Like with all Philadelphia sports teams, being a Philadelphia Phillies fan is a constant emotional roller coaster. The team has brought Philly their most recent championship, but the Phillies were also the first ever professional sports team to 10,000 losses. Following their World Series appearance in 1993 came 13 straight seasons without a playoff appearance. But at the same time from 2000 until 2012, the team only finished under .500 twice, including 102 wins in 2011. The team is now headed back into some dark days, finishing no higher than 73 wins since 2013. The current Phillies are in a waiting period of seeing if their young talent in the minor leagues can be called up and bring the franchise back to fruition.
Helping us look away from collection of losing seasons is the star power that comes through the city: Chuck Klein in the 1930s, winning MVP and hitting for the Triple Crown, Steve Carlton's four Cy Young Awards, Mike Schmidt's power and MVPs, and more recently Ryan Howard (MVP), Jimmy Rollins (MVP), and Roy Halladay (Cy Young). The stars have helped the Phillies to two World Series Championships and seven appearances in total.
In this article we will take a look at the best and worst Phillies to come through the city since 2000. This time period includes 10 seasons above .500, five straight playoff appearances from 2007-2011, two World Series berths, and one World Series Championship.
15 Best - Jim Thome
Thome played just 3 seasons and 391 games with the Phillies from 2003-05 and another stint in 2012, but his impact on the team and city was enough to land him on the good side of our list. Thome is credited with helping jump start the run of success the Phillies endured in the later 2000s. In his first year in town, Thome put up a monster season of 47 home runs and 131 RBIs, and followed it up with another 40 home run season in 2004. He represented the team at an All Star Game and finished top 5 in the MVP voting in 2003. By 2005, Thome only played 59 games and it was time to make room for Ryan Howard (who we will see later on the list).
In all Thome finished his career with 612 home runs while playing for six teams.
14 Worst - David Buchanan
After spending 2014 and 2015 with the Phillies, the 27 year old pitcher has already found himself out of the MLB completely and currently playing professionally in Tokyo. Buchanan was never a coveted prospect and in 2014 even was competing to just make the final roster. But when he got his chance, it was clear he wasn't cut out for the big leagues. In all Buchanan ended with an 8-17 record and a 5.01 ERA. His second and last season is worse than those career numbers. That season he posted a 2-9 record with a 6.99 ERA. In his two seasons with the team, the club accumulated a 136-188 record. The team may have been struggling but Buchanan failed to help and hold a roster spot on one of the worst teams in baseball.
13 Best - Pat Burrell
Pat Burrell came up to the Phillies during the 2000 season and left the team after the 2008 World Series victory. Aside from his first season, the Phillies won 80 plus games in each of Burrell's seasons with Philadelphia, with the last two resulting in playoff appearances and ultimately the World Series title. In his career with the Phils, Burrell compiled 251 home runs and 872 RBIs. He currently sits in team history as fourth all time in home runs and tenth in RBIs. He was able to put together some seasons that saw him finish top 15 in MVP voting twice, with his best totals at 37 home runs in 2002 and 117 RBIs in 2005.
By the time the championship caliber teams came through Philadelphia, Burrell was also offering the veteran leadership that the team needed to take the next step. After leaving Philly, Burrell was able to add another World Series title with the San Francisco Giants.
12 Worst - Jason Michaels
Michael was actually serviceable as a part time outfielder, mostly remembered for platooning with Kenny Lofton. But he was destined to make the list for one of the greatest bloopers in Phillies history. In the midst of tracking down a long drive to center field, Michaels was able to get his glove on the ball, but managed to somehow fling the ball into the seats for a home run. Michaels actually but up solid batting averages during his tenure in Philadelphia, but only managed to accumulate 21 home runs and 100 RBIs while scoring 134 runs in 5 seasons with the Phillies. The team and Michaels split ways in 2005 when he was traded for relief pitcher Arthur Rhodes. During Michaels' five years, the team did not make a playoff appearance.
