Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Short Term Stops: The All-Phillies Team


I don't know if there's a team I'm more neutral about than the Philadelphia Phillies.

When it comes to the Phillies, I just...don't really care. I don't say that to sound harsh, it's just that the Phils, for whatever reason, have never much registered on my baseball radar.

They've never had any of my favorite players. Unless they're playing the Cubs, I rarely watch them. Even their good teams -- including the 2009 World Championship squad -- never captivated my interest. They're not super relevant record-wise these days, either. When you add all that up, you get apathy.

But they do have one thing going for them: the Phillies have an absolutely loaded Short Term Stops roster, so let's get to it.



Pitchers

2001 Topps Archives #275 Fergie Jenkins

Phillies "Short Term Stops" Accolades:

Fergie Jenkins (1965-66 Phillies, 8 games)

If nothing else, the Phillies have an impressive track record of (unintentionally) stocking the Cubs' roster with future stars. 

In one of the worst trades in Philadelphia history, the Phils dealt a young hurler named Ferguson Jenkins to the Cubs for pitcher Larry Jackson at the beginning of the '66 season. Jenkins had pitched in just eight games over the course of two separate cups of coffee as a Phillie, collecting his first two career wins and first ten strikeouts with the club.

Jackson would be out of baseball by the following year and -- as we all know -- Fergie would go on to a Hall of Fame career as the ace of the Cubs' pitching staff for many years to come, including an unthinkable run of six straight 20-win seasons from 1967-72.

Still, that was only Part One of the dubious Phils-Cubs saga...but more on that later.



1995 Collector's Choice SE #168 Fernando Valenzuela

Fernando Valenzuela (1994 Phillies, 8 games)

Fernando-mania looked to be all but over by the time Valenzuela became a Phillie.

The 34-year-old Fernando wasn't signed until June of the '94 season and would get into just eight games (seven starts) in Philadelphia, going 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA before the strike hit. Valenzuela didn't seem to have much left in the tank, but he'd prove everyone wrong by having a couple fine years with the Padres and hanging around the bigs until 1997.

He'll always be a Dodger in the minds of the vast majority of baseball fans, but you can't dispute the photographic evidence that Fernando Valenzuela was once a Philadelphia Phillie.



2009 Topps Heritage High Numbers #563 Pedro Martinez

Pedro Martinez (2009 Phillies, 9 games, sunset season)

Here's one of the better Short Term Stops in recent memory.

A late-season sign in 2009, Pedro provided a veteran presence on a Phillies team headed to the World Series, going 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA in nine starts down the stretch. He lost two games to the Yankees (his daddy) in the '09 Fall Classic, which the Bronx Bombers would take in six.

Pedro retired shortly after the 2009 season, leaving us with a Hall of Fame career and the forever unfamiliar sight of him in a Phillies cap.



Catcher

1967 Topps #326 Bob Uecker 

Bob Uecker (1966-67 Phillies, 96 games, sunset season in '67)

Bob Uecker remains the most famous .200 hitter in baseball history.

Mainly utilized as a backup catcher, Uecker posted a .202 average with seven homers in parts of two years with the Phillies before being traded to the Braves -- his original team -- midway through the '67 season, where he'd finish his career.

Of course, we'd all get to know Uecker a little better via his alter ego: Harry Doyle.



First Base

2010 Topps National Chicle #280 Jimmie Foxx

Jimmie Foxx (1945 Phillies, 89 games, sunset season) 

Here's one of the best (and often untold) stories from baseball's War Years.

Hobbled by injuries and too old to serve in World War II, Jimmie Foxx suited up for the Phillies in what would be his final big league season in 1945. The 38-year-old didn't have much left in the tank, as he'd hit just seven homers (the last of his 534 career dingers) in 89 games in Philadelphia.

What remains interesting about Foxx's time with the Phillies, however, is that, thanks to depleted rosters due to the wartime effort, Double-X wound up pitching for the club. We're not talking a late-inning stint in a blowout here, either. The future Hall of Famer went 1-0 in nine appearances (22 innings) with a nifty 1.59 ERA for the '45 Phils.

Looks like Double-X might have to do double duty on this roster.



