Curse of Billy Penn

The Curse of Billy Penn (1987–2008) was a curse used to explain the failure of major professional sports teams based in Philadelphia to win championships since the March 1987 construction of the One Liberty Place skyscraper, which exceeded the height of William Penn's statue atop Philadelphia City Hall.[1]

The curse ended on October 29, 2008, when the Philadelphia Phillies won the 2008 World Series, a year and four months after a statuette of the William Penn figure atop City Hall was affixed to the final beam during the June 2007 topping-off of the Comcast Center.[2]

Phila City Hall Twilight2
Philadelphia City Hall, with statue of William Penn at top of tower

Origins of the curse

Atop Philadelphia City Hall stands a statue of William Penn, the city founder and original proprietor of the then-British colony of Pennsylvania (meaning "Penn's Woods").[3] For years, a "gentlemen's agreement" stated that the Philadelphia Art Commission would approve no building in the city which would rise above this statue.[4] This ended in March 1987, when a modern steel-and-glass skyscraper, One Liberty Place, opened three blocks away. One Liberty Place is taller than City Hall by 397 feet (121 m), rising 945 feet (288 m) in height compared to the height of Penn's hat on City Hall, 547 feet (167 m). Its sister skyscraper, Two Liberty Place, at 848 ft (258 m), followed in 1990.

Philadelphia sports teams had enjoyed a run of success. Major League Baseball's Phillies won the 1980 World Series and the 1983 National League pennant; the National Hockey League's Flyers won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975, and appeared in the finals in 1976, 1980, 1985, and 1987; the National Football League's Eagles appeared in Super Bowl XV following the 1980 season, losing to the Oakland Raiders; and the National Basketball Association's 76ers swept the 1983 NBA Finals, as well as making the finals in 1977, 1980, and 1982. Before 1980, the Phillies had appeared in only two other World Series, in 1915 and 1950, and the Eagles had won no NFC conference championships since the 1966 agreement that had created the Super Bowl, while the 76ers won NBA titles in both Philadelphia and in their previous incarnation, the Syracuse Nationals. The Villanova Wildcats won the 1985 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball tournament, in one of the most famous upsets in sports history. Construction on One Liberty Place began in 1985, two years after the last championship season in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia sports since the curse's inception

Major-league sports

Phila
View of Philadelphia skyline from Citizens Bank Park in 2004. William Penn's statue can be seen one-quarter from the right. Note height relationship to the newer buildings to the left. The tallest building (with antenna) is One Liberty Place

After One Liberty Place opened, Philadelphia's franchises began a pattern of failures to win a world championship. The Flyers lost the Stanley Cup Finals twice, in 1987 to the Edmonton Oilers in seven games (although the Oilers were heavily favored), two months after One Liberty Place opened, and in 1997, in a four-game sweep by the Detroit Red Wings which was considered a collapse as the Flyers had home-ice advantage and had dominated the previous three playoff series en route to meeting the Red Wings. The Phillies upset the Atlanta Braves to win the NLCS, but then lost the 1993 World Series in six games to the Toronto Blue Jays, with the Series ending on Joe Carter's walkoff 3-run home run. The 76ers lost the 2001 NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games, although the defending champion Lakers were favored despite the Sixers having league MVP Allen Iverson. The Eagles lost three straight NFC Championship games from the 2001 through 2003 seasons, before reaching Super Bowl XXXIX after the 2004 season, only to lose to the New England Patriots by three points.

In fact, the only years that Philadelphia's franchises reached their league's championship round after One Liberty Place opened were years that U.S. presidents were inaugurated, except for the Flyers in 1987,[5] and losses during such years date back to the 76ers loss in 1977.[5] When the Flyers played for the 2010 Stanley Cup, The Ottawa Citizen reported that the main reason for that lengthy championship drought was because the only years the city's teams played for championships during that time were years presidents were inaugurated.[5] The city's teams had lost championships during such years, beginning with the 76ers themselves in 1977.[5] The exceptions were the Phillies in 1983 and the Flyers in 1987.[5]

