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.
#41 – Tony Gonzalez
.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.