Yesterday being father’s day and all, it got me thinking: Who would be the Philadelphia sports “fathers” so to speak. One player from each of the four major sports team that is pretty much synonymous with that franchise. Basically a Mount Rushmore of Philadelphia sports, meaning without that player, the team’s history and culture would not be the same. There is no science or real point to this, and I’m sure every person might disagree with a player or two but hey, it’s just for fun.
Pat Burrell, you are NOT the father! I mean seriously, nobody expected Burrell to be anyway, but I’ve always wanted to say that. The real daddy according to DNA tests is none other than Michael Jack Schmidt. This is really no contest in my eyes. Sure, I never watched him play in the Phillies uniform but the closest competition could only be Chase Utley or Steve Carlton. However, Utley and Schmidt are not even in the same ballpark. Literally, Chase Utley has had the opportunity to play in hitter friendly Citizens Bank Park his whole career, but also by the numbers. Chase Utley’s 188 home runs and 694 RBIs pale in comparison to Schmidt all-time leading 548 home runs and 1595 RBIs. I’m a sucker for the long ball, so it has to Schmidt.
This one is easier than an empty netter, Bobby Clarke. There isn’t a player in Philadelphia sports history that better symbolizes a team and city more than Bobby Clarke. Come on, the captain of the Broad Street Bullies and two Stanley Cups.
As much as I want to say Allen Iverson, I can’t. Sure he was one of the most exciting players ever, but he never delivered a championship. This is not to say a championship is all that matters, but this was the deal breaker for me. And that is why I chose Julius “Dr. J” Erving. Dr. J contributed to 3 titles and is the sentimental favorite in Philadelphia. This gives him the nudge over Iverson and Wilt. Somewhere, Shawn Bradley is just shaking his head, saying “what could have been”. That damn Space Jam movie really did steal his talent.
I had to go with a player that I grew up watching for one of the teams, so who better than Brian Dawkins for the Philadelphia Eagles? B-Dawk had everything: leadership, big hits, tenacity, energy, dark visor, and pregame routines that looked like Bruce Banner when he gets mad (No relation to Joe Banner). It’s a shame Dawkins and the Eagles had to leave on such sour and unnecessary terms but it will be good to see him retire in the midnight green.