Thursday, November 5, 2015
Phillies History Behind The Plate
Leaving Their Mark Behind The Plate – This is the first in a series of articles on the most career games by position in Phillies history. We begin with the top five in games caught. Mike Lieberthal (1994-2006): 1,139 games; Red Dooin (1902-1914): 1,124 games; Bob Boone (1972-1981): 1,095 games; Carlos Ruiz (2006-current): 982 games; Darren Daulton (1983, 1985-1995): 965 games. Lieberthal broke Dooin's record for games at catcher on Aug, 18, 2006, at Citizens Bank Park. "Lieby" was an All-American baseball player at Los Angeles' Westlake High School, where he once hit four home runs and drove in 10 runs in one game. The Phillies selected him in the first round, third player overall, in the 1990 Draft. At 155 pounds, many were skeptical he could sustain the rigors of catching every day in the big leagues. He wound up catching more games than anyone else in Phillies history, was a two-time All-Star and a 1999 Gold Glove Award winner. After playing one season with the Dodgers, Lieberthal officially retired as a Phillie on April 28, 2008. He's also a Phillies Wall of Fame inductee (2012). Dooin was a 5-foot-9 catcher who barely tipped the scales at 150 pounds during a 15-year career in the Majors. The first 13 years were with the Phillies (1902-14). He caught 1,124 games for the franchise, a record that stood for 91 years. Dooin became player-manager of the Phillies in 1910. The 1913 club finished second, but he was fired following a sixth-place finish in 1914. Dooin's managerial record was 392-370. A singer-actor, Dooin spent some winters on the vaudeville circuit following his playing career. He died in Rochester, N.Y., on May 14, 1952, from a heart attack. He was 72 years old. Boone was a biology major at Stanford University. He switched positions to playing catcher in 1971, and after only 169 games behind the plate in the Minors, Boone made his Major League debut in September 1972. He was the Phillies' everyday catcher for nine years, beginning in 1973. He was an All-Star three times and a Gold Glove Award winner twice while with Philadelphia. An excellent defensive catcher and student of the game, Boone handled pitching staffs that reached the postseason seven times, five with the Phillies and twice with the Angels. When he retired, Boone had caught more games than anyone in baseball history, only to see Carlton Fisk break the record by one game. Boone, his father, Ray (third baseman), and his two sons, Bret (second baseman) and Aaron (third baseman), were All-Stars during their careers. Boone managed the Royals (1995-97) and Cincinnati Reds (2001-3). He was the first catcher inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame (2005). Ruiz was signed as an international free agent out of David, Panama, on Dec. 4, 1998, for $8,000. A second baseman, he made his pro debut the following season as a catcher in the Dominican Summer League. Ruiz spent the next seven seasons working his way up through the Minors before reaching the Majors on May 6, 2006, vs. the Giants at Citizens Bank Park. He was the Phillies' regular catcher from 2007-14 and spent time on the disabled list six times during that span. He has started seven Opening Days (2008-12; 2014-15), was an All-Star in 2012 and has caught the most postseason games in Phillies history (46). "Chooch" is the only catcher in National League history to catch four no-hitters: two by Roy Halladay (2010), one by four Phillies pitchers (2014) and Cole Hamels' last start with the Phillies (2015). Daulton was drafted as a skinny catcher out of Arkansas City High School, listed on scouting reports as 150 pounds. His 14 seasons with the Phillies are the longest tenure for a catcher in the team's modern history. Defensively, Daulton had the most putouts (981 in 1993) and double plays (19 in 1993) for a catcher during a season in franchise history. He played in 1,109 games with the Phillies, remarkable since he was on the disabled list several times and had multiple knee surgeries, plus other injuries. He was a three-time All-Star and recognized as the leader of the 1993 NL champion Phillies. Daulton ended his career with the Marlins, winning a World Series title with the club in 1997. Daulton was a Phillies Wall of Fame inductee (2010).
The Phillies finally put an end to the season finishing in last place in the NL East with a record of 63-99. Given the departures, aging stars, injuries, and bipolar performances, this has ended up being one of the worst seasons in franchise history! However, at least Ryan Madson got another ring this year.