The toothless Clarkie smile
Yes, I realize this is a Phillies blog. But that Bobby Clarke survived a region with the very popular Chase Utley, Claude Giroux and Brian Dawkins, as well as Philly legends such as Bill Barber and Charles Barkley, speaks to how important Clarke was.
First and foremost, championships. Clarke, the player, won two back to back championships, and led the Flyers to two more before his playing days were over. The list of other Philly athletes who led their teams to two titles? Steve Van Buren in 1948-49. That’s it. That’s the list. In 1974, the Flyers faced the big, bad, Bruins, and hadn’t won in Boston in nineteen games. Until Game 2, when Clarke’s overtime winner changed the momentum of the series, and history was made.
Secondly, hardware. Clarke was a 3-time league MVP, winning the Hart Trophy in 1973, 1975 and 1976. He also won the Lester Pearson award, MVP selected by the players, in 1974. Clarke also won the 1972 Bill Masterton award for perseverance, the Selke in 1983 for best defensive forward, and was one of the 1980 recipients of the Lester Patrick award for his contribution to ice hockey in the United States.
Also, consider the numbers. When he retired, Clarke was eleventh all time in points, and fourth all time in assists. He was only the 15th player in NHL history to hit the 1000 point barrier. He still holds many of the major Flyers team records, including games played, points, assists, plus/minus, and shorthanded goals. He made nine All Star games in his fifteen seasons and was enshrined in Hockey’s Hall of Fame in 1987. The Flyers also retired his number #16 in 1984 after he retired. Clarke was also a charter member of both the Flyers Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.
Clarke’s Final Four opponents are legends in their own right. But vote for the diabetic kid from Flin Flon, Manitoba.