The Philadelphia Phillies honor the greatest players and other figures in franchise history with a place on their Wall of Fame.
In 1978, the Philadelphia Phillies began what has become one of the great traditions for this now 134-year-old franchise.
That summer the Phils honored “Whiz Kids” pitcher and Baseball Hall of Famer Robin Roberts as the initial inductee into the Phillies Wall of Fame.
The Wall of Fame was created as a place to honor individuals who have contributed excellence on and off the field to the success of the team. It also allows the club and its fans to celebrate the history of the team.
Since inducting Roberts, the Philadelphia Phillies have honored one individual with induction each year, with the exception of 1983 when the Phillies celebrated 100 years of play, and instead honored a “Centennial Team” of stars from those first 100 seasons.
The players honored on the Wall of Fame now include 19th century stars such as Sherry Magee, Sam Thompson, and Billy Hamilton. The Wall of Fame also includes more contemporary star players such as Pat Burrell and Jim Thome.
You will find all of the expected Baseball Hall of Famers on the Wall including Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Jim Bunning, Grover Cleveland Pete Alexander, Richie Ashburn, and Chuck Klein.
Non-players such as beloved broadcaster Harry Kalas, 1970s team architect Paul Owens, and World Series-winning managers Dallas Greenand Charlie Manuel are also on the Wall.
With Thome’s induction this past summer, there are now a total of 38 individuals who have been honored with plaques on the Wall of Fame.
From humble beginnings on a concourse wall at Veteran’s Stadium, the official Wall of Fame has now been given a permanent home out on Ashburn Alley beyond center field at Citizens Bank Park.
In future years some very obvious players will find themselves fetted by the team and its fans. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, and Carlos Ruiz – all homegrown stars from the 2008 World Series winners – come immediately to mind.
But who are some of the others, players who were not a part of that World Series club, who might still find a place on the Phillies Wall of Fame, or who certainly deserve serious consideration, in a future season?
For the past couple of years, I have been pushing the cause of 1910s first baseman Fred Luderus for inclusion.
Luderus was arguably the second-best first baseman of that decade, the key hitter in the middle of the club’s first-ever pennant winner in the 1915 season.
Luderus is a glaring omission from my point of view, lost to time in the rush to put more recent vintage players who fans more closely identify with onto the Wall of Fame.
Another old-timer who is, for my money, a similar glaring omission is early 20th century outfielder Roy Thomas.
Thomas led the NL in walks a half-dozen times between 1900-06, and is to this day ninth in career WAR among all position players to ever pull on a Phillies jersey, the highest-rated such player not already on the Wall.
Staying old-time, Nap Lajoie had a career 2,204 plate appearances in 492 games over five seasons in a Phillies uniform.
A Baseball Hall of Famer rightly better known for his play with the Cleveland Indians, Lajoie has the third highest batting average (.345) in Phillies history.
Ranking sixth in Offensive WAR among all Phillies players in history is 1998-2006 outfielder Bobby Abreu.
A Silver Slugger and Gold Glover, he was a 2x NL All-Star and won the MLB All-Star Home Run Derby while with the team.
On the Wall of Fame from the beloved “Macho Row” 1993 NL pennant-winning Phillies are Curt Schilling, Darren Daulton, and John Kruk, each honored in three of the four years between 2010-13.
But it’s hard to imagine that team winning anything without the contributions of the man known alternately as “Nails” and “The Dude”, center fielder Lenny Dykstra.
Dykstra hit for a .289/.388/.422 slash line over eight seasons with the Phils from 1989-96. In those years he was a 3x NL All-Star, a Silver Slugger, and the runner-up for NL MVP in that 1993 season.
A number of public troubles and revelations since his retirement may make Dykstra a hard swallow for the team to honor. But you cannot deny his on-field contributions.
Another controversial placement could be first baseman Pete Rose. There is little doubt that Rose was the biggest difference maker for the 1980 World Series champions.
Over five seasons in a Phillies uniform, Rose was an NL All-Star four times, received NL MVP votes twice, and won a Silver Slugger.
The club’s second round pick in the 1993 MLB Amateur Draft out of an Indiana high school, Scott Rolen became the 1997 NL Rookie of the Year. Defensively, he rivals Schmidt as the greatest glove man at the hot corner in team history.
Playing during the late-90s and into the 21st century at Veteran’s Stadium, Rolen was an NL All-Star and Silver Slugger winner and a 4x Gold Glove Award winner over parts of seven seasons with the Phillies.
There will be a compelling case made for a pair of pitchers who helped lead the Phillies to many victories during their recent stretch of glory, but who were not a part of the 2008 World Series championship team.
Both right-hander Roy Halladay and left-hander Cliff Lee were popular members of some great Phillies pitching rotations.
Halladay pitched a perfect game and a playoff no-hitter while going 55-29 over parts of four seasons in Philly from 2010-13. Lee went 48-34 over parts of five seasons in 2009 and then from 2011-14.
Those are eight players who seem like obvious Phillies Wall of Famers to me. You could probably also make an argument for someone such as Placido Polanco, an NL All-Star and Gold Glover over seven Phillies seasons.