The Phillies Nation Top 100 continues today with #23. 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 #22.
#23 – Del Ennis
.286/.344/.479, 259 HR, 44 SB in 6939 PA
Previous Rank: 16 (-7)
fWAR Phillies Rank: 14th among position players, 22nd among Phillies
Signature Season: Led NL in RBI while hitting .311/.372/.551, finishing fourth in 1950 NL MVP voting
Two-time All-Star (1946, 1955)
A star in baseball and football at Olney High School, Del Ennis was the local boy that made good. And good may be one of the largest understatements possible. A Petty Officer Third Class that saw action in the Pacific during World War II, Ennis was able to hone his baseball skills while in the Navy, playing with Major Leaguers Billy Herman, Johnny Vander Meer, and Schoolboy Rowe in the Honolulu League. Ennis impressed so much during his stay in Hawai’i that New York Yankees owner, and fellow serviceman, Dan Topping offered Ennis $25,000 to sign with the Yankees, a sum 500 times larger than his original Phillies signing bonus. Ennis declined and became a Major Leaguer with the Phillies just a few weeks after returning from duty in 1946.
Had there been a Rookie of the Year Award in 1946, Ennis would likely have won it. Ennis led all rookies in RBI, runs scored, batting average, and slugging while hitting 17 HR and accumulating the most WAR out of any rookie batter or pitcher. His rookie performance was good enough for an eighth-place NL MVP finish. The six-foot, right-handed slugging outfielder was among the first of the Whiz Kids to join the Phillies to help turn the tide of the franchise and guided them with his power throughout the 1950s.
Ennis would receive MVP votes seven times in eleven years with the Phillies with his highest finish, fourth place, coming in 1950 after hitting .311/.372/.551 with a then-Phillies record for HR by a right-handed batter 31. The Phillies would win the pennant in 1950, of course, and like many Phillies, and quite a few Yankees for that matter, Ennis would struggle at the plate during the Fall Classic, hitting just .143/.200/.214. Ennis was traded by the Phillies to the St. Louis Cardinals for Bobby Morgan and Rip Repulski. The trade ended up being a relatively even swap: the Cardinals got a very solid year from Ennis and the Phillies got a solid year from Repulski.
As Ennis’ time drew to a close in Philadelphia, he left as the All-Time franchise leader in home runs, a record that would last for 25 years until Mike Schmidt broke it. Ennis currently ranks third in team history in HR, tenth in runs scored, third in RBIs, and 26th in SLG. From 1946 through 1956, Ennis was in an elite class of left fielders: Ennis led all Major League left fielders in games played, plate appearances, and RBI, ranked third in HR and runs, and ninth in slugging.
Ennis was an excellent outfielder for eleven seasons, among the best in baseball. Ennis was inducted onto the Phillies Wall of Fame in 1982 and in 1983 was chosen to the Phillies Centennial Team.