July 16, 2013
DICK BARTELL (SS-1933). Tremendously underrated shortstop of the 1930s, “Rowdy Richard” Bartell is ranked the 38th best shortstop in baseball history by thebaseballpage.com, and yet I have barely heard of him (though he is involved in one of my favorite photos in baseball history). He and Chuck Klein were the only two Phillies to play in the very first All-Star game, in 1933. Dick was the type of player Philly loves, running hard on every grounder, and he was hated in Brooklyn for the way he threw his spikes in the air when he slid into base. The Phillies traded him to the Giants in 1934. In 1940, he became a goat for the Tigers, when in Game 7, with the team holding a 1-0 lead, he caught a relay throw from the outfield with a slow runner just rounding third. For reasons that have never been understood, he froze with the ball, despite his teammates yelling at him to throw it home. The Reds scored another run and won Game 7, 2-1.
PINKY WHITNEY (3B-1936). Another of the most underrated Phillies of all time, Pinky was a hard hitting third baseman for the Phils in the 1920s and 30s, and part of that 1930 team we love so much. His .341 BA in 1937 was 4th best in the league. He made only one All-Star team, and that was in 1936. He was also a fine fielder, and Phillies Nation has his ranked as the #47th best Phillie of all time.
HERSH MARTIN (OF-1938). Hersh was a career minor leaguer who finally got the call up to the bigs at age 28. He made the most of it, and in 1938 he was the only Phillie selected to the All-Star game, after batting .335 in the first half of the season. He cooled off a bit in the 2nd half, finishing the year at .298. He played two more years with the Phils, then was demoted back to the minors (strangely, when you consider that the Phillies were hardly better than a minor league team at the time). He was called back up by the Yankees during the War, and batted .302 in 1944.
DANNY LITWHILER (OF-1942). 1942 was a big year for Danny Litwhiler. He was the first regular major leaguer to have an error free season, which may have had something to do with the fact that he was the first player to stitch all 5 of the fingers of a glove together (That glove is on display in the Baseball Hall of Fame). It was also his first and only All-Star game appearance, as he was the Phils lone representative in the midst of yet another awful year. He was a hustler and a scrapper, and his tenaciouness paid off, as the Cardinals took him off of the awful Phillies and placed him on a winner the next season.
WOODIE FRYMAN (P-1968). Fryman got off to a torrid start for the Phils in 1968, opening the year 10-5 with a 1.61 ERA. That earned him a spot on the All-Star team, the only Phillie to make the team that year. He didn’t get a shot to show his stuff in the game, however. 8 years later, while a member of the Expos, he again made the All-Star team, he was again the team’s only representative, and once again did not take the hill. After finally retiring from baseball in 1983 he returned to his tobacco farm in Kentucky.