RUBEN AMARO JR.
Few people have been more instrumental in turning Philadelphia into a Phillies town than Amaro, the Philadelphia native who attended Penn Charter and has proved there is no such thing as an offseason. His grand experiment of assembling the most celebrated pitching staff in baseball couldn't advance the Phillies in the playoffs, but Amaro's 2011 was still a signature year. Before the trade deadline, Amaro acquired All-Star outfielder Hunter Pence without sparing his most touted prospect. To begin free agency, he signed Jonathan Papelbon, the top closer on the market and further revealed his fascination with spending on pitching. He then patiently waited and struck a deal to bring back Jimmy Rollins. Still, Amaro has not yet won the World Series in the top seat as general manager. Until that happens, the hometown boy's resume will be incomplete.
Philadelphia's final glimpse of Shane Victorino came in the on-deck circle. That's where Victorino ended the 2011 season - the next batter up in a NLDS Game 5 loss to St. Louis. The Phillies only recorded three hits that evening. Victorino had two of them. What could have happened had Chase Utley, Hunter Pence or Ryan Howard reached base so Victorino could try to save the season? That will remain a piece of a speculative debate, but what cannot be argued is the impressive season Victorino registered. Utley is credited for being the heart of the team, Howard has the big contract and Jimmy Rollins is the SportsWeek cover boy. Yet Victorino continues to produce as a core player who has now been in Philly for seven seasons. The centerfielder had one of his best seasons in 2011, earning his second All-Star appearance. His batting average hovered above .300 until September; there were stretches when Victorino was the Phillies' best offensive player. Off the field, the foundation started by Victorino and wife Melissa gave $900,000 to renovate the Boys & Girls Club in Nicetown, along with charitable work in his native Hawaii and their offseason home in Las Vegas.
On Aug. 12, the kid from West Catholic and Textile who devoted his life to his college alma mater (now Philadelphia University), was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. "I said to somebody, 'Now this is really the Hall of Fame? Where Paul Arizin is? Where Wilt Chamberlain is? And Tom Gola?' And they said, 'Yeah that's it Herb.' And I said, 'It's hard to believe, it's just hard to believe,' " Magee said in his speech in Springfield, Mass. It's no wonder Magee mentioned names of Philadelphia basketball icons. This is Magee's hometown, and he's never left. He once bypassed the chance to tryout for the Boston Celtics, staying in Philadelphia. He spurned higher profile opportunities, remaining on Henry Avenue, where he's the school's all-time leading scorer and is in his 45th season as the head basketball coach. His 925 wins and counting are more than any other coach in college basketball history. And he's also influenced Philadelphia by becoming a "Shot Doctor" on the side. His latest patient? Sixers guard Evan Turner. If he fixes Turner, it could be one of Magee's most meaningful contributions to Philadelphia yet.
For many coaches, simply reaching the NCAA Tournament is too challenging. Dunphy has never had a problem reaching the tournament. His issues have been winning a game once he's there. In 13 previous appearances, Dunphy's teams won only one NCAA Tournament game (1994, when Penn was the No. 11 seed and upset Alabama). Most of the time, Dunphy's coached overmatched underdogs. Since leaving Penn for Temple in 2006, he's able to recruit better talent and coach better teams. But his time at Temple - while an overall success - had not included an NCAA Tournament victory until this past March. That's when the seventh-seed Owls bested Penn State, giving Dunphy his first weekend tournament game in nearly two decades. They almost beat second-seeded San Diego State in the second round, but reaching that point was an accomplishment - and served as evidence of the renaissance Dunphy is overseeing on North Broad Street.