Phillies Alumni: Most games by first basemen

Phillies Alumni: Most games by first basemen

This is the third in a series of articles about players with the most career games by position in Phillies history: the top five in games by first basemen. The first two installments covered catchers and pitchers. Second basemen will be next. For more information on Phillies history, visit the Phillies Alumni page.

When you look at the list of the top five, it is obvious that long tenures at first base are rare in franchise history. Heck, the club's very first first baseman still ranks third. He last played 127 years ago! Only one player from the past 80 years is among the leaders, and he is the leader.

Ryan Howard (2004-present): 1,460
Fred Luderus (1910-20): 1,311
Don Hurst (1928-34): 854
Sid Farrar (1883-89): 816
Kitty Bransfield (1905-11): 815

Ryan Howard was drafted in the fifth round of the 2001 draft out of Southwest Missouri State University. Of the 1,485 players drafted that year, he was #142. The left-handed slugger developed into the greatest first baseman ever to wear a Phillies uniform. He's the only player in team history to reach 50 home runs (58, 2006). He's led the NL in RBI three times. His trophy case includes the Rookie of the Year Award (2005), three All-Star selections (2006, 2009-10), a Silver Slugger Award (2006), a National League MVP Award (2006), and an NLCS MVP Award (2009). He took over the top spot in games played on Sept. 6, 2014, surpassing Fred Luderus.

Fred Luderus (pictured) was a left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower who made his Major League debut with the Chicago Cubs in 1909. The Phillies acquired him in a July 29, 1910 trade for LHP Bill Foxen. Luderus was the Phillies everyday first baseman for nine seasons starting in 1911. His 1,597 putouts in 1917 remain a Phillies single-season record. He led the Phillies with a .438 average and hit the franchise's first postseason home run in their first World Series in 1915. Prior to the start of the season, manager Pat Moran named him captain. He played 533 consecutive games from June 2, 1916 until the 1920 season opener, when he was kept out of the lineup with lumbago.

Don Hurst was a power-hitter of his era, teaming with Lefty O'Doul and Chuck Klein to give the Phillies of the late 1920s a potent middle of the order. His 19 homers as a rookie in 1928 were a club record until Dick Allen hit 29 in 1964. His best season was 1932, when he batted .339 with 41 doubles, 24 homers and a league-leading 143 RBIs. Hurst hit over .300 four straight years from 1929-32, and he finished with a .298 career average with 510 runs scored and 610 RBI. One of his sons, James, was a Broadway actor, a career Don had hoped to pursue after his playing days were over. Following an illness, he died at age 47 in 1952.

Sid Farrar was a pioneer at this position. A career .253 hitter, Farrar may be the only first baseman to ever bat ninth his entire career with the Phillies. His .980 fielding percentage in 1886 was best in the league. Farrar's only other league-leading stat: 13 hit-by-pitches two years later. After the 1889 season, Sid jumped to the Players' League, which was organized -- unsurpisingly -- by the players. He played one season in the league, but the Phillies refused to take him back in 1891, ending his career. His greatest claim to fame is perhaps his daughter, Geraldine Farrar, who became a world-famous opera singer. Farrar threw right-handed but according to various sources he batted "unknown."

Kitty Bransfield was the first player in franchise history to drive in eight runs in a game, which he did in Pittsburgh on July 11, 1910, a feat only four other Phillies have matched. A career .270 hitter, Bransfield lacked power (13 career homers) but drove in 637 runs. Bransfield's 105 stolen bases as a member of the Phillies are the most for a Phillies first baseman. He was replaced by Luderus in 1911. Kitty was a right-handed hitter, while Howard, Luderus and Hurst batted from the left side. After his playing days, he was a National League umpire, scout and Minor League manager.