Pittsburgh Pirates All-Time Top 100: 24. Deacon Phillippe

Charles Louis Phillippe was a 6’ pitcher from Rural Retreat, VA. Born on May 23, 1872, the right-hander made his first professional appearance with the 1897 version of the Minneapolis Millers, of the “A” level Western League. He picked up the nickname “Deacon” around this time, due to his fastidious demeanor and even temper. Over two seasons, he posted a 29-30 record. He made his major league debut in 1899 with the Louisville Colonels, going 21-17 with a 3.17 ERA, completing 33 of his 38 starts. After the season, he was sent to the Pirates with Fred Clarke, Bert Cunningham, Mike Kelley, Tacks Latimer, Tommy Leach, Tom Messitt, Claude Ritchey, Rube Waddell, Jack Wadsworth, Honus Wagner, and Chief Zimmer for Jack Chesbro, George Fox, Art Madison, John O’Brien and $25,000.

In 1900, Phillippe went 20-13 (NL second in wins, NL fourth with a .606 winning percentage) with a 2.84 ERA (NL fifth). He completed 29 (NL eighth) of 33 starts, along with five relief appearances. He finished the season with a 4.7 pWAR (NL fifth), 8.839 H/9 (NL fifth), and an NL second best 1.133 WHIP. He was also third in the league with 1.786 strikeouts per walk. The team finished the season at 79-60, 4.5 games behind the Brooklyn Superbas for the pennant.

1901 would see Phillippe go 22-12 (NL third in wins, and in winning percentage, at .647) with a 2.22 ERA (NL second), completing 30 of his 32 rotation starts. He finished the season with a 4.5 pWAR rating (NL 10th), a 1.054 WHIP (NL second), a 2.711 K/BB rate (NL fourth), and 8.331 H/9 (NL seventh). The top four rotation starters (Phillippe, Jack Chesbro, Jesse Tannehill, and Sam Leever) all posted winning records and earned run averages under three. This frightening array of talent ran away with the NL pennant, finishing 7.5 games ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies.

In 1902, Phillippe continued to excel, going 20-9 (NL sixth in wins, fifth with a .690 win percentage) with a career best 2.05 ERA (NL fifth), five shutouts (NL sixth) and 122 strikeouts (NL eighth). He started 30 games, finishing 29 of them (NL ninth). He also posted a 3.4 pWAR rating (NL 10th), a 1.070 WHIP (NL second), an NL leading 0.86 walks per nine innings, 4.692 K/BB (NL first), and a K/9 rate of 4.037 (NL ninth). All five starting pitchers were at least eight games above .500 with ERA’s below 2.54. The Pirates finished the season with a 103-36 record, 27.5 games ahead of second place Brooklyn.

Phillippe posted a career high and NL third best 25 wins in 1903, going 25-9 (NL second best .735 win percentage) with a 2.43 ERA (NL fourth) and 123 strikeouts (NL eighth). He completed 31 (NL sixth) of 33 starts (NL ninth) on the season, with an NL leading 1.030 WHIP, a 4.6 pWAR (NL seventh), 8.368 H/9 (NL ninth), 0.902 BB/9 (NL first), and 4.241 K/BB (NL first). The Pirates showed continued excellence, winning the pennant by 6.5 games over the New York Giants. In the first World Series, they faced the Boston Americans, losing five games to three. Phillippe did his part, starting five of the eight games, going 3-2 and posting a 0.932 WHIP with 22 strikeouts in 44 innings.

1904 would see Pittsburgh regress to fourth place in the NL, with an 87-66 record. Phillippe went 10-10 (his only career non-winning record) with a 3.24 ERA. He started 19 contests, finishing 17 of them. Despite the “down” season, he still led the NL with a 3.15 K/BB rate.

In 1905, Phillippe returned to form, with a 20-13 record (NL fifth in wins), five shutouts (NL third) and a 2.19 ERA (NL seventh). His 4.8 pWAR ranked him sixth in the NL. He also managed a 1.014 WHIP (NL third), 7.581 H/9 (NL ninth), 1.548 BB/9 (NL first), 4.290 K/9 (NL 10th), and 2.771 K/BB (NL second). He also led the league by allowing zero home runs in his 279 innings pitched. Pittsburgh missed a return to the Fall Classic by nine games behind the pennant winning Giants.

1906 would see Phillippe go 15-10 with a 2.47 ERA, completing 19 of 24 starts, along with nine relief appearances. He posted a 1.107 WHIP (NL ninth), 1.070 BB/9 (NL first), and an NL leading 3.462 K/BB. The Pirates finished third in the NL with a 93-60 record, but 23.5 games behind the 116-36 Chicago Cubs.

In 1907, Phillipe went 14-11 with a 2.61 ERA. He completed 17 of his 26 starts, again appearing nine times in relief. He again led the NL in BB/9, with a rate of 1.514. His K/BB was also still respectable, at 1.694 (NL ninth). He also recorded a .984 fielding percentage, fourth best in the NL. The Buccos finished at 91-63, missing the pennant by 17 games behind the Cubs.

1908 would see Phillippe limited to five relief appearances, allowing 15 earned runs in only 12 innings. His season was tainted by a sore shoulder and a broken finger. The Pirates did ok without him, though, finishing at 98-56, just one game behind the Cubs for the NL pennant.

In 1909, Phillippe returned to form in a more limited role, completing seven of 13 starts, along with nine relief appearances. In 131.2 innings, he accrued a 1.025 WHIP and allowed only 8.3 hits per nine innings. He finished the season with an 8-3 win-loss record and a 2.32 ERA. The Pirates left no room for the Cubs this season, going 110-42 and finishing 6.5 games ahead of the also excellent Cub team. In the World Series, Phillippe appeared twice, allowing two hits and a walk over six innings pitched. The Pirates won, four games to three over the Detroit Tigers.

1910 would see Phillippe lead the NL with an .875 win percentage, going 14-2 with a 2.29 record. He also posted a career best 0.986 WHIP. He appeared mostly in relief during that season, starting eight times and appearing 23 time otherwise. The Pirates went 86-67, finishing the season in third place in the NL.

1911 would see Phillippe in his last major league action, pitching three times and allowing five earned runs in six innings. Although not enshrined in the Hall-of-Fame, he was once voted by Pirates fans as the greatest right-handed pitcher in Pirates history. For more on the Deacon, check out Mark Armour’s great SABR writeup, here.

All-Time Statline: 12 seasons, 168-92, 2.50 ERA, 330 games, 251 starts, 209 CG, 25 shutouts, 11 saves, 2286.0 innings pitched, 2187 hits allowed, walked 299, struck out 861, 1.087 WHIP, 27.9 wins above replacement (27.9 as a pitcher, 0.0 as a hitter).

Tune in next time for a pitcher called "Cannonball."

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.

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