The Phillies Nation Top 100: #30 Greg Luzinski – Phillies Nation
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The Phillies Nation Top 100: #30 Greg Luzinski

The Phillies Nation Top 100 continues today with #30. 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 #29.

#30 – Greg Luzinski

Years: 1970-1980

.281/.363/.489, 223 HR, 29 SB in 5321 PA

Previous Rank: 17 (-13)

fWAR Phillies Rank: 23rd among position players, 31st among Phillies

Four-Straight All-Star Appearances (1975-1978), Four Top-10 MVP Voting Finishes

Led the NL in RBI in 1975

“The Bull” was a 6’1″ right-handed, Chicagoan bruiser that mashed and crushed his way into the hearts of Phillies’ fans everywhere for parts of eleven seasons. After being drafted as the eleventh overall pick in the 1968 draft, Luzinski quickly reached the Majors at age 19 in 1970 and was the Phillies regular left fielder by 1972. The powerful outfielder would be one of the largest contributors of the dramatic turnaround seen under manager Danny Ozark in the early and mid 1970s.

Luzinski would have one of his finest seasons in 1975, the first year the Phillies were over .500 since 1967. The Bull hit .300/.394/.540 with 34 HR and a league-leading 120 RBIs, finishing second to Joe Morgan in the NL MVP voting in that season who had a pretty out-of-this-world season himself. Luzinski would go on to have one of the finest four-year, offensive stretches in Phillies history from 1975 through 1978, hitting .295/.386/.535 with 129 HR.  Luzinski would finish second in NL MVP voting again in 1978, this time to George Foster.

Luzinski was an unquestioned offensive juggernaut, also coming up big in all four NL Championship Series he was with the Phillies for, hitting .310/.375/.690 in 64 NLCS PA with five homers. Luzinski would hit the go-ahead, and eventual game-winning, homer in the first inning of Game 1 of the 1977 NLDS, and the go-ahead, and eventual game-winning, homer in Game 1 of the 1980 NLCS against Ken Forsch of the Houston Astros. Luzinski would not register a hit in the 1980 World Series but was one of the few players who had any sort of offensive success in the Phillies four attempts to get to the Fall Classic.

As great as Luzinski was offensively, Luzinski had his warts. According to FanGraphs, Luzinski cost the Phillies 145.9 runs in his eleven seasons in Philadelphia, about 10 wins worth and struck out 20.6% of the time. That never kept Luzinski’s bat out of the line-up, though: Luzinski ranks sixth in Phillies history in homers, 25th in runs, 11th in RBIs, and 20th in slugging. Luzinski ranks seventh among NL left fielders from 1970 through 1980 in fWAR, fourth in homers, eighth in runs, second in RBIs, 24th in average, 13th in OBP, and sixth in SLG.

These days, the affable Bull can be found on summer nights at Citizens Bank Park supporting his restaurant, Bull’s BBQ. As good as a hitter Bull was, his pulled pork sandwich is equally awesome.

17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Bart Shart

    February 6, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Loved Luzinski’s short sweet swing. He had power and hit for average for eight solid years for the Phils… He and Schmidt were an awesome duo. Also, his pulled port sandwich is world class.

  2. Vinnie

    February 6, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    I like the BBQ ribs also. i get them every time I go, and always say “hi” to him.

  3. Laura Hoogerwerff

    February 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    He’s a nice guy who seemed to just crush the ball. To hit for average and power is something that’s lacking on our current team. I’m surprised he is so far down on the list. Love the pulled pork sandwiches as well.

  4. Keith

    February 6, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Thanks. I’m now drooling over the thought of one of Bull’s pulled pork BBQ…

  5. 64Survivor

    February 6, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Dykstra ahead of Luzinski. You are absolutely out of your mind. Nothinh you ever say in the future will hold any credibility for me.

    • Ian Riccaboni

      February 6, 2014 at 5:58 pm

      Thank you for the feedback. I will consult my psychiatrist and refer to your diagnosis.

    • schmenkman

      February 6, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      I don’t get the outrage, to be honest. Dykstra was almost as good a hitter, and a much better baserunner and fielder.

      Dykstra had about 2/3 of Luzinski’s games and at bats with the Phils, and I suspect that if he had played here as much as the Bull (my favorite player growing up), he would have been even further ahead.

      Now I suppose you can take other things into account (character, likability, PEDs, etc.), but those seem to be separate from what they meant to the Phillies on the field.

  6. c. schreiber

    February 6, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Darrin Ruf senior???? No matter what J.O. Amaro says.

  7. loupossehl

    February 6, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    We can only hope. An outfield of Luzinski Jr., Revere (who could cover large swathes of ground for the Baby Bull) and Brown wouldn’t be bad at all, and we could look elsewhere in the lineup to fill holes and patch things up.

  8. schmenkman

    February 6, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    How similar are Ruf vs. Luzinski?

    At 21, Luzinski had a .785 OPS in the majors. Ruf was in college.
    At 22, Luzinski had an .828 OPS in the majors. Ruf had a .874 OPS in low A ball.
    At 23, Luzinski was hurt and had .724 OPS. Ruf had a .814 OPS, mostly in high A.
    At 24, Luzinski finished 2nd for the NL MVP. Ruf had a .894 OPS in high A
    At 25, Luzinski finished 8th for the NL MVP. Ruf had a 1.028 OPS in AA
    At 26, Luzinski finished 2nd for the NL MVP. Ruf had a .749 OPS in AAA

    So given all that, what are the chances that from 27 on, Ruf will be similar to Luzinski going forward?

    • loupossehl

      February 6, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      Oh, I’d say about 3 or 4 degrees above absolute zero. But it’s nice to dream, however idly. However, I am struck by the negativity of some toward the guy, and his chances to be a decent contender for LF, with the badly needed pop that we need – “son of the Bull” or not. For example, there’s that dismissive article of Buzz on Broad, where they bring up Byrd and Abreu as the reasons why Ruf’s days with the Phillies might be numbered. Oh sure – Ruf is peaking out (?) at 27, and who needs him when we have one guy who’s 37 and the other is 40. Besides, there are a couple of AL teams that could use a DH, and – Wow! – just think of the trade value for him.

      With “forward thinking” like that, come to think of it, I guess we don’t need “Luzinski Jr.” at all – as well as those two other guys – let’s drop the three of them and just suit up Luzinski Sr. Hmmm… I wonder what Maddox and McBride are doing …

      • c. schreiber

        February 7, 2014 at 11:09 pm

        Great post Lou!! Your so right about the haters, lead by that jerkoff RAJ.

      • schmenkman

        February 7, 2014 at 11:43 pm

        c. schreiber, I love it — that’s very funny, even if unintentionally.

  9. Ken Bland

    February 6, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    This list, scantily tended to though the case might be would appear to bypassing the greatness of Garry Lee Maddox. While not checking the list to see who’s been naughty (lower) and who might be nice (the upper echelon), talents like Bullzinski, and Dykstra make me think Maddox has either seen his day, or won’t.

    But alas, today would have been a picture perfect day to list Maddox in what’s probably a pretty appropriate range of the list. After all, 2/3 of the balls he caught were closer to left than any liberal Democrat, and the other 1/3 were closer to the left field foul line than five is to eleven in any time zone. But could Bullzinski mash.

    • schmenkman

      February 6, 2014 at 9:05 pm

      I’m guessing Maddox is coming up soon, somewhere between 28 and 25.

  10. wbramh

    February 6, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    Did John Wesley Covington make it on this list?
    Good bat and OPBS but not a lot of games as a Phillie.
    Didn’t hit a lot of HRs but crushed the ball when he connected.

    I assume my favorite player is still coming up on the top 100 list..
    Covington’s outfield bookend, John Wesley Callison

    • c. schreiber

      February 7, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      Del Ennis??

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