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Philly sports in 2017: No titles but plenty of memories

Recalling Rhys Hoskins, Carson Wentz, Joel Embiid, and everyone from the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers and Flyers in between. Also saluting those we lost, including Roy Halladay and Darren Daulton.

Rhys Hoskins celebrates his solo homer with teammates against the Marlins on Sept. 12, 2017. STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
Rhys Hoskins celebrates his solo homer with teammates against the Marlins on Sept. 12, 2017. STEVEN M. FALK / Staff PhotographerRead moreSteven M. Falk / Staff

Looking back at Philadelphia pro sports in 2017 with some laughs, cringes, tears and cheers. Even if Brock Stassi did hit .167, it's hard not to think of that video and still not well up.

Unforgettable performances

  1. Rhys Hoskins hit 18 homers in his first 34 career games (though he hit none in his final 16).

  2. Aaron Nola's run of 10 consecutive starts of pitching at least six innings and allowing fewer than three earned runs from June 22-Aug. 12 was something no other Phillies pitcher had ever done. Not Steve Carlton. Not Jim Bunning. Not Roy Halladay. No one.

Nola's Run

  1. The Phillies set a team record by scoring 12 first-inning runs in a win over Washington in the first week.

  2. The Flyers followed up a 10-game losing streak by winning six in a row, nearly tying the 1966-67 Maple Leafs for most polar-opposite streaks back-to-back. Toronto responded to an 11-game winless streak (one tie) by winning seven in a row. They went on to win the Stanley Cup in what was then a six-team league.

  3. The Flyers were big winners in April's draft lottery, moving up from No. 13 to No. 2, where they won the right to select Nolan Patrick, who admittedly is off to a slow start.

  4. Back in January, Wayne Simmonds scored three goals and became the first Flyer to win MVP of the All-Star Game since Reggie Leach in 1980.

  1. Joel Embiid had a jaw-dropping 46 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists and 7 blocks in a November win at the Lakers.

  2. Embiid played 48 minutes, 39 seconds of a triple-overtime loss to Oklahoma City on Dec. 15.

  3. Embiid's performance on social media is nearly as entertaining as his basketball skills. His trolling of Karl-Anthony Towns was golden.

  1. Ben Simmons recorded a triple-double in just the fourth game of his NBA career.

  2. Josh Harris bought the Sixers in 2011 for roughly $290 million. In May, Forbes magazine estimated the team was worth $800 million.

  3. James Harden's 51-13-13 in Houston's win at the Wells Fargo Center in January deserves a mention. Asked about trying to defend Harden, Sixers guard T.J. McConnell exclaimed, "It's damn near impossible."

  4. How fun was having the NFL draft on the Parkway?

  5. Carson Wentz broke the team record with his 33rd touchdown pass. Even more remarkable is that he did it four plays after tearing his left ACL.

  6. In his first game starting in place of Wentz, Nick Foles threw four touchdown passes in a narrow win over the lowly Giants.

  7. Jake Elliott's 61-yard field goal at the buzzer to beat the Giants in September. What a way to set a team record.

Whoops Department

  1. Mike Schmidt clumsily saying in June that Odubel Herrera cannot be a team leader because of a language barrier. Herrera's foibles on the field, however, are another matter.

  2. Two weeks later, Herrera ran right through a ninth-inning stop sign from third-base coach Juan Samuel and was out at home by five feet. The Phillies lost the game in 10.

  3. Plans to induct Pete Rose into the Phillies Wall of Fame were hastily scrapped when it was revealed that Rose had consensual sex with a teenage girl in the 1970s.

  4. Hector Neris blew a save against the Dodgers in April by allowing back-to-back-to-back home runs. That's not easy to do.

  5. Free-agent pitcher Clay Buchholz lasted just 7 1/3 innings before an April injury ended his season. With a salary of $13.5 million, Buchholz received $613,636.36 per out from the Phillies.

  6. Flyers coach Dave Hakstol's replay challenge backfired and resulted in a crucial two-man disadvantage in an October loss at Nashville.

  7. Lonzo Ball was picked to win rookie of the year in a preseason poll among the NBA's general managers. Ben Simmons was second.

  8. The Sixers gave the Celtics a conditional first-round pick for the right to move up two spots to take Markelle Fultz, who has played in just four regular-season games.

  9. Joel Embiid was miffed at the Sixers for telling the public that a January knee injury was simply day-to-day when they told Embiid it was going to keep him out at least three weeks. It actually wound up ending his 2016-17 season – and any chance he had to be the rookie of the year.

  10. Doug Pederson should have thrown the challenge flag — or been instructed by assistants to throw it — after a lateral by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson appeared to be a forward pass. It was a pivotal play in the loss at Seattle.

Welcome to Philly

Notable additions

  1. First baseman Carlos Santana is Matt Klentak's biggest catch of this offseason.

  2. Phillies named Gabe Kapler as manager | Matt Gelb talks Kapler on podcast

  3. These guys made their big-league debuts in 2017: J.P. Crawford, Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams.

  4. Phillies first-round pick Adam Haseley, an outfielder from the University of Virginia

  5. Flyers goalie Brian Elliott

  6. Made NHL debuts: Nolan Patrick, Travis Sanheim.

  7. Ben Simmons started his career looking as if he was going to be a perennial All-Star. Still waiting to see about Markelle Fultz.

  8. The Sixers finally added a shooter in JJ Redick.

  9. Alshon Jeffery, Jay Ajayi, Tim Jernigan, LeGarrette Blount, and Ronald Darby arrived in town, and Nick Foles and the NFC East crown returned. Jeffery has performed so well, the Eagles gave him a 4-year contract extension in December.

