Ranking the Ten Best and Ten Worst Sports Radio Callers in Philadelphia

Butch from Manayunk, via Ava Graham's Twitter

Last week, I sent out an innocuous tweet asking for help compiling a list of the best and worst sports radio callers in the Delaware Valley. I had a basic idea of who I wanted to include, but didn’t have a full list compiled, and was honestly stunned by the fact that 272 people replied to the tweet. There were some really strong opinions regarding the folks who dial up 94 WIP and 97.5 the Fanatic on a regular basis.

Taking those responses into account, then adding input from Crossing Broad staff and local media, quote tweets, and direct messages, we ended up with a sample size of about 300 people who helped put this thing together.

If this story doesn’t win me a Pulitzer, then I don’t know what will. Here’s my top ten best and worst sports radio callers in our region:

The worst of the worst

 

10. Scott from Barrington

“Brother Kevin, why did I make it on this list?”

Scott always calls people “brother,” which makes me feel like I’m at a church sermon instead of listening to sports radio.

9. Angry Al

For a long time, it felt like I’d hear Al on the radio every single time I turned on either station. He actually appeared, if you can believe it, on an old school Philly Pheud episode where Fanatic hosts competed against the callers. This clip dates back to 2013, and zero of the four hosts still work at the station. Tony Bruno is gone, Harry Mayes is gone, Jon Marks went to WIP, and Jason Myrtetus recently joined the Flyers after he was let go:

Al also calls 94 WIP.

A while back, he went up against the late Levi from Overbrook in what could either be the best radio segment of all time or worst radio segment of all time. It doesn’t feel like there’s a middle ground here:

8. Arthur

Correct!

In doing research for this article, I came across an Inquirer article from 2008 describing an argument between Arthur, an ex-convict, and Howard Eskin:

Howard Eskin spent nine minutes of his 610 WIP show Wednesday berating a regular caller named Arthur because he made an in-studio appearance with SportsRadio 950 AM  Monday with morning hosts Michael Bradley and Glenn Foley. In this, Eskin, sounding like a jealous boyfriend, shouts at Arthur, who sounds like Froggy from “Little Rascals,” that he is not permitted from calling another local radio station the same day.

During the exchange, Eskin grows increasingly angry as Arthur wont commit to not calling any other stations as Arthur pretends to not understand. “You are not allowed to call any other radio stations in the Philadelphia area. Do we agree?…You’re a nitwit and a moron. Do you friggin’ agree? If I find out that you did not abide by the agreement, you are done forever.”

Arthur used to call Howard every Saturday. He may still do that. I’m not entirely sure.

7. Kenny from the Dirty 30

One of Angelo’s regulars, I swear to God he appears on the show every day.

Kenny doesn’t seem like a bad guy, but his opinions are terrible and his contributions to the embarrassment that took place at the 1999 NFL Draft can never be forgiven. Kenny could recite the Hail Mary and the Our Father 10,000 times and it wouldn’t be enough atonement for his participation in the Dirty 30.

6. Mike from King of Prussia/Mad Mike

Mike was tagged in my crowd-sourcing tweet and actually contacted me before this article was published. He explained that “sad sacks” in Philadelphia don’t like to hear the truth, that “our general managers suck” and that The Process failed.

Mike stands by his takes and says he is not acting. He truly believes what he says, which I can begrudgingly respect.

5. Ingy

An absolute moron with the personality of a wet blanket, Ingy would often dampen the vibes with his negativity every time he called in.

Seriously. Whenever Ingy got through, you could just feel the air leave the room, like a big balloon being deflated. He truly sucked the life out of any show with his horrendous takes and his crappy attitude.

4. Butch from Manayunk

I wrote an entire op-ed about Butch, explaining why I feel like he should be banned from all Eagles-related events.

Just a few months ago he was on Cataldi’s show talking about smoking weed in the Lincoln Financial Field bathroom before driving home from a game. He recently serenaded Greg Ward and Vinny Curry with the worst song I’ve ever heard and is a true embarrassment to Philadelphia sports fans everywhere:

Horrible.

3. Eagles Shirley

Shirley is enthusiastic, a true Philadelphia Eagles fan who bleeds green.

Unfortunately she is an automatic channel change whenever she comes on.

2. Dave from Center City

Apparently he got banned for talking about dating a woman who wanted him to “poop on her.” That’s good enough to land you at #2 on the worst callers list.

I’ve also heard that Dave masquerades as “Hodge” in an effort to get past call screeners and try to share his terrible opinions on the radio. This has not yet been confirmed, though I will continue to ‘effort’ that information.

EDIT: it’s not him –

1. Jim from Havertown

My understanding is that Jim was banned from both stations for saying things that cannot be repeated on this website.

If you’d like an image that sums up what he was all about, check this out:

That’s a typical reaction to any Jim from Havertown phone call. He was, by far, the absolute worst caller in Philadelphia sports radio history, just a total butthole.

honorable mentions: Jeff from Camden, Arson Arnie, Mitchie Tools, Gus from Allentown, Murray from Mayfair, Jimmy from Mount Holly, Ish, Leslie from Fort Lee

The best of the best

 

10. Reuben “Big Rube” Harley

Some people said I should put Rube on the ‘worst’ list because he’s always talking about his chicken, but I’m putting him on the ‘best’ list because he’s got a unique success story that was chronicled a few years ago in Philly Mag, reading in part:

After a stint in Brooklyn, his family settled in West Philly, next to a crack house on Ithan Street, between Locust and Spruce. His parents divorced when Rube was three, and eventually his grandmother moved in with the family. She and Rube’s mom were unflinching in their resolve to keep the kids — six altogether; Rube is the second-oldest — on track. Whenever Rube threaded himself into the knots of kids hanging on street corners, his grandmother marched out and yanked him inside by his ear.

“It was embarrassing,” Rube says. “But the guys that didn’t have that structure, they fell like leaves, either murdered or incarcerated. They didn’t have that person to be like, look, you’re not going to be that.” (The strict upbringing worked: All six kids grew up to be successful

I’ve never had Big Rube’s chicken, but I’d like to try it.

9. Mike from South Philly

Gotta be honest, I don’t know a lot about Mike, but in gathering recommendations for this story, a ton of people told me that he needed to be added to the “best” list, so I’ve got him slotted in here at number nine.

8. Pat from Ambler

Good caller, always comes prepared with a challenging trivia question.

7. Bob from Tennessee

Love Bob’s accent. He’s formerly Bob from Glenmoore, which is located in the middle of nowhere, northwest of Exton in Chester County. I laugh out loud every time Bob calls in and starts talking.

6. Phil from Mt. Airy

I have to put Phil on the list because anybody who was able to parlay their phone calls into an actual job at the radio station deserves a round of applause. Phil is also the only person who ever had me on the radio to talk about soccer (during the 2014 World Cup), so he gets an automatic spot in the top ten for that.

5. Vicente from Ecuador

Correctamundo!

Vicente Morales is actually a PennDOT employee and got a nice write up on their website a while back:

As a pavement management engineer and supervisor, Morales has a lot of responsibilities at PennDOT. He recently made his way to Richmond, Va., to represent District 6 at a peer exchange conference on new composite pavement systems hosted by the Federal Highway Administration. The conference was an exciting opportunity for Morales to build relationships with other transportation departments who have already successfully implemented the “PCC”over “PCC” pavement system.

He also loves to talk sports and began calling into “The Mike Missanelli Show” on 97.5 FM The Fanatic five years ago as a way to decompress after work on his ride home from the office each day. “Vicente from Ecuador” soon became a regular caller on the show, discussing sports with Mike and partaking in weekly trivia.

In 2016, Morales won the show’s general knowledge trivia contest championship. Since then, his voice has become a popular drop for the radio station. Every Wednesday, when a caller answers the right trivia question, Morales’ voice can be heard uttering that famous word “Correctamundo!” The drop has made Morales a sort of celebrity among sports radio listeners.

Here’s Vicente with Mikey Miss:

4. Bernie from Broomall

Bernie Taraschi used to be a 97.5 celebrity and ended up on the soundboard there. He was featured frequently in their off-air video clips and contests, but for whatever reason I don’t recall hearing him lately.

Is he alright? Somebody holla and let me know what Bernie has been up to.

3. Jose from Norristown

What up?

We got… HOCKEY action yo!

