Even After Last Week’s Letdown, Here Are Just Some of the Reasons Why this Philadelphia Tradition Is Still Going Strong.
I realize that this might not be the most opportune moment to mention this, but here goes nothing….
Philadelphia, we missed an anniversary.
Relax, you didn’t miss a wedding anniversary, fail to make a dinner reservation to celebrate the occasion, or forget to once again buy candy for Halloween night that is on the same date every single year.
And you haven’t forgotten to stuff an envelope with a singing birthday card for Dear Aunt Alma.
We have however, missed an important date in Philadelphia history.
If you think that I am referring to five years since the Eagles Super Bowl Championship, ninety years since the beginning of their beloved existence in Philadelphia, or fifteen years since the last Phillies World Series Championship, then you are extremely close.
This year is 140 years of our Philadelphia Phillies.
In 1883, Philadelphia was granted permission to replace The Massachusetts Worcesters, who were dissolved after the 1882 season. The Philadelphia Ball Club Limited was formed in that same year to bring professional baseball to the City of Philadelphia. The team would play as the Philadelphia Quakers until 1889, and the Phillies would officially be the team name by 1890.
While the Delaware Valley is currently recovering from a devastating Phillies Game 7 loss in the NLCS to the Arizona Diamondbacks, here are some reasons why the Phillies continue to thrive after 140 years:
The Philadelphia Athletics. For 53 seasons, Philadelphia had two Major League Ball Clubs. In 1954, Connie Mack’s bankrupt Athletics were sold and ultimately moved to Kansas City in 1955. The Phillies would even buy their ballpark (Connie Mack Stadium) when they left. The 1955 departure of the Athletics would leave the Phillies as the only professional baseball team in the City of Philadelphia for the last 68 years.
Our Favorite Phanatical Fan. Since 1978, The Green Guy has been pumping up the fans at Phillies games. You might remember that the Phillie Phanatic was a replacement for the Philadelphia Phil and Phillis, who were two twins from America’s Declaration of Freedom in 1776.
On my first home game in 1993, I still remember walking out into the stands to see the field at Veterans Stadium for the first time and having my face buried in a large green snout as I was momentarily smothered. He’s the most iconic mascot in all of the major league baseball, and easily the most recognizable shaking that green belly wildly and riding that ATV.
Consistent and Experienced Leadership. From Al Reach back in 1883 to John Middleton today, the Phillies have only had fifteen team presidents/owners since their inception making the Phillies oldest uninterrupted running, single-name, one-city team in American professional sports. The front office stays with the team just as the fans stay with the Phillies.
Sure, Major League Baseball teams exist with an older history than the Phillies such as the Chicago Cubs or the Atlanta Braves. The Phillies however have endured as one of the most recognizable sports franchises in America, not just because of a mascot, ownership, or being the only baseball team in the City of Philadelphia.
It’s because of you, the fans.
The Philadelphia fan faithful support their teams no matter what. The same support exists after a devastating playoff loss, or a losing season.
Opening Day is on March 28th, 2024. Philadelphia fans will no doubt erase the memory of last season, fill the stands, and propel their Phillies with a thunderous affirmation that will break the decibel-level continuum resonating from a Philadelphia Stadium.
Just the way it’s been for the last 140 years. But whose counting?