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Phillies Nuggets: Who’s up next for the Wall of Fame?

Ryan Howard and Chase Utley were key members of the 2011 Phillies. (Christopher Szagola/Icon Sportswire)

In addition to a sweep of the New York Mets, this past weekend at Citizens Bank Park was special as the organization honored David Montgomery, Manny Trillo and Roy Halladay during Alumni Weekend.

Saturday, Trillo became the 42nd Phillie to be inducted onto the Wall of Fame, the first since Bobby Abreu in 2019. With nearly every notable player or coach from the 1980 and 1993 teams now inducted, it leaves you to wonder who will be next year’s inductee. Here’s a look at a few possibilities.

Dan Baker

Baker was unable to serve as the Phillies public address announcer in 2020, but has returned in 2021 and hasn’t missed a step. 2022 will mark Baker’s 50th season serving as the PA announcer at Citizens Bank Park, and the story really just writes itself here. An all-time great Phillies employee, and an incredible person deserves this honor.

Chris Wheeler

Perhaps not as appreciated as he should have been during his 37 years in the Phillies broadcast booth, there were quite a few people thankful that Wheels made appearances over Alumni Weekend. Monday is Wheeler’s 76th birthday, and if you spend 10 minutes talking to him, you get the sense he could still be a color commentator today, seven years after last working in the booth.

A lot of names from 2008

There’s going to be a slew of 2008 Phillies that are Wall of Famers, in addition to Pat Burrell and Charlie Manuel, who have already been inducted.

Cole Hamels is a lock, but you have to be retired for three years to be eligible for election, and he’s still actively playing. However, Chase Utley will have been retired for three years after the conclusion of the 2021 season, while Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard already have surpassed that mark. The Phillies held individual retirement nights for Utley, Rollins and Howard in 2019, so it may be a few years before they’re ultimately on the ballot, but it’s just a matter of when with that trio.

One would think that Carlos Ruiz, Brad Lidge and Shane Victorino are also destined to be inducted at some point too.

From here, Jayson Werth has a pretty interesting case as well. He made an All-Star team as a Phillie and is the franchise’s all-time leader in postseason home runs.

Scott Rolen

Things may not have ended well, but there’s been a thawing in the relationship between Rolen and the Phillies as we approach 20 years since he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Ahead of 2021 Hall of Fame voting, the Phillies PR staff sent out a press release touting Rolen’s worthiness of induction into Cooperstown. The eight-time Gold Glove Award winner received 52.9% of the vote in 2021, his fourth year on the Hall of Fame ballot. There appears to be a very real chance that Rolen is voted into the Hall of Fame in the next half decade.

While the seven-time All-Star’s peak came with the Cardinals, Rolen won the 1997 National League Rookie of the Year with the Phillies and played more games in Philadelphia than with any other franchise. This isn’t a fringe case, Rolen’s induction onto the Wall of Fame is long overdue.

Cliff Lee

As far as we can tell, the only time Lee’s spoken or been seen publicly since he last pitched in 2014 was after the passing of Halladay in November of 2017. He wasn’t at the 10-year anniversary of the 2009 National League Champions in 2019, nor was he in attendance for Halladay’s number retirement ceremony this past weekend.

But you’ll find Phillies fans from pretty much every generation that will tell you that they enjoyed watching Lee pitch about as much as anyone in franchise history. In his first stint with the Phillies, Lee had a dominant postseason run, starting both games that the Phillies won in the 2009 World Series. Lee made two All-Star Game appearances in his second stint with the Phillies (2011, 2013), finishing third in National League Cy Young Award voting in 2011.

If the Phillies could be assured that Lee would attend his own Wall of Fame induction, he’s got a strong case, having posted a 2.94 ERA and 2.85 FIP in 118 career starts as a Phillie.

Jonathan Papelbon

This will probably never happen because Papelbon seemingly didn’t leave Philadelphia on very good terms, and you’re not really sure what he’d say during a speech. But he made two All-Star teams as a Phillie and is the franchise leader in saves. In theory, if any reliever is going to make it, Papelbon should be it.


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