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February 2018

Underdogs of the Eagles: Bryan Braman

By: Jesse Larch, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Leading up to the Eagles playing the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII on February 4, Sports Talk Philly and Eagledelphia will be taking a look at the unsung players on the Eagles roster that have made their unlikely season and playoff run to the Super Bowl possible. This is Underdogs of the Eagles.

In this edition we will focus on special teams ace Bryan Braman.

Continue reading "Underdogs of the Eagles: Bryan Braman" »

Top 25 Players to Ever Play a Game for the Phillies: No. 4, Pete Rose

By Matt Albertson, Historical Columnist 

Pete Rose, despite all his personal faults, was one of the greatest baseball players in history. His signing by the Phillies in 1979 was the club's first high-profile acquisition and it paid off.

The narrative is well known: the Phillies had outstanding teams in the mid-to-late 1970s, but couldn't get past the Reds and Dodgers in the postseason. Mike Schmidt has often said that Rose was the piece who helped the Phillies get to the World Series and win. Despite posting subpar WAR seasons in each of his four seasons in Philadelphia (1.1 WAR total), his attitude and approach to the game were infections and enlightening for the team's core. 

Rose started his career with the Reds in 1963 and established himself as a premier player and hitter throughout decade, leading the league in hits in 1965 and 1968 and in runs scored in 1969. He won batting titles in 1968 and 1969 as well. In addition to his talent as a hitter, Rose played with a reckless abandon not seen since the negro leagues or Ty Cobb. Teammate Joe Morgan said of Rose, "Pete played the game, always, for keeps. Every game was the seventh game of the World Series. He had this unbelievable capacity to literally roar through 162 games as if they were each that one single game." Of his playing style, Rose said that "I didn't get to the majors on God-given ability. I got there on hustle, and I have had to hustle to's the only way I know how to play the game."

One of the most controversial players in the 20th century, he was both selfish and unselfish; selfish for self promotion and stats and unselfish as a team leader on and off the field, picking up checks when the guys were out or changing positions throughout his career to benefit the team.

Rose dominated the 1970s and helped the Cincinnati Reds emerge as one of the most powerful teams of the decade. His Reds captured four pennants and two World Series titles in the decade and remain the last National League team to win back to back World Series. 

His best season was 1973 when he won his third batting title, slashing .338/.401/.437 and lead the league in hits with 230.

Career Accomplishments

  • All-time hits leader (4,256)
  • 17-time All-Star
  • National League MVP (1973)
  • Rookie of the Year (1963)
  • All-time leader in games played (3,562), plate appearances (15,890) and at-bats (14,053)
  • Two-time Gold Glove Award winner
  • Silver Slugger Award winner
  • Three-time World Series champion: 1975, 1976, and 1980
  • World Series MVP (1975)

*Awards were not factored into the formula

Career-Defining Moment

Rose has numerous career-defining moments: World Series MVP in 1975, his heads-up back up of Bob Boone in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 1980 World Series, passing Rogers Hornsby as the National League's all-time hit leader, and passing Ty Cobb as the major league all-time hit leader. If the narrative ended there, Pete Rose would be a household name. Unfortunately he broke baseball's oldest sin - betting on the game, which has come to define Rose to this day.

But for our purposes we're focusing on his playing career. It's hard to pick one milestone over the other, but his greatest personal career accomplishment is easily when he passed Cobb as the all-time hit king. 

Reasoning for ranking

Rose scored 60 points in our formula. He totaled 79.1 WAR, averaging 3.23 WAR over his 24 seasons. He had 16 seasons of 2+ WAR, eight seasons at 5+ WAR and one season at 8+ WAR, totaling 45 points. His .303 batting average ranks 173rd all-time, his 4,256 hits ranks first all-time, his 746 doubles ranks second all-time, his 135 triples ranks 75th all-time and his 1,314 RBI ranks 103rd all-time, totaling 15 points

Rose scored an eight on our subjective importance scale because he was the highest profile signing in team history and helped the club win its first championship in team history. 

Explanation of scientific formula

The player rankings formula combines both traditional and advanced statistics/metrics and assigns a point total to each category. 

