The Phillies Nation Top 100 continues today with #44. Our mission is to assess the Top 100 Phillies players of all time using impact to the Phillies, individual achievement, team achievement, traditional stats, and analytics as our criteria. The list was compiled by Ian Riccaboni and Pat Gallen with input from the rest of the Phillies Nation staff.
From this point forward, each weekday, we will reveal two Phillies from the PN Top 100 in separate posts. To view the 2008 iteration of the list of Greatest Phillies of All Time as compiled by Tim Malcolm, please click here.
Please check back this afternoon for #43.
#44 – Jack Taylor
96-77, 4.34 ERA, 1.497 WHIP in 1505.1 IP
Previous Rank: 41 (-3)
fWAR Phillies Rank: 13th among pitchers, 41st among Phillies
Signature Stat: Threw 150 complete games in parts of six seasons, an average of 25 per season
Brewery Jack, a nicknamed gained through his affection for alcohol, overcame a number of roadblocks to become one of the then-Philadelphia Quaker’s premier workhorse pitchers. Taylor was the son of a twice-widowed working mother but quickly grew an affinity for baseball. By age seven, Taylor had moved several times but ended up in Staten Island, playing ball in the same neighborhood as other future Major Leaguers Jack Cronin, George Sharrott, Jack Sharrott, and Tuck Turner.
Despite growing up with a deck stacked against him, Taylor became one of the strongest pitchers of the early “modern” era. Making most of his starts and appearances after the pitching rubber was moved to 60 feet, six inches, Taylor would throw 150 complete games, good enough for seventh in team history. Taylor was a three-time 20-game winner despite never posting an ERA under 4 in any of his full seasons with the Phillies. From 1892 through 1897, Taylor ranked 15th in the Majors in innings pitched and 15th in games started.
In a 24/7 news cycle, Twitter, and TMZ world, it is likely that Taylor would have become a national celebrity of interest. The 6’1″ right-handed pitcher liked alcohol, a fact that frequently ended up in the newspapers and butted heads with his manager in 1897, disciplinarian George Stallings. Taylor would be traded to the St. Louis Browns after the 1897 season. Sadly, Taylor would pass away at age 26, attributed to kidney disease. Despite pitching just six seasons for the Phillies, Taylor ranks 13th in franchise history in innings pitched, tenth in wins, and 21st in starts.