Tag Archives: Gary Matthews

2020 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot includes six former Phillies

Embed from Getty Images

Who will be the next former Phillies player to receive a plaque at the Baseball Hall of Fame?


35 formers players are enshrined with plaques. Two managers and a pair of executives as well. Even five broadcasters and 10 writers whose work was featured in Philadelphia have found a place at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

That makes a grand total of 52 individuals with ties to the Phillies organization now honored with a place in Cooperstown. Who will be next?

The official nominees for 2020 enshrinement as a player were announced earlier this week. The ballot submitted by the Hall for voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) includes six players who pulled on a Phillies jersey at some point in their career.

All six of these players left an indelible impression on Phillies fans during their stay with the ball club. Three of them even performed during Veteran’s Stadium days. The six players are pitchers Curt Schilling, Cliff Lee, and Billy Wagner, outfielders Bobby Abreu and Raul Ibañez, and third baseman Scott Rolen.

Let’s take a look back at a snapshot of each player’s overall career and their time in Philadelphia. I’ll also give you my opinion as to their chances of actually gaining enshrinement with their own plaque at the Hall of Fame. The players are presented in alphabetical order.


MLB: 18 seasons (1996-2012, 2014)

Phillies: Nine seasons (1998-2006)

Stats: WAR – 60, Slash – .291/.395/.475, 2,470 hits, 288 home runs, 1,363 RBIs, 1,453 runs, 400 stolen bases, 574 doubles, 59 triples

Career highlights and awards: 1996 Houston Astros Minor League Player of the Year. 1999 Venezuelan Winter League Player of the Year. 1999-2001 Phillies Player of the Year. 2004-05 All-Star, 2004 Silver Slugger Award, 2005 Gold Glove Award, 2019 Phillies Wall of Fame, Led MLB in triples 1998, Led NL in doubles, received MVP votes in six seasons.

Abreu hit the first official home run in Citizens Bank Park history in 2004 and had the last stolen base at the original Yankee Stadium in 2008. 2005 NL Player of the Month in April and 2009 AL Player of the Month in July. Won 2005 Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game in which he was a starter at the game in Detroit.

Abreu produced two 30/30 (HR/SB) seasons and nine 20/20 seasons. He is one of just six players in MLB history to reach 250 home runs, 2,000 hits, 1,000 runs, 1,000 runs batted in, 1,000 walks and 300 stolen bases. Hit .284 with a .392 OBP over 79 career postseason plate appearances.

HOF chances: Borderline, but not likely during time on writer’s ballot, though he will justifiably receive votes and support. Abreu is 20th all-time in the right field JAWS ranking, which falls just shy of the Hall of Fame as it trails such players as Larry Walker, Dwight Evans, Reggie Smith, and Sammy Sosa, who have not been able to get in to this point.


MLB: 19 seasons (1996-2014)

Phillies: Three seasons (2009-11)

Stats: WAR – 20.4, Slash – .272/.335/.465, 2,034 hits, 305 home runs, 1,207 RBIs, 1,055 runs, 50 stolen bases, 424 doubles, 51 triples

Career highlights and awards: 2009 National League All-Star while with Phillies. Received MVP votes in three seasons. 5x Player of the Week. 2002 Kansas City Royals Player of the Year. In 2004 with Seattle Mariners he  tied the AL record with six hits in one game.

Ibanez became a beloved Yankees player on his heroic late-game performance which led to a victory in Game 3 of the 2012 ALDS vs the Orioles. In that game he pinch-hit for a slumping Alex Rodriguez and ultimately became the first player in major league history to hit two home runs in a postseason game he did not start; the first to hit two home runs in the 9th inning or later of a postseason game; the oldest player to hit a postseason walk-off home run; and the oldest player to hit two home runs in a postseason game.

In a second stint with Mariners in 2013, Ibanez became the oldest player in MLB history to blast 20 home runs prior to the All-Star break. His 29 home runs that season at age 41 tied Ted Williams for the most homers in a season by anyone aged 40 and over.

