During the past 123 seasons, starting in 1886, when the National League have been able to record stolen bases, eight Phils have eleven times stolen more bases than anyone else in the NL, including one time when a Phil was tied with another National Leaguer.
The first Phil, when the team was then called the Quakers, to win the stolen base title, Ed Andrews, is also the first National Leaguer to win the title, winning it in 1886 with 56 stolen bases. The next Phillie player to win the title was Jim Fogarty, who won it with 99 steals in 1889. Hall of Famer Billy Hamilton was the third Phil to lead the league in steals, doing it four times in a six-year period, with 102 steals in 1890, 111 steals in 1891 (which is still the team’s franchise record, although Juan Samuel is listed as the modern single season steal leader with his 72 steals in 1984), 98 in 1894 and 97 in 1895. Fellow Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty became the fourth Phillie player to lead the league in steals, stealing 58 bases in 1898. No Phil would win the title for the next thirty-four seasons. Hall of Famer Chuck Klein then became the fifth Phil to win the stolen base crown with his 20 steals during his MVP season of 1932. Danny Murtaugh becomes the next Phil to win the title, swiping just 18 bases in 1941. Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn was the seventh Phil to win the title as he steals 32 bases during his rookie season of 1948. It would then be another fifty-three seasons before another Phil would win the title. In 2001, Jimmy Rollins would win the title, tying with Juan Pierre of the Colorado Rockies, with both men stealing 46 bases.
Of the eight Phils to lead the league in stolen bases, four of them (Billy Hamilton, Ed Delahanty, Chuck Klein and Richie Ashburn) are now in the Hall of Famers, responsible for a total of seven titles. Hamilton has the highest total among the champs, with 111 steal in 1891, setting the franchise’s overall stolen base record, while Danny Murtaugh has the lowest with his 18 steals in 1941. The Phils have won seven stolen base titles in the 19th Century, three in the 20th Century, and one, so far, in the 21st Century.
Who would be the next Phillie player to lead the National League in stolen bases? Jimmy Rollins is the most likely Phil to win it, but history is not on his side.
One of the rarest of hitting accomplishments is batting .400 during the regular season. Not done since 1941, when Hall of Famer Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox hit .406 that season, batting .400 has been done only twenty-eight times since 1876. All but six of the men to reach .400 are now members of the Hall of Fame. The first player to do it would be Ross Barnes of the Chicago White Stockings (now the Chicago Cubs), who would bat .429 in the first National League season of 1876, winning the batting title for that year. Hall of Famer Hugh Duffy of the Boston Beaneaters (now the Atlanta Braves) would have the highest .400 average, as he would hit .440 in 1894. Fellow Hall of Famer Ty Cobb of the Detroit Tigers would have the lowest .400 batting average, hitting .401 in 1922. Cobb is tied with fellow Hall of Famers Ed Delahanty and Rogers Hornsby for the most times a player would have hit over .400 in his career, with all three men doing it three times a piece.
In the history of the Phillies, four Phils have officially hit .400 or better six times, three times by the above mentioned Delahanty, and once each by fellow Hall of Famers Billy Hamilton and Sam Thompson and Tuck Turner. Delahanty would hit .400 for the first time in 1894, as he would hit .407 that season. Hamilton would also reach .400 for the only time in his carrer that same year as he would bat .404, along with fellow outfielders Thompson (.407) and Turner (.416), being the only outfield in baseball history that would bat over .400 during the same season. None of them would win the batting title that year, as they would all be outhit by Duffy’s .440. Delahanty would hit .400 again in 1895, hitting .404 in 1895. Delahanty would become the last Phil batter to hit over .400, as he would hit .410 in 1899, winning his first batting title in the process. Although Delahanty is listed as the Phil with the highest batting average in the team’s history (his .410 in 1895), Turner’s .416 is recognized by major league baseball as a .400 batting average, although he only played part-time in 1894.
Among the 28 .400 hitters, Phillies are ranked at number 9 (Turner, 1894), 11-T (Delahanty, 1899), 16-T (Thompson, 1894), 18 (Delahanty, 1894), 20 (Hamilton, 1894) and 21 (Delahanty, 1895).
Will another Phil ever reach .400? I seriously doubt it, as such a person would have to avoid running into a major slump during the entire season.