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Philly's 10 most recognizable athletes

A few weeks ago, I was out with some media members at a local drinking establishment. Hard to believe, I know.

A few weeks ago, I was out with some media members at a local drinking establishment. Hard to believe, I know.

For once, we had an interesting conversation (mixing beer and journos usually creates crazy nonsense, not witty repartee). Marshall Harris from Comcast SportsNet threw out one of those random sports topics that people sometimes debate at bars, and I've been thinking about it ever since.

To wit: Name the top 10 most instantly recognizable athletes in Philadelphia right now.

No coaches or former players are allowed. And "instantly recognizable" is defined thusly: If the guy unexpectedly walked through the door right now, would an average (not-necessarily-sports-loving) Philadelphian be able to put a name to the face?

Aside from being a fun little exercise, it's sort of an indictment of the current crop of athletes who play in Philly. Because finding 10 guys whom the general population would know isn't as easy as it sounds. And it's even more difficult now that fan favorites Pat Burrell and Brian Dawkins aren't in town any longer.

Our lists that night averaged out to be Phillies-heavy, Eagles-light, and almost devoid of Sixers and Flyers. Pretty much everyone picked Donovan McNabb first. But after the top six or seven, the names got a little squirrely. The final players ranged from Jeff Carter to Samuel Dalembert to Scottie Reynolds. Someone even suggested Marty Biron.

That last one kind of surprised me. I'm not sure that wearing a goalie mask helps your face and/or name recognition much.

Here's my personal top 10. Good luck putting yours together; it's harder than you think.

1. Donovan McNabb: The universal No. 1.

2. Ryan Howard: Everyone remembers the big, cuddly, teddy-bear-looking dudes. Plus, those Subway commercials don't hurt.

3. Cole Hamels: He's the reigning World Series MVP. He has a celebrity(ish) wife. He lives in Center City and walks around down here all the time. He did just about every talk show in the country after the Fightin's won it all. He has an ESPN the Magazine commercial with Jameer Nelson and Chad Ocho Cinco. And now E! is doing one of those True Hollywood Stories about him and his woman. Hollywood Hamels, indeed.

4. Jimmy Rollins: Even before he called Philly fans front-runners, he was a recognizable face. That jab simply put him over the top.

5. Chase Utley: If this question were being answered by females only, Utley would be No. 1, and it wouldn't even be close.

6. Brian Westbrook: After McNabb and Westbrook, can you think of a single Eagle you'd put on this list?

7. Shane Victorino: The Flyin' Hawaiian got a lot of face time during the playoffs last year. And he certainly doesn't mind when the cameras come looking for him in the Phillies' locker room.

8. Brett Myers: In good times and bad, the man has been in the media spotlight from the moment he put on a Phillies uniform. Skinny Brett or Fat Brett, people know his mug.

9. Jamie Moyer: The problem with Moyer is he could be easily mistaken for someone's dad instead of a starting major-league pitcher. Still, because he's a local hero and he helped the Phils win the World Series, he makes my list.

10. Andre Iguodala: I struggled with this slot. Would my grandma or mom know A.I. if he came to one of our family dinners? I'm not sure, but I figured there has to be at least one Sixer on the list. Right?

The 12th Annual Richie Ashburn Home Runs for Heart Media Day was held yesterday at Citizens Bank Park to benefit the American Heart Association. Because of the ugly weather, the contest was moved inside to the Phillies' batting cages. Pity, because I was primed to deposit a ball in the left-field flower bed.

Among others, the participants included Harris, WIP's Ike Reese, NBC10's John "Springsteen Rules" Clark, and Casey Foster and Nick McIlwain from WMMR's Preston & Steve Show. McIlwain told me he likes to go by "Captain Awesome" these days, which I'm sure works wonders with the ladies.

No one from the Daily Snooze showed up. It was probably for the best. Our cousins aren't very athletic.

Your humble Page 2 columnist had a side bet going with some geriatric from Page 1 named Bob Ford. Dennis Deitch from the Delaware County Daily Times was the judge. Using a strange system known only to Deitch - the way he explained it made it sound like a batting-cage version of the Modified Stableford Scoring System - he somehow declared it a tie despite the fact that Ford fouled off seven of his 10 pitches.

It also looked as if Bob hurt his back at one point, but I'm not sure. I'll have to check with his nurse.

Meanwhile, I made some nice contact. (Ford took video of me in the cage. You can find it on his blog: And, yes, my pants were too big and almost fell down.)

My notes indicate that I hit two homers (maybe more - it's hard to tell inside), dented the aluminum bat I used with the violent power of my swing, and likely caught the eye of several Phillies scouts. I expect Ruben Amaro Jr. to offer me a fat contract any day now.

Put another way: Ford owes me $10.