Without actual game action and current player performances to report on, discuss, and evaluate, some Philadelphia Phillies writers and sites have resorted to simulations – which are reflective of nothing in reality.
Here at The Bell, we prefer to use this time to look back on real team history. The actual performances of players both unforgettable and random. The game action that has taken place over 137 seasons of Phillies baseball. There are thousands of ways to approach the subject. Today I’ll approach it from another angle.
The 20 players below are easily among the best to ever pull on a Phillies uniform. 15 are already Phillies Wall of Famers. At least three others will certainly find a plaque on that wall in the coming years. But nothing lasts forever. Each of these greats eventually moved on, some into retirement, others to a different ball club.
The final home runs slugged by these 20 hitters are certainly interesting to recall. In nearly all cases it would be hard to say that any realized it would be the last time that they would circle the bases wearing a Phillies uniform. History would show that was indeed the case with these 20 home runs.
The players are presented in chronological order by the date of that final Phillies career home run.
September 1, 1929: Cy Williams – Though his accomplishments have been lost to time for current fans, Williams remains eighth still today on the Phillies all-time home run list with 217 round-trippers. The last of those came at Ebbetts Field against the host Brooklyn Robins during a big 15-2 victory. Already up 5-0 in the top of the 2nd inning with Don Hurst on base, Williams crushed one over the right field fence to really break it open. Having begun his career with six seasons playing for the Chicago Cubs, Williams would end his career still in a Phillies uniform at age 42 in 1930 with a total of 251 career big-league homers. In 1986 he became the eighth player on the Phillies Wall of Fame.
August 18, 1941: Chuck Klein – It was still four months prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entry into World War II when, at age 36, the former NL MVP Klein went deep for the final time in both a Phillies uniform and in his Major League Baseball career. In the second game of a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds at Shibe Park, manager Doc Prothro sent Klein to pinch-hit for pitcher Johnny Podgajny. With one out in the bottom of the 9th, Klein lifted a Gene Thompson offering out deep over the right field wall to pull the Phillies within 5-4 in a game that would end by that final score. Klein would appear in 30 total games over the 1942-44 seasons at ages 37-39 as the war raged on. He finally retired with 243 of his career 300 homers (still fifth on the team all-time list) coming in a Phillies uniform. Klein was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980 by the veteran’s committee and was the third player enshrined on the Phillies Wall of Fame that same summer.
September 30, 1956: Del Ennis – On the final day of the season the Phillies and New York Giants played a doubleheader at Connie Mack Stadium due to their September 26 game having been rained out, even though neither club was in contention. In the bottom of the first inning of the opener and with Solly Hemus on first base, Ennis lifted an Al Worthington offering out over the left-center wall to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead in a game they would ultimately lose by an 8-3 score.
Two months later the Phillies would trade the 31-year-old left fielder to the Saint Louis Cardinals as part of a six-player deal. He would play in three more seasons with the Cards, Cincinnati Reds, and Chicago White Sox, hitting 29 more homers to finish with 288 on his career. He blasted 259 with the Phillies, currently third on the all-time list behind Schmidt and Howard. In 1982, Ennis became the fifth player honored on the Phillies Wall of Fame.
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May 12, 1959: Willie Jones – “Puddin’ Head” hit 180 of his career 190 big-league home runs with the Phillies, currently 13th on the team’s all-time list. On a Tuesday night in front of a sparse crowd at the Los Angeles County Coliseum, Jones went deep for a final time with the Phillies to provide the only run in a 3-1 loss. His blast came on the first pitch from Dodgers’ reliever Danny McDevitt in the top of the 8th inning. In early June he would be dealt to the Cleveland Indians. The Tribe kept him for a month before selling his contract to the Cincinnati Reds where he finished his career in the middle of the 1961 campaign. Jones was selected to the Phillies Wall of Fame in 1995.
