We're less than a week away from Opening Day, so it?s time to start previewing the season. Inspired by an old feature on The Black Table, we?re going team-by-team and distributing Four Things You Don?t Know about them. If you have suggested oddities on your team, send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Today: The Philadelphia Phillies.
• 1. They Know How To Lose. Since they were founded in 1883, the Phillies have accumulated one World Championship, five National League pennants and nine total playoff appearances in their history. So basically, the Phillies only had a chance to win a championship nine times out of 123 seasons. Their current World Series championship drought: 25 seasons. Until 2005, the Phillies claimed the longest World Series championship drought in baseball history, at 97 years (from their founding until their victory in 1980). This unfortunate record has just been tied by the Chicago Cubs (1908-present). And the Phillies are about to become the first professional franchise to reach 10,000 losses. They currently have 9,879 loses in their franchise history (8,676 wins). — (Thanks to Alex Cole, and first posted by Philly Sucks).
• 2. Their Fans Have Six Degrees of Seperation. Among those counting themselves as Phillies fans are: Will Smith, Art Garfunkel, Beanie Sigel, Gov. Ed Rendell, Jerry Garcia, Kevin Bacon, Bill Cosby, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Daryl Hall and John Oates.
• 3. They Abhor Violence In a game between the Phillies and Atlanta Braves on Aug. 31, 1999, Philadelphia's Paul Byrd was on the mound and Eddie Perez was at the plate. Tensions had been mounting between the two clubs all summer, and after Perez was plunked in the back by Byrd, Perez finally took action. Benches cleared, people were shoved, you know the drill. The only two players missing from the fisticuffs? That would be Byrd and Perez. Byrd, well known for being a devout Christian, immediately fell to his knees and prayed for forgiveness and help through the ongoing brawl. Perez heard his prayer and, also being a man of faith, kneeled beside Byrd and joined him in prayer. This was all unbeknownst to the remainder of the two teams, who were all grappling in a huge pile trying to knock each others heads off. — (Thanks to Greg Frith).
• 4. If Things Had Been a Little Different, Tom Brady Could Be a Phillie. Well, not really, that's a stretch. But current Phillie Pat Burrell was a junior quarterback for Bellarmine Prep in San Jose in 1995, the same year that their West Catholic Athletic League rival, Serra High of San Mateo, was starting a senior quarterback named Tom Brady. Both athletes then went on to play baseball. Burrell gave up football after that season to concentrate on baseball, and Brady gave up baseball (even though he was drafted by the Expos) to take a football scholarship at Michigan. Burrell, by the way, lists his hobbies as eating, hunting and bottle cap baseball.
(Tomorrow: The New York Yankees)