Comments on: Card of the Week: 1990 Score #84 Tony Phillips This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: Rocky Calhoun Tue, 23 Aug 2011 18:46:33 +0000 Just another example of how Tony LaRussa knows how to waste/squander quality baseball players. Great post, I'm looking through the blog history and you have to take a look at the 1976 Topps Traded Oscar Gamble.

By: Leading the league in triples and homers » Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog Archive Tue, 16 Aug 2011 14:23:44 +0000 [...] shot at leading the AL this year in both homers and triples. This was raised in the comments on a recent post. Thanks to reader Voomo Zanzibar who mentioned that Mickey Mantle (1955) , Willie Mays (also 1955), [...]

By: chrismess13 Fri, 12 Aug 2011 17:19:37 +0000 He was involved in a bench clearing brawl. The police even came onto the field to restore order. Link in post #66 takes you to the story.

By: chrismess13 Fri, 12 Aug 2011 17:09:17 +0000
He's still playing!

By: John Autin Fri, 12 Aug 2011 15:22:54 +0000 Andy -- To flesh out my point @36, consider Phillips's walk rates in terms of his spot in the batting order -- specifically, the difference between hitting 1st and hitting 9th:

-- In the minors, where I presume he hit leadoff (based on his speed, switch-hitting and general batting line), his BB rate was an excellent 98 BB per 650 PAs in almost 2,000 PAs at AA-AAA.

-- When he got to Oakland, that job was taken, and Phillips batted 9th for most of his first 3 seasons, with a walk rate near the league average (63 BB per 650 PAs).

-- Rickey left in ’85, but Phillips was hurt most of that year. He did take over the leadoff spot in ’86 and had an rate of 93 BBs per 650 PAs, which helped him post a .367 OBP (AL avg. .333) and score 76 runs in 115 games there (a rate of 107 runs per 162 games, on a team that ranked 9th in AL scoring, with no player over 85 runs). Phillips was miles better than the other A’s who were tried at leadoff that year, including (god help us) 33 games of Alfredo Griffin.

-- But in ’87, LaRussa (in his infinite wisdom) installed rookie Luis Polonia (.333 OBP) atop the order, with Phillips bouncing around. From 1987-89, Phillips got just 64 starts leading off, despite an excellent OBP when he did so.

-- Phillips signed with Detroit in 1990, and pretty soon Sparky had an epiphany, put Phillips back where he belonged, and he averaged 104 walks over the next 5 years.

I can't yet explain why the same hitter would have a much higher BB rate hitting 1st than hitting 9th, but it doesn't surprise me. Consider the walk rates hitting 9th and 1st for these guys chosen at random (per 650 PAs):
-- Omar Vizquel, 49 / 61.
-- Chone Figgins, 39 / 71.
-- Coco Crisp, 38 / 50.

By: Steve O Fri, 12 Aug 2011 12:04:06 +0000 So I did a PI search for the highest WAR among guys (1933-2011) who never made an All-Star team. Expected Tim Salmon to top the list, or maybe Kirk Gibson. Guess who was #1?

Yup. It was Tony Phillips. Guy truly was an underrated star at his peak.

By: Dan Fri, 12 Aug 2011 04:40:51 +0000 I lived in Michigan in 1991 when I was 9 - Tony Phillips' summer apartment was in our complex. He was a super cool dude, we have photos of him wrestling with me and my younger brother! One of my all-time favorite players.

By: Dave V. Fri, 12 Aug 2011 01:24:41 +0000 @57 Andy - yup, Cardboard Gods is the one I was referring to 🙂 Mint Condition sounds pretty interesting and I may have to get that one (via the link you posted too).

@61 Artie Z - wow, that mention of Angel Salazar's OPS+ of 9 in 1984 caught my eye. I just did a search and only 9 players in MLB history have had an OPS+ lower than 10 with as many as 180 PA's, Salazar included (of those 9, the infamous Bill Bergen is the only one to do it more than once, as he did it 3 times!).

Also, two players have had an OPS+ even lower than 9 in recent years. Tony Pena the Royals SS had a whopping 7 OPS+ in 2008 (235 PA's). And Brandon Wood had an amazing 5 OPS+ last year (243 PA's).

By: Artie Z Fri, 12 Aug 2011 00:38:49 +0000 Saw that Phillips played for the Expos in the minors and wondered if he ever played on the same team as Tim Raines, but he did not. The Expos traded him (and cash) to the Padres for Willie Montanez, who was completely done as a player when the Expos got him. They turned Montanez into John Milner, who was also done as a player when the Expos got him. Think the Expos would like to go back and undo the Phillips for Montanez deal (if only to save the cash)?

Phillips played full seasons in 1983 and 1984, at SS and 2B. The Expos were using Doug Flynn, Chris Speier, Derrel Thomas, and Angel Salazar as their primary MI during this time. Phillips wasn't great, but he was putting OPS+ numbers in the high 80s and 90s as a young player and would have certainly helped those teams (Salazar had an OPS+ of 9 in 1984).

One final note on Phillips: He was drafted out of the New Mexico Military Institute, in Roswell. I'm not sure what that means, but find it interesting.

By: Steve Fri, 12 Aug 2011 00:31:51 +0000 The Mets have never had a player win a batting title.I'd like to get that out of the way this year.A no hitter would be nice,but I'm not expecting one anytime soon.