the extra “v”). Cravath was unproductive in his first two seasons with three teams and spent two more in the minors before becoming arguably the best power hitter of the Deadball Era after joining the Phillies in 1912. Over the next nine years (1912-20), he reached double figures in home runs seven times and led the league on six occasions. Cravath also drove in 100 or more runs in three straight years and led the N.L. twice. He finished second in the MVP voting after batting .341 and leading the league with 19 home runs to go with career highs of 179 hits and 128 RBIs in 1913.

However, Cravath had arguably his best season two years later, when he batted .285 and led the league with 114 RBIs and career-best totals of 89 runs and 24 homers, which was also a league record at the time. The Phillies won their first pennant that year, but most of their hitters were shut down against the Red Sox, including Cravath, who had just two hits and two runs scored in the five-game loss. He spent his final two seasons with the Phillies as a player-manager and the squad struggled while Babe Ruth broke both his single-season and 20th century (119) home run records. He ranks eighth in franchise history in triples (72) and batted .291 with 525 runs, 1,054 hits, 222 doubles, 117 home runs, 676 RBIs and 1,771 total bases in 1,103 games. Nicknamed “Cactus” due to his prickly personality, Cravath was a minor league manager and scout for two seasons before being involved in the real estate industry and becoming a well-respected judge in California. He passed away in 1963 at age 82.

3. Bobby Abreu – The Venezuelan-born outfielder was signed by the Astros and spent six seasons in the minor leagues before playing in just 74 games in two seasons with Houston. Abreu was selected by the Devil Rays in the 1998 expansion draft but was traded the same day to the Phillies for shortstop Kevin Stocker. He became one of the most productive players in the National League, smacking at least 150 hits eight times, hitting 20 or more home runs seven times scoring at least 100 runs six times and driving in 100 or more on four occasions over nine seasons (1998-2006). Abreu earned two All-Star selections, received MVP consideration five times, won a gold glove and a silver slugger and posted two 30-homer, 30-steal seasons, becoming the first player in Phillies history to do so when he stole 36 bases and set career highs with 31 home runs and 110 RBIs in 2001. Three years later, he smacked 30 homers, drove in 105 runs and set a personal best with 40 stolen bases.

In 2004, Abreu hit the first home run at Citizens Bank Park. The following year, he won the All-Star Home Run Derby, setting records at the time with 24 homers in a round and 41 in a single competition. Overall, Abreu ranks second in franchise history in walks (947), fourth in doubles (348) and on-base percentage (.416), seventh in stolen bases (254), tenth in total bases (2,491) and tied for tenth in runs (891) to go with a .303 average, 1,474 hits, 195 home runs, and 814 RBIs in 1,353 games. “El Comedulce” (“eater of sweets”) was traded to the Yankees during the 2006 season and spent time with both teams from New York and Los Angeles. After taking a year off in 2013, he finished his 18-year career with the Mets, batting .291 with 288 home runs and 400 stolen bases.

2. Sam Thompson – He was arguably the greatest power hitter of the 19th century (although his teammate across the outfield might have something to say about that). Thompson, whose father fought in the Civil War and maternal great-grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War, was working as a carpenter when he signed his first baseball contract. He spent his first four years with the National League’s Detroit Wolverines, becoming the first player in major league history to get 200 hits in a season when he smacked 203 in just 127 games in 1887. Detroit won what was then called the World’s Series, but folded the following year, with Thompson latching on with the Phillies and leading the league with 20 home runs.

“Big Sam” became one of the most productive players of the pre-1900 era. In 10 seasons with Philadelphia (1889-98), he reached double digits in home runs five times, topping 100 runs batted in seven times, batted over .300 six times and topping 150 hits and 100 runs eight times each. Thompson led the league in hits, doubles, home runs and RBIs twice. He hit .415 and led the league with 149 RBIs in 1894 and followed that with a .392 average and league-leading totals of 18 home runs and a 165, the latter ranking second in team history and standing as a record until it was broken by Babe Ruth. All three Phillies outfielders posted a .400 or better average and Thompson’s .415 mark, as well as a .696 slugging percentage, set team records.

