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4 weeks 1 day ago #38
They can fail, for whatever reason -- bad trades, bad drafts, bad development -- to improve the farm system. But the Phillies improved the farm system a ton. Their system was ranked 29th out of 30 organizations in 2012 (and 20th in 2015) and was a top-five system in 2016, 2017 and 2018. In 2018, when the club was on the brink of competing for the NL East, Philly probably had the second-best farm system in baseball, plus young major leaguers Rhys Hoskins and Aaron Nola, who had both recently graduated from that system.
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"This comes down to more of a failure of every position, including coaches, to facilitate a functioning offense. That's the biggest story here, not that Jalen Hurts is picked and there was some sort of internal battle and struggle going on with Carson Wentz. I don't buy that."
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Doolittle: This is personal and speaks to the fact that I'm a walking bag of personality disorders. You've heard the term "fanboy," right? Whatever the opposite of that term is, that's me. If I encounter someone whom I don't know but hold in high esteem, I cannot bring myself to acknowledge that person, no matter what he or she has meant to me as a person, a writer, a baseball journalist, whatever. I have never once in my life asked a person for an autograph. I'm not proud of this.
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The Phillies, on the other hand, have not been in the playoffs since 2011, the franchise's last season with a winning record. Wheeler was signed to pair with Aaron Nola as stars at the front of the Philadelphia rotation, and last spring there was an expectation that the Phillies would work to re-sign catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Dennis Millard saw that side of Allen, too. Millard, a Philadelphia native, was a 13-year-old kid who had fallen in with a bad crowd when he first wandered into Connie Mack Stadium and watched Allen take batting practice before a game. He was awed by the then-rookie — even more so when, not long afterward, Allen noticed the teen was short on cash at a food cart and stepped up to pay for his hot dog and soda.
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Allen has never publicized his generosity, nor has he ever lobbied for inclusion in the Hall. (Allen declined to be interviewed for this article.) His refusal to “play ball” – to engage with the sports press – is evident in the Hall votes. In his first year of eligibility in 1983, writers gave him only 3.7% of the vote, a figure so low he actually dropped off the ballot. Even after being added back to the ballot in 1985, after the Baseball Writers’ Association of America decided to give 11 players a second look, Allen still struggled to get votes. In his 14 years on the association’s ballot, he topped out at 18.9% — with 75% needed for induction. In his five previous chances before the Veterans Committee — which evaluates players who may have been overlooked — he never got more than 16% of the vote until 2014, when he fell that one vote short.
"If they offered me Babe Ruth, I wouldn't trade him," John Middleton said angrily in a phone conversation, adding Ted Williams and Mike Schmidt to Ruth's name for good measure. "I have authorized no one to have a conversation about trading him."
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