July 2, 1959: Richie Ashburn – Not at all a home run hitter, “Whitey” registered just 29 among the 2,574 hits that he recorded during his 15-year career in Major League Baseball. 22 of those dingers came in a Phillies uniform, the last during the second game of a July 2 doubleheader. It would be his only homer of that 1959 campaign, and perhaps fittingly it highlighted speed over power. With two outs and the Phillies trailing the Cincinnati Reds by 5-1 at Connie Mack Stadium, Ashburn ripped a Don Newcombe offering to deep center field. The ball sailed over the head of Vada Pinson and went to the wall as Ashburn flashed around the bases, beating the throw back in for an inside-the-park home run. The last time that he put one over a big-league wall had come on June 22, 1958 in the bottom of the 8th inning during the first game of a Sunday afternoon doubleheader vs the San Francisco Giants at Connie Mack. His two-run shot went out deep over the high right-field fence to tie the score at 4-4, but the Phillies would go on to lose 5-4 in 14 innings. Traded to the Chicago Cubs in January 1960 he played three more seasons, including with the first-ever expansion New York Mets club in 1962. Upon retiring he joined the Phillies broadcast crew and became a popular voice of the team for decades, famously teaming with Harry Kalas from 1971 until his death. In 1979, Ashburn joined 1950 Whiz Kids teammate Robin Roberts when he was honored as the second player on the Phillies Wall of Fame. He was elected by a veteran’s committee to the Baseball Hall of Fame and enshrined in 1995.
September 21, 1976: Dick Allen – The 1964 NL Rookie of the Year nearly drove the Phillies to a National League pennant that year. He went on to become a three-time NL All-Star as one of the most feared sluggers in the league while with the Phillies during his first seven seasons. With controversy swirling around him consistently, Allen played a final truncated year with the team in 1969. Still in his prime at age 27, Allen was traded to Saint Louis right after the season ended as the key piece of a seven-player swap that itself became controversial when Curt Flood refused to go to Philadelphia and instead began a historic fight against baseball’s reserve clause. Still plenty of great ball ahead of him, Allen became the 1972 AL MVP with the Chicago White Sox. He would return to the Phillies for the 1975-76 seasons, finishing with 204 of his 351 career homers in a Phillies uniform. That total has him currently 10th on the all-time franchise list. Allen was enshrined on the Wall of Fame during the strike-shortened 1994 season and is expected to again by a leading candidate for the Baseball Hall of Fame when a veteran’s committee votes next winter. On a Tuesday night at Veterans Stadium he led off the bottom of the 8th inning by crushing an offering from Bill Greif out to deep right field to provide the final margin in a 5-1 victory over the visiting Cardinals.
August 21, 1980: Larry Bowa – Like Ashburn, Bowa was not known as a power hitter by any stretch of the imagination. He would record just 15 over a 16-year career in Major League Baseball, 13 of those during his first dozens seasons while playing with the Phillies. Also like Ashburn, his final Phillies home run would be of the inside-the-park variety. During those years in red pinstripes he was a key performer with the 1980 World Series and four NL East championship teams. He was also a five-time NL All-Star and won two Gold Gloves, a travesty since his fielding and overall defense were clearly the best in the NL during many seasons in which the award was handed to someone due to offensive contributions at the position. Bowa recorded no homers during his final year with the Phillies in 1981, so his last came during that world championship season. A Thursday afternoon businessperson’s special would end up going 17 innings before the Phillies walkoff with a 9-8 victory thanks to a Bake McBride RBI triple. With the Phillies trailing old friend Rick Wise by 6-4 in the bottom of the 6th inning, Bowa slashed a ball to left-center field. As outfielders Gene Richards and Jerry Mumphrey raced for the ball, Bowa bolted around the bases, sliding in ahead of the relay throw. The Phillies would build an 8-6 lead before the Padres tied it in the top of the 9th, setting the stage for McBride’s overtime heroics. Bowa would be dealt away to the Chicago Cubs along with Ryne Sandberg in a now infamous January 1982 trade. He would help the Cubs to the 1984 NL East crown before finishing his career in 1985 with the New York Mets. After retiring as a player Bowa would get into coaching and was manager of the Padres in 1987-88 and the Phillies from 2001-04. He has also been a longtime coach in the Phillies organization, including as third base coach with the 1993 NL pennant winners. In 1991 he was honored with a place on the Wall of Fame, the third straight season in which a member of those 1980 world champs was so honored.