First, single-season WAR is a primary factor in our rankings. According to Baseball Reference's WAR calculations, 2+ WAR is considered a starter, 5+ WAR is All-Star caliber, and 8+ WAR is MVP level. We totaled the number of seasons that a player performed at a 2+ WAR, 5+ WAR, and 8+ WAR level and assigned a set point value for each category, (+1), (+3), and (+5) respectively. For example, in 1980, Mike Schmidt complied an 8.8 WAR. This was counted as a 2+ WAR season, a 5+ WAR season, and an 8+ WAR season. So, for 1980 alone, Mike Schmidt earned nine points for WAR. 
Next, we assigned point values for being among the top 25, top 50, top 100, and top 200 all-time in particular statistical categories, such as batting average, hits, doubles, triples, RBI, home runs, and OPS for hitters; and ERA, wins, and WHIP, FIP, BB/9, H/9, and K/9 for pitchers. 
Finally, all statistical categories were totaled up using our point based system and ranked accordingly, with historical columnist Matt Albertson and managing editor Tim Kelly reserving the right to move players up the list, within reason, based on an "importance" factor. A player will score higher in this subjective category if his acquisition corresponded with a great team career or if they contributed to the club's rebuild or playoff run. A player will score lower if their career didn't correspond with a particularly good season(s) or with a playoff run. It will also be low if this player was traded by the club and became one of the best players in the game after the trade, thus negatively effecting the club's performance or extending a rebuild. An explanation of why a player is ranked in a certain spot will be provided, as will an overall score breakdown.

Is a new face coming to the Philadelphia Union coaching staff?

It's looking like the Philadelphia Union are adding a new face to the coaching staff. After the departure of Mike Sorber to LAFC during the offseason, reports are coming out of the Netherlands that the Union have added Dick Schreuder as an assistant coach. Schreuder will leave his post as head coach of VV Katwijk in the Dutch third division to join the team.

Schreuder had 1.5 years remaining on his contract in the Netherlands but seems to be foregoing that to come to Philadelphia. While it is not known what the contract terms would be with the Union, Schreuder must see an opportunity with the team to leave his post. Schreuder has coached at a number of teams including Barnet and SDV Barneveld to go along with an extensive playing career.

Schreuder is a fan of running Earnie Stewart's preferred 4-3-3 formation which will lead to speculation if Jim Curtin doesn't start off the season on the right foot. Curtin was on thin ice at multiple points of last season and bringing in an assistant with head coaching experience would complete the cannibalistic cycle of assistants taking over for Philadelphia Union outgoing head coaches.

Hopefully, it doesn't come to that and Schreuder turns out just to be a guy with experience in the global game to help the platers and Curtin reach their full potential. Could this mean that the Philadelphia Union are seaching for a Dutch number 10? Only time will tell, but for now, it seems like Schreuder will be joining the staff in Florida very soon. 

No Margin for Error in Flyers Playoff Push

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Flyers return to the ice on Wednesday night, but a good portion of the rest of the NHL will return on Tuesday from the All-Star break.

The All-Star break is essentially both the final measuring stick on where teams are as the stretch run begins and also the final extensive break teams will have for the rest of the season.

It is a grind from here. The Flyers have 33 games left on their schedule, starting with Wednesday’s, and they will all be played within a 67-day span. And given the way the standings look, each game will hold significant meaning.

Continue reading "No Margin for Error in Flyers Playoff Push" »

Belichick, McDaniels don't have history of being fond of Howie Roseman

By Tim Kelly, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Beyond being a "rematch" of Super Bowl XXXIX, a Philadelphia Eagles-New England Patriots Super Bowl brings another juicy storyline: the chance for a Howie Roseman-led organization to defeat Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels, who once reportedly held Roseman in "low regard." 

In 2013, when the Eagles were in the midst of searching for Andy Reid's replacement, one name they considered was then-Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien. O'Brien, who had previously been the offensive coordinator for the Patriots, was probably never a perfect candidate for the Eagles because of a large buyout that the team would have had to pay, though there's no doubt there was mutual interest between the two sides.

