The Philadelphia sports scene is already overcrowded. But here's one more thing.
The Philadelphia sports scene is already overcrowded. But here's one more thing.
Originally Published May 30, June 11, June 26, July 11 & July 25, 2018
UPDATED November 6, 2020
This is a compilation of a multi-part series to decide who the Phils' top player is at each uniform number throughout their history. We'll keep it updated annually, or as needed.
#0 – Al Oliver. He was the only Phillie to ever wear it.
#00 – Rick White’s three wins as a reliever in 2006 give him the edge over Omar Olivares, the only other Phillie to wear double zero.
#1 – Richie Ashburn. Case Closed.
#2 – Granny Hamner wore it for a decade and made three all-star appearances during that time, so he wins. In our lifetimes, Rico Brogna is the top deuce. JP Crawford, we hardly knew ye. You'd think that Jean Segura would have been able to make a run, but that's not happening.
#3 – This number was worn by Chuck Klein for two seasons, including his triple crown year. He'll hold it for now, but of course it's only a matter of time before this is Bryce Harper's forever.
#4 – Love him or hate him, and nobody loves him, Lenny Dykstra takes top spot here and it’s not even close. His 1993 season was the stuff of legend. You can read my comparison of him to Tiger King here. Also of note at this uniform number are Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx in his only season as a Phillie and Eddie Waitkus, whose story of surviving a gunshot from a crazed fan earlier in his career partly inspired The Natural. As for Scott Kingery...no.
#5 – Pat Burrell all the way. Pat the Bat not only has the numbers to support it, but eight years wearing numero cinco gave him plenty of time to work with since nobody else has worn it for even five seasons.
#6 – Johnny Callison had a good run, wearing #6 for the entirety of the 1960’s during a fine Phillies career that included three all-star appearances. But Ryan Howard blew him out of the water, and the Big Piece will likely hold this spot for as long as the Phillies exist.
#7 – Not much to pick from here, as there are a bunch of one-year wearers like Jeremy Giambi and Jayson Nix. Mariano Duncan deserves a mention. But the winner is recent wearer Maikel Franco. He never came close to realizing his potential, but it was good enough to be the top #7 in Phils history.
#8 – Several good options at this number. First, Bob Boone. He made 3 all-star teams and of course backstopped the Phillies to their first World Series title in 1980. An old childhood favorite of mine, Juan Samuel, also deserves to be in the conversation as well. And I’d like to mention Jim Eisenreich, a class act who batted .324 in his four years in Philadelphia. But when you look at the numbers and what they contributed to the franchise, Shane Victorino is the winner. As I have written before, he is the best outfielder the Phillies have had this century, and he has the edge over Samuel by virtue of three Gold Gloves and a better batting average. That 2008 World Series didn’t hurt either.
#9 – He was only in town for four years, but Manny Trillo has to be the top #9 for the Phillies. In that short time, he amassed 3 Gold Gloves, 2 all-star appearances and a World Series win. It’s more than enough to top the only other guy in the conversation (and the man he was traded for), Von Hayes. Though he never came close to what was expected, Hayes had a decent, albeit too lengthy, Phillies career.
#10 – This is a tight call, and it probably has everything to do with your generation. While I appreciate all that Larry Bowa did for the Phillies over his twelve seasons (5 time all-star), my heart directs me to pick Darren Daulton here. Few players in franchise history have been as admired for the way they played the game, and he was really the engine that drove the 1993 team. His was the rare case of us being happy for a former player who won a championship after they left town. He and Bowa are both Phillies through and through, but Dutch gets the edge here. Phillies nation misses him greatly. As of this writing, J.T. Realmuto is still in the running for this number, but you can forget that once he signs with a New York team.
#11 – Jimmy Rollins didn’t have to do much to claim the top spot here. But thanks to a borderline Hall of Fame career that included 4 Gold Gloves and an MVP award, he is entrenched as one of the greatest Phillies ever. #11 won’t be getting handed out again anytime soon.
#12 – Not much to pick from here, so the man who wore it the longest is the winner. And that’s Mickey Morandini, he of the unassisted triple play. And that’s basically all you can say.
