Philly icons get a stamp of approval

Posted: July 07, 2011

Reading about local efforts to get Wilt Chamberlain on a stamp, Harry Jay Katz, a local Hall of Famer in his own right, e-mailed in another suggestion.

"John B. Kelly, Jr. (Kel)," Harry Jay wrote in from "East Falls/Kelly Country," . . . "Not only was Kel a world-class athlete/oarsman but was also an Olympian, a past Philadelphia City Councilman and the President of the United States Olympic Committee at the time of his death. Let's not settle with one Philadelphian. Let's go for the Gold and make it two."

Why stop there? Who belongs on a stamp if we're just looking at those who made their mark in this city? For a Philly collection, I'll stick to the U.S. Postal Service's rules, that somebody has to be dead for five years, taking, among others, Mike Schmidt, Chuck Bednarik, Joe Frazier, Bob Clarke, Julius Erving, and Bernard Hopkins off the list.

How about this for starters, with Wilt and Kelly leading it off, then adding Connie Mack, Richie Ashburn, Bert Bell, Reggie White, Bill Tilden, and Charles Zeller Klauder as no-brainers.

Mack for his half-century of contributions as manager and owner of the Philadelphia Athletics. Ashburn, a people's choice for his half-century of contributions as pivotal Whiz Kid and entertaining broadcaster. Bell for his key role in the birth of the National Football League. White for having his best years as the dominant NFL defensive end in Philly. Tilden, a Germantown Academy graduate, was the top tennis player of his day, part of the Golden Age of Sports along with the likes of Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey, and Red Grange.

And Klauder?

The architect of both Franklin Field and the Palestra may be the ultimate no-brainer.

Maybe next week's list will be the Philadelphia Sports Figures you wouldn't let in your house. Call it the Dykstra list.

Best calls of the day into the sports department

A caller Wednesday wanted to know how many games the Phillies have won this season and what time they were playing.

"Sir, do you get the paper?" asked the ever-patient Maureen, used to dealing with nudnik sportswriters.

The man explained he was calling from Ventura, Calif., then asked: "What do you think, are they going to go all the way?"

Another man, a regular caller, wanted more heavyweight boxing coverage, less women's soccer. He explained this in a 10-minute conversation before he accidentally got disconnected.

Don't read this, sir . . .

Key stat: Before Wednesday's 2-1 loss to Sweden, the U.S. women had never lost a group-stage game in six World Cups. Now they have a tougher road in this Women's World Cup, with their next game against heavyweight Brazil in the quarterfinals. You could argue that if Brazil and Germany are the biggest rivals, the U.S. team probably would have to beat both at some point anyway. The bigger issue is that U.S. problems in the back cropped up again in the first half and kept the Americans from winning the group.

But maybe you'll approve of this . . .

A big Saturday at Delaware Park, with the Delaware Oaks, Robert Dick Memorial, and Barbaro Stakes on Saturday. Rush Now, trained by Anthony Dutrow, is the 7-2 favorite in the $100,000 Barbaro Stakes for 3-year-olds. Cheetah, trained by Christophe Clement, is the 7-2 favorite in the $200,000 Dick Memorial for fillies and mares on the grass. St. John's River, trained by Anthony Leggio, is the 7-5 favorite in the $300,000 Delaware Oaks for 3-year-old fillies. All this is leading toward the July 16 $750,000 Delaware Handicap.


Contact staff writer Mike Jensen at 215-854-4489 or mjensen@phillynews.com

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