11 Best - Cliff Lee
The Philadelphia Phillies organization sported out some great pitcher from their World Series year of 2008 through the early 2010s. Cliff Lee was a part of that. Lee first came to Philly in 2009 via trade, and then again came back to the team in 2010 from free agency. During the 2009 playoffs Lee was lights out. He was 4-0 throughout with 13 strikeouts and 3 walks. He also added three hits throughout the 2009 World Series run. In his five years with the Phils, Lee was 48-34 with a 2.94 ERA. In all, Lee appeared in the playoffs with the franchise in 2009 and 2011.
Throughout his career mostly with the Indians and Phillies, Lee appeared in four All Star Games and won a Cy Young Award with the Indians in 2008.
10 Worst - Sal Fasano
Best known for his incredible mustache, Sal Fasano did have a brief stint as a fan favorite in Philly. Mostly serving as a backup for Mike Lieberthal, Fasano got a chance to be the starter when he went down with injury. But due to his terrible hitting, he eventually lost the job to Chris Coste, and upon Lieberthal returning lost his roster spot completely. During his time in Philadelphia, he hit 4 homeruns with 10 RBIs in 50 games. He also struck out 47 times compared to just 5 base on balls. In all Fasano averaged .243 with a .284 on base percentage. He has the least amount of sample size than anyone on our list, but he also had a group of fans named Sal's Pals that carries on his memory in Philadelphia Phillies history.
9 Best - Ryan Howard
This is where it started to get hard on the "Best" side of our list. Howard had a historic six year run from 2006-2011, which was kicked off by a Rookie of the Year in 2005. During this time Howard finished with no less than 31 home runs or 108 RBIs and posted career highs of 58 home runs and 149 RBIs which resulted in the 2006 National League Most Valuable Player award. He was a part of each of the 5 straight playoff runs, posting 8 home runs and 33 RBIs during the post season.
In all he was to 3 All Star Games, led the league in home runs twice, RBIs three times, won the 2008 World Series, a Silver Slugger Award, and NLCS MVP. Seems hard to top, but the Phillies sported out some amazing talent during these runs.
8 Worst - David Bell
David Bell put up mediocre numbers in his last two seasons in Philadelphia, but the way he started his stay with the team lands him on the list. Bell was brought in via free agency in 2003 to help fill the void of Scott Rolen's departure. Instead he gave Philadelphia his worst season as a pro. He appeared in just 85 games, and put up four home runs 37 RBIs and finished the season with a .195 batting average. Bell eventually left Philadelphia in the midst of his 4 year 17.5 million dollar contract, to give Abraham Nunez the job at third base.
In all, Bell finished with 38 home runs 209 RBIs and a .258 batting average in just under four seasons with the Phillies. He also never made a playoff appearance with the franchise.
7 Best - Roy Halladay
Roy Halladay was already established as one of the league's best pitchers before heading to Philadelphia from Toronto in a 2009 off season trade. In his time with the Phillies, Halladay went to two All Star Games and won a Cy Young during the 2010 season. During the Cy Young year, Halladay led the league in wins while posting 21. He would go 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA and 219 strikeouts opposed to 30 walks. He appeared in the postseason with Philadelphia in 2010 and 2011, including a no-hitter during the 2010 October.
To go along with a postseason no-hitter, Halladay also tossed a perfect game with 11 strikeouts for the team on May 29 of 2010 vs the Florida Marlins.
6 Worst - Abraham Nunez
The Phillies had a rough time figuring out third base during the mid 2000s. The Phillies had felt Nunez had earned the job, and that was why they shipped the before mentioned David Bell away via trade. Nunez took over the role from 2006-2007. During that span he hit .221 with just two home runs and 48 RBIs while appearing in 259 games with 656 plate appearances. The Phillies and Nunez did make the playoffs in 2007, where Nunez played sparingly and did not record a hit. The Phillies would let Nunez walk after the 2007 season, and he would play in just two more Major League Baseball games with the New York Mets before he was out of the league by 2008.
