Phillips with the Cincinnati Reds
|Cincinnati Reds – No. 4|
June 28, 1981 |
Raleigh, North Carolina
|September 13, 2002, for the Cleveland Indians|
(through August 7, 2016)
|Runs batted in||870|
|Career highlights and awards|
Brandon Emil Phillips (born June 28, 1981) is an American professional baseball second baseman for the Cincinnati Reds of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has also played in MLB for the Cleveland Indians.
A native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Phillips was drafted by the Montreal Expos in 1999. He never came up to the majors while in the Montreal organization, and was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 2002. After making his Major League debut that same year for the Indians, he spent several years moving back and forth between the Indians' major-league team and the minor leagues. Phillips was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 2006. Since joining the Reds, Phillips has developed into one of the best second basemen in baseball. During his tenure in Cincinnati, he has won four  Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, one Silver Slugger Award, and been selected to three National League All-Star teams. He became the first player in MLB history to record two 3-run home runs, 7 RBI's, and two stolen bases in one game. Following this performance, the uniform and pair of cleats he wore during that game were put on display in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
Phillips father, James Phillips, runs the Phillips Baseball Center in Pine Lake, Georgia. His sister is WNBA player Porsha Phillips of the San Antonio Silver Stars and his younger brother is minor league baseball player PJ Phillips.
Phillips attended Redan High School in Stone Mountain, Georgia, where he played basketball and baseball. His #7 at Redan was retired by the school in December 2003. He was the star baseball player at his high school. Phillips' favorite baseball player growing up was Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin.
Phillips was selected in the second round of the 1999 draft by the Montreal Expos as a shortstop after signing a letter of intent to play both baseball and football at the University of Georgia. He instead signed with the Expos on June 21, 1999.
Cleveland Indians (2002–2005)
After several years in the Expos farm system, Phillips was part of a six-player trade that sent him from the Montreal Expos to the Cleveland Indians on June 27, 2002. Phillips was dealt with Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee, and Lee Stevens in exchange for Bartolo Colón and Tim Drew.
In 2003, Phillips won the starting job at second base for the Indians. During the season, he had a season-high 6-game hitting streak. Against the Detroit Tigers on May 20, he hit the first three-run walk-off home run of his career. After that he went 0 for 29 and was sent down to the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons after the All-Star break. He was recalled soon after that due to an injury to one of his teammates and finished the season with a .208 average, 6 homers, 33 RBI and 4 stolen bases. Phillips also totaled a .981 fielding percentage.
In 2004, he started the season in Buffalo. He hit .303 with 14 stolen bases on the season and recorded 18-game and 16-game hitting streaks. In the minor league play-offs, Phillips hit .308. He joined the Indians at the end of the season and played 6 games for them.
Phillips remained with the Bisons for most of 2005. He appeared in six games for the Indians in July but was sent back down following the stint.
Cincinnati Reds (2006–2015)
On April 7, 2006, Cleveland's frustration with Phillips' slow progress peaked and he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for a player to be named later (pitcher Jeff Stevens). He made an immediate impact, starting the season by being named NL Player of the Week the same month he was acquired by the Reds, hitting .452 (14–31) with 3 home runs and 17 runs batted in for the week of April 17–23. Phillips' 17 RBI were the most for an NL Player of the Week since Sammy Sosa had 19 RBI the week of August 4–10, 2002. Phillips had his first career grand slam that month and 16 straight stolen bases. leading the Reds in hits (148) and multi-hit games (36). He also led all National League second basemen in stolen bases with 25. He produced two 9-game hitting streaks over the season and ended with a batting average of .276, 17 home runs and 75 RBI.
In 2007, Phillips hit 30 home runs and stole 32 bases to become the first Reds second basemen to join the 30–30 club and just the third 30–30 Red, joining Eric Davis (37 HR, 50 SB in 1987) and Barry Larkin (33 HR, 36 SB in 1996). He also joined Alfonso Soriano as just the second second baseman in the 30–30 club.
