While their journey to the major leagues bears few resemblances, the play and physical traits of Phillies rookie Tommy Joseph and Phillies Wall of Famer Pat Burrell brings fans back to the good old days of Philadelphia Phillies baseball.
I’ve followed the Phillies since I can remember, and one of my favorite players was Pat “The Bat” Burrell. The power-hitting outfielder left an everlasting mark on the city of Philadelphia since the day he was drafted number one overall by the Phillies in 1998.
When Tommy Joseph stepped up to bat last week in his first major league game, I did a double take look at my television. A tall, right-handed hitter with his hands up high and a simple batting stance. The short black hair did it in for me.
Tommy Joseph looks in too many ways like Pat Burrell.
Now, while the former catching prospect has a long ways to go before he reaches Burrell status, he appears well on his way to being a piece to the Phillies future.
Burrell arrived in Philadelphia during the 2000 season and never looked back. He placed fourth in the Rookie of the Year balloting after hitting 18 home runs and driving in 79 runs in 111 games.
During his nine years in Phillies pinstripes, The Bat hit 251 home runs and had 827 RBIs. He had two seasons where he was in the top 15 for National League Most Valuable Player of the Year.
And of course, he brought us a ring in 2008.
For Tommy Joseph, the story remains to be written. The beginning of his professional baseball career was a horror story. He dealt with several concussions working behind the plate and was at one point waived by the Phillies. The rest of the league passed on a guy who was the center piece of the Hunter Pence trade just a few seasons ago.
Now, he’s healthy and getting standing ovations in a major league ballpark. He’s gotten his first hit and home run out of the way, now he just has to prove himself as an everyday baseball player in the major leagues.
The Pat Burrell similarities are uncanny, so hopefully Joseph can have a career just as good as The Bat and lead this new generation of Phillies to their third world championship.
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