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100 Greatest Phillies

100 Greatest Phillies: 18 – Gavvy Cravath

Gavvy Cravath

Career w/Phillies: .291 AVG / 117 HR / 676 RBI / 80 SB

Part of the 1915 National League championship team, Clifford Carlton Cravath was not just a skilled hitter, but very likely the second best hitter of his time. Between Honus Wagner in the early 1900s and Rogers Hornsby and Babe Ruth in the 1920s, there was Ty Cobb, and there was Gavvy. For seven consecutive seasons he hit more than 20 doubles, averaging 10 triples per season in that period. And he was also a potent home run hitter, maxing at 24 (a single-season “modern-day” record until Babe Ruth broke it in 1919) in that special 1915 season. He led the league in homers that season, and in five other seasons. He led the league in RBI two times, and led the league in OPS three times. He finished second in MVP voting in 1913, when he hit .341 with 19 homers and 128 RBI, a career-best season. These days that would likely be a 60-homer, 160-RBI season. He was that good. Sadly, he never got a great chance in the majors — after starting slow, the White Sox traded him to the Washington Senators, who quickly moved him to a minor-league team. He didn’t get regular playing time until he landed with the Phillies at age 31. The rest, however, is history.

Comment: Gavvy had a seven-year run almost unparalleled in Phillie history. He was easily the National League’s biggest home run threat, and just a downright great offensive player. Compared to those ahead of him, Cravath lacked longevity and superior all-around play. But ultimately, Cravath was — for a couple years — the biggest home run hitter in baseball. Not necessarily a Hall of Famer, he comes eekingly close

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