100 Greatest Phillies: 86 – Clay Dalrymple – Phillies Nation
100 Greatest Phillies

100 Greatest Phillies: 86 – Clay Dalrymple

Clay Dalrymple

Career w/Phillies: .233 AVG / 50 HR / 312 RBI / 3 SB

The catcher for the 1964 Phillies, Dalrymple led the National League in sacrifice flies that season. Really, though, Dalrymple was an ace defensive player. He led National League catchers in assists three times, threw out 49 percent of baserunners for his career and set a league-record 99-game errorless streak between 1966 and ’67. After nine seasons as the Phils’ primary pitching handler, Dalrymple helped the Orioles become a stout pitching team from 1969 to ’71. A simple player with astute defensive skills, he sort of reminds one of a current Phillie backstop.

Comment: Highly underrated in Phils’ history, Dalrymple was one of the main reasons that ’64 team was so good — he handled that pitching staff to a 3.36 ERA. Sure he wasn’t a big-time offensive player, but catchers have to be position players first, and he certainly was a good one.



  1. john of Albuquerque

    December 31, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Clay was so popular that he even had his own pre-game show, “The Clay Dalrymple Show” and he was pretty good. Once he got nine consecutive hits and tied a record. He was stellar defensively.

  2. Jh

    December 31, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    I am too young to remember clay, but i think this is a large Faux Pas to put him in front of mitch williams or dave hollins. I am slightly biased for watching the latter play, but i don’t think this stellar defensive catcher should be in the 100 greatest phillies. If Carlos Ruiz played for the Phillies for several more years, having seasons of aggressive play behind the plate and absolutely no production, do you think he belongs on this list? I don’t think you’d put cheeco on this list.

  3. Brooks

    December 31, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    Rubber man Tim – what a stretch! Mediocre catcher that played on a decent team in 1964 and hit .238 with only 6 hrs. If I read Baseballreference.com correctly, he did through out a very high percentage of would be base stealers..
    You’re scaring me Tim – but have captured my attention nonetheless!

  4. Tim Malcolm

    December 31, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    I put Tony Taylor – a weak-hitting player in a weak-hitters position during the age of the pitcher – on the list at No. 87 and he’s too low.

    I put Clay Dalyrimple – a weak-hitting player in a weak-hitters position during the age of the pitcher – on the list at No. 86 and he shouldn’t be on the list.

    See, you can’t please anyone.

  5. metsblow4show

    December 31, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Clay Dalrymple at # 86? LOL Granny Hamner just rolled his # 94 ass over in his grave !

  6. Hope SE

    December 31, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    We called him “dry ripple” for his bat-swinging prowess. Not sure how he’s above a few of the others, but he was a regular for much of the ’60s, I guess.

  7. ashmidt

    January 1, 2009 at 12:21 am

    we called him double play clay, it seemed like he killed alot of rallies. i like catchers, very under appreciated. i think the best defensive catchers ive seen on the phils were dutch, benito, and lieberthal. and they could all hit too boot. i like chooch, but i think they are grooming marston after this year.

  8. Bruce

    January 1, 2009 at 3:16 am

    Tim~ as you had admitted in another post by saying “maybe I underrated him”, you also should correct yourself for using the word “weak” in describing Wall of Famer, Tony Taylor’s hitting ability. No doubt you have never seen Taylor played in an era when middle infielders are known more for their fielding than compiling power numbers as hitters.

    Yes..Taylor wasn’t a great hitter. However, he usually had a respectable batting average along with some stolen bases. As you yourself mentioned, his best year with the bat was 1970, at age 34, when he posted a line of .301/.374/.462 (the team hit .238), and he had six separate years where he stole at least 20 bases. His lifetime BA of .261 (2007 hits in 19 seasons of play) is indeed “respectable“. And to play as regular for so many of those seasons is a great tribute to his dedicated professionalism and receiving the admiration and gratitude of both fans and the Phillies organization.

    Oh.. and one more thing I like to mention. In the middle of 1971 when Taylor was traded to the 1971 Detroit Tigers. He helped them win the division in 1972 when he hit .303.

    A “weak” hitter? Poor choice of word.

  9. KM

    January 1, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    I am glad that you cleared things up in the comment section, because his numbers are completely unimpressive.

  10. Chuck P

    January 2, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    I’m ok with putting Dalrymple on our list… a defensive minded catcher that played 8 seasons for our Phightins… sure, why not? He played for the 1964 team, which is a bonus (although, the list shouldn’t be about mediocre players on good teams) and he played during the pitchers’ era of baseball.

  11. James Kay

    March 4, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Double Play Clay was a good nickname for Dalrymple. He actually wasn’t that bad of a hitter who could impressively juice one occasionally early in his career. But, after he mysteriously developed a hitch in his swing in 1964 that he was never able to fix, he was doomed to be an easy out .233 hitter.
    Speaking of good nicknames, does any recall Pancho “Two Strike” Herrara? He was a 6’3″ 250lb (he’s listed at 220 but he really weighed more like 250) natural first baseman who was also used at second base by Gene Mauch in 1960. Go figure. Can you imagine trying to break up a double play with him on second. Pancho was a good player who lead the ’60 Phils in homers (17) and strikeouts (136 hence the “Two Strike” moniker). 1960 was Clay’s promising rookie season with the Phillies.

  12. BR

    October 7, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Dalrymple’s lifetime caught stealing (CS) statistic of 48.88% is second only to that of Yogi Berra’s 49.39%. (The CS statistic was not kept until 1954 so we do not know about other catching greats like Bill Dickey (who taught Berra how to catch) and Mickey Cochrane.) The CS statistic is one of the key objective measures of a catcher’s defensive capabilities. While Carlos Ruiz (lifetime CS 27.07%) and other Phillies catchers since Dalrymple’s time have demonstrated excellent defensive skills, and in many cases better batting statistics, no one comes close to Dalrymple’s effectiveness throwing out runners. That he is in such rarified company on this one (vitally important) statistic (CS) alone should be justification enough for inclusion on this list. Also keep in mind he caught two HOF pitchers in Robin Roberts and Jim Bunning. Dalrymple was such a good receiver, that early on in his career, at a time when Roberts was the ace of the staff, Roberts insisted that Dalrmple catch him. This annoyed Gene Mauch who did not like to cede control to players. Another thing that annoyed Mauch was that Jim Bunning would always shake off the pitches Mauch sent in from the dugout unless he knew Dalrymple approved of them. Such instances of deference from two HOF pitchers is further testimony as to Dalrymple’s rightful place on the list.

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