Thompson ranks fourth in franchise history in triples (107), fifth in average (.334), sixth in RBIs (965) and seventh in runs (930) to go with 1,478 hits, 275 doubles, 95 home runs, 192 steals and 2,252 total bases in 1,034 games. He also won two fielding titles and led all right fielders in assists and double plays twice. Thompson played just 17 games over his final two seasons and retired in 1898. He played amateur baseball in Detroit while also working as a U. S. Marshall and bailiff. Thompson played eight games with the Tigers as a 46-year-old in 1906 then retired for good. He suffered a heart attack and passed away in 1922 at age 62, with the entire city of Detroit shutting down for his funeral.

1. Chuck Klein – He was one of the strongest players of his era, thanks to his early work in a steel mill. Klein eventually found his way into the Cardinals’ farm system and was going to be called up until it was discovered that St. Louis owned teams in multiple minor leagues, which was against the rules at the time. As punishment, the Cardinals were forced to sell the Fort Wayne team, as well as the contracts of Klein and the rest of the players. The Phillies outbid the Yankees and Klein made his way to Philadelphia in 1928. Over the final five of his six years (1928-33, the entirety of his first of three stints with the Phillies), he totaled no less than 100 runs, 200 hits, 30 doubles, 25 home runs, 120 RBIs and a .330 average in any campaign.

During his first run with Philadelphia, Klein had four straight years of top-five MVP finishes. After leading the league with 43 home runs in 1929, he finished fourth in the voting following a performance that included 40 homers, a team-record 170 RBIs, a career-best .386 average and 250 hits, 158 runs and 59 doubles, with the last two leading the league. Klein was runner-up in 1930 after batting .337 with 200 hits, a .687 slugging percentage (second in team history) and league-leading totals of 31 homers, 121 RBIs and 121 runs scored. He was named MVP the following year after batting .348 with 50 doubles, 137 RBIs and N. L.-best totals of 152 runs, 226 hits, 38 home runs, 20 stolen bases, a .646 slugging percentage and 420 total bases. While Klein did not have his best season statistically in 1933, he won the Triple Crown, finished second in the MVP voting for a second time and played in the first All-Star Game after leading the league with a .368 average, 28 homers, 120 RBIs, 223 hits, 44 doubles, a .422 on-base percentage, a .602 slugging percentage and 365 total bases.

Like many clubs immediately following the Great Depression, the Phillies were struggling to keep afloat, so the team sent their star to the Cubs after his Triple Crown for three pitchers and cash. While the slugger made the All-Star team in his first year in Chicago, his numbers did not reach expected levels, and he suffered a torn muscle in his leg. So, despite the fact that he led his new team to the World Series (a loss to the Tigers), he was sent back to Philadelphia during the 1936 season. Klein responded with two solid seasons, although not to his previous level. He hit four home runs in a game against the Pirates in July 1936, but injuries, plus the team moving from Baker Bowl to spacious Shibe Park, caused his average to plummet to .247 two years later.

After slumping to start the 1939 season, Klein was released and finished out the year with the Pirates. He returned to the Phillies for a third run, playing five uninspired seasons, failing to play in more than 50 games in any of the final four. Klein finished his 15-year Philadelphia career (1928-33, 36-39 and 40-44) as the team’s all-time leader with a .553 slugging percentage. He also ranks fifth in runs (963), home runs (243) and RBIs (983), sixth in total bases (2,898) and seventh in hits (1,705), doubles (336) and average (.326) in 1,405 games. Klein topped the .300 batting average mark seven times, holds the top three spots on the all-time franchise list for total bases (each over 400) and led the league in assists by a right fielder three times and putouts and double plays twice each.

Klein spent four years as a coach with the Phillies and owned a tavern for two years. Thanks to years of alcohol use and a poor diet, he suffered a stroke and was diagnosed with a disease of the central nervous system. With his family’s help, Klein was able to give up drinking and make some progress, but he passed away due to a cerebral hemorrhage in 1958 at age 53. His Cooperstown candidacy was a topic of debate, with supporters pointing out his incredible peak years and overall solid numbers, while detractors countered with his dominance only lasting a few years and his production coming at the cozy Baker Bowl. Klein was on the outside until a letter-writing campaign finally got him inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1980.

