The Power Fifty 2009

What This List Is: Our ranking of the most influential Philadelphians. What This List Isn’t: A rehash of the usual suspects

6. Ruben Amaro Jr. & Charlie Manuel, lifestyle
General Manager and Manager, Phillies
Both new to list

Behold the power to keep a city watching with bated breath. The power to determine, as a pair, our mood for an entire summer, and a good chunk of the fall. The power to bring business to bars and sports stores all over the city for weeks on end. The power to make us — jaded, cynical us — believe in our team, the losingest-franchise-in-sports-history-turned-freaking-World–Champions. With every decision by Manuel, 65, about batting lineups and closers, and such hires as Raul Ibanez and Cliff Lee by Amaro, 44, these two hold sway over our collective psyche, too. They’ve got the power to make us dance in the streets.

7. Bob Brady, influencer
U.S. Congressman
2005: 6 :: 2000: 10

He may have lost the ’07 mayoral primary, but Brady’s still the chief of the Dems in this one-party town, which means our patronage system rolls on. With his D.C. appointment to chair the Committee on House Administration, Brady’s sort of the Capitol’s mayor, overseeing expense budgets and who gets the good offices — a favor-currying power right up his alley. The fact that he’s a seven-time-elected white Congressman from a predominantly African–American district basically means he defies racial politics. Brady, 64, will always be the -Kramdenesque darling of organized labor and his district’s Joe Palookas, but he’s failed to make inroads with Philly’s chardonnay business-and-legal-power crowd. (This is, after all, the guy who wore an Eagles jersey to attend Obama’s stop at 30th Street Station en route to inauguration.) But that’s probably just how he likes it. Take note, Mayor Nutter: There’s a certain power that comes with not worrying what other people think.

8. Amy Gutmann, institutional
President, University of Pennsylvania
2005: 24 :: 2000: Not on list

She’s at the helm of the city’s largest private employer, but back in ’05, we said Penn’s then new-ish president had room to improve when it came to citywide civic efforts. Since then, she’s co-chaired Nutter’s transition team, and is turning the 24-acre cement eyesore on West Philly’s Schuylkill shore into Penn Park, an impressively contemporary green space. Some complain her constant fund-raising makes Gutmann, who turns 60 this month, hard to access, but she’s implemented a no-loan/all-grant aid system for undergrads with financial need, and has raised $2.52 billion.

9. Sister Mary Scullion, transformational
Executive Director, Project H.O.M.E.
2005: Not on list :: 2000: 93

Over the years, this magazine has referred to Sister Mary as “the consummate Philly insider” and a “hell-raiser who initiated a task force in response to City Council’s crackdown on the homeless in Center City.” Since 1989, this Northeast Philly native’s Project H.O.M.E. has taken more than 8,000 of our fellow Philadelphians off the street, trained many for jobs, treated their illnesses, built their homes and shaped their futures (and ours). Neighborhoods, too, benefit. In 2004, Kate’s Place low-income housing opened on a quiet stretch of Sansom; today its neighbors include two swanky Jose Garces restaurants. You’d be hard-pressed to find a philanthropist (Lynne and Harold Honickman) or celebrity (Bon Jovi) who won’t open a wallet or just show up to help, should Sister Mary ask.

10. Charles Ramsey, institutional
Commissioner, Philadelphia Police Department
New to list

With guns everywhere and tensions high during his near-two-year tenure, Ramsey, 59, has put a glimmer of hope on city streets by lowering an atrocious murder rate — by about 30 percent since 2007. Plus, 20 percent more homicides are actually getting solved. He’s held citizens and cops accountable in ways that haven’t always pleased them — a “Stop, Question and Frisk” policy riled critics, and he’s been stern with his besieged force, too, dismissing four officers caught on video beating suspects even though a grand jury later cleared them. He’s got national cred as well: Our chief was one of 12 people picked in September for a panel set to review Cambridge’s Henry Louis Gates dustup.