Late Tuesday night, while most of us were sleeping soundly in our beds, a Phillies legend officially became a part of another organization.
Rhys Hoskins is now a Milwaukee Brewer.
Reunited with his old general manager Matt Klentak, now an assistant with the Brew Crew, Hoskins signed a two-year, $34 million deal that includes an opt-out after this season. It’s a good landing spot for the former Phils slugger who will likely bat cleanup in between Christian Yelich and Willy Adames in a Brewers lineup badly in need of power.
His time in Philadelphia ended too abruptly, that ACL tear last spring a cruel twist of fate that deprived the city and player of a proper send off and, perhaps, a better shot at the World Series. But that’s all behind us now. When Hoskins returns to Citizens Bank Park on June 3rd, Milwaukee’s foray into the City of Brotherly Love, he will undoubtedly be shrouded in applause and adulation, as is right for a player who became the face of the Phillies rebuild who after years of heartbreaking misses at least got to experience the magic of postseason baseball in Philadelphia one time.
Once all is said and done, Rhys Hoskins should be an immediate, no-doubt-about-it Wall of Fame inductee.
His 18 home runs in his first 34 games after being called up from the minors, his consistent 25-30 home runs and near-100 RBIs a season at first base, his clubhouse leadership and work off the field in the community, all mandate he be put on that wall at the team’s earliest convenience.
And, of course, there was the incredible 2022 postseason run through the National League playoffs. Without his bat, the Phils probably don’t make it out of the NLDS.
The Bat Spike moment in Game 3 against the Braves is Phillies lore. It ranks up there with the Bob Boone-Pete Rose bobble catch at the end of the 1980 World Series, Lenny Dykstra’s Game 5 NLCS home run in 1993, Chase Utley’s back-handed defensive play in the 2008 Series, and Roy Halladay’s no-hitter in the 2010 playoffs.
Hoskins’ home runs against the Padres were actually more impactful, especially in Game 4 when San Diego took an early 4-0 lead on the Phils. Hoskins’ immediate answer, a two-run shot in the bottom of the first, blew the roof off the place and grabbed momentum right back, and his two-run shot a few innings later, moments after Juan Soto broke a 4-4 tie with a two-run blast of his own, sealed the Padres’ fate. His Game 5 two-run dinger in the 3rd inning would have clinched him the NLCS MVP if Harper hadn’t had his Bedlam at the Bank moment.
When you take Hoskins’ career in totality, it’s hard to argue that he shouldn’t be on the Wall of Fame. Consider some of the other players already ensconced on the brick wall in center field.
- Bake McBride
- Ron Reed
- Manny Trillo
- Bobby Abreu
- Pat Burrell
- Mike Lieberthal
- Juan Samuel
These are all players who deserved to be on the Wall, and all of them either made as great or less of an impact than Hoskins did during his six years as a Phillie. Only Mike Schmidt, Ryan Howard and Jim Thome hit more home runs per plate appearance than Hoskins’ in their Phillies careers, and the intangibles of the player are unquestioned.
We’ve known for months that Hoskins wasn’t coming back. Once Bryce Harper signed up to play first base full time, Hoskins’ fate was sealed. He’ll get a huge ovation upon his return and, one day after he’s retired from the game, he’ll come back to Citizens Bank Park for his Wall of Fame induction.