5 Best - Chase Utley
Chase Utley was a home grown player and a fan favorite. He made appearances in the 2003 and 2004 season, but in 2005 is when he really got going. During his time in Philly, Utley went to six All Star Games including five straight from 2006-2010. He added four straight Silver Slugger Awards from 2006-2009, and of course was a member of the 2008 World Series Champions.
His best playoff series came in the 2009 World Series. In game 1, he set the record for reaching base safely in 26 consecutive playoff games. During the first ever World Series game at the new Yankees Stadium, his next to at bats he hit two home runs off of CC Sabathia. He added another home run off Sabathia in Game 4, and hit two more in game five to give him five home runs during the series. He and Reggie Jackson share the record.
4 Worst - Desi Relaford
Relaford actually played his last baseball with the Phillies during the 2000 season, but we made an exception. During his five years in Philadelphia, Relaford hit .234 with nine home runs and 104 RBIs. He was struck out 181 times compared to 108 base on balls, and only stole 22 bases while being caught 8 times. He also record 24 errors in 80 games during his last time in Philly during 2000. Relaford really did not do anything well, but managed to stay part of some bad teams in the late 90's. But it seems as once the team started to steer in the right direction, and a guy by the name of Jimmy Rollins was ready to become a full time starter, Relaford was finally gone. He went on to play with 7 teams in 11 MLB seasons. His last in 2007.
3 Best - Jimmy Rollins
J-Roll spent from 2000-2014 with the Phillies, and always played the role as the heart and leader of the team. A Gold Glove shortstop from 2007-2009 and again in 2012, Rollins had the all around game to make him a Philly great. To go along with the four Gold Gloves, Rollins added three All Star Games, a Silver Slugger Award winner, and NL Stolen Bases leader in 2001. His play came to an all time high in 2007, when he was award the National League Most Valuable Player while becoming part of the 20-20-20-20 club. That year also kick started the five straight playoff appearances, with the Phillies winning the World Series in 2008. The trio of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins was as good a top of lineup that will ever be in Philadelphia again.
2 Worst - Domonic Brown
The only player on our "Worst" side of the list that has an All Star Game to his credit, Domonic Brown let the Phillies and their fans down in a time where Philly was searching for the next star player. Brown had been invited to training camps and spring straining, and even had some good showings in his stints. During the 2013, Brown saw his first full time playing time. And he got off to a great start, hitting 21 home runs from April to June, and earning an All Star nod. He hit 6 home runs the rest of that season, which would prove to be his best. Brown was a defensive liability, and was even voted the worst defensive left fielder before the 2014 MLB season. Following his All Star 2013, Brown would play just 207 more games for the Phillies, ending his Phillies career with 54 home runs and 229 RBIs. He also managed 13 errors playing in the Philadelphia outfield. After the run of playoff appearances, the Phillies thought they had something new to look forward to in Brown, but that was not the case.
1 Best - Cole Hamels
Some may find this surprising, but Cole Hamels is responsible for bringing the 2008 World Series Championship to Philadelphia. Cole Hamels was fantastic in the 2008 playoffs, going 4-0 with just 7 earned runs in 5 starts. Cole struck out 30 batters en route to defeating the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Tampa Bay rays. For his efforts he was awarded the NLCS MVP and World Series MVP.
In all, Hamels played 10 years with the Phillies compiling a 114-90 record and a 3.30 ERA. He went to three All Star Games while with the team, and during the 2014 pitched the first six innings of a combined no hitter vs the Atlanta Braves. On July 25 2015, Hamels made his final start for the Philadelphia Phillies before being traded to the Rangers. During that game he threw a no hitter vs Jake Arietta and the Chicago Cubs, besting Chicago 5-0.