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The Phillies Nation Top 100: #41 Tony Gonzalez

The Phillies Nation Top 100 continues today with #41. 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 tomorrow morning for #40.

http://www.ootpdevelopments.com/board/attachments/ootp-mods-rosters-photos-quick-starts/210682d1299762280-gambo-t_wil1-photopack-phi001gonzalez.jpg#41 – Tony Gonzalez

Years: 1960-1968

.295/.359/.433, 77 HR, 68 SB in 4194 PA

Previous Rank: 51 (+10)

fWAR Phillies Rank: 28th among position players, 39th among Phillies

Signature Season: Hit .302/.371/.494 with 20 HR and 17 SB in 1962

The versatile, left-handed hitting outfielder Gonzalez was acquired by the Phillies on June 15, 1960 in a trade that sent  right fielder Wally Post back to Cincinnati with starting left fielder, West Chester alum Harry “The Horse” Anderson. At the time, it was a bit of a gamble: the Phillies had finished 64-90 the previous season and seemingly weren’t on track to get much better in 1960, while Post and Anderson had combined for 34 HR the previous season. The Phillies, however, still had a giant hole in center field after trading Richie Ashburn in January for a package that included Al Dark and John Buzhardt. After a 14-2 loss to Sandy Koufax and the Los Angeles Dodgers,  the 1960 Phillies, at 20-34, pulled the trigger and acquired the 23-year old center fielder from the Reds.

In his second full season with the club, Gonzalez would explode with a career-best 20 HR and 17 SBs and a career-high slugging percentage. He would top his batting average and OBP of 1962 in 1963, hitting .306/.372/.436 with just four homers and 17 steals and finish 23rd in the MVP voting. Gonzalez would be one of the many Phillies to disappear, however, in September 1964, hitting an uncharacteristically-low .225/.253/.300. Aside from that minor blip, Gonzalez was one of the primary offensive leaders on a set of clubs that would exceed expectations throughout the mid-60s but ultimately fall short of reaching a pennant.

Gonzalez ranks fifth among Phillies center fielders in homers, tenth in runs, fifth in RBIs,  eighth in batting average and OBP, and ninth in slugging. Among contemporary center fielders, from 1960 through 1967, Gonzalez ranked seventh in the MLB in batting average, eighth in OBP, and eleventh in slugging. When those lists are filtered for just National League players, it shortens to include only names like Willie Mays, Richie Ashburn, and Vada Pinson in front of Gonzalez. Not bad company.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. SEEK

    January 29, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Really liked Gonzalez. I remember he hit to left field a lot. Also he wore #22, until he was told it was “unlucky”. He then switched to #25. Wasn’t he called “Little Dynamite”?

  2. Vinnie

    January 29, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    I looked him up wikipedia… Says he was the first person in MLB to use a helmet with a pre-molded ear flap.

    Just a little odd trivia.

    • Ian Riccaboni

      January 30, 2014 at 1:25 pm

      Vinnie,

      Thank you for the tidbit – never knew that!

  3. Sandy Durso

    January 29, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Enjoy hearing about some of the older Phillies players . My time was from the Vet on and I don’t know a lot about some of these players

  4. Joyce Budd

    January 29, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    I am so glad to see him on this list. He was my all-time favorite Phillie when I was a young girl. I got to meet him and have my picture taken with him about 10 years ago. Too bad players like him and Johnny Callison are forgotten. Thanks!!

    • Ian Riccaboni

      January 30, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      Joyce,

      Thank you for reading and sharing your memories!

  5. Bart Shart

    January 30, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    GREAT STUFF. Keeps us fans on our toes and looking forward to baseball season during the drudge days.

    Gonzalez hit .339 in 1967, and I believe he played over 200 games without making a single error in center field. Too bad Tony played on so many sub-standard teams.

    • Ian Riccaboni

      January 30, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      Bart – I sincerely appreciate your support in reading and commenting on these posts. These are a lot of fun to write and I’m glad others are enjoying them as well!

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