In its 128-year history as a member of the National League, the Phillies have won twenty-one on-base percentage titles. Thirteen Phils have won the title, with five of them winning it more than once.
The first Phil to win the title was Hall of Famer Billy Hamilton, who did in it 1891 with a .453 percentage. He would win the second and third title to be won by a Phil player by winning it two years in a row, in 1893 and again in 1894, with on-base percentages of .490 and .521, respectively. Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty would become the second Phil to win the team’s fourth title, the fourth in five years, by winning it in 1895 with an on-base percentage of .500. The next Phil to win the title would be Roy Thomas, who would win the Phil’s fifth and sixth titles in 1902 and 1903, with marks of .414 and .453. The fourth Phil to win the title, the team’s seventh, would be Sherry Magee, who would win it in 1910, with a .445 percentage. The fifth Phil to win the title would be Gavvy Cravath, who won the title in 1915, the year that the Phils won their first National League title and in 1916, with marks of .393 and .379. It would be fourteen years before another Phil would win the team’s tenth title, which would be done by Lefty O’Doul in 1929 with a mark of .465. The seventh Phil to win the title would be Hall of Famer Chuck Klein, who would win the team’s eleventh title in 1933, the year that he won the batting triple crown, by posting an on-base percentage of .422. The eighth Phil to win the title would be Dolph Camilli, who would win the title in 1937 with a .446 percentage. The next Phil to secure the title would be Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn, who would win the title in 1954, 1955 and 1958, with percentages of .441, .449 and .440. The tenth Phil to become the on-base percentage leader would be Dick Allen, who would win the title in 1967 with a .404 mark. Pete Rose would become the eleventh Phil to win it, winning the team’s seventeenth title in 1979 with a .418 mark. The twelfth Phil to win the title would be Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, who would it in the strike-shortened year of 1981, 1982 and 1983 with marks of .435, .403 and .399. The thirteenth, and at the moment last, Phil to win the title would be Lenny Dykstra, who won the team’s twenty-first title in 1990 with a .418 mark. No Phil has won the title since then.
Of the twenty-one titles won by the Phils, eleven of them, or almost half of them, have been won by Hall of Famers, with Billy Hamilton, Richie Ashburn and Mike Schmidt each winning three titles, while Ed Delahanty and Chick Klein would win the other two titles. Roy Thomas and Gavvy Cravath, other than the three Hall of Famers, have won more than one title, with each man winning two titles. The Phil with the highest on-base percentage when he won the title was Hamilton with his .521 mark in 1894, while the Phil with the lowest percentage was Cravath with his .379 mark in 1916. Phils have won the title four times in the 19th Century, seventeen times in the 20th, and so far have not won it in the 21st Century.
Who will be the next Phil to win the title? I have really no idea.
During the Phillies’ 126 years as a member of the National League, the team have had a member outhit the rest of the league only sixteen times in its existence. Eleven players would win the title, with one player actually doing it three times, while two others, who would both win the title twice, would both win one title while tied with another National Leaguer.
The first Phillie player to win the title would be Hall of Famer Sam Thompson, who would do it in 1890, as he would get 172 hits, tying him for the lead with Jack Glassock of the New York (now San Francisco) Giants. The next Phil to be the NL hits leader would be fellow Hall of Famer Billy Hamilton, who would win the title the following year, 1891, as he would get 179 hits. Thompson would regain the title in 1893, as he would get 222 hits. The third Phil to win the team’s fourth hits title would be Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty, who would get 238 hits in 1899. The fourth Phillie player to win the hits title would be Gravvy Gravath, who would win it in 1913 with 179 hits. The following year, 1914, Sherry Magee would become the fifth Phil to become the hits champ, as he would get 171 hits that season. Lefty O’Doul would become the sixth Phil to win the title, as he would get 154 hits in 1929, which is still the franchise record for the most hits in a season. The seventh Phillie player to win the hits title would be Hall of Famer Chuck Klein, who would get 226 hits in 1932. Klein would follow that up by winning his second straight hits title during his Triple Crown season of 1933, as he would get 223 hits that year. The Phillies would not will the title again for eighteen years. Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn would then become the eighth Phil to win the team’s tenth hits title as he would win the title in 1951 with 221 hits. He would then win his second hits title two years later, in 1953, as he would get 205 hits. Ashburn would then get his third and final hits title as a Phil as he would get 215 hits in 1958. Dave Cash would become the ninth Phil to win the title, as he would win it in 1975 with 213 hits. Pete Rose would win the title in the strike year of 1981, become the ten Phillie player to win it, as he would get 140 hits that season. The eleventh, and presently the last Phil, to win the title would be Lenny Dykstra, who would win the title first in 1990, tied for the lead with Brett Butler of the San Francisco Giants, with both men getting 192 hits, and winning it by himself in 1993 with 194 hits, as he help lead the Phils to the National League pennant that year. The Phillies have not won a hits title since 1993.
Of the eleven men to win the titles, five of them would be hall of famers, who together would win nine of the sixteen hits titles. O’Doul would win the title with the most hits (154 in 1929) while Pete Rose would win it with the least hits (140 in 1981). The Phillies have won four titles in the 19th Century and twelve in the 20th, and, so far, none in the 21st Century.
Who would be the next Phil to win the hits title? I have no idea at this point, but I wouldn’t put it beyond either Chase Utley or Jimmy Rollins as being the one to do it.