Inqlings | The over and under of sports

Posted: June 05, 2007

Sports pages, talk radio and bars are full of arguments about overrated and underrated athletes. Two Philly-area sports journalists are in the fray with new books.

ESPN's Sal Paolantonio, an Inquirer alum (and author of the seminal Frank Rizzo bio from 1991), is a couple of months from unleashing The Paolantonio Report, which dissects pro football teams and athletes, based on his interviews with experts. The 1985 Chicago Bears went 15-1 and won the Super Bowl, but were nonetheless overrated, according to Sal Pal.

Any Eagles in there? "I don't want to give away a whole lot of the book, but four prominent Eagles, including one Hall of Famer and one who should be in the Hall of Fame, are there," says Paolantonio. "I finally give some Eagles their due, like Bill Bergey, who was the most underrated linebacker in NFL history. That's going to shock some people [here] and annoy people outside of Philadelphia."

Then there's baseball.'s Jayson Stark is burning up Amazon's baseball best-seller list with The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History, and Phillies make both lists. J.D. Drew, Bobby Abreu, Von Hayes, Lance Parrish and Chuck Klein fall under overrated, while Dick Allen, Johnny Callison, Steve Carlton, Pete Rose and Richie Ashburn come in underrated.

Stark, another former Inquirer writer, has been getting heat across the country for classifying Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan and Andruw Jones as overrated. Stark will sign from 6 to 9 p.m. tomorrow at the Applebee's at the Village of Newtown shopping center in Newtown, Bucks County.

Radio folk

Preston Elliot of WMMR's Preston & Steve show is back down to earth after flying along with Maj. Nathan Miller of the Navy Blue Angels at the Jersey Shore. Exposed to nearly 7.5 g's, Elliot passed out once and lost his lunch once, he says. "The last time I lost consciousness was when I was in fifth grade and flew head over heels off my motorcycle. Ended up with a concussion." See video at

KYW Newsradio late-night anchor Bill Shusta, a 28-year veteran, will retire at the beginning of next month, the station announced in a memo.

The circuit

Cameras are set up today in the Wachovia Center parking lot: Scene is an Eagles tailgating party for the FX show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The Linc will be in the background.

What was former NBC10 weatherguesser John Bolaris, now at New York's Channel 2, doing in Philly on Friday, besides yapping on his cell phone while bumping into passersby near 18th and Sansom Streets?

Actress/author Victoria Rowell will appear from 5:30 to 7 p.m. tomorrow at North by Northwest (7165 Germantown Ave.). She'll sign her memoir, The Women Who Raised Me.

Former Sixer Darryl "Chocolate Thunder" Dawkins will turn up on the Food Network's reality series The Next Food Network Star on July 17. He'll challenge contestants to create an original chocolate dish that will be served to the New Jersey Nets.

Actor Colin Farrell lunched Memorial Day with a woman at Pizzicato in Old City. He professed relief to his waiter that he was unrecognized - though the restaurant insists that a customer asked to buy the chair Farrell used for $500. The restaurant declined.

Pink Floyd cofounder Roger Waters, who played two sold-out weekend shows at the Wachovia Center, threw out the first pitch at Friday's Phillies game. "Pitching from the dark side of the mound," said PA announcer Dan Baker. "Please welcome Roger Waters." His throw was, fittingly, high and outside.

Contact columnist Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or Read his recent work at

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