With that said, a 2013 report from Penn Live (which is no longer up), suggested that Belichick and McDaniels didn't view Roseman highly:

Continue reading "Belichick, McDaniels don't have history of being fond of Howie Roseman" »

Foles, Eagles Come Full Circle Out of Chip Kelly Debacle

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Before taking the field on Jan. 13, the last time the Eagles had played in a playoff game was on Jan. 4, 2014, the first season under new head coach Chip Kelly.

That team was somewhat like this team. They were upstart. Their success was unexpected. But here they were in the playoffs, at home, fresh off a division title.

By the record, what happened over the next year wasn’t terrible. The Eagles missed the playoffs despite a 10-6 record in Year 2 of Chip Kelly. But in Year 3, they were eliminated from the playoffs in Week 16 and fired Kelly after the 6-9 record. It was three days shy of the one-year mark when Kelly was given full control, handling player personnel decisions as well as coaching duties.

That was on Dec. 29, 2015 and it looked like a mountainous climb for the Eagles to return to relevance.

They made two trades to move up in the draft, going from the 13th overall pick to the second to draft Carson Wentz. They had their quarterback. They hired Doug Pederson to follow Kelly as head coach, taking another former coach of Andy Reid and trying to replicate the best years under him from the early 2000s. They put Howie Roseman back in charge of player personnel.

And in two short years, look where it has them. Who would have thought that in December 2015, when the Eagles hit rock bottom, fired the innovative coach hired to get them to the promised land, that it would be the same quarterback and a coach with the complete opposite demeanor and personality to get them on the cusp of a title.

Continue reading "Foles, Eagles Come Full Circle Out of Chip Kelly Debacle" »

Patriots fan John Cena sings Eagles fight song on Monday Night Raw

By Brandon Apter, Sports Talk Philly editor

Super Bowl LI had its media kick-off on Monday night in Minneapolis as the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots began their busy week. A large group of the Philadelphia faithful, though, was packed inside the Wells Fargo Center for WWE Monday Night Raw. The show ended with John Cena earning himself a spot in the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view next month to a showering of boo's, but the WWE supertar and big time Patriots fan won the Philadelphia crowd over anyway, singing the Eagles fight song with the crowd in the ring after the final match. Take a listen for yourself, but we'll warn you...he's a bit tone deaf.

This isn't the first the that the Massachusetts native betrayed his hometown team. Back in 2012, Cena was an honorary captain for the New York Jets.

Super Bowl Breakdown: The Offensive Line

By: Jesse Larch, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Leading up to the Eagles matchup in Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots Sports Talk Philly and Eagledelphia will compare the personnel of the two teams each day until gameday is here. 

In this edition of our week-long comparison we will look at the offensive lines.

Continue reading "Super Bowl Breakdown: The Offensive Line" »

If the Eagles win, Chris Long has to get a tattoo of linebackers coach

By Tim Kelly, Sports Talk Philly editor

Probably for the best, there wasn't really any bulletin board material that came out of Super Bowl LII Opening Night, which included three hours of media availability between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots. That doesn't mean there wasn't anything interesting said at media night, however. 

Eagles defensive end Chris Long told NFL Media's Steve Smith Sr. that he made a bet with the team's linebackers coach, Ken Flajole, that he would get a portrait of him tattooed on him if the Eagles won the Super Bowl:  

Continue reading "If the Eagles win, Chris Long has to get a tattoo of linebackers coach" »

Darren Sproles says he's leaning towards returning in 2018

By Tim Kelly, Sports Talk Philly editor

Perhaps the most special part about this Philadelphia Eagles season is the amount of injuries that the team has overcome to reach Super Bowl LII. For those still standing, it's something to rally around, as the team has overcome losing MVP candidate Carson Wentz and nine-time Pro Bowler Jason Peters, among others. Of course, those that were the casualties have been left to watch their team make a run to the Super Bowl. 

One of the losses that the team sustained was RB/PR Darren Sproles, who had made the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons with the Eagles. At Super Bowl Opening Night, Sproles told NFL Media's Ian Rapoport that he is likely to return in 2018: 

Continue reading "Darren Sproles says he's leaning towards returning in 2018" »