In addition, losses in semifinal rounds had occurred eight times since the opening of One Liberty Place. Five of these semi-final eliminations were by the Flyers, in 1989, 1995, 2000, 2004 and 2008. The 2000 team was one win away from a Stanley Cup Finals appearance, after leading the eventual champion New Jersey Devils 3-1 before losing three straight (including Games 5 and 7 at home), the 2004 team lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the eventual champion Tampa Bay Lightning, and the 2008 team lost to their cross-state rival Pittsburgh Penguins in five games. The Eagles accounted for the other three conference-final losses; they lost the NFC Championship Game (the winner of which meets the winner of the AFC's corresponding game in the Super Bowl) three years in a row from 2001 to 2003, thus becoming the first NFL team to do this in either conference since the Dallas Cowboys of 19801982, losing the last two at home after posting the best record in the NFC. No other team in NFL history had lost back-to-back conference title games at home since the NFL began its practice in 1975 of awarding home-field advantage in postseason play based on regular-season record. The Eagles lost the 2001 NFC Championship game on the road to the St. Louis Rams 29-24, the 2002 NFC Championship game at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-10, and the 2003 NFC Championship game to the Carolina Panthers 14-3. The Rams and Panthers would both lose to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI and Super Bowl XXXVIII, while the Buccaneers won Super Bowl XXXVII over the Oakland Raiders.

During the period of the alleged Curse of Billy Penn, Philadelphia sports fans were infamous for rude and unsportsmanlike behavior. Fans pelted national TV broadcasters with snowballs, ice, and beer during a Cowboys-Eagles game in 1989 known as "Bounty Bowl II". On Nov. 10, 1997, an Eagles fan shot a flare gun across the field into the stands during a nationally televised Monday night game against the San Francisco 49ers. In 1999, Sports Illustrated blamed the fans' behavior on their teams' longtime poor quality of play, as seen in the 40-year championship drought for the Eagles and the 76ers' 1972-1973 season, which was the worst in NBA history at 9-73.[6]

Other sports

Philadelphia City Hall-zoom
Bronze statue of William Penn atop Philadelphia City Hall

The curse was also said to include Bensalem-Township-based thoroughbred racehorse Smarty Jones, who saw his bid for horse racing's Triple Crown disappear when he finished second in the 2004 Belmont Stakes behind 36-1 longshot Birdstone after victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. The curse has also been blamed for the death of the thoroughbred horse Barbaro, who was owned and bred by a couple from West Grove, a borough outside Philadelphia.[7][8] Though Barbaro won the 2006 Kentucky Derby, his leg was dramatically shattered two weeks later during the 2006 Preakness Stake, leading to the horse's death.

Although the curse was not generally considered as extending to college sports, two Philadelphia-area college basketball teams, the St. Joseph's Hawks (in Philadelphia) and the Villanova Wildcats (in Villanova), which had successful seasons in 2004 and 2006, respectively, failed to reach the Final Four of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Both were eliminated in the fourth-round Elite Eight matches, with St. Joe's, first seed in the East Regional, losing in a close match to Oklahoma State, and Villanova, first seed in the Minneapolis Regional, falling to eventual NCAA-champion Florida. Villanova won the national championship in 1985, two years before the Liberty Place opening. A third Philadelphia-area team, the Temple Owls (in Philadelphia) has also lost five times in the Elite Eight (1988, 1991, 1993, 1999, 2001).

Villanova ended the college basketball drought for the Philadelphia teams with a national championship in 2016 and 2018.

The curse, however, was apparently not extended to professional teams outside the four major sports. The then–Philadelphia Wings of the NLL (indoor lacrosse winter league) won six titles between 1989 and 2001, before moving in 2014, and the now-defunct Philadelphia Barrage of the MLL (outdoor summer lacrosse league) won three championships (2004, 2006, and 2007). The AHL's Philadelphia Phantoms, the Flyers' top minor-league affiliate from 1996 to 2009, won the Calder Cup championship in 1998 and 2005. Additionally, the Philadelphia KiXX of the MISL won their league's championship in 2002 and 2007. The AFL's Philadelphia Soul won ArenaBowl XXII in 2008 and ArenaBowl XXIX in 2016. The Philadelphia Freedoms, a tennis team in the World Team Tennis league, also won titles in 2001 and 2006. One exception was the Philadelphia Charge, a women's soccer team in the now-defunct WUSA, which did not win a championship during the three years the WUSA existed, from 2001 to 2003.

Decoration of Penn's statue

In spite of the Curse, when Philadelphia sports teams have reached their league's championship round, Penn's statue has sometimes been decorated to support that team's success. For example, after the Phillies won the 1993 National League pennant, Penn was fitted with an oversized red Phillies baseball cap; when the Flyers went to the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals, the city adorned Penn with an orange-torso-with-white-shoulders Flyers jersey (at the time, the combination was the Flyers' road jersey).

When the Sixers faced the Lakers in the 2001 NBA Finals, Penn's statue was not decorated. Pat Croce, president and part-owner of the Sixers, said he would have "decked out" the statue had the Sixers won but not before.[9] Penn's statue was also left untouched when the Eagles went to Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.

The Curse lifted

On June 18, 2007, ironworkers helped raise the final beam in the construction of the Comcast Center at 17th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard in downtown Philadelphia. In an attempt to end the curse, workers John Joyce and Dan Ginion attached a small figurine of William Penn to the beam, along with the traditional American flag and small evergreen tree.[10]

After the first William Penn figurine was stolen, it was replaced with a smaller 4-inch figure.[2]

On October 29, 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies won the 2008 World Series in five games against the Tampa Bay Rays, ending the alleged Curse. It was the first major league professional sports title for the city of Philadelphia since the 1983 NBA Championship. During the TV coverage of parade which occurred two days later, Comcast aired an ad congratulating the Phillies which featured the small figurine of William Penn standing at the top of the Comcast Center.

On November 27, 2017, the day of the "topping out" of the new tallest building in Philadelphia the Comcast Technology Center, ironworkers once again placed a new William Penn figurine atop the building's highest beam in hopes to ward off the curse.[11][12]

On February 4, 2018, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII 41-33 to win their first Super Bowl in team history, and first championship since the 1960 NFL Championship.[13]

References

  1. ^ Chairusmi, Jim (June 12, 2007). "Does the Curse of Billy Penn Continue to Haunt Philadelphia?". The Wall Street Journal.
  2. ^ a b Matza, Michael (October 22, 2008). "Lifting the curse of William Penn". philly.com. Archived from the original on 2008-12-03. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
  3. ^ Appleby, J Ph.D. (2005). The American Vision. Glencoe. p. 75.
  4. ^ Major League Baseball on Fox: Game 5 of 2008 World Series. Fox Sports. October 29, 2008.
  5. ^ a b c d e Warren, Ken (June 2, 2010). "Two cities that could use a CUP". Ottawa Citizen. p. B3.
  6. ^ 'There's no excuse for what we did': Philadelphia fans criticized for reaction to Irvin injury, Sports Illustrated, 1999-10-14. Accessed 2007-06-26.
  7. ^ Buschel, Bruce (August 1, 2007). Walking Broad: Looking for the Heart of Brotherly Love. Simon and Schuster.
  8. ^ Stamm, Dan (2009). "The Day That Smarty Jones Failed Us". NBC Philadelphia. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  9. ^ Scally, Bernard J. (November 11, 2006). "Are Philadelphia sports teams cursed by the city founder?". RoxReview.com. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.
  10. ^ Holcomb, Henry J. (June 18, 2007). "Comcast Center topped off". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  11. ^ "Ironworkers plant Billy Penn atop new Comcast tower to help Eagles avoid curse - Philly". Philly.com. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  12. ^ "Yes, There's a Billy Penn Statue on Philly's New Skyscraper". NBC 10 Philadelphia. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  13. ^ Wesseling, Chris (February 4, 2018). "Philadelphia Eagles knock off Patriots, win Super Bowl". National Football League. Retrieved February 5, 2018.

External links

1983 NBA Finals

The 1983 NBA World Championship Series, also known as Showdown '83, was the championship round of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s 1982–83 season, and the culmination of the season's playoffs. It was the last NBA Championship Series completed before June 1. The Eastern Conference champion Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers 4 games to 0. 76ers center Moses Malone was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP).

2008 Philadelphia Phillies season

The Philadelphia Phillies' 2008 season was the 126th in the history of the franchise. The team finished with a regular season record of 92–70, first in the National League East. In the post-season, the Phillies won the World Series; this was the first major sports championship for Philadelphia since the 76ers swept the 1983 NBA Finals. During the season, they were managed by Charlie Manuel.

