The Philadelphia Phillies have had some great players during their tenure. However, there is one player that stands on top of Phillies history. He is arguably the greatest third baseman in MLB history, the legendary Mike Schmidt. The 12-time All-Star, three-time MVP, was considered one of, if not the best, player to wear a Phillies uniform. Schmidt was known for his elite power hitting and his strong ability to play defense. With a career batting average of .267, 548 home runs, 1,595 RBI’s, a .380 on-base percentage, and a WAR of 106.9, Schmidt will always be remembered as one of the greatest players in Philadelphia Phillies history.
MLB History: Life Before The Majors
Mike Schmidt was born on September 27th, 1949 in Dayton, Ohio. Schmidt attended high school at Fairview High School in Dayton in the year 1967. Once he graduated from Fairview, Schmidt attended Ohio University in Athens. During his time there, Schmidt led the Bobcats to the College World Series in the year 1970. That same year he was selected as the starting shortstop for the 1970 College Baseball All American team. In 1971, Schmidt was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the second round with the 30th pick.
MLB History: Schmidt’s Major League Career
Schmidt spent two seasons in the Phillies farm system. During his time in the minors, he had a stat line of a .263 batting average, 34 home runs, and 122 runs batted in. He made his major league debut on September 12th, 1972, taking on the NL East rival New York Mets. He hit his first career home run against the Montreal Expos, breaking Balor Moore‘s scoreless streak of 25 innings. In 1973, Schmidt struggled throughout that season. He hit for a .196 batting average with 136 strikeouts, however, he did show off the amount of power that he possessed by hitting 18 home runs in his first full season.
1974 was the true beginning of Schmidt etching his name into MLB history. His total batting average that year went up to .282 and in that same season was awarded his first All-Star game appearance. He helped the Phillies not finish last place in their division as he finished with a .282 batting average, 116 runs batted in and a total of 36 home runs, which led the league that year. He also had a total of 404 assists which is still an all-time record for third baseman.
The 1975 season was another solid season for Schmidt. His average was around .249, however, he led the league in home runs again with 38. In the 1976 season, Schmidt got off to a red hot start hitting 12 home runs in the first 15 games of the season, this included four home runs in a single game during that season. He led the league in home runs for a third straight year and won the first of his 10 gold glove awards.
In 1980, Schmidt’s success was helping the Phillies succeed. He led Philadelphia to a first place position in the NL East. He then helped the Phillies make the World Series against the Kansas City Royals. Schmidt helped the Phillies etch their names into MLB History, becoming the first team in Phillies history to win a World Series. Schmidt took home not only World Series MVP honors, he also took home National League MVP honors as well. In addition, he added his name to MLB History by being apart of the small list of people who have been unanimously voted as the MVP of the league.
For the rest of his career, Schmidt would go on to win two more MVP awards, seven more All-Star game appearances, five more Gold Gloves and Silver Slugger awards since his 1980 season. In addition, he also joined the 500 home run club on April 18th, 1987. Schmidt would then retire from the league in the year, 1989.
MLB History: Schmidt’s Retirement
Once Schmidt retired from the league in 1989, he was still receiving awards. In 1990, he received an award for being Player of the Decade during the 1980s. On May 26th, 1990, Mike Schmidt’s number 20 was retired by the Phillies organization. That same year, he was inducted into the Philadelphia Phillies Hall of Fame. In 1995, Schmidt was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. With a voting percentage of 96.52%, which at the time was the fourth highest percentage ever. In 1997, he was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Time Team by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
With a plethora of awards and accolades to his name, Mike Schmidt will always be remembered as one of the best players in MLB history. He will always remain a fan favorite for lifelong Phillies fans, and even a fan favorite for lifelong baseball fans as well. He will be known as one of if not the best third baseman in MLB History.
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