Several Hall of Famers could have been Phillies if not for some unlucky moves
The coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly every facet of the world’s operations, including the shutdown of all sports leagues. As we patiently wait for this crisis to pass and baseball to begin, I ponder those that started their Major League careers with the Phillies, only to quickly depart and excel elsewhere.
Note that Scott Rolen had a good deal of success after his days with the Phillies, but he doesn’t qualify for this having played several seasons in the red pinstripes before moving on.
In chronological order, here are the top six on this list.
Starting his professional career in the Phillies farm system as a 19-year old in 1962, Ferguson Jenkins worked his way through the minor leagues, making his Major League debut on September 10, 1965. He earned a win, tossing 4 1/3 innings in relief, allowing just two hits and no earned runs.
Jenkins posted a 2-1 record in seven games out of the bullpen. He pitched in only one game with the Phillies in 1966 before being traded to the Cubs on April 21, 1966, along with John Herrnstein and Adolfo Phillips for Bob Buhl and Larry Jackson.
Jenkins quickly became one of the top pitchers in the league, winning 20 or more games every season from 1967 through 1972. He made three All-Star appearances during that stretch and won the NL Cy Young Award in 1972 after leading the league with 24 wins, 30 complete games and 325 innings pitched.
After being traded to the Rangers on October 25, 1973, for Bill Madlock, Jenkins posted a career-high 25 wins. He paced the league in complete games with 29 and was second in the AL Cy Young Award voting. After a 17-win season in 1975, Jenkins was once again traded, this time to the Red Sox where he would win 22 and lose 21 in two seasons.
Jenkins was shipped back to the Rangers and enjoyed a fine season upon his return, winning 18 with an ERA of 3.04. After 28 wins combined in 1979 and 1980, Jenkins struggled to five wins and a career-worse 4.50 ERA in 1981 and was subsequently released.
Returning to where he had his greatest success, Jenkins finished out a stellar career with the Cubs, winning 14 in 1982 and 6 in 1983 before retiring at the age of 40.
Jenkins compiled a career record of 284-226 with 267 complete games, 3192 strikeouts, and an ERA of 3.34. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991 on his third ballot, receiving 75.4% of the votes, a hair over the necessary 75%.