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What Is Early Word?
The Philadelphia Inquirer's experimental online "morning show", which began in Sept. 2005, went on hiatus in the summer of 2006, after a gradual shift to putting more of its content directly on Philly.com.



About the Host
Peter Mucha, husband and father of two, grew up in Cherry Hill and is a lifelong Philly sports fan. He's been writing and editing for The Inquirer for 18 years. His motto (at least for today): "If I'm not brief, give me grief."

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Night of Heart Tugs and Zingers 

Last night, the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame inducted its third set of honorees with a good meal, fond reminiscences, and quality quips at the Sheraton Society Hill. The absence of many of the inductees, while disappointing, gave loved ones a chance to transform the event into a family affair. Most moving was the speech of Sara Hart, wife of Gene, legendary "Voice of the Flyers," as she told how people keep coming up to her with stories of Gene's good heart. He stopped to help a motorist in need of medical attention and perhaps restored a young cancer victim's will to live by showing up at the hospital with a couple of favorite players. And while more than a dozen members of the 1960 Eagles championship team got a standing ovation, perhaps the greatest testament to love was the turnout for legendary Simon Gratz basketball coach Bill Ellerbee, who brought an enthusiastic rooting section of family, friends and colleagues.

To answer a question, you're probably wondering: The hope is someday there will be an actual museum for fans to visit.

Now, in the interest of balance, here are some less sentimental highlights:
Host Pat Williams, ex-Sixers GM: "It there was a tooth fairy for hair, Phil Martelli would be a rich man."
Ray Didinger, inducted himself for his writing career, provoked perhaps the loudest applause while saluting Philly's Herb Atterly as clearly a better cornerback than Deion Sanders, because "in football, part of the game is hitting!"
Williams on Sixers stats legend Harvey Pollack: "That Harvey's been around, hasn't he? He has Social Security number 2. He remembers Absorbine Sr. He remembers when fast food was a cheetah chasing an antelope."
Just as Willie Mosconi's son said of his billiards-phenom father, "He was a very difficult taskmaster," the electricity went out, leaving only a seancelike glow of candlelight that silenced the room. When the chandeliers relit, the son adlibbed, "Sorry, Dad."
Stan Hochman, longtime Daily News scribe: "I don't want to say the program was long, but Sonny Hill's clothes went out of style ... [pause for laughter] ... and came back!"


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