Who are Pete Childs, Bert Adams, Michael Martinez, and Harry Pearce? Yes, four people who have never been in my kitchen. But they are so much more than that.
These four are the only four players in Phillies franchise history to amass more than 350 plate appearances while keeping their OPS under .500. Now as most readers know, unlike golf scores, the higher the OPS the better, so this is not a good thing.
Here are the four sub-.500 Phillies in all their glory:
This is an incredibly bad group of hitters. But who is the worst? Adams was the least patient of the group (2.8% BB%); Childs had the least power (.012 ISO); Martinez is the worst hitter (.187 BA); Martinez is also the worst on the basepaths (just 4 SB); Martinez struck out in the highest percentage of his plate appearances (17%); but Childs has the lowest overall OPS (.462).
It can't be stated strongly enough - anyway you slice it, this is a horrendous group of hitters. But the chart above doesn't fully capture who is the worst. Maybe the next will.
How about we look at Michael Martinez, Chile Gomez, Joe Lonnett, and Bert Adams. This group is slightly different but no less putrid. These four are the only Phillies to come to the plate 350 or more times and have an OPS+ under 40.
Here's this list of anti-superstars:
What this chart does is contextualize performance. Pete Childs and Harry Pearce drop off the list of ignominy because of the times they played in. When Childs played in 1902, the NL average for OPS was .631, so his OPS+ at 41 just missed this group. Over the three years of Pearce's career, the NL average was .640. His OPS+ in this context is a whopping 47.
That's a number the four in this second chart dream of. Adams, along with Childs and Pearce, played in the dead-ball era (though 1919 is usually the year people say the dead-ball era ended). Gomez and Lonnett played in an environment slightly more conducive to hitting than today - .719 NL average OPS for Gomez; .725 for Lonnett; .710 for Martinez. All three though played in a much more offensive time than Childs, Pearce, or Adams, which is why the three of them "lead" this list.
What this list shows is that these four players were the worst Phillies in light of the offensive environment when they played. And Martinez tops this list because his performance is on the all-time worst list yet he plays in the modern era when hitting is stronger than it was in the early 1900s.
Thus, this list proves it definitively. Michael Martinez is the worst Phillie hitter to ever wear the uniform. His performance is, as an absolute matter, one of the three worst ever for a Phillies hitter. But, relative to his MLB peers (which is a really awful and shameful (and maybe even libelous) thing to call the other MLB players over the past three years), no one in a Phillies uniform has performed worse than Michael Martinez.
For those interested, here's the list of the 25 worst Phillies hitters since expansion in 1961: