The Double-A Reading Fightin Phils will celebrate 50 years as a Phillies affiliate (a-Phil-iate?) this season by honoring the 50 greatest players to play for the franchise since 1967. Included among those 50 are classics like Robin Roberts, Mike Schmidt, and Larry Bowa; recent Phillies greats like Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins; as well as highly touted up-and-comers like Maikel Franco, Aaron Nola, and J.P. Crawford.
According to the team, “The list features four Baseball Hall of Famers, four National League Most Valuable Player winners, three American League Most Valuable Player winners, two American League Cy Young Winners, a National League Cy Young Winner, two National League Rookie of the Year winners, and seven Eastern League Most Valuable Player winners.” (See the full list here.)
For several home games throughout the season, including Opening Day on April 7, the Fightins will wear a jersey with the likeness of their 50 greatest, and they’ll give away T-shirts with a much more orderly arrangement of those players.
The Phillies 50 Seasons promotion is an appealing, minor league-ish (and I mean that in a good way) approach to celebrating an anniversary—much better than simply adding a number to a logo. And in Reading’s case, where the team’s history is made even more important by its proximity to the parent club in Philadelphia, which is less than an hour away, creating a uniform that looks like an old-time fan’s display case is the perfect way to honor the occasion.