The last time a player went into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies was when Jim Bunning was elected via the Veteran’s Committee in 1996.
Twenty years have gone by since then and a few more may go by before the next Phillies player is elected, but when that time comes, there’s a good chance the streak will end with a trio of Phillies talent in Cooperstown.
The first chance will come when Roy Halladay is up for nomination in 2019. That year will also be the first time Mariano Rivera, Roy Oswalt and Todd Helton are up for election with Rivera being a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer.
If Halladay is elected, he’ll have to decide whether to go in as with the Toronto or Philadelphia uniform. There’s a good chance it’l be the red and white pinstripes, the same jersey that saw him win one of his two Cy Youngs, earn two All-Star trips, pitch a perfect game and toss a no-hitter in the 2010 postseason.
It may have only been four years of his career, but those first two years in Philadelphia where, arguably, his most dominant stretch ever.
After that, the next chance will be whenever Jimmy Rollins hangs it up. Out of all the potential Hall of Famers among the Phillies, Rollins may have the best odds. His career numbers make him one of the best offensive shortstops in history, putting him in a group where he sits behind Cal Ripkin, Derek Jeter, Robin Yount and Honus Wagner for total bases with the first three being the only ones with more extra-base hits.
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When his name hits the ballot, he’ll almost certainly find himself with a gold plaque.
Then there’s Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.
Each player has a strong resume, but both will be borderline Hall of Famers when they hang it up. Howard was the biggest bat on the Phillies’ World Series team and his MVP-numbers were eye-popping, but being a slugging first baseman, his numbers won’t be enough to reel in the votes. Utley, though, is one of the most decorated second baseman of his generation and will garner some serious traction among voters but whether or not he gets the needed support will be the question.
His resurgence this season in Los Angeles will help a bit, but his six All-Star appearances and four Silver Sluggers in Philadelphia will be the attention-grabbers. He may need to wait a bit once his name hits the ballots to finally get in, but there’s a good chance it’ll eventually happen.
Lastly, Cole Hamels will draw some serious consideration as he continues to pitch well in Texas. He — not Halladay, not Oswalt nor Cliff Lee — was the one that pitched the organization to a World Series victory. His dominance will certainly attract votes.
With that said, there’s going to be a few opportunities, some more realistic than others, for the Phillies to end this Hall of Fame drought for its players when a slew of key contributors in the late-2000s through now start to trickle onto the ballot.