- SS, 2B, 3B, DH, LF, OF, CF, RF, 1B
- April 25, 1959
- 5' 9"
- 155 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 5-10-1982 with OAK
For eight years in Oakland, Tony Phillips was a utility player who occasionally received extended playing time due to an injury to a starter.
Originally a middle infielder, Phillips quickly got other gloves and learned how to play the hot corner and the outfield. His patience at the plate even prompted managers to use him at designated hitter later in his career.
After signing as a free agent with the Tigers, Phillips was used every day by Sparky Anderson, though often shuttling between positions. To his credit, Phillips thrived in that role with Detroit, posting his best seasons. In 1992 and 1993 with the Tigers, the switch-hitter scored 100 runs and walked 100 times each season, batting a career-high .313 the latter year.
He ended up with exactly 1,300 runs scored, more than 1,300 walks and 2,000 hits - a remarkable accomplishment for a player labeled as a utlity player early in his career.
Albert Belle and #8
When Albert Belle was acquired by the Chicago White Sox in 1997, he requested to wear Tony Phillips' uniform number, # 8. Phillips then stated that he was going to switch to a number that nobody would ever ask for again, and wore # 73 that season, even after being traded to the Anaheim Angels.
On August 10, 1997, Phillips was arrested in Anaheim and charged with buying a small quantity of free-base cocaine. He had been found by police in a hotel room with $30 worth of cocaine and a pipe used to smoke it.
Phillips pleaded guilty to one count of felony cocaine possession, with the charge subject to dismissal if he completed drug counseling and then stayed drug-free for a year. As Phillips met those conditions, the charge was dismissed by an Orange County, California judge in May 1999
In 2011, at the age of 52, Phillips was still active in professional baseball, playing 3B for the Yuma Scorpions of the independent North American League. He made national news on August 9th for starting a brawl with another former major leaguer, Chico Outlaws manager Mike Marshall. When order was restored, Yuma manager Jose Canseco decided to forfeit the game, fearing for his players' safety, he claimed. Phillips was handed a three-game suspension for his actions, as was Marshall.
Best Season: 1993
The switch-hitting leadoff man batted .311 against RHP, .316 against LHP, .309 in Tiger Stadium, .316 on the road, .328 during the day, and .305 at night. He posted a .443 OBP, and had a mark above .400 in every month of the season. Amazingly, he was this consistent, despite splitting his playing time between left field (70 games), second base (51), and right field (34).
Phillips was short but muscular and always in great shape. He possessed a competitive nature, which often displayed itself in arguments with home plate umpires over balls-and-strikes calls. he probably argued balls-and-strikes as much as any player during his era.
Where He Played
Second base (777), left field (566), third base (428), shortstop (294), right field (169), DH (101)
Hit his only post-season homer in the game after the 12-day layoff for the earthquake in the 1989 World Series. He hit it off Scott Garrelts of the Giants... Phillips batted just .217 with fiur runs scored in 13 post-season games, all with the A's. He struck out 12 times and walked four times.
For his career, Phillips was better from the right-side of the plate, batting .283/.410/.402. He was .260/.377/.363 from the left-side.
June 7, 1977: Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 16th round of the 1977 amateur draft, but did not sign.
January 10, 1978: Drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 1st round (10th pick) of the 1978 amateur draft (Secondary Phase). Player signed March 10, 1978.
August 31, 1980: Traded by the Montreal Expos with cash to the San Diego Padres for Willie Montanez.
March 27, 1981: Traded by the San Diego Padres with Eric Mustad (minors) and Kevin Bell to the Oakland Athletics for Bob Lacey and Roy Moretti (minors).
December 21, 1987: Released by the Oakland Athletics.
March 9, 1988: Signed as a Free Agent with the Oakland Athletics.
November 13, 1989: Granted Free Agency.
December 5, 1989: Signed as a Free Agent with the Detroit Tigers.
April 13, 1995: Traded by the Detroit Tigers to the California Angels for Chad Curtis.
October 31, 1995: Granted Free Agency.
January 20, 1996: Signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago White Sox.
May 18, 1997: Traded by the Chicago White Sox with Chad Kreuter to the Anaheim Angels for Chuck McElroy and Jorge Fabregas.
April 1, 1998: Released by the Anaheim Angels.
July 1, 1998: Signed as a Free Agent with the Toronto Blue Jays.
July 31, 1998: Traded by the Toronto Blue Jays to the New York Mets for Leo Estrella.
October 28, 1998: Granted Free Agency.
December 14, 1998: Signed as a Free Agent with the Oakland Athletics.
November 2, 1999: Granted Free Agency.
- Tony Phillips