By Andrew Nagel
One of Brandon Phillips’ goals in baseball was to drive in 100 or more RBI’s. On Wednesday, September 4th, Phillips achieved that goal in grand fashion as he collected his 100th RBI of the 2013 season by depositing a 1-0 curve ball from St. Louis Cardinal rookie, Shelby Miller, to lead off the home half of the 5th inning. Phillips becomes the second Cincinnati Red second baseman to have 100 RBI’s in a season. The last Red second baseman to do so was Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, who knocked in 111 runs in 1976 on his way to earning National League Most Valuable Player honors.
To Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, RBI’s are Ribeye Steaks, and in 2013, one would say that Brandon is getting his fair share of beef at the plate – Cincinnati restaurateur Mr. Jeff Ruby should take note! Actually, Mr. Ruby, as the owner of one of the top steak houses in the country, has recognized BP’s accomplishments and has named a steak after Brandon Phillips.
RBI’s are typically saved for the power hitters in the lineup. Brandon Phillips currently has 18 home runs this season. Not bad for a two hole hitter who was thrust to the cleanup spot after opening day four hole hitter, Ryan Ludwick, went down on day one with torn labrum in his right shoulder. The surprising stat as the Reds enter the month of September, currently in third place in the NL Central trailing the St. Louis Cardinals by a mere 2 games, is that Phillips has consumed 101 Ribeye Steaks to date!
Phillips has produced RBI’s before. In 2007 he collected 94 RBI’s and in 2009 he totaled 98. This year he is at 101 RBI’s and still has 17 games left to play. Phillips currently leads all second baseman in Major League Baseball with Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees who is hot on his heels at 97 RBI’s. Cano is known as a power hitter and currently has 26 home runs to Phillips’ 18. The next closest National League second basemen is Matt Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals with 69 RBI’s.
Second basemen typically are not talked about in terms of great RBI producers. The ones that are have a special seat in Cooperstown like Morgan. The great Rogers Hornsby holds the top three spots for most RBI’s by a second baseman with 152 in 1922, 149 in 1929 and 143 in 1925.
Phillips definitely has a shot to overtake Morgan to lead all Cincinnati Reds second basemen in RBI’s in a single season. Can he get to the great Rogers Hornsby? Probably not, but he is quickly entering rarified air among the greats at second base. He does have a shot at racking up larger numbers especially after Reds skipper Dusty Baker recently moved Phillips back to the cleanup spot in the lineup.
Phillips has the glove to get into the Hall of Fame – nobody in the game today is better at making plays at second base than Phillips. If Phillips continues to put up offensive numbers, along with his defense, one cannot discount the possibility of Cooperstown calling Phillips one day for a place among the greats!
Until then, Mr. Ruby keep grilling up those world famous Brandon Phillips Ribeye Steaks!