Building a 25-Man Roster from the PN Top 100 – Phillies Nation

Building a 25-Man Roster from the PN Top 100

First off, a quick thank you to those that followed along with the 2014 version of the PN Top 100. There was a lot of great debate and good discussion. It was as much fun to read your comments and respond as it was to write each entry.

Now that that that has been said, I have always wondered what the ultimate, all-time 25-man roster would be. For fun, if you take the Phillies Nation Top 100, here is how it would shake out with the following criteria:

1. It can only contain folks that made the PN Top 100 and the highest ranked player at each position will get the nod. As an example, despite having one of the greatest pinch-hitting runs in club history, Del Unser would not be able to take a bench spot. Matt Stairs is not eligible, either.

2. You must carry five starting pitchers even though starters like Robin Roberts and Curt Simmons frequently started on shorter rest.

3. Unless a starting pitcher has been used in a swinging capacity in his career and has over 50 relief appearances as a Phil, he must remain a starter and not be slotted in the bullpen.

4. Starting position players must have spent most of their career at their position. For instance, even though Mike Schmidt played first base, he would only be eligible for third despite the fact that Schmidt and Scott Rolen in a line-up could potentially be more potent than Schmidt and Ryan Howard depending on your point of view.

5. You must take a back-up catcher, at least one left-handed reliever, and at least one bench middle infielder.

Let’s begin.

Starting Infield

C Darren Daulton (#33)

1B Howard (#27)

2B Chase Utley (#4)

3B Schmidt (#1)

SS Jimmy Rollins (#9)

This one is pretty cut and dry with the possible exception of Dutch. The Phillies have a run of half-decent catchers in their history (Daulton, Jack Clements at #34, Mike Lieberthal at #46, Carlos Ruiz at #48, Stan Lopata at #49, and Andy Seminick at #50) so this one could go in a few different directions after some debate but according to our rankings, this is how it shakes down.

Starting Outfield

LF Ed Delahanty (#5)

CF Richie Ashburn (#6)

RF Bobby Abreu (#11)

This one will probably turn some heads. Some will probably prefer Chuck Klein (#13) and his MVP but Abreu played in a tougher environment (CBP v. the Baker Bowl) and put up a similar OPS (.928 as a Phillie v. Klein’s .935) with significantly more steals (254 v. 71) and the highest OBP in club history for those with over 1500 PA.


C Clements (#34)

1B/3B Dick Allen (#10)

2B/SS Nap Lajoie (#52)

OF Klein (#13)

OF Sherry Magee (#14)

Wow – there are some big names left off the list, here. The notably excluded include Billy Hamilton (#15), Roy Thomas (#18), Johnny Callison (#19), Garry Maddox (#22), and others. But this is a pretty amazing bench: a left-handed catcher, one of the best left-handed power hitters of his time, one of the best right-handed power hitting corner infielders of his time, and a pair of speedy, great-glove players that can get on base at will. Not bad.

Starting Rotation

LHP Steve Carlton (#2)

RHP Roberts (#3)

RHP Grover Cleveland Alexander (#7)

LHP Cole Hamels (#8)

RHP Jim Bunning (#12)

Nothing too much to debate here, although some of the game’s biggest big-game pitchers of all-time are out in the cold for this one (Curt Schilling, #16 and Cliff Lee, #26). On a side note, the Phillies may have one of the best MLB all-time 1-2-3 top pitchers, ever.


Closer: LHP Tug McGraw (#66)

Set-Up: RHP Brad Lidge (#63)

Set-Up: RHP Ron Reed (#96)

Middle Relief: RHP Ryan Madson (#97)

Middle Relief: LHP Billy Wagner (#94)

Middle Relief: RHP Eppa Rixey (#36)

Long Man: LHP Simmons (#17)

I had to get a little creative with both Rixey and Simmons, but both were starting pitchers that had a number of relief appearances with the Phillies (Rixey 55, Simmons 62). The roles, other than Simmons in the long-man role, are sort of arbitrary but this is how I envision it would shake down.

Any thoughts? If you had to do it from scratch, what would it look like?



  1. Sepafan

    March 2, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Wow ….What about Greg Luzinski….Chris Short…..Bob Boone !

  2. Dan Henry

    March 2, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Billy Wagner RHP?

    • gregdoll

      March 2, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      Also says Tug McGraw RHP?

      • Ian Riccaboni

        March 2, 2014 at 1:09 pm

        Ah, the dangers of creating and using a template.

  3. Ed Alexander

    March 2, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    I don’t understand the respect that Abreu gets over so many other OFs. He was one of the laziest fielders that I’ve ever seen. He would let balls drop right in front of him and the CF (whoever it was at the time) was always having to make catches that should have been Abreu’s. If I were to take a top 25, I would have to take someone who could hut and at least showed some inclination to play in the field. If you wanted to pick a DH for the World Series or Interleague play in your top 25, then pick him. I know, he won a Gold Glove. But that’s an award with no real criteria, voted on by coaches and managers who see a guy a few times a year. And, if you want to mention Gold Gloves, how about Maddox? He won several. I’d rather have his all around play as an OF over Abreu’s any day.

  4. Ian Riccaboni

    March 2, 2014 at 1:32 pm


    You bring up a good point. Other than Ashburn, this OF falls flat when it comes to defense.

    On the other hand, Abreu was literally one of the best hitters in Phillies history. He makes this list, and was named #11 in club history because of two simple stats: #1 OBP and #2 in OPS in team history after 1910 among players with 1500 or more PA and he did that over eight plus years with the Phils. That’s a run not many others can say they had, and that doesn’t even mention his high ranks in just about every other category in team history.

    • wbramh

      March 2, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      Odd, but if I had to put together a top 100 Phillies team before reading your list I don’t think I would have even thought of Abreu. I’m not saying he was undeserving, even of #11, just that he was largely invisible to me as a player. It’s hard to argue with stats and I’m far from an expert to even think of debating those points. I just find it interesting that I got so little pleasure watching him play the game that he wouldn’t popped into the back of my mind if not the front.
      I suppose part of the problem may be, in part, related to the quality of the teams he played on, but when mentally collecting names of past Phillies (good or bad) I would sooner think of the weak-hitting great arm on Bobby Wine or the under-sized but tough Clay Dalrymple or Dallas Green when he briefly owned hitters with his fastball.

      I’m sure it’s just me, but still weird.

  5. Jack

    March 2, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I think you can give some consideration to Shane Victorino for what he did, two time all star like Abreu and 1 more Gold Glove not to mention the World Series and two MLB triples crowns. And if this list is the best players in Phillies history to play that position then you absolutely have to put Steve Bedrosian on this list.

  6. wbramh

    March 2, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    “Some will probably prefer Chuck Klein (#13) and his MVP but Abreu played in a tougher environment (CBP v. the Baker Bowl).

    I not sure what the metrics are for claiming CBP is a tougher environment than was Baker Bowl. Maybe that’s accurate but compared to CBP, Baker Bowl’s field conditions were horrible, all around. For one thing, any time Klein would have run towards the gap in right center he would have had an uphill battle because there was a hump in the field to accommodate the train tracks that ran shallow below the grass.. The depth in right field was shorter but there was also a 60 foot fence to contend by the time Klein patrolled the area. Statistically, that would likely have allowed for a lot less put out opportunities (except in foul territory which was huge and that extra foul territory would have been quite a run, demanding quite a peg to prevent a runner from advancing.

  7. Kiley

    March 2, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Mitch Williams is left out of the bullpen? He easily ranks over Lidge, Wagner and Madson….

    • Mike B

      March 3, 2014 at 10:47 am

      Have you been following along with any of this list? Do you understand how this theoretical roster was assembled?

      I’d love to hear how Mitch “easily ranks over” those guys. In what categories? Best mullet? Most mediocre color analyst TV appearances? I liked (and still like) Mitch, but come on.

  8. c. schreiber

    March 2, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Dick Allen should start at 1B over the “big piece” and Del Ennis over Magee.

    • wbramh

      March 2, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      I’d start Allen at 1st, too.

      While the only knock on Allen was his fielding, I came across these interesting statistics concerning his performance at 3rd:

      Chances Fielded Cleanly Per Game
      1964-67 NL 3B (400 games, min.)

      1) 3.40 Ron Santo

      2) 2.84 Dick Allen

      3) 2.81 Ken Boyer

      That’s not bad company to be sandwiched between. And during those years, Allen had more assists and started more double plays at third base than any NL third baseman other than Ron Santo (a gold glover) – and Allen didn’t play at 3rd for half of the1966 season due to a separated shoulder.

    • schmenkman

      March 2, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      I agree that Allen was a better hitter, and better overall, than Howard, but putting Allen at first would violate Ian’s rule #4: “Starting position players must have spent most of their career at their position.”

      While Allen had more games at 1st over his career (807 at 1st vs. 652 at 3rd, out of 1722 total), with the Phils he had many more at third (545 at third vs. 315 at first, out of 1070 total).

      • wbramh

        March 3, 2014 at 1:56 am

        Yep, caught that about 5 minutes after I posted.
        Being shut out on the corners, Allen needs his own category.
        Maybe DRL.
        Designated Rocket Launcher.

      • Lefty

        March 3, 2014 at 8:42 am

        And that brings up an interesting question- If you could violate the rule- like in fantasy where if they played the position at all, what would your team be?