Ibanez hit .245 with six home runs and 22 RBIs over 151 career postseason plate appearances. With the Phillies he hit .240 with three homers and 17 RBIs over 108 plate appearances.

HOF chances: Zero as a player. His career 20.2 JAWS mark is 119th all-time among left fielders. Players ahead of him not enshrined include a trio of Phillies Wall of Famers in Greg Luzinski, Sherry Magee, and Del Ennis, former Phillies Lonnie Smith and Gary Matthews, as well as players such as Lance Berkman and George Foster.


MLB: 13 seasons (2002-13)

Phillies: Five seasons (2009, 2011-14)

Stats: WAR – 42.8, 143-91 record. Innings – 2,156.2; Strikeouts – 1,824; K/BB – 3.93; ERA/WHIP/FIP – 3.52/1.196/3.45; 328 games, 324 starts, 29 complete games, 12 shutouts.

Career highlights and awards: 2008 AL Cy Young Award and Comeback Player of the Year. 2008 Warren Spahn Award as baseball’s best lefty pitcher. 4x All-Star. Received Cy Young Award votes in five seasons, MVP votes in two seasons. Led MLB in Wins and Win Pctg in 2008, WHIP in 2010. Led AL in Win Pctg 2x. Led MLB 4x in fewest BB/9. Won his first seven postseason decisions, including Phillies only two wins in the 2009 World Series vs Yankees. Lost two games with Texas in 2010 World Series.

HOF chances: Zero. His 41.6 career JAWS mark is 132nd among starting pitchers in this history of the game. That is excellent, but is well behind the 79.5 mark of Schilling and trails others such as Rick Reuschel, Kevin Brown, Luis Tiant, David Cone, Bret Saberhagen, Dave Stieb, Tommy John, and David Cone among many others who are not enshrined as yet.


MLB: 17 seasons (1996-2012)

Phillies: Seven seasons (1996-2002)

Stats: WAR – 70.2, Slash – .281/.364/490, 2,077 hits, 316 home runs, 1,287 RBIs, 1,211 runs, 118 stolen bases, 517 doubles, 43 triples

Career highlights and awards: 1997 NL Rookie of the Year. 8x National League Gold Glove Award at third base, trailing only Brooks Robinson (16) and Mike Schmidt (10) at the position in MLB history. 2002 NL Silver Slugger Award. 7x All-Star. Received MVP votes in four seasons, including finishing fourth in 2004. Had seven RBIs in one game in 2006.

Rolen had five homers in 159 career postseason plate appearances. His two-run home run in the 6th inning of Game 7 of the 2004 NLCS won the National League pennant for the Cardinals over the Houston Astros. His second inning homer in Game 1 of the 2006 Fall Classic vs Detroit tied the game and helped the Cardinals to victory. Saint Louis would go on to win the World Series in five games.

In June 2010, Rolen slammed his 300th career home run off Kyle Kendrick of the Phillies.

HOF chances: Solid – eventually. Rolen is in his third year of consideration by the BBWAA voters. He barely stayed alive his first year on the ballot, finishing with just 10.2% of the voters support in 2018. But that support rose to 17.2% last year and should continue to rise steadily during the 2020’s. His career JAWS is 10th among all third basemen to ever play the game, and all eight eligible ahead of him are already enshrined. It is possible that it might take a future Veteran’s Committee to get him in, similar to Ron Santo. But modern BBWAA voters are more likely to eventually come to fully appreciate his all-around game.


MLB: 20 seasons (1988-2007)

Phillies: Nine seasons (1992-2000)

Stats: WAR – 80.5, 216-146 record. Innings – 3,261; Strikeouts – 3,116; K/BB – 4.38; ERA/WHIP/FIP – 3.46/1.137/3.23; 569 games, 436 starts, 83 complete games, 20 shutouts.

