SportsProf

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Carlos Ruiz: The Phillies' Unsung Hero (Especially Outside Philadelphia)

Click here for Mike Jensen's excellent piece in today's Philadelphia Inquirer on the Phillies' catcher.

Many out-of-towners know who the Phillies' big names are, the core players -- Roy Halladay, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard (there are many other good players, of course). Most know that this year's Phillies were a team effort in every sense of the word, especially given the injuries to every position player not named Ibanez and Werth. But what most out-of-town fans don't get a sense of, precisely because they don't follow the team daily, is who else makes a big difference. They can tend to look at size, position in the batting order, power numbers, and they might not get a sense of the team. And I'd suggest that this is the case with Carloz Ruiz, the soul of the Phillies, revered in Philadelphia.

Those aren't boos you here when he comes up to the plate. They are cries of "Choooch," his nickname among his teammates. His batting average was over .300, and his on-base percentage was all-star caliber. His pitchers rave about his game-calling abilities. He just comes to work every day and gets the job done and then some. He'd run through a wall for his teammates, who, correspondingly, would do the same for him. Many elite teams have the big names, but what distinguishes them is how the players at the next level operate. Do they add something to the mix, or are the pitchers "innings eaters" and the position players guys with .250 batting averages, .310 on-base percentages and deficient with runners in scoring position?

Carlos Ruiz is a very important member of the Philadelphia Phillies. Okay, he isn't a future Hall of Famer like Roy Halladay, he isn't getting Ryan Howard's salary and he hasn't made numerous All-Star teams like Chase Utley.

All he does is help the team win games.

Philllies' fans know it.

It's time for all baseball fans to realize it.

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