The Philadelphia Phillies franchise has been playing baseball for 134 seasons now. The team first began using uniform jersey numbers in the 1932 season.
Over the 85 seasons in which the Phillies have issued uniform numbers, just five men who played for the team have received the honor of having their uniform jersey number retired.
Those five legendary Phillies players and their retired numbers are, in numerical order: Richie Ashburn (1), Jim Bunning (14), Mike Schmidt (20), Steve Carlton (32), and Robin Roberts (36).
Along with the rest of Major League Baseball, the Phils have also retired uniform #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson.
At some point in recent decades the club developed a formal policy on retiring numbers. The Phillies would only retire the uniform numbers of players who were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Nine men spent at least five seasons with the Phillies, subsequently reached the Hall of Fame, but do not have a uniform number retired.
These nine all appeared with the club prior to the introduction of uniform numbers:Harry Wright, Sam Thompson, Ed Delahanty, Billy Hamilton, Nap Lajoie, Elmer Flick, Grover Cleveland “Pete” Alexander, Dave Bancroft, andEppa Rixey.
NO NUMBER RETIRED FOR KLEIN
The lone Hall of Famer who played in a significant portion of his career with the Phillies, and yet does not have a formal number retired, is Chuck Klein.
Klein played with the Phillies in two stints, from 1928-33, and again from 1936-44. In his first four seasons, the Phils still were not issuing uniform numbers.
Klein was with the club when it began issuing numbers for that 1932 campaign. He was issued the number “3”, which he again kept in the 1933 season.
Traded in November 1933, Klein was reacquired in a May 1936 trade. He would be released in June 1939, and subsequently sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates for the balance of that season. But he was back with the Phillies the following year until his retirement.
Beginning with his 1936 return, Klein would play in parts of nine more seasons with the Phillies. Over those nine years he would wear seven different numbers, including his old #3 in the 1942 campaign.
Because he wore that #3 the most with the club, three seasons, the Phillies could have chosen to retire it in his honor. Instead, the Phillies have chosen to retire the official logo lettering used by the team during their tenures in honor of both Klein and Alexander.