As the Phils get ready for their first spring training game, tomorrow, against Florida State, they have made several announcements after the arrival of all of their players to camp:
1) Charlie Manuel announced that the team was going to do some more small ball this season, which was quickly emphasised by him talking to the team’s lead-off man, and one of the leaders of the team, Jimmy Rollins last Thursday. This was followed by announcements that he was going to allow possible Hall of Famer Jim Thome to help some of the hitters improve on their hitting approach, and that he was going to have them bunt more (for base hits). Mike Schmidt, who is now in camp as a special coach, will also be helping the batters’ with their hitting approach, along with fellow Hall of Famer, and Iron Pigs coach Ryne Sandburg, while staying in camp a bit longer. While this is good news, since using small ball, as well as stealing more bases, should give the opposing defenses something to think about, I will not be convinced until the Phils leave Florida in late March with Juan Pierre as one of their players coming off the bench, since he would be a good option to use late in games because of both his speed and bat control.
2) Jose Contreras had another bullpen session, and is continuing to pitch fine with no elbow trouble, according to pitching coach Rich Dubee. This is good news, as it should give the team several good eighth innings options between him, Antonio Bastardo and Chad Qualls, if all three players make the team out of spring training.
3) And speaking of pitchers, starter Cliff Lee missed a bullpen session last week because of abdominal problems, and was told to skip the session. Lee said that he is feeling fine now and should be able to pitch in a bullpen session today. Hopefully, it was only a temporary problem.
4) Speaking of players’ health, Ryan Howard is right now in Baltimore, having a check-up with foot and ankle specialist Mark Myerson, to check on his achilles tendon, to make sure that there’s no problem with it, since it was mentioned during the weekend that Howard was having a delayed reaction to the sutures. GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. later announced that they doubt that it was a major problem. Anyway, it should help the Phils decide how they should continue their approach on Howard’s rehab, although they don’t really expect him back until about late May at the earliest. My opinion is that they should take as much time as they can to get Howard back healthy, as they already have a few options to play first base.
and 5), Chase Utley has announced that he should be able to come back from his leg troubles last year, while it is expected that he will be given the occasional rest, to help his legs, while Placido Polanco has announced that he is ready to go.
This past Friday, Jim Thome announced that he was doing what he could do, physically, to get himself ready to occasionally play first base (expected to be at least once a week) both before and after Ryan Howard returns, although during the season the Phils will be using him mainly as a late-innings pinch-hitting threat, like they did with Matt Stairs in late 2008 and 2009. Although the Phils will most likely be using Ty Wigginton as their everyday first baseman with John Mayberry playing the position against certain lefties during the regular season, until Howard’s expected return in late May, it is nice to know that Thome is getting himself ready for when he is called upon to play the position.
On Monday, it was announced that former Phils announcer Andy Musser died on Sunday at the age of 74 at his home in Wynnewood, PA. Musser was a member of the Phils’ broadcasting crew from 1976-2001, working with Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn and Ford C. Frick Award winners Harry Kalas and Tim McCarver, as well as present Phil broadcaster Chris Wheeler. Rest in Peace, Chris, and late condolences to your family.
During the Phillies’ 127-year existence as a member of the National League, that had lead the league in ERA only four times, being done by just three men.
The first Phil to lead the lead in ERA was Dan Casey, who led the NL in 1887 with an ERA of 2.86. The second Phil to have the lowest ERA was Hall of Fame Grover Cleveland Alexander who did so during his pitching triple crown seasons of 1915 (1.22), when he help lead the Phils to their first NL pennant, and 1916 (1.55). The third, and at the moment, last Phil to lead the NL in ERA was Hall of Famer Steve Carlton, who did it during his pitching triple crown year of 1972 with an ERA of 1.97.
Of the three Phils to lead the National League, two of them (Alexander and Carlton) are in the Hall of Fame. Of the four time that a Phil led the league, it was done once in the 19th Century and three times in the 20th Century. Grover Cleveland Alexander had the lowest ERA, with his 1.22 in 1915, while Dan Casey had the highest with his 2.86 in 1887.
Who is the most likely Phil who is most likely to next lead the NL in ERA? More than likely it would be Roy Halladay, although Cliff Lee is also likely to do it.
During the organization’s 127-year existence as a member of the National League, seven starters who had wore the Phillies’ uniform has won the most games in seventeen seasons.
