A brief history of Philadelphia’s most presidential athletes

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

From Adams to Washington, Philadelphia sports history has had a decent number of Oval Office surname crossovers.

Happy Presidents Day, everyone. Enjoy the day off, hopefully. Today seems as good a time as any (as in, the only day it makes any sense) to take a quick plunge into Philadelphia sports history for some prominent last name connections between Philly athletes and Chief Executives of the United States. And we’ll make time for some obscure ones as well.

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Washington – Amazingly, Jim and Wilson Washington, who both suited up for the 76ers in the 1970s, are the only Washingtons on record in Philly pro sports history. Yes, we’ve had as many Detmers as we’ve have Washingtons.

Adams – Every team except the Sixers has had at least one, but the Eagles‘ duo of Josh and Keith Adams is probably the best representation we’ve seen for John and John Quincy’s surname.

Madison/Monroe – The Phillies had a Madison and a Monroe a century ago, making the Eagles’ Henry Monroe (six games in 1979) the only player with either of these names that anyone reading this might have been alive for.

Jackson – DeSean Jackson is probably the first name that comes to mind here, but he’s just one in a slew of Jacksons we’ve seen over the decades. Curiously, though, the Flyers have never had one. I guess Jacksons just leave hockey to the Radivojevices and the Afanasenkovs of the world.

Van Buren – Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Van Buren stands out with this strong surname. And he’s much more memorable than President Martin Van Buren, who people only know because of Seinfeld episode.

Harrison – Incredibly, the Phillies have never had a player named Harrison in over 125 years of baseball. Matt Harrison could have made history, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

Taylor – Thanks to Phillies Wall of Famer Tony and Eagles Pro Bowl corner Bobby, the Taylors are pretty well-represented among the ranks.

Fillmore – Reginald Fillmore, who pitched for the Phillies in the early 1950s…just kidding. It shouldn’t shock you to learn that there are no Fillmores to talk about. And honestly you probably didn’t even know that we had a president with this name.

Lincoln – Our greatest president only gets crummy Phillies reliever Brad Lincoln, who the Phillies saw enough of after two appearances in 2014.

Johnson – After pouring through the registers, I count 44 Johnsons in Philly sports history, highlighted by Eagles tackle Lane. And no, former Flyers defenseman Kim Johnsson doesn’t count.

Grant – There are Grants across the board on all four teams! You get a Grant, and you get a Grant, and you get a Grant

Hayes – I’m not going to go any further than Charlie Hayes. He’s a much more significant historical figure than Rutherford to me.

Wilson – Flyers defenseman Behn Wilson is the best of the smattering of Wilsons we’ve seen over the years, but it’s also worth noting that an old, washed-up Hack Wilson ended his MLB career with the Phillies in 1934.

Hoover – The Phillies had backup catcher Paul about a decade ago, but my favorite here predates Herbert Hoover himself: Buster Hoover (1884). They just don’t make names like they used to.

Kennedy – The Flyers featured Forbes Kennedy for a couple seasons very early in their existence. The Phillies have had a pair of Kennedys, and they each came before JFK’s administration. As a bonus, the Phillies also had a player named Al Nixon from 1926 to 1928.

Carter – From Fred to Cris to Jeff, everybody in town has had a Carter, although the Phillies have surprisingly only had one. This all somehow makes Joe Carter‘s home run even more painful.

Bush/Clinton/Obama – Bush and Clinton are common enough that you’d assume that we would have had some player with one of these last names come through town. Alas, we have not. As for Obama, did I even need to look that one up?

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I hope you all learned something, because I sure didn’t. Come back next time as we look at shared surnames between Philadelphia athletes and U.S. ambassadors to Scandinavian countries.