Philadelphia Baseball All-Time Native Roster

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor

Dozens of ballplayers from the Philadelphia area have made their mark at the major league level. Some were role players with minimal historical importance while others were the best of their generation. 

Today, the region is connected to four Hall of Fame players and two Hall of Fame managers. Players from the Philadelphia area lay claim to four Most Valuable Player awards, two home run titles and a slew of other accomplishments.

Putting together any All-Time roster is difficult and this project was no different. For consideration, a player was required to have been born within a 50 mile radius of Philadelphia and have had a significant historical contribution to Major League Baseball. 

I will be adding names until a 25-man roster is in place. At that point I will explore the strengths and weaknesses of an All-Time Philadelphia baseball club. I'll also look at players that just missed the cut.

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C | Mike Piazza | Norristown, Pa.
Phoenixville High School  
16 Seasons | 56.1 cWAR | 3.51 sWAR
Regarded by many as the best offensive catcher to ever have played the game, Piazza's story is legendary. Drafted in the 62nd round of the 1988 Amateur Draft as nothing more than a favor to his father, Piazza blasted through the minors and made his debut with the Dodgers in September 1992. He won Rookie of the Year honors in 1993 and went on to appear in 12 All-Star Games. 

C | Roy Campanella | Philadelphia, Pa.
Simon Gratz High School  
10 Seasons | 31.6 cWAR | 3.16 sWAR
Campanella dropped out of Simon Gratz on his 16th-birthday to embark on a career in professional baseball. He joined the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in 1946 and made his Dodgers' debut in 1948, going on to play a vital role in Brooklyn's 1955 World Series championship. An eight-time All-Star and three-time MVP, Campanella's career was tragically cut short when he was paralyzed in a car accident prior to the 1958 season. 

1B | Mickey Vernon | Marcus Hook, PA.
Eddystone High School 
20 seasons | 34.5 cWAR | 1.73 sWAR
Vernon posted a career .286 batting average with 172 home runs and 1,311 RBIs in 2,409 games. The left-hander averaged 88 RBIs a year, and had 11 seasons with 80 or more, 3 with 90 or more. In 1954, He had a career high 20 home runs, 97 RBIs, a career high 14 triples. He led the AL three times in doubles with a total of 33. During WWII, he served in the United States Navy in the South Pacific in 1945.

2B | Eddie Stanky | Philadelphia, Pa. 
Northeast High School
11 Seasons | 39.3 cWAR | 3.57 sWAR
A leadoff hitter with a career average of .268, Stanky played on three pennant winners and was a three-time All-Star. Nicknamed "The Brat", Stanky played with tenacity and vigor. He would do almost anything to obtain an edge, including vicious takeout slides and waving his arms wildly in the field to distract a batter. Following his playing career he went on to manage in the majors for eight seasons.

SS | Buck Weaver | Pottstown, Pa. 
Did Not Attend High School  
9 Seasons | 18.5 cWAR | 2.06 sWAR
Unfortunately, Weaver is best known for his ties to the Black Sox scandal and the 1919 World Series. Not one for education, Weaver signed his first minor league deal with the Phillies when he was 20-years-old. Bought by the White Sox in the fall of 1910, Weaver made his major league debut in 1912. Ray Schalk, the starting catcher of the '19 White Sox, argued on Weaver's behalf that he had no part of throwing the World Series. 

3B | Hans Lobert | Wilmington, De. 
14 Seasons | 22.8 cWAR | 1.63 sWAR
Lobert attended Carnegie Mellon University before signing with the Pirates in 1903. Recognized for his speed, Lobert stole 30 or more bases seven times and was one of the fastest players of his generation. His best years came in Philadelphia when he posted a 113 OPS+ and a .293 average over a four year span. He coached at West Point and also managed the Phillies in 1942.

RF | Reggie Jackson | Wyncote, Pa.
Cheltenham High School  
21 Seasons | 68.4 cWAR | 3.25 sWAR
The self-proclaimed 'straw that stirs the drink', Jackson is best remembered for hitting three consecutive home runs in the clinching game of the 1977 World Series - he finished the series with a 1.792 OPS and eight RBIs. A 14-time All-Star, Jackson won five World Series championships and was a two-time World Series MVP. He earned the nickname 'Mr. October' for his postseason heroics.

CF | Roy Thomas | Norristown, Pa. 
Norristown High School  
13 Seasons | 40.2 cWAR | 3.09 sWAR
A graduate of the University of Penn, Thomas was known for being one of the toughest outs of his era. He was extremely patient at the plate, so much so that the National League altered its rules regarding foul balls and began counting fouls as strikes. He didn't begin his professional career until he was 25-years-old as he spent four years playing semi-pro ball with the Orange Athletic Club.

LF | Del Ennis | Philadelphia, Pa.
Olney High School  
14 Seasons | 27.5 cWAR | 1.96 sWAR
Ennis was a three-time All-Star and one of the few local greats that spent the majority of their professional career with the Phillies. He spent nearly three years serving in the Navy during his career. He was a vital part of the Phillies pursuit of the 1950 pennant, hitting .311 while leading the league with 126 RBIs. Throughout his career he averaged 25 home runs and more than 100 RBIs a season.

LF | Goose Gosslin | Salem, NJ.
Salem High School 
18 seasons | 66.1 cWAR | 3.67 sWAR
Goslin played in five World Series, winning one each with Washington and Detroit. He finished his career with a .316 average and a 128 OPS+. He collected 100 RBIs and hit over .300 11 times in his career. He also is the only player to have appeared in each of the 19 World Series games involving the Washington Senators. He would go on to become a player-manager for the Trenton Senators from 1939 to 1941.

P | Jamie Moyer | Sellersville, Pa.
Souderton High School  
25 seasons | 50.0 cWAR | 2.00 sWAR 
Moyer was a star at Saint Joseph's University and made his MLB debut in 1986 with the Cubs. He played with eight teams over his quarter century career, including a five-year stint with the Phillies where he helped the club win the 2008 World Series. He was an All-Star in 2003 while posting a 3.27 ERA and a 21-7 record. He also pitched well in the postseason, posting a 1.13 WHIP to go along with a 4.14 ERA over eight career starts.

P | Jon Matlack | West Chester, Pa.
B. Reed Henderson High School  
13 seasons | 38.9 cWAR | 2.99 sWAR 
Matlack was drafted with the No. 4 overall pick in the 1968 draft by the Mets and made his MLB debut in 1971. He earned Rookie of the Year recognition in 1972 after posting a 2.32 ERA over 244 innings. He also was a three-time All-Star and was outstanding in the postseason, posting a 1.40 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP over four starts. He finished his career following the 1983 season with 125 wins and a 3.18 ERA. 

P | Bobby Shantz | Pottstown, Pa.
Pottstown High School  
16 seasons | 32.1 cWAR | 2.01 sWAR 
Shantz entered the Army after graduation high school, eventually signing a professional contract in 1948 with the Philadelphia Athletics. He excelled in his one season in the minors and joined the A's in 1949. He was named MVP in 1952 after putting together a 24-7 season where he tossed 27 complete games. He was dealt to the Yankees in 1957 and excelled, appearing in two World Series'.

P | Herb Pennock | Kennett Square, Pa. 
Cedarcroft Boarding School  
22 seasons | 44.1 cWAR | 2.00 sWAR 
Pennock broke into the majors under Connie Mack with the Philadelphia Athletics, but he starred with the Yankees - spending 11 seasons in the Bronx and leading the pitching staff of the 1927 Yankees, arguably the greatest team in baseball history. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1948 and ended his career with a 5-0 postseason record to go along with a 1.95 ERA over 55 1/3 innings.

P | Bucky Walters | Philadelphia, Pa.
Germantown High School 
16 seasons | 46.4 cWAR | 2.90 sWAR
A six-time All-Star, Walters posted a 198-160 record with 1,107 strikeouts and a 3.30 ERA. He spent five seasons with the Phillies before spending the next 11 years in Cincinnati. He excelled while with the Reds, earning NL Most Valuable Player in 1939 and winning a World Series in 1940 after winning 22 games and posting a 2.48 ERA. Walters was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 1958.

P | John Smiley | Phoenixville, Pa.
Perkiomen Valley High School 
12 seasons | 20.0 cWAR | 1.67 sWAR
A two-time All-Star, Smiley spent the majority of his career pitching in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. His best season came in 1991 when he was a 20-game winner and led the Pirates to the postseason.  Over 12 seasons he compiled a 3.80 career ERA to along with a 1.23 WHIP. His career came to an end in 1997 when he broke his left humerus while warming up for a start.
P | Al Downing | Trenton. NJ.
Trenton Central High School 
17 seasons | 22.5 cWAR | 1.32 sWAR
Downing made his major league debut with the Yankees when he was just 20-years-old. He tossed more than 200 innings six times in his career. Downing finished third in Cy Young voting in 1971 with the Dodgers as he went 20-9 with a 2.68 ERA. He also led the league that year with five shutouts. He is also famous for surrendering Hank Aaron's 715th home run on April 8, 1974.


Anonymous said…
I seem to remember a pretty good CF from Millville High School, and a pitcher from Cherry Hill that had pretty special post season run in 1988.
Unknown said…
Orel Herscheiser
Anonymous said…
Craig Robinson - Council Rock High School, Newtown, PA
Anonymous said…
Think you need to have Jamie Moyer on this team as well.
Anonymous said…
I like Jimmy Dykes at 3B as well. Fred Dunlap deserves some consideration at 2B.
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