Who was more fun to watch than the Flyin’ Hawaiian? Shane Victorino remixed an old-school style of play with a flair and passion that baseball is just now beginning to embrace (sorry, Goose Gossage).
The twitchy outfielder was a core part of the stacked Philadelphia squads that won back-to-back pennants in the late aughts. Victorino combined strong bat-to-ball skills with good speed, regularly posting above-average on-base percentages. He didn’t hit many home runs, but he made up for that by terrorizing opponents on the base paths; he twice led the NL in triples and swiped 231 bases in his career.
Victorino provided additional defensive value. He won three straight Gold Glove Awards for the Phillies while roaming center field, then grabbed another as a right fielder for Boston. Do the advanced defensive metrics back up all those awards? Well, no…
Still, it’s easy to understand why the voters kept supporting Victornio, given the way he leapt and dove around the field. He was a disruptor, an agent of chaos that made the game exciting.
Victorino played parts of 12 season in the majors, but he barely appeared in four of those due to injuries late in his career and weird rule-5 stuff early on. That leaves only 8 full, productive seasons, which isn’t enough to get anybody but Mike Trout into the Hall of Fame. Still, Victorino can be proud of his 29.3 career fWAR and his legend status among two fan bases. Here’s a personal favorite: