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Mike Schmidt isn’t the “G.O.A.T. of Broad Street”

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A poll run by the local sports radio station gives fans a good definition of recency bias

Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

If you’re living the Philadelphia area, chances are at some point you have heard that the local sports radio station, 94.1 WIP, was running a series this week where they revealed who was the “G.O.A.T of Broad Street” based on a fan voting. Last week, they let us know who finished #6-20. Each day this week, they let us know who finished in the top 5. Here were the final results:

Now, we all know the purpose of sports radio is drum up conversation. Without the hot takes that are constantly given by the hosts of the program, there would be no program. Callers are not going to call in just to sit and agree with reasonable insight - they want to argue, especially here in Philadelphia. Once you understand this, these types of polls take on a new meaning and purpose.

We’re not going to waste our time debating where players fall on this list because that’s just not what we’re about. What we will quibble with is the rankings at the top. Mike Schmidt is the greatest player to grace this city in the past 50 years and quite frankly, it isn’t close.

To the credit of most of the hosts (at least from what I heard throughout the day), they were in agreement that Schmidt should’ve been ranked above Allen Iverson. Since voting was done “based on votes from fans and hosts”, it means that those who are internet savvy (and have the time) to go and vote would rank someone that they actually saw play above an all-time great, something that I won’t begrudge them. If you asked someone who is in their mid-20’s and grew up around Philadelphia sports who was a bigger icon in their sporting lives, 9 times out of 10 they will name Iverson over Schmidt, mostly due to the fact that they never saw Schmidt actually play.

Yesterday, on the Marks and Reese Show, Schmidt was reached for some comments about the polling and appropriately deflected any kind of controversial reaction:

“That’s a good reason, but I’m wondering how the 40 and under people would be in touch with Allen Iverson maybe moreso than they might be with the Eagles players now or current Sixers players,” said Schmidt. “But whatever! That’s fine! I’m happy to at least be considered at #1 and not quite making it. I’m 70 years old guys and everything is good with me.”

If you’re interested in what Schmidt had to say on a number of topics, including his thoughts about the game now, the response to COVID-19, you can listen to the full interview here.

Recency bias is a real thing. The people who did the majority of the voting didn’t get to see Schmidt play and therefore aren’t as aware of just how truly dominant he was during his time. He’s the greatest third baseman to ever play the game and looks likely to remain so for the forseeable future. Make sure these youngins’ know that and that we remind them of it often.

(The previous version of this story incorrectly stated how voting was done. It’s been corrected)