Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt: Best Phillies Trio Ever?
Interest in this week’s Braves series turned from 10 to 11 after the Phillies shuffled their rotation to have Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt face Atlanta.
They’re the Big Three.
They might be the Biggest Three in Phillies history.
Has there been a better trio of starting pitchers on any team since the Phillies joined the NL in 1883? I explored that in a story for MLB.com, which can be found here.
I could not find one, and I asked around. There were great duos. Robin Roberts had Curt Simmons. Jim Bunning had Chris Short. Grover Cleveland Alexander had Eppa Rixey. Steve Carlton had Jim Lonborg, Larry Christenson, Dick Ruthven and John Denny in different seasons. But none of them had what the 2010 Phillies have:
– Three pitchers with incredible resumes and reputations. Halladay is a former Cy Young winner, who dominated the American League East for years before he joined the Phillies. He is a good candidate for the Hall of Fame, according to Baseball Reference’s Hall of Fame tests. Oswalt has been one of the top pitchers in the National League for years. He is a two-time, 20-game winner who earned 2005 NLCS MVP honors. Hamels is the youngest pitcher of the bunch, but he earned 2008 World Series and MVP honors.
– Three pitchers pitching at their peaks.
– Three pitchers who could be aces anywhere else.
For example: Alexander pitched with Rixey for a few seasons. Both are Hall of Famers, but it was early in Rixey’s career. He broke out in 1916, when he went 22-10 with a 1.85 ERA. But the third starter that season was Al Demaree, who was not considered anything special. He certainly couldn’t lead a pitching staff, like Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels. I found similar situations with other Phillies aces like Roberts, Bunning, Carlton and Curt Schilling.
There have been seasons where the Phillies have had good years from three starters, but the third starter (and sometimes even the second starter) was a one-year wonder, before his prime or after his prime. Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels are not that.
Agree? Disagree? Be curious to see which trio you would take over the Big Three.