The Phillies Nation Top 100 continues today with #33. 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 #32.
#33 – Darren Daulton
Years: 1983, 1985-1997
.245/.357/.427, 134 HR, 48 SB in 3977 PA
Previous Rank: 37 (+4)
fWAR Phillies Rank: 24th among position players, 32nd among Phillies
Made three NL All-Star teams (1992-1993, 1995), Won Silver Slugger in 1992
Caught Terry Mulholland‘s August 15, 1990 No-Hitter
The pride of Arkansas City, KS, Dutch was selected in the 25th round of the 1980 draft, just a few months before the Fightin Phils would bring home the first World Series crown to the Vet. By 1983, Daulton was crushing pitching at Double-A Reading to the tune of .262/.425/.486 with 19 HR and he had earned a call-up to the eventual NL pennant-winning squad. In the final game of the season, Dutch would single off Cecilio Guante in the bottom of the eighth for his first Major League hit.
With remarkable plate discipline and a powerful lefty stroke, Dutch was a one-of-a-kind catcher. Fighting through a number of injuries, Daulton would finally earn the starting gig by 1989. Daulton would get off to a slow start offensively in his early days as a starter, hitting just .228/.328/.368 from 1989 through 1991. Despite his early offensive shortcomings, Daulton would immediately guide the rotation to a lower ERA than the ERA of the staff he took over (4.16 ERA in 1988).
In 1992, Dutch would have a breakout offensive campaign, smashing 27 HR, stealing 11 SB with a .270/.385/.524 line, leading all catchers in OBP, SLG, and OPS, winning a Silver Slugger in the process. The pinnacle of Dutch’s career came in 1993, catching 147 games, hitting .257/.392/.482 with 24 HR, guiding the Phillies staff to a 3.97 ERA and a 20.4 fWAR, the highest staff WAR since 1983. Dutch would hit a homer in Game 5 of the 1993 NLCS off of Greg McMichael and a big, two-out, bases-loaded, two-run double off of Greg Maddux in the bottom of the third of Game 6. In the strike-shortened 1994 season, Daulton was on pace to have his best season yet, hitting 15 HR with a .300/.380/.549 line in 292 PA.
Dutch would earn his third All-Star birth in 1995 before missing most of 1996. Daulton would round out his Phillies career in right field and first base in 1997 before being traded to Florida for Billy McMillon. Dutch would hit a scorching hot .389/.455/.667 in 22 1997 World Series PA, including a homer in Game 3, to help the Marlins win their first World Series crown. Daulton would retire after the 1997 season and is the Phillies’ all-time leader among catchers in walk rate, is second in homers, sixth in OBP, eighth in slugging, and sixth in OPS.
Dutch was among the best catchers in baseball during his prime years with the Phillies. From 1989 through 1995, only Mickey Tettleton accumulated more fWAR, leading all catchers in WAR in the six year period. Dutch was second among all catchers from 1989 to 1995 in homers, runs, RBIs, and walk rate behind only Tettleton, while ranking sixth in OBP, fifth in slugging, and fifth in OPS.
In June 2013, Dutch was diagnosed with two brain tumors. Surgery to remove the tumors was reported a success and Daulton would join the Phillies for alumni weekend in August 2013 and marry his long-time girlfriend Amanda in December. Dutch continues to support multiple charity efforts, including Phillies Charities, Florida Marlins Community Foundation, Lakewood Blue Claws Charitable Foundation, and MLBPAA “Kids Weekend”. His infectious spirit continues to inspire many as does his encouraging slogan “Right on, fight on”.