I had the pleasure to ask author John Rust a few questions about his book "The Best Phillies Team Ever." Here is the question and answer session:
What made you decide to create an all-time Phillies team, aside from your love for the team?
I think this is the debate fans of all teams have. Who would make the all-time team? With the Phillies, you’re talking about one of the oldest franchises in baseball. There is so much history to explore with this team. There are so many great players who wore a Phillies uniform since the 1880s, I felt it would be a fun challenge to sort through all that history and see, out of the thousands of players in Phillies history, which 25 make the all-time team.
How difficult was the research for players like Ed Delahanty?
Not very. Many of the old time Phillies on this team were inducted into the Hall of Fame, so their histories were not that difficult to find. The stats were the easy part. You can get those on Baseball-Reference.com. Some other aspects of their lives you can find in old newspaper articles. Working as a sports and news reporter for over 20 years, one of the things I found interesting with using parts of newspaper articles about
Delehanty and others from that era was the style of news writing back then. They used some rather flowery prose in those days. So different from radio news where our writing can be short and to the point.
Your simulated games were very interesting. However, as a reader, I was hoping for some more matchups instead of just one World Series. Would you consider pitting your team against championship teams that broke the hearts of Phillies fans, such as this team against the 2009 Yankees or the 1977 Dodgers?
Those would be some interesting matchups, and you can throw in the 1993 Blue Jays if you really want to talk about heartbreak. Many of my simulated games involved all-star teams of the past, mainly because I thought the best challenge for the Best Phillies Team Ever would be taking on teams consisting of the top players of that year, whether it’s 1971 or the very first AL all-star team of 1933. I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to taking this all-time Phillies Team and pitting them against those teams you mentioned.
Are you working on any other books or writing projects?
I have a sci-fi thriller about a sea monster attacking the Jersey Shore that I plan on publishing very soon. I also have another baseball book in the works along the same line as my Phillies book. This one will list Arizona’s all-time baseball team, featuring the best players born and/or raised in the Grand Canyon State.