Tag Archives: Wall of Fame

Bobby Abreu thanks Phillies fans and organization in Wall of Fame speech

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Dan Baker was emcee as Phillies honored Bobby Abreu

The Philadelphia Phillies made 1997-2006 outfielder Bobby Abreu the 41st honoree on the franchise Wall of Fame in a ceremony prior to Saturday night’s game with the Chicago White Sox at Citizens Bank Park.

An introductory speech from his 2001-04 manager, fellow Wall of Famer Larry Bowa, was followed by the plaque honoring Abreu being unveiled by his 2000-06 teammate and another fellow Phillies Wall of Famer, Jimmy Rollins.

Abreu then stepped to the microphone himself: “Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

 

He then paused, clearly overcome by the emotion of the moment.
As the crowd roared their support, he went on: “I want to thank all of you for being here. Thank you, God, for this great moment. I want to thank my family, the front office, the media, my teammates, my coaching staff, my people in Venezuela, and you, the fans.
For the full ceremony, and the full speech delivered by Abreu, enjoy the below video:
Enjoy the entire Bobby Abreu Wall of Ceremony:https://www.pscp.tv/w/cBYPlTY4MTg4NHwxZGpHWHBsQWtFZUdacoAu71AiHbIATUUSupprh-oUjckMvADPedqu-V9SZvA=?t=13s 

 

 

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Phillies honor Bobby Abreu with place on the Wall of Fame

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Bobby Abreu joins the immortals on the Phillies Wall of Fame

The Phillies are honoring 1998-2006 outfielder Bobby Abreu prior to the game on Saturday night against the Chicago White Sox by enshrining him on the franchise Wall of Fame.

In a special pre-game ceremony, numerous past Wall of Fame honorees are expected to be on hand, including the franchise’ all-time greatest player, Mike Schmidt.
Abreu played in parts of nine seasons with the Phillies from 1998-2006. He is currently 2nd in walks, 4th in doubles, 7th in extra-base hits and stolen bases, 10th in runs scored, 11th in home runs and RBIs, and 14th in hits on the Phillies all-time leader boards.
His .303 career batting average across 1,353 games with the Phillies is the second-highest of any player who has performed with the team over more than half a century, trailing only the .309 mark produced by fellow Wall of Famer John Kruk. His .416 on-base percentage is the fourth-best of any player during their Phillies career, and Abreu’s .928 career OPS with the Phillies is second in franchise history only to the great Hall of Famer and Wall of Famer, Chuck Klein.
Abreu is a native of Venezuela who was signed by the Houston Astros as a 16-year-old amateur free agent in August 1990. He received his first big-league promotion for a 15-game cup of coffee in September 1996.
He appeared twice against the Phillies that month, lining out to center fielder Ricky Otero as a pinch-hitter for Billy Wagner in a 10-8 Phillies victory at the Astrodome on September 11 in his first game against them.
In 1997, Abreu made the team out of spring training, and stayed with Houston through May. He returned for five games in July, and then was called up again in September, appearing in another 14 games. Against the Phillies he went 4-17 with two runs and two RBIs over five games. He would also pinch-hit, going 1-3, in all three games of the Astros sweept at the hands of the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS.

Abreu as a 24-year-old in his first season with the Phillies in 1998.(Roger H. Rangel)
That fall, Major League Baseball expanded to include a pair of new teams, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (now just “Rays”) and an Expansion Draft was held. Abreu, left unprotected by the Astros, became the sixth player chosen overall, the third by Tampa Bay.
Abreu would never play a single game with those original Devil Rays. In fact, he would never get to the Sunshine State at all. On the same day that he was selected in that draft process, the Phillies traded away shortstop Kevin Stocker to acquire Abreu from Tampa.
Stepping into what was a rebuilding Phillies lineup in the 1998 season, the 24-year-old Abreu made an immediate impact by slashing .312/.409/.497 with 17 home runs, 52 extra-base hits, 74 RBIs, 68 runs scored, and 19 steals.
The following year he received NL MVP votes after leading all of baseball with 11 triples. Abreu slashed .335/.446/.549 with 66 extra-base hits, 118 runs scored, and 27 stolen bases in that 1999 campaign, finishing third in the National League batting race. In 2000, Abreu became the first Phillies outfielder since Greg Luzinski in 1979-80 to produce back-to-back 20-homer seasons.
Abreu remained an impact player over the next few years as the Phillies slowly began to build a contending roster around him. He produced a 30-30 season in 2001 (31 HR/36 SB), led the National League in doubles in 2002, and would drive in over 100 runs in four of five seasons between 2001-05. He would also score 100 or more runs in all but one year between 1999-2005, crossing the plate “only” 99 times in the 2003 season.
In both 2004 and 2005, Abreu was recognized as a National League All-Star. He was awarded the NL Silver Slugger for right fielders following the 2004 season when he banged 30 home runs and 78 extra-base hits, drove in 105 runs, scored 118, and stole 40 bases. On April 12, 2004, Abreu left his mark on Phillies history when he clubbed the first-ever home run at brand new Citizens Bank Park.
At the National League All-Star Game held at Comerica Park in Detroit, Abreu was entered in the Home Run Derby, becoming just the second Phillies player ever selected to participate, following teammate Jim Thome the previous year.
Not only did Abreu participate in that 2005 Home Run Derby, he put on a legendary show, setting what were then records of 24 homers in a single round and 41 overall. Following that 2005 season, Abreu was awarded the National League Gold Glove Award for defensive excellence in right field.
Turning age 32 and with the Phillies looking to get more playing time for emerging 25-year-old outfielder Shane Victorino, Abreu was sent along with pitcher Cory Lidle to the New York Yankees for a package of four prospects at the 2006 MLB trade deadline.
Abreu get to play with the five straight National League East Division champions. And, of course, he wouldn’t be a part of the 2008 Phillies team that won the World Series. But still living in the area in Marlton, New Jersey when Brad Lidge sank to his knees and was piled upon by a number of Abreu’s former teammates on that glorious October night, he and his wife popped a bottle of champagne in celebration all the same.
I know how hard they worked,” Abreu said per Michael McGarry of the Press of Atlanta City. “I was a part of it. I have Phillies in my heart. I wasn’t there at that moment. But I was at my house celebrating.
None of the prospects received by the Phillies in that deal ever amounted to anything. Lidle would tragically die in a private plane crash just months later. But Abreu kept on hitting, driving in over 100 runs in that 2006 season, and then again for the Yankees in 2007 and 2008, receiving AL MVP votes in each of those last two seasons.
Just as he wasn’t with the ’08 Phillies champs, Abreu would not be part of the Yankees team that downed the Phillies in the 2009 World Series either. He became a free agent following the 2008 season and signed with the Los Angeles Angels. There, Abreu enjoyed one final 100 RBI season in 2009, and a final 20 homer season in 2010.
While with the Yankees and Angels, Abreu did finally got a lengthy taste of postseason play. He appeared in all eight Yankees ALDS games in both 2007-08, blasting his only-ever playoff home run against Cleveland on October 8. 2007.

Abreu enjoyed his final productive big-league seasons with the Angels from 2009-12. (Keith Allison)
With the Angels he appeared in all three of their 2009 ALDS sweep of the Boston Red Sox, rapping out three hits in the clincher. He then faced his former Yankees team in the ALCS, going just 4-25 with two RBI and falling two wins shy of meeting the Phillies in that 2009 Fall Classic. It would be Abreu’s last appearance in the postseason.
The Angels released him at age 38 in April of 2012. A week later he caught on with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he was a teammate of Victorino’s on a team that finished in second place in the NL West, two games shy of an NL Wildcard berth.
Abreu sat out the entire 2013 season as he contemplated retirement. But back home he participated in the Venezuelan Winter League and enjoyed success, hitting .322 with Caracas. In January 2014, Abreu signed with the Phillies and went to spring training in Clearwater with his old organization.
The Phillies reunion wouldn’t last. Abreu was released at the end of Grapefruit League play. However, just days later he caught on with the New York Mets. He would appear in just 78 games with the Mets in a final big-league season at age 40, after which Abreu finally hung up the spikes.
In a last hurrah, it would all come full circle for Abreu. His final career at-bat would come against the team that had signed him more than two decades earlier, the Houston Astros. With two outs in the bottom of the 5th inning on Sunday September 28 at Citi Field, Abreu lined a base hit to left off Nick Tropeano. He was pinch-run for by Eric Young, and road off into the baseball sunset.
Abreu becomes the 41st individual enshrined on the Phillies Wall of Fame. He joins former teammates already enshrined on the Wall in Mike Lieberthal (1998-2006), Pat Burrell (2000-06), Curt Schilling (1998-2000) and Thome (2003-05), as well as Larry Bowa and Charlie Manuel, who were two of Abreu’s managers in Philadelphia.
Abreu’s career in a Phillies uniform also overlapped with a number of the 2008 World Series champion Phillies, including Jimmy Rollins (2000-06), Chase Utley (2003-06), Ryan Howard(2004-06) and Cole Hamels (2006), all of whom will one day find themselves enshrined.
There is a chance that Victorino (2005-06), Carlos Ruiz (2006), Ryan Madson (2003-06), Brett Myers (2002-06) or Randy Wolf (1999-2006), all of whom played with Abreu in Philadelphia, could also one day wind up honored on the Wall of Fame.
Bobby Abreu was a key offensive performer during the late-1990’s when the Phillies were a rebuilding National League doormat. He became an All-Star player as the club built a winning roster through the early-mid 2000’s, but was dealt away just as the club was prepared for a long run of division titles.
Abreu should be remembered as the dynamic power-speed combo player that he was in those early years with the Phillies, and for his performance during those tremendous years he is a worthy Wall of Fame enshrinee.