October 7, 1980: Greg Luzinski – Like fellow left fielder Burrell, the final Phillies home run for ‘The Bull’ came in the postseason. In the bottom of the 6th inning of Game 1 of the 1980 NLCS vs the Houston Astros the Phillies were getting shut down by Ken Forsch. With two outs and Pete Rose at first base, Luzinski crushed a ‘Bull Blast’ out deep to left-center at Veterans Stadium to put the Phillies on top. They would go on to a 3-1 victory, taking a 1-0 lead in what was only the beginning of the greatest National League Championship Series in MLB history. After helping the club win the World Series that year, Luzinski’s contract was sold to his hometown Chicago White Sox at the end of spring training the following March. He would blast 84 more homers over parts of four final seasons in the Windy City. Of his 307 career big-league home runs, 233 came in a Phillies uniform, now seventh on the team all-time list. In 1998 he became the fourth player from the 1980 World Series champs to be enshrined on the Wall of Fame.
May 2, 1989: Mike Schmidt – The Phillies all-time home run king finished with 548 in his career. The last came at Veterans Stadium during a 12-4 loss to the Houston Astros. With two outs in the bottom of the 1st inning and Von Hayes at second base Schmidt blasted a 2-2 offering from Jim Deshaies out a line drive to deep left field. Schmidt not only had no idea it would be his final homer with the Phillies and in Major League Baseball, he also likely had no clue that his career wouldn’t last the month. He would play in 18 more games before suddenly and surprisingly retiring in San Diego on May 29. The following summer, Schmidt joined former teammate Steve Carlton (honored in 1989) as the first players from the 1980 World Series championship team to be installed on the Phillies Wall of Fame. Schmidt was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first eligible ballot in 1995.
June 15, 1989: Juan Samuel – “Sammy” was one of the Phillies key 1980’s players during the era where the club tried unsuccessfully to transition from the 1970’s group that had won the 1980 World Series to a new group of players while still led by Schmidt. Mostly a speed guy, Samuel stole 249 bases over parts of seven seasons with the Phillies, including 72 during his runner-up NL Rookie of the Year finish back in 1982. In 1983 he appeared with the team that went to the World Series, and was an NL All-Star in both 1984 and 1987, taking home a Silver Slugger Award in the latter. He was dealt to the New York Mets at age 28 in June 1989 as the Phillies intentionally changed direction following Schmidt’s sudden retirement just weeks earlier. That deal brought Lenny Dykystra to the Phillies. But before leaving he launched a final Phillies home run on a Thursday night at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh during a 5-3 loss to the host Pirates. His two-out solo blast to deep left-center off Doug Drabek pushed the Phillies ahead by 2-1 at that point. Samuel had plenty of baseball left, appearing with six different teams over nine more seasons and becoming a 1991 NL All-Star with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He retired following the 1998 campaign having spent his final three seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays. Samuel got into coaching when his playing career ended and he was even the Baltimore Orioles interim manager for a time during the 2010 campaign. Selected to the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2008, he joined the team’s coaching staff and served as the first and third base coach at different times from 2011 through 2017.
