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100 Greatest Phillies

100 Greatest Phillies: 15 – Cy Williams

Cy Williams

Career w/Phillies: .305 AVG / 217 HR / 795 RBI / 77 SB

Only three players born before 1900 ever hit 200 home runs: Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby and Cy Williams. A massive power hitting center fielder, Williams was a four-time National League home run champion. His 41-homer season of 1923 was one of the top longball seasons in the National League for a long time. He backed that total up with a 24-homer season in ’24 and an 18-homer season in ’26, before swatting 30 more in 1927, again leading the league. How did he do it? The left-handed slugger pulled the ball at will, and with Baker Bowl’s short distance to right field, Williams was made to hit in Philadelphia. And because of his pull style, managers developed the “Williams shift,” sending fielders to the right side of the diamond to defeat Williams. That shift is employed today, especially against Phillies current slugger Ryan Howard. Williams ranks sixth on the club’s all time home run list, along with a 10th-place showing on the RBI list and an eighth-place rank on the franchise hit list. The prodigious hitter is also 11th all time in batting average, coming in at just under .306. He finished his Phillie career in 1930 after slowing down his offensive output. He became an architect before passing in 1974.

Comment: A forgotten legend, Cy Williams was a superb home run hitter who could drive the ball enough to support a fine batting average. Credit the Baker Bowl and the live-ball era for some of his success, but his place in Phillie historic leader boards are evidence he deserves a top 20 ranking.

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