The top redheads in Philly sports history: Will Wentz join them?
Carson Wentz is a rare breed: an NFL quarterback and a redhead.
Somewhere between 2 and 6 percent of the U.S. population carries the MC1R gene, which is mostly associated with pale skin and red hair. But throughout history, few Philadelphia sports figures, and even fewer NFL signal callers, have carried the genetic trait.
While Wentz has shown great ability so far this season, we must let him develop before bestowing any accolades. So, in the meantime, we picked through the alumni directory and selected the top eight red-haired Philly sports figures of all time.
Hands down, Charles Sebastian "Red" Dooin has the greatest name of all time, with or without the "Red" nickname that of course stemmed from the color of his hair. He also stood 5-foot-6-inches tall, never weighed more than 150 pounds, and was known for his tough, scrappy, and fearless style.
He played for the Phils between 1902 and 1914, and between 1910 and 1914 he served as a player-manager. He caught 1,124 games for the Phillies, which counts for second all-time in team history behind only Mike Lieberthal.
Dooin claims that in 1906, University of Pennsylvania Athletic Director Mike Murphy sized up his legs — slashed and scarred from runners routinely sliding spikes-up — and suggested wearing shin guards.
Murphy gifted him a pair courtesy of the Penn Quakers football team. Dooin stuffed them under his stockings, and after the first pain-free collision, he was a believer.
While baseball historians point to Roger Bresnahan as the first player to wear shin guards, Dooin claimed that Bresnahan stole the idea from him a year later.
In 2011, Jeff Garcia — revered locally for leading the Eagles to an NFC East division championship in 2006 — retired from the NFL.
That same year his grandfather, Maurice 'Red' Elder, died at the age of 95. Elder, a fullback, was drafted by the Washington Redskins in 1936 out of Kansas State University, where he was an All-American in 1934. He left the Redskins during his first training camp, and suited up for the independent Los Angeles Bulldogs between 1937 and 1941.
Shortly after Elder's death, Garcia told the Gilroy Dispatch that his grandfather "lived his life as a truly generous, honest man right down to the last breath … he exemplified really everything you would want to be as a person."
And Garcia added, "And he's who I got my red hair from."
It was the third start of his rookie campaign in 1999, and his second start at Veterans Stadium, and Randy Wolf was coming in hot: two wins, 13 strikeouts, three runs surrendered. And his success, exciting to Phillies fans who had endured six sub-par seasons, led a subset of especially creative fans to express — as genuinely as Phillies fans can — their appreciation: They created a fan group.
That night against the Pittsburgh Pirates, a collection of mostly 20-something cops wearing Halloween masks unfurled a spray-painted bed sheet that read "Wolf Pack" above a concourse tunnel in the 700 Level. They howled and danced after every strikeout and putout, and a love affair was born. While Wolf hit a wall toward the end of his rookie campaign, he won at least 10 games in each of the next three seasons, and inspired hope for the beleaguered club. In 2002, when the youngest member of the Wolf Pack died in a tragic car crash, Wolf attended the funeral.
How can you not like a guy like that?
This guy didn't just have red hair, he owned it.
Scott Hartnell proudly wore that head of reddish-orange curls like a real-life Sideshow Bob for most of his seven seasons as a Flyers left winger.
His hair became so closely associated with his image the Flyers held a "Hartnell Wig Night" in 2009 and gave away replicas of Hartnell's hair style to attending fans.
He cut it twice. In 2010, he sheared his mane and donated the remnants to "Locks of Love." In 2013, it was less of a planned event, with Harnell telling a teammate "I just want to change it up."
Hartnell also played well during the 2009-2010 campaign, which included the Flyers' first trip to the Stanley Cup Final since 1997. He was voted an All-Star in 2011.
In the run-up to the 2011 NFL Draft, one coach told Peter King of Sports Illustrated that Texas Christian University prospect Andy Dalton's hair color raised … red flags.
"Has there ever been a red-headed quarterback in the NFL who's really done well?" the coach told King. "It sounds idiotic, but is there any way that could be a factor? We've wondered."
To date, only one red-haired quarterback has won the Super Bowl: Brad Johnson with the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But don't forget Sammy Baugh, who revolutionized the use of the forward pass as a Hall of Fame quarterback for the Washington Redskins. And, of course, there's Sonny Jurgensen.
Jurgensen is one of only two red-haired quarterbacks inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he earned a majority of his credentials playing for the Eagles' NFC East rival Washington Redskins.
Jurgensen was drafted by the Eagles in the fourth round of the 1957 draft, but sat on the bench until the 1961 season. He was the Eagles' starting quarterback for three seasons, from 1961 to 1963.
During that '61 season, he was really good. He threw 32 touchdowns, and helped lead the team to a 10-4 record and into the Eastern Division Championship Game (this was the pre-Super Bowl era, so think of it as the original NFC Championship game), which they would lose to the New York Giants.
But what followed was two down years before he was traded after the '63 season to the Redskins, where he played for 10 seasons en route to the hall of fame.
Scott Hartnell might have the coolest red hair, but Claude Giroux has the coolest red beard.
And he's the better player: Four-time All-Star, three-time NHL top point-scorer, Prince of Wales Trophy winner and cover athlete for EA Sports' NHL 13 video game.
The current Flyers captain.
And, don't forget: Giroux scored the game-winning goal in the shootout against the New York Rangers, which qualified the team for the 2010 playoffs, and kicked off the journey toward the Stanley Cup Final.
Roy "Doc" Halladay was only here for three years, but unlike Jurgensen, he packed a career's worth of accomplishments into a short time frame.
Oct. 6, 2010: In his first post-season start, after spending 12 seasons with the hapless Blue Jays, Halladay threw the second no-hitter in MLB postseason history against the Cincinnati Reds in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. (The Yankees' Don Larsen was first, throwing a perfect game in the 1956 World Series.)
History: With both accomplishments, Halladay became the fifth pitcher in league history to throw multiple no-hitters in the same season. The last pitcher to do it? Nolan Ryan in 1973.
Awards: For his efforts in 2010, he would win the Cy Young Award. With that honor, he became the fifth pitcher in league history to win the award in both the American and National Leagues.
Doc will go into the Hall of Fame as a Blue Jay, but he's also likely to be inducted to the Phillies Wall of Fame at some point for his efforts during those wonderful three years.
And in his civilian life, he's pretty good to his fans: He actually went to the Philadelphia Zoo with the guy who created the blog "I want to go to the zoo with Roy Halladay." Amazing.
We called it "sports figures" on purpose, so we could include the former Eagles coach nicknamed "Big Red."
We all know the good: winningest (130 wins) and longest-serving (14 seasons) coach in Eagles history, AP Coach of the Year (2002), six NFC East titles, five trips to the NFC Championship Game, and one trip to the Super Bowl.
And we all know the bad: the run/pass ratio, Juan Castillo, the Dream Team, game management, "Time's yours."
He did wonders with Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick and, to a lesser extent, AJ Feeley.
He could be a jokester: Lovingly referring to DeSean Jackson as "midget" after the Miracle in the New Meadowlands No. 2. And he could be lovable: there's the hilarious video of a 13-year-old Reid towering over his competition in the Punt, Pass and Kick Competition held during halftime of a 1971 "Monday Night Football" game.
But his sense of awareness is the tipping point: following a week 4 win over the Giants — in his first season as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs — Reid addressed a reporter's question about the excitement and energy level of the home crowd.
REPORTER: How was the crowd yesterday?
REID: "The crowd was unreal. They were like redheads."