The Phillies Nation Top 100 continues today with #80 through #76. Our mission is to assess the Top 100 Phillies players of all time using impact to the Phillies, individual achievement, team achievement, traditional stats, and analytics as our criteria. The list was compiled by Ian Riccaboni and Pat Gallen with input from the rest of the Phillies Nation staff.
Each weekday, we will reveal five Phillies from the PN Top 100, with longer or more expansive posts dedicated to individuals that are of particular note to Phillies fans or are closer to the top of the list. To view the 2008 iteration of the list of Greatest Phillies of All Time as compiled by Tim Malcolm, please click here.
Please check back Monday for #75-71.
#80 – Schoolboy Rowe
Years: 1943, 1946-1949
52-39, 3.54 ERA, 1.234 WHIP in 744 IP
Previous Rank: 44 (-36)
fWAR Phillies Rank: 27th among pitchers, 76th overall
Signature Season: 11-4 with 2.12 ERA and 0.978 WHIP in 1946, returning to MLB after serving in the Navy in World War II
The 6’4″ affable Rowe was a nationally-known, bonafide heart-throb in the 1930s. The country knew of Rowe, his calm, Southern accent, his infatuation with his fiance Edna, and his superstitions, which included talking to the ball and only picking up his glove with his left hand. Rowe came to the Phillies in 1943 after two All-Star appearances and a World Series win with the Tigers in 1935. Rowe posted a 2.94 ERA with a 14-8 mark in his first year with the Phillies before leaving the club to serve in the Navy during World War II.
Rowe returned rejuvenated in 1946, posting a 11-4 record with a 2.12 ERA and a 0.978 WHIP and was an All-Star for the club in 1947. Rowe ranks 58th among Phillies pitchers in ERA but 34th in FIP. Despite being a fantastic pitcher, Rowe never dominated opponents, particularly in his time with the Phillies, posting a super-low 3.0 K/9 IP. Rowe was the clear ace on the staffs of the late 1940s and, while he wasn’t a particularly big strikeout artist, Rowe posted the lowest BB/9 IP in the Majors from 1943 through 1949.
#79 – Jamie Moyer
56-40, 4.55 ERA, 1.315 WHIP in 720.2 IP
Previous Rank: 92 (+13)
fWAR Phillies Rank: 92nd among pitchers, 198th overall
Signature Moment: Selling-out in Game Three of the 2008 World Series to Try to Get Carl Crawford Out
Signature Game: Becoming the oldest Major Leaguer to ever throw a complete-game shutout on May 7, 2010 against the Braves
In 2006, the former Souderton Indian, Class of 1981, was traded to the Phillies on August 22. The move, at the time, was a bit of a head-scratcher: the Phillies had dealt third baseman David Bell on July 28 to the Brewers and pitcher Corey Lidle and outfielder Bobby Abreu to the New York Yankees on July 30. The Phillies, who went15-8 after trading Bell, Lidle, and Abreu, were suddenly in the thick of the Wild Card race but a 43-year old pitcher seemed not to be the remedy to keep their roll going. On August 23, Moyer would win his first start with the Phillies and, while the Phillies would miss the Wild Card by just three games in 2006, the addition of Moyer would become a key move en route to their 2008 World Series win.
Moyer found ways to win 56 games with the Phillies despite striking few out (187 out of 234 eligible pitchers in K/9 IP from 2006 through 2010), giving up a lot of homers (19th out of 234 in HR/9 IP), and allowing a fair amount of earned runs score (153rd in ERA). Moyer earned his place on this list because he was a starter on four of the best Phillies teams in history, a World Series-winning 2008 squad, and by defying age night after night in red pinstripes. There was no more goose-bump-inducing moment in my Phillies watching lifetime than seeing Jamie Moyer, toe the rubber for a pivotal Game 3 of the 2008 World Series just a few days after giving up six earned runs in less than two innings in Los Angeles for the NLCS. With poise, Moyer held the hot-hitting Rays in check, giving up only three earned, earning a no decision in a 5-4 Phillies win.
While with the Phillies, Moyer became the oldest player to throw a complete game, a complete game shutout, to earn a winning decision, and to hit an RBI. He would break his own records, and more, in 2012 in a stint with the Rockies. The kid from Souderton making it big in his hometown on the biggest possible stage makes Moyer a consensus Top 100 Phillie of All Time.
#78 – Lee Meadows
48-61, 3.65 ERA, 1.394 WHIP in 856.1 IP
Previous Rank: 63 (-15)
fWAR Phillies Rank: 26th among pitchers, 75th overall
Signature Stat: Pitched 68 complete games in four full seasons
Meadows, known as “Specs” for his Teddy Roosevelt-like glasses, arrived in Philadelphia on July 14, 1919 in a fortuitous trade for the Fightin’ Phillis. While in Philadelphia, Meadows was a complete game machine, averaging 17 complete games per season. The durable Meadows pitched the 19th most innings in the Majors from 1919 through 1924 with the 44th best ERA, and 24th most wins. Meadows was traded to Pittsburgh on May 23, 1923 for Whitey Glazer and Cotton Tierney. Meadows would lead the National League in wins with 20 in 1925 for the Pirates en route to a World Series victory.
#77 – John Titus
.278/.368/.379, 31 HR, 131 SB in 5818 PA
Previous Rank: 66 (-11)
fWAR Phillies Rank: 18th among position players, 26th overall
Signature Offensive Category: Hit By Pitches – Seven top-10 finishes in HBP
“Silent John” was a veritable power house at the turn of the century, hitting 38 homers as a Phillie from 1903-1912, retiring sixth all-time on the club leader board in that category, with the seventh-best on-base percentage, and ninth-best slugging percentage. Titus, a 5’9″, 156 lbs. lefty in right field was not afraid of walking, walking 10.6% of the time when with the Phillies, third best among right fielders in the Majors from 1903 through 1912. Modern advanced stats look very favorably on Titus due in no small part to his .372 OBP, fifth best among right fielders from 1903 through 1912, but his defensive numbers and the lack of team success during his time with the Phillies holds Titus further down the list.
#76 – Tony Taylor
Years: 1960-1971, 1974-1976
.261/.322/.346, 51 HR, 169 SB
Previous Rank: 87 (+11)
fWAR Phillies Rank: 49th among position players, 73rd overall
Signature Season: Hit .287/.330/.370 with 4 HR in 1960 All-Star campaign
Signature Moment: Made signature defensive play that preserved Jim Bunning‘s 1964 perfect game
Bizarre Stat: Holds the Major League record with Johnny Callison and Burt Campaneris as the only players to be on the opposing ends of a No-Hitter six times.
Taylor was inducted onto the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2002, having, at that time, played the most games at second base in Phillies history. In parts of 15 seasons with the Fightins, Taylor was on a number of mediocre teams before finally breaking through into the playoffs with the club as a reserve during his second stint with the club in 1976. Taylor ranks fourth among Phillies second baseman in homers and second in steals and makes this list based on his connection with the fans and longevity.
Taylor would go on to be on Phillies’ coaching staffs from 1977 through 1979 and again from 1988 through 1989. He would be a minor league manager in the Phillies system from 1982 through 1987, managing a variety of teams including the Oklahoma City 89ers in 1982 and the Reading Phillies in 1985.