#13 – Only fifteen Phillies have ever worn unlucky number 13, the lowest pool to choose from of any number between 2 and 35. And even though I strongly dislike him, Billy Wagner is the top choice for his 59 saves in his two seasons as a Phil, beating out Freddy Galvis.
#14 – Big time controversy here. #14 is retired in honor of Hall of Famer Jim Bunning. But Bunning played more for Detroit and pitched just six seasons for the Phillies, although he did accumulate an 89-73 record with a fine 2.93 ERA and almost 1200 strikeouts over that time. #14 was also worn by Pete Rose. The hit king played five years at #14 for the Phils and made 4 all-star teams, though a lot of that was just based on reputation by that point. But we're gonna go with a man who wore the number for 11 seasons. A three time all-star who knocked in 100 runs on six different occasions. A man who is in the top 10 in Phillies history in runs, RBI, hits, doubles, triples and home runs…Del Ennis.
#15 – Dave Hollins was decent. Otherwise, in the barren wasteland that features names like Ricky Otero and Steve Jeltz, Dick Allen is head and shoulders above everyone else. His rookie year of 1964 stands as the best in franchise history, as he hit .318 and led the league in runs, triples and total bases. Overall, he hit 204 homers as a Phil. You may not have realized that the Phils finally (and correctly) retired his number during the 2020 season.
#16 – Sorry, Cookie Rojas, but this has to go to JC Romero. A big contributor to the “Bridge to Lidge”, Romero was also the winning pitcher in the 2008 World Series clincher. He was solid out of the bullpen for a number of years. Cesar Hernandez would have had a shot if he stuck around a little longer.
#17 – This hurts. I am holding out hope for Rhys Hoskins, but he will have to do a lot to eventually pass Scott Rolen. Ugh. Read my book to see how I feel about him, but for the purposes of this exercise, let’s just say that his Rookie of the Year award, 3 Gold Gloves and multiple seasons with 25 homers and 100 RBI easily put him in the top spot here.
#18 – We've got a new leader here, as Didi Gregorius and his one season (a partial one, at that) make him the best #18 the Phils have ever had, beating out the 50 other guys who have worn it. Take that, Darin Ruf.
#19 – With 4 all-star selections and 223 home runs with the Phillies, Greg Luzinski is the unanimous choice here. Plus, some good BBQ at Bull’s. Mmm.
#20 – Let’s see here, let’s see…hmm, #20 hasn’t been worn by a Phillie in almost 30 years. Have to go back a ways. Ok, it looks like Ruben Amaro Sr. was the only guy to wear it for more than three seasons up through the 60’s. Let’s see, getting near the end…oh. Here’s a guy. 548 home runs, 12-time all-star, 10 Gold Gloves, 3 MVPs. Yeah, I guess we can give it to Michael Jack Schmidt.
#21 – Bake McBride had five solid seasons with the Phillies, but the first two came while he wore #22. Still, he did enough from 1979-1981 to claim top honors at #21. Shout-out to old-timer Andy Seminick who gives Bake a run for his money.
#22 – This number has a rich history of awesome names. Former Phils to have worn it include Snipe Hansen, Blondy Ryan and Schoolboy Rowe. It was even Mike Schmidt’s first number. And while I was tempted to go with Bake McBride again here, I’ll give it to Pete Incaviglia, who wore it in 1993 and 1994. Inky Dinky Doo had a career high 89 RBI during that ’93 season.
#23 – The first time I did this list, I discovered that this number was so bad that Aaron Altherr was the best Phil to have worn it. On a second pass sometime later, I gave it to new Phil Jay Bruce. He changed to #9 after that, but he still hangs on to the top spot here. I hope somebody good comes along.
#24 – Congrats to Mike Lieberthal. He took a lot of abuse while he was here, but you can’t deny he was a solid guy for the organization. And according to JAWS, which is some fancy stat, he was the 108th best catcher in baseball history. Not too shabby. I think. Anyway, I do feel kind of bad that he played for the Phillies between 1994 and 2006, which made up the entirety of their playoff drought that went from 1993 to 2007. Was he the problem, or was it a crazy coincidence? Either way, he’s the top guy here.
