Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DAHOF Top 100 -- #99 Dave Hollins

Continuing the series of my top 100 favorite ballplayers of all-time. This is not a ranking of what I consider "the best" players in the history of baseball... this is simply my list of players I have admired at some point and contributed to my love of the game.

Things had started looking up for the 1990 Philadelphia Phillies. They were emerging from two truly awful last place finishes. The franchise, which had not had a winning season since 1986, was still recovering from the retirement of Mike Schmidt. The team started rebuilding by developing young arms and acquiring a couple of legitimate major league players. During the off-season Lenny Dykstra seemed to have magically transformed his body and turned into an all-star player.

One of the bright spots for the organization was a 24 year old rookie named Dave Hollins. It seemed like a natural fit for me... Phillies, third baseman, wearing #15. Add in the fact I was sitting in San Diego's Jack Murphy Stadium on July 19th, 1991 when he hit a grand slam to beat the Padres 4-1. I actually got to meet Hollins during the offseason at an event in his hometown in Buffalo... I was hooked.

By 1992, Hollins had developed into the Phils regular third baseman, hitting 27HRs and driving in 93 runs. The next season everything came together for the club as they won the NL pennant and went to the World Series. Hollins made the All-Star team and was in the middle of it all -- punctuated when he launched a Greg Maddux sixth inning pitch deep into the night during Game 6 of the NLCS. That home run put the Phils up 4-1 and proved to be the difference in the pennant clincher.

Unfortunately, 1993 proved to be the high water mark for Hollins and the memorable "macho row" generation of Phillies players. He never again came close to that production level and was traded in July of 1995 to the Red Sox for Mark Whiten.

Interesting side note: Towards the end of his career, Hollins was traded for "a player to be named later" by the Mariners to the Twins in a playoff run deadline deal. That player ended up being David Ortiz.


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