        Mine is pretty straightforward

        C Lieberthal
        1B- Allen
        2B- Utley
        SS- Rollins
        3B- Schmidt

  9. Chris Colgan

    March 2, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Surprised that Roy Halladay didn’t make the cut. Sure, he did tire out and suffer injuries towards the end of his career, but that shouldn’t take away from all the phenomenal things that he did during his time as a Phillie.

  10. DavidE

    March 2, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Schmidt 3b
    Rolen 3b
    Rollins ss
    Bowa ss
    Utley 2b
    Taylor 2b (great pinch hitter and great clutch hitter)
    Howard 1b
    Kruk 1b/of
    Asburn of
    Dykstra of
    Werth of
    Ennis of
    Daulton c
    Boone c
    Carlton SP
    Roberts SP
    Bunning SP
    Alexander SP
    Schilling SP
    McGraw LRP
    Lidge RRP
    Reed RRP
    Madson RRP
    Bedrosian RRP
    Konstanty RRP

  11. Curt

    March 3, 2014 at 9:00 am

    I would most certainly want Curt Schilling as one of my starting pitchers. I would replace Hamels with Schilling in a heartbeat. In my opinion, Hamels is overrated.

  12. Mike B

    March 3, 2014 at 10:50 am

    How so?

    • Curt

      March 3, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      His statistics are fairly pedestrian at this point. No 20 win seasons (in fact his highest win total is 17) and only 99 career wins for a 30 year old. A 3.38 ERA is decent, but not great. Six career shutouts and only 13 complete games in 8 seasons. The point is he’s not a truly dominant pitcher. How many times does Hamels go out and practically win a game by himself. If the Phillies don’t score 3 or 4 runs for him, he will probably lose or get a no decision. He really needs to turn it on over the next 5 years if he wants to get into the HOF.

      • Mike B

        March 3, 2014 at 3:19 pm

        Wins are pretty much a useless statistic, but let’s take ERA. Hamels’ ERA of 3.38 is the 9th-lowest among active pitchers. Here are active or recently-retired guys with higher career ERAs (rounded to the nearest hundredth):

        10. Roy Halladay 3.39
        11. Hiroki Kuroda 3.40
        12. Justin Verlander 3.41
        13. Tim Hudson 3.45
        14. Tim Lincecum 3.46
        15. Jake Peavy 3.51
        16. Cliff Lee 3.51
        17. Anibal Sanchez 3.55
        18. C.J. Wilson 3.60
        19. CC Sabathia 3.60
        20. Zack Greinke 3.65
        21. Chad Billingsley 3.65
        22. Carlos Zambrano .66
        23. Max Scherzer 3.67
        24. Yovani Gallardo 3.73
        25. Dan Haren 3.74
        26. Chris Carpenter 3.76
        27. Jon Lester 3.76
        28. James Shields 3.79
        29. Matt Garza 3.836
        30. Mark Buehrle 3.84

        So that’s “decent, not great?” I think you have an odd view of what constitutes “great.” He’s 11th active in ERA+, 4th in K/BB, 4th in WHIP…and in every one of those categories, Mariano Rivera is one of the guys ahead of him. Those don’t scream “fairly pedestrian” to me.

        I don’t think he has a HoF case yet, but that isn’t the context of the discussion — no one has made that argument.

      • Curt

        March 3, 2014 at 4:00 pm

        Good analysis Mike. Maybe “pedestrian” was too harsh. However, I grew up watching Carlton Seaver, Ryan, Jenkins, Blyleven, Sutton, ,etc. More recently, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and Greg Maddux. So no, I would not consider Hamels great. I think the word gets thrown around too easily. But back to the point, I just think Schilling is a better big game pitcher and more capable of dominating a lineup than Hamels is. We can always respectfully disagree.

      • Curt

        March 3, 2014 at 4:11 pm

        And I would say that wins can be a useless statistic, but only to a point. When you’re averaging 14 wins per year, that’s a pattern. Even when the Phillies were scoring all those runs during their run ,he still wasn’t winning many games. Was he snakebitten last year? Yes. But he also pitched 6 innings or less in almost half his starts (14), and gave up 4 or more earned runs in 8 starts. Only one time did he not give up an earned run in a start. I expect more from a guy making 20+ million dollars a year.

      • schmenkman

        March 3, 2014 at 10:33 pm

        Hamels compares very favorably to Carlton’s career at the same age. Carlton had a lower ERA, but he also pitched in an era with a lower offensive environment. Relative to the league, Hamels has been better.

