Philadelphia Phillies: 50 greatest players of all-time
Larry Bowa is one of the great Phillies whose career is great in the context of the club, but unfortunately falls short of Cooperstown. A livelong Phillie, Bowa has served as a player, coach, manager and executive with the club for nearly five decades.
Philadelphia signed Bowa out of Sacramento City College in 1965. Five years later, he was starting in the big leagues. Bowa finished third in the Rookie of the Year race behind pitcher Carl Morton and Bernie Carbo. Bowa received three first-place votes, as many more than he hit home runs that year.
Bowa swung a good bat, but hit just two home runs in his first 600 games. He managed to lead the league in triples and earned the first of two Gold Gloves in 1972.
In 1974, Bowa’s career took a strong turn and he earned five all-star selections over the next six years. He hit .280 or better in three of those seasons and his 1978 campaign nearly netted him an MVP award.
Bowa (again) received three first-place votes for MVP, but finished behind Dave Parker and Steve Garvey. Perhaps that Parker hit 10 times as many home runs as Bowa did that year had something to do with it?
Bowa continued to hit for the Phillies through the 1980 World Series, but was traded after the 1981 season along with Ryne Sandberg for Ivan de Jesus, one of the worst trades in franchise history.
While Jimmy Rollins unseated Bowa as the greatest shortstop in Phillies history, Bowa has the third-best dWAR in club history behind Mike Schmidt and Chase Utley.
Bowa has the fourth-most games played, at-bats and plate appearances in club history. His 1,789 hits are the sixth most, more than Chuck Klein and Utley. Bowa also ranks in the top-10 for career stolen bases, triples, singles and outs made.