Jose is still the GOAT in my book. I don’t think he calls anymore, maybe because Bruno and Mayes are no longer on 97.5, but they brought him in a while back to sing Folsom Prison Blues:

2. Dwayne from Swedesboro

The man, the myth, the legend.

Emphasis on myth.

1. Linda from Mayfair

Linda is a breast cancer survivor and huge baseball fan who tells it how it is. She recently moved into a new place with help from the WIP community:

Not sure how many people remember, since it as a long time ago, but Glen and Anthony Gargano actually put together a fundraiser for Linda back in 2011, which was held down at Chickie’s in South Philly. These are the types of Philadelphia sports fan stories that fly under the radar, but need to be told.

honorable mentions: Spanky, Arthur from the Turnpike, VT Ron, Sean from Pine Hill, Graph from Media, Alfie from Abington, Karate Mark, A.J. in West Philly, Henry from Tampa, Rock in Atlanta, Chris from Williamstown, Levi from Overbrook (RIP), Mike from West Chester (RIP)

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52 Responses

  1. Arthur is currently in Federal prison, way out in Arizona.
    You gotta put that idiot Jeff from Camden in your top 10 list of worst callers.

  2. They are all idiots. Regular radio callers are losers. They all have the same stupid takes, then when the host pushes back they change their minds and agree with them.

    I could do without all call in, but then the hosts would have to do actual prep work.

    1. 97.3 in South Jersey has some good local shows without callers. Mike Gill, who did some time on both Philly stations, is their afternoon host from 2:00 to 6:00. Harry Mayes and Eytan Shander had a good show but Harry just left. Tony Bruno did Eagles pre-game this past season. Download their app and give them a try.

    2. I agree. The worst part of sports talk radio in philly are the callers. If any of them were any good, they would be in radio!!!!!!!!!!

  3. This is good #content

    But really no caller in match in the infinite levels of awfulness that is Angelo.

  4. Mike from south philly, IMO best caller of all time comes on 3am ish

    Arthur is a hoot , should have a reality TV show

  5. ….but i find Butch from Manayunk kind of humorous. But as far as the worst list, Arson Arnie should be on there, not just as an honor

    1. BTW, I don’t get how Big Rube makes the best list. He is such a clichéd stereotype that I thought he was a Conklin bit for the longest time.

    2. Eagles Shirley is the worse. I always change the channel when Angelo announces her as the next caller. She never adds anything worthwhile to that morning’s topics. Think she only calls for it boosters her fake so called “Star” status among close friends and family.

      1. Eagles Shirley is the only person on either list that is an immediate changing the channel.

        1. I could not agree more about Eagles Shirley. I can not change the channel fast enough when i hear her annoying voice. She brings nothing to the table

  6. Great topics today. Cuz with his 4 for 4 schtick, and DeCamera and Ritchie debating whether the Birds should bring Foles back. What about Charles from the Northeast? Love when he says the host’s name 10 times in a 2 minute call.

    1. The main reason why I never listen to Joe DeCamara & Jon Ritchies’ – 94 WIP 10am to 2am radio show, is that Joe repeats the dan call in number about 10 times every segment. It drives me NUTS! Doesn’t he know how much that irritates regular listeners to WIP? Maybe he gets paid per mention or something? Here’s a new Prop bet. Joe DeCamara will mention the call in number 50 times during tomorrow’s show. Do you take the under or over? I take the over LOL!

  7. Love this article.

    it is a crime to leave out jeff from Camden. he call all day and night with zero sports knowledge

  8. That cranky Rasheed guy should be on the list.
    Scott from Barringtons calls always make me smile . Calls everyone brother and gives little details of what he’s doing at the moment .

    Once met big rube at moonshine . Very nice fellow . Reminds me of a cruise ship director or captain 👩‍✈️

  9. Jim from Havertown is a regular in my bar and he’s awful and awesome. It’s mandatory that he calls me on Friday nights to see if he is permitted to come in. If the bar is busy then I do not allow it. He is so LOUD and just yells “cuz, how many wins will Nola have?” and so on… He’s a massive 6’6 325lb dude. The only cool thing is that he brings his dog in the bar.

  10. Cool story- Last month got in my car at 6:20 am and heard Jeff from Camden calling Angelo . Went out for couple beverages after work & boarded my train at 7:49 pm and heard Jeff from Camden calling joe g

  11. In college I used to deliver food to Jose from Norristown (who lived in a nice neighborhood in East Norriton)

    He would order 4x a week and literally never tipped anyone and would mention 97.5 every time like he was a celebrity.

