Top 25 Players to Ever Play a Game for the Phillies: No. 24, Roy Oswalt

By Tim Kelly, Sports Talk Philly editor

Roy Oswalt isn't going to be a Hall of Famer, but for a portion of his career, he was as good of a pitcher as there was in the National League. He only made 36 regular season starts for the Phillies, but his time with the Houston Astros allowed him to push his way onto's Top 25 Players to Ever Play a Game for the Phillies countdown. 

In nine-and-a-half seasons with the Astros, Oswalt won 143 games, made three All-Star teams, won an ERA title, twice won over 20 games in a season and was a member of the 2005 team, which was the first team in franchise history of reach the World Series.

Oswalt was traded to the Phillies prior to the 2010 trade deadline. Though he would spent time with the Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies after a short stint with the Phillies, his time in The City of Brotherly Love represented the last memorable portion of his 13-year career. 

During his career, Oswalt got the chance to pitch in various talented rotations. He got to share a rotation with Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte from 2004 to 2006, which was part of one of the great runs in franchise history. Oswalt was a part of R2C2 in 2010 and The Four Aces in 2011, the two most famous rotations in the history of the Phillies. He didn't spend a long time with the Phillies, but he got to share a rotation with Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and the late Roy Halladay during his short tenure with the team. 

You could make the case that Oswalt has become the forgotten All-Star pitcher of the 2000s. Some of that may have to do with the fact that he often wasn't the most noteworthy starter on his own team. Some may simply be that the Astros became an irrelevant team in the second half of his stint with the club. But there's no doubt that he's one of the best pitchers of his era, and one of the Top 25 Players to Ever Play a Game for the Phillies. 

Career Accomplishments

  • Three All-Star Game Appearances (2005, 2006, 2007)
  • His 20 wins in 2004 were the most in the National League
  • His 2.98 ERA in 2006 was the lowest in the National League
  • MVP of the 2005 NLCS
  • Won 163 career games, including 40 between 2004 and 2005
  • Member of the first Astros team (2005) to ever reach the World Series
  • Member of the 2011 Phillies, who won a franchise-record 102 games during the regular season
  • Member of the 2000 United States baseball team that won a Gold medal at the Sydney Olympics

*Awards were not factored into the formula

Career Defining Moment

Though from a Phillies perspective Oswalt's most memorable moment came in an August 2010 game where he was forced to play left field, there's little doubt what the most important moment of his career was. 

A year after falling to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 NLCS, Brad Lidge entered Game 5 of the series with a 4-2 lead and a chance to close out the Astros' first-ever National League pennant. Instead, he gave up a now-infamous three-run shot to Albert Pujols, which allowed the Cardinals to keep the series alive for one more game. 

Two days later, with the series shifted back to St. Louis, Oswalt took the ball against Mark Mulder. Rather than allowing any thought of a Game 7 to creep in, Oswalt turned in a dominant performance. 

The 27-year-old, who was an All-Star for the first time in 2005, pitched seven dominant innings, allowing just one run on three hits.

Future Hall of Famer Craig Biggio and future Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus backed Oswalt offensively, as they combined for five of the Astros' 11 hits. Manager Phil Garner elected not to use Lidge in Game 6, instead using Chad Qualls and Dan Wheeler to preserve Oswalt's start and finish out the first pennant win in the franchise's history. 

Reasoning for ranking

Oswalt had 12 seasons where he had a WAR of at least two, netting him 12 points. He had four seasons with a WAR of five or higher, which Baseball Reference says is an All-Star level. That gave him another 12 points, bringing him up to 24 overall. Oswalt's career WHIP of 1.211 is 170th all-time, meaning he got one more point for being in the top 200 all-time. He received another point for being 108th all-time in BB/9. Oswalt finished his career with a K/9 of 7.42, which was the 96th best K/9 in MLB history. Because he was in the top 100, that gave him two more points, bringing his final total to 28 points. Oswalt's score of 28 was more than double the score that Ryan Howard had at No. 25. It fell three points shy of the man who will be at No. 23, which will be revealed on Monday. 

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Explanation of scientific formula

The player rankings formula combines both traditional and advanced statistics/metrics and assigns a point total to each category. 

First, single-season WAR is a primary factor in our rankings. According to Baseball Reference's WAR calculations, 2+ WAR is considered a starter, 5+ WAR is All-Star caliber, and 8+ WAR is MVP level. We totaled the number of seasons that a player performed at a 2+ WAR, 5+ WAR, and 8+ WAR level and assigned a set point value for each category, (+1), (+3), and (+5) respectively. For example, in 1980, Mike Schmidt complied an 8.8 WAR. This was counted as a 2+ WAR season, a 5+ WAR season, and an 8+ WAR season. So, for 1980 alone, Mike Schmidt earned nine points for WAR. 
Next, we assigned point values for being among the top 25, top 50, top 100, and top 200 all-time in particular statistical categories, such as batting average, hits, doubles, triples, RBI, home runs, and OPS for hitters; and ERA, wins, and WHIP, FIP, BB/9, H/9, and K/9 for pitchers. 
Finally, all statistical categories were totaled up using our point based system and ranked accordingly, with historical columnist Matt Albertson and managing editor Tim Kelly reserving the right to move players up the list, within reason, based on an "importance" factor. A player will score higher in this subjective category if his acquisition corresponded with a great team career or if they contributed to the club's rebuild or playoff run. A player will score lower if their career didn't correspond with a particularly good season(s) or with a playoff run. It will also be low if this player was traded by the club and became one of the best players in the game after the trade, thus negatively effecting the club's performance or extending a rebuild. An explanation of why a player is ranked in a certain spot will be provided, as will an overall score breakdown.
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