100 Greatest Phillies

100 Greatest Phillies: 22 – Pat Burrell

Pat Burrell
Outfielder
2000-2008

Career w/Phillies: .257 AVG / 251 HR / 827 RBI / 5 SB

With the first pick in the 1998 draft, the Phillies selected Pat Burrell, a big outfielder from the University of Miami. In return, the slugger gave the Phils and their fans nine crazy but ultimately rewarding seasons. He finished second on the franchise all-time home run list with 251, but no hit was larger than his final hit as a Phillie, a smoked double off the left-center field wall that turned into the winning run of the clinching game of the 2008 World Series. Before then, Burrell bashed the ball regularly, with eight straight seasons of 20 or more home runs. He also had troubles staying consistent, hitting for below a .260 average six times. Still, his best seasons were extremely good. In 2002 he hit .282 with 37 homers, and he parlayed a ridiculous second half in 2007 to finish with 30 homers. He also reached base a ton toward the end of his run, finishing in the NL top 10 for walks in his final four seasons in Philadelphia. He signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2009, the same team that fell victim to his biggest hit.

Comment: Burrell gave fans some great times during his nine-year career. He was what he was: A strong power hitter who found consistency sparingly. But when he was on, boy was he on. We’ll miss Burrell, and he definitely earns a top 25 spot in the Greatest Phillies countdown, with a little debate on whether he should be top 20.

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69 Comments

69 Comments

  1. JohnKruksLoveChild

    March 5, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    In a way it’s amazing that after all the animosity over his performance throughout the years, in the end he left a hero. It’s a small list of ex-Phillies that get standing ovations when they come back to town with another team. The fact that Pat will be one of those guys, along with Thome and others, speaks volumes about his last several years here.

    It’s not how you start or even what happens in the middle, but how you end that seals the deal. Pat has cemented his place in Philly’s heart, got his ring, and can enjoy the rest of his career being a DH.

    Kudos to “The Bat”.

  2. Tyler

    March 5, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    like the pick, Tim, however, I would love to know how much his final Phillie at-bat influenced this decision. : )

  3. Griffin

    March 5, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Although Burrell was inconsistent during the course of a season, his end of year stats were pretty similar year to year, with the obvious exception of the ’03 .209 BA debacle.

    His OBP for the last 9 years were .359, .346, .376, .309, .365, .389, .388, .400 and .367. Pretty consistent.

  4. Chris.I

    March 5, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Burrell will always be one of my top 5 Phillies of all time (In my 25 year era of being a Phillies fan). I know its unlikely, but I hope he comes back to retire here. He just doesn’t look right in a Tampa uniform.

  5. Evan

    March 5, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Ibanez was probably an upgrade over Pat the Bat, but man I’d rather have Pat in the lineup just for nostalgia purposes. I won’t really miss him in the field… Just gonna miss hearing Harry Kalas saying “Burrell steps up to the plate.” Hearing that you always knew there was a chance he’d rock one.

    Looks kinda effeminate in the picture posted

  6. Manny

    March 5, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    hahahahahahahhahahahahahhahaha @ Evan’s comment

  7. Chutley

    March 5, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    my favorite Phillie. bought tickets to the april 3rd showdown. was hoping he made top 20. what a way to finish

  8. blough

    March 5, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    all-star???

  9. ashmidt

    March 5, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    good riddance pat, when this guy came up in a clutch situation, the best i could hope for was a walk, more often then not he would either look at a called third strike or pop up , in my book he is the all time prima donna and choke in my 45 years of following the phils. you just cant have him and howard being in a funk at the same time. you can live with howard because when he gets hot he can carry the team.

  10. Brett

    March 5, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Going to see him play Philly in Tampa June 26th!!!

  11. Richie Allen

    March 5, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Its funny…if you would have asked for an opinion about Burrell’s production 2 years ago,well,lets just say it wouldnt be so heartwarming as today.No body wanted this guy on the Phils,they were ready to run him out of town.
    Now,he is a “beloved former Phil”.
    Wow….a world series win really softens up the fans.As I guess it should.

  12. Kev

    March 5, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Burrell drank so many beers, what a legend

  13. christopher

    March 5, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    i feel like a broken record, but man did this list ever throw the 08 team under the bus.

