3 Numbers To Remember With Jonny Heller

33 Number to Remember: The defining stats of Cliff Lee’s career


Cliff Lee is one of the best pitchers to ever wear a Phillies uniform.

After his first stint was cut short by a surprising offseason trade, Lee returned to the Phillies in 2011 to form one of the best rotations in baseball history. Despite a not-so-spectacular team result, Lee was a top pitcher during the 2011 season and the rest of his time with the Phillies.

Cliff Lee is one of the best pitchers in Phillies history. (Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire)

In honor of the number he wore during his second stint with the team, here are 33 numbers to remember about Cliff Lee’s great career as we celebrate Cliff Lee Month on Phillies Nation:

Four – Teams Played for Throughout Career

Lee spent the first five full seasons of his career in Cleveland with the Indians before being traded to the Phillies in July of 2009. Lee was traded again to the Mariners the following offseason and then to the Rangers during the 2010 season before returning to the Phillies in 2011.

Five – Numbers Worn

Besides the 33, which he wore as a Phillie from 2011-2014, Lee wore 61, 34, 31 and 36. He wore 34 during his first stint as a Phillie.

29 – Complete Games

Lee was one of the best in the game at pitching deep into games, and ranks sixth among all major league starters since 2000.

12 – Complete Game Shutouts

This ties him for fourth among all major league starters since 2000.

Six – Complete Game Shutouts in 2011

This was the most for any pitcher in a single season since Randy Johnson in 1998.

Two – Top-3 Cy Young Award Finishes

Lee did this once with in Cleveland and once in Philadelphia.

One – Cy Young Award

In 2008, Lee won his only Cy Young Award as a member of the Cleveland Indians, when he went 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA.

Two – Top-15 MVP Finishes

Lee got votes on the MVP ballot in 2008 and 2011, finishing 12th in 2008 and 15th in 2011.

Five – Seasons With a FIP Under 3.00

Only five other starting pitchers have five or more such seasons since 2000.

One – 20+ Win Season

Lee notably got bad run support throughout much of his career, and likely deserved better W/L numbers than he had each season. His best result as a Phillie came in 2011, when he finished 17-8.

Four – Seasons Leading MLB in BB/9

Like one-time teammate Roy Halladay, much of Lee’s success came from excellent control.

Three – Seasons Leading MLB in K/BB

Despite not always having high strikeout numbers, Lee’s ability to avoid walks helped him rank in the top of the league in this category throughout his career.

6.56 – K/BB as a Phillie

Lee had excellent control, and this was especially true during his time as a Phillie. This ranks top among all qualified starters ever in Phillies history.

2.94 – ERA as a Phillie

This ranks second among all qualified Phillies starting pitchers since 1960, behind Jim Bunning.

2.52 – Career Postseason ERA

Lee failed to reach the postseason during his time in Cleveland, but reached it in three consecutive years – twice as a Phillie in 2009 and 2011, and once as a Ranger in 2010. He pitched well for the most part, but notably struggled in a 2011 NLDS game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

8-3 – Record of Teams in Postseason Appearances

This includes the Phillies combined 5-1 record in his 2009 and 2011 starts.

1.56 – ERA in 2009 Playoffs

After pitching well down the stretch, Lee shined in his first ever postseason. The Phillies went 5-0 in his starts during his playoff dominance.

Four – All-Star Appearances

Lee reached the All-Star game once as a member of the Cleveland Indians, once as a member of the Seattle Mariners and twice as a member of the Phillies.

Zero – World Series Championships

Lee reached the World Series with the Phillies in 2009 and the Rangers in 2010, but both teams fell short and Lee eventually retired without a ring.

Two – Career Home Runs

Despite spending much of his career in the American League, Lee was a pretty good hitter during his time on the Phillies, even getting two base hits in his first start with the team in 2009. Lee finished his Phillies career with 10-extra base hits, including the two home runs he hit in the 2011 season.

.267 – career postseason batting average

Lee’s skills at the plate carried into the playoffs

0.5% – Percent of Vote Received in First Time on Hall of Fame Ballot

Despite excellent peak numbers, Lee lacked the longevity to give him a solid Hall of Fame case. He fell off the ballot in his first year of eligibility.

21.9 – Career fWAR as a Phillie

This ranks Lee 11th all time among all Phillies pitchers.

Four – Seasons With an fWAR Above 6.0

These seasons came sequentially from 2008-2011. Lee ranked second in fWAR among all MLB starters during that stretch, just behind teammate Roy Halladay.

Three – Seasons as a Phillie with an fWAR Above 5.0

These came from 2011-2013, and are three out of just seven total 5+ fWAR seasons among Phillies pitchers.

1.94 – Career BB/9

This ranks 13th among all major league starters with 1,000+ innings pitched since 2000.

Eight – Seasons with 200+ Innings

One of Lee’s best strengths during his peak was his durability, as he had six consecutive seasons with 200+ innings pitched from 2008-2013.

10 – Shutout Innings in a 2012 Game

In an April game against the Giants in 2012, Lee became the first pitcher since Mark Mulder to pitch 10 shutout innings. The Phillies still lost the game, 1-0, in 11 innings.

0.93 – Career HR/9

Throughout his career, Lee was effective at keeping the ball in the yard.

0.21 – ERA in June of 2011

Lee was absolutely unreal in the month of June in 2011, when he pitched 42 innings and allowed just one earned run.

.542% – Phillies Winning Percentage in his Starts

The Phillies often failed to win in games pitched by Lee despite his best efforts. Given his production, the team could have been much more successful. The season that stands out the most is 2012, when the Phillies went 12-18 in his starts despite him pitching 211 innings to the tune of a 3.16 ERA.

$122,227,500 – Estimated Earnings During His Time as a Phillie

Lee shocked the baseball world when he signed a five-year, $120 million dollar contract with the Phillies. He is the second highest earning player in Phillies history.

18 – Battery Mates

Lee saw several catchers behind the plate during his major league career. Victor Martinez caught more than any other single catcher, with Carlos Ruiz not far behind.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ken Romanowski

    June 4, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    Unless I missed it in your article, Cliff Lee is the only Phillie to beat the Yankees in the World Series, and he did it twice😀

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