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The 10 most under-appreciated players of the 1990s: #3 Tony Phillips

Posted by Andy
Here's the guy we all knew was coming...Tony Phillips.

Phillips is a poster boy for on-base percentage. His career BA is .266 but his career OBP is .374, a very wide margin thanks to lots of walks. And he did it with a SLG of just .389!

Throw in Phillips' versatility as a defender, and he was a truly great player.

For players with at least 5000 plate appearances in the 1990s, here are the top guys by OBP:

Rk Player OBP PA Age SLG OPS Pos Tm
1 Frank Thomas .440 6091 22-31 .573 1.013 *3D CHW
2 Barry Bonds .434 6146 25-34 .602 1.036 *7/8D PIT-SFG
3 Edgar Martinez .430 5587 27-36 .532 .962 *D5/3 SEA
4 Jeff Bagwell .416 5800 23-31 .545 .961 *3/D9 HOU
5 Rickey Henderson .412 5452 31-40 .426 .838 *7D/89 OAK-TOT-SDP-NYM
6 Mark McGwire .411 5054 26-35 .615 1.025 *3/D OAK-TOT-STL
7 John Olerud .406 5699 21-30 .482 .888 *3D TOR-NYM
8 Gary Sheffield .401 5054 21-30 .517 .918 957/D MIL-SDP-TOT-FLA-LAD
9 Tony Phillips .392 6103 31-40 .409 .801 7459/D863 DET-CAL-CHW-TOT-OAK
10 Mo Vaughn .390 5044 23-31 .538 .928 *3D BOS-ANA
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/18/2012.

That's some pretty nifty company. As mentioned above, though, Phillips was a bit challenged as far as hitting for extra bases, with by far the lowest SLG of the group (more than 200 points below Mark McGwire...wow!)

But look at all the positions Phillips played--everything but pitcher and catcher.

In fact, Phillips is one of just two players in baseball history to play at least 700 games at second base and 700 games in the outfield. The other? Alfonso Soriano.

Not sure what else to say about Phillips. I think most folks who read this blog know he was a valuable player.

As for the card...it's 1997 Donruss #218. By 1997, it was hard to find any company's regular issue card. You can find the gold parallel, select version, and all kinds of other goofy sets, making the standard releases the minority.

This is quite a nice card, actually, with two photos, especially since they show Phillips in different uniforms, meaning they were taken at different games. It's got just a bit of foil for the team logo and Donruss logo on the front--a nice, sparse use. The back is nice too, although with just basic stats. The vital stats (height, weight, etc) are in gray ovals that match the one used for the card number, and are a nice design feature. The transparent team logo in the background is a nice touch too.

Overall, this is a nice set, but by 1997, the card companies didn't want people caring about the regular issue sets...they wanted us buying $3 packs hoping for some rare parallel hit.

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