Philadelphia has seen its share of star players over the years. In this past decade alone, we have been introduced to a new crop that contains the likes of Chase Utley, Brian Westbrook, Mike Richards and others.
But equally as memorable as the great players are some of the ones that we would most like to forget, the bums. And Lord knows we have seen our fair share of them as well.
Being a bum is not determined by simple poor performance. Yes, that has something to do with it, but bums go the extra mile.
Bums are often players with high expectations attached to them but who don’t seem to put in the effort to make themselves into true standout players. They whine and complain, picking fights with teammates, coaches, the media and fans.
Bums are also frequently injured and never seem to heal as quickly as other players do. And they do this all while typically being grossly overpaid, wasting a team’s financial resources and the precious time of its fans.
Mike Mamula (pictured) was thankfully absent from this decade, but some of the players we had were just as dreadful.
As this decade prepares to come to a close just a few months from now, here, in no particular order of ranking, is Philadelphia all-bum team for the 2000’s.
We begin by acknowledging those who just missed the cut. They were bums, but not quite the caliber of those who made the all-decade team.
Jevon Kearse – Was once The Freak, but later became known as The Meek for his tendency to disappear and ultimately succumb to injury after injury.
Freddy Garcia – Went 1-5 with a 5.90 ERA with the Phillies in 2007 while making $10 million.
Kyle Calder – Scored all of nine goals in 59 games during awful Flyers season of 2006-07 before being mercifully traded.
David Bell – Batted .258 over parts of four seasons with Phillies and simply didn’t get the job done after signing a big contract.
Matt Geiger – Ended up playing four games in 2001-02 while making over $8 million.
Jeff Hackett – Another failed goaltending experiment by the Flyers, came down with vertigo and retired mid-season.
Now onto the all-decade team.
When the Eagles take the field in the fall, they will be entering the post-L.J. Smith period, one that was marked by tons of promise but delivered very little in actual results.
During his six years with the Birds, L.J. finished with a grand total of 231 catches and 18 regular season touchdowns, numbers that don’t do justice to his actual talent level.
He also failed to eclipse 300 yards receiving in each of his last two injury-plagued seasons after he looked like a blossoming star in 2005 and 2006.
But L.J. should be given credit for his low fumble rate despite his tendency to carry the ball like a loaf of bread after making a catch, which drove Eagles fans everywhere up the wall.
Just barely making it onto the all-decade bum team because of his awful stint with the Phillies in 2000, the lasting image of Ashby will always be him giving the middle finger to the home fans as he was booed off the mound at the Vet.
Brought in during the offseason and supposedly giving the Phillies a solid #2 starter behind ace Curt Schilling, Ashby put up a 4-7 record and 5.68 ERA before being traded to the Braves in mid-July.
What makes Ashby’s tenure even worse was that one of the players that the Phillies traded for him would later return to town and appears on this list. And adding even further insult to injury, when the Phillies shipped him to the Braves, Bruce Chen came in return.
When the Sixers let him walk in 1998 after three turbulent seasons in town, we thought we had all seen the last of DC.
But when Robert “Tractor” Traylor came to Philadelphia via trade in August 2001 and proved to be so worthless that the Sixers decided to trade him three months later, they swung a three-way trade to reacquire Coleman.
What followed were three more seasons of frustration where Coleman missed 37% of the team’s games and dropped below 10 points per game during the last two seasons.
Hailed as the best player in the world that wasn’t currently in the NHL, the Flyers signed the 32-year old Czech before the 2001-02 season. What followed was a disaster.
Dopita put up a 4-goal game but tallied just seven more in his other 51 games. A knee injury put a damper on the season, and Dopita just looked soft and out of place most of the time.
Wilting in the face of expectations and pressure, Dopita was traded to Edmonton after the season and was even worse for them before returning to Europe.
When the Phillies brought Barajas in to split the catching duties with Carlos Ruiz in 2007, they thought they were getting a defensively solid backstop with the ability to show some occasional power.
What they got was four home runs, a .230 average, and one of the most pathetic plate-blocking displays in the history of baseball when he allowed a player he outweighed by 30 pounds to slide right under him while he stood over the plate and failed to reach down and make a tag that would have won the game.
Stand-up guy Rod is now enjoying a good season with the Blue Jays but will always be remembered in these parts for being yet another disappointment.
Nicknamed “Big Dog”, Robinson was simply a dog during his time with the 76ers. He appeared in only 42 games with them during the 2003-04 season.
A 20 points-per-game scorer in eight of the nine previous seasons, Robinson averaged only 16.6 PPG with the Sixers. Injuries kept him shelved into the next season and he never played another game for the franchise.
The Sixers traded him to the Hornets and he was waived almost immediately before latching on with the Spurs and winning an NBA title.
