Four Phillies Hall of Famers Stand Together: Fan’s Take

The Philadelphia Phillies have had a number of great players during the course of team history. Four of them are shown standing together in a magnificent picture that hangs on the suite level at Citizens Bank Park.

One of the great photos that can be found on the Suite level at Citizens Bank Park.
Sean O'Brien

Each of the four Hall of Famers hold their own place of honor in team history.

Schmidty

Michael Jack Schmidt first played for the Phillies in 1972. Converting from shortstop to third base wasn't an immediately successful transition, but it was one that he completed most famously.

I had the opportunity to interview my childhood baseball hero, one-on-one, during a still timeless hour in the early 1990s. At the time, I worked in the front office for the Phillies Triple A team that was formerly located in Scranton.

What was most impressive about that two-way conversation was his genuine interest in my own life and his encouragement of my career at that time.

A non-performance enhanced Hall of Famer, all of Schmidt's 548 home runs and 10 Gold Glove Awards were achieved through strength of body and mind.

The lifetime Phillie, who was a member of the team from 1972-1989, may always be the greatest player in team history. Also one of the best all-around players of all-time, Schmidt's name appears on the starting lineup cards of most serious baseball fans.

Robbie

Robin Roberts shot out of Springfield, Ill. and pitched in Philadelphia from 1948 through 1961.

He helped lead the Phillies to their second-ever World Series appearance in 1950, when they faced the New York Yankees in the Fall Classic. That season proved to be the first of six consecutive 20+ win seasons.

Roberts generated one of the team's most towering mound performances in 1952 when he went 28-7. Those wins were part of 286 that he earned on the way to his Hall of Fame induction in 1976.

Whitey

Three short sentences don't capture all that Don Richard Ashburn meant to Philadelphia, but they are stunningly accurate.

The best centerfielder in team history. The best color commentator in team history. The most beloved Phillie in team history.

The combination of those jobs, both in the field and at the microphone, jointly helped to create his enduring stature in the hearts of generations of fans.

Ashburn's twelve Philadelphia seasons lasted from 1948 through 1959. He served as a broadcaster with Harry Kalas (who must always be mentioned in any piece about Whitey) from 1971 through 1997.

Ashburn's death, like that of any great baseball figure, has only confirmed his diamond immortality.

Lefty

There were superb Phillies pitchers before Steve Carlton and there have been great Phillies pitchers after him. But, there has never been any better.

Lefty's slider caused a number of hitters to contemplate, or actually proceed with, a change in their chosen profession.

Many throughout the baseball world are believed to have seen Carlton's left arm when he pitching during the 1972 Phillies season. Those who witnessed that show also took note of the fact that he threw a baseball with his left hand during it.

What has never been fully confirmed, is how he managed to win 27 games for a team that only won a collective 59 by the end of their 156-game schedule. They played six less games that year due to labor issues. So, the Phillies top starter likely would have had an even higher win total if a full season had happened.

By the way, 1972 was the left-hander's debut season in Philadelphia after having been acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Carlton amassed 241 of his 329 career wins while he wore red pinstripes through the 1986 season.

One year before Schmidt and Ashburn were dually enshrined in Cooperstown, Lefty entered the Hall of Fame in 1994.

Photo caption

The photographer who captured the image of those four icons probably quit the business immediately after snapping that shot. 'When you have been to the mountain', as the saying goes.

Sean O'Brien was born in the Philadelphia region. He has written professionally for over two decades. Read his Sports Blog: Insight and follow him on Twitter @ SeanyOB

More from Sean O'Brien and the Yahoo Contributor Network:

When baseball cards were king

When Phillies third baseman was the man

Ashburn and Kalas Phillies' soundtrack plays on

Fondly recalling former Phillies pitcher Tug McGraw

Pat Gillick's fast-forward Phillies dream

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Updated Friday, Jan 6, 2012