February 19, 2019
Philadelphia is in the midst of perhaps a golden age. The Eagles just finished defending their first Super Bowl, the Sixers are fielding one of their most impressive lineups of all time, the Flyers have used a 10-game point streak to climb back into the playoff race, and the Phillies are still favorites to land with Bryce Harper or Manny Machado and contend for the NL pennant.
All four teams are must-see TV. And all four teams currently have fan-favorite players.
And so we got curious. Are we watching any all-time great players right now? How many players who are currently playing in Philadelphia (more or less, we stretched it a bit as you'll see) will make the Hall of Fame in their current sports?
Our good friends at BetOnline.ag took the time to professionally project, with betting odds, the chances that a bevy of local current athletes will become immortalized in their respective Hall of Fame. We must emphasize that while the following odds have been created by experts, they are purely hypothetical, and aren't currently available to be bet on.
So, without further ado, below are the best athletes in Philadelphia, in order of their hall of fame odds.
Peters may have played his last game in the NFL, and if he did, he's more or less a shoe-in to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He's played in 192 NFL games, 127 of them for Philadelphia, made nine Pro Bowls and has been an All-Pro seven times.
It's hard really to compare stats or data with offensive linemen, but the eye test is certainly as good an argument as you need to place him among the best ever to guard the quarterback. He's helped some of the Eagles best rushing seasons ever get traction while protecting his QB from some of the best pass rushers in the game.
Injured last postseason (during the Eagles' Super Bowl run), the 37-year old actually won his first ever playoff game against the Bears in January. A bet of $300 would be needed to win $100 on Peters making the Hall of Fame. He's a sure thing.
This surprised us, with Embiid — in his third NBA season — sporting nearly even-money odds according to our oddsmakers. Clearly, the question here isn't if he is good enough to make the Hall of Fame, but if he can stay healthy for long enough to make it.
The 7-foot-2 center from Cameroon has already reached Hall-of-Fame company thanks to many of his achievements as he appeared in his second straight All-Star Game.
.@sixers @JoelEmbiid has 1,372 pts, 674 rebs & 98 blks thru his 1st 50 games this season.— Sixers Stats (@SixersStats) February 7, 2019
He's the 4th player in @NBA to reach such minimums in 50-or-fewer games since league began tracking blks in 73-74.@SHAQ (1999-2000)@kaj33 (twice)
Bob McAdoo (twice)
h/t @EliasSports pic.twitter.com/TigWlSMD17
If Embiid can keep this up until he is in his 30s, he will be among the best big men ever to play the game. But he missed a ton of games to start his career, and longevity is far from assured. On the current Sixers' roster, he should be able to continue being productive while also proving he is a winner at basketball's highest level. His Hall of Fame credentials should continue to grow.
When we had the idea to do this story, we assumed either Harper or Manny Machado (who recently inked with the Padres) would have a home with the Phillies by now. Obviously, Harper's fate remains unknown but if he signs in Philadelphia the city will likely have its next sure Hall of Famer, based on our oddsmakers.
By all metrics, Harper is on a Hall-of-Fame course at age 26, banking all-time impressive on-base and slugging percentages. He already has 184 homers and hits well enough, .279, to be a consistent hitter for average.
Here's how Harper and Machado (who shares very similar stats) compare to other baseball Hall of Famers in their respective positions by one key metric: WAR. Imagine them over an 18-20 year career:
|Years Pro||Career WAR||Avg. HoF WAR (for position)|
Claude Giroux, Flyers C
There are several fan favorites on the Flyers current roster — for now at least — but we figured that if Claude Giroux can't make the Pro Hockey Hall of Fame, Jake Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and others probably won't either.
Giroux is consistent, healthy and a six-time All-Star. He's also been in the top 10 in scoring in the NHL four times, and in assists six times. He has served as Flyers' captain through a lot of roster change and has shown he can win (playing in 69 playoff games) and lead.
The winger has never won a major award or a Stanley Cup title, but he is still 31 years old despite having played 12 NHL seasons. If he can continue to be productive, and find ways to win, he'll certainly be in the conversation as a Hall of Fame contender, but likely not as an easy vote.
Simmons is an usual player, and could be looked upon as such when his career is said and done. He is the epitome of the current era of position-less basketball — of players who fluidly play many positions on the floor and the emergence of point forwards.
He is a walking triple-double, and could become extremely valuable as a part of the Sixers' current star-studded lineup defending the opposing team's best player while playing point guard and power forward, depending on who else is on the floor. So far, through a year and a half of games, the 2017-18 Rookie of the Year has averaged 16.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game.
Perhaps the biggest determining factor for whether he does have a Hall-of-Fame career is if he develops a reliable jump shot, or becomes any kind of threat to shoot from midrange or downtown. If he adds that last tool and continues to develop on his current course, 5-1 seems like a pretty good bet. In each of the Sixers' NBA finals teams throughout history, the squad has had at least two Hall of Famers on the squad. Could he be No. 2 after Embiid for this era?
No. 91 doesn't have a long book of stats for his proponents to lean on when arguing he is destined for Canton, Ohio. He has an impressive 44.5 sacks in seven seasons and 57 tackles for loss — but none of those are bordering on Hall of Fame level, not yet anyway.
But in seven seasons, he's missed just three games. He's played through pain and he plays unselfishly, creating opportunities for teammates by drawing double teams or pressuring quarterbacks into making bad decisions — none of which shows up on a box score.
