by Jeff on March 15 at 3:37PM

Over the last few years I've been conducted an ongoing experiment where I ask Phillies fans to come up with their all time Phils' starting nine.  Take any Phillie from any era and plug them in at their appropriate postition to make their ultimate version of the Phils.

 What I've noticed is that one position remains the same in virtually everyone's answer - Schmidty.   I get varied answers depending upon the age and baseball knowledge of the person asked, but third base is always the same.

I'll hear Garry Maddox/Ritchie Ashburn/Lenny Dykstra, Lefty/Jim Bunning/Robin Roberts/Curt Schilling, Pete Rose/Dick Allen/John Kruk, Johnny Callison/Chuck Klein/Bobby Abreu... No matter the position the answers can be all over the map with the exception of the "hot corner"

 Don't get me wrong, I was the first in my experiment to answer the question and Mike Schmidt was the first name that came to mind, but after examing the stats I have to wonder why I haven't heard at least one Scotty Baseball.

 Rolen actaully beats Schmidty in average over the course of their respective careers .285 - .267.  A good deal of other offensive stats are virtually identical - strikeouts, rbi's, stolen bases, caught stealing, triples.  Scotty has the edge in doubles while Schmidt has the edge in walks and a resounding 37 to 29 edge in home runs per 162.

 Mike has the edge in the awards department capturing the NL mvp three times to zip for Rolen, Schmidt had ten gold gloves to Rolen's seven(four with the Phils) and six silver slugger to only one for Rolen.

 So why, with statistics so similar, is every vote cast for Michael Jack? Is it because of the 548 home runs?  Is it because of the only World Series Championship in Philadelphia?  I personally think the answer lies in the fact that Phillies fans hold a grudge.  Mike Schmidt didn't always say the nicest things about his experiences in Philadelphia, but he stayed here, from his first at bat through his last, Schmidt was a Phillie and he hit home runs and dove for ground balls every chance he had. If Scotty Baseball had hung in there as a Phil and helped them get into a few playoff runs I'll bet the choice for third base would be a bit more split.

When Rolen was traded to St. Louis third base became the ultimate weak spot for the Phils and it still is, with Rolen in the line-up at third the Phils probably would have made the playoffs in the last few seasons, it may have even ended the playoff drought before it reached the dreaded decade mark. 

So what does this have to do with the here and now of Phillies baseball?  The answer is absolutely nothing, but yesterday was a little slow in the world of Phillies news, so let me hear what you think - who's your starting nine? 

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