In 162-game span, Joseph has historic stats

June 10th, 2017

ST. LOUIS -- Tommy Joseph finds himself in pretty select company.

Joseph played the 162nd game of his career Friday night against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, and he finished the 3-1 loss as one of just four Phillies to hit 30 or more home runs in their first 162 games. Joseph hit 31 home runs to join Chuck Klein (44), (43) and Don Hurst (31).

Klein is in the Hall of Fame. Howard is the greatest first baseman in Phillies history. Hurst? He once led the National League in RBIs, but his seven-year career ended in 1934.

"Going back to the highlights, he's got some good video," Joseph joked, when asked about Hurst. "I've watched his swing a lot."

Entering Saturday's game, Joseph has hit .254 with 24 doubles, 31 homers, 76 RBIs and a .793 OPS since he joined the Phillies in May 2016. Other than a poor April this season, he has been relatively consistent offensively. Joseph needs that to continue to maintain or improve upon those numbers, particularly with Triple-A Lehigh Valley first baseman Rhys Hoskins, who is ranked the club's No. 13 prospect by, putting up big numbers this year.

"Players around the league that play multiple years are consistent when they have playing time," Joseph said. "A lot of that stems from mentally staying focused and mentally having a good approach and staying positive and having a good outlook on your abilities and the game. This game is a mental roller coaster as much as anything. I think that's what I've learned the most from veteran players. It's going to come down to how you handle things mentally and staying focused to be the same guy every day."

Of course, Joseph is not a finished product. Joseph has had runners in scoring position in 28.6 percent of his plate appearances, which ranked 13th out of 108 qualified hitters, but he has a .907 OPS with the bases empty compared to a .664 OPS with men on base. Defensively, he has worked recently with bench coach Larry Bowa on improving his first-step quickness with runners on base.

"You hope to have as much success as you can," Joseph said about his first 162 games. "You try to prepare yourself to have as much success as you can."