Second Base

1994 Topps Traded #130T Ryne Sandberg

Ryne Sandberg (1981 Phillies, 13 games)

Fifteen years after the infamous Fergie Jenkins trade, the Phillies unwittingly provided the Cubs with yet another future Hall of Famer: Ryne Sandberg.

As the story goes, the Cubs got Ryno as a "throw-in" with Larry Bowa in return for shortstop Ivan De Jesus, who the Phils had been coveting for years. A late-season call-up with the '81 Phillies, Sandberg went 1-for-6 in 13 games before being traded.

The remaining 2,385 hits of his Hall of Fame career would, of course, be collected over the course of 15 star-studded seasons on the North Side of Chicago.



Shortstop

1983 Donruss #525 Julio Franco RC

Julio Franco (1982 Phillies, 16 games)

Here's the ageless wonder himself: Julio Franco.

Franco's career would famously last until 2007 -- when he was a ripe 49 years old -- but it all began way back in 1982 during a cup of coffee with the Phillies. He hit .276 in 16 games in Philadelphia before being traded to the Indians the following offseason and becoming one of the more underrated hitters of his generation.

As far as I know, Donruss was the only card company to commemorate Franco's brief stint as a Phillie, so kudos to them.



Third Base

2013 Bowman #31 Michael Young

Michael Young (2013 Phillies, 126 games, half-year stint, sunset season)

After spending the first thirteen years of his big league career as a Texas Ranger, Michael Young was traded to the Phillies prior to the 2013 season.

Young would go on to hit .276 with eight homers in 126 games for the Phils before being dealt to the Dodgers in a late-August waiver trade. He'd retire at the close of the season.

It's still a little shocking to see Michael Young in anything other than a Rangers uniform.



Outfielders

1997 Score #448 Danny Tartabull

Danny Tartabull (1997 Phillies, 3 games, sunset season)

On a roster stocked with unusually short stints, Danny Tartabull earns the distinction of being the shortest-tenured Phillie on this squad.

Tartabull spent all of three games with the Phillies during what would turn out to be his sunset season in 1997, going hitless in seven at-bats. 

Tartabull was a fine hitter in his day, but I (like many others, I'm sure) instantly think of Seinfeld whenever I hear his name.



2005 Topps Total #8 Kenny Lofton

Kenny Lofton (2005 Phillies, 110 games)

Here's Kenny Lofton, perhaps the premier Short Term Stops legend. 

Lofton landed with the Phillies for the 2005 season, the ninth of eleven teams he'd go on to play for in his long career. It was a stellar campaign for the speedster, as he hit a sparkling .335 in 110 games for the Phils -- with 22 steals tacked on for good measure.

Put those numbers together with the fact that Lofton was 38 years old at the time, and you have what is easily the most impressive season for any member of this roster.



2009 Upper Deck #295 Geoff Jenkins

Geoff Jenkins (2008 Phillies, 115 games, sunset season)

You don't hear his name thrown around too often these days, but I sure was surprised to find out that Geoff Jenkins ranks fourth on the Brewers' all-time home run leaderboard while researching for this post.

Jenkins's underrated career went out with a bang as well. After spending the first ten years of his baseball life as a Brewer, Jenkins would sign with Philadelphia for the 2008 season, hitting .245 with nine homers for a Phillies club that would go on to win it all. 

Jenkins decided to hang 'em up while he was still on top, bringing his underrated and perhaps overshadowed career to a distinguished end.

That just about does it for this edition of "Short Term Stops."

Thanks for tuning in.

7 comments:

Adam Sanders said...

Love these "Short Term Stops" posts. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with for the Reds when you get there.

Mark Hoyle said...

How many times has Fernando shown up in your short term stops posts

Mike said...

Never knew Jimmie Foxx pitched!

shoeboxlegends said...

Wow this might be the best short-term stops roster yet! I had no idea Foxx had pitched either, nor had I seen that sweet National Chicle card of his.

shlabotnikreport said...

Another fun post, Nick! I think Danny Tartabull surprised me the most out of this bunch, although Foxx was a close second.

Anonymous said...

When will you get to the Colorado Rockies??

Unknown said...

They won the WS in 08, not 09.