Philadelphia Phillies: 50 greatest players of all-time
Larry Christenson had the potential to be higher up on this list, but injuries took their toll on him and ultimately forced him to end his career before his age-30 season. When he was healthy, Christenson was a model of consistency for the team.
The 1972 No. 3 overall draft pick got his first full opportunity in the majors in 1975. He started off well. In 29 appearances that year, he had a 3.67 ERA, 3.27 fielding-independent pitching, 88 strikeouts, 45 walks and a 1.130 WHIP.
Christenson posted similar numbers in 1976 then saw his ERA slightly rise in 1977. He came back and posted career-bests in ERA (3.24), WHIP (1.123), walks per nine innings (1.5), strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.79), complete games (nine), shutouts (three) and innings pitched (228.0) in 1978.
Injuries kept Christenson for large parts of the 1979 and 1980 seasons. His last productive season came in 1982 when he had a career-best 3.2 wins above replacement. He finished the year with a 3.47 ERA, 3.04 FIP and 1.188 WHIP in 33 starts.
Elbow surgery cut Christenson’s 1983 season short after nine starts. He was released by the team after the season and he never played again, despite attempts to rehabilitate.
Christenson finished his career with an 83-71 record, 3.79 ERA, 27 complete games, six shutouts, 781 strikeouts, 395 walks and a 1.280 WHIP in 243 games. In franchise history, he ranks 12th in strikeouts, 16th in wins, 17th in innings pitched and 29th in strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Christenson is tied with Rick Wise for the most home runs by a pitcher in franchise history. He hit 11 total, including seven from 1975 to 1977.