Curt Schilling Just the Latest Legendary Philadelphia Athlete to Face-Plant

Phil Keidel@@PhilKeidelContributor IIJune 2, 2012

Curt Schilling Just the Latest Legendary Philadelphia Athlete to Face-Plant

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    The story of Curt Schilling's $50 million pratfall as a (what?) video game designer was certainly unexpected.  Pride goeth before a fall, it has been written, and one could reasonably question why a man who earned eight figures of wealth throwing a baseball believed it was a good idea to try to press that wealth to nine figures by bankrolling a company that was basically trying to create the next "World of Warcraft."

     But then again, it is not like Schill is the first—or will be the last—legendary Philadelphia athlete to turn his fantasy professional athletic career into an apocalypse.

     Watch and learn...

Curt Schilling, Philadelphia Phillies, 1992-2000

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    Before Curt Schilling helped lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to a cataclysmic upset over the New York Yankees in the 2001 World Series, well before he bled into that sock and became a piece of Boston Red Sox lore forever, Curt Schilling was a Phillie.

    What Phillie fan can forget him handcuffing the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 5 of the 1993 World Series, only to famously hide his face in a towel because he could not bear to watch Mitch Williams' high-wire act trying to finish his gem?

     All of that, in a nutshell, is Schill.  Easy to love, easy to loathe.  Which is why, when the Providence Journal reported this week that Schill stands to lose his entire baseball fortune to a bad business venture, it reminded many of the old Mark Twain line:  "I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure."

Lenny Dykstra, Philadelphia Phillies, 1989-1996

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    Lenny Dykstra was a Met before he was a Phillie, and for that reason maybe some Phillies fans never totally accepted him.  But "The Dude" could rake, and once he may/may not have started an aggressive weight-lifting and supplements regimen in 1993, well, it is hard not to love a guy who finishes second in the MVP voting and carries your team to the World Series on his little muscled back.

     In the years that immediately followed his retirement, Dykstra accumulated wealth via a string of car dealerships and later gained acclaim by being heralded by Jim Cramer as a stock expert.  These days, though, "Nails" has fallen on the hardest of times: indictment.

Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers, 1996-1997 Through 2006-2007 and 2009-2010

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    Whether you called him "Bubba Chuck," "AI," or his most pervasive nickname, "The Answer," Allen Iverson was always polarizing but never boring.

    Anyone who calls himself or herself a Sixers fan and does not get glassy-eyed remembering the nights Iverson scored 50-plus points in playoff games, or the 2000-2001 season when he took a team that started Jumaine Jones to the NBA Finals is not really a Sixers fan at all.

    No one has taken any joy in Iverson's post-basketball life, not the alleged money problems, and certainly not his groveling for any NBA opportunity anyone might give him now.

    He received an enormous ovation when he brought the game ball to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals in Philadelphia: truthfully, most of those people were probably just happy to see he is still alive.

Julius Erving, Philadelphia 76ers, 1976-1987

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    Watching Julius Erving play in his prime was just pure joy.  He was Dominique Wilkins with a championship ring.  He was David Thompson without the substance abuse issues.

    True, his jumper was balky...but he could just fly with a basketball in his hand.  "Dr. J" was doing the things Michael Jordan later did while Jordan was getting cut from his junior high basketball team.

    After the music stopped, though, things the unusually protective Philadelphia media had hidden started sneaking into light: a disavowed love child, a high-end golf resort that failed, leading eventually to the unthinkable: auction of his basketball treasures to the highest bidder.  Oh, Doctor.

Eric Lindros, Philadelphia Flyers, 1992-2000

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    True, Eric Lindros has not gone broke, fathered a number of children out of wedlock or been sued lately.  And maybe this is just an excuse to mention that no one will ever properly be able to explain why no Flyer stick-fouled Scott Stevens after he leveled 88 in Game 7 of the 2000 NHL Eastern Conference Finals.

    You cannot deny, though, that life for Lindros was never the same after he left Philadelphia.  It is easy to blame his concussion history for his failure to ascend to Hall of Fame status.  Ultimately, though, he just did not make it, and that is all that needs to be said.

Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles, 1999-2009

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    Donovan McNabb is another case of a solid citizen of society who, nonetheless, has seen things go real bad since leaving town.

    After leading the Eagles to five NFC title games and a Super Bowl, he was unceremoniously dumped on the rival Washington Redskins for a draft pick, floundered there, and (it seems) finished his career even more ingloriously as a Minnesota Viking benched for Christian Ponder.  Face-plant.

Terrell Owens, Philadelphia Eagles, 2004-2005

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    Golly day, for a guy who was only in town for two seasons, it sure seemed like Terrell Owens was in Philadelphia for a long time.  His arrival transformed Donovan McNabb from "The Guy Who Could Not Win the Big One" to "The Guy Who Probably Would Have Won the Big One If T.O. Had Not Played the Super Bowl on One Leg."

    Shortly thereafter, though, it was Owens asking for a contract extension by working out in the driveway of his mansion, publicly humiliating his quarterback and generally forcing his way to his next stop.

    Who could have seen T.O.'s final act including a visit with Dr. Phil and a release from indoor minor league football?

    Okay, you're right...everybody saw this coming.

David Akers, Philadelphia Eagles, 1999-2010

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    David Akers' only reason for being in this slideshow is probably through no fault of his own, but it was a big one: He lost about $3.7 million in a Ponzi scheme.

    For a star baseball or basketball player, $3.7 million is a rounding error.  For a star football player, $3.7 million is a good year.  For a kicker?  Most kickers never sniff that much money.

    Akers recovered with a splendid year for the San Francisco 49ers last year, and with any luck his money troubles are behind him. 

    Yeah, but still.

Freddie Mitchell, Philadelphia Eagles, 2001-2004

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    Oh, no, Fred-Ex.  Past-due child support?  Tax fraud?  Man...4th-and-26 seems like another lifetime, am I right?

Marvin Harrison, Roman Catholic High School (Philadelphia, Pa.), 1989-1992

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    So, no, Marvin Harrison never played a down for the Philadelphia Eagles or any other Philadelphia sports franchise.  He was, however, always a "Philly guy."

    Any number of Eagles fans would tacitly pull for the Indianapolis Colts once the Eagles were out of the playoffs because their hometown All-Pro, No. 88, was hauling down catch after catch from Peyton Manning.

    As recently as 2006, Harrison was good for 95 catches, 1,366 receiving yards and 12 receiving touchdowns.  Three years later, he was out of the league at age 37.  NFL really does stand for "Not For Long."

      And then he got mentioned in a shooting incident outside a car wash in North Philadelphia shortly after his career was over.  You notice you have not heard much from Harrison lately?  You are not the only one.