September 8, 1990: Von Hayes – Along with Samuel, he was one of the club’s signature players during the 1980’s. Hayes would finish his career at 10th on the all-time Phillies home run list. His 124 with the club is now 17th on that list. Not bad for a franchise that has seen more than 2,000 players wear its uniform. Almost incredibly, Hayes hit none during his entire injury-shortened final 1991 season with the Phillies despite getting 323 plate appearances. His final homer with the club came on September 8 in 1990 at Veterans Stadium during a 12-2 rout by the visiting New York Mets. His two-run shot off Dwight Gooden followed a walk to Rod Booker and gave the Phillies a brief, early 2-0 lead in that one. Hayes was traded away to the California Angels in December 1991 at age 33 in a three-player deal that brought Ruben Amaro Jr to the Phillies. He would hit four final career homers with the Halos in a final career 1992 campaign that ended due to injury in August.
July 3, 1997: Darren Daulton – One of the most popular players in the history of the Phillies and perhaps their greatest team leader, ‘Dutch’ drilled 134 of his career 137 MLB homers in a Phillies uniform. That figure is second among catchers all-time with the team. At Veterans Stadium on a Thursday evening against the Chicago Cubs, Daulton sent a two-out solo offering from Geremi Gonzalez out on a line to right-center, stretching a Phillies lead to 3-1 in a game they would lose by 5-4. He would play a dozen more games with the organization he had first joined all the way back in 1980. Traded to the Florida Marlins in mid-July, Daulton helped lead the Fish to the first World Series in the history of that four-year old expansion franchise after which he retired, choosing to go out on top at age 35. Voted to the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2010, Daulton would battle brain cancer before succumbing in August 2017 at just age 55.
July 28, 2002: Scott Rolen – The 1997 National League Rookie of the Year, Rolen won four Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger, and was a 2002 NL All-Star with the Phillies. He was the best player on the team during a dark period of losing that preceded the long 2001-11 winning campaigns. Unfortunately he tired of waiting for management to commit to that winning, got homesick to return to his Midwestern roots, and forced a trade to the Saint Louis Cardinals at the 2002 MLB trade deadline. In what would be his final game in a Phillies uniform he drillied his last home run with the team. During a 7-1 win over the host Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, Rolen led off the top of the 2nd inning with a blast over the left-center field wall on a full-count offering from Tom Glavine to give the Phillies an early lead. Two days later he was traded to Saint Louis. Rolen would to on to win four more career Gold Gloves, was named to six more NL All-Star teams, and helped lead the Cardinals to the 2006 World Series championship. 150 of his career 316 home runs came with the Phillies.
June 23, 2012: Jim Thome – Though he played just two full and one partial of his 22-year career in Major League Baseball with the Phillies, those years were in his prime and came at a key point in franchise history. His powerful performances during the final season of Veterans Stadium in 2003 and first for Citizens Bank Park in 2004 cemented Thome as one of the most popular players in club history. Injuries and the looming presence of Ryan Howard finally ended his brief tenure. Thome would return for a last hurrah with the club in 2012. On a Saturday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park he blasted that final Phillies home run, and it was perhaps the most dramatic on this list. With the Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays knotted at 6-6 in the bottom of the 9th inning, Thome led off the frame as a pinch-hitter for Jonathan Papelbon. On a full count offering from southpaw Jake McGee, Thome crushed a walkoff bomb out to deep left field for the win. Exactly one week later he would be dealt to the Baltimore Orioles where he would finish his career with 28 final appearances. In the end, 101 of Thome’s career 612 home runs were struck while with the Phillies. He was voted to the franchise Wall of Fame in 2016 and then inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018.
June 13, 2006: Bobby Abreu – One of the most dynamic offensive stars in Phillies history, Abreu would finish five homers in a Phillies uniform shy of joining Jimmy Rollins as the only 200/200 HR/SB player in club history. The last of his 195 Phillies home runs came on a nondescript Tuesday night at Veterans Stadium during a 9-7 loss to the New York Mets. With the Phillies trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the 3rd inning, Abreu lofted a fly ball out to left-center field off future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine. Though he would play 36 more games with the Phillies before being dealt to the New York Yankees at the trade deadline, that would be his last homer with the club at age 32. Abreu played seven more seasons in Major League Baseball with four different organizations, finishing with 288 homers among his 2,470 career big-league hits and also ended with 400 stolen bases. He was enshrined on the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2019.