    1. Ooooooooooo dis list is booosheeeettt. Come out to the 422 SportsPlex this Wednesday evening to watch my flag football team “space force” take on some jabroni’s.

  12. Jason from the Dirty 30? Dudes way more than a few fries short of a Happy Meal. Give me one Jason.

  13. Shirley, Butch, Kenny and Scott are all tied for No. 1. You should have added Rocco from the Dirty 30 too. what a tool. He once made a comment during Eagles preseason that things would be different when the Regular fans come back ( referring to the 1st regular season game.) FU. The problem with these people is that Angelo makes them out to be the voice of the city and they’re not. Not everybody has 2 hours to waste while sitting on hold to give their opinion. Losers.

  14. Now THIS is the kind of content I can get behind.

    Mike in KOP is such a

  15. I actually used to go to the same church as Arthur. He was the same there as he was on the radio……

  16. Apparently she has never attended a Phillies game. Arthur is in the joint in AZ and I hope he stays there, unfortunately he is getting out which means a 10 minute recycled call every Saturday. There is another guy that calls the King’s show that calls every week. He puts out ridiculous suppositions about teams and tries to defend them. This past week he started with the worst callers, something I agreed with him on. Jeff who calls every show, he makes good points and is fairly intelligent but people are sick of him because you hear him on every show on both stations. There is some guy who calls himself “The Dude” who calls Glen and Ray from the West Coast. He is horrible.

    The problem with the local stations is there are too many of same callers. They should limit them to two calls a week but I guess if you did that you wouldn’t have any callers. The Fan is NY is still the best when Mike was at his peak several years before he retired. The caller only got a few seconds to make a point before Mike disconnected and gave his opinion. It was good because the callers were only on for short time. He also took a lot calls. The callers in NY are much more serious. Too much nonsense down here from the hosts like give me somebody famous only known by one name or give me the title of a movie. So tired of polls, quizzes and all these other gimmicks other than sports.

  17. This is the stupidest “article” you’ve ever written, and that’s saying something. And why do people point at each other in pictures? Do they think we don’t see the other person.

  18. Jose from Norristown was the best. He’d call back in the Laviolette era, lead off with a “What up?” and Tony Bruno would hit the goal horn soundbite. It was great radio.

    I also second the Phil from Mt Airy love, I don’t know what went wrong there but his Black Wheels bit was an all timer.

  19. I agree 98% with you. I can’t stand Big Rube, it is an instant reach for the dial when hear he is calling in. I try to make the change before his “Holla” bullshit. I can’t stand “brother Scott”, so awful. Instant channel change. Shirley also needs to go away.

  20. I have never heard of most of these callers………………..because I have a life and don’t listen to sports talk radio very often. To know that XYZ calls both stations every day, what does that say about you??? Sports Talk Radio jumped the shark about ten years ago, if not before. I have an idea, let’s compile a list of the worst sports talk radio hosts, ever, in the Philadelphia market. I’ll start………………Craig Carton………….and his new roomie, Bubba from Brooklyn. “Hey Craig, I dropped the soap”. Mmmm mmmmm!!!

  21. I was interested in ready the article but the writer doesn’t seem to have a particular reasoning for a lot. Wasn’t the best ready sorry

  22. man, seeing that JOSE video brought me back to simpler times on sports radio. Bruno and Mays show was the best, not just sports dribble and forced debate. Had a mix of Howard Stern approach, with characters (wackpack) and soundbites. fuckin sucks that show went away. Now we have general knowledge Wednesday. OH GOOD FOR YOU!

  23. What about that joker leslie who else knows who I’m talking about, he kinda sounds half retarded

  24. Is Butch From Manayunk even real? Every time he calls, Angelo reads off a promotion very quickly for Joe Conklin.

  25. No mention of this creep? He’s definitely got bodies somewhere on his property.

    Seriously tho, being the first caller on the line almost every day is all kinds of depressing.

  26. A guy named Josh from Pottstown used to call Missanelli often. Usually Wednesday’s for trivia. He maybe the dumbest man in America. If Mike asked him what he was wearing, Josh would come up with the worng answer.

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