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100 Greatest Phillies

100 Greatest Phillies: 49 – Lefty O'Doul

Lefty O’Doul

Career w/Phillies: .391 AVG / 54 HR / 219 RBI / 5 SB

Lefty O’Doul sprouted into the majors as a pitcher, but couldn’t hack it. He moved down to the Pacific Coast League and converted himself into an outfielder. The Giants picked him up at age 31, and O’Doul did well in a platoon role. But the Giants traded him to the Phillies for young star Freddy Leach. The Giants had no idea. Actually, the Phillies probably didn’t have an idea, either. But for two years, O’Doul would put on a display almost unmatched in baseball history. In 1929, he hit .398 with 32 home runs. He had 254 hits. He scored 152 runs. His on-base percentage was .462. He slugged .622. And somehow, some way, he finished just second in MVP voting to Rogers Hornsby, who actually had better numbers. O’Doul’s 1930 wasn’t shabby either, as he hit .383. But the Phils must’ve wanted something else, because they traded O’Doul to the Brooklyn Robins. O’Doul wouldn’t match his ’29 or ’30 output again, but he’d still have great numbers. After retiring, O’Doul became a coach and did very well in the minors, but here in Philly, he’ll always be remembered for two unbelievable offensive seasons.

Comment: Seriously, wow. Those numbers are ridiculous. If O’Doul played longer in Philadelphia, he cracks the top 30 at least, and even has a shot at the top 10.

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