Judgment Week: Maligned ex-GMs, who did the best job?

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By SportsRadio 94WIP
Welcome to SportsRadio94WIP's page for Judgment Week, where we will find out who we were wrong about and ultimately revisit five topics in Philadelphia sports with the benefit of hindsight. 
From Wednesday, July 8th to Wednesday, July 15th we asked you to submit someone or something that we were wrong about. 
From Monday, July 20th to Friday, July 24th we will spend each day judging, discussing, and debating one of the five most submitted topics that we were wrong about. 

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Wednesday (7/22) - Ruben Amaro Jr, Billy King, Ed Wade and Joe Banner, the Mt Rushmore of maligned GMs. 
All we ever talked about was what these guys did wrong. We tried running just about all of them out of town. But Billy King has an exemplary draft record, Ruben Amaro Jr and Joe Banner oversaw the most successful eras in franchise history, and Ed Wade put together the building blocks of a champion. Maybe they were better than we gave theme credit for?

Which maligned ex-GM did the best job in Philadelphia? #JudgmentWeek

— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) July 22, 2020

Ruben Amaro Jr.

After taking over as GM the day after the Phillies World Series parade in 2008, Amaro oversaw the most successful era of Phillies baseball and traded for some of the biggest names in the game like Cliff Lee, Pedro Martinez and Roy Halladay. He assembled the Four Aces in 2011, brought in Hunter Pence and Raul Ibanez to bolster the outfield and saw a franchise-record 102 victories that season. Yet the party ended quickly, and much of it weighs on Amaro's shoulder. He signed Ryan Howard to a terrible contract in 2010, he traded away the entire farm system and tried to replenish it by trading Cliff Lee, he signed Jonathan Papelbon to the largest contract ever for a reliever… and he was out after seven years.

A post shared by 94WIP (@sportsradio94wip) on Jul 22, 2020 at 5:24am PDT
Ed Wade

Pat Gillick gave credit where credit was due after the Phillies won the World Series: "This is Ed Wade's team." Burrell, Utley, Hamesl, Howard, Myers, Victorino. Wade drafted the core of the most successful Phillies teams in franchise history. He signed Jim Thome and traded for Bobby Abreu, two cornerstone players. During his tenure though, he never made the playoffs. It seemed he couldn't put the final pieces together, and the fans let him know after attendance dropped by over half a million in the second year of the new ballpark Wade helped build. The fans wanted a playoff appearance, and Wade never delivered on that end. 

Joe Banner

Banner was not a people person during his tenure in Philadelphia. He was a brutal negotiator that identified as "the bad guy" who rarely spent money on free agents. Banner also oversaw the rebuild of the franchise and a successful run for the Eagles, who reached the playoffs 11 times during his 16 years. He was one of the first to master the salary cap (something he passed along to Howie Roseman) and re-signed young players early on. He helped draft 20 Pro Bowlers with Andy Reid, and he traded for the best tackle in Eagles history, Jason Peters. Banner rubbed many people the wrong way, but he helped create sustainable success in Philadelphia while bringing in incredible players. 

Billy King

King was tasked with the difficult job of maintaining the peace between Larry Brown, Allen Iverson and Pat Croce before he was named Sixers president in 2003. It didn't start off well after he awarded big contracts to Kenny Thomas and Sam Dalembert, and he constantly struggled to find pieces to put around Iverson, including an aging Chris Webber. He ultimately traded him to Denver after pressure from new owner Ed Snider, and he was out of the Sixers organization the next year. King was in a precarious situation his entire career in Philadelphia, and he worked with what he had. Credit is due with his construction of the 2001 Finals team, acquiring Dikembe Mutombo at the trade deadline to sure up the backcourt. He grabbed Kyle Korver from the Nets, selected Andre Iguodala in 2004 and drafted Lou Williams and Thad Young. King just never found that perfect fit during the Iverson years.