When I saw the Jimmy Rollins trade to the Dodgers for virtually nothing, I started thinking about where he fits into Philly sports lore.Since we live in a "what have you done for me lately world", I understand, yet am kinda perplexed at the fans negative reaction to a guy who is an all-time great in this city and how we discard them when things go bad due to bad management decisions (Sort of like cheap and clueless radio execs who simply protect their incompetence by shedding good people to cover their butts and failing sales numbers) Those same people who complained about Rollins "hustle" or "demands" of leading hit-off have no problems with the Sixers trotting out overmatched D-league players being embarrassed nightly under the hopes that stockpiling unproven college kids guarantees success. I hope it does, but get back to me in 4 yrs when I'm collecting social security and the Sixers owners are unloading their flipped franchise for a billion dollars.
I generally ignore lists because they are subjective - used by media to stimulate arguments when they have little else to discuss - and many times they are simply based on stats, not impact or intangibles.
Having lived a wonderful life loaded with awful teams and local management, and lots of losing for the last 50+ years, I have compiled my top 5 most important players in the last 50 years of Phila Sports.
This list is all from memory, not number crunching or sabremetrics. You can agree or disagree, but I assure you, my list will pique your thought process and make you go....Hmm?
Enjoy and do comment below. I want to hear from you. Just keep it civil and present compelling names or arguments pro or con.
Will address this and take your calls tonight (Thursday Dec 11th) on my latest Podcast at www.blogtalkradio.com/tonybrunoshow. Live from 6-8p EST, 3-5p Pacific. The number is 914-219-0864
Here they are!
1.Wilt Chamberlain: Philly born and raised and the lynchpin of the best team in NBA history - the 67 Sixers title team - and no one affected the game and it's rules more. Not then, not now, not ever! So while modern day NBA stat geeks argue Jordan, vs Kobe vs Lebron. Wilt was the man who helped the NBA emerge from a league where playoffs were on tape delay to ignite the greatest rivalries and influence multiple franchises like no one else.
2. Bobby Clarke/Bernie Parent - the heart and soul of the best hockey team in Philly history. Only franchise with back to back championships in last 60 years, thus the lofty perch.
3. Reggie White. With no SB's and so many great players since the 60 title game, Only player to affect the way opponents played a poorly coached, yet championship calibre team. Fraud owner Norman Braiman cemented his status as a pathetic used car salesman by allowing White to go to Green Bay and win a SB without as much as making him an offer to stay. Braiman bailed back to the car lots in Miami after fleecing a broke Leonard Tose, and then flipping the team for a tidy profit while claiming he made no annual salary.
4. Mike Schmidt/Pete Rose: Schmidt was perceived as "too aloof" as he grew into one of the greatest 3rd basemen of all time in front of a World Series starved fan base in the 70's. A rare Superstar who spent his entire HOF career with the same franchise. Rose was the missing piece to take a great team by the horns and help get the Phillies over the hump by winning the 1980 World Series.
5. Jimmy Rollins. Is he a Hall of Famer? Debatable. Is he a better all around player than his infield co-hort Chase Utley? Depends on who you ask. I put J Roll in my top 5 for multiple reasons. Much like the 70's Philly team built from the farm up and a club we watched get better each year, Rollins had the swagger and confidence to "talk the talk" AND "walk the walk". He flat out said the 07 Phillies were better than the rival Mets and then won an MVP, then the World Series and became the all time club hit king. In a city devoid of trophies in the title case, these top guys all have 1 thing in common. Rings, Reverence and difference makers in a sea of those who were greatness in the last 50 years of Philadelphia Sports.
Let's go to the Phones!