Another first round pick gone wrong. The Eagles traded up 15 spots to select McDougle in 2003, never suspecting that he would turn into a walking emergency room over his five years with the team.
He suffered injuries to his ankle, knees, hip, and ribs. And was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. And was shot in the abdomen and missed a full season.
His overall totals with the Eagles: 33 games played, three career sacks, during one of which he drew a facemask penalty and subsequently kicked the flag in anger, drawing another penalty that ended up setting up a game-winning field goal for the other team.
Millwood somehow threw a no-hitter during his time with the Phils but he was without a doubt one of the most out-of-shape pitchers to don a major league uniform this century.
Coming off an 18-8 record with the Braves in 2002, Millwood spent two inconsistent seasons with the Phillies, compiling a 23-18 record and a 4.34 ERA.
No, his numbers weren’t terrible, but he fell woefully short of expectations while earning over $20 million in the two years he spent in Philadelphia.
Coming out of the NHL lockout that wiped away the 2004-05 season, the Flyers made a number of big moves. One of them was signing the twin towers of defense, Derian Hatcher and Mike Rathje.
While Hatcher had some issues during his time in town, Rathje was a huge disappointment. It became quickly apparent that the “new” NHL was no place for a lumbering 6’5”, 245 lb. rearguard like him.
After hanging in there for a full season, Rathje looked totally out of place early in the 2006-07 season that would prove to be so dismal for the Flyers.
He would play 18 games before succumbing to chronic back and hip problems, although it was rather suspicious that he was finally yanked from the lineup after a game in which he committed an awful turnover that led directly to the game-deciding goal with five minutes to play.
Originally a decent Phillies prospect that was traded for the ill-fated Andy Ashby, Eaton had an even more disastrous tenure in Philadelphia after returning to the Phillies as a free agent before the 2007 season.
Over the course of 2007 and 2008, Eaton amassed a record of 14-18, which belied his terrible 6.10 ERA. Eaton even had the honor of being the losing pitcher in the Phillies’ 10,00th loss as a franchise on July 15, 2007.
He also holds the distinction of receiving the most boos upon accepting a World Series ring when he showed up for the ceremony earlier this year.
After falling just short in the Super Bowl following the 2004 season, the Eagles’ biggest move in the ensuing offseason was bringing in Mike McMahon to back up Donovan McNabb.
When McNabb suffered an injury and McMahon was forced to step in, the results were horrible. McMahon went 2-5 in McNabb’s stead as the Eagles finished 6-10.
Overall, McMahon threw just five touchdowns along with eight interceptions for a completion percentage well below 50% and a QB rating in the 50’s.
The Eagles learned a valuable lesson about signing any player that the Lions don’t even want to keep.
Before the 2004 season, Ed Wade pulled off what seemed like a coup when he pried Billy Wagner away from the Astros. And although he posted pretty good numbers over two seasons with the Phils, Wagner is a prime example of a bum.
After appearing in only 45 games in 2004, Wagner was healthy and very efficient in 2005 except for a crucial blown save against Houston in September that essentially cost the Phillies a playoff berth.
Simply put, Wagner was a jerk while he was in town and continued even after leaving for the Mets that offseason. Thankfully, Wagner blew out his arm in 2008 and was seen in tears immediately afterward.
While the laughter of Phillies fans could not be heard in New York, rest assured that no tears were shed for him in Philadelphia. Wagner will never learn to just do his job and keep his mouth shut.
He was brought in to help Allen Iverson and company re-establish themselves as a power in the Eastern Conference, but Webber just ended up being a big headache for the Sixers and their fans.
In the 21 games he played for the Sixers at the end of the 2004-05 season, Webber’s scoring, rebounding and assist totals were down from his career averages. He followed it up by having a decent 2005-06 season but was injured late in the season and skipped out on Fan Appreciation Night along with Iverson in a display of disrespect and arrogance.
A bad knee and questions about his motivation to play dogged Webber into the 2006-07 season before the Sixers finally gave him a $25 million buyout and released him.
He will forever be remembered as one of the most expensive mistakes in the history of Philadelphia sports.
You can’t deny that Scott Rolen is a very good player or that he hustles and plays the game hard.
But he is a whiner.
He said the Phillies weren’t committed to winning and he complained about the turf at the Vet contributing to his seemingly never-ending back injuries.
Finally, Larry Bowa and Dallas Green apparently hurt his feelings so much that he no longer wanted to play in Philadelphia, so they shipped him to St. Louis in 2002 so that he could be closer to home in a nice, midwest town (i.e. a place where he wouldn’t have as much pressure.)
Unfortunately, Rolen won a World Series with the Cardinals in 2006. Eventually, however, his personality became so grating to Tony LaRussa and the organization that he was shipped out of town. And where is he now? Playing in Toronto. On turf.
He had some good seasons in town. But Rolen disrespected his organization and all of its fans. And for that, he will forever be a bum.