The 2011 Major League Baseball season begins this week, and what was supposed to be the kick-off of the coronation of the "Greatest Pitching Rotation of All Time" has devolved, somewhat, into a pastiche of injuries, holes and question marks.
One of the biggest questions marks for the Phils as they make their move north this week is Domonic Brown, who as recently as last summer was considered the top prospect in all of baseball. Brown struggled after being called up last season, got sent home from the Dominican Fall League and then bottomed out this spring before breaking his hand.
So we have to ask: Is Domonic Brown on the road to becoming one of the top busts in Philly sports history?
Obviously, it is too soon to tell. But in preparation for answering this question, we take a look at the Top 25 Busts in Philly Sports History.
There will be those who will remember that Chris Webber was past his prime by the time he joined the Philadelphia 76ers at the end of the 2004-2005 season. Webber spent parts of three seasons with the Sixers, helping to guide them to a first-round playoff loss in 2005, then helping them to miss the playoffs altogether in 2006 before being traded the following season.
And while Webber's best days may have been behind him, he was only 31 when he joined the Sixers. Not exactly an old man and certainly a player the Sixers were entitled to expect things from.
I am not knocking 4th-and-26, and I would not dream of it.
Nevertheless, Freddie Mitchell had 1,200 yards receiving in his four-year career, and the list of players drafted right after him is alarming: Todd Heap, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Drew Brees, Chad Johnson, Alge Crumpler and Reggie Wayne all went in the 11 picks after the Eagles selected Mitchell.
Such a great name: Darren Rumble.
Most of his career rumbling came in the AHL after being drafted in the first round by the Flyers in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft. He enjoyed one full year of NHL hockey, during which time he was not particularly good.
The seventh overall pick in the 1995 NFL draft, defensive end Mike Mamula enjoyed a solid six-season NFL career.
Of course, the Eagles were probably looking for something more than solid, and for something more than six seasons.
It is difficult to criticize Major League Baseball draft busts, because high draft picks go bust so often.
But in a run of years in which the Phillies spent their first-round pick on the likes of Pat Burrell, J.D. Drew, Brett Myers, Chase Utley and Cole Hamels, the Phillies used the fourth overall pick in 2001 on Gavin Floyd, a Baltimore-area high school pitcher who never did anything of significance for the Phillies and is now a solid major league pitcher for the Chicago White Sox.
Another Baltimore area product by the name of Mark Teixeira went to the Texas Rangers one spot after Floyd.
After trying desperately to move up in the 1988 draft to take a shot at either Teemu Selanne or Rod Brind'Amour, the Flyers ended up staying put and taking Claude Boivin with the 14th pick.
Boivin was the hockey equivalent of a Quadruple-A player, a guy who could succeed in the minors but was never able to take his talent to the next level.
The Philadelphia Eagles made Mike Haddix the eighth overall pick in the infamous 1983 draft.
After Haddix with the eighth pick, the Houston Oilers drafted future Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews in the ninth spot, followed by Hall of Famers Jim Kelly at 14, Dan Marino at 27 and Darrell Green at 28.
The end of Danny Tartabull's career happened suddenly.
In 1996, at the age of 33, he was hitting 27 home runs with 101 RBI for the Chicago White Sox.
In 1997, he played three games and his career was over. And the Phillies were left holding the check, having signed Tartabull as a free agent only to watch his season end after he fouled a ball off his toe.
Only one thing to know here: Bernard Williams was a left tackle whom the Eagles drafted with the 14th overall pick in the 1994 draft. Williams started all 16 games in 1994 but was eventually banned from the NFL for failing 15 drug tests.
Luke Jackson was the fourth overall pick in the 1964 NBA draft and averaged a double-double as a rookie. However, it would be the best season of his career, and after his fourth season in the league, Jackson had trouble staying on the court for the remainder of his eight-year major league career.
Glen Seabrooke was the Flyers first-round pick, 21st overall, in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft. His career came to a premature end at the age of 21 when he crashed into a goal post in the minor league AHL and injured his shoulder irreparably.
Wes Chamberlain was not actually a bust, because he was never actually as amazing as Phillies fans made him out to be prior to making his debut in 1990.
In the minors, he enjoyed one season in which he hit 21 home runs with a .300 average and had another season in which he stole 22 bases.
But he never put it all together in a single season, and he was never a complete package.
This is Steve Smith, whom the Philadelphia Flyers drafted with the 16th overall pick in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft. Smith had an extensive minor league career but played only 18 games at the NHL level.