        Both pitchers’ stats through age 29:

        Carlton: 133-105, 3.05 ERA, 1.254 WHIP, 119 ERA+
        Hamels: 99 – 74, 3.38 ERA, 1.141 WHIP, 123 ERA+

      • schmenkman

        March 3, 2014 at 10:44 pm

        Also, Hamels and Carlton, for example, pitched in two very different eras in terms of how starters and relievers are used.

        For example, Hamels has the 8th most quality starts since 2006, and had the 3rd most in the NL last year.

        Or in terms of wins in the years leading up to age 29:

        Hamels has been 12th in the majors since 2006. Carlton was 9th in the majors from 1967 through 1974 — not a big difference.

  13. Mike B

    March 3, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    I certainly would not put him in the Maddux, Johnson, Martinez class, but he is still one of the best pitchers in the majors. I think he gets shortchanged by Phils fans because of one off-the-cuff comment in 2009.

    I don’t think you could go wrong with either guy in a must-win game. Schilling’s postseason numbers are better (2.23 ERA, .968 WHIP), but Hamels’ aren’t shabby (3.09 ERA, 1.05 WHIP); both guys’ numbers are better in the playoffs than in the regular season. Schilling is probably one of the top three postseason pitchers in history (and he ought to be in the HoF), so to say that Hamels doesn’t measure up there is no great shame.

  14. gibbs57

    March 4, 2014 at 9:34 am

    I was just wondering why, if you were going strictly by rankings, McGraw is the closer over Lidge.

  15. The Original Chuck P

    March 4, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    I agree with most of the team. The rotation looks good and most of the starters look good with the exception of C. I’m not going to dive into the relief pitching… you got the closer right but the reality is, beyond that, you’d take Schilling or Short of Halladay over any of those guys even without relief experience.

    Here is what I’d change…

    I’d go with Chooch at C and Dutch on the bench… if you wanted to go Dutch, that would be fine but both should probably be on the team. With all due respect to Jack Clements, I just can’t add him to my team. If you’re going to add dead ball players, that’s fine but I think you really have to pick your spots. The game was just so different back then and the numbers are just too bizarre to compare. For instance, Clements threw out 96 base runners in 1891 (2nd in the NL) BUT he saw over 300 stolen base attempts in 105 games… to put that into some sort of context, the most attempts against Chooch in any given season was 100 in 2011 (he threw out 23% of all base runners that year).

    I can’t add Nap Lajoie to my team, either… he’s a Cleveland Indian. The team was named after him for twenty years, for goodness sake. Off the top of my head, I’d probably take Bowa on the bench…

    Of the outfielders you named (after Ashburn and Delahanty), I’d probably rank Abreu slightly ahead of Klein (only slightly but my dead-ball bias might be showing again) who is ahead of Sherry Magee who would be slightly ahead of Johnny Callison and Garry Maddox whose value would be as a defensive specialist.

    Allen didn’t play enough 1B with the Phillies to warrant the nod BUT he definitely belongs on the team in a reserve capacity… you could slot him at three positions. Truth be told, Richie Allen doesn’t get enough credit… ROY, MVP, career 156 adjusted OPS. His career completely fell apart at age 33 otherwise he’s a no doubt about it HOF’er.

    • wbramh

      March 4, 2014 at 7:15 pm

      I agree about Allen, Chuck.

      Aside from his stats which are impressive, I can’t explain how impressive his moon shots were to someone who never witnessed them. It was like McCovey hitting an upper deck home run to Kingman who then picked up the ball and hit a fungo shot in the same direction but a block away. Had Allen been on steroids his Connie Mack home runs would have landed in Yankee Stadium.

      Or as another Willie (Stargell) who hit tape measure shots famously once said of Allen, “Now I know why they boo Richie all the time. When he hits a home run, there’s no souvenir.”

      Allen was the most electrifying player I’ve ever seen at the plate. Even from my 5th inning entry for a dollar cheap seats, he resembled a chiseled tree trunk swinging an only slightly smaller tree trunk. Fans would race to leave their place in crowded concession lines when they heard his name announced over the P.A. system.

  16. S Roberts

    March 4, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    My Team: Daulton, Schmidt, Rollins, Utley, Abreu, Ashburn, Victorino, Maddux, Boone, Bowa, Callison, Howard, Klein, Carlton, Hamels, Lee, Halliday, Schilling, Bedrosian, McGraw, Lidge, Roberts, Holland, Short and Bunning

  17. Marty

    August 5, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    First time I’ve see the Phillies list- it’s pretty good and enjoyable to review/debate, being a long time Phillies fan.

    My comments: Ashburn has to follow the big three – Utley oft injured Christenson too high on the list, Bowa too low. Is Dave Cash on the list?

    first list all 100 – make it easy to see/compare. Then the descriptions/bundles.

    Still good job.

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