#25 – Remember when Gregg Jefferies hit for the cycle? You probably do, because that’s all he ever did in four years wearing this number for the Phillies. And although we were cheated of his true greatness, Jim Thome is the best #25 the Phils have ever seen. The big man played a key role in helping return the Phillies to prominence, even if he wasn’t around to see it after his injuries caused him to cede first base to Ryan Howard.
#26 – The only question is whether the Phillies will ever officially retire this number, because certainly they won’t be issuing it again. Chase Utley was the best second baseman in the game over a five-year period, a six-time all-star who won 4 Silver Sluggers. Knocked in over 100 runs four times. World F’ing Champion. One of the most popular Phillies to ever exist. It’s unfortunate that he was maybe two seasons short of his normal production to merit induction into Cooperstown. Still, he’ll be revered here for a long, long time.
#27 – Aaron Nola is already the man here and obviously has lots of room to pad his lead. I have visions dancing in my head of him becoming the best righthander and home grown pitcher that the Phillies have ever had. It’s still early, but all signs point to stardom. Let’s cross our fingers and hope that nothing derails this train. Also, dude needs to step up his game in September going forward. Just saying.
#28 – The man who wore it the longest was also the best. Curt Simmons is now a largely forgotten man from the Phillies’ Whiz Kids era, but the guy won 14+ games four times for the Phillies while wearing #28. Fun fact: He made his major league debut in the last game of the 1947 season as an 18-year old. He pitched a complete game in a 3-1 win over the New York Giants and even recorded a hit. This actually pre-dated him wearing this number, but still, I found it interesting. He’ll nudge out the bearded one, Jayson Werth, in this competition. Hopes are high that Alec Bohm can make this his someday.
#29 – The one-balled wonder himself, John Kruk, wore it from 1991-94, and was able to bat .310 over that span of time, even hitting 15 triples! Kruk also made three straight all-star appearances and embodied Philadelphia, as he pretty much continues to do to this day. Raul Ibanez creeps into the conversation, but his impact was nowhere near Kruk’s.
#30 – I know we’re all big fans of Porfi Altamirano, but you can’t argue with Dave Cash. He played just three years for the Phillies (1974-76), but he was an all-star each time and led the league in at bats all three years. The guy showed up to play every day. His league-leading total of 213 hits in 1975 is the most by any Phillie in the last 60 years. A good little ballplayer, as Chris Wheeler would say.
#31 – Notably worn by both Mark Leiter Sr. and Mark Leiter Jr., this one nevertheless belongs to Garry Maddox. The Secretary of Defense patrolled center field for over a decade for the Phillies, winning Gold Gloves in each of his first eight seasons. And he hit .284 with the Phils, not too shabby.
#32 – “Lefty”. Steve Carlton not only wins this in an epic landslide, but he is the greatest #32 in the history of Major League Baseball. I can see the Sandy Koufax argument, but Carlton’s durability and sheer numbers win out. In his time with the Phillies alone, he recorded 241 wins and struck out over 3000 hitters en route to four Cy Youngs. It’s a shame he hung on too long and bounced around the league at the end of his career, because his plaque in Cooperstown reads like an eye chart. But, as a Phil, he was the tops.
#33 – I’m really tempted to give this to Johnny Moore, who played with the Phillies from 1934-1937, batting .329 with 313 RBI over that 4-year span. But I’ll begrudgingly let Cliff Lee have it even though I’m still bitter about the way he came up small in the playoffs in 2011 and then ultimately broke down with injuries. Still, he made a pair of all-star appearances while wearing #33 and we were all at least alive to see him play. Sorry, Johnny Moore.
#34 – Paul Byrd gave it his best shot (I once saw him outduel Randy Johnson), but Roy Halladay takes it pretty comfortably. His time in the city was all too brief, but the work ethic he brought was second to none, and the results it yielded in 2010 and 2011 will be talked about for decades to come. Unfortunately, like Cliff Lee, Doc also ran out of gas seemingly before it was time. When we lost Halladay in 2017, it hurt not only because of the fantastic memories he gave us on the field, but because Philadelphia had come to know him as a genuine and good person. He will be missed always.
