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Ex-Flyers D-Man Joe Watson Going into Philly Sports Hall of Fame



Joe Watson, Fred Shero, 1974, Philadelphia Flyers
Joe Watson, right, and coach Fred Shero after the Flyers stunned the hockey world and won the 1974 Stanley Cup against Boston. Photo: AP.

Joe Watson, a former defenseman who played a key role as the Philadelphia Flyers won Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975, will be among 16 people inducted Thursday into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame at Live! Casino and Hotel.

A two-time All-Star who played 746 games with the Flyers (fifth in franchise history), Watson spent 54 years with the club in various capacities — player, assistant coach, scout, and advertising sales representative.

“It’s wonderful being recognized for everything that happened,” Watson said the other day.

What happened: Watson became one of the Philadelphia Flyers’ most dependable defensemen after he was chosen from the Boston Bruins in the 1967 expansion draft.

Told that people still remember the ’74 and ’75 teams with reverence, Watson agreed.

“I know. I know. They do,” he said.

Naturally, he had a story to support it.

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He recounted how one of his friends recently got into a taxi in Prague in the Czech Republic. The cabbie asked him where he was from.

“Philadelphia,” the man replied.

“Oh, the home of the Bullies, the Flyers,” said the cabbie.

Watson let out a hearty laugh.

“Now that’s 4,000, 5,000 miles away and it happened almost 50 years ago!” Watson said. “Jesus God!”

Watson, who looks 20 years younger than his age (80), has some amazing stories. Always has, and they will appear in a new book, Thundermouth, written by Bill Meltzer. It will be available in mid-November.

Joe is the older brother of Jimmy Watson, who both played on the Flyers’ Cup champs. Both are in the Flyers Hall of Fame.

Besides Joe Watson, other Philadelphia sports inductees include former middleweight boxing champion Bernard Hopkins, ex-Phillies executive Bill Giles, former Phillies Carlos Ruiz and Willie Jones, track-and-field star Carol Lewis, Eagles greats Irving Fryar and Jeremiah Trotter, Villanova coaching legend Jay Wright, one-time basketball standout Valerie Still, jockey Tony Black, race-car drive Al Holbert, one-time Olympic rowing winner Bill Knecht, former Penn football star and Olympic medal winner (three events) Truxton Hare, swimming great Judy Auritt Klein, and former Inquirer writer James Isaminger, who broke the Black Sox scandal in 1919.

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