Could Cole Hamels pass back through Philly on his way to Cooperstown?

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Hamels built the foundation of his career over a decade with Phillies

Want the latest in a recent series of hot takes that I’ve been espousing? Here goes: former Phillies star pitcher Cole Hamels is going to one day be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

He is one of 10 active players in Major League Baseball who, I believe, will be easy choices once the voting members of the Baseball Writer’s Association of America get a chance to cast ballots for them.
Hitters in the group are Albert PujolsMiguel CabreraRobinson Cano, and Mike Trout. The pitchers are Justin VerlanderZack GreinkeClayton KershawC.C. SabathiaMax Scherzer, and Hamels.
Now, I’m not saying that these are the only players currently active who will one day end up enshrined at Cooperstown. These 10 will certainly be joined by a number of others. I am really close on calling guys like Joey Votto and Chris Sale no-doubt HOFers. But I’m just not quite there yet.
Hamels should have few questioning his qualifications once the time comes. That will be especially so should he post two more years after this one that are in any way comparable to his career norms. Those will be his ages 36 and 37 seasons, and there is no sign that he is slowing down.
On Tuesday at Wrigley Field, Hamels became just the 10th left-hander to reach the 2,500 career strikeout mark. Four of the other nine, Randy Johnson (4,875), Steve Carlton (4,136), Tom Glavine (2,607), and Warren Spahn (2,583) are already Hall of Famers. Hamels and Sabathia, who has now surpassed the 3,000 mark, will surely join them one day.
In his next start, Hamels will pass Christy Mathewson for 36th place on the all-time Major League Baseball strikeout list. Before the year is out, he should pass three more Hall of Famers: Tim KeefeBob Feller, and Spahn. He could also pass two fellow lefties, Glavine and Chuck Finley, by the end of this season. That would move him into the top 25 all-time.
Hamels also has a solid postseason record on his resume. Over 17 appearances, 16 of those starts, he is 7-6 with a 3.41 ERA and has allowed 83 hits over 100.1 innings with a 93/27 K:BB ratio. 11 of the 16 have been of the Quality Start variety.
Hamels is enjoying yet another outstanding season this year in his first full season with the Chicago Cubs. He has a 6-2 record with a 2.85 ERA, 1.178 WHIP, and a 91/32 K:BB ratio while allowing just 76 hits over 91.2 innings across 15 starts.
Should he remain healthy, the lefty will be passing the 3,000 career strikeouts mark sometime in the summer of 2021. He also should be approaching or passing the 200-win mark at that point.
His career highlights will only provide an exclamation point to what will be substantial statistical milestones. Hamels was the Most Valuable Player of the 2008 NLCS and World Series. He tossed a no-hitter in his final start with the Phillies in July 2015. He is almost assuredly headed towards his fifth NL All-Star appearance.
Hamels has finished among the top ten in Cy Young Award voting four times. He appears primed to finish there again this season, and actually could take a real run at finally winning the honors. Among active pitchers, he is fifth in career B-R Pitching WAR (58.6) behind only Verlander, Greinke, Kershaw, and Sabathia.
Speaking of Cy Young, Hamels is on pace to pass the legendary pitcher himself on his way into the all-time top 20 at some point in that 2021 season.
He was quoted as follows by Jordan Bastian at MLB.com after the game in which he reached that 2,500 K’s mark:
It’s a special moment…It blows me away. I’m fortunate to be in this position. I obviously want to keep continuing and doing it as long as I possibly can.
While the question of whether or not Hamels will one day be a Hall of Famer is almost certainly answered already, there is an interesting question remaining; For which team will Hamels be pitching when he reaches that 3,000 strikeout mark?
Hamels is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of this season. He is making $20 million in the final year of a six-year deal that included a club-option season which he signed while still a member of the Phillies back in July 2012.
When he signed that deal, he still had teammates with whom he had gone to war for years with, some of whom he had won a championship with like Jimmy RollinsChase UtleyRyan HowardCarlos RuizRoy Halladay, and Shane Victorino. The Phillies rotation still included Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.
