100 Greatest Phillies

100 Greatest Phillies: 61 – John Denny

John Denny
Starting Pitcher

Career w/Phillies: 650 IP / 37-29 / 2.96 ERA / 375 K

The 1983 Cy Young award winner, Denny gave the Phillies the bona-fide No. 2 starter they had been searching for ever since Steve Carlton arrived in 1972. He wasn’t a Cy Young winner before that, more of a solid but unspectacular tertiary arm for Saint Louis and Cleveland. The Phillies traded Roy Culmer, Roy Smith and Jerry Reed to Cleveland for Denny, and while Reed became a serviceable middle reliever and Smith had two OK seasons as a starter, Denny was well worth it. He went 19-6 with a 2.37 ERA in 1983, then had an equally strong 1984, but a mid-summer injury gave him abbreviated numbers. He pitched a full 1985 but reverted closer to his career norms. The Phils traded him after ’85 to the Reds for Gary Redus and Tom Hume, who would both help the 1986 Phillies finish in second place.

Comment: Though having a short Phillies career, Denny was very good, of course. Sub-3 ERAs are difficult to come by anymore, so when a guy does it twice in four seasons, that makes him pretty special. One of the main reasons the Wheeze Kids made the series.

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