If Cox can stay healthy, and play another seven seasons, he is on pace to get near 90 sacks. He has a Super Bowl title now and is the leader of a defense that always seems to be making plays. If I am betting, I might take those 15-1 odds and expect Cox to round into his prime at age 28.
There are only eight tight ends in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That doesn't include the position's second all-time leader in catches Jason Witten, who retired with 1,152 career receptions (which is actually fourth for any position) and held the record for receptions in a season by a tight end until Ertz passed him during the 2018 season. Ertz can distinguish himself as an all-time great at a position that has relatively less history than others in the NFL.
However, he will need to put together a long and consistent career to get there. His six NFL season's need to be less than half of his years in the pros if he wants to get the numbers that will be required. Here's a look at some recent top tight ends and how far behind Ertz is:
The 20-1 odds our bookmakers gave to Wentz are frankly pretty complimentary considering how small his body of work is. Wentz has had one healthy season in three in the NFL — his rookie year. In his sophomore year, he played like the league MVP before blowing out his knee and watching Nick Foles lead the team to a Super Bowl. Last year, Wentz was never truly healthy, but showed flashes of his 2017 brilliance.
It would take a big leap of faith to believe that Wentz, based on what he's been able to show thus far, is a likely Hall of Famer. Not that anyone should bet against him; it's his health, if anything, that would keep Wentz from becoming the best Eagles quarterback of all time. If he can stay on the field and have 12 or so more years of success, he has more than enough talent to be an all-time great.
The Phillies ace really emerged last season as a top of the league pitcher, earning serious Cy Young consideration as he broke through for a 17-6 record and 2.37 ERA in 2018. Through four seasons he has had comparable numbers to other recent top of the rotation starters like Josh Beckett, David Price, Stephen Strasburg and Mark Prior.
Whether any of those will make the Hall of Fame is anyone's guess, but it's rather unlikely. Nola's current trajectory is fantastic, but in order to make it to Cooperstown, Nola (just 25), will need to continue to pitch for awards into his mid 30s.
Nola had a WAR last season of 10.0, among the best in all of baseball. His career wins above replacement are 15.5. The average starting pitcher in the Hall has a WAR of 73.4. Which means the hurler will need to pad longevity with a few more double-digit WAR seasons. Still, at 50-1 a $10 bet would make you $500 bucks. I'd take these odds, however unlikely they are.
Yes, we know Nick Foles is probably not going to be an Eagle next season. But we couldn't help ourselves. He won Super Bowl LII in dramatic fashion and is a city folk hero — and will be for life. Could he actually make it to Canton?
Well, technically he is already there. Foles' historic 27-2 campaign from 2013 got him enshrined there (for his seven-touchdown game), at least in the form of some memorabilia. The Super Bowl MVP he won last year also got him a photo in the Hall of him holding his daughter after the victory.
Looking at the numbers, Foles probably has no chance of making it among the best NFL quarterbacks of all time unless he turns into a Kurt Warner with a longterm home and winning ways after he signs his next contract. Or he could win another Lombardi trophy or two. Foles will probably end his career with some very Hall of Fame accomplishments, but may not quite play his way into the Hall with a good enough body of work.
We heard over and over again that the Phillies' new acquisition J.T. Realmuto is the best catcher currently in the game. Which begs the question of how good he can wind up being in the long term.
Defensively, he is fantastic, both handling a pitcher and playing his position. Offensively, he is a career .279 hitter with a little pop (he has 30 or more doubles in each of his last three seasons). He is 27 years old and has won just one Silver Slugger award and received one All-Star nod. The odds seem against his being an all-time great.
Nothing against Realmuto as a player — he is top notch — but it's a pretty down era for catchers. Even if he reigns as the best backstop for a few more seasons, he's probably not going to be dominant enough to garner Hall of Fame consideration.
If you can find these odds somewhere to actually bet on, put down a big heaping pile of cash on this one. Our experts gave Sproles the second worst chance of all of the players listed to make the Hall of Fame, but his resume is absolutely incredible and he really, really deserves to be enshrined. He's an unconventional choice, but there's really never been a player like him before.
Some of the 35-year-old's credentials:
• He ranks sixth all-time in all purpose yards (19,520). Every player ahead of him, except for Brian Mitchell is in the hall (Jerry Rice, Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith, Tim Brown). Pretty much every other player in the top 15 is either in Canton (like No. 11 Barry Sanders) or on their way (like No. 9 Frank Gore).
• Sproles is the only player in NFL history to record 30 or more receiving TDs (32), 20-plus rushing TDs (23), more than one kickoff return touchdown (2) and more than one punt return for touchdown (7) (h/t to Jeff Kerr from 247sports.com).
• His longevity has netted him the seventh most combined kick and punt returns of all time, the seventh most return yards ever, and he is just outside the too 100 in career receptions with 107. He is also a three-time Pro Bowler.
• Sproles is the first NFL player ever to average 4.5 yards per carry and catch 200 passes after turning 30. He's also led the NFL in all-purpose yards, an NFL record in 2011.
Sproles may return next year to bolster his numbers further. He deserves strong consideration for the Hall.
This is way premature. But maybe not, as Flyers fans everywhere are hailing Hart as the team's savior.
At just 20-years-old, Hart is 13-6 in his first 20 NHL appearances with a .924 save percentage — fourth best in the NHL.
Can he keep doing this for, say, another 18 years?
He has Hall-of-Fame potential. Jumping on the bandwagon now could pay dividends in the betting world — and even more for the Flyers as they look to blaze a new path of winning for the future.
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