Former Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips was once one of the games smoothest players.
He would dazzle audiences with unique plays, all while making it look like he was barely trying.
At the plate, he was consistently one of the best producers as he provided a blend of both power and average.
For many younger fans that grew up with the game, Phillips is one of the players that they will most recognize.
Give me every angle of that Brandon Phillips homer and I’ll tweet it. I love this man. pic.twitter.com/e15ybj6OSP
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) September 15, 2020
Here is a look at what happened to him.
An Athletic Background
Phillips grew up in the middle of an extremely athletic-based family.
His father runs a baseball complex in Georgia, while his sister is a WNBA player and brother a professional baseball manager.
Phillips has arguably the most impressive career of them all.
He was a star player in high school, earning a reputation both around and state and the country for his talent.
This earned him a second-round nod in the 1999 MLB Draft as he was taken by the Montreal Expos.
In his first few Minor League season, Phillips performed well for being much younger than the competition.
However, in 2002 he was part of a massive trade between the Expos and then Cleveland Indians, which sent him along with Grady Sizemore and Cliff Lee in exchange for Bartolo Colon.
It was in Cleveland that he’d get his first chance at the Majors.
Phillips Has A Slow Start
In 2002, Phillips was called up to the Majors at just 22 years old.
He struggled in limited time, hitting just .258 with no home runs.
The next season wasn’t any better as his average dropped to .208 in 112 games.
This pushed the Indians to drop him back to Triple-A for the 2004 season where he hit better, but never got a true chance in the Majors.
He only appeared in 12 total games between 2004 and 2005 as the Indians never seemed to be willing to call him back up.
Finally, the organization seemed to be tired of waiting for Phillips to take the next step as they decided to trade him to the Reds in April of 2006.
On this date (April 1) in 2006, #Indians designated infielder Brandon Phillips for assignment. The Indians then had until 2 p.m. EDT on April 7, 2006, to place Phillips on waivers or to trade him.
— Steven Sharp (@TheStevenSharp) April 2, 2020
The change of scenery is all that he needed, as Phillips burst onto the scene in 2006.
He became the team’s starting second baseman and posted a .276 average in 149 games, adding 17 home runs and 25 steals.
The best season of his career came the very next season, as he slugged a career-high 30 home runs and hit .288.
In a span of just two years, Phillips established himself as one of the game’s best second baseman.
For the rest of his career, Phillips continued putting up standout numbers.
From 2006-2017 he hit at least 11 home runs in all but one season, while never having an average below .261.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 15, 2021
At the same time, he won four Gold Glove Awards and made three All-Star appearances.
These numbers earned him the nickname “DatDude,” as his smoothness in the field and at the plate gave him a larger-than-life feeling.
Unfortunately, the Reds were only able to make it to the postseason twice while Phillips was there, giving a small sample-size for his October performances.
That being said, he did post a .325 average with two home runs in nine games.
With his MLB career seemingly ending in 2018 after a short stint with the Boston Red Sox, Phillips had one of the most underrated careers.
Brandon Phillips, a three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glover, spent all of the 2018 season in the minors until today. The 37-year-old just hit a go-ahead two-run, two-out homer to give the Red Sox a 9-8 lead over his former team. This is how that home run felt. pic.twitter.com/WxX0gPgpmg
— Gabriel Baumgaertner (@gbaumgaertner) September 5, 2018
He finished with 2,029 hits, 211 home runs, 209 stolen bases and a .275 batting average.
These are standout numbers from someone that was given up on early in his career for lack of production.
Though he never officially retired, it is likely that Phillips will never play another game in the Majors.
While his numbers fall short of being Hall of Fame worthy, they deserve respect on the historical level.
Phillips Remains In Baseball
After leaving MLB, Phillips has remained around the sport.
He has jumped around to different professional independent organizations to continue playing baseball.
His first was with a team in Mexico, where he played in 36 games during the 2019 season.
From there, he went to an independent league team in the same year for a short stint.
In 2021, at 40 years old, he played 54 games for the Lexington Legends and hit 14 home runs with a .276 average.
Brandon Phillips is still playing and he’s flipping his bat to the moon pic.twitter.com/4EExIDG11p
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) May 24, 2021
Those are impressive numbers, as Phillips is showing that he can continue to play well even as he begins to age.
Perhaps there is an off-chance where Phillips makes some kind of late run to return to MLB, but that remains to be seen.
Whether or not that happens, he will be remembered by baseball fans for years to come for the comfort he played with at such a high level.