Chronological list of top rookie seasons in Phillies history
Willie Montanez (1971, center field, ROY voting: 2nd)
Montanez made his Major League debut as an 18-year old with the California Angeles in 1966. Appearing in eight games, he struck out twice in two at-bats and scored two runs. He didn’t make a big league appearance again until 1970 with the Phillies, hitting .240 in 18 games. Maintaining rookie status in 1971, Montanez had his best season of his career. In 158 games, he belted 30 home runs and knocked in 99. Those numbers were good enough for second in Rookie of the Year voting.
He led the league in doubles with 39 the following season and hit .304 in 1974. In May of 1975, he was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Garry Maddox. Montanez hit .305 with 85 RBI for the Giants that season and .309 in 60 games in 1976 before being traded to the Braves. Montanez bounced around the league, playing for the New York Mets, Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, Montreal Expos and Pittsburgh Pirates before finishing his career with the Phllies in 1982.
Montanez had his best stretch from 1975 through 1978 in which he knocked in 349 runs with a career high 101 in 1975. He made his only All-Star appearance as the member of the Braves in 1978, when he hit .287 with 31 doubles and 20 home runs. Montanez also earned MVP votes for his play in 1975 and 1976.
While starting out in center field, Montanez made his name defensively as one of the best at first basemen in the league, leading the league in assists in 1975, 1976 and 1978. He holds a career fielding percentage at first base of .992 in 1164 games.