Friday, June 19, 2009

1987 Topps Mini Leaders #29 Juan Samuel

For the majority of the '80s, you could count on seeing Juan Samuel's name in the Phillies' starting line-up. Sammy made his Major League debut on August 24, 1983 and became the team's everyday 2nd baseman in 1984. He was named to his first NL All-Star team that year and was the runner-up to Dwight Gooden in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. His 72 stolen bases in '84 set a rookie record and still stands as the Phillies' single-season modern era record.

Sammy's best year was 1987 when he hit .272 while hitting 28 homers and knocking in an even 100. After a brief center field experiment, Sammy was part of the Phils' 1989 dismantling when he was traded to the Mets in June for Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell.

His defense was iffy and he struck out a little too much, but he was always popular with the Phillies fans. Despite his relatively short tenure with the team, Sammy appears on the top 10 Phillies career leader board in triples (71), strikeouts (825) and stolen bases (249). In a ceremony occurring in the pouring rain, he was named the 2nd baseman on the Phillies' All-Veterans Stadium team in 2003. Sammy was inducted onto the Phillies Wall of Fame last season on August 8, 2008, a fitting date for man who wore #8 for most of his Phillies career.

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