  10. First-round pick Derek Barnett has been a solid addition to the Eagles defensive line.

  11. The Eagles fired wide receivers coach Greg Lewis and replaced him with Mike Groh.

See Ya

Notable departures

  1. Freddy Galvis, the Phillies' longest-tenured player, was traded to San Diego on Dec. 15.

  2. The Flyers traded Brayden Schenn to St. Louis over the summer. Naturally, he's putting up career numbers.

  3. Steve Mason signed with Winnipeg.

  4. A day after trading Ersan Ilyasova to Atlanta, the Sixers shipped Nerlens Noel to Dallas.

  5. The Sixers cut Hollis Thompson in January. They were 50-206 (.195 winning pct.) in the games he played during his four seasons here. Yo. That'll leave a mark.

  6. Shortly after the Eagles traded Jon Dorenbos to New Orleans, doctors there found an aortic aneurysm that required immediate surgery. The discovery probably ended his football career, but likely saved his life.

  7. Jordan Matthews was another prominent Eagle to be dealt. He went to Buffalo.

  8. Former first-round pick Marcus Smith was cut by the Eagles in training camp.

Hey, I forgot about that

  1. Aaron Altherr's grand slam on Sept. 18 off Clayton Kershaw was the first ever given up by the superstar pitcher.

  2. Cesar Hernandez started the Phillies season by homering off Cincinnati's Scott Feldman.

  3. The Flyers put up a snowman and beat the Capitals, 8-2, in the 2017-18 home opener.

  4. A crowd of 67,318 showed up at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field to watch the Penguins beat the Flyers in February.

  5. Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, a season removed from finishing second in the rookie-of-the-year voting, was benched for three games back in February.

  6. The Sixers beat the Mavericks by 42 in March for their biggest blowout in nine years. "We have been on the other side of these types of things," coach Brett Brown said afterward.

  7. The regrettable gif of Jahlil Okafor showing zero effort defensively on a play in March against Miami. Sixers writer Keith Pompey wrote about it here after it happened.

  8. The night in February Steph Curry missed all 11 three-point attempts at the Wells Fargo Center.

  9. Odell Beckham Jr. celebrated a touchdown at Lincoln Financial Field by lifting his leg as a dog would on a fire hydrant. The receiver afterward claimed it was a response to Donald Trump's calling NFL players sons of (female dogs). Not sure I'm buying that.

  10. The Eagles won a coin toss with the Colts for the 14th pick, which is where they nabbed Derek Barnett. The Colts, at 15, picked safety Malik Hooker, whose promising rookie season ended when he ripped up his knee in Week 7.

  11. Jeffrey Lurie in January blocked quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo from interviewing for the Jets offensive coordinator's job because he didn't want anything to stunt Carson Wentz's growth. Chan Gailey eventually got the job for the Jets, who are 5-9 and whose offense is ranked 25th. They were 5-11 last year, and the offense was 26th.

You will be missed

Friends we've lost


      • Zach Witt, a 12-year-old cancer patient, caught a Tommy Joseph home run on Aug. 24. A month later, Joseph invited him to meet the team.
      • Phillies radio analyst Larry Andersen, 64, announced in September that he will work only about half the season starting in 2018.  He said it was "just a personal decision that, in my waning years, I wanted to do some things while I was above ground."
      • Carlos Ruiz returned to Citizens Bank Park as a visitor. He was treated to an emotional video one night and knocked in four runs for Seattle the following day.
      • Brock Stassi's reaction to making the Phillies Opening-Day roster.


"I'm not going to lie and say I wasn't tired. I definitely was. But at the same time, everyone else is in the same boat. You've got to learn from it. And hopefully sometime soon we're worrying about how to play into October. " — Rhys Hoskins at the end of the 2017 season


"Everybody just looks at each other. Is this true? Come on, man. There's nothing else you can say. You just shrug your shoulders and start laughing. It's incredible." — rookie catcher Jorge Alfaro while watching teammate Rhys Hoskins hit 18 homers in 30 games


"I think we lost that game from the jump ball. I think we took them lightly. We paid for it." — Joel Embiid after a December loss to Phoenix


"I said to him, 'You've got a chance to be a young Wilt Chamberlain.' I've never, ever told that to anybody before." — Sonny Hill referring to Joel Embiid


"Not to be cocky, but I think I'm the best defensive player in the league right now." — Joel Embiid


"I can do good things here in the NBA." — Dario Saric, who finished second in the 2016-17 rookie of the year voting behind Milwaukee's Malcolm Brogdon and ahead of teammate Embiid.


"Everybody knows Pederson isn't a head coach. He might be less qualified to coach a team than anyone I've ever seen. When will the Eagles admit their mistake? Will they throw away 2017 by stubbornly sticking to the Pederson Principle?" — former NFL GM Mike Lombardi, before the season, on a podcast on the website The Ringer


"I don't anticipate demonstrating this week simply because I felt like when I started demonstrating, my whole motivation was to draw awareness to disenfranchised people, communities of color, injustices around the country, our criminal justice system.

"And obviously through this year and talking with the league and what they've kind of proposed, I feel like has presented a bigger and better platform to continue to raise that awareness and continue to fluctuate positive change. Not only with the money that they've put up (reportedly $89 million), because I think that's probably the least important part of the deal, but with the resources and platform that they proposed to build." — Malcolm Jenkins on ending his raised-fist protest during the national anthem