  14. ryan

    March 5, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    ravaged quite a few ladies in center city as well. and went through cigs and dip like it was his job.

    two enduring images of pat burrell that i will never forget. his double off the wall in the series. and him riding on the budweiser cart with his mammoth bulldog elvis.

  15. ryan

    March 5, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    i had season tickets in the section behind pat and really used to love yelling stuff at him in the field. especially when he came out after a big hit.

  16. Tim Malcolm

    March 5, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Pat’s final at bat was a wonderful moment that capped a great Phillie career. The numbers don’t lie: He was one of the most consistent power hitters in franchise history.

  17. Griffin

    March 5, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    I love the “choke” nonsense about Burrell. His two homers in the clinching game of the NLDS, his game winning home run off of Lowe in game one of the NLCS and his double that scored the winning run of the World Series clincher show how un-clutch he is.

    I also love how people dismiss his walks. Citizen’s Bank Park lead the majors in % of runners on base who came around to score.

  18. Chutley

    March 5, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    i think you mean un-un-clutch

  19. Griffin

    March 5, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    I actually meant it sarcastically but it didn’t come off that way. “un-un-clutch” sounds good to me, Chutley.

  20. Tim C

    March 5, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    I remember driving to New York one night to visit family, listening to the Phillies playing the Mets at Shea and Pat hitting a homerun to win the game off Armando Benitez. It was amazing, and then showing up at my mets fan Uncle’s house and gloating about Pat the Bat.

    Thank You Pat for ALL the memories.

  21. BFO

    March 5, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Best memory besides the big double – home run off Wagner in the crazy ’08 comeback game against the Mets. Often frustrating, but at least he never whined to the press.

  22. ryan

    March 5, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    let us also not forget, that Pat the Bat completely OWNED the mets. especially at shea stadium

  23. James Kay

    March 5, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    For a guy with a colorless and predictable batting technique, he undeniably was able to consistently produce the power numbers. Just goes to show you that most pitchers are dumb. I didn’t realize he is that high on the franchise all-time home run list. I am impressed. # 22 is fine with me even though he could neither run nor field well. Top 20? No way. The top 20 demands more than 25+ yearly homers and a pedestrian .257 BA. Aim the ball at his effeminate looking head and banish him to the Amercian League.

    Damn, trying to select the top 10 is proving to be a perplexing experience.

  24. Tyler

    March 5, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    BFO, i completely agree.
    I was at the parade and everyone in my section (on Broad Street unfortunately) was yelling, “One more year! One more year!” And you know what, I was too because that double made my being a Phillies Phan that much more worth it. But in hindsight, yes we got Ibanez at a bad price, but it’s better for Pat the Bat to go out with a bang instead of another frustrating bum year.
    But Pat, thanks for the memories. That double will always be cherished among all Phils Phans!

  25. Jeltzismyhombre

    March 5, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Between the two, I’d take Del Ennis.

  26. deal

    March 5, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    Top 20 just for the games when he beat the Mets with his late inning Dingers.

    In a perfect world that ball goes out in his last at bat of the World Series.

  27. Griffin

    March 5, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    I agree, deal, I wanted that ball to get out and see Pat jog around the bases to end his Phillies career.

  28. Jason B.

    March 5, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    The one thing I’ll say is Burrell, even when in one of his crazy bad slumps, was always a standup guy to the media. he never threw his teamates under the bus, always took responsibility for his play. Just for the amount of pipe that man layed in our glorious city, he is deserving of the top 25. I wonder what Pat was doing the night Jason Michaels was arrested? Whatever it was, it was probably a lot more interesting than what I was doing.

  29. Jason B.

    March 5, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    I wanted nothing more than “The Bat” to hit that one out. Off the bat we were praying for that to get out. But still fitting that in the box score he scored the winning run.

  30. ashmidt

    March 5, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    i hope del ennis and the bull get this much love, they are way more deserving and they were CLUTCH.

  31. Griffin

    March 5, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    yes, I just wish Pat Burrell had a big hit or four en route to winning the World Series….

  32. Jason B.

    March 5, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    I love on the Phils WS DVD, Rollins calls him out. Telling Pat he needs to get his swagger back and then Pat just to spite Jimmy goes and hits a 400 ft double. His only hit in the series and it was the biggest of his career.

  33. Griffin

    March 5, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Pat Burrell’s career OPS is .852.

    His OPS with 2 outs and Runners in Scoring Position is .856

    His OPS in games labeled “late and close” is .870

    So much for that CLUTCH argument.

  34. Greg V.

    March 5, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Pat the Bat, one of my all time favorites! I basically matured as a baseball fan as Burrell matured as a player. It all came full circle last year and what a way to finish it off for the Phils as well. I still get a bit choked up watching that infamous double that would eventually score the game winning run. If Burrell’s time in Philly had to end, that was the way to end it.

  35. Joel

    March 5, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Pat the Bat! Nice pick! Great player while he was pick but… He’s atta here!!!

  36. MikeB

    March 5, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    I agree with aschmidt. Taking Burrell’s whole career under consideration after he was drafted in 1998, he was an underachiever. Too inconsistent to be rated higher than 35th or so.

  37. MikeB

    March 5, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    Sorry; that should be ashmidt.

  38. trini

    March 5, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    pat the choke artist. how is he above chase?!?!

  39. ashmidt

    March 6, 2009 at 4:35 am

    hey griffin, i dont know what ops means, i am old school, tell me what his ba was with men in scoring position. games labeled late and close? you really sound like a rotisserie geek.

  40. Chapps

    March 6, 2009 at 6:47 am

    Pat has been my Favorite Phil since he first put on a uni. The problem is that most fan are still mad that he never lived up to the hype, I could care less, he was a stand-up guy and a good ballplayer. The fact that the fans demanded that he be traded almost every year and the media throw him under the bus, and he still had nothing bad to say about either speaks volumes of his character.

  41. Jeff Y.

    March 6, 2009 at 6:56 am

    I always liked Pat-the-Bat.

  42. Bear Mike

    March 6, 2009 at 7:12 am

    I bought Hall of Fame Club tickets (just in case it is brutally cold) for the April 4th game just to see Pat the Bat Burrell again……live. Standing Ovations for sure! He certainly did frustrate me at times, but damn, when he was on, that swing of his was sweet!…………Outta Heeeereeeeee!!!!!

  43. Phan in TN

    March 6, 2009 at 8:11 am

    I remember teaching a large bag of cheetos a lesson. It barely stood a chance as I was watching the Phillies and stuffing my cheeks full of cheetos. My cat’s head was orange by the time that Burrell walked.

    I have plenty of other Burrell stories.

  44. Griffin

    March 6, 2009 at 8:26 am

    ashmidt, what can I say? I am not exactly young but I took the time to learn new stats that tell a lot more about a player than BA and RBI do. I just looked up stats that proved that Burrell was the same player in “clutch” situations as he was in situations with no one on base. But if you’d like to just hate on Burrell because you don’t like him, feel free.

  45. Bill

    March 6, 2009 at 8:27 am

    Dirty Laundry!

  46. Keith

    March 6, 2009 at 8:49 am

    I remember Pat hitting a homer at the Vet that broke the plastic on one of the lighted signs in left field. Thanks, Pat, for your years of service to all of us starving fans. Let’s remember him for what he did. He helped win a World Series for the Phils and that alone is plenty.

  47. Phil

    March 6, 2009 at 8:57 am

    I will miss Pat-the-Bat soooooo much. He was my 2nd favorite Phillie behind Rollins. I personally think he should have been top 20, but that’s just me. I got my ticket to the April 3rd Pat the Bat tribute and I can’t wait for it. I’m going to be the loudest one there when he gets in the batters box for the 1st time. I bet you he cries when he gets his ovation.

    For all of you saying he’s not clutch, let it be known that he had the 2nd most amount of game winning hits in the NL behind Derek Lee last year. He was also really good on the road too, which most players aren’t. Just some FYI. Pat Burrell was ridiculously clutch. I can name some really big moments. Home run off of Wagner. Home run off of Wilson. Home run off of Velverde. Double in the WS. I just think the people who are bashing his “unclutchness” are just thinking about his streakiness. FYI Late innings in close games he had a .418 OBP. That’s insane. His batting average is .298. So if he didn’t get a hit he got on base which still helps his team. He has a career OBP of .500 in extra innings which is also insane.

  48. Griffin

    March 6, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Phil, good stuff. As I stated earlier in this post, Burrell had the two homer game in the NLDS clincher against the Brewers, the game winning homer off of Lowe in Game 1 of the NLCS and the double that led to the game winning home run of the World Series clincher. Sounds clutch to me.

  49. Manny

    March 6, 2009 at 9:57 am

    And the extra-innings home run on a 3-2 count vs. Rowand’s Giants… One of the best moments ever.

  50. Griffin

    March 6, 2009 at 10:20 am

    You’re right Manny, that was a great one and Phil also mentioned the one off of Valverde last year and don’t forget the two that he hit off of Wagner in ’07.

  51. Ed R.

    March 6, 2009 at 10:32 am

    Good player, great hitter, and a stand-up guy. Pat’s yet another example of dealing with unrealistic expectations. If you liked him, you saw the clutch play, the ability to get on base, and the desire at the plate. If you didn’t like him you saw him watching third strikes, enduring long slumps, and not acting like a baby when he was frustrated (unlike so many big leaguers).

    For me, he eventually evolved into a Doug DeCinces-type player (albeit weaker in the field and stronger at the plate): a guy whose numbers would come in bunches, a guy who could get unbelievably hot and carry a team for a month, a guy whose long slumps would leave you utterly mystified.

    Finally, let’s look at a somewhat unscientific comparison:

    Player #1:

    G 1306, H 1166, HR 251, RBI 827, BB 785, SO 1273, OBP .367, SLG .485

    Player #2:

    G 1289, H 1299, HR 223, RBI 811, BB 622, SO 1098, OPB .375, SLG .519

    In the field, player #1 probably gets the nod by a small margin due to slightly better FP and more assists.

    Player #1 is Pat Burrell, obviously.

    Player #2 is Greg Luzinski (White Sox stats excluded).

    Not all that different, really. The Bull’s a bit better at the plate, Pat gets the nod in the field (people tend to forget the Bull’s crappy fielding; even Skates seemed better, so the Bull got to sit out large portions of the Series). The Bull probably gets the nod overall, but not by a whole lot, and some of it’s due to nostalgia. Pat could easily be higher than this.

    By the way, if any of my numbers are wrong, please let me know. I did the Bull’s Phillie stats pretty quickly, so they be off a tad.

  52. Griffin

    March 6, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Ed R., nice post. Their stats are amazingly close.

  53. David

    March 6, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    He was also pretty damn good at hitting Mets pitching.

  54. Don M

    March 6, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    How is Pat Burrell’s BBQ sauce though?

  55. Richie Allen

    March 6, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    I know everbody is now warm & fuzzy about Burrell now….But I’ll always remember him striking out many,many ,many times on that low outside slider from a righthanded pitcher.
    You could almost see it happening in your mind before he missed the pitch for strike 3.

  56. Paul

    March 6, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Way, way too high. Are you kidding me – Granny Hammer had more impact for an entire Phillies career. Not always, but too often empty numbers . If you want to merit on big numbers Del Unser and Marty Bystrom would be right there with Pat.

  57. Ed R.

    March 6, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Hindsight’s golden, but at this point I’d rather have Pat for 2 years at $16m than Ibanez for 3 at $30m. If Pat gets his ABs for Tampa he’ll put up some very good numbers, I’m guessing in the 33HR, 115RBI range. If they have him protecting Eva Longoria in the lineup he’ll see a lot of baserunners when he’s up. I think it was a mistake to let him go, but I don’t think management dreamed they could get him as cheaply as the Rays did.

  58. Ed R.

    March 6, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    @Paul

    Del Unser? You must mean Del Ennis. Ennis’ stats are certainly better than Burrell’s, and he was around longer so he has both better numbers and length-of-service in his favor. I have no problem with Ennis being higher than Burrell on the list.

    Marty Bystrom? Marty Bystrom? Would that be the Marty Bystrom who had two whole winning seasons (5-0 in 1980 and a big 4-3 in 1981)? Would that be the Marty Bystrom who had a grand total of 64 starts for the Phils? The Marty Bystrom with an ERA north of 4? All Bystrom has on the positive side of the ledger is 1980. Not a bad thing to have, but nothing like Pat.

    As for Hammer, if you want to like him more than Burrell, go ahead, but if you compare the two statistically Burrell’s the clear winner. It’s not even close.