Hamels was quoted by the Associated Press at the time of the signing:
I understand that free agency is great, those opportunities of the unknowing. But this is the place that I call home and want to call home for a really long time. I grew up watching Tony Gwynn play and he made San Diego his home for his entire career. That’s ultimately what I want to make here in Philadelphia.”
But Victorino would be gone in less than a week. The careers of both Halladay and Lee would be cut short in less than two years. It would all fall apart so quickly for what had been a glorious era in Phillies baseball.
The other pieces of that 2008 World Series team were sent away or retired. Finally, Hamels himself was shipped off to the Texas Rangers on July 31, 2015 along with reliever Jake Diekman in exchange for a six-player package.
While for a couple of years it appeared that the Phillies had gotten a good haul for their former ace, time has not been kind to that package. Now it almost certainly could be said that the Phillies lost that trade.
Would Hamels make what would be hailed by fans as a triumphant return to the City of Brotherly Love next year? As a veteran left-hander who still appears to have 2-3 good seasons left him, he would appear to fit in perfectly with what will surely be a team that is looking to win immediately.
If Hamels does indeed reach free agency, there will be other serious suitors for his services. He has always been a target in the past of the New York Yankees. His hometown San Diego Padres would almost certainly be looking for a veteran to lead their young rotation, and want to win now as well after signing Manny Machado this past off-season.
The Cubs certainly like what they see, and would presumably love to keep him around. But with youngsters coming through their organization and considering his age and likely contract demands, there appear to be no talks happening regarding an extension at this point.
Whomever Hamels pitches with in the final few years of his career, that team will be getting a future Hall of Famer. And no matter which club that may be, his plaque at Cooperstown will certainly feature him wearing a Phillies cap. In addition to his enshrinement there, fans will get to fete him once again when he is installed on the Phillies Wall of Fame, something that should happen roughly a decade from now.

Chase Utley to join the broadcasting ranks during first season in retirement

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Officially retired as a player, Utley will remain involved in the game

The ball player who grew to be known around Phillies Nation as ‘The Man’ appeared in his final big-league game on September 30, 2018. Stepping to the plate as a pinch-hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Utley struck out in his final plate appearance after 16 seasons in Major League Baseball.

Over parts of 13 years with the Phillies, Utley had become a heroic fan favorite. He banged out 233 home runs, drove in 916 runs, and crossed the plate with a run scored 949 times. He was a six-time National League All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and finished among the top 15 in NL MVP voting for five straight years.
Nearly seven years after helping the Phillies to win the 2008 World Series, Utley was traded out to his native California to play for the Dodgers. He would finish up his playing career in Los Angeles, getting back to the playoffs in four straight seasons but never winning another championship ring.
The Phillies announced months ago that Utley would join former teammates Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard in being officially honored by the team for which they played their greatest baseball.
At what is now a sold-out June 21st game against the division-rival Miami Marlins the Phillies will hold “Chase Utley Retirement Night” with a number of special events. Those will include a pre-game highlight package and a bobble figurine giveaway as Utley officially retires from baseball as a member of the Phillies organization.
However, just when it seemed as if he might ride off into the sunset, it turns out that Utley will not be away from the game after all during the coming season.

Chase Utley will be joining our @SportsNetLA crew as a studio analyst on select broadcasts in 2019. Welcome to the club, Chase!

