Over the next few weeks at The700Level, we'll be posting poll matchups as part of our Philly March Madness competition. Examine the cases of the two fine Philadelphia athletes below, and cast your vote at the bottom as to which you think should advance to the next round. And as always, feel free to explain your selection and/or debate the choices in the comments section.
Dirt. Nails. The Dude. Leonard Kyle Dysktra was one of the most feared hitters in baseball during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Despite being a key part of the Mets’ World Series run in 1986 and success over the next few seasons, Dykstra was traded to the Phillies along with Roger McDowell for Juan Samuel in 1989. His career in Philadelphia was a wild ride, sadly in more ways than one. He made the 1990 All-Star team, his first of three Summer Classics as a Phillie, batting .325 with 192 hits and 33 steals from the leadoff spot. The Dude could work a count with the best of them, earning a lot of free passes and wearing down opposing pitchers. He’ll best be remembered (on the field anyway) as a key member of the 1993 Macho Row team that went to the World Series, leading the league that year in runs, hits, and walks. He continued his tear in the playoffs. hitting at a .348/.500/.913 clip in the World Series, with four homers and eight RBI in six games.
Of course, Dykstra was also the drunk driver in a 1991 accident that would considerably injure both he and Darren Daulton, and we later found out that he, along with some of his Macho Row teammates, were using performance-enhancing drugs, with Dykstra ultimately being named in the Mitchell Report. Then there’s his whole post-career life, which includes being considered everything from a financial genius to a common criminal. Dykstra’s downfall is well-documented and will unfortunately be his most enduring legacy. But the Dude was a Phillies great, and those who watched the team in the early ‘90s will always remember his fearsome fearlessness in the box, his cheeks full of tobacco (and the stained centerfield carpet at the Vet), and the crazy passion with which he played the game. -Matt P.
After a distinguished career at Notre Dame, Dave Poulin skated as a Flyer from 1982-1990, making his mark early and often in Orange and Black. Poulin scored on the first shift of his NHL career, and would tally 160 more as a Flyer, along with 233 assists. He served as the team’s captain for six seasons and lived up to the C on his chest as a great leader on the ice and in the locker room, despite being just 25 years of age at the start of his captaincy and having to immediately succeed Bobby Clarke in #16’s second stint as captain. As if that shadow weren’t large enough, he was also the captain of a Mike Keenan-coached team, a mantle that comes with fiercely voiced expectations, and later helped guide the team through the sudden and tragic death of goaltender Pelle Lindbergh. The Flyers won the Patrick Division and made it all the way to the Finals in Poulin's first season as captain. He battled through a series of significant injuries, but kept getting himself back into the lineup, earning his reputation as a team player with an intense drive to win. His breakaway goal against Quebec Nordiques goalie Mario Gosselin while the Flyers had two men in the box was one of the great moments in the franchise’s history, helping to win the decisive game six of the conference finals. The play highlighted Poulin’s abilities as a leader, a goal scorer, and an outstanding two-way player—something we’ve come to love and expect from our forwards in this town.
Not surprisingly, following the 1986-1987 season, Poulin was awarded the Selke Trophy, given annually to the best defensive forward in the game. Unfortunately, his Flyers career ended unceremoniously during a down time for the team, with Poulin being stripped of the captaincy midway through the 1989-1990 season, then traded to the Bruins. But his career in Philadelphia will be remembered for leadership and clutch playoff performance—everything we expect of a captain. -Matt P.
Results So Far:
(1) Julius Erving (91.8%) over (16) Von Hayes (8.2%)
(8) Simon Gagne (77.9%) over (9) Seth Joyner (22.1%)
(5) Eric Lindros (70.3%) over (12) Eric Allen (29.7%)
(4) Randall Cunningham (77.6%) over (13) Shane Victorino (23.4%)
(11) Cole Hamels (82.1%) over (6) Mark Recchi (17.9%)
(14) Tug McGraw (51.1%) over (3) Moses Malone (48.9%)
(7) Darren Daulton (74.0%) over (10) Andrew Toney (26.0%)
(2) Chase Utley (93.5%) over (15) Andre Waters (6.5%)
(1) Mark Howe (60.2%) over (16) David Akers (39.8%)
(9) Rod Brind'Amour (73.6%) over (8) Rick Tocchet (26.4%)
(5) Brian Westbrook (93.3%) over (12) Jayson Werth (6.7%)
(4) Mike Richards (85.1%) over (13) Trent Cole (14.9%)
(6) John LeClair (89.2%) over (11) Clyde Simmons (10.8%)
(3) Jimmy Rollins (75.8%) over (14) John Kruk (24.2%)