Career highlights and awards: 3x World Series champion. World Series and NLCS Most Valuable Player. 6x All-Star who started the 1999 All-Star Game. Received Cy Young Award votes in four seasons, finishing as runner-up 3x. Received MVP votes in four seasons. Twice led MLB in wins and innings pitched. Back-to-back seasons with 300+ strikeouts with Phillies in 1998-99, also reached in 2002 with Arizona. His 319 strikeouts in 1997 passed Steve Carlton to set a new Phillies single-season record.

One of the greatest postseason pitchers of all-time, Schilling’s .846 career winning percentage is highest of any pitcher with at least 10 postseason decisions. He has an all-time record of 11-2 with 120 strikeouts over 133.1 innings across 19 postseason starts, including two shutouts and six complete games.

One of his shutouts came in Game 5 of the 1993 World Series with the Phillies, keeping the team alive against Toronto. He pitched into the 8th inning of Game 7 of the 2001 World Series vs the Yankees for Arizona, a game the Dbacks would eventually win in walkoff fashion. His most memorable postseason performances are likely the “bloody sock” games in which he shut down the Yankees in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS and the Cardinals in Game 2 of the World Series.

Schilling has the highest strikeout-to-walk ratio of any of the 18 pitchers in baseball’s career 3,000 strikeout club. In 2013, he was enshrined on the Phillies Wall of Fame.

HOF chances: Excellent. Schilling is in his eighth of 10 seasons in which the BBWAA voters will consider his worthiness. Over the last three years his percentage of support has risen from 45% to 51.2% to 60.9% a year ago. Other than the fact that some voters do not appreciate his outspoken conservative political and social speech since retiring, it is hard to understand how anyone could leave him off their ballot. Schilling ranks 27th among all starting pitchers in all-time JAWS, and the only one ahead of him not already enshrined is 19th century hurler Jim McCormick.


MLB: 16 seasons (1995-2010)

Phillies: Two seasons (2004-05)

Stats: WAR – 27.8, 47-40 record with 422 career saves. Innings – 903; Strikeouts – 1,196; K/BB – 3.99; ERA/WHIP/FIP – 2.31/0.998/2.73; 853 games, 703 finished.

Career highlights and awards: 1999 NL Rolaids Relief Pitcher of the Year. 7x All-Star. Received Cy Young Award votes twice, finishing fourth in 1999 and sixth in 2006. Received MVP votes twice. Led MLB in games finished in 2003 with Houston and again while with the Phillies in the 2005 season.

Wagner is sixth on the all-time MLB saves leader board. The top three on the list, Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, and Lee Smith, all went into the Hall of Fame in recent years as the closer and relief pitcher position has been given more respect from voters. Only two ahead of him not enshrined are Francisco Rodriguez and John Franco.

HOF chances: Not likely. This is his fifth of 10 years on the BBWAA ballot. He has received minimal support, with the 16.7% a year ago as his strongest finish. Wagner is just 19th on the JAWS career ranking of relievers. Only a half-dozen ahead of him are in the Hall of Fame. His total number of saves and strikeout dominance help elevate his case over many of the other 13 ahead of him on that list, but I just don’t see him making it on the writer’s ballots. Maybe a Veteran’s Committee will see it differently down the line.




Phillies Fall Classics VI: 1983 World Series Game One

The 1983 season was one of great change for a Philadelphia Phillies organization that had achieved tremendous success over the previous decade. 
The Phillies had won the 1980 World Series, four NL East division crowns, and earned a postseason berth in a 1981 campaign split by a work stoppage.
As longtime 1980 World Series-winning stars Mike Schmidt (33), Garry Maddox (32), Steve Carlton (38), Ron Reed (40), and Tug McGraw (38) aged, the team looked to both get younger and continue to contend against tough competition.
Among those already gone was slugger Greg Luzinski, sold to the Chicago White Sox in March of 1981. 
Long time shortstop Larry Bowa was traded to the Chicago Cubs in January of 1982 along with an infield prospect named Ryne Sandberg in exchange for shortstop Ivan DeJesus. 
A month later, Bake McBride was dealt away to the Cleveland Indians for reliever Sid Monge.
In December of 1982, popular 2nd baseman Manny Trillo was part of a five-player package sent to the Cleveland Indians for young outfielder Von Hayes
That same month, the club dealt a pair of good arms in Mike Krukow and Mark Davis as part of a package to the San Francisco Giants for veteran 2nd baseman Joe Morgan and reliever Al Holland.
Morgan was 39-years old, and was now reunited with his old Cincinnati buddy Pete Rose, now 42-years old and in his final season of a five-year contract with the Phillies. 
The ‘Big Red Machine’ Reunion would be completed when the Phillies signed Tony Perez as a free agent at the end of January 1983.
With the exception of the 24-year old Hayes, every Phillies positional starter was at least 30 years of age, as were three members of the season-opening starting pitching rotation, and the majority of the bullpen. 
The club was so long in the tooth that they were given the nickname the “Wheeze Kids”, a nod to the 1950 NL champs who had been so young that they had become the “Whiz Kids” in team lore.