#35 – Cliff Politte and Joe Roa were just keeping it warm for Cole Hamels. And maybe we’ll never see another Phillie wear it unless Hamels himself comes back to town. I personally think he is tracking toward the Hall of Fame, and obviously most of the heavy lifting was done in his near-decade of time in Philadelphia. A true home run of drafting and developing by the Phillies. And that’s probably the only time I’ll ever say that.
#36 – Man, the Phillies have had a lot of great pitchers in the 30’s in their history. This number belongs, of course, to Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, and the Phillies actually retired it while he was still an active player. Over 14 seasons as a Phil, Roberts was the definition of “workhorse”. In the decade of the 1950’s alone, he started 377 games and compiled 199 wins. And because of his longevity, he held the MLB record for most career home runs allowed for a very long time until he was passed by Jamie Moyer, of all people.
#37 – I thought for sure that we'd be giving this to Odubel Herrera at some point, but that train went off the rails. So we’ll give a nod to Bill Culp by a thin margin. He pitched for the Phillies for four years in the 60’s, and he seemed decent enough looking at his numbers. Sorry I didn’t have any video to consult. Rheal Cormier also gets a mention here. Ryne Sandberg does not.
#38 – You can say a lot of things about Curt Schilling, and most won’t be flattering. But you can’t deny that he was great for the Phillies, as he won 101 games and struck out over 1500 hitters over parts of nine seasons in town. If he ever gets voted into the Hall of Fame, it’s a shame that people will just remember him for his time with the Red Sox and the Diamondbacks when he spent as much time in Philadelphia as those two places combined. Postseason success aside, Schill is a Phil. We’re mostly happy to have him. Kind of.
#39 – Brett Myers is not exactly a fitting capper to the string of stud pitchers that have worn numbers in the 30’s for the Phillies, but he’s good enough to be the best #39 the team has ever had. His time for the team was certainly up and down, and he ended up falling short of expectations, if we’re being totally honest. He was a first round pick, after all. But the guy showed some flashes and helped win the 2008 World Series, so all is forgiven. Mission accomplished. Thanks, Brett.
#40 – Two Phillies pitchers won Cy Youngs in the 1980s while wearing this number. Crazy, right? So kudos to Steve Bedrosian, who garnered the award in 1987, saving 40 games for the Phillies in a season where the team finished below .500. Must have been a really slow year for pitching. Four years earlier, however, John Denny won 19 games wearing the number in a year where the Phillies got to the World Series, so he gets the nod.
#41 – Native Delawarean Chris Short easily takes the crown as the top #41 in Phillies history. A 20-game winner and two-time all-star, Short won 132 games and struck out over 1500 batters in his time with the team. Also, he knew my dad, so he had that going for him. Tragically, long after his playing days ended, he suffered an aneurysm at age 51 and fell into a coma, passing away three years later without regaining consciousness, a sad end following a solid major league career.
#42 – We all know that Major League Baseball retired #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson over twenty years ago, and so we might be hard-pressed to recall any Phillies who actually wore it before that. Toby Borland was the last to do so, from 1994 to 1996. But the top guy here is Ron Reed. In eight years of solid relief work for the Phillies, he racked up 57 wins, 90 saves, a nice 3.06 ERA and a big World Series ring in 1980.
#43 – Randy Wolf began his career in 1999 wearing #54, but switched to #43 in 2001. Over six seasons wearing it with the Phillies, he notched 52 wins and one all-star appearance. And that’s good enough to get the job done here. The Wolf Pack approves.
#44 – Sorry, Roy Oswalt, you weren’t here long enough. Ultimately, Dick Ruthven wins out, although Vicente Padilla came closer than you might expect. Ruthven wore #44 in his second stint with the Phillies, and was able to win 61 games over parts of six seasons, including an all-star appearance and a World Series win.
#45 – We will hold out hope for Zach Wheeler, but ya gotta believe that Tug McGraw easily wins this one at the moment. One of the most popular and beloved Phillies ever, the Tugger spent a decade in the Phillies bullpen. And while he didn’t rack up the kinds of numbers that players do nowadays because of the evolution of the reliever/closer role, his effectiveness over nearly two decades with the Phillies and Mets (ugh) ranks him as one of the greatest relief pitchers ever, even without an overabundance of saves or strikeouts. Thanks for everything, Tug.
#46 – Dallas Green didn’t have a great career as a player, but this is his number. However, since we are stipulating that this list is for players…pitcher Kevin Gross started his rookie season of 1983 wearing #48, but switched to #46 during that year. He’d go on to decent success over six years with the team, winning 60 games (career-high 15 wins in 1985) and making an all-star team.
#47 – When you’ve got guys like Amaury Telemaco being the longest-tenured wearers of a number, maybe it’s a sign you should stop this list. But we here at Philly Sports Complex just plow ahead. In a tight contest with Bruce Ruffin, Randy Lerch wins by a nose. I’m just looking at stats here, I don’t know anything about him. Moving on…
#48 –While we wait for Spencer Howard to turn into something, we'll have to give this to Jerad Eickhoff. Let's hope that Howard will eventually wash the stink from Phillippe Aumont off this number completely. Yorkis Perez and David Coggin don’t quite make the cut.
#49 – We finally get somebody decent in this range, as Tommy Greene wins it here at #49. He wasn’t as good as you probably remember him being, as he had just two productive years, but it’s enough to get the job done. A no-hitter and a 16-win season will do that for you. I'm going to snub Jake Arrieta.
#50 – Old man Jamie Moyer dealt from the mound for five years and impressively registered 56 wins for the Phillies. Oh yeah, and 2008 happened. He even threw a shutout when he was 47 years old. All in all, a storybook stint for Moyer with his hometown team, and we are all glad for his services.
#51 – By a wide margin, it’s Carlos Ruiz. He doesn’t have the flashiest of stats, but Phillies fans know just how much of a gamer he was in his decade behind the plate. He did have some clutch hits along the way and wasn’t a slouch with the bat by any means, but his value behind the plate was close to immeasurable, catching multiple no-hitters and squeezing the final out of the 2008 World Series. Chooch was a rock.
#52 – By virtue of back-to-back 34-save seasons and a pity invite to the 1996 All-Star Game, Ricky Botallico gets the top spot here. Not that he had much competition. There’s a lot of numbers up this way that are littered with relief pitchers you forgot about.
#53 – It’s been a while since we’ve seen a legitimate hitter on this list, but here comes Bobby Abreu. Dude hit .303 with almost 200 home runs and over 250 stolen bases in nine seasons with the team. Phillies fans will always be ambivalent about him because he was the team’s best player in a largely putrid era of Phillies baseball, but his ability and raw numbers are objectively pretty good.
#54 – By virtue of saving 100 games in the regular season and another twelve in the playoffs in the span of three years, including the one that won a city its first championship in a quarter-century, Brad Lidge was a shoo-in to make a dumb list like this. We’ll always have 2008. Whatever crazy alignment of planets happened that led to his perfect season was truly a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
#55 – When you make 161 relief appearances over four seasons with the team and compile a 3.65 ERA, it’s good enough to be the top #55 in club history. So congratulations to Clay Condrey. You did it.
#56 – Zach Eflin might be getting close in his attempt to pass Joe Blanton for the title of Mr. 56. Blanton's 2008 World Series heroics are the stuff of legend, although they make all of us remember him way more fondly than we probably should. His home run in Game 4 of that series was the only extra base hit of his entire career. Impeccable timing by Joe the Lumber.
#57 – This reads like a Who’s Who of Barely Adequate Major League Relievers. From Jack Taschner to David Herndon to Amaury Telemaco (yes, him again), there isn’t anyone standing out. So we’ll go with Luis Garcia, who put up a 4.12 ERA in parts of six seasons out of the Phillies bullpen. Good enough.
#58 – Sadly, it looks like Seranthony Dominguez's chance to claim this number is over before it even really started. This “honor” goes to jackass Jonathan Papelbon. He’s the Phillies’ all-time saves leader and put up a 2.31 ERA over parts of four seasons. I don’t like it, but it is what it is.
#59 – In his six seasons with the Phillies, Antonio Bastardo wore three different uniform numbers. Probably his best season came in 2011 while he was wearing #58, but he then ceded that number to Papelbon. He switched to #37 for a year before settling on #59 for his last two years as a Phil in 2013-14. He was fine. And that’s enough to get the job done here.