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SportsNet LA has announced that Utley will join their network as a studio analyst for select television broadcasts during the 2019 Dodgers season.
In a quick piece on Wednesday, Grey Papke at Larry Brown Sports captured the reasoning behind the hire well: “Though he will likely always be best known for his tenure with the Philadelphia Phillies, Utley carved himself out a nice niche in Los Angeles in a little over three years there. Though he didn’t put up big numbers, he was valued as a leader and a winner, and he clearly knows a thing or two about the sport.
With the famed infield trio of Howard, Utley and Rollins all retiring as members of the Phillies this year it will be only a matter of time before they are each honored with another special night when they are honored with a plaque on the Phillies Wall of Fame. That won’t come until some time in the early-2020’s.

Even though he will be commenting on another organization, I’m sure that I can speak for all of Phillies Nation in wishing ‘The Man’ well in his latest career venture.

Join Phillies Nation in fan polling for Wall of Fame ‘March Madness’

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Manuel, Thome, Carlton (L-R) are part of March Madness

The calendar showing that it is the third week in March can mean only one thing. Okay, two. Alright, alright, at least three things. The first thing is that Spring has arrived! It was a long, cold winter. But now it’s finally over. Soon flowers will begin to bloom and grass will start to grow again.

The other two big things about this time of year involve the sports world. For baseball fans, spring training is winding to a close. The Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues have just days remaining in their schedules.
For fans of college basketball and many sports fans who barely follow the game at any other time of year this is “March Madness” time. The excitement and drama of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament is unfolding.
Here at Phillies Nation we decided to run our own “March Madness” involving our favorite ball club. As subject matter we chose the Wall of Famers, those 40 individuals who have been honored to this point with a plaque at Citizens Bank Park.

Our tournament is being run at our Twitter feed: @PhilliesNation. If you aren’t following, fix that right away. If you are, head on over and be sure to follow regularly over the next week as we poll followers for their selections.
Phillies Nation “March Madness” began with a Play-in showdown between 1960’s-70’s infielder and later a coach with the team, Tony Taylor, facing off against 1950’s ‘Whiz Kids’ shortstop Granny Hamner. The popular Taylor took an early lead in voting and coasted to victory by 61%-39% of the 157 followers who cast a vote.

PHILLIES NATION * WALL OF FAME * MARCH MADNESS
Okay, with time running out Tony Taylor holds a comfortable Play-In Poll lead on Granny Hamner and will advance to our Opening Round. Two four-player polls. Winners later today battle to enter the Round of 32. Vote now!

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That moved Taylor into one of two four-man Opening Round match-ups. Taylor was placed in a tough grouping: Sam Thompson, a Baseball Hall of Famer and 19th century star; 1920’s star outfielder Cy Williams; 1950’s ‘Whiz Kids’ third baseman Willie Jones.
The other four-man Opening Round grouping included 1960’s all-star Johnny Callison; star outfielder Gavvy Cravath of the 1915 NL pennant-winners and runner-up for the 1913 NL MVP; 1950’s star pitcher Curt Simmons who won 193 big-league games including 17 with the ‘Whiz Kids’ in 1950; Pat Gillick, the general manager of the 2008 World Series champions.

Taylor emerged victorious once again, winning his group with 42% of the 130 votes cast. Williams (28%), Thompson (18%) and Jones (12%) rounded out the group. Gillick was a somewhat surprising easy winner of his group, drawing 59% of 199 votes cast. Callison (24%), Simmons (15%) and Cravath (2%) rounded out that group.
Those results have moved Gillick and Taylor into a mano-a-mano Opening Round Finals vote which will conclude at 10am on Thursday morning. The winner of that vote will move into a Round-of-32 in which each of the others has already been ranked 1-31.
Head over to our Twitter feed and vote in the Gillick-Taylor Opening Round Finals poll now. While there you can enjoy numerous informative articles on the ball club. Look for the polling results on Thursday morning, which will be followed in the afternoon by the announcement of those Round-of-32 matches. Keep coming back to vote each round.

Congratulations to Bobby Abreu, who was named today as the 2019 Phillies Wall of Fame honoree. That announcement came after our tournament had been seeded and gotten underway, so Bobby is not part of the voting. Stop by the Phillies Nation feed at Twitter and join in our Wall of Fame March Madness today.