Philadelphia Phillies: 50 greatest players of all-time
Juan Samuel got his start with the Phillies after being signed from the Dominican Republic in 1980. In his first full season, he set the rookie record with 72 stolen bases and led the league in triples (19), at-bats (701) and plate appearances (737). He was an All-Star and finished second in Rookie of the Year voting to Dwight Gooden.
Samuel earned the second of three All-Star appearances of his career, as well as his only Silver Slugger in 1987. He again led the league with 15 triples, 655 at-bats and 726 plate appearances. He recorded career highs in home runs (28), runs batted in (100), runs scored (113) and walks (60). Samuel became the first player in major-league history to reach double digits in doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases in his first four major-league seasons.
Samuel’s numbers dropped off in 1988, as he was being transitioned from second base to the outfield. He finished the year with an OPS+ under 100 for the first time in his career.
Samuel was traded to the New York Mets as part of the deal that brought Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell to Philadelphia. He bounced around the league after that, earning one more All-Star appearance before his retirement after the 1998 season.
One issue that plagued Samuel early in his career was striking out. He led the league in strikeouts four straight years from 1984 to 1987, tied for a major-league record. He ranks 10th in franchise history with 825 strikeouts, despite only playing in Philadelphia for seven years.
Samuel returned to Philadelphia as a third base coach in 2011, moving over to first base before moving back to third once Ryne Sandberg became manager. He was let go by the team after Gabe Kapler took over as manager.