With numerous team records likely to fall with increased power hitting and pitching, here are the top five single-season Phillies records unlikely to fall.
After struggling for an extended stretch, Bryce Harper appears to be warming up as the summer months begin. He just reached the 200 home run, 1000 hit milestones in one swing of the bat against the Braves on Friday. He was on pace for over 200 strikeouts, which would have surpassed Ryan Howard‘s mark of 199 for a single season.
Harper’s now on pace for 192 strikeouts, but the strikeout mark will likely fall in due time as players are swinging more for the fence than ever before. However, several Phillies single-season records probably will stand the test of time. In no particular order, here are the top five on this list. Note that the records are for the post-dead-ball era.
Juan Samuel: 72 stolen bases
Samuel appeared in 18 games late in the Phillies 1983 NL Championship season and burst onto the scene as a rookie in 1984. Utilizing his great speed, Samuel led the league in triples with 19 and stole 72 bases, the most by any Phillies player in the post-dead-ball era. Although Samuel never approached that mark again, he took 53 in 1985 and 42 in 1986. All told, Samuel swiped 249 bases with the Phillies and 396 for his career.
Taking a look at that mark, Samuel’s 53 steals second most by a Phillies player in a season. There have been eight seasons in which Phillies players have stolen at least 40 since then, led by Ben Revere‘s 49 in 2014 and Jimmy Rollins‘ 47 in 2008. If you look around Major League Baseball, no player has approached 72 stolen bases in a season since Jose Reyes stole 78 in 2007.
The Major League peak seasons for stolen bases was in the era from 1982 through 1999. Over 3000 bases were stolen each season except the 1994 strike-shortened season and 1995. Since then there have been only three seasons surpassing 3000 steals, and league totals were down to around 2500 over the past few seasons. The game is more of power versus power with stolen bases an afterthought.
Players are becoming increasingly bigger, stronger, faster, and more athletic. The physical tools will be there for a player to surpass Samuel’s mark of 72 stolen bases. However, unless the offensive mentality changed, the mark will stand. People love seeing the long ball, and players make big money doing so; therefore, Samuel’s mark will likely stand.