On July 3, 2007, Phillips broke a 3–3 tie with the San Francisco Giants by hitting a grand slam that gave the Reds a 7–3 win. In the fourth inning on August 1, 2007, game, against John Lannan of the Washington Nationals Phillips stole two bases on one pitch while the Nationals had a shift on Adam Dunn. On August 30, 2007, Phillips made the play of the month to win the game for the Reds against the Pittsburgh Pirates. With the Reds winning 5–4 in the bottom of the 9th, Nate McLouth of the Pirates hit a single into right field. The runner from second, Josh Phelps, appeared likely to score but Phillips grabbed the ball in shallow right field bare-handed and threw Phelps out at home plate to win the game. On September 5, 2007, he hit his 28th home run of the season, breaking the Reds' single-season record for home runs by a second baseman, formerly held by Joe Morgan. On September 26, 2007, Phillips hit his 30th home run of the season.
In addition to the home runs and steals, Phillips ended the 2007 season with 187 hits, 107 runs, 26 doubles, 6 triples 94 RBIs, and a .288 batting average. He led the Reds in runs, hits, triples, and stolen bases and was second on the team in doubles and home runs.
Phillips received a four-year, $27 million contract extension on February 15, 2008, instead of going to arbitration.
On April 2, 2008, Phillips hit his first home run of the season against the Arizona Diamondbacks. At the end of April, he hit a pinch-hit 9th-inning home run against the San Francisco Giants in the 3–1 loss. Two days later, in the April 27 victory over the Giants, he hit two home runs and three RBI. In the first month of the season, Phillips batted .283 with 5 home runs, 13 RBI, and four stolen bases.
To open up July, Phillips had a 3 for 5 game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the 6–5 loss, Phillips hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game and send it into extra innings. On July 5, 2008, Phillips drove in Jerry Hairston, Jr. for the game-winning single RBI.
At the All-Star Break, Phillips was batting .287 with 15 home runs, 58 RBI, 18 stolen bases, and 18 doubles. Shortly after the All-Star Game, Phillips hit his 16th home run of the season against the Chicago Cubs and his 17th against the New York Mets.
To open August, Phillips hit triples in back-to-back games against the Milwaukee Brewers and the Houston Astros, then finished the three-game stint with a home run in the third game against the Astros. He opened the following series against the Pittsburgh Pirates with a two-run homer. Then, Phillips closed out the next series against the St. Louis Cardinals with home runs in back-to-back games to reach his 20th of the season. The final game of the series marked the second consecutive season that he had joined the 20–20 club.
Phillips also won his first gold glove in 2008, leading National League 2nd basemen with a .990 fielding percentage having made just 7 errors in 706 chances, in addition to a 78-game error-less streak. He also won a Fielding Bible Award as the top fielding second baseman in MLB.
In 2009, Phillips hit .276, with 30 doubles, 20 home runs, 98 RBI and 25 stolen bases.
In 2010, Phillips had his first All-Star season. He finished the season batting .275, with 18 homers, 59 RBI, and 16 stolen bases.
In early August, Phillips made national sports headlines with unflattering remarks about the St. Louis Cardinals, a team the Reds were in a hotly contested race with for lead in the National League Central division. Phillips was quoted in a Dayton, Ohio newspaper as saying "I hate the Cardinals. All they do is bitch and moan about everything, all of them, they're little bitches, all of them. I hate the Cardinals." The next night, August 10, Phillips was involved in a large bench-clearing brawl between the Reds and Cardinals at home plate. Coming to bat in the bottom of the 1st inning, Phillips customarily tapped his bat against the shin pads of Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and the umpire. Molina kicked Phillips bat which led to seven minutes of pushing and shoving between both teams before both team managers were ejected and order was restored.
On November 10, 2010, it was announced that Phillips had won the second Gold Glove of his Major League career.
On May 3, 2011, against the Houston Astros, Phillips had an amazing play in which he threw out speedy Jason Bourgeois by picking up the ball barehanded as it rolled to him and throwing it to first baseman Joey Votto between his legs to record the out.