The first Phil to lead the league in wins would be Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander, who would do so in his rookie season of 1911, winning 28 games. The next Phil to lead the NL in wins would be Tom Seaton, who, in 1913, would lead the league with 27 wins. Alexander would then become the leader in wins for the next four seasons with 27 wins in 1914, 31 wins in 1915, as he help lead the Phils to their first National League pennant, as he performed the first of his two straight triple crown (Wins/ERA/Ks) pitching season as a Phil, 33 wins in 1916, as he performed his second triple crown season, while setting the Phils record for most wins in a season, and 30 wins in 1917. The third Phil to lead the league in victories would be Jumbo Elliott, who did so in a tie for first with Bill Hallahan of the St. Louis Cardinals and Heinie Meine of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who all had 19 wins in 1931. The fourth Phil pitcher to lead the NL in wins would be Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, who would lead the league with 28 victories in 1952, then would be tied for the lead in 1953 with fellow Hall of Famer Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves with 23 wins, then lead the league by himself in both 1954 and 1955 with 23 wins in both years. The fifth Phil starter to lead the NL would be Hall of Famer Steve Carlton, who first lead the NL in his pitching triple crown season of 1972, as he lead the NL with 27 wins, followed by 1977 with 23 victories, then 24 in 1980, as he helped lead the Phils to their first World Series Championship, and finally 1982, when he won 23 starts. The sixth Phil pitcher to lead the league would follow in 1983, as John Denny would lead the league with 19 wins, as he help lead the Phils to their fourth NL pennant. It would be twenty-seven years before the seventh, and presently last, Phil starter would lead the NL in wins, when Roy Halladay led the National League in wins with 21 in 2010.
Of the seven Phils to lead the National League in victories, three of them were Hall of Famers (Grover Cleveland Alexander, Robin Roberts and Steve Carlton), with all three of them doing it multiple times. Alexander did it the most, as he won the title five times, with two of them as he won the pitching equivalent of the triple crown, followed by Robin Roberts and Steve Carlton, who have both won the title four times, with Carlton also performing the pitching triple crown. The other four have won it only once. Two of the Phils were tied for the lead in wins when they won the title, Jumbo Elliott in a three-way tie in 1931, and Roberts, when he was tied with Warren Spahn in 1953. Alexander had the most wins, when he won the title with 33 wins in 1916, which is still a team record, while Elliott and John Denny won the title with the least wins as the two recorded only 19 wins in 1931 and 1983, respectively. Phils’ pitchers have led the NL sixteen times in the 20th Century and have, so far, only done it once in the 21st Century.
Who might be the next Phil starter to lead the NL in victories? It could be any of their four major starters, as three of them (Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee) have all already lead either league in wins.
During the team’s previous 127-year history, twelve Phillies players have led the National League in at-bats a total of 20 times, with four of them winning it more than once.
The first Phil to lead the NL in at-bats was Hall of Famer Sam Thompson, who would win it in 1893 with 600 at-bats. The next Phil to lead the NL would be Duff Cooley, who in 1897 ended up in a four-way tie with Gene DeMontreville of the Washington Senators, Fred Tenney of the Boston Beaneaters and George Van Haltren of the New York Giants, who all finished that year with 566 at-bats. The third Phil to lead the NL in at-bats was Eddie Grant, who would do it in two straight seasons, with 598 at-bats in 1908, and leading again in 1909 with 631 at-bats. The fourth Phil to lead the league in at-bats would do so twenty-four years later, as Chick Fullis would have the most at-bats in 1933 with 647 of them. Phils nos. five and six would be tied for the lead in 1949 as Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn and Granny Hamner would both end the season in a tie for first with 662 at-bats. The next Phil to lead the NL was Larry Bowa, who ended the 1971 season with 650 at-bats. Phil no. eight would be Dave Cash, who would lead the league in three straight years, 1974 (687), 1975 (699) and 1976 (666), helping to lead the team to the first of three NL Eastern Division pennants that year. The ninth Phil to lead the league in official at-bats would be Juan Samuel, who, like Cash, would lead the NL in three seasons, 1984 (701), 1985 (663) and 1987 (655). The next Phil to lead the league in at-bats was Lenny Dykstra, who did so in 1993, the year that the Phils won the NL pennant, with 637 at bats. The eleventh Phil to lead the league would be Doug Glanville, who would have 678 at-bats in 1998. The twelfth, and presently last, Phil to lead the NL in at-bats is Jimmy Rollins, who would lead the lead in at-bats in four different seasons, 2001 (656), 2002 (637), 2007 (716), the year that he won the MVP as he help lead the Phils to their first NL Eastern Division title since 1993 and 2009 (672), the season that the Phils would win their first back-to-back NL pennants.
