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The Phillies Nation Top 100: #40 Rick Wise

The Phillies Nation Top 100 continues today with #40. 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 #39.

#40 – Rick Wise

Years: 1964, 1966-1971

75-76, 3.60 ERA, 1.302 WHIP in 1244.2 IP

Previous Rank: 82 (+42)

fWAR Phillies Rank: 11th among pitchers, 38th among Phillies

Signature Game: Threw a no-hitter and hit two home runs against the Cincinnati Reds on June 23, 1971

Wise is frequently remembered most as the answer to the following trivia question: what Phillies pitcher was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Steve Carlton? But Wise was much more than that; for parts of seven seasons, Wise was an All-Star caliber pitcher stuck on a franchise headed in a downward spiral. Wise would be dealt before the team hit rock bottom in 1972 but was far and away the staff leader from 1966 through 1971.

Wise was among the most durable starters in the pitching-heavy National League during his stay in Philly, pitching 180 innings or more in five straight seasons, pitching the sixteenth-most innings in the National League from 1966 through 1971, winning the seventeenth-most decisions, and posting an ERA on the positive side of the league average three times. Wise’s 52 complete games from 1966 through 1971 ranked 13th in the National League while his 13 shutouts in that period tied him for 16th.

Wise would continue to progress as a pitcher the longer he stayed in Philadelphia. By his final season in Philadelphia, Wise had thrown a career-high 272.1 innings, had decreased his walks while increasing strikeouts, and posting a career-low 2.88 ERA. His success in 1971 earned him his first All-Star birth, his only appearance as a Phillie. Wise’s defining moment as a Phillie, and perhaps one of the most memorable games in baseball history, came on June 23 of that year when Wise no-hit the Big Red Machine a year before they became the Big Red Machine, using just three strike outs to do so.

Oh, and he hit two homers in the same game. Wise would have another multi-homer game in the second half of a double-header against the San Francisco Giants on August 28. He would not no-hit the Giants but would come away with a complete game victory. To cap off his career year with the Phillies, Wise would retire 32 straight batters against the Giants on September 18 and drive in the game’s winning run in the 12th. Something tells me Wise recalls 1971 fondly even though the Phillies won just 67 games.

Wise is usually an afterthought in Phillies’ fans minds when discussing greatest Phillies ever but shouldn’t be: the 6’1″ righty from Portland, OR used a repertoire of off-speed pitches to limit walks and keep the ball in Connie Mack Stadium. Wise was traded for Carlton on February 25, 1972. At the time of the trade, Wise had a better strikeout-to-walk ratio while Carlton had a better K/9 IP%. Wise even had two more victories than Carlton. Unfortunately for Wise, and fortunately for Phillies fans, Carlton turned out to be an all-time great pitcher and Wise went on to have about six above-average seasons. Wise would reach the World Series with the 1975 Red Sox, earning the win for Game 6 after throwing a scoreless 12th just a few days after getting chased in the sixth inning of Game 3, finishing his career with the San Diego Padres in 1982. He was the last remaining active player that had played for the 1964 Phillies.

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