On July 1, Phillips hit 2 home runs against the Cleveland Indians, the 2nd homer being his 1,000th career hit. After several great plays in the field earned him notoriety around the country and his average stayed around .300 the whole first half, Phillips made his second straight All-Star game. He was in first place in voting for most of the year until Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks passed him, getting the starting nod.
On November 1, 2011, it was announced that Phillips had won the third Gold Glove of his Major League career. His fielding percentage for the season was .992 in 721 chances. The next day, it was announced that Phillips had won the first Silver Slugger of his Major League career. He hit an even .300 with 183 hits, 38 doubles, 2 triples, 18 homers, and 82 RBI. His on-base percentage was .353.
On April 10, 2012, it was announced that Phillips and the Reds had agreed to a 6-year, $72.5 million contract, through the 2017 season. Phillips was represented in contract negotiations by ACES Inc. When the All-Star game roster was announced on July 1, Phillips was not amongst those voted in by either fans or National League players and coaches. Reds manager Dusty Baker took exception at retired St. Louis Cardinals manager but the National League's All-Star Game manager Tony La Russa, claiming Phillips and fellow Reds teammate Johnny Cueto were left off the roster because they were at the heart of an on-field fight involving Baker's Reds and La Russa's Cardinals in 2010. Baker stated "it just kind of looks bad that Johnny and Brandon were at the center of the skirmish between us and the Cardinals. Some of the Cardinals that aren't there any more are making some of the selections." Phillips, who was hitting just under .290 with 10 HR and 46 RBI at the time the selections were announced, declined to comment on the matter. USA Today's Mike Jones mentioned the large number of votes for San Francisco Giants players, including Pablo Sandoval (.300, 6 HR, 25 RBI) who was named the All-Star game's third baseman over New York Mets' David Wright (over .350, 9 HR, 50 RBI) was responsible for "taking away an infield spot."
In 2012, Brandon Phillips had a .281 batting average, 18 home runs, and 77 runs batted in. He did not win a Gold Glove for the first time since 2009. He batted an impressive .375 in the NLDS series versus the San Francisco Giants, despite their loss of the series.
Phillips was the Reds Opening Day second baseman and number two hitter; however, he became the cleanup hitter after left fielder Ryan Ludwick tore his shoulder on opening day. César Izturis was his backup. He had a 12-game hitting streak from May 12 to 25. He hit .266 with 12 HR and 74 RBI, good enough to earn him the starting second baseman spot on the National League team in the All-Star Game.
On August 28, Phillips was moved to the second spot in the lineup, and Jay Bruce became the cleanup hitter. While hitting second in 2013, he hit .240 with 2 HR and 6 RBI in 23 games. In 127 games while hitting 4th, he hit .265 with 16 HR and 96 RBI. In 151 games in 2013, he hit .261 with 18 HR and 103 RBI. He won a Gold Glove in 2013, having a .987 fielding percentage with 9 errors.
Phillips was placed on the disabled list July 11, 2014, after sufferering a torn thumb ligament while diving for a ground ball in a game against the Chicago Cubs. At the time, he was hitting .272 with 7 home runs and 40 RBI, and had only committed one error in 86 games at second base. He was reinstated from the DL on August 18. Phillips finished the season hitting .266 with 8 home runs and 56 RBI.
The 86th All-Star Game was played at Great American Ball Park, and Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was selected to play. In the Reds' clubhouse for the All-Star Game, he was assigned Phillips' locker. Since the brawl between the Cardinals and Reds in 2010, the two mended their schism, and Molina has a photograph of their families together. When informed of whose locker he was using, he replied, "This is Phillips' locker? How about that? I'll have to write something to him." However, during pregame roster introductions, Reds fans booed all six Cardinals players who were selected, including Molina, and even former Cardinal Albert Pujols, who was then with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Phillips finished the season hitting .294 (16th in the National League) with 173 hits (8th in the NL), 12 home runs, 70 RBI and 23 stolen bases (10th in the NL).
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