About a month ago, I looked at some of the best 2-way players in Phillies history inspired by Angels’ star Shohei Ohtani. We looked at players like Schoolboy Rowe, Rick Wise, Granny Hamner, and Wilson Valdez. Awards were handed out based on individual games and season performances.
For best pitching season by a hitter, I named Granny Hamner. In 1956, Hamner pitched 8.1 innings for the Phillies with a 4.32 ERA. It was easily his worst-hitting reason with only a .605 OPS. Since he pitched in 3 games, I really didn’t think there were any other position players in the running.
I was terribly wrong when I learned about an all-time Hall of Fame hitter who played a single season for the Phillies.
In two straight seasons between 1929-30, Jimmie Foxx helped bring World Series Championships to Philadelphia.
As a member of the Philadelphia Athletics, Foxx hit 302 home runs while hitting .339. He won MVP in 1932 and 1933. In just those two seasons, he hit 106 homers with a slugging percentage over .700.
We’re not here to talk about Foxx on the A’s. We’re here to talk about his time with the Phillies.
Foxx’s last season in the majors was spent with the Phillies in 1945.
Well past his prime, Foxx did have a respectable year at the plate. In 248 plate appearances, the certified fresh Hall of Famer hit .269/.336/.420 with the last 7 homers of his 534 homer career.
It’s not what Foxx did at the dish that made his 1945 season so unique. Foxx decided in 1945 to do whatever he could do to help the Phillies. That meant taking on pitching duties.
To his credit, Foxx did well for the 1945 Phillies. In 9 games, Foxx pitched 22.2 IP with a 1.59 ERA. Most impressively, he didn’t allow a single home run.
His best appearance came on August 19th during the second game of a doubleheader. Foxx was tabbed with the emergency start against the Reds. In the only pitching win of his major league career, Foxx went 6.2 IP, allowing 2 ER while striking out 5.
From the 3rd inning through the 6th inning, Foxx didn’t allow a hit. He did walk 4 batters in the game. The Phillies went on to win 4-2 (a rare win as the 1945 Phillies lost 108 games in a 154-game season).
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire