The Phillies Nation Top 100 continues today with #34. 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 #33.
#34 – Jack Clements
.289/.352/.426, 70 HR, 54 SB in 4105 PA
Previous Rank: New to Rankings
fWAR Phillies Rank: 22nd among position players, 30th among Phillies
Born in Philadelphia during the American Civil War, Jack Clements was truly one of a kind. Clements caught 1,073 games over his 17-year career, spending parts of his career as a reserve. But those 1,073 games were record-breaking: Clements was the last-remaining regular left-handed throwing catcher when he retired in 1900. Despite the inherent disadvantages of being a left-handed catcher, Clements ranked third among his peers in defensive runs saved during his time with the Phillies.
Clements didn’t make the Top 100 because of his uniqueness: he could hit. Clements ranks first among Phillies’ catchers in fWAR, ranking fifth in batting average, tenth in OBP, and seventh in slugging. From 1884 through 1897, Clements led all catchers in homers, ranked fourth in batting average, third in doubles, ranked fifth in RBIs, and fourth in ISO. Clements had a few standout seasons. For instance, in 1890, Clements would finish third in batting average, sixth in the NL in OBP, second in slugging, and second in OPS. Clements would follow his very strong 1890 with a similarly strong 1891: Clements would finish fourth in the NL in batting, sixth in OBP, sixth in slugging, and seventh in OPS.
In 1895, Clements would hit .394, setting a still-standing single-season batting average record for catchers. Clements would retire with the single-season home run record among catchers and retire as the all-time leader in homers among catchers. Clements was an early pioneer for the then-Quakers and is one of the best catchers in Phillies history. A historical curiosity (left-handed throwing catcher, single-season record holder for batting average among catchers), Clements is one of the all-time great Phillies.