The Phillies Nation Top 100 continues today with #57. 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 Monday morning for #56.
#57 – Pat Burrell
.257/.367/.485, 251 HR in 5388 PA
Previous Rank: 22 (-35)
fWAR Phillies Rank: 41st among position players, 59th among Phillies
Signature Seasons: Hit .282/.376/.544 with 37 HR and 116 RBI in 2002 and .281/.389/.504 with 32 HR and 117 RBI in 2005
Signature Moments: Leading off the bottom of the seventh in Game 5 of the 2008 World Series with a double. Being Grand Marshall of the 2008 World Series victory parade.
“Pat the Bat” was the Phillies’ number one pick, and the number one pick overall, in the 1998 amateur draft out of the University of Miami. The former Hurricane would reach the Majors after just a season and a half in the minors, finishing fourth in the 2000 Rookie of the Year voting. By his third season, Burrell had received MVP votes after hitting 37 HR and racking up 116 RBIs.
Inconsistency would plague Burrell during his time as a Phillie, though, and no bigger evidence was his 2002 through 2005 seasons. The span was bookended by two of the finer offensive campaigns by a Phillies outfielder but also featured a 2003 that saw Burrell follow up a 37 HR campaign with just 21 HR and a .404 SLG%. Toward the end of his run, Burrell had found consistency somewhere in the middle, reliably averaging .254 with 31 HR per season across 2006 through 2008.
Burrell was never one of the baseball’s premier players, hamstrung by poor defense and a penchant for striking out. Yet, Burrell holds up quite well against other Phillies left fielders. Burrell played the fourth most games in left field out of any Phillie, hit the second most homers, and drove in the fourth most runs. In 2008, Burrell got his day in the sun with the franchise he helped turn around: with rain tapering off, Burrell would lace a double to right field off of submariner Chad Bradford to lead off the seventh inning of Game 5 of the 2008 World Series. Burrell would be replaced by pinch runner Eric Bruntlett who would score the go ahead, and series’ clinching, run for the Phillies on a Pedro Feliz single two batters later.
Burrell would be the Grand Marshall of the 2008 World Series parade, the last remaining player from the dark days of the 2000 Phillies. Burrell trusted the Phillies to compete and was a cornerstone in their turnaround from cellar-dweller to contender. On May 19, 2012, Burrell would sign a one-day contract to retire a Phillie.