Bryce Harper, Roy Halladay, and other former Phillies crack ESPN.com’s “Top 100 All-Time MLB Players” list
ESPN.com released the first part of their “Top 100 MLB Players of All Time” list on Tuesday morning, and five Phillies, a mix of current and former, have found their way on the list.
There’s no real formula to creating a list like this. Comparing players of different generations when the game has changed so much is a hard task. ESPN.com, and the writers that compiled this long list, had a “methodology” to their results. Here’s what they had to say.
“Based on career WAR, Hall of Fame status, peak performance and overall contributions to the game, we selected an initial pool of more than 200 players from both the Major Leagues and Negro Leagues, dating back to the late 19th century, plus a few of today’s biggest stars.”
“From there, we asked dozens of ESPN editors and writers to contribute to a balloting system that pits players from the list against each other in head-to-head voting. The question we posed: “Based on a combination of career value and peak performance, which player would you rank higher?”- ESPN.com
Spots 51-100 were released on Tuesday morning, with 26-50 being announced on Wednesday, and 1-25 released on Thursday. Five notable Phillies players cracked the 100-51 release, with four placed in the 90-100 range. Check out the first batch of results from ESPN.com here.
Former/Current Phillies Players in ESPN.com’s Top 100
Jim Thome (98)
Career Accomplishments: Baseball Hall of Fame, 5x All-Star, Silver Slugger
The 22-year slugger Jim Thome just barely found his way onto ESPN.com’s list. Thome played four seasons in Philadelphia, where he crushed over 100 HRs, and knocked in over 200 RBIs. He played for six different teams throughout his career…Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago (White Sox), Minnesota, Los Angeles, and Baltimore.
Thome hit 612 career home runs in his long MLB career and knocked in 1,699 batters. Jim Thome’s career of power has cemented him in the 8th spot on the All-Time HRs list. His highlight season was in 2003 with the Phillies, where he finished fourth in MVP voting, and crushed 47 HRs for the team.
Bryce Harper (94)
Career Accomplishments: Rookie of the Year, 2x MVP, 6x All-Star, 2x Silver Slugger, HR Derby Champion
Bryce Harper has had a phenomenal career in his first ten years of professional baseball. Harper was drafted right out of high school and spent just two years in the minors. He was a worldwide phenomenon throughout his days at Las Vegas High School, making the cover of Sports Illustrated at just 16 years old.
Harper was drafted by the Nationals, where he played seven seasons and collected six all-star games and one most valuable player award. He was signed by the Phillies on March 2nd, 2019, and has played himself all the way up to the face of the franchise.
He has a career .281/.402/.556 slash line with the Phillies, hitting 83 HRs and 231 RBIs in just three seasons in Philadelphia. The 2021 season was the best of his Phillies tenure, where he took home the second Most Valuable Player Award of his career and was the first Phillies player to win the award since Jimmy Rollins in 2007.
Bryce Harper slashed .309/.429/.615 throughout his 2021 campaign, crushing 35 HRs, 84 RBIs, 151 hits, all good for an OPS of 1.044. Harper was the backbone of the struggling Phillies team and posted an offensive WAR of 5.6. He took home the Silver Slugger Award and the Hank Aaron Award along with his MVP.
Roy Halladay (92)
Career Accomplishments: National Baseball Hall of Fame, 2x Cy Young, 8x All-Star
Roy Halladay is truly one of the best pitchers I have ever seen throw a baseball. His outlook on the game was one-of-a-kind, his presence on the mound was powerful, and man could he pitch.
Roy Halladay played for just two MLB teams, one in the American League (Blue Jays), and one in the National League (Phillies). Throughout his 16 year career, he posted a 3.38 ERA, collected 203 wins, struck out 2,117 batters, and tallied 2,749 innings pitched.
His four years in Philly were special, capping off an illustrious career throughout Major League Baseball. He tallied a 3.25 ERA, faced over 2,800 batters, and collected 179 strikeouts. He threw a perfect game in the regular season of 2010 and posted one of the most special outings in Phillies team history, a playoff no-hitter.
ESPN.com’s criteria for these rankings perfectly describes Halladay: “A combination of career value and peak performance.” Roy Halladay’s MLB career was one to remember. Rest in Peace, Doc.
Ryne Sandberg (91)
Career Accomplishments: Phillies Manager (’13-’15), Hall of Fame, MVP, 10x All-Star, 9x Gold Glove, 7x Silver Slugger
Ryne Sandberg’s time in Philadelphia was never a long one, whether he was playing or managing. But his overall baseball career is sneakily among the greats. He played just 13 games for the Phillies in his rookie year. He then managed the Phillies after his playing career was over for the back half of the 2013 season, the complete 2014 season, and the first half of the ’15 season.
Sandberg played 16 seasons and was a career .285 hitter. His MVP season came in 1984 with the Chicago Cubs, where he slashed .314/.367/.520, hitting 19 HRs, 84 RBIs, stealing 19 bases as well. Sandberg posted an 11-year stint from ’82-’93 where his average stayed above .260, with just two of those seasons being under .280.
Steve Carlton (58)
Career Accomplishments: Baseball Hall of Fame, 4x Cy Young, Triple Crown, 10x All-Star, 2x World Series, Gold Glove, ERA Title
Steve Carlton is undoubtedly the greatest pitcher in Phillies history. He spent 15 years in Philadelphia, throwing just a 3.09 ERA in that time, in 499 games. Carlton threw 185 complete games while a member of the Phillies, which is something that we’ll never see again.
“Lefty” won all four of his Cy-Young’s in Philadelphia, and led the team to a World Series title in 1980. He pitched 304 innings that season, striking out 286 batters, and held a 3.18 SO/W ratio.
Carlton had one of the most legendary tenures we’ll ever see in Major League Baseball. He never had an ERA above 3.90 in Philly, while facing over 15,000 batters. The Phillies only won 59 games in 1972…Steve Carlton won 27 of those games.
The second of three total parts will be released on Wednesday for ESPN.com’s Top 100 Baseball Players of All Time. It will be interesting to see how ESPN.com ranks the other current stars, including Mike Trout, Jacob deGrom, and more. With Major League Baseball and the Players Association unable to come to an agreement anytime soon, this is…all we have to look forward to?