Thursday, October 7, 2010

Phillies Playoff Teams - First Base

Continuing my series highlighting Phillies playoff teams, lets look at the first basemen who got them there.

1950 Bowman Eddie Waitkus #30Waitkus came to the Phillies in 1948 in a trade with the Cubs. He played for the Phils from 1949 through 1953 and then he was back in 1955. In 1950, Ed hit for a .284 average but not much power, with only 2 home runs. He was 4 for 15 with two walks, no rbis or runs scored in the World Series. Ed died in 1972 at only 53.

1976 Topps Dick Allen #455
Dick Allen, then known as Richie Allen, was signed as an amateur free agent by the Phillies in 1960. Phillies fans will remember him as a great power hitter, hitting 177 home runs in 6 full seasons (1964-1969). He was traded to the Cardinals after the 1970 season. He then went to the Dodgers, White Sox, Braves and finally back to the Phillies in 1975. In 1976 he was not the Dick Allen he once was, only appearing in 85 games and hitting .268, well below his career .292. He did manage 15 home runs. The 1976 NLCS is his only playoff appearance where he hit an anemic 2 for 9.

1977 Topps Richie Hebner #167
After 9 years with the Pirates, Hebner was signed as a free agent by the Phillies after the 1976 season. Although he played 3rd for the Pirates all those years, he played primarily at 1st for the Phillies. He had a decent year in 1977, hitting .285 with 18 home runs. Hebner was a playoff veteran having appeared in the playoffs in 5 different seasons with the early 1970 Pirates, including their 1971 World Series win. He hit .357 in the losing cause against the Dodgers in the 1977 NLCS.

1978 Topps Richie Hebner #26
This was Hebner's 2nd and last year with the Phillies. He was traded to the Mets in March 1979 for Nino Espinosa. Hebner would eventually have an 18 year career, also playing for the Mets, Tigers, Pirates again, and finally for the Cubs. He had another good year in 1978, hitting .283 with 17 home runs. He was only 1 for 10 in the NLCS however. Hebner, in the off season, worked as a gravedigger in a cemetery owned by his father and brother.

1980 Topps Pete Rose #540
The reason the Phillies didn't need Richie Hebner anymore was that they had signed Pete Rose as a free agent. In December 1978, Pete signed a 4-year $3.22 million contract with the Phillies. It was an enormous contract for the time. He was signed for one reason, to lead the Phillies to the World Series in 1980. In 1979, the Phillies had a off-year, missing the playoffs for the first time in 3 years, but in 1980 they took the prize. Looking at his stats over time, Pete was starting to decline in 1980, although he did lead the league in doubles. But he provided the kind of on-field spark and leadership that the team was missing. And he had lots of playoff experience, having already been to the World Series 4 times with the Reds, winning 2 of them.

1983 Donruss Pete Rose #1
In 1983, the aging Phillies were starting to look more and more like a reincarnation of the 1970's Big Red Machine, with Rose, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez. Pete did not have a great year, hitting only .245, his lowest season batting average so far in his career. But the Wheeze Kids managed to put it together one more time and make it to the World Series against the Orioles, where they lost in 5 games.

1993 Leaf John Kruk #366
John Kruk came to the Phillies in 1989 in a trade with the Padres. He was an immediate favorite in Philadelphia. The 1993 team, perhaps the greatest overachievers in sports history, rose from last place in 1992, to win 97 games and take the division. Kruk hit .316 for the season with 14 home runs and 85 rbis. He was the starting first baseman for the NL in the All-Star Game. This would be Kruk's only postseason appearance of his career. He hit .348 in the World Series with 4 rbis.

2007 SP Authentic Ryan Howard #36
in 2007, Ryan was coming off a season where he was an All-Star and the NL Most Valuable Player. He had hit 58 home runs. 2007 wasn't quite as good a year, but in 2007, the team that will go on to win the NL East 4 times in a row, finally made it back to the postseason. The Phillies were a young team and showed it as they went down to the Rockies in 3 games in the NLCS.

2009 Topps 205 Ryan Howard #10
This is the year the Phillies made it back to the World Series and won it all. Ryan had a monster year hitting 48 home runs and 146 rbis, leading the league in both categories. He hit .292 in the post season with 3 HR and 6 ribs to lead the Phillies over the Dodgers and the Rays.

2009 Topps Heritage Chrome Ryan Howard #50
Another big year for Ryan with 45 home runs and 145 rbis and another All-Star berth. And back to the postseason. He hit .375 in the NLCS in a rematch against the Rockies. He went on to hit .333 in the NLCS with 2 HR and 8 rbis, taking the NLCS MVP award. He did not perform well in the World Series as the Yankees took the series in 6 games.

2010 Topps Tribute Ryan Howard #69
If it's October, the Phillies must be in the playoffs. The Phillies had a tremendous 2nd half to the season to really from 7 games behind the Braves and finish with the best record in baseball. Howard had an off-year, if 31 home runs and 108 rbis can be considered an off-year, and he also missed almost 20 games with injuries. But he did make the All-Star team again. He wasn't much of a factor in last nights win over the Reds, but Doc Halladay was on the mound.

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