Which Philly Non-Hall of Famer Has Meant the Most to the City?

In Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Philadelphia Flyers, Philadelphia Phillies on June 30, 2013 at 1:24 pm

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My buddies and I are sitting around enjoying a couple cold beverages and talking Philly sports. What else is better than that? The following question led to some great debate.

 What Philadelphia Non – Hall of Famer has had the greatest impact on sports in the city?

 There were many names bounced back and forth, we tried to come up with one from each sport but it was awful hard to do so we agreed to settle on a few. We also talked about non-players like coaches, broadcasters, owners and general managers.

 Now keep in mind that nearly everyones favorites are the HOF guys who are the best players, but this discussion/argument eliminates Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Richie Ashburn, Robin Roberts, Harry Kalas, Dr J, Billy Cunningham, Wilt Chamberlain, Steve VanBuren, Chuck Bednarik, Reggie White, Bobby Clarke, Bernie Parent, Ed Snider. You get the point.

 The discussion left us with 4 Non – Hall of Fame men that we felt had the greatest impact on Philadelphia sports over their careers. Note, many may feel that Brian Dawkins may be on this list but we felt he was too current and he will be a Hall of Famer.

 Dick Vermeil – Vermeil turned the Eagles from losers to winners and took them to the Super Bowl. The Eagles franchise, for the most part, has been above average ever since. It’s safe to say Vermeil turned Philadelphia in to a football town.

 Dave Schultz – “The Hammer” of the Broad Street Bullies. Schultz brought the toughness to Philadelphia that has become the trademark of the city. He is still revered in the city while the Flyers have been one of the most consistently successful franchises since the arrival of “The Hammer”.

 Pete Rose – We may be sneaking this one in since Pete should be in the Hall of Fame as a player. He taught the Phillies how to win like no one else. Without him the World Series championship of 1980 doesn’t happen. To this day Philadelphia fans are looking for the “Pete Rose kinda guy” that will kick teammates butts and get the most out of them.

 Paul Owens – This was an interesting name, however, when you look at the facts you can’t argue that he belongs. Owens built the Phillies farm system by drafting Schmidt, Greg Luzinski, Bob Boone and Larry Bowa. He traded to get Tug McGraw, Garry Maddox and Bake McBride and pulled off the free agent signing of Pete Rose. Many forget that he made himself the manager in the middle of the 1983 season and led the “Wheez Kids” to the World Series. He was a member of the Phillies organization in some capacity from 1957 until his death in 2003.

 There you have our 4. I’d like to say that’s all the beverages we had to come up with that list.

 We’ve set up a poll to get your vote. Feel free to add the names of those that we missed. Click “other” in the vote box and add your choice by clicking on the “Respond” tab at the bottom and typing in your choice. Feel free to give your reasoning as well.

So who did I vote for?

 My vote goes to Dave Schultz.

 The toughness attitude that Schultz brought to Philadelphia is now known around the country and created the blue collar and tough guy attitude that the City of Philadelphia is know for. That attitude is being carried in to its 3rd generation. It’s carried in day-to-day life as well as by the fans of the other sports in the city. “The Hammer” gets my vote!!

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  1. Larry Bowa, Bob Boone, Harold Carmichael and Mo Cheeks are my 4 choices…They should all be Hall of Famers in their respective sports…

  2. Here are four names that I thought of:

    1. George McGinnis. The Sixers had suffered through 4 lousy seasons including the epic 9-73 year in 1972-73. They were an irrelevant franchise on the path to nowhere until McGinnis came here for the 1975-1976 season following an MVP season for him in the ABA. He was a force in that first year leading the team in points, rebounds and steals while trailing only Fred Carter in assists. I always felt McGinnis was the guy that started the Sixers back on the right track. Doc came the next year and the Sixers were Championship contenders for most of the next decade. He was disappointing in his two seasons with Doc, but I don’t think that should take away what he did for the franchise that first year.

    2. Sonny Hill. Has anybody done more for Philadelphia basketball or Philadelphia basketball players than Sonny Hill? I think the answer to that is no. Sonny is a legend in this town and since he spent some time working for the Sixers I think he needs to be considered for this list.

    3. Ron Jaworski. I would not select him over your choice of Dick Vermeil, but I think he has had a positive impact on the Eagles and the city. Do I think he was a great quarterback? No. Do I think he absolutely stunk in the Super Bowl against the Raiders and the game would have been a lot closer if he made a couple of easy throws? Yes (watch the tape). Was his leadership and solid play a key factor in the turnaround from laughingstock franchise to Super Bowl contender? Absolutely.

    4. Dave Cash. I am not putting him ahead of the guys you had on here, but I always felt Cash was a key guy in turning this franchise from the worst team in baseball in 1972 (except when Steve Carlton pitched) to a 100 win team in 1976. Cash came to the Phillies in 1974 and put up 608 hits and a .296 batting average the three years he was here. He also scored 292 runs and was a three time all star at second base. I also think he was the “Yes We Can” guy which was the motto for the 1976 team.

    I know Cash and McGinnis are nowhere near the top 4 guys, but I think both were key people in changing the culture with their teams from losers to winners. I think Jaworski is in the top ten and Sonny Hill could easily be in the top 4 if you had to have one in each sport.

  3. Kevin, a really good list. I was a big fan of both McGinnis and Cash. I wore #30 my senior year in high school baseball bevause of both of them. Unfortunately the both left on somewhat bad notes. Cash was the “Yes We Can” guy that got it going and Big George could do everything but “practice”. Jaws is getting alot more support then I ex[ected. Honestly, in my opinion, he was a very average QB that worked hard and took some nasty hits but his success was because of Vermeil. It also doesn’t hurt that he stayed in the area and has been very popular in his post football career because he’s genuinly a really good guy.
    You’re so right about sonny Hll. He’s a guy that never even got mentioned in our conversation. The Sonny Hill League attracted all of the pros in the day. I remember that league in place when I was a kid. Great choice that should’ve probably been our basketball representative,

  4. Ted, we like your guys but honestly feel they’re 1 step below the HOF level. This takes nothing away from their careers and we were fans of all of them. Do you think any of them did anything to change the long term culture of their sport in the city? Look forward to hearing your feedback.

  5. Some other Facebook feedback.
    paul owens with dick vermeil a close second. the eagles sucked for 15 years when he got here. no other team had been that bad for that long but the phils had never won a title when paul ownes put together the group that won their first and were in contention for a second.

    .good story

  6. Bobby Jones

  7. Glenn Daniels – 4 hours ago

    It was a tough choice but when I see Dick Vermeil on TV past or present I think Philly. He was out in the news more then the others & more vocal. Since I grew up in that era & loved but hated the eagles , I always thought he was doing his best for the Team & Philly. Of course the broad street bullies & Dave Shultz were as Bill said instumental to the toughness & average working guy that Philly represents past & present. Of course don’t forget about Boxing Joe Frazier? Philly born & his boxing gyms in the city.ThanksGlenn

  8. I voted for PETE ROSE! He Single.Handedly Changed the Attitude of the PHILLIES! It changed From “YES WE CAN” TO YES, WE WILL!!!! His Go Out & Win Attitude was CONTAGOUS Throughout the Lineup! & Therefore THATS how the PHILLIES WON THE 1980 WORLD SERIES!!!!!

  9. […] in our article “What Philly Non Hall of Famer has meant the most to the City” The link follows:… there was great support for a couple of Eagles QB’s. Most surprising to us is that Ron Jaworski […]

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