The Phillies opened the season by posting their first winning April since 2003. They also scored 60 runs over 5 games in late May in a sweep over the Colorado Rockies and accrued a 14–4 record over 18 games entering the month of June. The Phillies' performance declined in late June, but they improved after the All-Star break, going 9–6 immediately following the midseason hiatus. Closer Brad Lidge earned eight saves in those games, and did not blow a save throughout the season and the postseason. Philadelphia traded sweeps with the Los Angeles Dodgers in August and went 13–3 in their last 16 games, taking advantage of a late swoon by the New York Mets for the second year in a row to capture the division crown. The team won its position in the playoffs after its second consecutive East Division title. The Phillies also posted the best road record in the National League, at 44–37.Philadelphia defeated the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Division Series (NLDS), 3–1, and the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series (NLCS), 4–1, to win the National League Pennant and advance to the World Series. In the World Series, the Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, 4–1, to win their first championship in 28 years, ending the Curse of Billy Penn. Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels was named the most valuable player of the NLCS and the World Series.Statistical leaders in batting for the 2008 team included center fielder Shane Victorino (batting average, .293), first baseman Ryan Howard (home runs, 48; runs batted in, 146), and second baseman Chase Utley (runs scored, 113). For their accomplishments, Howard won the Josh Gibson Award for the National League, and Utley won his third consecutive Silver Slugger Award. Pitching leaders included left-handed starting pitcher Hamels (innings pitched, 227​1⁄3), left-hander starter Jamie Moyer (wins, 16), and right-handed relief pitcher Lidge (saves, 41). Lidge won the DHL Delivery Man of the Year and the Major League Baseball Comeback Player of the Year awards for his performance during the season. Victorino and shortstop Jimmy Rollins also won Gold Glove awards for their play in the field.

2008 World Series

The 2008 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 2008 season. The 104th edition of the World Series, it was a best-of-seven playoff between the National League (NL) champion Philadelphia Phillies and the American League (AL) champion Tampa Bay Rays; the Phillies won the series, four games to one. The 2008 World Series is notable because it is the only Fall Classic to involve a mid-game suspension and resumption (two days later).

The Series began on Wednesday, October 22, and (after weather delays had postponed the end of Game 5) concluded the following Wednesday, October 29. The AL's 4–3 win in the 2008 All-Star Game gave the Rays home field advantage for the series, meaning no more than three games would be played at the Phillies' stadium Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies won their second championship in their 126-year history to bring the city of Philadelphia its first championship in 25 years (since the 1983 NBA Finals). This was the first postseason series lost by an MLB team based in the state of Florida; previously, the Rays and Florida Marlins were 8–0 in post-season series. Additionally, both the Phillies' World Series wins have come against a team making their World Series debut (in 1980, they beat the Kansas City Royals).

The Phillies advanced to the World Series after defeating the Milwaukee Brewers and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL's Divisional Series and Championship Series, respectively. The team won its position in the playoffs after its second consecutive NL East division title. This was the Phillies' first World Series appearance in fifteen years. The Tampa Bay Rays advanced to the World Series after defeating the Chicago White Sox and the Boston Red Sox in the AL's Division Series and 2008 American League Championship Series

Architecture of Philadelphia

The architecture of Philadelphia is a mix of historic and modern styles that reflect the city's history. The first European settlements appeared within the present day borders of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the 17th century with most structures being built from logs. By the 18th century brick structures had become common. Georgian and later Federal style buildings dominated much of the cityscape. In the first half of the 19th century, Greek revival appeared and flourished with architects such as William Strickland, John Haviland, and Thomas U. Walter. In the second half of the 19th century, Victorian architecture became popular with the city's most notable Victorian architect being Frank Furness.

Steel and concrete skyscrapers appeared in the first decades of the 20th century and glass and granite skyscrapers towards the end of the century. Construction continued into the 21st century with the city tallest building, the Comcast Center. Philadelphia made significant contributions in the architecture of the United States. The row house was introduced to the United States via Philadelphia in the 17th century, the United States' first International style skyscraper was built in Philadelphia, and one of the most important examples of Postmodern architecture, Robert Venturi's Guild House, is located in the city.

Center City, Philadelphia

Center City includes the central business district and central neighborhoods of Philadelphia, in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It comprises the area that made up the City of Philadelphia prior to the Act of Consolidation, 1854 which extended the city borders to be coterminous with Philadelphia County. Greater Center City has grown into the second-most populated downtown area in the United States, after Midtown Manhattan in New York City, with an estimated 193,000 residents in 2018.

Comcast Center

Comcast Center, also known as the Comcast Tower, is a skyscraper in Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. The 58-story, 297-meter (974 ft) tower is the second-tallest building in Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania, as well as the twenty-third tallest building in the United States. Originally called One Pennsylvania Plaza when the building was first announced in 2001, the Comcast Center went through two redesigns before construction began in 2005. Comcast Center was designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects for Liberty Property Trust.