Lance Parrish spent the better part of a decade, from 1977 to 1986, establishing himself as one of the elite hitting catchers in baseball and going to several All-Star Games. He even won a couple of Gold Gloves.
The Phillies signed him to (what was then) a big free-agent contract prior to the 1987 season, and he essentially stunk up the joint, barely hitting his weight either year, watching his power production simply plummet and losing the ability to throw out baserunners.
During his years with the Tigers, Parrish never allowed more than 69 stolen bases in a single season and threw out approximately 40 percent of attempted base stealers against him.
During his two years with the Phillies, he allowed back-to-back stolen base totals of 142 and 126 stolen bases and threw out only 28 percent of runners.
The 22nd pick in the first round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, Maxime Ouellet played exactly 12 NHL games in three seasons and was last spotted playing for the Trenton Devils of the ECHL in 2008.
The 10th overall pick in the 1991 draft, Tyler Green never succeeded beyond the Double-A level.
He made the All-Star team in 1995 after starting the year 8-4 with a 2.81 ERA. He never pitched anywhere near that level ever again.
A defensive end, Jon Harris was the 25th overall pick of the 1997 NFL draft, ahead of guys like Corey Dillon, Tiki Barber and Jamie Sharper.
Harris started exactly eight games in two seasons and was out of football.
A very good tackle with the Cincinnati Bengals, Stacy Andrews signed a big six-year contract with the Eagles before the 2009 season in order to be united with brother Shawn Andrews to form the core of what should have been a great offensive line.
But Stacy was never in shape, was not properly rehabbed from a knee injury the previous season and never learned the offense.
Even after agreeing to restructure his contract, Andrews was eventually traded prior to the 2010 season.
This is not a picture of Bob Currier, the player whom the Philadelphia Flyers picked with the sixth overall pick in the 1969 NHL draft. Currier never played an NHL game and pictures of him are probably only available if your last name is Currier.
This is a picture of Bobby Clarke, one of the greatest players of all time, whom the Flyers took in the second round of the 1969 NHL draft.
So, I guess sometimes it all works out in the end.
The 22nd pick in the 1983 draft, Ricky Jordan arrived during the second half of the 1988 season and hit .308 with 11 home runs, 43 RBI and 41 runs in 69 games.
For Phillies fans, the future was here.
But just as quickly as the future had arrived, it all proved to be a mirage. In 144 games, the following season, Jordan hit only one more home run than he had the previous year and never played another full season.
At some point, an autographed Ryan Sittler hockey card was worth something.
The son of NHL Hall of Famer Darryl Sittler, Ryan was taken with the seventh overall pick by the Flyers in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft, though a series of injuries prevented him from ever making the big club.
The Sharone Wright selection—sixth overall in a comparatively weak 1994 draft—might have been easier to stomach if not for the fact that four-year Temple star Eddie Jones went to the Los Angeles Lakers just four picks later.
The Sixers also passed on Jalen Rose and Brian Grant to snatch up Wright, who managed just 203 career games in the NBA.
In eight NFL seasons after being drafted with the fourth overall pick in the 1984 NFL draft, Kenny Jackson had 126 receptions for 2,170 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The ninth overall pick in the 1985 NFL draft, Kevin Allen played all of one season at tackle for the Eagles, during which he was terrible by all measures. Buddy Ryan said that Allen was a good player to have if you wanted someone to stand around and kill all the grass.
Allen was busted for cocaine and spent time in prison for sexual assault.
When it comes to professional sports, a "bust" generally falls into one of two categories.
The first category of busts is for players who, years later, you look back and say, "What were they thinking?"
The second category, though, is far more special. This category is reserved for Darko Milicic over Carmelo Anthony, for Greg Oden over Kevin Durant, for Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan.
This is the category for players who everyone knew would be a train wreck at the moment the selection was being made.
Shawn Bradley falls into this category.
In the 1993 draft, a loaded draft featuring Chris Webber, Penny Hardaway, Jamal Mashburn, Isaiah Rider, Vin Baker, Allan Houston, George Lynch, Sam Cassell and Nick Van Exel, the Sixers went with a guy who was 7'6" tall but weighed 190 pounds and who had spent one year playing college basketball before going off on a two-year mission for the LDS church.
Thing is, even if the Sixers were sold on Bradley, they could have very easily traded down and gotten him much later in the draft. So at best, they took him too soon.
At worst, they passed on no fewer than six players who could have been franchise-changers.