On Thursday, the BBWAA will formally announce the MVP award winners in the American and National Leagues. While Phillies fans eagerly await to hear if Bryce Harper will win, the American League award is almost certainly going to 2-way sensation Shohei Ohtani of the Las Angeles Angels (sometimes of Anaheim).
That got us at Philly Sports Network thinking: “Who in Phillies’ history are the best 2-way players?”
Well, we have some awards to hand out ourselves for just those players: Best Hitting Pitcher in a Season, Best Pitching Hitter in a season, Best Single Game Hitting Performance by a Pitcher, and Best Single Game Pitcher Performance by a Hitter.
Best Hitting Pitcher: Season
Believe it or not, there was some stiff competition for this award. In 1955, Phillies’ Hall of Famer Robin Roberts had 15 extra base hits and a 120 OPS+. In 1923, Lefty Weinert hit .322. Oscar Judd hit .316 in 1946. Even recently, Randy Wolf had 3 home runs and a .788 OPS in 2004.
All of these stats put this men in the running, but one player stood among the rest.
In 5 years with the Phillies, Schoolboy hit .252 with a 101 OPS+. Specifically, Rowe’s 1943 batting line stood out like a sore thumb. He slashed .300/.382/.458. He had 4 home runs and 18 RBI. His 147 OPS+ that season would be in the line of Kyle Tucker of the Houston Astros in 2021.
Crazier than all of that was Schoolboy’s pinch hitting. He appeared in 48 games as a pinch hitter and slashed .317/.417/.537 with 7 extra base hits.
Of course, to make this list Rowe was also a fantastic pitcher. In 1943, he went 14-8 with a 2.94 ERA. He had the lowest walk-rate in the league, only allowing 1.3 walks per 9 innings pitched. He finished 14th in MVP voting that year.
Best Pitching Hitter: Season
We’re not talking about Scott Kingery not being able to light up a radar gun…
Or poor Jeff Francoeur having to pitch 2 innings in a blowout…
Or even the 2 scoreless games that Phillies’ legend Sean Rodriguez pitched in 2018.
Instead, we’re here to talk about a real Phillies’ legend.
Granny Hamner started all 4 games of the 1950 World Series as a 23-year-old at shortstop. All he did was hit .429 and have a 1.181 OPS in those games. It was what Hamner did at age 29 that nets him this award.
In 1956, Granny pitched for the first time. Not only that, he pitched 8.1 IP for the Phillies that year. The first 4 over those innings were scoreless.
Hamner’s treated pitching performance came against the Reds on August 26th. Hamner came in for the 6th inning and finished off the game in a 10-5 loss. He went 3 IP allowing a hit and 2 walks.
Granny had 2 major highlights that game. He got Hall of Famer Frank Robinson to fly out to close out the 7th inning. To close out the 8th inning, he got former teammate and star catcher Smoky Burgess to strike out. Hamner pitched in 2 other games that season and had a 4.32 ERA.
His pitching prowess lead to the Kansas City Athletics signing him to a minor league contract as a pitcher in 1961. He’d pitch 245.2 innings between ’61 and ’62 in the minors, leading to 4 more IP in the majors in ’62.
Best Hitting Pitcher: Single Game
Listen, there was only one real choice for this one. Let’s get right to it.
In perhaps the greatest single game performance in all of baseball history, Rick Wise threw a no-hitter AND hit 2 home runs in the game game. Let’s address the pitching performance quickly. He faced a Reds lineup that featured Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, and George Foster and allowed only a single walk.
As for the hitting…
He hit 2 home runs. There’s not much to say. The second homer, seen above, came off of Clay Carroll, an All-Star that year.
More astonishingly, Wise would have ANOTHER 2 homer game in the same year! No wonder the Cardinals traded Steve Carlton for him.
Best Pitching Hitter: Single Game
While we detailed how Granny Hamner shutout the Reds over 3 IP, we’re not fans of doubling up awards. Therefore, we had a Phillies’ folk hero in mind.
Listen. I remember talking to my friends in high school after this game. Wilson Valdez became a legend on May 25th, 2011. I’ll let TMac take it from here…
He got the reigning MVP, Joey Votto, to fly out and even plunked Phillies’ pariah Scott Rolen. Valdez recorded the W and his name became etched in stone as the standard for position players pitching.
Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire