When Jake Thompson trotted out to the pitcher's mound in San Diego on Aug. 6, he did so with an interesting distinction. The 22-year-old, playing in the ballclub's 134th season, became the 2,000th player to put on the uniform and play as a member of the Phillies.
Two thousand players, with all kinds of stories and all kinds of names. Here's a look at some of them, starting at the beginning.
• Phillies alumni
On May 1, 1883 -- when a quart of milk cost just about six cents -- 20-year-old John Coleman became the first player in the history of the franchise. He pitched in the Phillies' inaugural game at Recreation Park against the Providence Grays, losing, 4-3, to future Hall of Famer Old Hoss Radbourn.
Coleman was the 603rd player in Major League Baseball. Thompson debuted as No. 18,825.
In the two years Coleman was with the club, he played alongside some fellows that went by names like Shadow Pyle and Cyclone Miller.
Miller, in fact, is the most common name in Phillies history, at 14. There have been 11 Johnsons, nine Joneses and 12 Smiths, one of whom was Phenomenal. Despite a couple World Series, there has been just one Champion. In addition, there was a player who really did put his Hancock on baseballs -- though he went by Josh, not John.
There has been just one Nolan -- fittingly, he went by The Only, a pretty bold prediction by someone who played in just seven games with the Phillies back in 1885. His nickname was close to being rendered obsolete last season, but Aaron Nola was a letter shy.
Perhaps most incredible is the representation of the U.S. Presidents. The Phillies have employed a Lincoln, Carter, Madison, Monroe, Pierce, Adams, Buchanan, Ford, Hayes, Hoover, Jackson, Johnson, Kennedy (one of whom was named John), Nixon, Taylor, Wilson and Grant. That's 17 names and 19 of the 44 presidents.
Speaking of Grant: While he may have helped keep the South from seceding, he didn't keep the southern cities from wearing the red pinstripes. Looking at first and last names, Houston, Dallas, Selma, Montgomery and Orlando all appeared in games.
Going by the saying, "You are what you eat," the Phillies must have had some pretty interesting diets. There was Lemon, Berry, Cookie, Curry, Peanuts, Mayo, Oates, Berger, Spud, Wheat and a couple of marinades -- one Savery and other was Saucier. Dessert is the best-represented course, highlighted by Puddin' Head Jones and Klondike Douglass. And don't forget the winner for the most Philadelphia name of all time: Pretzels Pezzullo.
There have been some beverages as well, with Pop being the only kid-friendly drink. The libations include Sherry, Hennessey, Wine, Yingling and -- unbelievably -- Bud Weiser. John Boozer must have been thrilled.
Seeing as baseball starts when the weather gets warm, it is only fitting there was a Spring -- and everything that goes along with it, including Lake, Hill, Marsh, Meadows, Greengrass, Moss, Park, Poole, Fields, Woods, Flora (and Flowers) and Rose.
Moving from nature to animals, Doug Bird, Chick Fraser, Nelson Hawks, Turkey Tyson, Sparrow Morton and Johnny Peacock all flew onto the roster over the past 134 years. Joining them were Brad Hogg, Newt Kimball, Moose McCormick, Kitty Bransfield, Piggy Ward, Tom "Bunny" Madden, Randy Wolf, a couple of Lyons named Harry and Terry and a trio of Foxes -- Henry, Howie and Terry.
Back in the day, ballplayers had to work winter jobs because the paychecks for being on the field were not nearly what they are today. As mentioned, there have been quite a few Millers, but also a Brewer, Sheriff, Butcher, Butler, Carpenter, Cook, Farmer, Gardner, Baker, Hunter, Miner and a few Docs. There was also a Bishop, along with a Church, Sunday, Service and some Deacons.
Financially speaking, the roster is flush with Cash -- from Nickle and Buck to Money and Fortune, it's all about the Benjamins (and you can even get a Loan).
Phillies players have come in several colors, including Green, Red, Gray, Brown, Lavender and White. The last one is even represented in Spanish, thanks to Andres Blanco.
How about an anatomy lesson? Foote, Lipp, Legg, and Pinky played for the team, as did Harry Cheek (no, he did not have a beard). There was also a Heinie and a Keister, who presumably were the butt of some jokes.
The history of the team only goes back to 1883, but the history represented by the names goes all the way back to the Middle Ages in Europe. There have been a King, Duke, Lord, Monk and a Knight, a Schilling and Pence, and a Battle, complete with Shields, Cannonball and Boom Boom.
And lastly, some people probably not as famous as their similarly named celebrity counterparts: Two Ed Murphys, a George Burns, a Lennon, Ringo and a Starr and a Hemingway. Impressive? Yes, but not as much as having a Doyle, Sherlock and Watson. And Sylvester Stallone would be happy to see both Rocky (Childress) and (Pete) Rambo on the roster.
There you have it -- just a small scratch on the surface of the more than 2,000 players for the Phillies, from Recreation Park to Citizens Bank Park. Through 134 years of good times and bad, the names keep rolling in, and while we may never see another Jennings Poindexter, Skeeter Newsome or Choo-Choo Coleman, you can bet the next 2,000 players will tell just as interesting a story.
Kenny Ayres is the communications department assistant for the Phillies.