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Philly March Madness: (5) Pete Rose vs. (12) Peter Zezel

Mar 23, 2011, 1:59 PM EDT

Over the next few weeks at The700Level, we'll be posting poll matchups as part of our Philly March Madness competition. Examine the cases of the two fine Philadelphia athletes below, and cast your vote at the bottom as to which you think should advance to the next round. And as always, feel free to explain your selection and/or debate the choices in the comments section.

PR
(5) Pete Rose

In the late 1970’s the Phillies lost three consecutive National League Championship Series. In ’76 they lost to Cincinnati and the Big Red Machine. In ’77 and ’78 they lost to the Dodgers. Despite winning 101, 101, and 90 games they were unable to get over the hump and reach the World Series. Enter Peter Edward Rose aka Charlie Hustle. In December 1978 Rose joined the Phillies as a 38 year old free agent, singing a four year deal worth $3.2 million. They finished in fourth place (84-78) in his first season with the Phils. Despite the Phillies struggles as a team Rose finished the season second in the NL in batting average (.331), first in on base percentage (.418), and third in hits (208). As you no doubt know the Phillies finally got over that hump the following season. Although Rose’s regular season numbers were down a bit (slash-line of .282/.352/.354) his playoff experience and general unwavering belief in himself and his team were credited with helping to push the Phillies to their first World Series title. The signature play of Rose’s Phillies career took place not at the plate, but in the field. With the Phillies just two outs away from capturing their first World Series Frank White lofted a pop foul between home and first. Both Bob Boone and Rose drifted towards foul territory, but no one took charge and called it. Boone reached out to catch the ball only to see it glance off the edge of his glove. Rose, who followed the play the entire way, reached down and snared the ball before it hit the ground. Rose famously spiked the ball on the Veterans Stadium turf as he hustled the ball back to Tug McGraw. The Tugger then got Willie Wilson on strikes and the rest was history. Rose went on to play three more seasons in Philadelphia. In 2,841 at-bats with the Phillies Rose collected 826 hits (.291) and struck out just 151 times. In his five seasons he helped the Phillies to two World Series appearances. His combination of hustle, winning pedigree, and contributions toward the first World Series win in team history cemented his legacy as an all-time Philadelphia favorite. -Rev

PZ
(12) Peter Zezel

Peter Zezel left quite a legacy for a player who spent just five seasons in Philadelphia. He joined the Flyers as a 19 year old rookie posting 61 points (15 goals, 46 assists) in just 65 games. Zezel contributed 9 points (1 goal and 9 assists) during his playoff debut as the Orange and Black advanced all the way to the Stanley Cup finals, ultimately losing to the Oilers in five games. His best year in Philly came in 1986-87 when he scored 33 goals (the only time in his career he scored more than 25) and added 39 assists. He was a solid two-way center known for his ability in the faceoff circle. He was the de facto face of a seemingly endless number of 24 year old and younger mulleted Flyers. Zezel, along with Rick Tocchet, Derrick Smith, Rich and Ron Sutter, Lindsay Carson, and Murray Craven, were all young energetic forwards who thrived under the hard-driving Mike Keenan. It’d be an understatement to say that female Flyers fans took a particular liking to Zezel. His mid-80’s hockey teen heartthrob looks didn’t go unnoticed by Hollywood.  He landed a small supporting role alongside Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, and Keanu Reaves in Youngblood.  Ultimately, he played 310 games in a Flyers uniform, accumulating 261 points (91 goals, 170 assists). In 1988 he was traded to St. Louis in exchange for Mike Bullard. After leaving the Flyers he went on to play for six other NHL clubs (St. Louis, Washington, Toronto, Dallas, New Jersey, Vancouver), finally retiring after the 1998-99 season. In 2001 he was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder called hemolytic anemia. He lived with the disorder for eight years before it finally claimed his life. Zezel passed away on May 26, 2009. He was just 44 years old. -Rev

Results So Far:

East Bracket:

(1) Julius Erving (91.8%) over (16) Von Hayes (8.2%)
(8) Simon Gagne (77.9%) over (9) Seth Joyner (22.1%)
(5) Eric Lindros (70.3%) over (12) Eric Allen (29.7%)
(4) Randall Cunningham (77.6%) over (13) Shane Victorino (23.4%)
(11) Cole Hamels (82.1%) over (6) Mark Recchi (17.9%)
(14) Tug McGraw (51.1%) over (3) Moses Malone (48.9%)
(7) Darren Daulton (74.0%) over (10) Andrew Toney (26.0%)
(2) Chase Utley (93.5%) over (15) Andre Waters (6.5%)

Midwest Bracket:

(1) Mark Howe (60.2%) over (16) David Akers (39.8%)
(9) Rod Brind'Amour (73.6%) over (8) Rick Tocchet (26.4%)
(5) Brian Westbrook (93.3%) over (12) Jayson Werth (6.7%)
(4) Mike Richards (85.1%) over (13) Trent Cole (14.9%)
(6) John LeClair (89.2%) over (11) Clyde Simmons (10.8%)
(3) Jimmy Rollins (75.8%) over (14) John Kruk (24.2%)
(7) Lenny Dykstra (51.9%) over (10) Dave Poulin (48.1%)
(2) Allen Iverson (83.1%) over (15) Jeremiah Trotter (16.9%)

West Bracket:

(1) Mike Schmidt (96.9%) over (16) Keith Byars (3.1%)
(9) Wilbert Montgomery (59.4%) over (8) Jeff Carter (40.6%)
(5) Ron Jaworski (83.5%) over (12) Bobby Abreu (16.5%)
(4) Ron Hextall (94.1%) over (13) Andre Iguodala (5.9%)
(6) Mike Quick (59.8%) over (11) Hugh Douglas (40.2%)
(3) Brian Dawkins (98.3%) over (14) Scott Rolen (1.7%)
(7) Maurice Cheeks (51.9%) over (10) Eric Desjardins (48.1%)
(15) Carlos Ruiz (58.9%) over (2) Tim Kerr (41.1%)

South Bracket:

(1) Reggie White (97.1%) over (16) Hersey Hawkins (2.9%)