At the beginning of 2005, the final redesign and its new name—the Comcast Center—was unveiled. The building is named after its lead tenant, cable company Comcast, which makes the skyscraper its corporate headquarters. Leasing 1,094,212 square feet (101,656 m2), Comcast takes up 89 percent of the building. The building features retail and restaurant space and a connection to the nearby Suburban Station. In Comcast Center's lobby is the Comcast Experience, which is a 2,000-square-foot (190 m2) high-definition LED screen that has become a tourist attraction. Designed to be environmentally friendly, the skyscraper is the tallest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building in Philadelphia.

Drought (sport)

In sports, a drought refers to instances in which an individual or team has gone through a lengthy period of time without accomplishing some goal. For a team, this usually refers to an extended period of time without making the playoffs or winning a championship. Droughts occur for a variety of reasons, from chronic mismanagement to bad luck. Some droughts are also popularly attributed to a curse.

Gentrification in Philadelphia

Gentrification is the improvement of a neighborhood as new, and typically more affluent, people move in.

It is often criticized because the current residents have limited options to buy or rent equivalent housing in alternative areas at the same price. If they stay, prices for products, services, and taxes rise and existing social networks are disturbed. Gentrification is the opposite of white flight—when residents voluntarily move away as a neighborhood declines.

In Philadelphia, various neighborhoods, each with an characteristic class and ethnic makeup, are being shaken as newcomers move in. The impact of gentrification has been felt most in a number of neighborhoods around Center City such as lower North Philadelphia, Francisville, Northern Liberties, Fishtown, Kensington, Fairmount, Center City West, Hawthorne, University City, Point Breeze and Grays Ferry.

Kate Smith

Kathryn Elizabeth Smith (May 1, 1907 – June 17, 1986), known professionally as Kate Smith and The First Lady of Radio, was an American singer, a contralto, well known for her rendition of Irving Berlin's "God Bless America". She had a radio, television, and recording career spanning five decades, which reached its pinnacle in the 1940s. Smith became known as The Songbird of the South after her enduring popularity during World War II.

Liberty Place

Liberty Place is a skyscraper complex in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. The complex is composed of a 61-story, 945-foot (288 m) skyscraper called One Liberty Place, a 58-story, 848-foot (258 m) skyscraper called Two Liberty Place, a two-story shopping mall called the Shops at Liberty Place, and the 14-story Westin Philadelphia Hotel. Prior to the construction of Liberty Place, there was a "gentlemen's agreement" not to build any structure in Center City higher than the statue of William Penn on top of Philadelphia City Hall. The tradition lasted until 1984 when developer Willard G. Rouse III of Rouse & Associates announced plans to build an office building complex that included two towers taller than City Hall. There was a great amount of opposition to the construction of the towers with critics believing breaking the height limit would lead to construction of many more tall skyscrapers, ruining the livability and charm of Center City. Despite the opposition, construction of One Liberty Place was approved and the first phase of the project began in 1985 and was completed in 1987. When One Liberty Place was completed, it was the tallest skyscraper in Philadelphia.

Phase 2 of the project included Two Liberty Place, a hotel, a shopping mall, and a parking garage. Construction began 1988, after Cigna agreed to lease the entirety of the skyscraper. Construction was completed in 1990, making Two Liberty Place the second-tallest building in the city. The two towers held their place as first- and second-tallest buildings in Philadelphia until the Comcast Center was topped off in 2007. Liberty Place was received enthusiastically by critics and led to the construction of other tall skyscrapers giving Philadelphia what architecture critic Paul Goldberger called "one of the most appealing skylines of any major American city".Liberty Place was designed by architect Helmut Jahn and his firm Murphy/Jahn. The steel and blue glass skyscrapers were heavily influenced by New York City's Chrysler Building. The major influence is the spire made of gabled angular setbacks. Two Liberty Place's spire is shorter and squatter, a design influenced by the needs of tenant Cigna. In the 2000s, Cigna reduced its presence in the tower, which led to the owners converting the upper floors into 122 luxury condominiums. Below the two towers is the 289 room Westin hotel and the 143,000 square feet (13,000 m2) Shops at Liberty Place. The main feature of the mall is a round atrium topped by a large glass dome.

Major League Baseball rivalries

Rivalries in the Major League Baseball have occurred between many teams and cities. Rivalries have arisen for many different reasons, the primary ones including geographic proximity, familiarity with opponents, various incidents, and cultural, linguistic, or national pride.

