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.
I know that I’d said I would give the answer on Wednesday but since Sue of Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts has already gotten the correct answer yesterday, I’d decided that I might as well give the answer out now.
First, the original question: Name the Phillies’ player who is the team leader in career batting average?
And the answer is, Hall of Famer Billy Hamilton. Hamilton spent six years playing for the Phillies from 1890 to 1895. During those six years, he complied a batting average of .361, which is thirteen points higher than fellow Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty, as he got 1079 hits in 2993 at-bats in 729 games played, mainly as an outfielder. During those six seasons as a Phil, he would win two batting titles (1891 and 1893) as well as four stolen base titles (1890-1891, 1894-1895).
So, Congratulations Sue. Next trivia question will be asked next Monday.