As a baseball fan for over 37 years, I’ve seen many individual offensive performances from players on my favorite team, the Philadelphia Phillies. But which seasonal performances are the best of them all? It’s a difficult question to answer, but I came up with a top ten list. I base my list on several criteria. The top criteria is runs batted in and runs scored since baseball is all about scoring more runs than the other team. Next I consider slugging percentage and on base percentage, since getting on base is key to scoring runs and slugging percentage takes into account extra base hits, which is crucial to driving in runs. Finally, I consider batting average. Therefore, you wont see line drive hitters with high batting averages that didn’t drive in runs, hence an abundance of power hitting seasons on the list.
10. Chase Utley (2007)
Chase Utley has been the full-time starting second baseman for the Phillies since 2005. The best second baseman in franchise history was the top offensive second baseman in baseball from 2005 through 2009. In 2007, he batted .332 with 48 doubles, 22 home runs, 103 RBI and 104 runs scored. Although he’s had other seasons with more home runs, RBI and runs scored, 2007 was his best all around offensive season. The 35-year old has a career batting average of .288 with 221 home runs and 835 RBI.
9. Mike Schmidt (1977)
Mike Schmidt is the best third baseman in franchise and Major League history. In his fourth of 13 seasons with 30 or more home runs, Schmidt hit 38 home runs in 1977. He added 101 RBI, 114 runs scored, 104 walks, 11 triples, a .274 batting average and a .576 slugging percentage. His offensive output helped the Phillies to their second of three straight National League East titles.
8. Bobby Abreu (2001)
In his fourth season with the Phillies, Bobby Abreu had another excellent offensive season. An under-appreciated player in Philadelphia, Abreu batted .289 with 31 home runs, 110 RBI, 118 runs scored, 106 walks and 48 doubles. Abreu had several excellent seasons on some below average Phillies’ teams from 1998 to 2006 and his season in 2001 lands him at number eight on this list.
7. Bobby Abreu (1999)
Abreu became one of the best offensive players in the Major Leagues as a 25-year old with the Phillies in 1999. He batted .335 with 35 doubles, a league-leading 11 triples, 93 RBI, 118 runs scored and 109 walks. His on-base percentage was an excellent .446 and his slugging percentage was .549. This was the first of seven consecutive stellar seasons with the Phillies. Although he had more home runs and RBI in some other seasons, his batting average and on-base percentage were too high to ignore, which lands him at number seven on the list.
6. Greg Luzinski (1977)
Greg “The Bull” Luzinski was part of the Phillies’ one-two punch in the middle to late 1970’s with Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt. Luzinski had his best season of his career, batting .309 with 39 home runs, 130 RBI and 99 runs scored. Add in 80 walks and Luzinski had an on-base percentage of .394 with a slugging percentage of .594. His efforts were noticed, as he was second in the National League in MVP voting. Luzinski had a career average of .276 with 307 home runs and 1,128 RBI.
5. Ryan Howard (2008)
The Phillies won the 2008 World Series, led by a fierce offensive lineup. In the middle of that lineup was Ryan Howard, who led the league in home runs with 48 and RBI with 146. Although his batting average was only .251, Howard had a slugging percentage of .543. He also scored 105 runs and walked 81 times. He’s had better hitting seasons by average, but it’s hard to overlook leading the league in home runs and RBI on a World Series winning team, which lands Howard’s 2008 season at number four.
4. Jim Thome (2003)
Jim Thome had two excellent seasons with the Phillies, but in his first season with the team in 2003, he became a fan favorite and for good reason. He was the league leader in home runs with 47 and had 131 RBI. Thome also added 111 runs scored and 111 walks. He batted .266 with a slugging percentage of .573. Thome’s season landed him fourth in the MVP balloting and fourth on this list.
3. Mike Schmidt (1980)
Schmidt had an excellent season to help propel the Phillies to their first World Series championship in franchise history. His 48 home runs were tops in the league and highest seasonal total by a third baseman in league history. He also led the league in RBI with 121, had 104 runs scored and 81 walks. Schmidt also batted a respectable .286 and slugging percentage of .624. For his efforts, Schmidt won his first of three National League MVP awards.
2. Mike Schmidt (1981)
Coming off a World Series win and 48 home run season, Schmidt was headed for the most home runs and RBI of his career. But a strike shortened the season by nearly 60 games cut into the overall totals. Even so, Schmidt was very impressive. In just 102 games, Schmidt slugged 31 home runs, had 91 RBI, 78 runs scored and 73 walks, all tops in the league. He also batted a career high .316, lead the league in on base percentage at .435 and slugging percentage at .644. Not surprisingly, Schmidt’s efforts earned him his second MVP award.
1. Ryan Howard (2006)
As hard as it would be to top Schmidt’s seasons of 1980 and 1981, Ryan Howard did just that in 2006. Coming off winning the Rookie of the Year award in 2005, Howard flirted with 60 home runs, ending with a league-leading 58 home runs and149 RBI. He scored 104 runs and walked 108 times. Top that off with a .313 average, .425 on-base percentage and .659 slugging percentage, and Howard tops off the best single season offensive performance by a Phillies player in the last 37 seasons.
Honorable mention: Mike Schmidt (1979 – 45 HR, 114 RBI .253 AVG, 1982- 35 HR, 87 RBI, .280 AVG, 1983- 40 HR, 109 RBI, .255 AVG, 1984- 36 HR, 106 RBI, .277 AVG, 1986- 37 HR, 119 RBI, .290 AVG, 1987- 35 HR, 119 RBI, .293 AVG), Darren Daulton (1992- 27 HR, 109 RBI, .270 AVG), Lenny Dykstra (1993- 19 HR, 66 RBI, 143 Runs, 129 Walks, .305 AVG), Scott Rolen (1998- 31 HR, 110 RBI, 110 Runs, .290 AVG), Bobby Abreu (2000- 25 HR, 79 RBI, 103 Runs, 100 Walks, .316 AVG, 2004- 30 HR, 105 RBI, 118 Runs, .301 AVG), Jim Thome (2004- 42 HR, 105 RBI .274 AVG), Chase Utley (2005- 28 HR, 105 RBI, 93 Runs, .290 AVG, 2006- 32 HR, 102 RBI, 131 Runs, .309 AVG, 2008- 33 HR, 104 RBI, 113 Runs, .292 AVG), Ryan Howard (2009- 45 HR, 141 RBI, .279 AVG)