Thursday, April 18, 2013

#255 Del Ennis

Now THAT'S an airbrush job! And not a very good one at that. Del Ennis played just five games for the Reds in 1959 after being acquired from the Cards after the 1958 season and he was dealt off to the White Sox in early May.

Ennis made his name in Philadelphia playing with the Phillies for eleven very productive seasons. He was a hometown boy, signed in 1943. After a season in the minors and a bit over two years in the military Ennis debuted late in April of 1946. His 17/73/.313 line earned him Top Ten MVP votes and he made the All Star squad. 1946 was a year before The Sporting News began their Rookie of the Year awards but he surely would have garnered some consideration. The Baseball Writers voted him the honor although what we think of as the R-O-Y was not yet recognized.

He went on to be an integral part of the "Whiz Kids" who won the NL pennant in 1950. Ennis led the National League with 126 RBI that season and he was fourth in the NL with a batting average of .311, and fifth with 31 home runs. He finished fourth in the MVP balloting. 

But Philadelphia, being Philadelphia, never really warmed up to the big hitting native son. A smart article discusses this phenomenon and another one makes the case for giving Ennis his due. A Google search turned up well written entries that name him as one of the most underrated Philly athletes of all time and one that puts him at #16 on the list of 100 Greatest Phillies.

In Phillies history Ennis ranks 3rd in Home Runs, 3rd in RBIs, 4th in hits, 3rd in total bases, 7th in doubles, 5th in games played, 9th in runs scored. Makes you wonder why he was never really appreciated in his hometown.

He co-owned a bowling center, Del Ennis Lanes, for 33 years before he closed it in 1991.

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