  59. Don M

    March 6, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    I don’t like Randy Wolf higher than Myers.. and some other things, but its a hell of a good list, has kept us all entertained, and is teaching us some Phillies history along the way!

    Can’t wait to see the Top 10..

    Keep up the good work, Tim & Crew!

  60. Bruce

    March 6, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    I wonder how many of you actually seen Luzinski played during his years with the team? For those who have not and are relying only on stats for comparison, I can tell you it does not give you the complete picture of the player(s). While the offensive stats suggests that they are comparable, I know that Burrell is more patient as a hitter (see the huge disparity for total walks in their respective careers) than Luzinski. The “Bull” had less patience at the plate. He was never known for his astute knowledge of a pitcher’s repertoire and habits. And as a few mentioned, Burrell was more “clutch” in key situations. And fielding? NO comparison. Burrell had a stronger and more accurate arm. At least Burrell can catch what he can get to. I watched Luzinski played in LF and shuddered whenever a long flyball heads his way. He would lumbered and circled under it and the ball found his glove. ­čÖé

    When Luzinski went to the White Sox in 1981 and played for 4 years, he was a designated hitter for all but two games duriing that period. The manager/coaches scouted and knew about the Bull’s reputation as a fielder.

  61. jkink

    March 6, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    Was at the game at Shea in 2007 when he homered off Wagner in the 9th. Remember screaming “You suck Wagner”. Such a sweet moment.

  62. James Kay

    March 6, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    Ed R. It’s very enriching to read your pro Burrell rants and other assorted insights. Entries like your comparative post with Luzinski makes this blog a worthwhile stop. The Bull had fan appeal that Burrell just didn’t have in spite of some of his late inning heroics. When Greg juiced one it was cosmically exciting. Advantage, Luzinski.

  63. Ed R.

    March 7, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Not so much pro-Burrell as wanting to give credit where credit’s due. Trust me, my first Phillies experiences were in Connie Mack, so I saw plenty of the Bull. At his best, the Bull was pretty scary at the plate (and in the field too, truth be told) in a way that Burrell never matched. He also connected with the fans in a way Burrell didn’t. I also saw a picture of him wearing the White Sox uniform with the shorts, but that’s another story.

    As for Pat, I can’t begin to count the times I screamed in frustration as he watched the third strike go by with men on base.

    The thing about Pat, and it happened with Schmidt on a much higher level, is that people were always disappointed by him because they felt he could do better. I mean, if he could hit 30+ HR and 100 RBI while somehow mysteriously avoiding the ball almost entirely for about 2 1/2 months of any given season then he “should” be capable of truly monstrous numbers. These unrealised expectations were the burden he had to carry, unlike the Bull, who always looked like he was fulfilling his potential.

    He’s never been my favorite player, but once I figured out what he was by understanding his stats I was happy he was with us. I’m glad his Phillie career ended on a high note (like the Bull’s) and that he finally achieved some popularity.

    I don’t want to diss the Bull too much, but people forget that by the WS in 1980 he was almost an afterthought. His fielding was terrible (and this on one of the best defensive teams in the history of baseball, IMO), and Smith was so hot that the Phils couldn’t wait to get rid of the Bull to the Sox. I believe they received a cheese sandwich in return.

    Overall I probably prefer the Bull by just a teeny bit, but he’d better have Maddox (probably my favorite all-time Phillie) there to protect him in the field. I still wish they’d resigned Pat, though.

  64. James Kay

    March 7, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Ed R., Good rebuttal. You’re a tough sale.

  65. Memphis

    March 9, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    deal and Griff, I actually wonder if Burrell’s double in Game 5 reached the seats that he’d possibly still be a Phillie. He would have been remembered as the guy that won the World Series (along with Hamels and Lidge). It would have been A LOT harder to let him go after that.

  66. andrew

    March 28, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    when i’m going to have some “alone time” I now say that I am patting the bat. Or I have to go pat the bat. I don;t think about him when I do it… not all the time.

  67. Evelyn

    March 12, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    I MISS HIM EVERY DAY
    saw him play double a when i was like 8 or something and ive loved him since

  68. Chris

    July 13, 2010 at 1:19 am

    What a waste of talent.

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