A history of the Phillies' Rule 5 Drafts

November 30th, 2016
Miles Kennedy

When it comes to the Rule 5 Draft, the Phillies, like other clubs, have uncovered a few gems. Conversely, there have been some duds for every team.
Navigating through baseball-reference.com revealed some interesting notes about the history of the Rule 5 Draft. The very first year was 1903, the same year as the first World Series, but little information is available from that inaugural event. The second year, it was held on Sept. 1 in Cincinnati. But there was no World Series that year. No Rule 5 Draft was held in 1919 and '20. Starting in 1952, the event has been part of baseball's annual Winter Meetings. Many years, the Phillies made no selections.
Eligibility rules and draft prices varied throughout the years. At one time, umpires were drafted from the Minor Leagues.
First up
The Phillies' first selections came in 1905, when they chose four: pitcher John McCloskey (from Omaha Rourkes), pitcher Lew Moren (Atlanta Crackers), infielder Paul Sentell (Macon Brigands) and August Hoff (Savannah Pathfinders). Moren spent four seasons with the Phils, McCloskey and Sentell parts of two unproductive seasons and Hoff never saw the Major Leagues.
Hall of Famer
Selecting a franchise-record 12 players in 1910, the Phillies came up with a Hall of Fame pitcher and 11 names never to be seen again.
Right-hander Grover Cleveland Alexander, selected from the Syracuse Stars for $750, wound up with a 190-91 record with the Phillies (1911-17; 1930). He was the ace on the Phils' first pennant winner (1915) and among the first Baseball Hall of Fame induction class (1939). He was easily the best pitcher the Phillies have drafted.
The Rule 5 Draft included one other Hall of Fame legend, outfielder Roberto Clemente, who was selected from the Dodgers' organization in 1954 by the Pirates.
Flyin' Hawaiian
In terms of overall success, center fielder may be the most successful Phillies selection, at least for a position player. Drafted from the Dodgers' organization in 2004 for $50,000, Shane went on to an eight-year Phils career that included a World Series championship, a National League pennant, three other playoff seasons, two All-Star selections and three Gold Glove Awards.
Here's Pinky
Next to Victorino is third baseman Arthur (Pinky) Whitney, who was taken from the New Orleans Pelicans (1927). He played for the Phillies in 1928-33 and 1936-39. As a rookie in '28, Whitney drove in 103 runs, which remains a club rookie record. Among the club records he holds for a third baseman in a season: RBIs (124 in '32); hits (207 in '30) and batting average (.342 in '30). His .307 lifetime average is the highest for any franchise third baseman.
Other notables
1928: RHP Phil "Fidgety Phil" Collins (1929-35). He won 72 games in his seven Phillies seasons and his nickname came from his nervous traits on the mound.
1959: C Clay Dalrymple (1950-68). Behind the plate for 100-plus games six straight years starting in 1961, he was also a heavyweight boxing champ in college.
1960: RHP Jack Baldschun (1961-65). He won 39 and saved 59 for the Phils. His out pitch was a screwball.
1989: 3B Dave Hollins (1990-95; 2002). A switch-hitter, he was an All-Star in '93, the year the Phillies won the pennant.
1991: C Todd Pratt (1992-94; 2001-05). He played on 1993 NL championship team, and he was there for both the closing of the Vet and the opening of Citizens Bank Park.
This decade's picks
2010: INF
2011: CF (lost LHP to Cubs)
2013: RHP (lost RHP to Mets)
2014: CF , LHP
2015: OF , LHR
Herrera, selected from the Rangers, has a chance to one of the Phils' best selections, hitting .291 in his first two seasons and being selected as an All-Star in 2016. He's 24 years old.
Big payday
The 1980 World Series champion Phillies were built through a strong Minor League system during the 1970s.
During the 1980 Rule 5 Draft held in Dallas, the Phils lost a franchise-high four players off their Triple-A Oklahoma City roster: OF George Bell (Blue Jays), C/OF Orlando Sanchez (Cardinals), LHP Carlos Arroyo (White Sox) and RHP Jim Wright (Royals) for a $200,000 payday. Bell hit 202 home runs and drove in 740 runs in his nine seasons with the Blue Jays. He won the AL MVP Award in 1987.
Then, there were players like left-hander Colonel Snovel, right-hander Burke Suter and catcher Ryan Budde. They are among the many who never saw Philadelphia.