Phillies Franchise History: Greatest Player to Wear Each Number

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 09: Former Philadelphia Phillies greats, Jim Bunning, Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt were among many on hand to honor former manager Charlie Manuel who was to be inducted to the Phillies Wall of Fame during a ceremony before the start of a game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on August 9, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 09: Former Philadelphia Phillies greats, Jim Bunning, Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt were among many on hand to honor former manager Charlie Manuel who was to be inducted to the Phillies Wall of Fame during a ceremony before the start of a game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on August 9, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 28: A baseball with MLB logo is seen at Citizens Bank Park before a game between the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies on June 28, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 28: A baseball with MLB logo is seen at Citizens Bank Park before a game between the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies on June 28, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

team. 6. . . . Tony Gonzalez. 22

This number hasn’t gotten much love in Phillies history with the likes of Casper Wells, Arthur Rhodes, and Jason Michaels donning it. It’s now worn by Gabe Kapler, who could one day find himself on this list as the best to wear 22.

Born in Central Cunagua, Cuba, Tony Gonzalez made his major league debut with the Reds in 1960. Thirty-nine games into his career Cincinnati traded him to Philadelphia with Lee Walls for Frederick Hopke, Harry Anderson and Wally Post.

He never made an All-Star game, but given he played in a league with Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, and Hank Aaron, it’s no surprise or knock.

Gonzalez finished his first of 12 seasons season hitting .274 and earned the nickname “Little Dynamite.” Eye and back injuries limited his career and manager Gene Mauch constantly platooned him in center field. The eye injuries caused by hit by pitches became such a problem Gonzalez became the first player in baseball history to wear a pre-molded ear flap on his helmet.

He never made an All-Star game, but given he played in a league with Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, and Hank Aaron, it’s no surprise or knock.

Gonzalez has a consistent hitter throughout his career in Philadelphia, ending his nine-year stretch with the team in 1968 with a career .295 batting average. Three times he hit at least .300, including a .339 season in 1967, yet he finished 26th in the MVP voting. His .339 batting average placed him second in the batting title race behind Clemente.

Philadelphia lost Gonzalez after the 1968 season when he was selected in the expansion draft by the San Diego Padres 37th overall. Montreal, Kansas City, Seattle, and San Diego added teams that year, and unfortunately, Gonzalez was one of 120 players selected.

San Diego would flip Gonzalez back to the National League East in a deal with Atlanta and finish out his major league career with the Angels before playing in Japan.

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