The Philadelphia Phillies have won two World Series championships in their history. Which dates all the way back to one in 1883 as the Philadephia Quakers. Then one in 1980 and the recent one in 2008 as the Phillies. With such a long history, the Phillies have been underwhelming as far as postseason success goes. They do have their fair share of memorable players. They are certainly not up to the level of teams with similar long histories, such as the New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds. Philadelphia only has one true lock on this list, and without further ado let’s get into it.
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Mike Schmidt (1972-89)
Schmidt was a second-round pick out of Ohio University in 1971, one pick after George Brett was picked by Kansas City. He didn’t take long to make his MLB debut a year later on September 12, 1972. Who would have thought that someone who hit .196 his rookie year in 1973 would blossom into the greatest Phillies player of all-time? Well, that’s exactly what happened with Schmidt. In his sophomore season, he turned it on to lead the league in home runs (36) and slugging (.546).
This earned him a sixth-place finish in the MVP race and his first All-Star selection. That was his first of eight seasons in which he would lead the league in homers. His career-high came in 1980 with 48, while he hit 40 in 1983 and 45 in 1979. That year of 1980, Schmidt took home his first of three MVP awards. He slashed .286/.380/.624 along with the 48 homers and 121 RBI.
He was an integral piece to the Phillies’ first World Series in 1980. Schmidt was the MVP of the Series. He became just the fifth player in history to win both the League and World Series MVP in the same season. The other four were Sandy Koufax (1963), Frank Robinson (1966), Reggie Jackson (1973), and Willie Stargell (1979). In the World Series, Schmidt went 8-for-21 with two homers, seven RBI, six runs, and four walks.
In the next year, 1981, he won a back-to-back MVP award with a .316/.435/.644 slashline, 31 HR, 91 RBI, 78 R, and a league-leading 18 intentional walks. Schmidt hit over 30 homers in 13 of his 18 seasons to equal 548 career dingers. This is currently 16th on the all-time list. On April 17, 1976, Schmidt hit four homers in one game against the Cubs. This ended in a slugfest with the Phillies winning 18-16. That was the tenth four-homer game in history and there have been eight others since then.
Schmidt also had over 100 RBI nine times and an OPS of over 1.000 twice, 1.004 in 1980, and 1.080 in 1981. In his third and final MVP-winning season in 1986, he slashed .290/.390/.547 with 37 homers, 119 RBI, 97 runs, and a league-leading 25 intentional walks. Over the 18 years, Schmidt was selected to 12 All-Star games. He was a prominent defender at third with ten gold gloves too. He finished his career with a 106.5 career WAR. Schmidt proved that patience is key after his atrocious rookie year and never looked back. He finished his career in 1989 and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1995.
Steve Carlton (1972-86)
Carlton signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1963 and made his debut in 1965 at the age of 20. He appeared in both World Series the Cardinals appeared in, in 1967 and 1968, while earning a ring in 1967. In the 1967 World Series against the Boston Red Sox, Carlton started game five. He went six innings while giving up just three hits, two walks, and one unearned run, and striking out five. Unfortunately for Carlton, he got the no-decision as the Red Sox won 3-1. In 1971, he picked up his first 20-win season and was looking to be paid $60,000 the following year. The Cardinals didn’t want to pay him that much (a lot at the time). General manager Augie Busch traded him to the last-place Phillies because of this salary dispute.
The rest is history. Before being traded to Philadelphia, “Lefty” had a goal in mind to win 25 games for the Cardinals the next year. He had to rethink his goals once he joined the Phillies. He ultimately decided to stick with the 25-win goal and did not disappoint one bit. That first year in Philly in 1972, Carlton was nearly unhittable, putting up 27 wins, a 1.97 ERA, 2.01 FIP, 0.993 WHIP, and 310/87 SO/BB rate over 346.1 innings in 41 starts, 30 of which were complete games. His win total, ERA, innings pitched, and strikeouts all led the league. His 27 wins were almost half the number of games the Phillies won in total as they won just 59 games.
These insane stats earned him his first Cy Young Award, and he would go on to win three more in his 15 years with the Phillies and total 24 years in the Majors, also winning in 1980 and 1982. He also finished top five in Cy Young voting two other times, and top ten in MVP voting five times.
Over his 15 seasons with the Phillies, Carlton led the league in wins four times, with five 20-win seasons. He led the league in strikeouts five times. 1972 was the only year he had over 300 strikeouts. He was a ten-time All-Star and won a gold glove award in 1981. He became the 16th pitcher in baseball history to reach the 300-win plateau on September 24, 1983.
Then on August 5th, 1986 he became just the second pitcher ever to record 4,000 strikeouts, the first being Nolan Ryan, who finished his career in 1993 with 5,714. Carlton finished his career with 4,136 strikeouts.
He finished his career with 329 wins which is currently 11th on the all-time list and he is second to Warren Spahn (363) in wins among lefties. Carlton was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1994 after retiring in 1988 with the Minnesota Twins. He split time with the Twins, Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, and San Francisco Giants over his last three seasons.
Robin Roberts (1948-61)
Roberts made his MLB debut for the Phillies on June 18, 1948. He started out slow by walking the first batter he faced on four pitches. He settled down when the next batter came up. Using a pitch that would become his signature pitch, a hard-rising fastball, to strike him out. He took his first of his 286 career wins in his next start, which was his first complete game out of 305 career games he would start and finish.
Roberts made seven straight All-Star Games from 1950-56. He was arguably the most dominant pitcher in the league during that timeframe. Over those seven years, he averaged 22 wins, including a career-high 28 in 1952, 26 complete games (33 in 1953), 319 innings pitched, 3.16 ERA, and a 3.30 SO/BB rate. In 1952 he led the league in wins (28), games started (37), complete games (30), innings pitched (330), and SO/BB (3.29) which earned him a runner-up finish in MVP voting.
His last eight starts that year were complete games, which included a massive 17-inning performance against the Braves. That is so far from being heard of these days. Pitchers are kept to pitch limits and complete games are almost even a thing of the past now. He led the league in complete games, innings pitched, and SO/BB rate four other times, and finished top ten in MVP voting four other times.
Roberts led the “Whiz Kids” to their first World Series appearance since 1915 in 1950. He was the epitome of a workhorse for the entire decade. He never missed an entire start for the whole 1950s and had a streak of 28 straight complete games from 1952-53. Roberts started to lose velocity on his fastball as the decade dragged on but he used his excellent control and reinvented himself into a more finesse type pitcher who toyed with hitters.
He pitched with the Phillies until 1961, then went on to the Orioles for three and half seasons, Astros for one and a half, and finished with the Cubs in 1966. Roberts did go back to the Phillies in 1967 and pitched for the Reading Phillies, their Double-A team, where he went 5-3 with a 2.48 ERA in 11 games at the age of 40. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1976. He passed away on May 6, 2010, at the age of 83.
Jimmy Rollins (2000-14)
The Phillies drafted Rollins in the second round of the 1996 Draft and he made his debut four years later, on September 17, 2000, where he went 2-for-4 and stole one base against the Florida Marlins. Rollins became one of the biggest fan-favorite players over his 15 years with the Phillies and he used his great speed and pop to be a big impact on the field. He recorded 111 triples and 453 stolen bases while in the red and white pinstripes. He stole at least 20 bases in 13 seasons, which included a league-leading 46 in 2001; his career-high came in 2008 with 47.
From 2005 to 2006, J-Roll had the longest most recent hit streak as he hit safely in 38 straight games, showing his keen ability to hit consistently.
Rollins won the MVP award in 2007 in which he played in all 162 games, while he led the league with 139 runs scored and 20 triples. He also mashed 30 homers, stole 41 bases, and drove in 94 runs. This campaign helped the Phillies earn their first NL East title since 1993, which they clinched in the game he ran out his 20th triple.
The following year of 2008, Rollins helped lead the Phillies to their second World Series championship. He hit .375 in the NLDS against the Milwaukee Brewers.
In 2014, he became the Phillies’ all-time hit king with a hit off Edwin Jackson of the Chicago Cubs for his career hit 2,235.
Rollins also had 46 career leadoff home runs, which is sixth in MLB history. He also had one in game four of the 2008 NLDS.
Rollins went on to play for the Dodgers in 2015 and 41 games for the White Sox in 2016, after which he retired. He made three All-Star game appearances and won four gold gloves over his career. He will become eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2022, along with his former Phillies teammates Ryan Howard and Jonathan Papelbon. However, even though he did win the MVP in 2007, he was never really regarded as one of the best players in the game, or even best shortstop, and will probably fall short of getting voted in.
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