The all-Philly tourney is nearing it’s conclusion. With one #1 team eliminated and a wacky Final Four soon to be set, the final eight athletes/personalities will compete to become the greatest athlete in the history of Philadelphia.
I asked myself one thing earlier today: Where the hell is the Phillie Phanatic? Yes, I know we screwed up big on leaving the big green fur ball out of the tourney so as a consolation, one of the Regions will be named after him. The Roose Region, seeing as it is I who screwed up big time, will be re-named the Phanatic Region for the rest of the tourney, just for the big guy.
So anyway, our eight remaining guys all had interesting roads to the Elite Eight. Some blew out the competition while others upset their way to a Cinderella story.
Folks, I reveal to you the Elite Eight. Voting will last probably three days.
Phanatic Region: #1 Mike Schmidt vs. #2 Steve Carlton
The 1980 Phillies are one of the most beloved teams in the history of Philadelphia sports. They were led by the bat of Schmidt and the left arm of Carlton. Both athletes are Hall of Famers and both are considered the best at their positions.
Schmidt is the greatest third baseman of all time and there is no doubt about it. Schmidt muscled 548 homers over the fence while hitting a solid .267 and averaging 107 RBIs over a course of a 162-game season. He’s a 12x All-Star, six-time Silver Slugger and three-time NL MVP. He won the home run crown eight times and the RBI crown four times. His fielding was also very good, racking up eight Gold Gloves.
Carlton is considered one of the, if not greatest left-handed pitchers of all time. His 4136 strike outs are fourth all-time and second among lefties behind Randy Johnson. His longevity and durability were his two assets, leading the league in complete games three times. He’s also a four-time Cy Young Award winner, 10x All-Star and even won a Gold Glove in 1981. His 1972 season was the greatest of his career, posting a 27-10 record with a 1.97 ERA, completing 30 games and throwing almost 350 innings while the Phillies won only 59 games.
Real Deal Region: #1 Bobby Clarke vs #6 Claude Giroux
The greatest Flyer of all-time vs the next greatest Flyer will go head-to-head in this battle. There is a laundry list of accolades by Clarke, who captained the 1973-74 and 1974-5 Stanley Cup champion Flyers but also a laundry list of potential accolades Giroux can achieve in his very young career.
There is a relationship between the two. Clarke was the GM of the Flyers when he selected Giroux with the 22nd pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
Clarke was drafted in the second round of the 1969 amateur draft. He compiled 358 goals and 1210 points over his 15-year career, all with the Flyers. Giroux is one of those players who the Flyers would like to keep in the orange and black sweaters for a long time. He’s currently leading the Flyers with 59 points through 65 games and is third with 21 goals, career highs in his young career.
BMac Region: #1 Harry Kalas vs. #2 Brian Westbrook
This is the most unique match-up in the tournament. Kalas is the voice of the Phillies and B-West is arguably the most exciting player to wear an Eagles jersey (well before Michael Vick that is).
Kalas died in April 2009, a week after receiving his World Series ring. His loss was sorely missed by fans of the Phillies and the sports world in general.
Westbrook has over 10,000 yards from scrimmage. His dynamic play from the ground and in the air made him a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately Westbrook’s small size completely diminished his abilities as the game-changing back he once was.
Ickey Region: #4 Richie Ashburn vs. #2 Reggie White
Whitey Ashburn of the Whiz Kids and Reggie White of arguably the greatest Eagles defense were two very special players in their respective sports. Both are also Hall of Famers.
White’s 198 career sacks are only second to Bruce Smith all time. He led the league twice including the strike-shortened 187 season with 21, which was a record before Michael Strahan beat it about 10 years ago. He got his nick name “The Minister of Defense” through him being a preacher and also being one of the scariest defensive linemen of all time.
Ashburn is a .308 hitter. The four-time All-Star center fielder was one of the key players to the 1950 Whiz Kids team that lost in the World Series to the Yankees. Ashburn later became one half of the famous Harry and Whitey announce team. If he and Kalas win their respective brackets, they will meet next round in the Phinal Phour.