#60 – Only six Phillies have ever worn it, and five of them are pitchers: Dickie Noles, Jason Boyd, Jeff Manship, Seth Rosin and Colton Murray. They stunk. The first Phillie to ever wear it (and only hitter) was Alex Johnson. He came up in the second half of the Phillies’ ultimately ill-fated 1964 season, hitting four home runs to go along with 18 RBI and a .303 average in 43 games. He switched numbers before the next season, and that was that. But here over 50 years later, he’s still top dog at #60. And that’s not saying very much at all.
#61 – Dare I go with Wayne Gomes here? He was the first Phillie to wear this illustrious number, and he had it for the longest. Uh, no. Edubray Ramos, come on down.
#62 – Do you remember that relievers Kenny Roberts and Patrick Schuster have worn this number in the past five years? I sure as hell didn’t. Prior to that, you have to go back to 1964 to find a Phil that wore #62, and TWO different guys did it in that season: Vic Power and our winner, Rick Wise. As an 18-year old, he went 5-3 splitting time between the bullpen and the rotation. Great.
#63 – He changed uniform numbers like most people change their underwear, but Ryan Madson stuck with #63 the longest as a Phil, for a 5-season span from 2004 to 2008. Those years predated his truly dominant seasons, but he was still pretty good, winning a bunch of games in relief and then ending this time frame with a 3.05 ERA in the World Series season of 2008. He even was briefly in the rotation in 2006, which is a lost morsel of Phillies history.
#64 – Victor Arano has completely stalled out due to injury, so let’s give top spot here to Gary Wagner. In 1965, he threw 105 innings in relief, compiling seven wins and an ERA of 3.00 on the nose. But you already knew that, right?
#65 – Cuban lefthander Eddie Oropesa was a living, breathing human being for 30 games in 2001, so he is legally required to be the choice here. But J.D. Hammer is lurking.
#66 – J.A. Happ actually wore this number when he came up in 2007, and then for part of 2008. Five years later, J.C. Ramirez wore it for 18 relief appearances. He wins, yay. Is this thing over yet?
#67 – In September of 2013, Mauricio Robles made three appearances for the Phillies, totaling 4.2 innings pitched. He struck out six batters and only allowed one earned run. And that was it for his major league career. Seriously, that’s all this guy gets? Why would he never get another chance?
#68 and #69 – No Phil has been brave enough to wear these high digits yet.
#70 - Twelve games of reliever Luis Avilan in 2018 is all she wrote.
#71 and #72 - Another black hole in Phils history.
#73 - Catcher Deivy Grullon became the first Phillies player to ever sport this number, for 4 games in 2019.
#74 – Before Ronald Torreyes (who?), the only man to wear this number in Phillies history was Ugueth Urbina. He saw the last action of his MLB career in 2005, appearing in 56 games for the Phils that year after a trade with Detroit. He wasn’t all that effective, and then he went on to spend time in jail after chasing someone with a machete and trying to light them on fire. So, he had that going for him.
#75 – Connor Brogdon has officially stolen this from Jim Crowell. I know you're excited.
#76 to #92 – Let's just lump these all together. The only unis worn in this range are #77 by Adonis Medina and #79, which we'll give to JoJo Romero over Justin De Fratus.
#93 – You probably forgot that Pat Neshek wore #17 in 2017 before Rhys Hoskins came up to the Phillies. In 2018, though, he went with these digits, making him the first guy in team history to do so. He is terrible, but he is the only option.
#94 – If anyone out there has a Dalier Hinojosa jersey, you are the man. The guy had a 1.59 ERA over 28 appearances in 2015-16. Strange he hasn’t caught on anywhere else in MLB.
#95 - No players.
#96 - Tommy Hunter is the only Phil to wear it so far. What a bust.
#97 - Still waiting for its first wearer.
#98 - Same.
#99 – Mitch Williams saved 43 games wearing #99 in 1993. It was a great season, and everything went absolutely perfectly. What a fitting way to wrap up our dive into the top Phillie to wear each uniform number.