This season when customers ordered a Reading Fightin’ Phils miniature batting helmet of ice cream, they also received an extra souvenir. Each miniature helmet came with a holographic sticker of a former Reading Phillies player. On any game night, fans could receive Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Pat Burrell, Carlos Ruiz, or Darin Ruf, depending on what day of the week it was. All five played or currently play for the Philadelphia Phillies and four were members of the 2008 World Series Championship team.
Despite the popularity of these five players throughout the Phillies organization, it surprised me how many customers didn’t recognize the different players. After realizing that what they received was a sticker and not a spoon, the next reaction was typically, “who is that?”.
The sticker that garnered this reaction the majority of the time was Pat Burrell. After Burrell, a lot of fans were confused by the Cole Hamels sticker. For some reason most of the fans, adults and kids alike, seemed to think that it was Chase Utley. While Hamels played in Reading for part of one season, Utley never played for Reading except during a couple rehab appearances. They also look nothing like each other. The most recognized sticker was easily Darin Ruf, who played for Reading in 2012, followed by Carlos Ruiz and Ryan Howard.
After the first few times that we had confused customers, my sister and I started to discuss how people could not know who these players were. The only one we found a good reason for was Burrell. The majority of the fans who didn’t recognize Burrell were the younger fans. This made sense to us because most of them were either babies or most likely not even born yet when he played in Reading and he hasn’t played for Philadelphia since 2008.
We never managed to come up with a decent answer to the confusion between Cole Hamels and Chase Utley and I’m not sure we ever will.