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.
Routinely cited as one of the greatest basketball players of all-time, Dr. J came to the Sixers in 1976 after half a decade in the ABA, and proceeded to make the All-Star team every year until his retirement in 1988. He led the Sixers to the finals in his first year on the team in '77, and twice more in '80 and '81, before he was finally able to make good on his "We Owe You One" promise by winning the NBA championship (helped by the addition of Moses Malone) in 1983. Erving finished his Sixers career with over 18,000 career points, a regular-season MVP in 1981, and a handful of the most memorable highlight plays in basketball history, including the famous "Rock the Baby" dunk in the '83 finals against the Lakers.
Coming over to the Phillies in 1982 in the controversial "Five-for-One" trade that cost the Phils Many Trillo and Julio Franco (among others), Hayes nonetheless would endear himself to fans with his play in the Red and White for the rest of the decade. Amassing over 100 homers and 200 stolen bases as a Phil, Hayes had his best year in 1986, when he hit .305 with 19 homers, 24 steals and a league-leading 107 runs scored, finishing eighth in the MVP voting. Von was notable for a number of single-game accomplishments, including becoming the first player in MLB history to hit two homers in the same inning, when he drove in five in the first frame of a game against the Mets in 1985. He's also perhaps the only player in our bracket with a local indie rock band named after him.