#13 Most Underrated Philly Athlete of All Time: Von Hayes

(6 points) You know who Von Hayes reminds me a lot of? Andre Iguodala. He does a lot of things well but nothing great, the team overvalued his talents, and he’s never compared against other players but against his own expectations. That said, one day I think we’ll look back and say that Iguodala is better than we give him credit for. Now is the time to look back and say that Von Hayes was better than we give him credit for.

From 1984 to 1990, only 17 players played in 100 games each season with an OPS+ (On-base plus slugging) of at least 100 each year.

Rk  Player
1 Robin Yount
2 Lou Whitaker
3 Darryl Strawberry
4 Cal Ripken
5 Tim Raines
6 Eddie Murray
7 Kent Hrbek
9 Tony Gwynn
10 Dwight Evans
11 Andre Dawson
12 Chili Davis
13 Alvin Davis
14 George Brett
15 Wade Boggs
16 Jesse Barfield
17 Harold Baines
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/10/2012 courtesy of Highheatstats.com
Pretty decent company, eh? Furthermore, the trade really wasn’t that bad. The only person of consequence the Phillies gave up was Julio Franco. Yeah, he turned out to be about as good as Von Hayes, though for a hell of a lot longer. But over the 6 years after the trade was made (as long as Franco was in Cleveland), Hayes was the slightly better player. So this was hardly Moses Malone for Jeff Ruland. But the 5-for-1 tag haunted Hayes’s entire career. It was an unfair way to assess what was an absolutely stellar career in Philadelphia. Hayes is 20th in team history in career doubles, 24th in career hits, 10th in career steals, and 17th in career home runs (despite playing during a dead ball era).
But pretty much every old article you find online starts with the words 5-for-1. Von got ripped in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He somehow made it into Jayson Stark’s excellent Overrated/Underrated book as overrated. That’s like saying that Rodney Dangerfield gets too much respect. Von Hayes deserves to be seen as a very good player on some very bad Phillies teams, not as the “one” part of a 5-for-1 deal that never lived up to expectations.
Hayes currently coaches the Camden Riversharks.
PREVIOUSLY: #14 John LeClair
PREVIOUSLY: #15 Byron Evans

3 Comments on “#13 Most Underrated Philly Athlete of All Time: Von Hayes”

  1. beastman says:

    totally agree. von was my fave. he suffered from the same malady as schmidt – things were too easy. his 1986 line was pretty awesome but lost in the mets dominance

  2. Dan Koch says:

    Hayes was in the worst possible situation. He was destined to be underrated, because:

    1) He arrived in that ridiculously conspicuous trade that pumped expectations through the ceiling.

    2) He was brought on a rapidly aging team wrapping up a decade of sustained success by ceasing to develop good players.

    3) He was a very good player, but not quite a *great* player.

    4) He was the best player on some really lousy teams.

    5) He was a laid-back Californian kind of guy.

    He was precision engineered to be hated in this city, and that’s exactly what happened.

    • Jack Smeglehoff says:

      Funny, how perception is not even close to reality! Having played with VFH in college he is anything but laid back, not too many players get in fist fights with managers in the dugout during a game, oh maybe another laid back guy like Billy Martin,(from Cali also).
      Don’t forget about injuries he had without the benefit of steroid enhancers, including a broken arm by Tom Browning which ended his career! He played hurt most of his career.
      I have never posted anything about guys I know and played with, but athlete’s and fans need the truth every once in while!

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