This ‘Phillies 50‘ series covers the most random players to appear with the ball club over the 50 years that I’ve followed the team from 1971-2020. The position player from the 2003 team perfectly fits the definition of having minimal impact with that year’s team and a minimal career in Major League Baseball.
A 17th round pick by the Phillies in the 2000 MLB Amateur Draft out of Mississippi State University, Travis Chapman was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. Signing just three days after that draft day selection, Chapman quickly moved that summer from the rookie-level team in the Gulf Coast League to Low-A Batavia where he hit .316 over 49 games.
He moved in 2001 from High-A Clearwater to Double-A Reading and then played the entire 2002 campaign with the Reading Phillies. There he slashed .301/.388/.473 with 51 extra-base hits and 76 RBIs, putting himself in the picture for an eventual big-league opportunity.
That December the Phillies exposed Chapman to the Rule 5 Draft and he was selected by the Cleveland Indians, who sold his contract that same day to the Detroit Tigers. Realizing they couldn’t keep him on their big-league roster all season and unable to work out a deal, Chapman was returned by the Tigers to the Phillies at the end of 2003 spring training.
Advancing to Triple-A for the 2003 season at Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre, Chapman continued to show he could handle the game at level. That year he slashed. 272/.348/.423 with 48 extra-base hits and 82 RBIs.
That advancement earned Chapman a promotion to the big-leagues when September rolled around and rosters expanded. On September 9, 2003 at Turner Field in Atlanta against the host Braves, Chapman was given his first shot in Major League Baseball.
Phillies manager Larry Bowa sent Chapman up as a pinch-hitter for Tomas Perez with two outs and a man on in the top of the 7th inning and the Phillies rolling with an 18-3 lead. After taking a strike from southpaw Jung Bong, Chapman flew out to Atlanta right fielder Ryan Langerhans.
Chapman then stayed in the game to play third base but handled no chances in the field as the Phillies finished off an 18-5 victory, leaving them tied with the Florida Marlins in the National League Wildcard race.
The Phillies would hold on to that playoff position for just ten more days. But for Chapman, that would be his one and only big-league appearance. Ever.
Granted free agency following that 2003 campaign, Chapman would sign with the Kansas City Royals to begin a three-year stretch in which he would bounce from KC to the Cincinnati Reds to the Pittsburgh Pirates. His career came to an end after 18 games in the Pirates system during the 2006 season.