Mets–Phillies rivalry

The Mets–Phillies rivalry or Battle of the Broads is a Major League Baseball (MLB) rivalry between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. Both clubs are members of MLB's National League (NL) East division. The rivalry between the two clubs is said to be among the most fiercely contested in the NL. The two NL East divisional rivals have met each other recently in playoff, division, and Wild Card races. The Battle of the Broads name is a nod to both cities having the word Broad in their street names: Broadway in New York, and Broad Street in Philadelphia.

Aside from several brawls in the 1980s, the rivalry remained relatively low-key before the 2006 season, as the teams had seldom been equally good at the same time. A notable moment in their early meetings was Jim Bunning's perfect game on Father's Day of 1964, the first perfect game in Phillies history, which happened when the Mets were on a losing streak. The Phillies were near the bottom of the NL East when the Mets won the 1969 World Series and the National League pennant in 1973, while the Mets did not enjoy success in the late 1970s when the Phillies won three straight division championships. Although both teams each won a World Series in the 1980s, the Mets were not serious contenders in the Phillies' playoff years (1980, 1981, and 1983), nor did the Phillies seriously contend in the Mets' playoff years (1986 and 1988). The Mets were the Majors' worst team when the Phillies won the NL pennant in 1993, and the Phillies could not post a winning record in either of the Mets' wild-card-winning seasons of 1999 or 2000, when the Mets faced the New York Yankees in the 2000 World Series.

The rivalry intensified in the mid 2000s, as the teams battled more often for playoff position. The Mets won the division in 2006, while the Phillies won five consecutive division titles from 2007 to 2011. The Phillies' 2007 championship was won on the last day of the season as the Mets lost a seven-game lead with 17 games remaining. The Phillies broke the Curse of Billy Penn to win the 2008 World Series, while the Mets' last title came in the 1986 World Series.

In 2015, the Mets won the National League Championship Series for their fifth pennant while the Phillies entered a rebuild phase. The Mets beat the Phillies 14 times and lost 5 for a lopsided season series. The season still provided contentious moments such as, Mets pitcher Matt Harvey drilling Phillies 2nd baseman Chase Utley in retaliation for Mets players getting hit by Phillies pitchers, a benches clearing argument between Phillies coach Larry Bowa in regards to a quick pitch by Hansel Robles and a bat flip by Daniel Murphy. Phillies star Chase Utley while, traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers mid-season, injured Mets shortstop Rubén Tejada on a legal slide during Game 2 of the National League Division Series.

Philadelphia

Philadelphia (Ancient Greek: φίλος ἀδελφός), known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2018 census-estimated population of 1,584,138. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.William Penn, an English Quaker, founded the city in 1682 to serve as capital of the Pennsylvania Colony. Philadelphia played an instrumental role in the American Revolution as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States, who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 at the Second Continental Congress, and the Constitution at the Philadelphia Convention of 1787. Several other key events occurred in Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War including the First Continental Congress, the preservation of the Liberty Bell, the Battle of Germantown, and the Siege of Fort Mifflin. Philadelphia remained the nation's largest city until being overtaken by New York City in 1790; the city was also one of the nation's capitals during the revolution, serving as temporary U.S. capital while Washington, D.C. was under construction. In the 19th century, Philadelphia became a major industrial center and a railroad hub. The city grew from an influx of European immigrants, most of whom came from Ireland, Italy and Germany—the three largest reported ancestry groups in the city as of 2015. In the early 20th century, Philadelphia became a prime destination for African Americans during the Great Migration after the Civil War, as well as Puerto Ricans. The city's population doubled from one million to two million people between 1890 and 1950.

