First off, a quick thank you to those that followed along with the 2014 version of the PN Top 100. There was a lot of great debate and good discussion. It was as much fun to read your comments and respond as it was to write each entry.
Now that that that has been said, I have always wondered what the ultimate, all-time 25-man roster would be. For fun, if you take the Phillies Nation Top 100, here is how it would shake out with the following criteria:
1. It can only contain folks that made the PN Top 100 and the highest ranked player at each position will get the nod. As an example, despite having one of the greatest pinch-hitting runs in club history, Del Unser would not be able to take a bench spot. Matt Stairs is not eligible, either.
3. Unless a starting pitcher has been used in a swinging capacity in his career and has over 50 relief appearances as a Phil, he must remain a starter and not be slotted in the bullpen.
4. Starting position players must have spent most of their career at their position. For instance, even though Mike Schmidt played first base, he would only be eligible for third despite the fact that Schmidt and Scott Rolen in a line-up could potentially be more potent than Schmidt and Ryan Howard depending on your point of view.
5. You must take a back-up catcher, at least one left-handed reliever, and at least one bench middle infielder.
1B Howard (#27)
3B Schmidt (#1)
This one is pretty cut and dry with the possible exception of Dutch. The Phillies have a run of half-decent catchers in their history (Daulton, Jack Clements at #34, Mike Lieberthal at #46, Carlos Ruiz at #48, Stan Lopata at #49, and Andy Seminick at #50) so this one could go in a few different directions after some debate but according to our rankings, this is how it shakes down.
This one will probably turn some heads. Some will probably prefer Chuck Klein (#13) and his MVP but Abreu played in a tougher environment (CBP v. the Baker Bowl) and put up a similar OPS (.928 as a Phillie v. Klein’s .935) with significantly more steals (254 v. 71) and the highest OBP in club history for those with over 1500 PA.
C Clements (#34)
OF Klein (#13)
Wow – there are some big names left off the list, here. The notably excluded include Billy Hamilton (#15), Roy Thomas (#18), Johnny Callison (#19), Garry Maddox (#22), and others. But this is a pretty amazing bench: a left-handed catcher, one of the best left-handed power hitters of his time, one of the best right-handed power hitting corner infielders of his time, and a pair of speedy, great-glove players that can get on base at will. Not bad.
RHP Roberts (#3)
RHP Grover Cleveland Alexander (#7)
Nothing too much to debate here, although some of the game’s biggest big-game pitchers of all-time are out in the cold for this one (Curt Schilling, #16 and Cliff Lee, #26). On a side note, the Phillies may have one of the best MLB all-time 1-2-3 top pitchers, ever.
Long Man: LHP Simmons (#17)
I had to get a little creative with both Rixey and Simmons, but both were starting pitchers that had a number of relief appearances with the Phillies (Rixey 55, Simmons 62). The roles, other than Simmons in the long-man role, are sort of arbitrary but this is how I envision it would shake down.
Any thoughts? If you had to do it from scratch, what would it look like?