During the twenty times that a Phil had led the league in officials at-bats, three had done so while tied with another player, in 1897 (4-way tie) and 1949 (2-way tie between two Phils). Phils would lead the NL twice in the 19th Century, fifteen times in the 20th Century and four times, so far, in the 21st Century. Two of the Phils to lead the league were Hall of Famers (Sam Thompson in 1893 and Richie Ashburn in 1949). Jimmy Rollins had done it the most times with four, followed by both Juan Samuel and Dave Cash, who have each done it three times, then Eddie Grant, who did it twice. The rest have done it only once. Jimmy Rollins would have the highest total of at-bats with his 716 in 2007 and Duff Cooley would have the least with his 566 official at-bats in 1897.
Who would most likely be the next Phil to lead the NL in at-bats? Most likely Jimmy Rollins, if he can keep from getting injured.
During the 54-year existence of the Cy Young Award, created a year after the death of the man it was named after, Hall of Famer Cy Young, four Phils have won the award, after it had been spilt in 1967 into separate awards for the NL and AL, for a total of seven times.
The first Phil to win the award was Hall of Famer Steve Cartlon, who won the first of four awards in 1972, when he went 27-10, including 15 wins in a row, as he won around half the games for a last place Phillies team, with an ERA of 1.98. He won his second award in 1977, as he helped lead the Phils to their second of three straight Eastern Division titles, as he went 23-10 with an ERA of 2.64. He won his third Cy Young in 1980, as he lead the Phils to their first World Series crown, with a record of 24-9 and an ERA of 2.34. Carlton would win his fourth and last Cy Young in 1982, as the Phils finished in second place behind the World Champions St. Louis Cardinals, as he went 23-11 with a high ERA (for him) of 3.11. The second Phil to win the award would by John Denny in 1983, as he help lead the ‘Wheeze Kids’ to their fourth NL flag, with a record of 19-6 and an ERA of 2.37. The third Phil to win the team’s sixth Cy Young Award was relief pitcher Steve Bedrosian, who in 1987, would lead the league in saves with 40 of them, while recording a win-lost record of 5-3 with an ERA of 2.83. The seventh, and most recent Cy Young Award was just won this season (2010) by Roy Halladay, who had a win-lost record of 21-10 with an ERA of 2.44.
Among the seven awards, six were won in the 20th Century and one in the 21st century, as six of the awards were won by a starter, while one was won by a relief pitcher. Steve Carlton has won the most awards with four, while the other three winners have so far won one award each. Steve Cartlon had the most wins (27 in 1972) and had the lowest ERA (1.98, also in ’72) as well as won it with the highest ERA (3.11 in 1982) among the four Phils who had won the award, while Steve Bedrosian had the lowest number of wins (5 in 1987) while winning the award, since he won it based on the number of saves that he had recorded that season (40).
Who will win it next? If he continues to pitch well, Halladay should have another Cy Young Award by the time his present contract runs out, unless either Cole Hamels or Roy Oswalt are able to pitch better than him within the next two-three years.
The BBWAA have just announced that Roy Halladay was voted the National League Cy Young Award, becoming the fifth pitcher to win the award as a pitcher in both league, as he had won the award in 2003 while pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays, joining Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry, future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens.
Roy received all 32 first-place votes for a total of 224 points, beating out Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals, who had received 28 second-place votes, for a total of 122 votes, and Ubaldo Jiminez, who ended third with 90 votes, including 4 second-place votes.
Roy won the votes by going 21-10 as he pitched in 33 games, all starts, as he finished first, second or third in several categories, including finishing first with the most wins in the NL (21), most complete games (9), shutouts (4) and innings pitched (250 2/3), while he finished second in strikeouts (219), behind Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants, and third in ERA (2.44), behind Josh Johnson of the Florida Marlins and Wainwright. He also pitched the 20th perfect game in MLB History as he threw a no-no against the Marlins on May 29, at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, as he pitched the Phils to a 1-0 win.
Halladay became the fourth Phil to win the award, following four-time winner Hall of Famer Steve Carlton (1972, 1977, 1980, 1982), John Denny (1983), and Steve Bedrosian (1987).
Congratulations, Doc. You deserve this win.