100 Greatest Phillies: 61 – John Denny – Phillies Nation
100 Greatest Phillies

100 Greatest Phillies: 61 – John Denny

John Denny
Starting Pitcher

Career w/Phillies: 650 IP / 37-29 / 2.96 ERA / 375 K

The 1983 Cy Young award winner, Denny gave the Phillies the bona-fide No. 2 starter they had been searching for ever since Steve Carlton arrived in 1972. He wasn’t a Cy Young winner before that, more of a solid but unspectacular tertiary arm for Saint Louis and Cleveland. The Phillies traded Roy Culmer, Roy Smith and Jerry Reed to Cleveland for Denny, and while Reed became a serviceable middle reliever and Smith had two OK seasons as a starter, Denny was well worth it. He went 19-6 with a 2.37 ERA in 1983, then had an equally strong 1984, but a mid-summer injury gave him abbreviated numbers. He pitched a full 1985 but reverted closer to his career norms. The Phils traded him after ’85 to the Reds for Gary Redus and Tom Hume, who would both help the 1986 Phillies finish in second place.

Comment: Though having a short Phillies career, Denny was very good, of course. Sub-3 ERAs are difficult to come by anymore, so when a guy does it twice in four seasons, that makes him pretty special. One of the main reasons the Wheeze Kids made the series.



  1. Mickey D

    January 25, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    To win the Cy Young in 83 is pretty remarkable when you consider who else was pitching at that time. When are we going old school and resurrecting these uniforms?

  2. Joe O'Phillie

    January 25, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    He was flat out nasty that year. I remember imitating him as a kid but couldn’t get the same movement as him with a wiffle ball. It is a shame that he got hurt just as he was figuring things out. He could have helped even more in later years.

  3. Dave S

    January 26, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    As a kid who lived close to the Murph, my brother and I would oftentimes go to a game and then hang around afterwards to where the players came out. After a Phillies/Padres game, I waited around for autographs of the Phillie players. [I lived and still live in San Diego, but was always a Phillies fan] John Denny and I had a 15 minute conversation and he easily was the best athlete that a kid could ever have met. He was like a motivational speaker, and I just listened. He is awesome. And he was a great pitcher for the Phils!

  4. Ed R.

    January 31, 2009 at 9:39 am

    Don’t forget, he probably had the best move to first of any righthander at the time. Rare days, those, with Carlton and Denny actually holding runners instead of letting them saunter around the bases.

    Good pitcher, ’83 doesn’t happen without him, but I’m not sure if I’d put him ahead of Ruthven career-wise.

  5. Del

    May 28, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    He was my sons pitching coach. Great guy, great motivater, great encourager.

  6. Chuck

    May 28, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Anyone know the whereabouts of Mr. Denny and how he can be reached?

  7. Kevin

    July 23, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    he and his son own a school near orlando fla … google turf Winter Garden Fl and you will find it

  8. john davis

    November 4, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Glad to know how to get in touch with John. I was drafted in the June 1970 draft by St. Louis. John was on the “rookie” team that summer in Sarasota, Florida. As I recall, he had roots in Georgia but then I heard he lived in Arizona. I’ve heard some comments about his fastball not being too good. I’ve seen him throw what we used to call beebees or aspirins.

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