Philadelphia's Top Fifty Baseball Players


Philadelphia's Top Fifty Baseball Players

Rich Westcott
Foreword by Dallas Green

296 pages
50 illustrations


May 2013


$24.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
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April 2020


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eBook (PDF)
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May 2013


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About the Book

Philadelphia’s Top Fifty Baseball Players takes a look at the greatest players in Philadelphia baseball history from the earliest days in 1830 through the Negro Leagues and into the modern era. Their ranks include batting champions, home run kings, Most Valuable Players, Cy Young Award winners, and Hall of Famers—from Ed Delahanty, Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove, Roy Campanella, Mike Schmidt, and Ryan Howard to Negro League stars Judy Johnson and Biz Mackey and other Philadelphia standouts such as Richie Ashburn, Dick Allen, Chuck Klein, Eddie Collins, and Reggie Jackson. For each player the book highlights memorable incidents and accomplishments and, above all, his place in Philadelphia’s rich baseball tradition.

Author Bio

Rich Westcott is the author of twenty-two other books, many of which are about Philadelphia sports, including The Phillies Encyclopedia, Philadelphia’s Old Ballparks, Tales from the Phillies Dugout, and A Century of Philadelphia Sports. He is a past president of the Philadelphia Sports Writers’ Association and is a member of three Halls of Fame.
Dallas Green managed the Philadelphia Phillies to the 1980 World Series championship.




“This compilation of Philadelphia baseball legends takes me back to my childhood with idols like Schmidt, Carlton, and Bowa. Even my father’s teammates—Bunning, Allen, and Taylor—and some of the game’s greats reminiscent of Roberts and Whitey and Ennis. It also includes our current stars like Rollins, Utley, and Howard. It is a great grouping of athletes that traverses time and eras here in Philly. An enjoyable read for all fans, especially those looking for a trip down memory lane.”—Ruben Amaro Jr., senior vice president and general manager of the Phillies

“Philadelphia has always been a great baseball city that has produced its share of stars. When the time came to discuss and debate the fifty top players produced here, the area’s best baseball historian and writer, Rich Westcott, does not disappoint. His latest work will induce fun baseball conversation about those who made the list and those who missed it.”—Chris Wheeler, longtime broadcaster for the Phillies

“Rich Westcott’s latest historic survey of Philadelphia baseball provides an in-depth look at the greatest players with links to our talent-rich area. It brings to life names like Chief Bender, Chuck Klein, and Jimmie Foxx and reminds us why modern-day players like Mike Schmidt, Mike Piazza, and Dick Allen were such incredible stars.”—Bob Brookover, baseball columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer

"The University of Nebraska Press has produced this book most attractively, a fitting tribute to the genuine joy baseball fans will find in savoring the stories of Philadelphia's Top 50 Baseball Players. Read this fine book with pleasure—and happy memories!"—Dr. McKim, Baseball Almanac

"If you love Philadelphia baseball . . . this volume will give you enjoyment. . . . You are likely to learn a little something whenever you pick it up."—Larry Eichel,

"Any baseball fan would love this book. Let the debating begin."—Town Talk newspapers

Table of Contents


Part 1. The Pioneers, Pre-1900
Sam Thompson: Baseball's First Home Run Slugger
Ed Delahanty: Hitter with Few Equals
Billy Hamilton: Master of the Base Paths
Harry Davis: Four Straight Home Run Titles
Nap Lajoie: Phillies and Athletics Superstar
Rube Waddell: Loony but a Brilliant Pitcher
Roy Thomas: Lead-Off Hitter Who Ranks with the Best

Part 2. Last of the Deadball Standouts, 1900-1910
Eddie Plank: Baseball's First Great Left-Handed Pitcher
Chief Bender: Pitcher Who Overcame Two Kinds of Opponents
Sherry Magee: Exceptional Player with a Hot Temper
Eddie Collins: Best Second Baseman Ever to Play the Game
Frank Baker: "Home Run" Lived Up to His Nickname
Gavvy Cravath: King of the Deadball Home Run Hitters
Stuffy McInnis: Master with the Bat and the Glove
Louis Santop: First Great Negro League Catcher

Part 3. Stars of Three Leagues, 1911-1920
Grover Cleveland Alexander: Collector of Some Incredible Records
Cy Williams: One of the Foremost Power Hitters of His Era
Jimmy Dykes: Hometown Favorite and a Great All-Around Player
Judy Johnson: An Early Negro League Superstar
Biz Mackey: One of Baseball's Greatest Catchers

Part 4. Hall of Famers Dominate, 1921-1930
Bing Miller: Best of All the Millers
Al Simmons: Stepping into the Bucket Was Not a Problem
Mickey Cochrane: First of the Major League's Best Catchers
Jimmie Foxx: Second Batter to Hit Five Hundred Home Runs
Lefty Grove: Spectacular Southpaw Won Three Hundred Games
Chuck Klein: Big Bomber of Baker Bowl
Pinky Whitney: It Helps to Live near a Ballpark

Part 5. Mostly Whiz Kids and Native Sons, 1931-1950
Bucky Walters: His Switch to Pitching Paid Off
Bob Johnson: Vastly Underrated Star
Mickey Vernon: Two-Time Batting Champ and Superb Fielder
Granny Hamner: Fiery Captain of the Whiz Kids
Del Ennis: Local Guy and Superior Slugger
Richie Ashburn: An All-Time Philly Favorite
Roy Campanella: If Only He'd Stayed Home
Robin Roberts: One of Baseball's Greatest Pitchers

Part 6. Everyone's an All-Star, 1951-1970
Jim Bunning: His Perfect Game Made History
Tony Taylor: Top Second Baseman and Fan Favorite
Dick Allen: Spectacular Hitter with Awesome Power
Steve Carlton: Second-Winningest Lefty of All Time
Tug McGraw: Unforgettable Closer and Colorful Personality
Reggie Jackson: Mr. October Was a Left-Handed Powerhouse
Larry Bowa: Perfect for the Position
Greg Luzinski: The Bull Could Bash the Ball

Part 7. Greats of the Modern Era, 1971-2012
Garry Maddox: The Secretary of Defense
Mike Schmidt: The Phillies' Greatest Player
Mike Piazza: No Catcher Was Ever Better with the Bat
Bobby Abreu: His Sweet Swing Led to High Batting Averages
Jimmy Rollins: Shortstop Who Does Everything Well
Chase Utley: Working Hard to Be the Best
Ryan Howard: One of the Game's Best Power Hitters


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