The Philadelphia area's many universities and colleges make it a top study destination, as the city has evolved into an educational and economic hub. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Philadelphia area had a gross domestic product of US$445 billion in 2017, the eighth-largest metropolitan economy in the United States. Philadelphia is the center of economic activity in Pennsylvania and is home to five Fortune 1000 companies. The Philadelphia skyline is expanding, with a market of almost 81,900 commercial properties in 2016, including several nationally prominent skyscrapers. Philadelphia has more outdoor sculptures and murals than any other American city. Fairmount Park, when combined with the adjacent Wissahickon Valley Park in the same watershed, is one of the largest contiguous urban park areas in the United States. The city is known for its arts, culture, cuisine, and colonial history, attracting 42 million domestic tourists in 2016 who spent US$6.8 billion, generating an estimated $11 billion in total economic impact in the city and surrounding four counties of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia has also emerged as a biotechnology hub.Philadelphia is the birthplace of the United States Marine Corps, and is also the home of many U.S. firsts, including the first library (1731), hospital (1751), medical school (1765), national capital (1774), stock exchange (1790), zoo (1874), and business school (1881). Philadelphia contains 67 National Historic Landmarks and the World Heritage Site of Independence Hall. The city became a member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities in 2015, as the first World Heritage City in the United States. Although Philadelphia is rapidly undergoing gentrification, the city actively maintains mitigation strategies to minimize displacement of homeowners in gentrifying neighborhoods.

Phillies–Pirates rivalry

The Phillies–Pirates rivalry is a Major League Baseball (MLB) rivalry between the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates. Both clubs are members of MLB's National League (NL); the Phillies are members of the NL East division, while the Pirates are members of the NL Central division. The rivalry was considered by some to be one of the best in the NL. The rivalry started when the Pittsburgh Pirates entered NL play in their fifth season of 1887, four years after the Phillies.The Phillies and Pirates had remained together after the NL split into two divisions in 1969. During the period of two-division play (1969–1993), the two NL East division rivals won the two highest numbers of division championships, reigning almost exclusively as NL East champions in the 1970s and again in the early 1990s, the Pirates 9, the Phillies 6; together, the two teams' 15 championships accounted for more than half of the 25 NL East championships during that span.After the Pirates moved to the NL Central in 1994, the teams face each other only in two series each year and the rivalry has diminished. However, many fans, especially older ones, retain their dislike for the other team and regional differences between Eastern and Western Pennsylvania still fuel the rivalry. The rivalry is mirrored in the National Hockey League (NHL)'s so-called "Battle of Pennsylvania".

Sports-related curses

A sports-related curse is a superstitious belief in the effective action of some power or evil, that is used to explain the failures or misfortunes of specific sports teams, players, or even cities. Teams, players, and cities often cite a "curse" for many negative things, such as their inability to win a sports championship, or unexpected injuries.

The Lombardi Curse

The Lombardi Curse was an alleged sports-related curse that supposedly prevented the National Football League (NFL)'s Philadelphia Eagles franchise from winning the Super Bowl for as long as the game's trophy is named after Vince Lombardi. Its origin is traced to the Eagles upsetting the Green Bay Packers in the 1960 NFL Championship Game. This game ended up being the lone playoff defeat in Lombardi's coaching career as his Packers would go on to establish a dynasty that would win five NFL championships in the next seven seasons, including the first two Super Bowls.

Meanwhile, the Eagles had not won another league championship since, including having never won the Super Bowl since the game started being played annually in 1966. They appeared in Super Bowl XV in the 1980 season and Super Bowl XXXIX in the 2004 season, but lost both times. In 1970, the Super Bowl trophy was officially named the Vince Lombardi trophy when the league decided to honor Lombardi by naming the trophy after him following his death in 1970. This renaming of the Super Bowl trophy combined with the Eagles inability to win the championship game has led some Eagles fans to believe that the franchise is cursed by Vince Lombardi; that beating Lombardi meant never winning the trophy named after him.The Eagles defeated the New England Patriots by a score of 41–33 in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 4, 2018, ending the alleged curse.

Whiz Kids (baseball)

The Whiz Kids is the nickname of the 1950 Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball. The team was largely made up of rookies; The average age of a member of the Whiz Kids was 26.4 The team won the 1950 National League pennant but failed to win the World Series.

After owner R. R. M. Carpenter, Jr. built a team of bonus babies, the 1950 team won for the majority of the season, but slumped late, allowing the defending National League champion Brooklyn Dodgers to gain ground in the last two weeks. The final series of the season was against Brooklyn, and the final game pitted the Opening Day starting pitchers, right-handers Robin Roberts and Don Newcombe, against one another. The Phillies defeated the Dodgers in extra innings in the final game of the season on a three-run home run by Dick Sisler in the top of the tenth inning. In the World Series which followed, the Whiz Kids were swept by the New York Yankees, who won their second of five consecutive World Series championships.The failure of the Whiz Kids to win another pennant after their lone successful season has been attributed to multiple theories, the most prominent of which is Carpenter's unwillingness to integrate his team after winning a pennant with an all-white team.

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