Former Met of the Day: Tony Phillips (1998)

Keith Anthony Phillips was born on April 25th, 1959 in Atlanta Georgia. He was a 1978 first round draft pick of the Montreal Expos (the 10th pick overall). He was traded to the San Diego Padres for former Met Willie Montanez & then was traded to The Oakland A’s for Bob Lacey.

Phillips would debut in 1982 and spend nine seasons with Oakland as all around utility player. He played in over 100 games five seasons in Oakland playing second base, short stop & third base. In 1987 he hit 10 HRs a career high for him while playing with the Athletics, the prvious year his 52 RBIs were an Oakland best for him as well. He got to play in twoWorld Series for Tony Larussa’s Athletics, winning a championship in 1989. Over all he batted .217 i(10-46) in four post season Series. He hit a HR in the 1989 Bay Area earthquake series against the Giants.

Phillips would sign as a free agent with the Detroit Tigers after the 1989 season. He would play five seasons there leading the league in runs scored (114) in 1992, walks (132) in 1993 & at bats (538) in 1994. In 1993 he hit a career best .313 (8th in the league) posting a .443 on base % (2nd in the league).

Phillips always posted good on base percentages & drew a lot of walks; he was in the top five of the league in that category seven times, leading the league twice. In his career he is 37th on the all time list with 1319.

He was also in the top ten in runs scored six times & is 118th all time with 1300 runs scored. He would ht over 20 doubles ten times would have double figures in stolen bases eleven times.

In 1995 he played for the Los Angeles Angels where hit a career high 27 HRs while driving in 61 runs. Phillips moved on to the White Sox in 1996, batted .277 once again led the league in walks (125) and in the outfield led all left fielders in put outs (236). Two years later he would lead the league again with 344 put outs & 13 assists.

In 1998 he began the year in Toronto but was traded to the New York Mets for a minor leaguer. By now Phillips was 39 years old and in 52 games would bat, 223 with 3 HRs 11 doubles & 14 RBIs playing in the outfield for New York. Two of his three HRs came against the Braves.

On September 5th at Shea Stadium, his two run HR off Rudy Seanez in the bottom of the 8th inning was the game winner as the Mets won it 5-4. Two days later he hit a second inning HR off Bruce Chen in the Mets 8-7 win.

After the season he went back to Oakland to finish out his career. In 18 seasons he batted .266 with 2023 hits 360 doubles 160 HRs 819 RBIs 177 stolen bases & a .374 on base %.


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