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The Phillies Nation Top 100: #31 Von Hayes

The Phillies Nation Top 100 continues today with #31. 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. 

From this point forward, each weekday, we will reveal two Phillies from the PN Top 100 in separate posts. 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 tomorrow morning for #30. – Von Hayes

Years: 1983-1991

.272/.363/.427, 124 HR, 202 SB in 4988 PA

Previous Rank: 34 (+3)

fWAR Phillies Rank: 19th among position players, 27th among Phillies

Signature Season: Led NL in runs scored and doubles in 1986

NL All-Star (1989)

He was called Purple Hayes and FiveFor-One but no matter what you called him, Von Hayes was an extremely athletic, versatile 6’5″ outfielder/first baseman/fill-in third baseman who showed above-averageness in all five tools. The lanky native of Stockton, CA would arrive in Philadelphia on December 9, 1982 in a trade that sent five players (Jay Baller, Julio Franco, Manny Trillo, George Vukovich, and Jerry Willard) to Cleveland. Hayes would start 86 games in the outfield as a 24-year old for the pennant-winning 1983 squad, hitting 6 HR with 20 SB in 392 PA. Hayes would see his playing time diminish by the time the postseason rolled around, seeing just five plate appearances in the playoffs, ceding playing time in right to the then-recently-acquired Sixto Lezcano.

The fact that Hayes was traded for five players was relatively unusual but perhaps the most unusual , and unfortunate, thing that happened was that all five either had gone on to reach the Majors or wound up continuing their careers in the Majors. Because of the expectations that come with being traded for five players, fans were often critical of Hayes. Lost in the criticism of Hayes was the fact that he was a very, very good ball player. Hayes would start 135 games for the Phillies in 1984, hitting 16 HR and stealing 48 bases with a .292/.359/.447 line.

Hayes would lead the NL in runs scored and doubles in 1986, forming a formidable one-two punch with that year’s NL MVP Mike Schmidt for the surprising 1986 second-place Phillies. Hayes would have career highs in batting average and slugging in 1986, en route to an eighth place MVP finish. Hayes would make his only All-Star team in 1989, finishing with 26 HR and 28 SB.

Because Hayes did not have a consistent position (outfielder from 1983 through 1985, first base from 1986 through 1988, outfielder again from 1989 through 1991, with a number of cameos at third base thrown in), it is tougher to pin down comparables. Since his time was spent primarily as an outfielder, that’s the criteria we used to compare him to his contemporaries. Among National League outfielders from 1983 through 1991, Hayes ranked eighth in fWAR, wedged between Andre Dawson and Eric Davis. Hayes’ ranked 12th in homers, seventh in runs, seventh in RBIs, tenth in steals, fifteenth in OBP, and 28th in slugging among 77 eligible players.

To some, Hayes may have never lived up to the lofty expectations fostered when he was traded for five players. It certainly didn’t help that one of the players he was traded for, Franco, won a batting title, four Silver Sluggers, and was a three-time All-Star in the same time period that Hayes was in Philadelphia. But Hayes was in the top tier of NL outfielders during his stay in Philadelphia and is one of the Phillies all-time best players.


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