Upcoming Stories

Philadelphia Phillies Catchers and Managers
Philadelphia Phillies First and Third Basemen
Philadelphia Phillies Second Basemen and Shortstops
Philadelphia Phillies Outfielders
Philadelphia Phillies Pitchers – coming soon

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A look back at the Oakland Athletics

Oakland Athletics Catchers and Managers
Oakland Athletics First and Third Basemen
Oakland Athletics Second Basemen and Shortstops
Oakland Athletics Outfielders and Designated Hitters
Oakland Athletics Pitchers

A look back at the New York Yankees

New York Yankees Catchers and Managers
New York Yankees First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
New York Yankees Second Basemen and Shortstops
New York Yankees Outfielders
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A look back at the New York Mets

New York Mets Catchers and Managers
New York Mets First and Third Basemen
New York Mets Second Basemen and Shortstops
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A look back at the Minnesota Twins

Minnesota Twins Catchers and Managers
Minnesota Twins First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Minnesota Twins Second Basemen and Shortstops
Minnesota Twins Outfielders
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A look back at the Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers Catchers and Managers
Milwaukee Brewers First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
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A look back at the Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins Catchers and Managers
Miami Marlins First and Third Basemen
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Miami Marlins Pitchers

A look back at the Los Angeles Dodgers

A look back at the Los Angeles Angels

Los Angeles Angels Catchers and Managers
Los Angeles Angels First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Los Angeles Angels Second Basemen and Shortstops
Los Angeles Angels Outfielders
Los Angeles Angels Pitchers

A look back at the Kansas City Royals

Kansas City Royals Catchers and Managers
Kansas City Royals First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Kansas City Royals Second Basemen and Shortstops
Kansas City Royals Outfielders
Kansas City Royals Pitchers

A look back at the Houston Astros

Houston Astros Catchers and Managers
Houston Astros First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Houston Astros Second Basemen and Shortstops
Houston Astros Outfielders
Houston Astros Pitchers

A look back at the Detroit Tigers

Detroit Tigers Catchers and Managers
Detroit Tigers First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Detroit Tigers Second Basemen and Shortstops
Detroit Tigers Outfielders
Detroit Tigers Pitchers

A look back at the Colorado Rockies

Colorado Rockies Catchers and Managers
Colorado Rockies First and Third Basemen
Colorado Rockies Second Basemen and Shortstops
Colorado Rockies Outfielders
Colorado Rockies Pitchers

A look back at the Cleveland Guardians

Cleveland Guardians Catchers and Managers
Cleveland Guardians First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Cleveland Guardians Second Basemen and Shortstops
Cleveland Guardians Outfielders
Cleveland Guardians Pitchers

A look back at the Cincinnati Reds

A look back at the Chicago White Sox

Chicago Cubs Catchers and Managers
Chicago Cubs First and Third Basemen
Chicago Cubs Second Basemen and Shortstops
Chicago Cubs Outfielders
Chicago Cubs Pitchers

A look back at the Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Catchers and Managers
Boston Red Sox First and Third Basemen
Boston Red Sox Second Basemen and Shortstops
Boston Red Sox Outfielders and Designated Hitters
Boston Red Sox Pitchers

A look back at the Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore Orioles Catchers and Managers
Baltimore Orioles First and Third Basemen
Baltimore Orioles Second Basemen and Shortstops
Baltimore Orioles Outfielders and Designated Hitters
Baltimore Orioles Pitchers

A look back at the Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves Catchers and Managers
Atlanta Braves First and Third Basemen
Atlanta Braves Second Basemen and Shortstops
Atlanta Braves Outfielders
Atlanta Braves Pitchers

A look back at the Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondbacks Catchers and Managers
Arizona Diamondbacks First and Third Basemen
Arizona Diamondbacks Second Basemen and Shortstops
Arizona Diamondbacks Outfielders
Arizona Diamondbacks Pitchers

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