Log In

Reset Password

Yesterday: Next Phillie in the HOF?

What Phillies’ player should be the next one inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame?

With the recent MLB Hall of Fame inductions, that question should have crossed Phillies’ fans’ minds. There certainly is a legitimate field.

In this week’s version of my Yesterday column – reminiscing about sports and pop culture from the 1960s, 70s, 80s and sometimes before and beyond – I’ll take a look at five potential candidates, all of whom were part of a recent Times News Sports Facebook poll.

Pete Rose took top honors in the poll, gaining 71 percent. Chase Utley collected 21 percent, while Curt Schilling garnered five percent. Jimmy Rollins (two percent) and Bobby Abreu (one percent) rounded out the field.

Speaking of other potential Hall of Famers, what pro wrestler was known for the “Heart Punch?” What cartoon character would want to “steal” your corn chips? And what was “Crusader Rabbit?”

A Tattered Rose: It’s hard to deny that Rose was a major difference maker in helping the Phillies to their first World Championship.

Rose certainly has all of the credentials, and he can be considered one of the game’s top players in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. However, his outright gambling issues and stubbornness to initially admit his wrongdoings has kept him out of being among the game’s elites. It is hard to see Rose ever getting the nod.

Do you remember how Rose became a Phillie? Phillies’ executive Bill Giles asked WPHL-TV 17 for an additional $200,000 in broadcasting rights – then a large item in 1978 – to help afford Rose. Giles pitched it as increased viewership, and the station agreed. In turn, the Phillies signed Rose for a four-year, $3.2 million deal, and they sold $3 million in ticket sales over the next 30 days.

But the Phillies had another issue – where would Rose play? Do you know what they did? They sold first baseman Richie Hebner to the Mets to open a spot, a position Rose played only three career games.

Rose was banned from baseball in 1989 by then Commissioner Bart Giamatti for betting on baseball or stated as “engaged in a variety of acts which have stained the game.”

The “Silver Fox” and the “Red Light”: Utley should be on his way to the Hal, as he received 28.8 percent of the vote. He had a dominant five-year period from 2005-10, earning five All-Star selections, and hitting .298 with 162 homers, 216 doubles, 572 RBIs, 90 steals, a .911 OPS, and a 133 OPS+ over 869 games.

Schilling earned his nickname for his propensity for finding a camera. Schilling was a workhorse for the Phillies and also was a major contributor for the Red Sox.

He came very close in 2020 and in 2021, receiving 70 percent and 71.1 percent respectively. In his final year of eligibility in 2022, Schilling received 58.6 percent.

While Utley is on the rise, Schilling appears to be on the decline. By the way, who did the Phillies send to Houston for Schilling? It was fellow pitcher Jason Grimsley.

Do Stats Lie?: Rollins’ lack of interest is a puzzling one. He recently received 12.9 percent of the vote in his third year of eligibility. In the 2000s, Rollins’ numbers can be easily compared with those of Derek Jeter, Troy Tulowitzki, and Miguel Tejada.

His final numbers were .264, 281 homers, 936 RBIs, 470 stolen bases, .328 on-based percentage, .418 slugging, .743 OPS.

Rollins deserves a long look.

Like Rollins, Abreu has worthy numbers. He has a career .291 average with 288 homers, 1,363 RBIs, 2,470 hits and 400 stolen bases. This year, he received 15.4 percent of the vote.

Unknown to many, Abreu led the majors in walks from 1998-2011 with 1,396, and he is 20th on the all-time list.

With what team did Abreu finish his career? He was a New York Met in his final year of 2014.

Abreu should also have some heavy consideration.

Readers Write:

Hall of Famers in the Ring and At Your Table

Hi Jeff!

Bruno Sammartino was definitely “a champion’s champion,” In addition to holding the title for a number of years, the “living legend” was involved in the “Showdown at Shea” in September 1972. My cousin from NJ and I saw him wrestle in the main event at Shea Stadium. His opponent was Pedro Morales. The 75-minute match, which lasted until the curfew, resulted in a draw. The match was unique in that both opponents were “good guys.” George “the Animal” Steele was on hand in order to make the evening interesting.

How many people remember or have the tabletop baseball game put out by the APBA Game Co.? You would purchase the basic game and then purchase all the teams for each season. I had the 1964 and 1965 Phillies and all the teams from 1964 and ‘65, the 1950 “Whiz Kids,” the 1927 Yankees, the 1906 Chicago White Sox (“Hitless Wonders”), all teams from 1976-1982, the 1993 Phillies, and APBA’s all time teams A & B. It still can be purchased, although the price has increased significantly.

Richard Ochs

Walnutport, PA

Hall of Fame Bandit: Remember the Frito Bandito? From 1967 to 1971, he was the cartoon spokesperson for Frito’s.

The commercial quickly rose to fame, and we all should remember the tune, “Ay, ay, ay, ay, oh, I am the Frito Bandito. Give me Frito Corn chips and I’ll be your friend. The Frito Bandito you must not offend.”

The Bandito spoke broken English and “robbed” people of their Fritos. For a while, he could be considered a “Hall of Fame’ cartoon.

Others to Toon In: When you think of Hall of Fame cartoons, Bugs Bunny is definitely near the top of the list. “Popeye” also is listed among the ones that receive a Hall of Fame nod.

Do you remember “Crusader Rabbit?” I did remember watching the cartoon from the 1950s. Others in the mix of fame are “Bullwinkle,” “Mighty Mouse’s Playhouse,” “Tom and Jerry,” “The Flintstones,” “Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote” and Felix the Cat.”

Anyone watch “Deputy Dawg,” “Huckleberry Hound,” or “Felix the Cat?”

Phillies Phodder: Each week, I’ll have a Phillies’ trivia question for you to ponder. Test your Phillies knowledge without looking it up or looking below for the answer.

What Phillie led the league in triples and stolen bases as a rookie? See the answer below.

WWF Wrestler Wrap: Each week, we’ll look back at a former WWF star from our past.

Do you remember Stan “The Man” Stasiak? Stasiak, a Canadian native and former star there, was active in the WWF in the 1970s and 80, and his claim to fame was his “Heart Punch.” He was the WWF champion defeating Pedro Morales in December 1973 but lost it to Bruno Sammartino a week later.

Stasiak retired in 1984 and settled in Portland, Oregon. Ironically, Stasiak died in 1997 at age 60 from heart failure. Shawn Stasiak, his son, currently is on the WWE circuit.

Trivia Answer: Rollins had 12 triples and 46 stolen bases to top both categories as a rookie in 2001.

Final thoughts: Along with the above-mentioned Phillies, do you believe the following players should be in the Hall: Scott Rolen, Don Mattingly, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, and Roger Maris? There are plenty of others, and I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Memory Lane: Each week, I’ll look back at a former athlete, coach, manager, or media personality from our yesterday.

Do you remember Phillies’ pitcher Tom Hilgendorf? The lefthanded bullpen hurler was acquired from Cleveland for outfielder Nellie Garcia in the winter of 1974. In 1975, Hilgendorf recorded a 7-3 record with a 2.14 ERA in 53 games for the Phillies, posting a 1.91 ERA at the Vet, still one of the lowest of all time there.

He was released in spring training the following year, and never returned to the majors.

Feedback: Your thoughts, ideas, and comments are always welcomed at tnsports@tnonline.com.