September 17, 2006: Mike Lieberthal – Tied with his contemporary Rolen at 14th on the all-time Phillies home run list, his 150 home runs with the team are the most by any catcher in franchise history. He is the only player on this list whose last with the club came as part of a multi-homer game. On a Sunday afternoon at Minute Maid Park his first homer off Wandy Rodriguez was a solo shot with one out in the top of the 4th inning that gave the club a 4-0 lead. Then in the top of the 8th his final homer with the team was a solo blast off Russ Springer, pushing the Phillies to a 6-3 lead in a game they would win by 6-4. Lieby became a free agent after that season and signed to play one final year with the Los Angeles Dodgers at age 35. He was honored with a place on the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2012.
October 9, 2008: Pat Burrell – “Pat the Bat” is fourth on the club’s all-time list with 251 of his career total 292 in a Phillies uniform. His final career homer with the team came in the postseason. It was Game 1 of the 2008 NLCS at Citizens Bank Park against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Phillies had finally gotten to Dodgers’ starter Derek Lowe and had just tied the game at 2-2 when Burrell stepped in with one out in the home half of the 6th inning. On a 3-1 pitch he drilled a line drive homer that put the Phillies on top to stay and chase Lowe from the game. Burrell would help the club win their second-ever World Series that month and then signed with the Tampa Bay Rays at age 32 as a free agent. After being release in May 2010 he signed in San Francisco would win another World Series with the Giants that fall. He retired following the 2011 season and was honored with a place on the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2015.
August 27, 2014: Jimmy Rollins – The Phillies said goodbye to each member of the longtime record-setting Howard-Utley-Rollins infield combo over successive calendar years from 2014-16. ‘JRoll’ was the first to go, dealt to the Dodgers in December 2014 in a trade that brought current starting pitcher Zach Eflin to the Phillies. His last home run in red pinstripes came at Citizens Bank Park on a Wednesday night against the Washington Nationals. Already behind 2-0 with one out in the bottom of the 1st inning, Rollins ripped the second pitch that he saw from Doug Fister out on a line to deep right field to put the Phillies on the board. The club would tie it later in the inning and go on to an 8-4 victory. Rollins homered 13 times with the Dodgers in 2015 and twice more with the Chicago White Sox in 2016 before being released in June, bringing his career to an end. The Phillies all-time Hits leader, his 216 homers in a Phillies uniform are ninth on the club’s all-time list.
August 15, 2015: Chase Utley – The final Phillies home run for ‘The Man’ came in his next-to-last game in a Phillies uniform at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Leading off the top of the 3rd inning against Brewers’ starter Jimmy Nelson, Utley drove the first pitch out on a line to right field to put the Phillies up 1-0 in what would end up as a 4-2 loss. With trade rumors swirling he would make one more home appearance at Citizens Bank Park three days later before being dealt at age 36 to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In the end, 233 of his career 259 home runs came with the Phillies, currently sixth on the franchise all-time list.
October 1, 2016: Ryan Howard – ‘The Big Piece’ is second to Schmidt on the Phillies career home run list with 382, and like Schmidt, every one was in a Phillies uniform. Also like Schmidt, his last came during a home loss, this one at Citizens Bank Park in a 5-3 defeat at the hands of the New York Mets. After Maikel Franco led off the bottom of the 5th inning, Howard followed by drilling a 1-0 pitch from Bartolo Colon out to deep right field, tying the score at 2-2. As he circled the bases with the home crowd cheering, Howard may have realized it could be a final time. There was just one game left in the season and the Phillies had already determined they would be paying a $10 million buyout of the declining former superstars contract for 2017 rather than paying him $25 million to return at age 37.