The 10 Most Beloved Philly Athletes of All Time
1. Richie Ashburn
A Hall of Fame center fielder with the Phils; his broadcast partnership with Harry Kalas made him a beloved figure here for more than half a century.
2. Wilt Chamberlain
The greatest Philadelphia-born athlete ever, and star of the 1966-’67 Sixers team that won the NBA championship. There was only one Wilt.
3. Bobby Clarke
The heart and soul of the Flyers team that won back-to-back Stanley Cups in the ’70s.
4. Julius Erving
The only Philadelphia athlete I can think of who never was booed.
5. Reggie White
The greatest defensive lineman in Eagles history.
6. Chase Utley
Hit a grand slam in his first Phillies start; fans have loved him ever since.
7. Charles Barkley
Always spoke his mind, which didn’t always win him friends, but most fans respected his honesty and effort.
8. Mike Schmidt
The greatest player ever to wear a Phillies uniform got a rough ride from fans who felt he was too aloof. Wasn’t really embraced until late in his career.
9. Chuck Bednarik
The number of folks who can say they actually saw Bednarik play for the Eagles dwindles each year, but the legend of Concrete Charlie, the last of the 60-minute men, lives on.
10. Allen Iverson
A tough call, because for every fan who loves A.I., there’s one who hates him. But the ones who love him really love him.
Ray Didinger is a legendary Daily News sports columnist and current analyst for Comcast SportsNet. This piece originally appeared in the December 2011 issue of Philadelphia magazine.