Bobby Abreu leads Phillies’ list of most notable Latin American players | Bob Brookover
Bobby Abreu's individual numbers are the best among the Latin Americans who have played for the Phillies.
When it comes to using Latin-born players, the Phillies are near the top in the major leagues. They had 19 Latino players appear in the 2018 season — good for best in the National League and third-best overall.
This growing contingent has made the Phillies' clubhouse more dynamic and diverse, and is helping to grow a fan base in Latino communities.
It's also a connection that hasn't gone unnoticed by our readers. One asked about efforts the Phillies were making to recruit Latin American talent through Curious Philly, our Q&A forum that lets you ask us about the things you want to know.
The Phillies have not had a lot of Latino superstars over the years, but here is one man's opinion of the top five Hispanic players in franchise history.
1. Bobby Abreu
With the help of a glowing scouting report from his assistant Ed Wade, general manager Lee Thomas' last trade with the Phillies turned out to be a steal as he acquired Abreu from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for shortstop Kevin Stocker during the 1997 expansion draft. In parts of nine seasons with the Phillies, the Venezuelan-born Abreu hit .303 with a .928 OPS and made two all-star teams. He ranks in the top 10 in franchise history in doubles (4th with 348), total bases (2,491), walks (2nd with 947), stolen bases (7th with 254), on-base percentage (4th at .416) and OPS (2nd at .928). It would be a crime if he did not end up on the Phillies' Wall of Fame one day.
>> READ MORE: Despite civil unrest, the Phillies aren't abandoning Venezuela
2. Carlos Ruiz
In parts of 11 seasons with the Phillies, the stout catcher known as Chooch hit .266 with 68 home runs and 401 RBIs, but his contributions went far beyond those numbers. He was best known for his work behind the plate, where he caught a perfect game and a postseason no-hitter by Roy Halladay in 2010. Ruiz, who signed with the Phillies for $8,000 out of Panama, will land on the team's Wall of Fame one day.
3. Juan Samuel
The second baseman finished second in the N.L. Rookie of the Year voting in 1984 when he set the franchise's modern-day record with 72 stolen bases while also smashing 36 doubles, a league-high 19 triples and 15 home runs. He made the all-star team twice in his first four major-league seasons, but his road to superstardom started to fade in 1988 and he was traded to the New York Mets as part of the Lenny Dykstra deal in the middle of the 1989 season. Sammy, who was born in the Dominican Republic, went on the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2008.
4. Tony Taylor
The Cuban-born second baseman spent parts of 15 seasons (between 1960 and 1976) with the Phillies, more than any other Latin player in franchise history. He twice made the all-star team with the Phils and finished 16th in MVP voting in 1963 when he batted .281 with 20 doubles, 10 triples and 102 runs scored. He went on the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2002.
5. Tony Gonzalez
The Cuban-born outfielder became the Phillies' first Latino player to hit .300 in 1962 and he finished with a career .295 average and .792 OPS in parts of nine seasons with the Phillies. His 1,110 hits are 29th on the team's all-time list.