While they did not have youth in common with that 1950 ball club, the 1983 Phillies had the most important thing in common with that team of 35 years earlier, they were winners. They overcame an 0-3 start to win 16 of the next 22 games, and take first place into mid-May. 
Playing in the franchise’ Centennial season, the early winning stretch included a victory on May 1st, the exact 100th anniversary of the franchise’ first game. 
In early June, lefty Steve Carlton passed Nolan Ryan to become the all-time MLB strikeout king.
The club began to struggle, and from May 11th through June 29th, they fell into a horrid 16-26 stretch that dropped the team into 3rd place. 
They battled back into a tie for the division lead, but following a 4th loss in 5 games on July 13th, manager Pat Corrales was fired.
It was a fairly unusual move, since the Phillies were in first place. However, just three games over the .500 mark, GM Paul Owens and ownership believed that a change was needed. Owens himself decided to don a uniform and take over as the field general.
The Phillies would lose his first two games and five of their first seven games with Owens as the skipper to fall below the .500 mark and down into 4th place. 
However, during a season in which no team wanted to take charge in the NL East race, the floundering Phils were still just two games out.
It appeared that all it would take to win the division would be for any of the teams to go on a hot streak. The Phillies would on two, sandwiched around another cold stretch. 
An 11-4 stretch in the first half of August pushed the Phils back into first place. The team then proceeded to lose 13 of 17 to drop back to 3rd place. Yet still, they were only a half-game off the pace.
That was when the veteran Phillies finally decided to take charge, take the NL East by the scruff of the neck, and win the darned thing. 
From September 6th through the end of the regular season, the club would finish on a torrid 21-5 roll. 
Still tied for the division lead as late as September 17th, the Phils won 14 of their last 16 to finish with a six game cushion.
At Wrigley Field on Wednesday, September 27th, the Phillies clinched the National League East crown with a big 13-6 win. 
The losing pitcher that day for the Chicago Cubs was Dick Ruthven, one of the 1980 World Series heroes who had begun this ’83 season still in the Phillies rotation, but who was dealt to the Cubbies in late May for reliever Willie Hernandez.
In the NLCS, the Phillies would face a familiar foe in the Los Angeles Dodgers. In wiping away the ghosts of the ’77 and ’78 losses, this Phillies team would win the series 3 games to 1, blitzing LA by identical 7-2 scores in the 3rd and 4th games.
That sent the Phils into the World Series to face the American League champion Baltimore Orioles. The O’s had pulled away in the AL East during the month of September, winning 98 games and taking the division by six. 
In the ALCS, Baltimore lost the opener to the Chicago White Sox, but stormed back to win the next three straight, two by shutout.
That was the setup for Game One of the 1980 World Series, which would take place at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. 
The Orioles manager Joe Altobelli was in his first season succeeding future Hall of Famer Earl Weaver, and selected 29-year old righty Scott McGregor for the start in the opener. McGregor had gone 18-7 and thrown 260 strong innings during a season in which he would finish 6th in AL Cy Young voting.
For the Phillies, Owens would send out 30-year old righty John Denny, who had come to the Phils from Cleveland in September of 1982 in exchange for three prospects, none of whom would ever really pan out. 
Denny had by far the best of his 13 career MLB seasons with the Phillies in 1983, going 19-6 with a 2.37 ERA over 242.2 innings for which he would win the National League Cy Young Award.
Denny was outstanding for the Phillies in that Game One. He would throw 109 pitches, 73 for strikes, over 7.2 innings in which he would allow just four hits and one run. 
That lone Orioles run scored on the 7th pitch that he threw, when the 2nd batter in the Orioles’ order, right fielder Jim Dwyer, ripped a solo home run deep into the right field stands.
That 1-0 Orioles lead held into the top of the 6th, when the Phillies finally got to McGregor with a long ball of their own. With two outs and on a 1-2-pitch, Morgan blasted his own solo shot to deep right, tying the score at 1-1.
The game continued as a match between McGregor and Denny into the 8th, and there in the top of the 8th came the game’s decisive blow. 
Maddox, a 12-year veteran and notorious first-pitch swinger who was not known as a big home run threat, took a first-pitch fastball and rifled it out to deep left field for another solo homer, pushing the Phillies on top 2-1.
When Denny allowed a two-out double to Al Bumbry, Owens finally turned to his bullpen, and called in Holland, who retired Dan Ford on a fly ball to left to end that threat.
In the bottom of the 9th, Holland would have to face the Orioles’ 3-4-5 hitters with the Phillies clinging to that 2-1 lead. 
First up was a 2nd year shortstop by the name of Cal Ripken Jr. The 1982 AL Rookie of the Year, Ripken had quickly become one of the best players in baseball.
In that 1983 campaign, Ripken had hit for a .318/.371/.517 slash line with 27 homers and 102 RBI. He led the Al in runs (121), doubles (47) and hits (211), and would be named the American League Most Valuable Player. 
On an 0-2 pitch, Holland got Ripken to pop into foul territory behind 3rd base, and DeJesus camped under it for the first out.
Next up was the Orioles cleanup hitter and, like Ripken, a future Baseball Hall of Famer. 
1st baseman Eddie Murray was a 27-year old, 7-year veteran who hit for a .306/.393/.538 slash line with 33 homers, 111 RBI, and 115 runs scored in 1983. On a 2-2 pitch, Holland struck him out swinging. Two major threats to the one-run lead down.
The Orioles last hope would be pinch-hitter Gary Roenicke. With Holland a left-hander and lefty John Lowenstein due up, Altobelli made the move to the dangerous Roenicke, who had banged 19 homers in just 366 plate appearances as a platoon outfielder. 
On a 3-2 pitch, Roenicke drove a ball deep to left field. But Gary Matthews went back to the wall and camped under it, cradling the final out of a Phillies win.
The Phillies had a 1-0 lead in the 1983 World Series, with 3 of the next 4 games scheduled to be played in front of their home fans at Veteran’s Stadium. 
Unfortunately, this one wouldn’t go their way. The ‘Wheeze Kids’ would finally run out of gas, with the Orioles sweeping the next four straight.
In all, the Phils would score just nine total runs over the five games of the 1983 World Series. A pair of future Hall of Famers, Carlton for the Phils, Jim Palmer for the Orioles, would get the decisions in Game Three at The Vet. 
McGregor would bounce back to shutout the Phillies in the decisive Game Five in Philly just five days after this opener.
The series MVP was Baltimore catcher Rick Dempsey, who hit .385 with a homer and four doubles, and who played flawless defense and was a zen master to the O’s pitching staff. 
It would be 14 years before the Orioles would return to the postseason, while the Phillies would not return for a decade. When this Phillies Fall Classics series continues, it will be with that magical 1993 team as the surprising stars.