Top 100 Angels: #91 Tony Phillips

The Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels have played almost 60 seasons of baseball. As the baseball world is suspended due to circumstances outside its control, it is time to look back at the history of this organization. There have been many talented players to put on the uniform, and we at Crashing the Pearly Gates wish to highlight the best who have ever represented the Angels. Without further ado, here we go!


Tony Phillips had a whirlwind experience in two separate stints with the Angels in the ’90s. After producing huge numbers with the Athletics and Tigers for more than a decade, Phillips made his way to the Angels in ’95. His impact was immediate and apparent.

In a shortened ’95 season (the strike wiped out the first 18 games), Phillips was a lethal weapon in the leadoff spot. In his age-36 season, Phillips produced 3.7 fWAR in 139 games. Phillips had a .261/.394/.459 line, 27 home runs, 113 walks, and 13 stolen bases. By fWAR and wRC+ (124), Phillips was a top-50 position player in baseball. Phillips, along with other offensive stalwarts like Tim Salmon, Jim Edmonds, Chilli Davis, and Garret Anderson, helped lead the Angels offense to the second-most runs scored (801) in baseball. Obviously, Angels fans would like to forget the epic collapse of the ’95 squad but Phillips was very good that year.

After spending the ’96 season and beginning of the ’97 season with the White Sox, Phillips found himself back in Anaheim. While he posted respectable numbers in his second stint (99 OPS+), his biggest story came off the field. In August, Phillips was charged and arrested for possession of cocaine. Phillips, however, had the charge dropped in ’99 and finished the rest of the season with the Angels. He admirably stayed clean after that point and continued to stick around the baseball world.

Phillips is an oft-underrated player when looking at his whole career. While not quite Hall of Fame material (46.6 fWAR), he had a superb career spanning nearly two decades. Phillips died in 2016 from an apparent heart attack.

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Trusted Member
4 years ago

I really liked Tony Phillips, but at the time of the trade, I was upset since I had become a Chad Curtis fan.

I just wanted to add that Phillips was also a jack of all trades. He appeared in at least 68 career games at six different positions (7 if you count DH). He never appeared as a Catcher and only appeared in 5 games (9 innings) as a 1B. On top of that, he was a decent defender at all of those positions (less so for CF).

4 years ago

Phillips and his numbers today would look run of the mill, but he was an offensive force in the nineties as a power and speed combo at the top of the line up. While here he was fun to watch as he aged slowly. Good choice here.

4 years ago

The Angels added Phillips to their roster via a trade just ten days before the start of the ‘95 season because Angel management wanted to get rid of their center fielder, Chad Curtis, and the Tigers had been looking to cut their veterans and go with a youth movement.

Chad Curtis was a very good player. In three years with the Angels, Curtis had a .342 OBP and had stolen 116 bases, but he was difficult to get along with. That spring, Curtis argued with the GM over his contract and aggressively locked horns with Angel hitting coach Rod Carew, who called Curtis “uncoachable.” Angel management had had enough.

Luckily, the Angels had a glut of young outfielders. Tim Salmon and Jim Edmonds were already established players, and to replace Curtis, the Angels just needed to give one of their talented Triple-A players the everyday job created by Curtis’ removal. They gave it to Garret Anderson, but Orlando Palmeiro was deserving as well. In 1994 in AAA Vancouver, Palmeiro had a .402 OBP with 21 stolen bases.

Adding GA and Tony Phillips to the everyday lineup in 1995 paid out tremendous dividends. The .352 team OBP the 1995 Angels put up is the second highest total in franchise history, as is their .448 team SLG.

Super Member
4 years ago
Reply to 

wish they had a glut of great pitching…..but alas that’s oxygen in space.

Super Member
4 years ago

I wonder if the Ivanhoe hotel still……doubtful.